15:30 World
Pope Francis to visit Mongolia

Pope Francis will make an Aug. 31-Sept. 4 trip to Mongolia, one of the most far-flung places he has ever visited and which has only about 1,300 Catholics but is strategically significant for the Roman Catholic Church because of its proximity to China, Reuters reports.

The Vatican announced the trip in a brief statement on Saturday, saying it was being made at the invitation of the country's president and Catholic leaders. Details would be announced in the next few weeks, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said.

Last August, Francis named Archbishop Giorgio Marengo, an Italian, the first cardinal to be based in Mongolia, where he is the Catholic Church's administrator.

Marengo was in Rome last month and met with the pope to discuss the trip.

Francis first spoke of the possibility of going to Mongolia in a conversation with reporters aboard the papal plane returning from a trip to Africa in February.

According to Fides, the news agency of the Vatican's missionary activities, there are about 1,300 baptized Catholics in Mongolia among a population of about 3.3 million people.

According to the U.S. State Department, about 60% of the population identifies as religious while the remainder has no religious identity.

Among those who express a religious identity, 87.1% identify as Buddhist, 5.4% as Muslim, 4.2% as Shamanist, 2.2% as Christian, and 1.1% as followers of other religions.

Although the number of Catholics in Mongolia is smaller that most individual parish churches in many countries, the country is significant for the Vatican.

It has a long border and close ties with China, where the Vatican is trying to improve the situation of Catholics in the communist country.

12:00 World
Sergio Ramos to leave PSG at end of season

Defender Sergio Ramos will leave French champions Paris St-Germain at the end of their Ligue 1 season on Saturday, BBC Sport reports.

Ramos becomes the second high-profile exit announced this week, with Lionel Messi's departure also confirmed.

"Tomorrow is a special day, tomorrow I say goodbye to another stage of my life, goodbye to PSG," said Spanish great Ramos on Twitter on Friday.

The 37-year-old made 57 appearances for PSG and won two French titles after joining them from Real Madrid in 2021.

PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said: "Sergio's leadership, team spirit and professionalism, combined with his experience at the highest level, make him a true football legend, and it was an honour to have him in Paris."

Ramos, who has won the World Cup and two European Championships, remains Spain's most-capped player.

A trophy-laden career at Real also included five La Liga titles and four Champions League winners medals.

And his know-how, alongside serial winner Messi, who joined PSG in the same summer, was seen as essential to helping PSG finally land the Champions League.

However, his first season in the French capital was plagued by injury and although he has contributed more significantly this term, he was unable to prevent the Parisians from being knocked out of European football's elite club competition in the last 16 for the second consecutive season.

17:00 Armenia
Temperatures to drop in Armenia next week

Showers and thunderstorms will persist in Armenia in the next few days.

Hail is possible in some parts of the country, the weather service says.

Strong winds of 15-20 m/s are forecast during thunderstorms.

Temperatures are set to gradually rise by 1-2C on June 2-3 to drop by 4-6C next week.

Showers and thunderstorms are expected in the capital Yerevan on Sunday and next week.

11:33 World
US military drone controlled by AI 'kills' its operator

In a virtual test staged by the US military, an air force drone controlled by AI decided to “kill” its operator to prevent it from interfering with its efforts to achieve its mission, an official said last month.

AI used “highly unexpected strategies to achieve its goal” in the simulated test, said Col Tucker ‘Cinco’ Hamilton, the chief of AI test and operations with the US air force, during the Future Combat Air and Space Capabilities Summit in London in May, the Guardian reported.

Hamilton described a simulated test in which a drone powered by artificial intelligence was advised to destroy an enemy’s air defense systems, and ultimately attacked anyone who interfered with that order.

“The system started realising that while they did identify the threat, at times the human operator would tell it not to kill that threat, but it got its points by killing that threat. So what did it do? It killed the operator. It killed the operator because that person was keeping it from accomplishing its objective,” he said, according to a blogpost.

“We trained the system – ‘Hey don’t kill the operator – that’s bad. You’re gonna lose points if you do that’. So what does it start doing? It starts destroying the communication tower that the operator uses to communicate with the drone to stop it from killing the target.”

No real person was harmed.

Hamilton, who is an experimental fighter test pilot, has warned against relying too much on AI and said the test shows “you can’t have a conversation about artificial intelligence, intelligence, machine learning, autonomy if you’re not going to talk about ethics and AI”.

The US military has embraced AI and recently used artificial intelligence to control an F-16 fighter jet.

16:45 Armenia
Temperatures to rise in Armenia

Showers and thunderstorms will prevail over some parts of Armenia in the next few days.

Hail is possible in some regions, the weather service says.

Strong winds of 15-20 m/s are forecast during thunderstorms.

