JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s Mossad is launching an investment fund for start-ups developing “groundbreaking” technologies that could be used by the spy agency.
The fund, named Libertad, will invest in companies innovating “cutting-edge technology,” such as robotics, energy harvesting, encryption, personality profiling and text analysis. A promotional video published by the Mossad shows an agent employing a face-recognition contact lens to identify her targets.
Libertad’s website says that it offers up to $568,000 “in equity-free capital for R&D of relevant, viable and groundbreaking projects.”
Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office says in a statement announcing the fund’s creation that in exchange for funding start-ups, “the Mossad will receive a license to use the technology developed, without imposing any restrictions on the IP developed, and without paying royalties.”
MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) — Facebook is reaching another milestone, announcing that it now has more than 2 billion users.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg says the new marker was reached early Tuesday and in a Facebook post said that he’s proud of the role his company is playing in connecting people around the world.
Facebook says more than 175 million people declare they “love” something on the site daily and an average of more than 800 million people hit Facebook’s like button.
Facebook users will likely see a personalized video celebrating the milestone in the next few days.
The Menlo Park, California, company is putting more emphasis on creating virtual communities within the site while it also works to reduce violent, hateful and misleading content on the service.
NEW YORK (AP) — Russell Westbrook has earned kudos from Michael Jordan and Taylor Swift after being honored with his first league MVP trophy at the NBA Awards show.
A letter signed by Jordan and posted in an Instagram story on his Nike brand’s account reads: “Congrats Russell, I got my first MVP award before my first ring, too … keep going!” Westbrook is endorsed by the Jordan Brand.
The Oklahoma City Thunder also shared a video tribute to Westbrook from Swift. The singer joked that she was the one who taught Westbrook basketball and that Westbrook gave her the idea for her hit song “Shake It Off.” She later acknowledged that the pair had never met.
WATERTOWN, Wis. (AP) — A bride and groom in Wisconsin got some surprise entertainment over the weekend when country music trio Rascal Flatts stopped by their wedding reception.
Video posted to Facebook shows the group at the Sugar Island Barn in Watertown on Saturday. The band performed their hit, “Bless the Broken Road” for newlyweds Sara and Brandon McInnis’ first song.
Sara tells WTMJ-TV (http://bit.ly/2rXl5Ok) they had planned on the DJ playing the song. Instead, a family friend had secretly asked the band to play it in person on their way to a country music festival in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
The band agreed, but the performance was kept a secret from the couple.
Lead singer Gary LeVox mentions in the video that the group was in the neighborhood and thought they’d stop by.
MONSEY, N.Y. (AP) — Authorities in New York say four pedestrians, including an infant in a stroller and a child, were injured when they were struck by a car while walking along the shoulder of a road in a busy shopping area.
Ramapo (RAM’-uh-poh) police tell The Journal News (http://lohud.us/2sK6M2C ) that the pedestrians were hit by a car Monday afternoon.
Police did not give the conditions of the four victims, which also included an adult.
Video of the accident scene shows a stroller lying on its side and a car with a smashed windshield.
Police say there have been no arrests.
The crash remains under investigation.
Information from: The Journal News, http://www.lohud.com
WASHINGTON (AP) — So much for handshakes. President Donald Trump found out Monday that India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a hugger.
Modi swooped in for two big bear hugs with the U.S. president during their joint statements in the Rose Garden, wrapping his arms around Trump’s midsection and ending their first embrace with a lingering handshake that stretched the president’s arm between their two lecterns.
After wrapping up his own remarks, the much shorter Modi hugged Trump a second time, placing his head close to the president’s shoulder in video that quickly spread around social media.
Modi offered yet another embrace as he departed the White House. After shaking Trump’s hand, Modi went in for a third and final public hug — resting his head first near Trump’s left shoulder, then near his right. Trump welcomed the parting gesture, patting Modi kindly on the back.
Trump welcomed Modi to the White House for their first in-person meeting and both sought to convey warm relations between the two global powers. The president said he had lived up to his campaign promise to give India “a true friend in the White House” and announced that daughter Ivanka Trump had accepted an invitation to visit India this fall.
For his part, Modi cited Trump’s “vast and successful experience in the business world” and even gave a shout-out to Trump’s campaign mantra of “making America great again” in his statement.
Trump is a self-admitted germaphobe who preferred tossing his trademark red baseball caps into crowds at campaign rallies over shaking numerous hands along the rope line. But he has been willing to express America’s special relationship with a select few.
When he welcomed British Prime Minister Theresa May to the White House in late January, Trump ignited a tabloid frenzy in Great Britain when the two leaders held hands as they walked along the White House colonnade. Britain’s Daily Express proclaimed, “Hand in Hand United We Stand.”
And when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s sedan pulled into the West Wing in February, Trump greeted Abe with a hug, a display of public affection rarely seen among leaders in Japan. Later, in the Oval Office, Trump sent social media abuzz when his handshake with Abe lasted a full 19 seconds.
“I shook hands but I grabbed him and hugged him because that’s the way we feel,” Trump said at a joint news conference, describing the Abe embrace. “We have a very, very good bond, very, very good chemistry.”
Trump treated Modi to cocktails and dinner at the White House on Monday night after their meeting and shared a laugh when he pointed to their social media dominance. Trump’s @realdonaldtrump Twitter handle has 32.8 million followers, while Modi’s Twitter game draws more than 31 million followers.
Trump playfully said he was “proud to announce” that “Prime Minister Modi and I are world leaders in social media — we’re believers — giving the citizens of our countries the opportunity to hear directly from their elected officials, and for us to hear directly from them.”
“I guess it’s worked very well in both cases,” Trump said.
On Twitter follow Ken Thomas at https://twitter.com/KThomasDC