SA’s budding biotech industry

first_img5 January 2004By international standards, South Africa’s budding biotechnology industry is small. But a national audit has found that the industry has “enormous potential” for growth and investment.The audit, funded by the department of science and technology and the Egoli BIO Life Sciences Incubator, indicates that South Africa has a “pipeline of potential new products and processes in the research and development stage”.It identifies 106 companies participating in biotechnology activities, 47 of which are classified as “core” biotechnology companies solely involved in biotech enterprises.“The fact that there are already 47 biotech companies that have established themselves with very little support gives SA the basis on which to build a much bigger industry”, Bioventures chief executive Heather Sherwin told Business Day newspaper. Bioventures is South Africa’s only biotechnology venture capital fund.The audit found that total spending on biotechnology research and development exceeded R290-million during 2002, while revenues for 48% of products and services in the local biotechnology industry came to R368-million during the same period.A global audit by Ernst & Young found that there were about 600 publicly traded biotechnology companies worldwide at the end of 2002, with a research and development expenditure of US$22-billion. The firms reported revenues of $41.3-billion.Sherwin says it is likely to be some time before local biotech firms start listing on the AltX exchange – SA’s new parallel market for small- and medium-sized companies – let alone on the JSE Securities Exchange main board. According to Sherwin, biotech companies need to have an operating profit greater than R8-million before they can list on AltX. She says only 20% of SA biotech firms have revenue in excess of R10-million.One successful biotech venture is Cape Town-based Synexa Life Sciences. The company specialises in the production of complex “molecular tools that help elucidate the cellular mechanisms that cause disease, enabling the development of new therapeutics.”Synexa chief executive Justin Devine says the creation of a successful biotech company is driven by passion, planned convergence of a world-class team, and products/services that hold a sustainable competitive advantage. “In the right combination, these factors will attract funding at the right time”, he says.Paul Abrahams, chief executive of eGoli BIO, says early stage financing opportunities for local biotech companies are available but are extremely limited because biotechnology is “one of the most difficult industries to understand and therefore perhaps the riskiest”.South Africa also does not currently have a network of “angel investors” – like in the United States – who have deep pockets and are prepared for high-risk and potentially high returns.The challenge, according to the audit, is to take advantage of the opportunities for the development of niche markets in which South African stakeholders can compete on a global scale.This can be facilitated by creating an “enabling environment” that allows stakeholders to maximise the benefit derived from the potential of biotechnology, while minimising the possible risks to the environment and human health.Abrahams advises biotech start-ups to:Understand the perceptions of seed capitalists.Be prepared for scepticism – SA investors are conservative.Explain the biotechnology venture fully to potential investors.Have outstanding management capabilities within the company – not only as scientists.Secure a large and growing market.Have products/services that can be bought to market to generate some income.Have technological backup to give the project a sustainable competitive advantage.Protect intellectual property.BiopadSouth Africa’s bid to commercialise biotechnology recently received a shot in the arm when the government allocated R250-million over two years towards the Biotechnology Partnership for Africa’s Development (Biopad).In addition, the department of science and technology allocated R400-million for the establishment of three regional Biopad biotechnology innovation centres, in accordance with its national biotechnology strategy. The first centre was launched in Johannesburg in March this year. The others will be in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.Biopad was initiated earlier this year as a collective response, by a community of biotechnologists and other professionals, to the challenges posed by the varied needs of the region and the continent.According to the Biopad website, the aim of the initiative is to put South Africa among the world leaders in the application of biotechnology, in so doing “stimulating economic development, contributing to job creation, and building world-class skills and technology platforms to sustain and continue development”.Through a close relationship created between the eGoli BIO incubator, small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) are nurtured and prepared for commercialisation. External professionals with expertise in finances, marketing, management and business are used to assist the SMMEs.The centres will serve as nuclei for the development of biotechnology platforms, from which a range of businesses offering new products and services can be developed. The centres will promote research and development, entrepreneurial services, technology, intellectual property management and business incubation.SouthAfrica.info reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Amazon’s Mechanical Turk Used for Fraudulent Activities

