It’s Alive!! Weird “Blob” Debuts at Paris Zoo

first_imgIt looks like a fungus but acts like an animal, and that it has no mouth or stomach but can detect food and digest it.The Blob can also move without legs, and if you cut it in half it will heal itself in two minutes.It also has no brain and yet it can learn.The director of the Paris Zoological Park says if you merge two blobs together, one will transmit its knowledge to the other. “We know for sure it is not a plant but we don’t really if it’s an animal or a fungus,” said David.“It behaves very surprisingly for something that looks like a mushroom (…) it has the behavior of an animal, it is able to learn.” (Paris) — Slime mold is part of a new exhibit at a Paris zoo.The moving slime mold contains more than 900 species and can heal itself within minutes, yet is does not have any neurons.The yellowish mold has been called “The Blob” because of its characteristics. This newest exhibit of the Paris Zoological Park, which goes on display to the public on Saturday, has no mouth, no stomach, no eyes, yet it can detect food and digest it.The blob also has almost 720 sexes, can move without legs or wings and heals itself in two minutes if cut in half.“The blob is a living being which belongs to one of nature’s mysteries”, said Bruno David, director of the Paris Museum of Natural History, of which the Zoological Park is part. A Paris zoo has unveiled a mysterious new organism which they call a ‘blob.’ The yellowish unicellular living being looks like a fungus but acts like an animal https://t.co/ukj0mgqf9a pic.twitter.com/DVaR3RdqXZ— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) October 17, 2019last_img read more

Read More..

