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Former Google AI engineer charged with stealing trade secrets for.JPGw1440

Former Google AI engineer charged with stealing trade secrets for Chinese company

The Justice Department announced Wednesday the arrest of a former Google AI engineer who accused him of stealing information about the company's advanced technologies while planning to start his own company in China.

Leon Ding, or Linwei Ding, a 38-year-old Chinese national, was arrested in Newark, California and charged with four counts of theft of trade secrets.

Justice Department officials called the case a signal that the U.S. government will remain vigilant against attempts to illegally transfer advanced U.S. technologies to China amid a Cold War-style technological arms race between Washington and Beijing.

“The Department of Justice will not tolerate the theft of artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies that could threaten our national security,” U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.

If convicted, Ding faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million.

According to an indictment filed Tuesday in federal court in San Francisco, Ding was hired by Google in 2019 as a software engineer and worked on the company's supercomputing data centers. He worked to develop software that helped run machine learning and AI applications for Google customers, the indictment says.

Prosecutors said Ding began uploading sensitive Google information to a personal Google Cloud account in May 2022 and uploaded more than 500 files by May 2023.

The trade secret theft numbers involve chip architecture and software design specifications for “tensor processing units” and “graphics processing units,” chips that are the building blocks of supercomputing centers.

While still at Google, Ding became chief technology officer of a China-based AI company, Beijing Rongshu Lianzhi Technology, and founded a second China-based company, Shanghai Zhisuan Technology, without informing Google, the indictment says.

The FBI searched Ding's home on January 6 and seized his electronic devices and other evidence.

“Today's announcement should serve as a further warning: Those who transfer sensitive U.S. technology to China risk ending up on the wrong end of criminal charges,” Assistant Secretary Matthew Axelrod of the Commerce Department's Office for Export Enforcement said in a statement.

The Justice Department said the investigation into Ding was conducted by the Justice and Commerce Department's Disruptive Technology Strike Force, a year-old group aimed at protecting U.S. technologies from acquisition by “authoritarian regimes and hostile nation-states.”

Both the U.S. and Chinese governments view artificial intelligence as a strategic new technology with great potential to increase economic performance in the civilian sector while providing key capabilities for the military and intelligence agencies. President Biden issued an AI executive order last year aimed at keeping the United States ahead of countries like China in AI development.

Ding, Beijing Rongshu Lianzhi Technology and Shanghai Zhisuan Technology could not immediately be reached for comment.

Google spokesman José Castañeda said the company had referred the case to federal officials. “We have strict security measures in place to prevent theft of our confidential business information and trade secrets. After an investigation, we discovered that this employee had stolen numerous documents and immediately referred the case to law enforcement,” he said.

Gerrit De Vynck contributed to this report.

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1709774501 2 jobs to live exhausted young farmers

2 jobs to live: exhausted young farmers

Almost half of young farmers have no choice but to work almost full-time off-farm to make ends meet, but are penalized by the Financière agricole du Québec for this second job.

“We do it not because we want to, but because we have no choice,” emphasizes Anouk Caron, 28, an agronomist and owner of a bison farm in Saint-Herménégilde in the Eastern Townships.

In addition to her position as a full-time crop consultant, she dedicates about twenty hours a week to the farm, which she started last July on land leased from her parents.

“I work 7 days a week. This is the sacrifice I had to make to start my business, which is not making a profit at the moment. But I still have to find a place to stay, eat and pay for my cart,” the farmer remembers.

Anouk Caron and her partner

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Anouk Caron and her partner

According to a recent survey by the Union of Agricultural Producers (UPA), Anouk Caron is among the 44% of young people under 40 – defined as the next generation of farmers – who need to have a second job outside of their farm.

They work there an average of 30 hours a week, in addition to dozens of others on the farm.

“It becomes an overload. A farm is everyday, it is a way of life. And what scares me is that the 44% increases every year,” admits the president of the Federation of Young Agricultural Workers of Quebec (FRAQ), Julie Bissonnette.

Subsidies halved

The situation also worries the president of the Union of Agricultural Producers (UPA), Martin Caron, who notes that he is “fed up,” which could quickly turn into “angry” if nothing changes.

Like FRAQ, he denounces the “injustice” of the Quebec government's financial support program for young farmers, which aims to help young people start or take over a business.

