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  • India monsoons below 'normal' baseline amid water crisis

    India monsoons below 'normal' baseline amid water crisisIndia's weather agency said Monday it was set to cut estimates for average monsoon rainfall after decades of below-normal downpours, with climate change causing greater variations. The South Asian nation is grappling with a severe water crisis, with emergency supplies sent to Chennai after the drought-hit southern city saw only a fraction of the rain it usually receives during June and July. The India Meteorological Department climate research chief Sivananda Pai said the country was in the middle of a multi-decadal epoch of low rainfall.


  • India launches 'historic' flight bound for the moon

    India launches 'historic' flight bound for the moonDays after the U.S. celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first human steps on the moon, India launched an unmanned flight bound for the far side.


  • The Astronomical Costs of the Apollo 11 Moon Mission

    The Astronomical Costs of the Apollo 11 Moon MissionIt was one small step for man, one giant bill for America.


  • 'Hot Zone' writer Richard Preston revisits Ebola virus in ominous 'Crisis in the Red Zone'

    'Hot Zone' writer Richard Preston revisits Ebola virus in ominous 'Crisis in the Red Zone'"The Hot Zone" writer Richard Preston revisits the Ebola virus in the fantastic and ominous "Crisis in the Red Zone."


  • Philips Rejigs Plants in China to Counter Fallout From Trade War

    Philips Rejigs Plants in China to Counter Fallout From Trade War(Bloomberg) -- Royal Philips NV, the Dutch maker of goods ranging from medical scanners to electric toothbrushes, is shifting production to China and strengthening local supply chains as an antidote to the trade war with the U.S.With double-digit growth in China in the second quarter, the company can’t afford to miss out on state investment in the latest diagnostic equipment as well as orders from an emerging private health-care industry.Philips is bracing for an additional 20 million-euro ($22 million) burden when the next batch of announced tariffs come into force, spurring Chief Executive Officer Frans van Houten to redraw the company’s global footprint. The company had produced all its respiratory masks in China, for example, but will soon begin making them in the Americas as well. Likewise, it will produce more ultrasound equipment in China to meet demand there, sidestepping tariffs.“We are moving towards a regional manufacturing hub strategy as we manufacture in each of these large continents, making us more responsive than we might have been before,” Van Houten said in a Bloomberg Television interview.Van Houten is keen to contain the fallout from the trade war that’s hit a cross-section of industries from cars to chemicals. BASF SE’s profit warning earlier this month highlighted how intricate global supply chains are being disrupted. The Philips CEO signaled that the China-U.S. situation remains at the top of his concerns for this year, yet he still predicted a stronger second half.The Amsterdam-based company hit the top end of its sales growth target range of 6% in the second quarter, it said Monday, beating analysts’ estimates.The shares rose as much as 4.6%, the biggest intraday gain in 15 months. Prior to today, they had climbed 26% this year, while rival Siemens Healthineers lost 2% as it struggled with its blood testing platform Atellica.Tariffs are affecting a broad range of Philips’ products that flow between China and the U.S., while factories and assembly lines must also contend with duties on many components, Van Houten said.The CEO is betting the trade workaround, investment in innovation and an efficiency drive will see the company through any economic slowdown. New products are reinvigorating Philips’s Personal Health unit, which makes electric toothbrushes, shavers and equipment to help with sleep and respiratory disorders. Sales at the segment grew by 5%.\--With assistance from Nejra Cehic and Manus Cranny.To contact the reporter on this story: Ellen Proper in Amsterdam at eproper@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tara Patel at tpatel2@bloomberg.net, Andrew Noël, Frank ConnellyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • Colorectal cancer cases on the rise among younger adults: study

    Colorectal cancer cases on the rise among younger adults: studyNew US research has found that rates of colorectal cancer in American adults under the age of 50 are increasing. Carried out by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin, the new study looked at information gathered from the National Cancer Database registry, which includes more than 70 percent of new cancer cases in the United States, to look at trends in colorectal cancer cases since 1970. The findings, published in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, showed that the number of American adults diagnosed with colorectal cancer under age 50 has continued to increase over the past decade, rising from 10 percent in 2004 to 12.2 percent in 2015.


