The battle for live streaming smartphone video heated up Thursday as Twitter launched its Periscope application, taking on fast-rising online rival Meerkat, which unveiled a fresh round of capital investment. The Periscope app, like Meerkat, allows anyone to stream live video to a wide audience with their smartphone. The new app "lets you share and experience live video from your mobile phone" and is "a perfect complement to Twitter, which is why we acquired the company in January," Twitter's Kevin Weil said in a blog post. The Periscope team outlined a range of possibilities for the service, including how it can turn any smartphone user into a global reporter.
Iraqi government forces revived a stalled ground operation to retake Tikrit Thursday following US-led air strikes that paved the way but left the anti-jihadist camp deeply divided. Wary of being seen as cosying up to Iran's proxies, Washington conditioned its intervention on an enhanced role for regular government forces in the fight against the Islamic State group. The Tehran-backed paramilitary groups that had done the heavy lifting in the Tikrit operation so far threatened to pull out of it completely, accusing the US of "hijacking victory". The operation to retake Tikrit was launched on March 2 but had failed to dislodge a relatively small number of IS fighters who have hemmed themselves in with thousands of bombs for a last stand in the city centre.