Online gaming ban in Portugal leads poker players to emigrate

A report from Portuguese newspaper Diário de Noticias (DN) states that in the last six months, and as part of the enforcement of a new law, Portuguese authorities have closed 86 websites dedicated to online casino games, namely Poker.
The same report states that this “crack-down” on online gaming has already led to at least 50 players moving to other countries where online gaming is allowed.
Czech Republic, Brazil, Hungary, Malta and the UK are the top five destinations chosen by these “special migrants” to be able to continue playing online professionally.
Some of them had to leave
their families behind; others stopped their studies in order to continue to perform this activity, which grants them sufficient income to live abroad. In one case cited by the DN, one of the players stated that he would only return to Portugal when the “profession” is legally permitted.
The ban in Portugal is due to a legal breach that precipitated a new regulation stating that online gaming is only allowed when run by approved websites. That is not possible yet, since the ruling entity is yet to issue any licenses. but there are at least 11 companies that have submitted applications, the processes for which are, according to DN, still ongoing without a precise date to be concluded.
The lack of licensing has led the poker players to become frustrated. This frustration, however, extends beyond poker players, as the regulation also applies for other activities like sports betting.
João Nunes, head of the largest poker website in Portugal, said that “the bureaucracy is huge and the process takes a long time, and it is a very complicated situation for the players.” He recalls that this community has about 60,000 registered users and that many are professionals or semi-professionals who are using this income to provide for all, or at least part, of their income.
In Macau, at the present time, there are no licenses for online gaming operations.
In June last year, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) issued a warning to local residents about online gambling sites, stating that it “has never issued any online interactive gaming license to any company. Hence, all online interactive gambling websites in Macau are considered illegal operations.”
Although illegal, online gaming has been promoted, leading the authorities to employ endless efforts to tackle this activity.
Industry conventions and fairs, such as the Global Gaming Expo (G2E Asia), have also tried to address this topic more than once.
Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman  and  CEO   Sheldon
Adelson has tried to push legislation that would ban online gambling in the United States. RM

A Brief History of The World Wide Web

Englishman Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee is credited as being the founder of the World Wide Web, and the first steps towards the Internet age began in 1980. In that year, Berners-Lee began to experiment with hypertext, when building ENQUIRE for CERN in Switzerland. ENQUIRE was designed to be a personal database, but it was also significant because every new page needed to be reached by a link on an already created page.

The Birth Of The World Wide Web

After leaving CERN at the end of 1980, Berners-Lee returned to the organisation four years later. In 1984, Berners-Lee identified a problem regarding sharing data at CERN. He then addressed the problem by arranging for the installation of TCP/IP protocols on the relevant machines at the organisation. With CERN boasting the biggest Internet site in Europe by the end of the 1980s, Berners-Lee was then ready to take things a step further.

In the March of 1989, Berners-Lee put forward his plan for a large hypertext database, that would rely on being effective via typed links. Though his idea failed to get much of a positive reaction generally, Berners-Lee received important support from Mike Sendall, who was Berners-Lees boss at the time. Sendall decided to utilise a NeXT workstation to incorporate Berners-Lees system, and though a number of different names were considered, eventually it was decided that the World Wide Web was the most appropriate. It could so easily have been called The Information Mine, which was one of the other names considered.

Pioneers Cailliau And Pellow

The 1990s was really the decade that saw the birth of the Internet as we know it today. While Robert Cailliau became another key figure in the success of the World Wide Web, as the Belgian computer scientist was a strong supporter of Berners-Lees ideas. The pair also tried to convince people of the possibilities of the World Wide Web, but again interest was lacking. Cailliau designed the very first Web browser with Nicola Pellow, and Pellow was to become the most important female figure in the early days of the Web.

The Web Goes Truly Global

Everything was in place for an efficient World Wide Web by the end of 1990, including HTTP, HTML, the first Web browser, Web server and HTTP server software. In January, 1991 the World Wide Web outside of CERN began previously all Web servers had been within that organisation.

Early web pages were plain text affairs, and one of the earliest web pages still in existence was sent by Berners-Lee to Paul Jones, who was at a university in North Carolina at the time. Usenet newsgroups existed, and transference of files through FTP was possible back in 1991.

Internet speeds were not really a concern back in 1991 either, as text dominated. Now, because of fibre optic broadband, its possible to download massive audio and video files very quickly and watch TV and videos online, without having to worry about the picture freezing!