Foreign investment in sub-Saharan Africa on the rise

first_img16 May 2014Foreign direct investment (FDI) in sub-Saharan Africa is on the rise, with the continent’s share of global FDI projects at its highest level in a decade, and sharply improved perceptions making it the second-most attractive investment destination in the world, according to Ernst & Young’s 2014 Africa Attractiveness Survey.The survey, released in Johannesburg and London on Thursday, also found that intra-African investment was on the rise, and noted an investor shift from extractive industries to consumer-related sectors on the continent.Ernst & Young’s latest survey combines an analysis of international investment into Africa since 2003 with a 2014 survey of over 500 global business leaders about their views on the potential of the African market.The data shows that while there has been a decline in African FDI project numbers, from 774 in 2012 to 750 in 2013, primarily due to ongoing uncertainty in North Africa, they remain easily in excess of the 390 projects per year the continent was averaging before the 2008-09 global financial crisis.At the same time, the report point to a noticeable divide between FDI trends in north Africa compared to sub-Saharan Africa. While FDI projects in North Africa declined by nearly 30% in 2013, projects in sub-Saharan Africa increased by 4.7%, reversing the sub-region’s decline in 2012 while further widening the gap between the two sub-regions, with sub-Saharan Africa’s share of FDI projects exceeding 80% for the first time.While the UK remains the lead investor into the continent, intra-African investment continues to steadily rise, according to the report.Investors are also looking beyond the more established markets of South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya to expand their operations, as well as moving into more consumer-related sectors as Africa’s middle class expands.“Africa’s share of global FDI projects has grown steadily over the past decade, and it is a promising sign that investors are now looking across the continent and to new sectors,” Ernst & Young Africa CEO Ajen Sita said in a statement on Thursday. “Further regional integration and infrastructure development should continue to entice investors to the exciting investment opportunities that Africa can offer.”New FDI hotspots emergingThere was significant movement in the list of top 10 countries by FDI projects in 2013, the report found. Only South Africa and Nigeria retained their 2012 positions, of first and third with 142 projects and 58 projects respectively. However, FDI projects in both these countries witnessed a slight decline, while countries such as Kenya (68 projects), Ghana (58) and Mozambique (33) all moved up the ranks.Zambia and Uganda were the new entrants in the top 10 list in 2013, with 25 and 21 FDI projects respectively, an increase of more than 20%. In contrast, North African countries such as Morocco, Tunisia (ranked 8th in 2012) and Egypt slipped in the rankings.In 2013, both west and east Africa surpassed north Africa for the first time, becoming the second and third-most attractive sub-regions in Africa after southern Africa.UK leads investment into the continentAccording to Ernst & Young, the UK became the clear leader among foreign direct investors in Africa in 2013, with 104 projects, while the US fell from joint first place to second place with 78 projects, a 20% decline from 2012.South Africa, the third largest investor, directed 63 investment projects into the rest of Africa in 2013, a 16% decline on 2012 but a significant increase from 2008-09 pre-crisis levels, when it registered on average 12 projects a year.There was a sharp uptake in FDI projects by Spanish and Japanese companies, with increases of 52% and 77%, respectively.At the same time, intra-African investment is gaining momentum, with African investors nearly tripling their share of FDI projects over the last decade, from 8% in 2003 to 22.8% in 2013. Ernst & Young attributed this growth to strengthening regional integration, the need for improved regional value chains, and African investors’ improved understanding of the market.“External investors supply long-term capital, skills and technology, and intra-African investment creates a virtuous circle that encourages greater foreign investment,” said Michael Lalor, lead partner of Ernst & Young’s Africa Business Center.Shift away from extractive industriesThe top three FDI sectors in the survey – technology, media and telecoms with 150 projects, retail and consumer products with 131 projects, and financial services with 112 projects – accounted for more than 50% of the total projects in 2013.Retail and consumer products overtook financial services to become the second-most attractive FDI sector in Africa in 2013, while FDI projects in the continent’s real estate, hospitality and construction sector increased by 63%, making the sector the fifth-most attractive, up three positions from 2012.On the other hand, for the first time ever, mining and metals exited the top 10 sectors when measured by FDI project numbers.When asked about the three sectors that would offer the highest growth potential for Africa in the next two years, investors highlighted the rising importance of agriculture, which ranked only marginally behind mining and metals.Increasingly, infrastructure is also perceived as a key growth sector, as well as consumer-facing industries including financial services, telecommunications and consumer products.“Although perceptions indicate that resource-driven sectors are expected to remain the industries with the highest potential over the next two years, the actual numbers show that infrastructure and consumer-facing sectors will increase in prominence as the middle class expands and consumer spending on discretionary goods increases,” Lalor said.Dramatic improvement in perceptions of AfricaAfrica’s perceived investment attractiveness relative to other regions in the world has improved dramatically over the past few years, with the overall survey results showing that the continent had jumped from third-last position in 2011 to become the second-most attractive investment destination in the world behind North America.Sixty percent of survey respondents said that there had been an improvement in Africa’s investment attractiveness over the past year, up four percentage points from last year’s survey.“The good news in this year’s survey is that perceptions about the continent seem to be shifting,” Ajen said. “For the first time, Africa is seen as the second-most attractive investment destination in the world. It has strong fundamentals to encourage investment, including steady democracy and macroeconomic growth, an improving business environment, rising consumer class, abundant natural resources and infrastructure development.”However, there remains a stubborn perception gap between those already operating on the continent and those who are not yet present, according to Ernst & Young. For the first time, this year’s survey shows that companies with a presence on the continent perceive Africa to be the most attractive investment destination in the world. In stark contrast, those with no business presence in Africa continue to view the continent as the world’s least attractive investment destination.Seventy-three percent of those who are already established in the region believe Africa’s attractiveness has improved over the past year, versus 39% of those who are not established.Urban centres on the riseAfrica’s cities are now emerging as the hotspots of economic and investment activity on the continent, the survey found, with nearly 70% of respondents stressing the significance of cities and urban centres in their investment strategy in Africa.In terms of perception, city attractiveness closely maps country appeal. In sub-Saharan Africa, half of respondents identified Johannesburg as the most attractive city in which to do business, followed by Cape Town, Nairobi and Lagos. In north Africa, Casablanca, Cairo and Tunis were seen as the top three cities in which to do business.Survey respondents stressed that in order to attract greater investments, cities needed to focus on infrastructure (77%), consumer base (73%), local labour cost and productivity (73%) and a skilled workforce (73%).“Africa’s stronger investment attractiveness is best explained by its own sustained growth rates in the context of slower global growth,” Ajen said, adding that the continent’s growth prospects were likely to remain solid “as an urbanizing and rising middle class drives demand for consumer products and improved services”.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Read More..