first_imgTags:#Features#Trends#web Amazon’s Mechanical Turk has fallen prey to social media spammers and it is now full of requests to spam bookmarking services for pennies per link. Although these HITs may stop short of being “fraud” in the legal sense of the word, they are certainly dishonest and unsavory. In addition to these spam bookmarking requests, we’re also seeing HITs for Diggs, Stumbles, Slashdots, etc. of spammers’ web pages and web sites.In case you’re unfamiliar, Amazon’s Mechanical Turk is a crowdsourced marketplace for tasks. A person needing work done can set up a HIT (human intelligence task) – the small job they need done. Others come along to perform the HITs, earning micro payments along the way. In this way, businesses, developers, and other individuals have access to an affordable, scalable workforceThe Dark Side to Mechanical TurkUnfortunately, it appears that the convenience of the Turk marketplace has some appeal to social media spammers, who are now using the site to earn Diggs, bookmarks, and other social recommendations they do not deserve. Here’s an example: Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts sarah perez A search for “bookmark” on MT today displays 48 results (at the time of writing) where spammers are requesting social bookmarking of their web site. Search for “digg” and you’ll find people paying for Diggs. Of course, whenever there is a system in place (like social media) that can help drive traffic to a web site, there will be those people who use it to generate traffic for their spam sites. But why are they able to use Amazon Mechanical Turk to do so? Shouldn’t Amazon police the Turk to shut down these spam accounts? Mechanical Turk Still Has Promise, Despite SpammersHowever, this doesn’t mean that Mechanical Turk doesn’t hold any value – it’s still an innovative and useful tool for many. In fact, members of the HCI community (Human Computer Interaction) have begun to use Turk for userresearch studies with great success. This work has inspired others like open source advocate, Chris Messina, to do the same. He plans to use Turk for usability studies on OpenID and OAuth. Since the HITs are spread out among many, the cost of performing these studies is greatly reduced. Being able to crowdsource research is a great way that MT can be used today, and one that will have a big impact on the future, too. Thanks to Brynn Evans, a graduate student in the Department of Cognitive Science at University of California, San Diego for discovering this and thanks to open source advocate Chris Messina for sending it along to us.center_img Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Photo courtesy of Brynn EvansAnyone who uses Amazon’s Mechanical Turk has no doubt come across similar HITs posted by spammers. For example, this guy is requesting someone create 29 social bookmark accounts from 29 sites: A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

PSA Masters: James Willstrop bags title and is crowned No. 1

first_imgEnglishman James Willstrop lifted the PSA Masters trophy in New Delhi on Sunday and to crown himself the top-ranked player in the world, overcoming Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, who conceded a one-game lead and then limped off the court with a hip flexor injury.With the two topranked players in action, the match looked like heading into a tight contest before Gaultier walked off to give Willstrop a 19-21, 11-8, 11-4, 6-1 win in the $ 165,000 tournament at the Siri Fort Sports Complex.There was hardly anything to choose between the two as they refused to give even an inch of space and recorded the longest- ever game in the history of modern squash, which lasted 59 minutes.The 99-minute match opened with the lengthy first game that kept the crowd completely engrossed. The game kept on stretching even as both players had their opportunities to finish it off, exchanging nine game-points.At 15-all, Gaultier covered good ground after a long rally and eventually played with soft hands into the service wall and Willstrop was slow to react. The point left Gaultier just one step away from seizing the game but Willstrop refused to throw in the towel. However, Gaultier continued relentlessly and, with a brilliant backhand, inched closer to winning the game. Another good shot put him 1-0 up.However, the script changed completely in the next game as Willstrop surged to a 4-1 lead. Gaultier, a former World No. 1, did make his way back into the match but all his efforts were thwarted by the Englishman.advertisementThe 29-year-old Gaultier started looking tired and things became easier for Willstrop. With Willstrop just a point away from taking a 2-1 lead, Gaultier took time off to have a look at his leg but the referee insisted that he should continue.Gaultier was just not able to move inside the court after the third game and conceded the match to give Willstrop his third title on the trot.”It’s great to be the World No. 1 and three titles on the trot are just amazing. With victories, rankings improve automatically,” said Willstrop.”The last three months have been exceptionally great for me. The first game felt like an excellent exhibition of quality squash with two top players playing their hearts out. It was a high- intensity match and I could feel that,” he noted.Gaultier was obviously a disappointed man and said he backed himself to win the match after the marathon first game. The Frenchman was backed by a large crowd that had gathered to witness the final. “It’s a shame that I couldn’t even finish the match and had to walk out with the injury,” said Gaultier.”Maybe the intensity of the match was such that I overlooked the pain initially and concentrated too much on my left leg. I just couldn’t even bend my left leg after the third game. I generally take my physio with me but, financially, it wasn’t easy for me to get him here.” Gaultier will celebrate his 29th birthday next Friday and said: “Winning this match here would have been a great gift for me as I have my birthday on December 23, but I guess I will have to wait for another year now,” he said.last_img read more

