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Colombian Guerrilla group releases Spanish Journalist after week-long captivity

Both ELN and FARC are currently negotiating with government over a peace agreement mediated by Cuba

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Salud Hernandez, correspondent at El mundo . Image Source: elspanol.com
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  • Hernandez went missing on May 21 in a remote region near border with Venezuela
  • Salud Hernandez and Two other journalist were released by the Leftist Guerrilla group
  • The spanish Journalist was delivered to a Catholic priest in the town of Torrán (Bogota, Colombia)

Salud Hernandez , a Spanish journalist disappeared on May 21 was released on Friday by Marxist guerrilla group in Colombia with 2 other journalist after almost a week in captivity.

It seems that she disappeared while covering a story in remote region near the border with Venezuela and was inhabited by the guerrilla group.

Salud Hernandez, correspondent of a Spanish newspaper El Mundo said, “Thank you to everyone who prayed for me,” on Friday in her first interview upon  being freed.

The guerrilla group identify themselves as ELN or National Liberation Army. They delivered Hernandez to a Catholic priest in the town of Torrán. Hernandez confirmed that the other two journalist’s are with them and after  2 hours Correspondent Diego D’Pablos and cameraman Carlos Melo, who work for the RCN Colombian TV network, were also released.

Members of the Colombian National Liberation Army(ELN) guerrilla group stand in the mountains of Perija near the border town of Cucuta 06 December 1999 during a meeting with reporters. The Colombian government has begun a track of talks with the ELN, Colombia's second largest leftists rebel group but has not bowed to their demands for a demilitarized zone in the northern Colombia. Image source: Getty Images
Members of the Colombian National Liberation Army(ELN) guerrilla group stand in the mountains of Perija near the border town of Cucuta 06 December 1999 during a meeting with reporters. The Colombian government has begun a track of talks with the ELN, Colombia’s second largest leftists rebel group but has not bowed to their demands for a demilitarized zone in the northern Colombia. Image source: Getty Images

ELN is the second largest rebel group just after Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. The ELN  has an estimated 1,200 fighters. It is said that Catatumbo area is filled with ELN people and illegal crops are means of earning in that area. Catatumbo is also home for drung selling.

Both ELN and FARC are currently negotiating with government over a peace agreement mediated by Cuba.

Farc’s leader Rodrigo Londoño, better known as Timochenko, on Friday in an unusual tweet criticised ELN for kidnapping Salud .” Today it’s Salud Hernández, tomorrow it could be any Colombian. Those practices must end for ever in Colombia. Peace demands her freedom.”

Columbian president Juan Manuel Santos has said that peace talks will not begin until ELN releases all the hostages. But the group has not agreed to this and their leader Nicolás Bautista, known as Gabino said “We are not willing to accept impositions,” in an interview which aired before the journalist was kidnapped.

-by Bhaskar Raghavendran

Bhaskar is a graduate in Journalism and mass communication and a reporter at NewsGram. Twitter handle: bhaskar_ragha

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Thanks To Artificial Intelligence, Radio Journalist Regains His Voice

The AI system slices each word read out by an individual into 100 tiny pieces

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Thanks To Artificial Intelligence, Radio Journalist Regains His Voice
Thanks To Artificial Intelligence, Radio Journalist Regains His Voice, Pixabay

A US radio journalist who had lost his voice two years ago due to a rare neurological condition has regained the ability to speak, thanks to artificial intelligence (AI), the media reported.

Jamie Dupree, 54, a political radio journalist with Cox Media Group, got a new voice that trained a neural network to predict how he would talk, using samples from his old voice recordings, the BBC reported.

With his new voice, Dupree can now write a script and then use a free text-to-speech software programme called Balabolka on his laptop to turn it into an audio recording.

If a word or turn of phrase does not sound quite right in the recording, he can slow certain consonants or vowels down, or swap a word to one that does work, or change the pitch, and he can have a full radio story ready to go live in just seven minutes.

“This has saved my job and saved my family from a terrible financial unknown,” Dupree was quoted as saying to the BBC.

In 2016, Dupree was diagnosed with tongue protrusion dystonia — a rare neurological condition where the tongue pushes forward out of his mouth and his throat tightens whenever he wants to speak, making it impossible for him to say more than two or three words at a time.

artificial intelligence, brain
artificial intelligence, brain, Pixabay

Thanks to the new computer-generated voice, created for him by Scottish technology company CereProc, Dupree is set to come back on air, the report said.

The AI system slices each word read out by an individual into 100 tiny pieces, and does this with lots of common words until eventually it understands how basic phonetics work in that person’s voice and has an ordered sequence for all the pieces in each word.

Then, the neural network can create its own sounds and predict what the person would sound like if they were to say a series of words in conversation.

Also read: This Way China Can Help India In The Terms of Artificial Intelligence

“AI techniques work quite well on small constrained problems, and learning to model speech is something deep neural nets can do really well,” Chris Pidcock, CereProc’s chief technical officer and co-founder, told the BBC. (IANS)