Scientists stop mosquitoes from reproducing

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Researchers in the United Kingdom have stopped mosquitoes from reproducing via genetic modification, raising the hope that they could eventually eliminate them in the wild. Scientists at Imperial College, London completely blocked the reproductive ability of the Anopheles gambiae mosquito, which spreads malaria, eliminating the lab population within seven to 11 generations through the use of a technique called gene drive.

Malaria is caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.

The incidence rate of malaria is estimated to have decreased by 18 per cent globally, from 76 to 63 cases per 1000 population at risk, between 2010 and 2016. However, Sub- Saharan Africa, accounts for 99 per cent of estimated malaria cases in 2016. On its part, Nigeria suffers the world’s greatest malaria burden, with approximately 51 million cases  and 207,000 deaths reported annually (approximately 30 per cent of the total malaria burden in Africa), while 97 per cent of the total population (approximately 173 million) is at risk of infection. Despite significant reductions in cases in the last two decades, malaria remains the biggest killer of children under five in Africa.

In 2016, there were 216 million cases of the disease worldwide, resulting in an estimated 445,000 deaths overall. Lead researcher from the Department of Life Sciences at Imperial Professor Andrea Crisanti said the breakthrough that stopped mosquitoes from reproducing via genetic modifications, shows that gene drive could work, adding that it provided hope in the fight against a disease that has plagued mankind for centuries.

“There is still more work to be done, both in terms of testing the technology in larger lab-based studies and working with affected coun- tries to assess the feasibility of such an intervention.” This latest study is a major step towards eradicating malaria-carrying mosquitoes in the wild, by spreading female infertility. The scientists targeted the double-sex gene, which determines the mosquito’s sex, through a technique called gene drive. The technique spreads a gene, or particular suite of genes, through a population via reproduction.

Males who carried the genetic modification saw no changes, and neither did females with only one copy of the gene. But females with two copies showed both male and female characteristics, failed to bite and did not lay any eggs, ‘The Telegraph’ reported. Professor Crisanti said: “It will still be at least five to 10 years before we consider testing any mosquitoes with gene drive in the wild, but now we have some encouraging proof that we’re on the right path.”

Michael Kors to Buy Versace for $2.1 Billion in Bid to Expand

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Michael Kors said Tuesday it had agreed to buy Italian luxury giant Versace, adding a new layer to its offering after buying shoemaker Jimmy Choo last year.

Michael Kors, with roots in the United States but headquartered in London, has struck a deal to buy Versace for 1.83 billion euros ($2.1 billion), a statement said.

“We are excited to have Versace as part of our family of luxury brands, and we are committed to investing in its growth,” said Michael Kors chief executive John D. Idol.

“With the full resources of our group, we believe that Versace will grow to over $2.0 billion in revenues,” he added.

“We believe that the strength of the Michael Kors and Jimmy Choo brands, and the acquisition of Versace, position us to deliver multiple years of revenue and earnings growth.”

Donatella Versace, artistic director and vice-president of the Italian group, said the takeover was “essential to Versace’s long-term success”.

She added in the statement: “We are all very excited to join a group led by John Idol, whom I have always admired as a visionary as well as a strong and passionate leader.”

– Bags, watches and perfume –
Michael Kors, best known for its bags, watches and perfume, said it planned to grow the number of Versace stores worldwide by 50 percent to 300.

The deal is the latest push by Michael Kors into high-end luxury after it bought British shoemaker to the stars Jimmy Choo in 2017 for $1.4 billion.

It is seen also as positioning Michael Kors more fully as a competitor to Paris-based LVMH and Kering and the Swiss company Richemont among global heavyweights in luxury across various product lines, analysts said.

Versace was the brainchild of Gianni Versace, who was born in Calabria to a dressmaker mother and presented his first signature collection in 1978, with his brother Santo taking care of the label’s business arm.

But the designer, whose bold designs were embraced by Madonna and other mega-celebrities, was the victim of a bizarre slaying in 1997 by luxury-obsessed male prostitute Andrew Cunanan in Miami.

Twenty percent of Versace, known for its Medusa head logo, was bought by US private equity group Blackstone in 2014, and the family owns the rest.

Versace chief executive Jonathan Akeroyd on Tuesday said that since joining the company two years ago, “focus has been on leveraging the company’s heritage and strong brand recognition worldwide”, in turn helping “to experience significant growth in all regions”.