The President of the Union of Agricultural Producers (UPA), Martin Caron

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The President of the Union of Agricultural Producers (UPA), Martin Caron

The amounts, considered insignificant, allocated to young farmers range from $20,000 to $50,000, depending on the level of education. However, if a person works more than 21 hours a week off the farm, the allowance is halved.

“It tends to discourage young people from starting a business,” complains Mr. Caron. La Financière agricole du Québec [qui relève du gouvernement] considers them to be working part-time in agriculture, even if they can prove that they work on the farm full-time. There is nothing to understand. They have no choice to take a second job, but they will be punished.”

“And it’s no longer just the next generation that has to work outside the farm,” he assures.

According to Statistics Canada, in 2015, 36% of all agricultural producers in Quebec had outside income. In 2020 it was 46%.

An outdated program

Due to climate change, pesticide regulations, animal welfare facilities, inflation, and rising interest rates and farmland prices, the cost of operating farms has skyrocketed.

“I have the impression that the financing is not adapted to the new realities,” regrets the 34-year-old vegetable gardener and flower grower Julia Janson, who founded Les Jardins de la Renarde in 2022. She rents property in Bedford in Estrie.

Gardener and flower grower Julia Janson.

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Gardener and flower grower Julia Janson.

In addition to the thirty hours she dedicates to her floriculture business, she works in the summer as a horticultural agent for the City of Montreal. She is also an author of horticulture articles and teaches secondary school horticulture courses.

“I’ve never been so burned in my life,” she admits. But I don’t just support myself from my income as a flower grower.”

Julia Janson has been renting properties in Bedford, Estrie since 2022.

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Julia Janson has been renting properties in Bedford, Estrie since 2022.

The Financière agricole du Québec says it has provided nearly $61 million in financing to young farmers over the past five years, but did not respond to questions from 24 Hours about the problems raised by young farmers.

Will the next generation of farmers survive?

The stakeholders 24 Hours spoke to fear for the survival of the next generation.

First, net agricultural income fell from $959 million in 2022 to just over $487 million last year (-49%). According to UPA forecasts, it could even fall to $66 million (-87%) in 2024. This hasn't happened in 86 years.

• Also read: 'It's the beginning of anger': Quebec producers' net agricultural income would fall by more than 86.5% this year

Then the proportion of young farmers has been in free fall for 30 years. While in 1991 those under 35 made up 25% of all operators, in 2021 it was less than 9%, according to Statistics Canada.

“It is an enormous pressure on quality of life and mental health,” argues FRAQ President Julie Bissonnette. Our profession is not valued. Young people are increasingly asking themselves why they farm.”

Conversely, the number of producers aged 55 and older has skyrocketed since 1991, rising from 22% to 53% in 2021.

“We call them gentlemen farmers,” emphasizes bison breeder Anouk Caron.

“These are people who are semi-retired or retired, who already have financial means and are entering agriculture at a later age. They do it as a hobby. The potential is much lower and the business is unlikely to continue,” she explains.

Anouk Caron opened her bison farm in Saint-Herménégilde in the Eastern Townships last July.

Free photo

Anouk Caron opened her bison farm in Saint-Herménégilde in the Eastern Townships last July.

The situation could threaten the province's food autonomy plan and even the vitality of several villages, according to producers.

“In the coming years, many people will retire from agriculture, but there are still many small communities in Quebec that make a living from agriculture,” recalls Martin Caron.. For every dollar of agricultural production in a region, 71 cents are left over. These villages are at risk of becoming devitalized.”

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TSA unveils self check lanes for passengers at Vegas airport as.com2Fb22Fea2Fc0ad740c0835636a0b1513fb0bf92F29dfb0d4332f4c1c83bde4b2853e4dcd

TSA unveils self-check lanes for passengers at Vegas airport as “a step into the future.”

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Federal airport security officials unveiled passenger self-screening lanes at busy Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas on Wednesday and plan to test them for use in other cities across the country.

“How do we move into the future? This is a step,” said system designer Dimitri Kuznetsov, undersecretary for science and technology at the US Department of Homeland Security. “The interface with people makes the difference.”

