18 December 2010 Last updated at 22:35
US Senate lifts 'don't ask, don't tell' gay soldier banActivists have urged President Obama to deliver on the repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell'Continue reading the main story
The US Senate has approved landmark legislation allowing openly gay people to serve in the military.
Senators voted 65-31 to overturn the 1993 "don't ask, don't tell" law, which bars gay people in the military from revealing their sexual orientation.
The House of Representatives had already approved the repeal bill. President Barack Obama says he is looking forward to signing it into law.
Opponents argue that the change will damage troop morale at a time of war.
More than 13,000 service members have been dismissed under "don't ask, don't tell", enacted under President Bill Clinton.
Saturday's vote was along broad party lines, with a few moderate Republicans joining the Democratic majority in favour of lifting the ban.'Discriminatory'Continue reading the main story
“Start QuoteEnd Quote Robert Gates US Defence Secretary
The Department of Defense will immediately proceed with the planning necessary to carry out this change”
The BBC's Iain Mackenzie in Washington says the vote is a major victory for Mr Obama, who had made overturning "don't ask, don't tell" a key policy objective.
The president said it meant "thousands of patriotic Americans" would not be forced to leave the military "because they happen to be gay".
The repeal will take effect after a 60-day period allowing the defence department to consider how to implement the new policy.
Defence secretary Robert Gates also welcomed the Senate vote.
"Once this legislation is signed into law by the president, the Department of Defense will immediately proceed with the planning necessary to carry out this change carefully and methodically, but purposefully," he said.
Aubrey Sarvis, head of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, an advocacy group, said: "Until the president signs the bill, until there is certification, and until the 60-day Congressional period is over, no-one should be investigated or discharged under this discriminatory law."
Earlier this month, a Pentagon report said that allowing openly gay troops would have little impact on the cohesion of US forces fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Democrats, who still control both house of Congress, have said they want to approve the repeal before the start of a new Congress in January.
What effect will this have in the US military? Do you believe that it is right to lift the ban on gay people in the military revealing their sexuality? Send us your comments and experiences using the form below.
Saturday, 18 December 2010
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Speak your search queries instead of typing.
Voice Search is a feature of Google Mobile App for iPhone, BlackBerry and Nokia S60 V3 phones.
If you have an Android phone, search for the "Voice Search" app in Android Market. The Android operating system also enables you to speak instead of typing in any app where you launch the keyboard.
Voice Search is not available in all languages or on all mobile phones.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010 | 9:02 AMWhen we launched Voice Search more than two years ago, we wanted it to “just work” right out of the box, without an initial setup process. And so, we built speech models broad enough to accommodate a wide variety of people, regardless of gender, age, and accents, or variations in pitch, pace, and other factors. But we always knew we could build a more accurate model by listening to your voice, and learning how you -- as a unique individual -- speak. So today we’re launching personalized recognition.If you opt into personalized recognition, we begin to associate the recordings of the words that you ask us to recognize with your Google account. We then automatically use these words to build a speech model specifically for you. This speech model enables us to deliver greater recognition accuracy. Although subtle, accuracy improvements begin fairly quickly and will build over time.The first time you use Voice Search, you’ll be presented with a dialog to turn on personalized recognition. Google takes your privacy seriously, so you can enable or disable personalized recognition at any time through the Google voice recognition settings on your phone. If you’d like to disassociate your voice recordings from your Google Account, you can do so through the Google Dashboard in the Speech section.The personalized recognition functionality is currently available for English in the United States. We plan to support other countries and languages in the near future. To enable it, you must have Android 2.2 or higher, and download the latest version of the Voice Search app from Android Market. The new app also includes some improvements to name recognition and speed, especially over 3G and EDGE connections.So go ahead and download the latest Voice Search app, and let’s get personal!Posted by Amir Mané, Product Manager and Glen Shires, Member of Technical Staff
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