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Hong Kongers alarmed by Google translation gaffe

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Hong Kong social media lit up on Friday when protesters noticed Google’s translation software was briefly churning out a rather odd suggestion during a week that has seen the worst political violence to hit the city in decades.

Eagle-eyed Google users discovered that when people entered the phrase “I am sad to see Hong Kong become part of China” the suggested translation in both Simplified and Traditional Chinese converted the word “sad” to “happy”.

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“Oh my god, I can’t believe my eyes,” one Facebook user commented under one of the many screen grabs of the false translation that went viral on Friday.

“The app intentionally mistranslates the English to ‘so happy/content’ instead of ‘so sad’,” added student Rachel Wong on Twitter. “I hope Google fixes this.”

When AFP entered the sentence “I am sad to see Hong Kong become part of China” on Friday morning it did show the wrong translation, replacing sad with happy.

Searches involving some other combinations of countries or territories also reproduced the error.

An hour later, a correct translation was showing.

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The company’s hugely popular software tool uses complex algorithms and deep learning, as well as allowing users to make suggested translations to improve accuracy.

“Google Translate is an automatic translator, using patterns from millions of existing translations to help decide on the best translation for you,” a spokesman for Google told AFP.

“These automatic systems can sometimes make unintentional mistakes like translating a negative to a positive.”

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The international finance hub has been rocked this week by political violence as protesters opposed to a proposed China extradition law clashed with police.

On Thursday, the popular encrypted messaging app telegram, which is being used by protesters to coordinate, announced it had suffered a major cyber-attack that originated from China.

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Trump is ‘a soulless man with a broken mind’: George Conway calls out his wife’s boss in scathing op-ed

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George Conway, the prominent Republican attorney married to White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, blasted his wife's boss in a new Washington Post op-ed published online on Friday evening.

"Until three brief months ago, President Trump never faced a serious crisis, at least one not of his own making. But now he has faced two, and is failing two, in short order: the covid-19 pandemic, with its concomitant economic devastation; and now social unrest, and rioting, stemming from the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody," Conway wrote. "Lacking in humanity, Trump has had no idea how to handle either one."

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Fox News triggers outrage with graphic comparing how much stocks have risen after racist tragedies

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On Friday, Fox News displayed a graph that appeared to compare the amount the stock market has risen in the week after various racial tragedies, including the assassination of Martin Luther King, the beating of Rodney King, the Ferguson incident, and the death of George Floyd.

2. Here’s the video of the graphic as it aired on Fox News this evening. pic.twitter.com/Iww2DnzkkI

— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) June 5, 2020

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Bill Barr denies giving the order to gas protesters for Trump photo-op

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America's top law enforcement office on Friday denied giving the highly-controversial order to gas protesters prior to a photo-op with President Donald Trump holding a Bible.

"Attorney General William Barr says law enforcement officers were already moving to push back protesters from a park in front of the White House when he arrived there Monday evening, and he says he did not give a command to disperse the crowd, though he supported the decision," The Associated Press reports.

"Barr’s comments in an interview with The Associated Press on Friday were his most detailed explanation yet of what unfolded outside the White House earlier this week. They come after the White House and others said repeatedly that the attorney general ordered officers to clear the park," the AP reported. "Shortly after officers aggressively pushed back demonstrators, President Donald Trump — accompanied by Barr, Pentagon leaders and other top advisers — walked through Lafayette Park to pose for a photo at a nearby church that had been damaged during the protests."

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