DSS detains Aisha Buhari’s aide over alleged N2.5bn fraud.

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The Department of State Services has detained Mr. Baba-Inna, who is the Aide De Camp to the wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Buhari over an allegation of N2.5 billion fraud.

Spokesman for the DSS,  Mr. Nnochirionye Afunanya, told our correspondent that the case was handed over to the agency by the Police authority.

“His case was handed over by the Police and investigation is ongoing,” he said.

Aisha was said to have alleged that Baba-Inna received huge donations from politicians, businessmen, and women on her behalf and refused to hand them over to her.

She was, therefore, said to have urged the Inspector General of Police,  Mr. Ibrahim Idris, to arrest and compel Mr. Baba-Inna to refund the money, estimated at N2.5billion.

Our correspondent gathered that the DSS had set up a team of investigators to unravel the case.

It was also gathered that the team had asked for the bank accounts of the police officer and that of his wife, and would also visit his house.


Google launches new tools to let parents turn off their teenager’s smartphone remotely

Parents of teens glued to their smartphones now have a new way to pry them away from their gadgets 

parents of teenagers glued to their smartphones now have a new way to pry them away from their gadgets.

Google has launched new tools on its free Family Link app designed to set “digital ground rules” for teenagers.

The app was launched in March and provides parents with weekly activity reports on their child’s phone usage. It also allows parents to block certain apps and lock their child’s device remotely.

Up until now, the app was designed to help control the smartphone habits of children 13 and under. However, the new update extends those controls to older teenagers.

Google has also added the ability for parents to remotely lock their teenagers’ accounts on the app using Google Assistant.

For example, parents can say ‘Hey Google, lock Harry’s device,’ and teens will have a few minutes to finish what they are doing before their smartphone is turned off.

Teenagers, however, have the ability to override the controls, although Google says it will let parents know if they do.

Google has launched new tools on its free Family Link app designed to set "digital ground rules" for teenagers   

If teens choose to turn off the tools they will have to wait 24 hours until the phone is unlocked.

Google family and kids director Paulo Golgher said: “Over the coming days, we’ll make Family Link available to more families, on more devices, and in nearly every country in the world.”

The app is only available on Android smartphones and iPhones. According to Google’s PlayStore it has been downloaded more than a million times. Family Link will also soon be available for Chromebook laptops.


Yoghurts ‘contain more sugar than cola’


Yoghurts (even organic ones) ‘full of sugar’

Many yoghurts are full of sugar and the public should not be lulled into thinking they are eating healthy products, researchers say.

The conclusion comes after a study of almost 900 yoghurts on sale in UK supermarkets.

The Leeds University-led research found that organic yoghurts were among the most sugary types – containing more sugar per 100g than cola.

Only natural and Greek-style yoghurts could be classed as low in sugar.

The study – published in BMJ Open – comes as government health officials are encouraging manufacturers to reduce the amount of sugar consumed by the public.

Yoghurts have been identified as one of the food types on which Public Health England wants to see progress.

This research was undertaken shortly after the launch of the sugar-reduction programme.

YoghurtImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Unsurprisingly, yoghurt desserts contained the most sugar – an average of 16.4g per 100g.

This category also included some products that did not contain yoghurt, such as chocolate mousse and creme caramel.

The second most sugary product was organic yoghurts with a typical 13.1g per 100g.

Children’s yoghurts typically contained 10.8g per 100g, the equivalent of more than two sugar cubes, the study found.

By comparison a 100g serving of a typical cola contains 9g of sugar.

The NHS recommends that children aged four to six have no more than 19g of sugar, or five sugar cubes a day, and it is advised that those aged seven to 10 consume less than 24g daily.

To be classed as low sugar there needs to be no more than 5g per 100g.

Only 9% of products surveyed were below this threshold.

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How much sugar was in the yoghurt?

Desserts – 16.4g per 100g

Organic – 13.1g per 100g

Flavoured – 12g per 100g

Fruit – 11.9g per 100g

Children’s – 10.8g per 100g

Dairy alternatives – 9.2g per 100g

Drinks – 9.1g per 100g

Natural and Greek – 5g per 100g

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Since the fieldwork for the study was carried out – at the end of 2016 – progress has been made on reducing sugar consumption from yoghurts.

A report published in May showed sugar content in yoghurts had been reduced by 6% in the first year, making it the only food category to exceed the 5% target. By 2020, it is expected sugar will be reduced by 20%.