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 could come with 4K AMOLED display: Reports

first_imgBuzz hasit that the upcoming iteration of Samsung’s Galaxy Note (the Samsung GalaxyNote 5, to be precise) could boast of 4K high resolution display. A new reportby Phone Arena suggests that Samsung is planning to begin mass-production of a 5.9-inchUltra HD (4K) Super AMOLED display with a 700ppi pixel density by August nextyear. The said time frame is in line with the company’s annual Note phabletrelease event (IFA expo in September 2015, as per tradition). To sum it up, thealleged 5.9-inch UHD display with a 2160×3840 pixels resolution could welleventually come to Note 5 upon release.Samsung hadearlier indicated at its Semiconductor and Display Technology Roadmap workshop thatit was working on a QHD (2K) Super AMOLED mobile display panel boasting of560ppi pixel density. Motorola’s new Droid Turbo or Moto Maxx features the samedisplay. Ever since, rumours have been doing the rounds that Samsung has been workingon a UHD (4K) display, with a 2160×3480 pixel (4K) resolution and 860ppi pixeldensity. There is however no word from Samsung over the whole matter.Samsungrecently launched the Galaxy Note 4 phablet. The device features a 5.7 inches QHDSuper AMOLED capacitive touchscreen with a 1440 x 2560 pixels resolution. It ispowered by a 2.7GHz  quad-core QualcommSnapdragon 805 processor coupled with 3GB of RAM. It comes with  32GB of internal storage expandable up to64GB via micro-SD. It sports a 16MP rear camera and a 3.7MP front-facingcamera.last_img read more

Premier visits Five Cays gets standing water pumped out

first_img Recommended for you Related Items:five cays, Mosquitoes, premier rufus ewing, Public Works Department, pump, stagnant water Beaches puts former Premier on blast about controversial pier Bishop says peace & prosperity is everybody’s responsibility at Law Enforcers Church Service Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 05 Nov 2015 – The Premier on Tuesday personally oversaw that standing water in Five Cays was pumped out with the help of the Public Works Department. It has been a cry for weeks that the water left behind by Hurricane Joaquin and compounded by a week of rainy weather was not receding, and the nation’s health minister went to assess the situation for himself. In a media release issued yesterday, the Premier said: “it was determined that the waters were not receding on its own and therefore posed possible threat to the public health environment of that community…” The Premier agreed that the standing water posed a myriad of challenges including inaccessibility, boom in the mosquito population and a threat to healthy water. In order to get that stagnant water pumped out in areas of Five Cays, TCIG had to adapt policy. Hon Dr. Rufus Ewing said: “it signaled to me that there was a need for immediate relief and for an executive decision to be made on an area of policy that currently restricts the personnel to focus on public access primarily.The Premier said the water was pumped out Tuesday. PDA takes rally to Five Cayslast_img read more

Farhad Mazhar quizzed at DB office

first_imgFarhad Mazar. File PhotoWriter-columnist Farhad Mazhar was interrogated at the office of Detective Branch (DB) of police of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) on Tuesday as police found ‘inconsistencies’ in his statement over his ‘kidnapping’, reports UNB.Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) deputy commissioner (Media) Masudur Rahman told UNB that Farhad Mazhar entered the DB office around 12:00pm and came out around 1:15pm.He was called in at the DB office as the information police gathered after investigation did not match the statement he gave before a court, he said.Earlier on Thursday, Inspector General of Police (IGP) AKM Shahidul Hoque said Farhad Mazhar was not abducted as he left home on his own.On 3 July, family members claimed that Farhad Mazhar had been kidnapped by unknown miscreants from Adabar in the capital in the early hours of the day.Later, police found him in a ‘Hanif Paribahan’ bus around 11:30pm on the same day while he was returning to Dhaka from Khulna.Metropolitan Magistrate Ahsan Habib allowed Farhad Mazhar to return home on a bond of Tk 10,000 after recording his statement under section 164 when inspector (Operations) of Adabar police station Sudip Kumar produced Mazhar before the court 4 July.last_img read more

