Putin’s Oil War With the West Comes at His Allies’ Expense

Russia’s use of energy as a weapon in its standoff with the West is redrawing the geopolitical map, but it could strain ties with allies like Iran and Venezuela.

#economic-conditions-and-trends, #embargoes-and-sanctions, #international-relations, #international-trade-and-world-market, #iran, #maduro-nicolas, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #pdvsa, #politics-and-government, #putin-vladimir-v, #russia, #russian-invasion-of-ukraine-2022, #ukraine, #venezuela

A Caravan of Migrants Is Heading Toward the U.S. Border

Some 6,000 migrants, many of them from Venezuela, set off from southern Mexico last week as leaders from across the Americas met in Los Angeles to discuss issues including migration.

#human-rights-and-human-rights-violations, #human-rights-watch, #illegal-immigration, #immigration-and-emigration, #mexico, #politics-and-government, #venezuela

Biden Has ‘Only Bad Options’ for Bringing Down Oil Prices

The president’s trip to Saudi Arabia is unlikely to reduce oil and gasoline prices, and it is not clear that anything else he might do would work, either.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #carter-jimmy, #embargoes-and-sanctions, #international-relations, #international-trade-and-world-market, #iran, #mohammed-bin-salman-1985, #natural-gas, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #politics-and-government, #presidents-and-presidency-us, #prices-fares-fees-and-rates, #russian-invasion-of-ukraine-2022, #saudi-arabia, #united-states-international-relations, #venezuela

A Decaying Art Gem Signifying Venezuela’s Divisions Could Now Help It Heal

Caracas’s Museum of Modern Art, a symbol of a westernized Venezuela, was dismantled by the Socialist governments. Its modest recovery offers hope to the troubled nation.

#art, #caracas-venezuela, #chavez-hugo, #maduro-nicolas, #museums, #venezuela

Madrid Rivals Miami as a Haven for Latin Americans and Their Money

Turmoil and a political swing to the left have brought an influx of prominent and affluent exiles from the region to the Spanish capital in recent years.

#citizenship-and-naturalization, #immigration-and-emigration, #ledezma-antonio, #madrid-spain, #real-estate-and-housing-residential, #venezuela

Vacations Abruptly End as Tourists Return to a Different Russia

While Russian tourists were visiting Margarita Island, their country invaded Ukraine. Many were left wondering what travails awaited them back at home.

#economic-conditions-and-trends, #latin-america, #russia, #russian-invasion-of-ukraine-2022, #travel-and-vacations, #venezuela

Venezuela Releases Imprisoned Americans After Talks With U.S.

The release of at least two Americans came after the Biden officials moved to thaw relations with Venezuela, long a steadfast Russian ally.

#citgo-petroleum-corp, #detainees, #maduro-nicolas, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #politics-and-government, #russian-invasion-of-ukraine-2022, #united-states-international-relations, #venezuela

Venezuela Could Be Fill-in for Russian Oil, But Critics Fear Aiding Maduro

U.S. officials are reportedly considering easing sanctions on Venezuelan crude as oil prices have skyrocketed.

#embargoes-and-sanctions, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #russia, #ukraine, #venezuela

A World Away From Ukraine, Russia Is Courting Latin America

The Ukraine crisis has revived a struggle over Latin America between the U.S. and Russia, as Vladimir V. Putin seeks greater influence in the region.

#argentina, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #bolsonaro-jair-1955, #brazil, #china, #colombia, #cuba, #defense-and-military-forces, #economic-conditions-and-trends, #fernandez-alberto-1959, #latin-america, #nicaragua, #north-atlantic-treaty-organization, #ortega-daniel, #politics-and-government, #putin-vladimir-v, #russia, #ukraine, #united-states-international-relations, #venezuela, #war-and-armed-conflicts

Behind Kazakhstan Unrest, the ‘Strongman’s Dilemma’

Since the Cold War’s end, most dictatorial governments have collapsed after their ruler’s departure.