PHE chief nutritionist Dr Alison Tedstone said this showed “positive steps” were being made.

But Dr Bernadette Moore, lead researcher of this study, said: “Even if we take the reduction into account, most of these yoghurts will still not be low in sugar.

“I think people, including parents, will be surprised to know just how much sugar there is in yoghurt.

“My advice would be to buy natural yoghurt and mix in your own fruit.”


Donald Tusk: Theresa May’s Brexit trade plan won’t work

EU leaders in Salzburg

Donald Tusk said the plans risked undermining the EU’s single market.

He was speaking at the end of an EU summit in Salzburg where leaders of the 27 remaining member states discussed Brexit.

Mrs May said her proposals were the “only serious credible” way to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland.

She said she had held “frank” talks with Mr Tusk, adding: “Yes, concerns have been raised and I want to know what those concerns are.”

There was “a lot of hard work to be done”, she said, but added that the UK was also making preparations in case no deal could be reached.

Mrs May reiterated that she would not accept the EU’s “backstop” plan to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland, and said the UK would shortly be bringing forward its own proposals.

Theresa May has just tried to put a brave face on it.

Number 10 had not hoped for a breakthrough at this summit in Salzburg. But they were confident of getting a fair wind for the controversial compromise she agreed with her Cabinet in the heat of the summer.

Mrs May has just told a clammy, tiny room full of journalists: “I believe that there is willingness to do a deal but let nobody be in any doubt, that as I’ve always said, we are preparing for no deal.”

But the comments from President of the European Council Donald Tusk give a pretty bleak assessment of the UK’s plan.

Tusk: May’s Brexit plan won’t work

He and other EU leaders have expressed doubts before. But his bold comments only minutes after a private meeting with Mrs May that the plan “does not work”, are more stark, and more damaging than expected.

That’s because Donald Tusk has been seen as one of those brokers in the Brexit talks who has been trying to make things work, and trying to urge others who are more reluctant to do so, to show the UK a little flexibility.

Can the prime minister really cling on to her Chequers plan now?

The EU clearly won’t accept it as it stands.

Significant chunks of her party won’t wear the deal either.

The opposition parties won’t back her.

Of course there are tactics at play here. One government minister has already suggested that the EU always knows how to overplay their hand.

Sometimes in negotiations, there needs to be a crisis to focus minds.

And in her press conference, Theresa May seemed frustrated that her proposals perhaps have not been properly digested or considered yet.

Of course this is only one day, one set of fraught meetings, in a tangled and lengthy process.

But as things stand, it seems Theresa May is going to have to budge, or walk away.

How to Manage Your Android Device From Your PC

How to Manage Your Android Device From Your PC

Despite the ever-increasing sizes of mobile-device screens — many smartphones are now close to or even more than 5 inches — it’s still a pokey and fiddly affair to configure them — or even look at them, for that matter. Stabbing around those minuscule on-screen keyboards can be a tedious affair.

However, there are PC-based solutions out there that allow you to perform smartphone-related tasks amid the copious screen real estate and roomy keyboard of your PC instead.

Phone makers and wireless carriers can provide some primitive solutions — look for details in the device’s shipping box. Or, you can try out some more elaborate dedicated third-party solutions.

Two such solutions are free Mobogenie — for PC-based management of apps, media, texts, SD card backups and so on — and US$0.99 Krome, an Android app recently published by Damian Piwowarki that can push real-time notifications from your device running Android Ice Cream Sandwich or better onto your full-sized computer’s Chrome browser.

Here’s how to get started.

Mobogenie On-PC Syncing and Management

Step 1: Open your smartphone’s Settings menu and scroll to the Applications and then Development option, or simply the Developer Options menu item — depending on version of Android that you’re running. Check USB Debugging and close the Settings screen.

Step 2: Browse to the Mobogenie website and click on the Download for PC button. Then follow the prompts to install the software and allow the software to install and automatically launch.

Step 3: Click on the first icon, labeled “My Phone,” on the top ribbon.

Step 4: Connect a USB cord between PC and phone when prompted to. Then allow miscellaneous drivers and other files to update and install automatically. Follow any prompts to update drivers manually.

Tip: Mobogenie will automatically install a bridging app on your phone too.

Step 5: Monitor any on-PC-screen status messages, like “Drivers installed successfully.” Minimize any driver-related windows and look for the Mobogenie pop-up dialog box, which will advise you of the sync status.