  • Thai farmers asked to delay rice planting as drought bites

    Thai farmers asked to delay rice planting as drought bitesThe Thai government has asked farmers to delay planting rice because of drought and the pumping of water from reservoirs for irrigation threatens household supplies, an agriculture ministry official said on Monday. Farmers in the world's second-biggest rice exporter usually plant their main crop in May, the beginning of the rainy season, for harvest between August and October. The government is considering measures such as cloud seeding to try to bring rain but in the meantime, farmers have been asked to hold off.


  • Portugal firefighters control wildfires, but warn of strong winds

    Portugal firefighters control wildfires, but warn of strong windsMação (Portugal) (AFP) - Portuguese firefighters were cautiously optimistic Monday that they have largely controlled a massive wildfire in a central region where dozens of people were killed in huge blazes in 2017, but warned that strong winds could cause the remaining flames to spread. Some 1,200 firefighters backed by five water-dropping planes were deployed to fight the blazes in the heavily forested Castelo Branco region, 200 kilometres (120 miles) northeast of the capital Lisbon, the civil protection force said. The wildfires have been "90 percent controlled" but winds were expected to pick up in the afternoon, with gusts of up to 35 kilometres per hour expected which could fan the flames and cause them to spread, the force's spokesman Pedro Nunes told a news conference in the central town of Serta.


  • Trump administration's 'scientific oppression' threatens US safety and innovation

    Trump administration's 'scientific oppression' threatens US safety and innovationEvery time there is delay, suppression or manipulation of government science, Americans pay the price in their daily lives. Congress must act.


  • India launches moon mission a week after it was aborted

    India launches moon mission a week after it was abortedIndia successfully launched an unmanned spacecraft to the far side of the moon on Monday, a week after aborting the mission due to a technical problem. Scientists at the mission control center burst into applause as the rocket lifted off in clear weather as scheduled at 2:43 p.m. from Sriharikota in southern India. K. Sivan, head of India's space agency, said the rocket successfully injected the spacecraft into orbit.


  • Tencent Teams Up With Nintendo-Backed Pokemon to Create Games

    Tencent Teams Up With Nintendo-Backed Pokemon to Create Games(Bloomberg) -- Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Pokemon Co. will jointly develop games, an alliance that may help the Nintendo Co.-backed company crack the world’s largest mobile gaming arena.Tencent, whose WeChat social media service is used by more than a billion people across China, said its TiMi Studio Group will take the lead in developing titles with the Japanese company behind the popular monster-hunting franchise. The two have struck a broad agreement on collaboration, Tencent said in a post on its official Weibo blog without elaborating.The social media giant could prove a strong ally for Nintendo and Pokemon Co. in China, where local titles dominate and gamers have shunned consoles in favor of smartphones and PCs. Developers there have also complained of rampant piracy, where popular titles tend to trigger a wave of copy-cats.Tencent’s own “Let’s Hunt Monsters” has drawn fire for adopting many features of viral phenom ‘Pokemon Go,’ from the use of real-world locations to how players toss balls to capture monsters. The title has consistently ranked among the 30 highest-grossing apps in China, according to researcher Sensor Tower.Pokemon Co., in which Nintendo owns a significant stake, is looking to follow up on its surprise hit Pokemon Go, which created a sensation in the gaming community by letting users hunt monsters and prizes in the real world with their smartphones. In May, it unveiled several new initiatives at an event in Tokyo, including a Detective Pikachu sequel for the Switch console and a new device for tracking sleep.Tencent, in turn, gains a strong franchise to bolster its international presence. The Chinese company seeks growth beyond China and its executives have been keen to assuage game developers’ concerns about intellectual property infringement.“While Tencent has focused mostly on China in the past, we are now looking at the gaming sector with a much more global perspective,” TiMi executive Vincent Gao said in an interview in June. “This will make the company pay better attention to IP protection.”To contact the reporter on this story: Lulu Yilun Chen in Hong Kong at ychen447@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at echan273@bloomberg.net, Lulu Yilun ChenFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • Number of overweight children rises by a fifth because of lazy summer holidays spent staring at screens