Temperatures are set to gradually rise by 2-4C on June 1-3.

Showers and thunderstorms are possible in the capital Yerevan from June 1-5.

12:15 Region
NATO chief to visit Turkey to push Sweden membership

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday said he would visit Ankara "in the near future" to push the ratification of Sweden's membership, after the re-election of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, AFP reported.

"I'm confident of course that Sweden will be a member, and then we're working for that to happen as early as possible," Stoltenberg said at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Oslo.

Stoltenberg said he had already spoken to Erdogan by phone earlier this week to "highlight the importance of making progress" on Sweden's membership.

Turkey and Hungary are the only NATO countries that have yet to ratify Sweden's membership bid.

Finland formally joined the alliance in April.

Erdogan, who was re-elected Sunday for another five-year term as Turkey's president, has accused Sweden of being a haven for "terrorists", especially members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said Stockholm had fulfilled "all the commitments" to join NATO and urged Turkey and Hungary to allow his country into the alliance.

"It is time for Turkey and Hungary to start the ratification of the Swedish membership to NATO," he said.

"This was never a sprint, it's a marathon, and we now see the end of it."

Billstrom pointed to the entry into force on Thursday of new terror legislation in Sweden as the last step under an accord signed with Turkey last year.

Billstrom said he hoped to see a big step made towards membership at a meeting with representatives of Turkey in the coming weeks.

"Following that meeting, the ratification will happen," Billstrom insisted.

17:00 World
Al Pacino, 83, expecting his fourth child with girlfriend

Al Pacino is expecting his fourth child with girlfriend Noor Alfallah, The Independent reports.

The 83-year-old Scarface star and Alfallah, 29, were publicly seen together as they were grabbing dinner in April 2022.

According to a Page Six report from last year, the couple had been quietly dating ever since the pandemic.

According to TMZ, Alfallah is reportedly one month away from giving birth.

Earlier this year, Robert De Niro also revealed the news of the birth of his 7th child.

Pacino shares a daughter, Julie Marie, 33, with his ex-girlfriend Jan Tarrant. He also has 22-year-old twins Anton and Olivia with Beverly D’Angelo.

Pacino’s documentary, Al Pacino, le Bronx et la fureur, was released in 2022. It was directed by Jean-Baptiste Péretié and features Steven Bauer, Marlon Brando, John Cazale and Francis Ford Coppola among others.

13:36 Region
Ukrainian parliament approves sanctions on Iran for 50 years

The Ukrainian parliament on Monday endorsed a decision of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) to impose sanctions on Iran for 50 years, lawmaker Oleksii Honcharenko said on Telegram.

The sanction bill, which was submitted to parliament by President Volodymyr Zelensky, was supported by 328 votes in favor, with the required minimum of 226, Xinhua reported.

On May 27, the NSDC approved a decision, envisaging the introduction of restrictive measures against Iran, which include a complete ban on trade with military equipment and dual-use goods and services.

The sanctions also include the suspension of transit of resources, flights and transportation in Ukraine by Iranian residents.

The prohibition of performing some economic and financial obligations in favor of Iranian residents and a ban on the transfer of technologies to Iranian residents are also on the sanction list.

Earlier this month, Zelensky said Iran was supplying combat drones to Russia, which are used in attacks against Ukraine.

17:00 World
WhatsApp to introduce new screen-sharing feature for video calls

WhatsApp is set to introduce a new feature that will enable users to easily share their screen during video calls. The feature will be accessible to users who install the Android update, Hindustan Times reports, citing WABetaInfo.

The website known for tracking WhatsApp developments said that the feature was designed to enhance the overall user experience during video calls.

The messaging platform owned by Meta, recently introduced the feature of “editing sent messages”. The update is currently being rolled out globally and is expected to be available to all users in the coming weeks.

After updating the app, users will notice a new icon in the call control view during a video call. Once the user chooses to share their screen, everything visible on their device's display will be recorded and shared with the recipient. At any point, the user has the ability to halt the screen sharing process, despite the ongoing transmission of screen content during the video call. Moreover, this feature will only be activated with the user's consent to share the content of their screen.

The newly introduced screen sharing feature may not be supported on older versions of the Android operating system and might not function in large group calls. In situations where a recipient is using an outdated version of WhatsApp, they will be unable to receive the shared content even if the other user initiates screen sharing.

16:45 Armenia
Showers to continue in Armenia

Showers and thunderstorms will persist in Armenia over the next few days.

Hail is possible in some parts of the country, the weather service says.

Strong winds of 15-20 m/s are forecast during thunderstorms.

No shifts in temperatures are likely.

Showers and thunderstorms are expected in the capital Yerevan on Monday, overnight Tuesday and Wednesday.

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