Everyone in sport must be accountable: Manisha Malhotra

first_imgManisha MalhotraThe recent controversy over teaming up tennis icons Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi for the London Olympics is symptomatic of what ails Indian sport. While the former partners went to town about not setting foot on court together, what surprised a lot of people was the All India Tennis,Manisha MalhotraThe recent controversy over teaming up tennis icons Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi for the London Olympics is symptomatic of what ails Indian sport. While the former partners went to town about not setting foot on court together, what surprised a lot of people was the All India Tennis Association (AITA) openly taking sides. This is nothing new. Inept handling of ace players is prevalent in all sports in the country.While the federation was confident that it would convince both Mahesh and Leander to bury the hatchet once again (it has intervened several times in the past), its intention was suspect. Was it doing things in the best interest of the players, country or itself? Neither player wanted to play with the other. So putting in a duo that has been to the last three Olympics without any success and who have openly said they cannot win with each other is not exactly in the best interests of the country. Of course, AITA couldn’t have been questioned excessively because this is the best team on paper, and had they paired up and failed (again), no one in India would have cared about accountability anyway.This should change. The country should come first, then the system, and players should really not be able to dictate their terms and conditions to either. However, there is a huge disconnect between all three in our nation, which could really be why we fare so poorly in the medals tally.The Government of India is the biggest funder of sport; it has the highest number of facilities and yet, at the end of the day, it has no say. The federations, who take the “we are autonomous bodies” stand while availing of government funds, still call all the shots, and then come the players. Does this bode well for sport? Absolutely not.Federations in India have the benefit of being in a position where they can do as they please without any accountability. It could be decades without medals and still it’s status quo. Even players mistrust the federations, which is why they are sometimes not willing to listen to them and at other times listen only under duress of disciplinary action. The players know that in every federation the people calling the shots are not experts and therein lies the problem. The selection committees consist of ‘yes men’ or cronies of the people in power. The federations are also not working towards the best interests of players. Most federations don’t even have a logical and transparent system which leaves the window for last-minute politicking wide open. Is this because they don’t know how to come up with a successful system or because they don’t want to? The federations really need to realise that they exist to serve the players.advertisementThe Government is also to blame. It has been trying to rein in federations and reprimand them while its own Sports Authority of India (sai) is in a shambles, being run by people who have no idea about sport. SAI has ‘advisers’ with very little credibility. It does have foreign experts for almost all the priority sports, yet the experts’ opinions are never taken. Instead, it is the ‘government observer’ who has the say. So we can go to the Olympics and not win a single medal and still everything would be fine.Then there are the players. The Indian athlete has metamorphosed from the ‘poor soul’ to someone who has a voice. The handful of successful athletes are first to say they are all products “in spite of the system”  and not because of it. They now use their success as a bargaining chip to coerce both the Government and the federations. Any decent result (even a South Asian Games medal) and the athletes are eager to cash in. After the 2010 Commonwealth Games, athletes only started practising in March 2011 because they were busy going from felicitation to felicitation, sometimes for as little as Rs 5,000.It is not hard to come up with a system; there are specialists available the world over to help with this. Until we can come up with a system that is best for the country, we will keep dealing with ineptitudes and get nowhere. The system has to be bigger than any one factor and be answerable only to the results that it achieves. Everyone in sport must be accountable and until we are bound by nothing but results, we will never achieve the dreams we all have for sport in our country. advertisement-A former tennis champion, Manisha Malhotra is CEO of Mittal Champions Trustlast_img read more

Read More..

10 months agoPorto midfielder Yacine Brahimi interesting Everton

first_imgPorto midfielder Yacine Brahimi interesting Evertonby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the lovePorto midfielder Yacine Brahimi is interesting Everton.The Mirror says they sent a scout to watch the 28-year-old Algeria international in action during his club’s 3-1 victory over Nacional on Monday night.And Brahimi enhanced his reputation by scoring twice as Porto moved six points clear at the top of the Portuguese League.Brahimi is set to be out of contract at the end of the season, so could be available at a knock-down price.Born in Paris, the attacking midfielder started his career with Rennes in France before moving to Spanish club Granada in 2013 following a loan spell there the previous season. TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Read More..