    Number of overweight children rises by a fifth because of lazy summer holidays spent staring at screensObesity levels are soaring over school summer holidays because children are spending four hours a day staring at their screens, research suggests.  A study of 400 children found that just six weeks’ holidays was enough to reverse major fitness gains - and increase the number of overweight and obese children by one fifth. The British study by ukactive found that during the academic year, the pupils aged nine and ten made steady improvements in their fitness levels.   But around 80 per cent of gains were reversed during lazy summer holidays, in which PE lessons and walks to school were replaced with long days hunched over gadgets. At the start of the summer, 20 per cent of participants were overweight or obese.  But just six weeks later, the figure was 24 per cent. It came as a survey involving more than 1,000 families found that children were spending an average of 174 hours on gadgets, games consoles or watching television over the six weeks - an average of more than four hours’ screen time daily.  The research by Sainsbury’s came as the supermarket giant launched a chain of summer camps, costing £7.50 a day, offering children sports such as tennis, cricket, dodgetball and football, as well as arts and crafts.  The 70 clubs, based mainly in schools, which also serve a healthy lunch and snacks, are aimed at those aged five to 15 and are run by holiday club provider Premier Education. Judith Batchelar, director of Sainsbury’s Brand, said: “We know from speaking to parents that the summer holidays can be a difficult time to keep kids active and entertained without having to spend a fortune.  “Our Active Kids holiday clubs are designed to help by giving children the chance to try a variety of exciting new activities whilst meeting new friends and keeping their fitness levels up during the summer holidays. We hope children taking part in a club this summer continue to keep up with their new hobbies and head back to school with a spring in their step.”   Chairman of ukactive, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, backed the plans. She said: “We have a national crisis with our children’s health, as today’s generation is the least active in history. This situation is magnified during the school summer holidays, where children lose up to 80 per cent of their fitness levels across the six week break.” Tam Fry, from the National Obesity Forum, said too many children were being allowed a stream of junk food during the holidays, with childminders and grandparents falling prey to “pester power”. om speaking to DH, it seems 20 million could get same day appt with pharmacist for minor issues. Earlier this month fitness leaders said schools should be kept open all summer, running sports clubs, in a bid to tackle Britain's growing obesity crisis. They urged ministers to fund a new programme which would give children access to sporting facilities and playing fields throughout the holidays. Sports leaders called on the Treasury to take action to tackle record levels of obesity and inactivity. Almost 40 per cent of all sports facilities in England sit behind school gates - but most of these cannot be accessed during school holidays, they warned.   Women's Sport newsletter in-article


  • India Moon Rocket Blasts Off in Mission to Reach South Pole

    India Moon Rocket Blasts Off in Mission to Reach South Pole(Bloomberg) -- India successfully launched its second mission to the moon on Monday, a week after a technical snag forced the South Asian nation to postpone the attempt.The unmanned Chandrayaan-2, which means “moon vehicle” in Sanskrit, was launched at 2:43 p.m. local time from a tiny barrier island in southeastern India. The country is attempting to become the first nation to land on the south pole of Earth’s closest neighbor.A second attempt just days after the failed one is sooner than some experts predicted, underscoring India’s confidence in the project spearheaded by the nation’s equivalent of NASA. Another failure would have been a further setback to the effort that takes place five decades after man first walked on the moon.The mission also highlights Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s renewed focus on space exploration since he came to power more than five years ago. Several countries, as well as billionaires Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Richard Branson, are competing in an unofficial space race, from launching satellites to sending astronauts and paying tourists into space.“What would make every Indian overjoyed is the fact that Chandrayaan2 is a fully indigenous mission,” Modi said in a Twitter post after the launch. “Thanks to Chandrayaan, India’s lunar program will get a substantial boost. Our existing knowledge of the Moon will be significantly enhanced.”India plans to send a mission to study the sun next year, another to Venus three years later, and eventually establish its own space station. It is also working on a $1.4 billion Gaganyaan mission, which aims to put three Indian “gaganauts” -- at least one of which will be a woman -- into orbit. The nation, which sent an orbiter to Mars at about a 10th of the cost of NASA’s Maven probe, launched a record 104 satellites in 2017.India is seeking to join an elite club of the former Soviet Union, the U.S. and China in making a soft landing on the moon, in which vehicles touch down without damage. The spacecraft is scheduled to land in 48 days, officials said.“Not only ISRO, not only India, the entire globe was waiting for this particular mission’s success and now we achieved,” K. Sivan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation, said after the launch as scientists hugged each other in celebration. “On the D-day, we are going to experience 15 minutes of terror to ensure that landing is safely near the south pole.”Two Chandrayaan modules -- an orbiter and a lander -- are stacked together inside a launcher equipped to lift heavy satellites into orbit, while a third module, a lunar rover, is supposed to roll out on landing and operate for at least 14 days on the surface.The Moon is the Next Frontier in Rivalry Between China and U.S.The aim is to explore virgin territory on the lunar surface and analyze crust samples for signs of water and helium-3. That isotope is limited on Earth yet so abundant on the moon that it theoretically could meet global energy demands for 250 years if harnessed.The launch and the satellite together cost 8 billion rupees ($116 million). India has specialized in low-cost space launches since the early 1960s, when rocket sections were transported by bicycle and assembled by hand inside St. Mary Magdalene Church in Thumba, a fishing village near the tip of the Indian peninsula.(Adds Modi’s comments in fifth paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Ganesh Nagarajan in Chennai at gnagarajan1@bloomberg.net;Anurag Kotoky in New Delhi at akotoky@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at ycho2@bloomberg.net, Ville Heiskanen, Abhay SinghFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • Portugal wildfires '90 percent' under control