#franco-francisco, #kazakhstan, #maduro-nicolas, #nazarbayev-nursultan-a, #politics-and-government, #russia, #venezuela

In Venezuela’s Flawed Vote, Maduro Shows One Way to Retain Power

European observers said the elections were neither free nor fair. They showed how President Nicolás Maduro’s government, however unpopular, can win by excluding and splitting opponents.

#elections, #maduro-nicolas, #venezuela

Venezuelan Opposition Risks an Election Challenge to Maduro

With little hope of a fair vote, opposition candidates take a desperate risk to gain any edge against Venezuela’s entrenched autocrat, Nicolás Maduro.

#chavez-hugo, #content-type-personal-profile, #economic-conditions-and-trends, #elections, #guaido-juan, #maduro-nicolas, #political-prisoners, #politics-and-government, #venezuela, #voting-and-voters

Professor Cited as Corruption Expert Is Sentenced for Money Laundering

A former University of Miami international studies professor used bank accounts in his name and the name of a company he created to launder about $2.5 million, prosecutors said.

#bagley-bruce, #colleges-and-universities, #latin-america, #money-laundering, #university-of-miami, #venezuela

Spanish Court Agrees to Extradite Former Venezuela Spy Chief to U.S.

Hugo Carvajal, once a prominent figure in the government of the Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro, faces drug-trafficking charges in the United States.

#carvajal-hugo, #drug-abuse-and-traffic, #extradition, #fugitives, #madrid-spain, #maduro-nicolas, #politics-and-government, #spain, #suits-and-litigation-civil, #united-states, #united-states-international-relations, #venezuela

U.S.-Venezuela Tensions Heat Up Again After Extradition of Maduro Ally

As Secretary of State Antony Blinken heads to the region, the window of opportunity for a political resolution has slammed shut. At least for now.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #blinken-antony-j, #embargoes-and-sanctions, #european-union, #maduro-nicolas, #politics-and-government, #saab-alex, #state-department, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government, #venezuela

U.S. Arrests Alex Saab, Deal Maker for Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela

Alex Saab, a Colombian businessman, is accused in the U.S. of siphoning millions from programs intended to help the needy in Venezuela.

#cape-verde, #corruption-institutional, #interpol-international-criminal-police-organization, #maduro-nicolas, #politics-and-government, #saab-alex, #united-states-international-relations, #venezuela

In Venezuela, a Rum Maker Offers Gangsters a Life Outside of Crime

In the process, the family running the company, Ron Santa Teresa, has gone from bankruptcy to exporting an award-winning vintage rum.

#bacardi-ltd, #chavez-hugo, #economic-conditions-and-trends, #gangs, #maduro-nicolas, #organized-crime, #politics-and-government, #ron-santa-teresa-usa, #rum, #venezuela, #vocational-training

Trump Campaign Knew Lawyers’ Dominion Claims Were Baseless, Memo Shows

Days before lawyers allied with Donald Trump gave a news conference promoting election conspiracy theories, his campaign had determined that many of those claims were false, court filings reveal.

#coomer-eric, #dominion-voting-systems-corp, #giuliani-rudolph-w, #libel-and-slander, #linda-v-parker, #powell-sidney, #presidential-election-of-2020, #republican-national-committee, #rumors-and-misinformation, #suits-and-litigation-civil, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government, #venezuela, #voter-fraud-election-fraud, #voting-machines

Spain Arrests Former Venezuela Spy Chief Accused of Drug Trafficking

Hugo Carvajal, the former intelligence chief, had been hiding in Madrid, the police said, trying to avoid extradition to the United States.

#carvajal-hugo, #drug-abuse-and-traffic, #economic-conditions-and-trends, #espionage-and-intelligence-services, #extradition, #fugitives, #guaido-juan, #international-relations, #maduro-nicolas, #politics-and-government, #spain, #venezuela

Even the Pope Has Prayed to Venezuela’s Beloved ‘Doctor of the Poor’

In a deeply polarized country, suffering an extreme health crisis, one of the few uniting beliefs is the admiration across the political spectrum for a doctor recently beatified by the Vatican.