RCMP Inuvik call in outside police force to investigate after woman dies

first_imgIman Kassam APTN National NewsINUVIK — RCMP in Inuvik have called in an Alberta police force to investigate after a woman died while being released from custody Sunday.The woman, whose name has not yet been released, was arrested the night before for public intoxication.According to a release issued Wednesday by the RCMP,  police received a complaint January 9 about a woman believed to be intoxicated walking along Bonnetplume Road in Inuvik.Police said she was “arrested without incident.”According to police, she was brought to the hospital for a medical assessment where “she was considered fit for incarceration by the medical staff.”The woman was then locked in a cell until she was considered sober enough to be released.The following morning, “the female prisoner was in the process of being released from custody when she unexpectedly went into medical distress,” said the release.“RCMP administered first aid on scene and subsequently the female was escorted to the Inuvik Hospital where she was treated by medical staff. She unfortunately passed away.”According to the release, the woman “was co-operative with police throughout her arrest and time in custody.”What is not clear is what happened during her incarceration or how she died.The case has now been turned over to the Medicine Hat Police Services who are conducting an external review of the circumstances related to her death.Staff Sgt. Trevor Humphries told APTN National News that two investigators were dispatched to Inuvik Monday.“The members that were sent were our active members of major crimes,” said Humphries. “So we’re talking about members that are very senior, they’ve very experienced, skilled members that are sent to assist the RCMP and conduct this external review.”Sgt. Ernie Fischhofer and Cst. Jason Ross from Medicine Hat Police Services will be in Inuvik investigating the woman’s death until Thursday, at which point they will return home to start working on a report.Police said it will take several months for the report to be completed.Humphries said a key component of the review will come from the medical examiner’s report.“Autopsies are done quickly, but the final report often times takes several months because toxicology has to be done, and that does not get done overnight, it takes time,” he [email protected]last_img read more

Read More..

German leader Merkel heads to Athens demonstrations banned

first_imgATHENS, Greece — Authorities have banned demonstrations in a large section of central Athens and will shut down streets and subway stations during a visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who arrives in the Greek capital Thursday afternoon for meetings with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and other officials.Around 2,000 officers, a police helicopter and drones will be deployed for the visit, which ends Friday afternoon.Germany was the largest single contributor to the three international bailout packages Greece received since 2010 as it struggled through a dramatic financial crisis which almost saw it crash out of the eurozone. Germany was also seen as one of the main enforcers of the stringent austerity measures, including tax hikes and pension and salary cuts, imposed in return for the rescue loans.The Associated Presslast_img read more

Read More..

Ackerman says taking bull by the horns helped city rise in best

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Mayor Lori Ackerman woke up on Tuesday to see the Energetic City climb 145 spots since last year on Money Sense magazine’s best places to live in Canada.Ackerman explained that when she found out that Fort St. John was ranked the best place to live in B.C. and 15th best in Canada she was ecstatic.“To see that Fort St. John has made this significant standing as the number 15 in Canada and number one in B.C. place to live is pretty phenomenal,” said Ackerman. Ackerman added that much of the city’s improvement has been due to city council taking the bull by the horns in ways of recruiting more workers and listening to resident feedback.“We’ve done a lot of public consultation over the last decade. We have listened to what the people have wanted and quite often over different council meetings we have gone to the public and asked ‘what do you want?’”Ackerman mentioned that they have focused heavily on community economic development because when there is a beautiful community, the economic development will develop itself. Making sure cores services stay maintained such as water, sewers and lights was a key point for the city.“We have to continue to demonstrate leadership and environmental responsibility. We are on the world stage with our passive house and to be able to showcase Fort St. John for just that one amenity is significant.”Ackerman went on to say that the city would soon unveil a community plan to focus on the community’s vision and work hard on making the city even more livable in the winter.last_img read more

Read More..