Step 6: Maximize the Mobogenie interface on the PC and scroll through the dashboard to view and manage items like SMS text inbox, app updating and camera images.

Tip: Use Mobogenie to reduce data costs too by browsing for data-heavy apps from the Mobogenie software on the PC and then installing the app via USB cable rather than wireless network.

Krome On-PC Mobile Device Notifications

Step 1: Browse to the Google Play store using a desktop Web browser or your device’s Play app and purchase $0.99 Krome.

Allow the app to install on the device and follow the prompts to enable the app’s Accessibility Service.

Step 2: Press the Next button repeatedly on the device until the Krome Connect screen appears. There will be a pairing code displayed.

Step 3: Open Google’s Chrome browser on your PC and launch a new tab. Click on the tile labeled “Chrome Web Store” and perform a search for Krome. Select the Krome app and allow it to install, entering your Google User ID and password if prompted.

Step 4: Click on the Krome icon within the Chrome browser on the PC and enter the pairing code from the second step. The PC and device will pair.

Tip: Enter the pairing code without spaces.

Step 5: Watch the PC’s taskbar, and you’ll see a pop-up notification appear briefly when a notification-event occurs, like an incoming Gmail email or text on the mobile device.

Tip: Chrome doesn’t have to be maximized on the PC’s screen in order to get the notification.

Coca-Cola’s using Bluetooth to help you make personalized drinks

You use your smartphone to do everything from booking concert tickets to hailing a cab. Now you’ll be able to use it to fill a cup with Coca-Cola.

Coca-Cola is unveiling a new fountain drink machine this weekend that lets you use Bluetoothtechnology to prepare your drink precisely the way you want it with a few taps on your smartphone.

Like your Diet Coke mixed with Diet Sprite? No problem. Want some vanilla flavor in your Fanta? You got it.

While a Coke dispenser might seem like a strange place to find innovation, it’s the kind of move that could give the Atlanta-based soft-drink giant an advantage in the hyper-competitive beverage market. Smartphones make sense for drink ordering, because they will not only allow you to order exact percentages of different mixtures or flavor addition but also remember your preference for next time.

“Choice and customization are not fads – they’re here to stay,” Chris Hellmann, Freestyle’s VP general manager, said in a statement. “So we’re focused on making sure the Coca-Cola Freestyle platform stays current and contemporary and that we continue to offer more beverages people want.”

“We’ve built features into this dispenser that are not only contemporary for today,” Hellmann went on. “We’ve also future-proofed the platform with not-yet-activated features like audio capability, optical sensors and a new equipment option that will eventually support the addition of drink categories not available on Freestyle today, such as teas, cold coffees and new varieties of juices.”

Ah, the refreshing sight of Coca-Cola Freestyle machines.
Ah, the refreshing sight of Coca-Cola Freestyle machines.

The Coca-Cola Freestyle 9100 will reportedly be unveiled at the National Restaurant Association (NRA) tradeshow in Chicago this weekend. The company hopes to roll out the snazzy new machine nationally in 2019, and also has plans to implement a new Freestyle operating system across all existing machines.

Biometric ATM card….Fingerprint authentication moves from phones to payment cards.

biometric payment card

Payment cards are gaining new capabilities as Visa has launched a pilot of a new dual-interface (chip- and contactless-enabled) biometric payment card with Mountain America Credit Union and Bank of Cyprus… Strong security: Fingerprint biometric is stored only on the card to ensure that a cardholder’s data is protected.

The card will test the use of fingerprint recognition as an alternative to PIN or signature to authenticate the cardholder during a transaction. The pilot is being managed through the Visa Ready for Biometrics program, a new offering to support the growing demand for biometric technology in the payments category.

Here’s how it works. The cardholder enrolls the fingerprint, which is securely stored on the card. When he or she places the finger on the card’s sensor during a transaction, the card senses whether the scanned print is the same as the print stored in the card. A green or red light on the card indicates a successful or unsuccessful match.

Biometric payment cards offer several benefits beyond ease of use:

  • Strong security: Fingerprint biometric is stored only on the card to ensure that a cardholder’s data is protected.
  • Hardware Upgrades Unnecessary: The biometric card is designed to be compatible with existing payment terminals that accept contactless- or chip-based payments around the world.
  • Self-charging: The biometric sensor is powered by the payment terminal, ensuring there is no embedded battery or need to re-charge the card.