    Portugal wildfires '90 percent' under controlSertã (Portugal) (AFP) - Huge wildfires that have ravaged a mountainous region of central Portugal and left dozens injured have been "90 percent" controlled, firefighters said Monday, but warned that strong winds could cause the flames to spread. Over 1,700 firefighters were deployed to fight the blazes in the heavily forested Castelo Branco region, 200 kilometres (120 miles) north of Lisbon. The fires have been "90 percent controlled", Pedro Nunes, the spokesman for Portugal's civil protection force, told a news conference in the central town of Serta.


  • India launches Chandrayaan spacecraft in bid to become fourth country on the Moon

    India launches Chandrayaan spacecraft in bid to become fourth country on the MoonIndia launched a bid to become a leading space power on Monday, sending up a rocket to put a craft on the surface of the Moon in what it called a "historic day" for the nation. Chandrayaan-2 - or Moon Chariot 2 - took off on time at 2:43 pm (0913 GMT) from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre on an island off the coast of Andhra Pradesh state. Applause broke out in the mission control room as the rocket blasted off into the grey skies over the Indian Ocean and mission control announced that the orbiter had broken away from the rocket with no problem. "Today is a historic day for space, science and tech in India," Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief K. Sivan said. The launch came a week after a fuel leak forced a previous attempt to be scrubbed 56 minutes before the scheduled blast-off. The South Asian nation is bidding to follow Russia, the United States and China in landing a spacecraft on the Moon. President Ram Nath Kovind watched the launch alongside 7,000 dignitaries and flag-waving children. The rocket carried an orbiter, a lander and a rover, and has been almost entirely designed and made in India. The 2.4-tonne (5,300-pound) orbiter is expected to circle the Moon for about a year, taking images of the surface, looking for signs of water, and studying the atmosphere. It is scheduled to land around September 6 Credit: Arun Sankar/AFP The lander - named after Vikram A. Sarabhai, the father of India's space programme - will carry the rover and be placed on the surface near the lunar South Pole. The operation is expected to take place in early September. ISRO scientists will remotely control the rover named Pragyaan - "wisdom" in Sanskrit - as it carries out experiments. It will work for one lunar day, the equivalent of 14 Earth days, studying rocks and soil on the Moon's surface. Former NASA scientist Kumar Krishen said India's space agency should be praised for taking on ambitious projects such Chandrayaan-2. "We should keep in mind that space exploration is risky as many systems have failed in the past and many lives lost," he told AFP. Aside from propelling India into the rarefied company of spacefaring nations, Chandrayaan-2 also stands out because of its low cost. The unmanned probe aims to be the first to land on the Moon's unexplored southern pole region Credit: Arun Sankar/AFP About $140 million (£112m) has been spent on preparations for the mission, a much smaller price tag compared with similar missions by other countries. The United States - which is marking the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong becoming the first human on the Moon - spent the equivalent of more than $100 billion on its Apollo missions. Chandrayaan-2, and India's space programme as a whole, are a source of national pride. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has vowed to send a manned mission into orbit by 2022, and India also hopes to seek out lucrative commercial satellite and orbiting deals. The new mission comes almost 11 years after the launch of India's first lunar mission - Chandrayaan-1 - which orbited the Moon and searched for water.


  • Take Nyquil When You Can't Sleep? You May Want To Read This First.

    Take Nyquil When You Can't Sleep? You May Want To Read This First.There are some consequences to using over-the-counter medicine to help you drift off.