The Transportation Security Administration checkpoint — initially only in Las Vegas, only for TSA PreCheck customers and only in English — has a screen with do-it-yourself instructions telling people how to get themselves and their carry-on luggage smoothly can pass through the pre-inspection. Flight screening with little or no help from uniformed TSA officers.

“We want to avoid having to pat down passengers,” said John Fortune, program manager of the Department of Homeland Security’s Screening at Speed ​​program and developer of the prototype along with Kuznetsov.

Instead of a boxy, belt-driven machine with a stack of gray trays, the futuristic-looking baggage and personal items inspection system looks like a scaled-down spaceship medical magnetic resonance imaging machine. It uses automatic tray return that disinfects trays between users with germicidal ultraviolet light.

Travelers enter a separate body-scanning booth made of clear glass with a video display inside showing how they should behave when captured using the type of “millimeter wave technology” that officials say is already in use across the country. One reporter found it sensitive enough to identify a forgotten tissue in a bag. He didn't have to take off his shoes.

“Really, one of the main goals here is to allow individuals to move through the system without necessarily having to interact directly with an officer, and to do so at their own pace,” said Christina Peach, a TSA administrator who spoke on System design was involved. “It’s also about not feeling rushed.”

Nationwide, nearly all passengers who pay to enroll in the TSA PreCheck program go through screening in 10 minutes or less, said agency spokesman R. Carter Langston, while normal screening of travelers and carry-on bags takes about 30 minutes.

Peach said eight uniformed TSA officers may be needed to staff two lanes of the new system, compared to 12 officers in the lanes today.

However, Kuznetsov and Karen Burke, TSA's federal security director in Nevada, said agents, including union members, would only be exempted from the hands-on screening to focus more on broader security concerns.

“No one is going to lose their job,” Burke said.

Fortune declined to estimate the cost of developing the system, but said the types of scanners used were similar to those already in use across the country.

Officials said they would measure how quickly travelers move through the prototype during reviews this year.

The testing will be conducted at a first-of-its-kind “innovation checkpoint” in the country that TSA opened in 2019 in a sprawling international arrivals terminal that opened in 2012 at Harry Reid Airport. It already has control lanes with notices and estimated waiting times.

“This technology change is intended for people who want to get through a checkpoint quicker,” said Keith Jeffries, a former TSA director at Los Angeles International Airport and now vice president of K2 Security Screening Group, a company that installs screening systems at shipping ports including airports. “It will be a big step, but I expect it will benefit the experienced passengers.”

In an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, Jeffries compared the new system to self-checkout lanes introduced in the 1980s that are now common in supermarkets across the country. He recalled that some shoppers initially avoided scanning their own purchases.

“It will take time to educate the public,” he said of the TSA screening trails. “There will be a new generation of travelers who just want to get through with as little hassle and delay as possible. I think eventually we’ll see more and more of it.”

Harry Reid International Airport was the seventh busiest passenger airport in the United States in 2022, ranked behind New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport by Airports Council International. In 2023, Las Vegas Airport handled a new record of 57.6 million arriving and departing passengers.

The Transportation Security Administration reported its busiest day ever at the airport last month, screening nearly 104,000 travelers and their luggage en route to airlines on Feb. 12, a day after the NFL Super Bowl was played at Allegiant Stadium.


Associated Press writer Rebecca Santana in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.

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Keeping the key interest rate at 5 all year round

Keeping the key interest rate at 5% all year round: “That would have unreasonably negative consequences”

The inflation rate could return to the 2 percent target by the end of the year, at least that is what parliamentary budget officer Yves Giroux predicts in his latest report.

• Also read: Key interest rate, what to expect? “We will see Bank of Canada cuts in 2024”

• Also read: Canada: GDP growth of 1% in Q4 2023, better than expected

• Also read: Rising interest rates: The home ownership project is on hold for many Canadians

The parliamentary budget dictator also assumes that there will soon be an initial reduction in the key interest rate.

If the inflation target is maintained, there could be a first decline in April, Mr Giroux suggests in his report.

With supply currently catching up with demand across Canada and price pressures easing, the key interest rate could fall from the current 5% to 3.5% by the end of the year.

Deficit higher than expected

The Canadian Central Bank's monetary policy has dealt a serious blow to the country's economy. Mr Giroux's report actually forecasts GDP growth of less than 1% this year; Maintaining high interest rates for an extended period of time could have damaging consequences for the Canadian economy.