#beatifications-and-canonizations, #caracas-venezuela, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #francis, #hernandez-jose-gregorio-1864-1919, #hospitals, #isnotu-venezuela, #medicine-and-health, #monuments-and-memorials-structures, #politics-and-government, #roman-catholic-church, #venezuela

Yana’s mental health tool for Spanish speakers nears 5 million users

Andrea Campos has struggled with depression since she was 8 years old. Over the years, she’s tried all sorts of therapies — from behavioral to pharmacotherapy.

In 2017, when Campos was in her early 20s, she learned to program and created a system to help manage her mental health. It started as a personal project but as she talked to more people, Campos realized that many others might benefit from the system as well.

So, she then built an application to provide access to mental health tools to Spanish-speaking people and began testing it with a small group of people. At first, Campos herself was her own chatbot, texting with users who were tired of dealing with depression.

“During the month, I was pretending I was an app, and would send these people a list of activities they had to complete during the day, such as writing in a gratitude journal, and then asking them how those activities made them feel,” Campos recalls.

Her thinking was that sometimes with depression and anxiety comes “a lot of avoidance,” where people resist potential treatment out of fear.

The results from her small experiment were encouraging. So, Campos set out to conduct a bigger sample of experiments, and raised about $10,000 via crowdfunding campaign. With that money, she hired a developer to build a chatbot for her app, which was mostly being used via Facebook Messenger.

Then an earthquake hit Mexico City and that developer lost everything — including his home and computer — and had to relocate.

“I was left with nothing,” Campos says. But that developer introduced her to another, who disappeared with his payment, and again, left Campos, “with nothing.”

“I realized at the beginning of 2019, I was going to have to do this by myself,” Campos said. So she used a site that she described as a “Wix for chatbots,” and created one herself.

After experimenting with the app with a sample of 700 people, Campos was even more encouraged and raised an angel round of funding for Yana, the startup behind her app. (Yana is an acronym for “You Are Not Alone.”) By early 2020, with just three months of runway left, she pivoted to create an app with chatbot integration that wasn’t just limited to use via Facebook Messenger.

Campos ended up launching the app more broadly during the same week that her city in Mexico went into quarantine.

Image Credits: Yana

At first, she said, she saw “normal, steady growth.” But then on Oct. 10, 2020, Apple’s App Store highlighted Yana for International Mental Health Day, and the response was overwhelming.

“It was also my birthday so I was at a spa in a nearby town, relaxing, when I started hearing my cell phone go crazy,” Campos recalls. “Everything went nuts. I had to go back to Mexico City because our servers were exploding since they were not used to having that kind of volume.”

As a result of that exposure, Yana went from having around 80,000 users to reaching 1 million users two weeks later. Soon after that, Google highlighted the app as one of best for personal growth in 2020, and that too led to another spike in users. Today, Yana is about to hit the 5 million-user mark and is also announcing it has raised $1.5 million in funding led by Mexico’s ALLVP, which has also invested in the likes of Cornershop, Flink and Nuvocargo.

When the pandemic hit last year, six of Yana’s 9-person team decided to quarantine together in a “startup house” in Cancun to focus on building the company. Earlier this year, the company had raised $315,000 from investors such as 500 Startups, Magma and Hustle Fund. The company had pitched ALLVP, who was intrigued but wanted to wait until it could write a bigger check. 

That time is now, and Yana is now among the top three downloaded apps in Mexico and 12 countries including Spain, Chile, Ecuador and Venezuela.

With its new capital, Yana is planning to “move away from the depression/anxiety narrative,” according to Campos.

“We want to compete in the wellness space,” she told TechCrunch. “A lot of people were looking for us to deal with crises such as a breakup or a loss but then they didn’t always see a necessity to keep using Yana for longer than the crisis lasted.”

Some of those people would download the app again months later when hit with another crisis.

“We don’t want to be that app anymore,” Campos said. “We want to focus on whole wellness and mental health and transmit something that needs to be built every single day, just like we do with exercise.”