  • French journalists arrested at Australia anti-coal protest

    French journalists arrested at Australia anti-coal protestA French television crew filming a protest against a newly approved Indian-owned coal mine was arrested by Australian police Monday and charged with trespassing. Construction of the Adani project near the Great Barrier Reef has been under fierce debate for almost a decade, with environmentalists warning that fossil fuels damage the climate. France 2 reporter Hugo Clement and three members of his film crew were among seven people arrested at the demonstration, at a coal-loading facility for the mine in central Queensland state.


  • India's moon mission lifts off, hopes to probe lunar south pole

    India's moon mission lifts off, hopes to probe lunar south poleSRIHARIKOTA/BENGALURU, India (Reuters) - India launched a rocket into space on Monday in an attempt to safely land a rover on the moon, its most ambitious mission yet in the effort to establish itself as a low-cost space power. If successful, the $146 million mission will allow Indian scientists to carry out studies on the presence of water at the moon's south pole, unexplored by any other nation before. "This mission will offer new knowledge about the Moon," Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, praising the scientists responsible for what he called a fully indigenous mission.


  • Trump tweeted heartlessly about Ebola in 2014. He's ill-equipped to handle 2019 outbreak.

    Trump tweeted heartlessly about Ebola in 2014. He's ill-equipped to handle 2019 outbreak.The Ebola epidemic in Congo looms as a potential crisis in America. And Donald Trump is singularly ill-equipped to deal with this in a rational way.


  • Trading Frenzy Grips China’s New Stock Venue After Big IPO Gains

    Trading Frenzy Grips China’s New Stock Venue After Big IPO Gains(Bloomberg) -- They propelled a little-known semiconductor manufacturer to a 521% surge, traded a mid-sized railway company 13 times more feverishly than the world’s largest bank and valued a chipmaking-gear producer at an eye-watering 730 times earnings.Chinese investors greeted the opening of the country’s Nasdaq-style equity market with a frenzied burst of trading on Monday, driving gains in all 25 companies that made their debut. The stocks jumped an average 140% at the close in Shanghai, even as most slipped from their intraday highs. About 48.5 billion yuan ($7.1 billion) of shares changed hands on the so-called Star board, or about 13% of turnover in the rest of the market.The new venue is China’s latest attempt to avoid losing the next Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. or Tencent Holdings Ltd. to exchanges in New York or Hong Kong. Endorsement from top officials helped generate such enthusiasm that firms raised a combined $5.4 billion, about 20% more than planned. Demand from retail investors has outstripped supply by an average 1,800 times, even as some analysts voiced concern over lofty valuations.“Gains were much stronger than expected, either due to unreasonable IPO pricing or speculative trading,” said Zhu Junchun, a Shanghai-based analyst with Lianxun Securities Co. “It’s going to be a liquidity game in the first half year or one year of trading. Judging by the trading activity and gains on the board, it’s definitely a success.”The board is also a testing ground for regulators, who have waived rules on valuations and debut-day price limits for the first time since 2014. The venue is the only one in China to welcome companies that have yet to make a profit, as well as shares with unequal voting rights. The Shanghai stock exchange will create an index tracking the firms about two weeks after the 30th listing starts trading.Shares on the Star board have no daily price limits for the first five trading days, followed by a 20% cap in either direction. To limit volatility, the venue suspends activity for 10 minutes if a stock moves by 30% and then 60% from the opening price in the first five trading days, a wider band than the rest of the stock market. Only certain qualified foreign investors can buy the stocks directly, as there’s no access through trading links with Hong Kong.The first batch of listings included China Railway Signal & Communication Corporation Ltd., whose Hong Kong shares sank on huge volume as traders switched into the A shares. Advanced Micro-Fabrication Equipment Inc., which was the most expensive listing of the batch, jumped as much as 331%. Its 171 multiple compared with an average of 53 times for the group, and 33 for similar stocks on other Chinese venues.Despite the hype, there are questions about whether the excitement will give way to the lukewarm sentiment that’s blanketing the world’s second-largest equity market. On the other hand, a sustained period of ultra-high demand risks draining funds from other exchanges, where volumes are shrinking. The Shanghai Composite Index fell 1.3% on Monday, while the ChiNext Index was down 1.7%.It’s not the first time China has sought to create an alternative venue for smaller companies. The ChiNext board was launched in Shenzhen almost a decade ago with fewer listing requirements than the main venues. The tech-heavy exchange was at the center of a spectacular boom and bust in 2015 that burned hordes of novice traders. Officials will be keen to avoid such extreme volatility -- the ChiNext remains more than 60% below its peak four years ago.“I’m not going to participate in the Star board anytime soon,” said Qu Shaohua, managing director at Acroguardian Investment Co. “With prices at these levels it will take quite a long time for the market to fully digest the current valuation and adjust to a reasonable price.”The Star board’s launch dovetails with Beijing’s pledge to boost direct financing for companies struggling to raise funds, and has taken on added significance as heightened trade tensions with the U.S. threaten China’s technology supply chain.“I would say that the launch is a success,” said Fu Lichun, an analyst at Northeast Securities. “People are indeed quite enthusiastic, and maybe got a little over-excited at the open.”\--With assistance from Irene Huang, Lujia Yu, Fox Hu, Ken Wang, Ludi Wang and Michael Patterson.To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Evelyn Yu in Shanghai at yyu263@bloomberg.net;April Ma in Beijing at ama112@bloomberg.net;Amanda Wang in Shanghai at twang234@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sofia Horta e Costa at shortaecosta@bloomberg.net;Sam Mamudi at smamudi@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • Asahi Suffers $2 Billion Hangover on Overseas Beer Expansion