BNP asks AL to apologise to nation for rigging polls

first_imgBangladesh Nationalist Party secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir. File PhotoBNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir has asked his Awami League counterpart Obaidul Quader to seek apology to the nation through a public meeting ‘at any stadium’ for ‘stealing votes’.Fakhrul made the suggestion on Tuesday while speaking with journalists after visiting a party leader in Dhaka Medical College Hospital, who was attacked by miscreants allegedly for campaigning for the BNP during the elections.The BNP leader reiterated his position that they will go for dialogue with the AL only if the cancellation of 11th national parliament is made an agenda of dialogue.Otherwise, Fakhrul said, the BNP and the opposition coalition of Jatiya Oikya Front would not join any such talks.AL general secretary Obaidul Quader on Sunday said prime minister Sheikh Hasina would once again hold talks with the political parties that were invited to the dialogue before the 11th general election. Quader soon on Monday changed his version of statement, claiming that the prime minister would invite them to exchange of greetings at the Ganabhaban.Premier and AL presdient Sheikh Hasina had earlier held talks with leaders of as many as 75 political parties including the Jatiya Oikya Front led by Kamal Hossain and Jukta Front of former president AQM Badruddoza Chowdhury before the 30 December elections.Oikya Front leaders, on many occasions later termed the dialogue fruitless as they complained that the assurance from the prime minister, including for stopping harassment or arrest of any opposition leaders and activists, was not translated into reality.Fakhrul on Monday turned down the dialogue offer, however, saying that they might consider joining the dialogue should the cancellation of the election results and dissolution of parliament is made an agenda.last_img read more