Moving forward, Yana aims to help people with their mental health not just during a crisis but with activities they can do on a daily basis, including a gratitude journal, a mood tracker and meditation — “things that prevent depression and anxiety,” Campos said.

“We want to be a vitamin for our soul, and keeping people mentally healthy on an ongoing basis,” she said. “We also want to include a community inside our application.”

ALLVP’s Federico Antoni is enthusiastic about the startup’s potential. He first met Campos when she was participating in an accelerator program in 2017 and then again recently.

The firm led Yana’s latest round because it “wanted to be on her team.”

“She [Campos] has turned into an amazing leader, and we realized her potential and strength,” he said. “Plus, Yana is an amazing product. When you download it, it’s almost like you can see a soul in there.”

#allvp, #app-store, #apps, #chatbot, #chile, #computing, #ecuador, #facebook, #funding, #fundings-exits, #google, #health, #itunes, #mental-health, #messenger, #mexico, #mexico-city, #operating-systems, #recent-funding, #social-media, #software, #spain, #startup, #startups, #tc, #venezuela, #venture-capital

Colombian Rebel Commander ‘Jesús Santrich’ Said to Be Killed in Venezuela

The guerrilla leader, once a supporter of Colombia’s historic peace deal, then a strong opponent, had become a symbol of the country’s rocky path to peace.

#colombia, #hernandez-seusis-pausivas-jesus-santrich, #marin-arango-luciano-1955, #peace-process, #politics-and-government, #revolutionary-armed-forces-of-colombia, #venezuela

Jorge Velandia Is Venezuela’s First Assistant General Manager

The Phillies’ assistant general manager is the highest-ranked executive his country has produced. He doesn’t plan to stop at assistant.

#appointments-and-executive-changes, #baseball, #content-type-personal-profile, #dombrowski-dave, #fuld-sam, #hispanic-americans, #philadelphia-phillies, #velandia-jorge, #venezuela

Armed Groups Step Into Venezuela as Lawlessness Grows

With Venezuela in shambles, criminals and insurgents run large stretches of the nation’s territory. We traveled through one of the regions under their control.

#indigenous-people, #maduro-nicolas, #smuggling, #terrorism, #venezuela

Tiny Love Stories: ‘My First Spring Without Her’

Modern Love in miniature, featuring reader-submitted stories of no more than 100 words.

#colombia, #dating-and-relationships, #love-emotion, #mangoes, #manhattan-nyc, #modern-love-times-column, #pakistan, #venezuela

Girl’s Rape in Venezuela Becomes a Rallying Cry for Abortion Activists

The assault of a 13-year-old girl in Venezuela and the arrest of her mother and a teacher who helped her end the pregnancy have forced a national debate about legalizing abortion.

#abortion, #birth-control-and-family-planning, #child-abuse-and-neglect, #maduro-nicolas, #sex-crimes, #venezuela, #women-and-girls, #womens-rights

5,000 Flee as Venezuela Launches Largest Military Campaign in Decades

The Venezuelan government has long tolerated armed groups trafficking drugs and contraband near its border with Colombia. Now it has lashed out at one of them, driving thousands of civilians into flight.

#colombia, #defense-and-military-forces, #human-rights-and-human-rights-violations, #human-rights-watch, #ntn24-tv-network, #revolutionary-armed-forces-of-colombia, #venezuela

Biden Grants Protections for Venezuelans to Remain in U.S.

Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans can temporarily continue to live and work in the United States as the administration considers its next steps in the effort to force out Venezuela’s president.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #homeland-security-department, #immigration-and-emigration, #maduro-nicolas, #mayorkas-alejandro, #trump-donald-j, #united-nations, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government, #venezuela

Colombia Makes ‘Historic’ Decision to Grant Legal Status to 1.7 Million Venezuelan Migrants

President Iván Duque announced Monday that the Venezuelan migrants who fled an economic collapse at home can legally stay in Colombia for 10 years if they register with the authorities.