“It would start to hurt if, for example, the bank decided to keep the interest rate at 5% throughout 2024; “This could lead to an economic slowdown that is even more pronounced than what we are currently experiencing and than what we forecast for the rest of 2024,” Mr. Giroux explained in an interview.

“This would have unduly negative consequences for economic growth in Canada and the economic situation in general,” he added.

The parliamentary budget officer is also forecasting a higher deficit than expected.

Taking current measures into account, he expects a deficit of $46 billion, $6 million more than forecast in the fall economic update.

Mr. Giroux also warns that the deficit could grow even larger if interest rates remain high for an extended period and the economy continues to slow.

The Central Bank of Canada is due to announce what will happen to the key interest rate on Wednesday, March 6th.

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Google engineer indicted for allegedly stealing AI trade secrets for

Google engineer indicted for allegedly stealing AI trade secrets for China

A federal grand jury has indicted a Google engineer, Linwei Ding, aka Leon Ding, for allegedly stealing trade secrets related to Google's AI chip software and hardware on March 5 before killing him on Wednesday morning in Newark, California , was arrested. Assistant Attorney General Lisa Monaco said in a statement that Ding “stole over 500 confidential files containing AI trade secrets from Google while secretly working for China-based companies seeking a leg up in the AI ​​technology race.”

A large part of the stolen data allegedly revolves around Google's Tensor Processing Unit (TPU) chips. Google's TPU chips support many of its AI workloads and, when paired with Nvidia GPUs, can train and run AI models like Gemini. The company has also offered access to the chips through partner platforms such as Hugging Face.

Image: Ministry of Justice

The files allegedly stolen include software designs for the v4 and v6 TPU chips, hardware and software specifications for GPUs used in Google's data center, and designs for Google's machine learning workloads in data centers.

The government accuses Ding of transferring these files to a personal Google Cloud account between May 2022 and May 2023.

He allegedly did this “by copying data from the Google source files into the Apple Notes application on his Google-issued MacBook laptop” and then converting them from Apple Notes to PDFs to avoid detection by Google's “systems to prevent “To avoid data loss”.

According to the government, a Chinese machine learning company called Rongshu offered to appoint him as CTO less than a month after he began stealing files. He flew to China for five months to raise money for the company and then founded and ran a machine learning startup called Zhisuan while still working for Google. He resigned from Google in December 2023 – and reportedly booked a one-way ticket to Beijing, departing two days after his end date – after the company began questioning him about his uploads.

The DOJ also alleges that in December 2023, he allegedly faked his presence at Google's US office by having another employee scan his ID at the door while he was actually in China. Ding has been charged with four counts of theft of trade secrets, so if convicted he faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count.

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The Bank of Canada leaves its key interest rate at

The Bank of Canada leaves its key interest rate at 5%

The Bank of Canada again opted for the status quo on Wednesday, deciding to keep its key interest rate at 5% for the fifth straight day in hopes of combating inflation.

The last interest rate increase took place last July.

The Bank of Canada (BoC) says global economic expansion “slowed in the fourth quarter.”

In Canada, the economy performed “better than expected, but its pace remained weak and below potential,” it said.

“Housing cost growth remains high and is the largest contributor to inflation,” stressed the Bank of Canada, which continues to expect inflation to remain at around 3% in the first half of 2024 and then gradually decline.

Although it decided to keep its key interest rate at 5%, the Bank of Canada said it was “concerned about the risks associated with the inflation outlook.”

“The overall message from the bank is that it will continue to wait and see. She wants clear data showing that inflation has been eradicated,” commented Philippe Simard, Quebec mortgage director at, believing Canadians should expect interest rates to remain high.

“Anyone who has a variable rate or mortgage line of credit will likely be disappointed that there is no indication of the date of the first rate cut,” he said, judging that short-term fixed mortgage rates “will remain pending possible ones.” Key interest rate cuts popular.”

For his part, Randall Bartlett, senior director of Canadian economics at Desjardins, believes that “by recognizing the progress made,” the Bank of Canada is “setting the stage for future rate cuts.”

The expert also assumes that a first reduction will be announced in June.