Apple is hiring engineers to coach Siri about sports

Apple has published four job postings that reveal the companys intent to make its Siri personal digital assistant more capable when it comes to fielding queries about sports. Potentially, that could make Siri a more essential companion for resolving debates at the water cooler.

The job postings, with the job title Siri Software Engineer Sports, are identical. People chosen for the jobs will work at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California.

The Siri team is looking for someone with a combination of strong technical skills, a desire to build exceptional customer features and a deep love of sports, Apple says in the job postings, which have gone live in the past two weeks. Were looking for the right person who can collaborate with other engineers in several technical areas to help build Siris knowledge of all things sports related. You should be able to thrive in a fast-paced environment with rapidly changing priorities, have a thirst for new technology and believe that managing your Fantasy Football team is as important as managing your 401(k).

Artificial intelligence (AI) experience is a requirement for the job, the job postings say.

Working on a product as popular as Siri can be tempting for researchers eager to have an impact in the real world. But in recent years Apple has not published many academic papers describing its artificial intelligence technology, much less shared its AI software with the public under open source licenses, as Baidu, Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter have done. That relative lack of openness has made it harder for Apple to recruit AI talent, as Bloomberg has reported.

In the past year Apple has acquired artificial intelligence companies Emotient, Perceptio, and VocalIQ. Siri itself arrived at Apple as a result of the 2010 Siri acquisition.

That doesnt mean Apple has completely given up on hiring people well versed in AI one by one, though. In this case, Apple is also looking for people with domain-specific knowledge.

In order to be qualified for the new Siri jobs, candidates must have an encyclopedic knowledge of sports and wish that Siri did as well. The job posts also mention that these people will integrate live service providers, which could result in more informational responses from Siri. Currently Siri pulls sports knowledge from sources such as Yahoo, Major League Baseball, and the National Basketball Association. When Siri doesnt know the answer to a question, shell serve up a few Bing search results and Bing search query suggestions, which dont always help right away. (Dont ask about boxing, cricket, golf, MMA, NASCAR, or tennis.)

Apple has gradually given Siri more sports proficiency since she became part of iOS in 2011. Starting in iOS 6, she could offer up standings, schedules, and player statistics. With the arrival of iOS 7, Siri could identify her favorite teams. And iOS 9 gave Siri the ability to provide scores, schedules, and websites in response to the mere mention of a team.

The sports category of the Siri page on Apples website currently shows off three example questions that are marked as new, including Who won the NBA Finals? and Whos the quarterback for Dallas? The use of the past tense in the first question and the lack of the team name only the name of the city, which has two major sports teams other than the Cowboys in the second question demonstrate the evolution of the natural language processing software working behind the scenes in Siri.

Apple has improved the visual presentation of sports information in Siri over the years, too. Additions include team logos and player head shots.

Looking beyond sports, Apple has previously published job openings for Siri software engineers in other categories, like music and HomeKit.

But the new job postings prove that Apple executives believe Siri could definitely be more of a sports nut.

WORLD WIDE WEB Twitter Moves To Actively Seek Out Terrorist Supporters

Twitter is now using spam-fighting technology to seek out accounts that might be promoting terrorist activity and is examining other accounts related to those flagged for possible removal, the company announced Friday.

The announcement demonstrated efforts by Twitter to automatically identify tweets supporting terrorism, reflecting increased pressure placed by the US government for social media companies to respond to abuse more proactively. Child pornography has previously been the only abuse that was automatically flagged for human review on social media, using a different kind of technology that sources a database of known images.

Twitter also said Friday it has suspended more than 125,000 accounts for threatening or promoting terrorist acts, mainly related to Islamic State militants, in the last eight months. Social media has increasingly become a tool for recruitment and radicalization thats used by the Islamic State group and its supporters, who by some reports have sent tens of thousands of tweets per day.

Tech companies are dedicating increasingly more resources to tracking reports of violent threats. Twitter said Friday that it has increased the size of its team reviewing reports to reduce their response time significantly. The San Francisco-based company also changed its policy in April, adding language to make clear that threatening or promoting terrorism specifically counted as abusive behavior and violated its terms of use.

The White House on Friday said Twitters announcement was very much welcome.

The administration is committed to taking every action possible to confront and interdict terrorist activities wherever they may occur, including in cyberspace, and we welcome constructive steps from our private sector partners, the White House said.

Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, called it a very positive development.

In January, the White House made good on President Barack Obamas promise to reach out to Silicon Valley to tackle the use of social media by violent extremist groups. Those particularly include the Islamic State group, which inspired attackers who killed 14 in San Bernardino, California, last December.