#colombia, #duque-ivan, #foreign-workers, #immigration-and-emigration, #labor-and-jobs, #politics-and-government, #venezuela

Mike Pompeo Leaves State Department With a Dubious Legacy

As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo looks to his political future, his turbulent tenure is characterized by investigations into his leadership and ethics.

#appointments-and-executive-changes, #china, #diplomatic-service-embassies-and-consulates, #embargoes-and-sanctions, #iran, #israel, #koch-charles-g, #north-atlantic-treaty-organization, #peace-process, #pompeo-mike, #presidential-transition-us, #state-department, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-defense-and-military-forces, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government, #venezuela

Navy Warship’s Secret Mission Off West Africa Aims to Help Punish Venezuela

The tale of the cruiser San Jacinto underscores the Trump administration’s animus toward Venezuela and how the postelection purge of top Pentagon leaders is roiling the military.

#abrams-elliott, #arreaza-jorge, #cape-verde, #defense-department, #embargoes-and-sanctions, #iran, #maduro-nicolas, #miller-christopher-c-1965, #money-laundering, #state-department, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-africa-command, #united-states-defense-and-military-forces, #united-states-navy, #venezuela

Treasure Washes Up on Venezuela’s Shore, Bringing Gold and Hope to a Village

Venezuela’s economic meltdown had pummeled a proud fishing village. Then jewelry started mysteriously surfacing on its beach, easing the pain of an economic crisis.

#coastal-areas, #fishing-commercial, #gold, #jewels-and-jewelry, #piracy-at-sea, #treasure-troves, #venezuela

How We Followed a 1,500-Mile Migration Journey

Over several months, a team of Times journalists tracked the progress of a pregnant mother displaced by the pandemic.

#bogota-colombia, #caracas-venezuela, #colombia, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #immigration-and-emigration, #politics-and-government, #venezuela

Venezuela to Vote in an Election the Opposition Calls a Charade

A victory by the party of President Nicolás Maduro is likely to further weaken Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader who launched a bold but ultimately failed bid backed by the U.S. to take power.

#datanalisis, #elections, #guaido-juan, #maduro-nicolas, #venezuela, #voter-fraud-election-fraud

Coronavirus Strands Millions of Migrants

Millions of people have been displaced by the pandemic. Jessika and her 6-year-old, Sebastián, are among the many who have yet to find a home.

#colombia, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #economic-conditions-and-trends, #immigration-and-emigration, #refugees-and-displaced-persons, #venezuela

Judge in Venezuela Convicts 6 U.S. Oil Executives of Corruption

The so-called Citgo 6, who had been lured to Venezuela three years ago for a business meeting, were immediately sentenced to prison.

#citgo-petroleum-corp, #decisions-and-verdicts, #houston-tex, #maduro-nicolas, #prisons-and-prisoners, #venezuela

Argentina, and Latin America, Mourn Maradona as a Man of the People

Known for siding with leftist leaders and causes, the soccer legend’s life, and his politics, never strayed far from his impoverished roots, and his fans loved him for it.

#argentina, #castro-fidel, #chavez-hugo, #da-silva-luiz-inacio-lula, #funerals-and-memorials, #latin-america, #maradona-diego, #politics-and-government, #soccer, #venezuela

Venezuela Raids Food Charity, Interrupting Meals for Children

The charity, Feed the Solidarity, often provides the only meals children receive each day. The government accuses it of subversion, with no evidence.

#biden-jill-tracy-jacobs, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #embargoes-and-sanctions, #feed-the-solidarity-charity, #food-aid, #humanitarian-aid, #international-relations, #maduro-nicolas, #nonprofit-organizations, #roman-catholic-church, #save-the-children, #united-nations, #venezuela

They Championed Venezuela’s Revolution. They Are Now Its Latest Victims.

In an effort to complete his consolidation of power, Nicolás Maduro is cracking down on the leftist activists who once supported him, but have begun to speak up against his administration’s corruption and cronyism.