Recall that since July 12, 2023, the Bank of Canada has decided to keep its key interest rate at 5% after two consecutive quarter-point increases. The next update will be on April 10, 2024.

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Ground cinnamon sold in U.S. discount stores is contaminated with lead, FDA says

Ground cinnamon sold in U.S. discount stores is contaminated with lead, FDA says

by CAITLYN FROLO | The National Desk

Wednesday March 6, 2024

This photo combination provided by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday, March 6, 2024 shows cinnamon products sold in U.S. discount stores that have elevated levels of lead. Top row from left is distributed by La Fiesta Food Products of La Miranda, California. Moran Foods, LLC of Saint Ann, Missouri, and MTCI of Santa Fe Springs, California. Bottom row from left is from Raja Foods LLC of Skokie, Illinois; Greenbriar International, Inc. of Chesapeake, Virginia, and El Chilar of Apopka, Florida (FDA via AP)


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After that recall, the FDA began a “targeted investigation” of cinnamon products sold in discount stores, looking for lead and chromium.

Six products were found to “contain elevated levels of lead and that prolonged exposure to these products may be unsafe.” The products had elevated lead levels between 2.03 and 3.4 parts per million (ppm).

However, the FDA said there were currently “no illnesses or adverse events” reported associated with the products.

These levels are significantly lower than lead levels associated with the ongoing investigation of ground cinnamon from Ecuador that Negasmart supplied to Austrofoods, the maker of the apple puree and applesauce products, which ranged from 2,270 ppm to 5,110 ppm in the cinnamon, the FDA said.

The FDA recommends consumers throw away and/or not purchase the following brands of ground cinnamon:

  • La Fiesta (Distributor: La Fiesta Food Products, La Miranda, CA)
  • Marcum (Distributor: Moran Foods, LLC, Saint Ann, MO)
  • MK (Distributor: MTCI, Santa Fe Springs, CA)
  • Swad (Distributor: Raja Foods LLC, Skokie, IL)
  • Supreme Tradition (Distributor: Greenbriar International, Inc., Chesapeake, VA)
  • El Chilar (Distribution: El Chilar, Apopka, FL)

The agency is also calling on retailers selling the products, including La Superior SuperMercados, Save A Lot, Patel Brothers, Family Dollar, Dollar General and La Joya Morelense, to voluntarily recall the products.

“Removing the ground cinnamon products in this alert from the market will prevent them from introducing increased amounts of lead into children’s diets,” the FDA said.

According to the Associated Press, Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores have removed the cinnamon from their shelves, a company spokesman said. Customers can return products to nearby stores for a refund.

However, MTCI's MK cinnamon brand currently remains an exception, as the FDA said it was “unable to reach MTCI to communicate our findings and request that the company initiate a recall.”

The FDA recommends that consumers:

  • The FDA advises consumers to stop using and discard these products.
  • Consumers should not eat, sell, or serve the ground cinnamon products listed in the table above and should discard them.
  • These products have a long shelf life. Consumers should check their homes and dispose of these products.
  • If you suspect that someone has been exposed to elevated lead levels, contact your doctor. Most people have no obvious immediate symptoms of lead exposure.

The FDA says it will continue to work with manufacturers, distributors and retailers to remove unsafe products from the market.

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Crowdfunding campaigns to survive inflation

Inflation and cost of living: Women feel the financial pressure more

According to a recent BMO survey, Canadian women are more concerned than men about the financial pressures caused by the rising cost of living and inflation, sometimes affecting their financial security.

63% of women are worried about inflation and 66% are worried about the rising cost of living. These values ​​are higher than among men, where 51% and 54% of them feel this pressure, respectively.

Canadian women's concerns have increased particularly in the last three months (43%), which is 8% more than men.

“While women have made significant progress in the workforce and the economy, their financial security and ability to build long-term wealth are being compromised as they continue to be disproportionately affected by economic conditions. economical,” said Gayle Ramsay, head of day-to-day banking. Segments, Customer Growth, BMO on Wednesday.

On this topic, 63% of women surveyed believe they have enough savings to deal with urgent situations, compared to 69% of men.

They are also 7% less likely than men to have created an annual household budget and 4% less likely to have a written financial plan.

The survey was conducted by Ipsos from January 2-19, 2024, among 2,500 Canadians aged 18 and over.

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