A post on one of the killers Facebook pages that appeared around the time of the attack included a pledge of allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State group.

Facebook found the post — which was under an alias — the day after the attack. The company removed the profile from public view and informed law enforcement. But such a proactive effort is fairly uncommon.

The Obama administration sent several top officials to San Jose, California, including FBI Director James Comey, Attorney General Loretta Lynch and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers.

Among issues discussed was how to use technology to help speed the identification of terrorist content, according to a copy of the White House briefing memo obtained by The Associated Press.

We recognize that identifying terrorist content that violates terms of service is far more difficult than identifying images of child pornography, but is there a way to use technology to quickly identify terrorist content? For example, are there technologies used for the prevention of spam that could be useful? the memo stated.

Since late 2015, Twitter began using proprietary spam-fighting tools to find accounts that might be violating their terms of service by promoting terrorism, sending them to be reviewed by a team at Twitter. That group also now looks into other accounts similar to those reported to them by other users.

Twitter said it has already had seen results, including an increase in account suspensions and this type of activity shifting off of Twitter.

But it also noted that there is no magic algorithm for identifying terrorist content, which is why even humans reviewing the material are ultimately making judgment calls based on very limited information and guidance. Free speech and local law in an area can also complicate matters.

Like most people around the world, we are horrified by the atrocities perpetrated by extremist groups. We condemn the use of Twitter to promote terrorism, Twitter said in a statement released Friday. It said it would continue to engage with authorities and other relevant organizations to find solutions to this critical issue and promote powerful counter-speech narratives.

Saudi Arabian Women’s Sports Break Stereotypes

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Women athletes in Saudi Arabia say sports are helping to break down traditions that crush the voices of many women.

In the city of Jeddah, a group of basketball players is urging women and girls to get out of their homes and become active in public life. The groups members say they can do this by connecting sports to health issues.

All of the players are women.

Saudi Arabia is one of the richest countries in the Middle East. In many ways, Saudi Arabia is as modern as any place on earth in terms of public health services, transportation and other infrastructure.

But activists say the country has a long way to go in terms of women#39;s rights. They say by persuading women and girls to play sports, they are working in support of good health. The activists say they also are breaking down the image of Saudi women as being silent members of their society.

The Jeddah United womens team was in Malaysia recently for a game. Officials say that by playing internationally, the Saudi women improve their understanding of the world and the nations they visit.

Lina Almaeena heads the Jeddah United Sports Company.

We played in the United States, Malaysia, in Jordan and the UAE. as well as Riyadh and other cities in Saudi Arabia. So, we do that to promote sports locally and internationally to try to change stereotypes and show a different segment in Saudi Arabia.

At an event in Jeddeh for disabled boys and girls, female basketball players say womens sports are increasingly popular at home. Men do not attend games. The players wear head coverings and white uniforms that extend over their arms and legs.

Player Nour Gary says resisting commonly accepted ideas in Saudi Arabia requires pushing against limits, without breaking them.

It is not even against the law or against the religion. It is just people having their own beliefs and trying to close it on other people. So, yes, being open towards sports, they have more flexibility towards other things.

Players say women#39;s rights in Saudi Arabia have come a long way in recent years, but many freedoms, like the right to drive a car, still seem far away.

Last year, women in Saudi Arabia voted for the first time. Twenty women were elected into local office. Like politicians, female athletes say they believe women#39;s#39; sports will eventually be accepted more publicly.

Deborah Parkwood is the head of the Jeddah United basketball team.

We have great athletes here in Saudi Arabia, some of them. The girls, they want to play harder, they want to train harder and they would love to compete for their country internationally.

For now, players say campaigning for women#39;s sports locally is having an immediate result on society. They say it shows mothers the good effects of physical exercise for themselves, and for their children.

Im Marsha James.

Heather Murdock reported on this story for VOANews.com. Marsha James adapted her story for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

_____________________________________________________________

Words in This Story

athlete n. someone who competes in a sport

stereotypes n. a commonly accepted, but sometimes unfair idea that many people have about all members of a group

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Fenway Park transforms into winter sports park for Big Air skiing and snowboarding event

Fenway Park has been the home of the Boston Red Sox since 1912. While baseball is the main focus of the stadium, it has hosted other events such as concerts, football, soccer and even hockey. Now the 104-year-old stadium can add a couple other winter sports to its resume: skiing and snowboarding.

Standing high above the Green Monster, a 140-foot ski jump has been constructed in centerfield, sloping down to home plate, for the Big Air at Fenway US Grand Prix event to be held this Thursday and Friday.