#chavez-hugo, #demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #maduro-nicolas, #police-brutality-misconduct-and-shootings, #politics-and-government, #venezuela

Trump, Venezuela and the Tug-of-War Over a Strongman

How a yearslong battle over U.S.-Venezuela relations aided President Trump’s campaign in Florida — and left the Maduro regime standing.

#ballard-brian-d, #florida, #gorrin-raul, #guaido-juan, #maduro-nicolas, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #presidential-election-of-2020, #sargeant-harry-iii, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-international-relations, #venezuela

U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Iran’s Oil Sector

The Trump administration is trying to fortify its campaign of maximum pressure against Iran from being reversed by a potential Biden administration.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #embargoes-and-sanctions, #iran, #islamic-revolutionary-guards-corps, #mnuchin-steven-t, #nuclear-weapons, #office-of-foreign-assets-control-united-states-treasury, #presidential-election-of-2020, #treasury-department, #trump-donald-j, #united-nations, #united-states-international-relations, #venezuela

Venezuela Opposition Figure, Long Confined, Flees Country

Leopoldo López had spent the past six years in jail, house arrest and diplomatic asylum. He fled on Saturday to an undisclosed location, his party said.

#lopez-leopoldo, #maduro-nicolas, #politics-and-government, #venezuela

Grenell Pursued Talks Over Change of Power in Venezuela

A close ally of President Trump quietly met with an associate of President Nicolás Maduro, whom the United States does not recognize as the leader of Venezuela.

#economic-conditions-and-trends, #grenell-richard, #guaido-juan, #maduro-nicolas, #presidential-election-of-2020, #state-department, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government, #venezuela

Richard Grenell Pursued Talks of Maduro, Power Change in Venezuela

A close ally of President Trump quietly met with an associate of President Nicolás Maduro, whom the United States does not recognize as the leader of Venezuela.

#economic-conditions-and-trends, #grenell-richard, #guaido-juan, #maduro-nicolas, #presidential-election-of-2020, #state-department, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government, #venezuela

False Political News in Spanish Pits Latino Voters Against Black Lives Matter

On family WhatsApp groups and in Spanish-language media, misinformation paints 2020 as a zero-sum game.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #black-lives-matter-movement, #black-people, #colombia, #computers-and-the-internet, #conspiracy-theories, #florida, #fringe-groups-and-movements, #hispanic-americans, #instant-messaging, #miami-fla, #presidential-election-of-2020, #race-and-ethnicity, #radio, #right-wing-extremism-and-alt-right, #rumors-and-misinformation, #social-media, #spanish-language, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government, #venezuela, #whatsapp-inc

Grid AI raises $18.6M Series A to help AI researchers and engineers bring their models to production

Grid AI, a startup founded by the inventor of the popular open-source PyTorch Lightning project, William Falcon, that aims to help machine learning engineers more efficiently, today announced that it has raised an $18.6 million Series A funding round, which closed earlier this summer. The round was led by Index Ventures, with participation from Bain Capital Ventures and firstminute. 

Falcon co-founded the company with Luis Capelo, who was previously the head of machine learning at Glossier. Unsurprisingly, the idea here is to take PyTorch Lightning, which launched about a year ago, and turn that into the core of Grid’s service. The main idea behind Lightning is to decouple the data science from the engineering.

The time argues that a few years ago, when data scientists tried to get started with deep learning, they didn’t always have the right expertise and it was hard for them to get everything right.

“Now the industry has an unhealthy aversion to deep learning because of this,” Falcon noted. “Lightning and Grid embed all those tricks into the workflow so you no longer need to be a PhD in AI nor [have] the resources of the major AI companies to get these things to work. This makes the opportunity cost of putting a simple model against a sophisticated neural network a few hours’ worth of effort instead of the months it used to take. When you use Lightning and Grid it’s hard to make mistakes. It’s like if you take a bad photo with your phone but we are the phone and make that photo look super professional AND teach you how to get there on your own.”

As Falcon noted, Grid is meant to help data scientists and other ML professionals “scale to match the workloads required for enterprise use cases.” Lightning itself can get them partially there, but Grid is meant to provide all of the services its users need to scale up their models to solve real-world problems.