I Know Where Youve Been Digital Spying And Divorce In The Smartphone

first_img Share Stuart Kinlough/Getty ImagesAccording to family lawyers, scorned spouses are increasingly turning to GPS trackers and cheap spyware apps to watch an ex.It was the summer of 2016, and M was worried her ex-husband was stalking her. She would get out of town and stay with friends. But, as she noted in court documents, her ex seemed to know exactly where she was and whom she visited — down to the time of day and street.M started to change the way she drove — slowing down, driving in circles — in case a private investigator was following her. She didn’t see one. Then she went online and learned about GPS trackers — small devices you can slip into a car to monitor where it goes 24/7. She looked for one and couldn’t find any.Weeks later, when she took her car to a local auto shop for maintenance, she asked the mechanic to look. He found the GPS tracker near her front left tire.Digital spy tools like that GPS tracker are changing divorce as we know it. Increasingly, couples are turning to the latest technology to spy on each other as their marriages fall apart, according to dozens of divorce lawyers, investigators and even a leading family court judge whom NPR interviewed. Tools are cheap and easy to use — from something as simple as the Find My iPhone feature to spyware that can be installed in a spouse’s computer, phone, or even a car, as M had discovered.NPR interviewed M, her lawyers and the police sergeant she filed a report with; we also reviewed her court filings and those of her ex-husband. We won’t disclose any of their names or where she lives to protect her identity because she fears for her safety.Back at the mechanic, M looked at the device — it was a small black box. The sales clerk there pushed the button to show that the batteries still had 25 percent to 50 percent energy remaining. Meaning, they had been in use for just a few weeks.That was odd, because M had left her husband nearly a year earlier. But her ex-husband had found a way through technology to stay abreast of her movements. It may sound intrusive, but it was legal.M’s husband acknowledged through a lawyer’s letter and in family court that he had the GPS tracker installed. The sergeant from the police station did a criminal investigation. But, he tells NPR, prosecutors would not prosecute because the car was jointly owned; if it belongs to both of them, the ex had a right to track it.For M, this discovery was profoundly troubling. She described it to NPR in an interview at her lawyer’s office: “I am now fully aware that all of those times that I thought I was keeping myself safe, all of those times that I was leaving town, all of those times that I was staying in different places, staying at friends’ houses, I never was safe.”After discovering the GPS tracker at the mechanic, she went directly to the police precinct to give a statement. NPR reviewed the video recording; M spelled out for the sergeant how it felt to discover she wasn’t going crazy when she suspected that she was being watched.“I’m terrified. I am absolutely terrified,” she said at the precinct, holding back tears. “I might still be functioning. But that doesn’t mean I’m not terrified.”Welcome to divorce in the 21st century — when what it means to be safe and how much privacy you’re entitled to are open questions. M’s case is not unique. NPR talked with dozens of marital experts. They say digital spying is changing divorce as we know it. The tools are abundant. Clients use it in an effort to stay in control after a separation or to gather evidence of extra-marital affairs or drug abuse. But the laws are murky, and law enforcement is lagging far behind.A More Invasive Tool Lawyers say that partners in breakups sometimes install spyware on computers or phones. These are apps that are available for a subscription fee, say $16.99 a month. Once installed, people can see every incoming and outgoing message from the target’s phone, Web searches, even keystrokes — the letters someone is typing, say, when they log into a bank account. And spyware takes just minutes to install.The legality of tracking technology is messy. Parents are allowed to put spyware on a child’s phone or a home computer, for example. But, experts say, putting it on a spouse’s smartphone without consent is generally illegal.Lawyers say they can’t prevent their clients from using digital spying. Some are willing to accept such evidence if legally obtained and will even present it in court to help their client’s case. Other lawyers don’t want to get near it.“I have little power over a client’s curiosity,” says Susan Myers, a family law attorney in Houston. “More often than not, they’ve already done the [illegal] act by the time they show up to my office.” She says her office will not accept it as evidence because then she too would be subject to criminal liability for wiretapping and intercepting electronic communications.Emily Miskel, a family court judge in Collin County, Texas, has a different perspective on what is really happening. “Lawyers are extremely conflicted and confused,” she says. “[They] are put in a position of having to choose between a rock and a hard place, because [their] duty is to zealously advocate for clients which means using every bit of evidence that can help their case.”Not just evidence, but controlM doesn’t think her ex stopped at the GPS tracker. She suspects he used spyware on her phone, in an effort to stay in control. She left him and took their child after, she says, he choked her.In family court — in her affidavits and oral testimony — M laid out her fear of both physical abuse and electronic surveillance. M claimed her ex seemed to know the contents of her text messages — which friends she talked to, even after she left the house.M gave NPR this one example of an unsettling message her ex-husband sent: “I know all of the ways you’ve described me to your friend.” She says snippets of how she described him were then forwarded to her as a text message.Her ex has denied all allegations. And the judge focused on the physical charges, like choking, rather than on the digital spying allegations.With her suspicions raised after discovering the GPS tracker, M went to an Apple store for help locating spyware on her phone. She says the Genius Bar employees didn’t look for the spyware; instead they helped her by swapping the device for a brand new one. But that meant that the evidence, if any, went along with the phone. This is common in spyware cases, in which victims solve the immediate problem but can’t present proof for an investigation.What the data showIn 2012, the last time the Justice Department attempted to quantify stalking, it estimated that 1.5 percent of all adults in the U.S. were victims. That figure more than doubled — to 3.3 percent — for people who were divorced or separated.An even earlier DOJ survey of stalking victims in 2005 and 2006 found that electronic monitoring of some kind was used on one in 13 victims. This was before iPhones and the smartphone era.Criminal prosecutions and civil lawsuits over digital stalking remain, however, few and far between. Experts say a huge barrier to criminal prosecution is that local police cannot or will not investigate. People who believe they are victims have to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket to get a private investigator who specializes in digital forensics to diagnose their smartphones or laptops. It’s far cheaper to just wipe out a hard drive or trade in a device — as in M’s case — than to document that a crime has occurred.NPR reviewed two dozen cases that have made their way into criminal or civil courts and found that punishments are uneven for use of spying tools. In a 2007 case, a man in Austin, Texas, who used software called SpyRecon against his wife got a four-year prison sentence. Meanwhile in 2011, an appeals court found that a Minnesota man who used a GPS tracker on his wife did not break the law because she was not the sole owner of their car (similar to M’s case).Randy Kessler, an attorney based in Atlanta, says candidly about his clients: “I see it in their eyes. I tell them: ‘Don’t do it.’ But they still do it. And you know personally, if it was in my life, I’d be tempted.” NPR intern Mollie Simon contributed to this report.Copyright 2018 KERA. To see more, visit KERA.last_img read more