PSN Down: New online gaming issues reported on PS4’s PlayStation Network

SONY

PS4 users are currently struggling to access online gaming features via the PSN

UPDATE FIVE: Sony customers started reporting problems playing multiplayer titles at around 6am, UK time, its currently unknown what is causing the fresh outage.

It appears that the PSN may have been hit worldwide, with PS4 users from North America also having trouble being kicked multiple time from online sessions.

The PlayStation support team have yet to confirm the issues, while the official PlayStation Service Status reports all core services as functional.

This week has seen multiple periods when the PSN has been unaccessible, withPlayStation Networksubscribers being kicked off for several hours on Monday afternoon.

One user wrote: Only people who are playing games online are getting signed out. I have buddys on Netflix who havent been signed out one time.

SONY

PS4 owners are reporting new problems using the PSN today

UPDATE FOUR: A new outage connected with signing in and using core PlayStation Network services is being reported by PS4 users in the UK.

It is unclear if the new problems are directly connected to current issues affecting BT internet customers, although the same connection reports are not popping up on Xbox Live.

The PSN was hit by hours of downtime yesterday, resulting in many Sony console owners being unable to use their PS4s properly for several hours.

The European PlayStation support team confirmed yesterday that the issues plaguing the service had been solved, it is currently unclear what caused the outage.

PlayStation Network has been restored. You should be able to access online features without any problems now. Sorry for the inconvenience, the PlayStation support message revealed.

One fan commented on the current problems, writing: I can sign in but cannot see friends list or access online games in England, Doncaster.

Another replied: Same, I cant log on for some reason, was playing and it booted me off.

SONY

PlayStation Europe has confirmed that PSN issues have been resolved in the region

UPDATE THREE: The official PlayStation Twitter account for Europe has confirmed that PSN trouble in the region have been solved.

The Sony account posted the message earlier today, tweeting: PlayStation Network has been restored.

You should be able to access online features without any problems now. Sorry for the inconvenience.

There has been no such confirmation of the return of core PlayStation Network services from the account covering North America.

It is still unclear what has caused the mass outage, which appeared to affect PS4, PS3 and PS Vita users from worldwide.

There are still mixed reports of gamers being able to access the PSN and other who have been less unfortunate.

The Express can confirm that we have access to online multiplayer and the PlayStation Store both in the UK and United States.

SONY

Sony is currently investigating the PSN outage

UPDATE TWO: There are multiple reports from PS4 users that their PlayStation Network connection has been restored in the UK and North America.

Issues have hit PSN subscribers since around 4:30pm, UK time.

Sony have now confirmed the problems and say they are looking into the cause.

Were aware that some PSN users are experiencing connectivity issues., a PlayStation support team message reads.

Thank you for your patience as we investigate.

The PlayStation support page has yet to be updated with what core services have been affected, although a banner has appeared, reading: PSN is under maintenance.

An earlier outage in January saw many PS4, PS3 and PS Vita users lose connection with the PSN for up to ten hours.

Sony confirmed that those affected were being given extended PlayStation Plus access to cover lost time through a recent code supplied via email.

GETTY

PlayStation Network has been hit by connectivity issues

UPDATE ONE:

17:53 Sonys PlayStation support website has just posted a message saying NOTICE: PSN is under maintenance.

It looks like another bad day for PlayStation gamers as the PSN Network has once again gone offline.

PS4 gamers have started to report issues accessing core features, such as playing games online and buying items from the PlayStation Store.

There is currently no known issue posted on the official PlayStation Network Service Status page, with all services currently getting the greenlight.

Although Sony has not confirmed the issues, games giant Bungie has tweeted We are aware of issues preventing some PlayStation 4 users from playing Destiny. Thank you for your patience as we investigate.

PSN users are also confirming problems with many saying they are receiving an error message.

PH

No issues are being reported on the PSN status page

Online Gaming Co. Amaya’s CEO Plans $2B Go-Private Offer

By Matthew Perlman

Law360, New York (February 1, 2016, 12:30 PM ET) — Amaya Inc. said Monday that its CEO David Baazov is planning to make a CA$2.77 billion ($1.98 billion) all-cash offer that would take the Canadian gaming company private, as the online gambling industry continues to evolve.

The exact structure of the bid has not yet been determined, but Baazov estimates it to be worth about CA$21 per share, according to a statement announcing the executives intentions. That price would represent a 40 percent premium to Amayas closing price Friday on the Toronto Stock Exchange, the statement…