What exactly that looks like isn’t quite clear yet, though. “Imagine you can find any GitHub repository out there. You get a local copy on your laptop and without making any code changes you spin up 400 GPUs on AWS — all from your laptop using either a web app or command-line-interface. That’s the Lightning “magic” applied to training and building models at scale,” Falcon said. “It is what we are already known for and has proven to be such a successful paradigm shift that all the other frameworks like Keras or TensorFlow, and companies have taken notice and have started to modify what they do to try to match what we do.”

The service is now in private beta.

With this new funding, Grid, which currently has 25 employees, plans to expand its team and strengthen its corporate offering via both Grid AI and through the open-source project. Falcon tells me that he aims to build a diverse team, not in the least because he himself is an immigrant, born in Venezuela, and a U.S. military veteran.

“I have first-hand knowledge of the extent that unethical AI can have,” he said. “As a result, we have approached hiring our current 25 employees across many backgrounds and experiences. We might be the first AI company that is not all the same Silicon Valley prototype tech-bro.”

“Lightning’s open-source traction piqued my interest when I first learned about it a year ago,” Index Ventures’ Sarah Cannon told me. “So intrigued in fact I remember rushing into a closet in Helsinki while at a conference to have the privacy needed to hear exactly what Will and Luis had built. I promptly called my colleague Bryan Offutt who met Will and Luis in SF and was impressed by the ‘elegance’ of their code. We swiftly decided to participate in their seed round, days later. We feel very privileged to be part of Grid’s journey. After investing in seed, we spent a significant amount with the team, and the more time we spent with them the more conviction we developed. Less than a year later and pre-launch, we knew we wanted to lead their Series A.”

#artificial-intelligence, #bain-capital-ventures, #cloud, #deep-learning, #developer, #enterprise, #free-software, #github, #grid-ai, #helsinki, #index-ventures, #machine-learning, #ml, #neural-network, #pytorch, #recent-funding, #sarah-cannon, #startups, #tc, #torch, #united-states, #venezuela, #web-app, #william-falcon

Venezuela Ordered Killings and Torture of Critics, U.N. Investigators Say

President Nicolás Maduro and other high-ranking officials were accused of being behind the detention of government critics and assaults by state security services.

#defense-and-military-forces, #demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #espionage-and-intelligence-services, #human-rights-and-human-rights-violations, #maduro-nicolas, #political-prisoners, #politics-and-government, #torture, #united-nations-human-rights-council, #venezuela, #war-crimes-genocide-and-crimes-against-humanity

At U.S.A.I.D., Juggling Political Priorities and Pandemic Response

Aggressive oversight of the aid agency by political appointees at the White House and the State Department has delayed humanitarian aid when the world needs it most.

#appointments-and-executive-changes, #barsa-john, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #disasters-and-emergencies, #federal-budget-us, #human-rights-and-human-rights-violations, #humanitarian-aid, #russia, #state-department, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-agency-for-international-development, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government, #venezuela, #ventilators-medical, #xinjiang-china

The Doctor Tackling a Coronavirus Mystery in Children

Alberto Paniz-Mondolfi treated some of the world’s most horrendous infectious diseases before fleeing Venezuela. Now that experience is helping him untangle MIS-C.

#black-people, #centers-for-disease-control-and-prevention, #children-and-childhood, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-risks-and-safety-concerns, #dengue-fever, #genetics-and-heredity, #hispanic-americans, #kawasaki-disease, #parasites, #parenting, #pediatric-inflammatory-multisystem-syndrome-pims, #race-and-ethnicity, #venezuela

Venezuela’s Opposition Splits Over Taking Part in Coming Elections

Sanctions and boycotts have failed to bring down president Nicolás Maduro. Now some opposition leaders are ready to shift strategy and take him on at the ballot box, despite concerns about the vote’s fairness.

#capriles-radonski-henrique, #datanalisis, #elections, #european-union, #guaido-juan, #international-relations, #maduro-nicolas, #venezuela, #voter-fraud-election-fraud