Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets Lebanon’s Maronite patriarch

A handout picture provided by the Saudi Royal Palace shows Lebanon’s Christian Maronite patriarch Beshara Rai, right, meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh on November 14, 2017. (Saudi Royal Palace via AFP)
Updated 14 November 2017
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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets Lebanon’s Maronite patriarch

RIYADH: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held talks with Lebanon’s Maronite Christian Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rai here on Tuesday.
Al-Rahi earlier met with Saudi King Salman on the second day of his first visit to Saudi Arabia.
He also held talks with Saad Al-Hariri, who announced his resignation as prime minister of Lebanon from Riyadh on Nov. 4.
Al-Rahi said Hariri will return home as soon as possible and that he supports Hariri’s reasons for resigning, according to media reports.
Hariri announced his resignation in a television broadcast, saying he believed there was an assassination plot against him and accused Hezbollah of sowing strife in the Arab world.
Lebanese Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Abdul Sattar Issa, said the patriarch’s visit demonstrated the important steps taken by Saudi Arabia to modernize its institutions and to reinforce perceptions of Islam as a religion of moderation.


Put the toolbox away — new robot assembles IKEA chairs

Updated 38 sec ago
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Put the toolbox away — new robot assembles IKEA chairs

SINGAPORE: Sick of struggling with incomprehensible instructions and a baffling array of planks and screws? Help is at hand in the form of a new robot that can assemble an IKEA chair in minutes.
The robot, developed by scientists at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, can put together the wooden IKEA chair in just eight minutes and 55 seconds — a swift timing that may give even DIY enthusiasts a run for their money.
The device, consisting of two mechanical arms with grippers, starts the process by taking photos of the parts spread on the floor with a 3D camera, which is supposed to mimic the cluttered environment after flat-pack furniture is unboxed.
Each arm has a similar range of motions to that of a human, while sensors mounted on the wrists monitor how much force is being exerted by mechanical fingers as it picks up tiny parts to expertly put the chair together.
“For a robot, putting together an IKEA chair with such precision is more complex than it looks,” said team leader Pham Quang Cuong, an assistant professor at the university.
“The job of assembly ... has to be broken down into different steps, such as identifying where the different chair parts are, the force required to grip the parts, and making sure the robotic arms move without colliding into each other.”
The team is now looking into further developing the robot so it can learn to construct furniture by copying humans, reading an instruction manual or even just viewing a finished product.
They are also working with the automotive and aircraft manufacturing industry where the robot could be used for such tasks as drilling holes in aircraft.
But those looking for help in assembling more household items from Swedish furniture giant IKEA may be disappointed — for now the unnamed robot can only construct a humble chair.