    Asahi Suffers $2 Billion Hangover on Overseas Beer Expansion(Bloomberg) -- Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. is already getting a headache from its $11 billion Australian foray.Japan’s biggest brewer, seeking to escape a slow-growing, aging market at home, is buying the Australian assets of Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, which owns iconic but low-priced beers such as Victoria Bitter. To do so, Asahi will double its debt load and issue about 10% more in new shares. That’s becoming a hangover for investors, who lopped $2 billion from the brewer’s market value on Monday.The deal is the latest in an overseas buying spree by Asahi, which picked up Fuller, Smith & Turner Plc’s brewing business for $330 million earlier this year and made a $11 billion push into Europe two years ago. The Japanese brewer, along with Kirin Holdings Co. and Sapporo Holdings Ltd., has seen domestic beer shipments decline for 14 straight years as fewer people reach legal drinking age. To stay ahead of rivals, Asahi now appears to be more willing to weigh down its balance sheet.“The question is whether Asahi can effectively manage the business, while improving profits and cash flows,” said Toshiyasu Ohashi, chief credit analyst at Daiwa Securities Group Inc., who added that Asahi’s credit profile will be hurt as debt grows faster than cash flow. “Can they generate synergies, and can they improve their financials after the deal?”Shares of Asahi dropped 8.9% in Tokyo trading on Monday, the biggest decline since 2011. The stock was up 18% this year before the deal with AB InBev was announced on Friday.Asahi said it’s securing a 1.2 trillion yen ($11.1 billion) bridge loan and selling 200 billion yen worth of shares to pay for AB InBev’s Melbourne-based Carlton & United Breweries. The Japanese brewer is already on the hook for about 1 trillion yen in interest-bearing debt. The company is betting that cash from the Australian business will help pay down debt. The purchase may lift Asahi’s per-share earnings by as much as 20%, according to SMBC Nikko Securities.There are already early signs of concern over Asahi’s creditworthiness. Moody’s Japan placed the company’s ratings on review for downgrade on Monday, saying the deal will “significantly raise Asahi’s financial leverage.” Rating & Investment Information Inc. said it would place the brewer on its rating monitor with a view to downgrading.A representative for Tokyo-based Asahi declined to comment on Monday.The timing of Asahi’s 200 billion yen share sale isn’t ideal, either. That figure represents about a fifth of total equity issued in Japan this year. Companies have issued 1.1 trillion yen of stock so far, down 43% from the same period last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.Asahi has been here before. In 2016, it agreed to buy European beers including Peroni, Grolsch and Pilsner Urquell in two transactions from AB InBev for about $11 billion. Since then, the Japanese brewer’s shares have climbed more than 30%, making it easier for Chief Executive Officer Akiyoshi Koji to justify the latest deal to shareholders.What Bloomberg Opinion Says“Asahi is paying a hefty price, almost 15 times the business’s $760 million of Ebitda in 2018. By comparison, Asahi, Kirin Holdings Co. Ltd. and Sapporo Holdings Ltd. trade on an average of about 11 times.”Andrea Felsted, consumer and retail columnistClick here to read the pieceAsahi said the Carlton purchase would give it greater access to distribution across the Australian market, letting it cross-sell its own brands, including Super Dry and Peroni. “Australia is an attractive market enjoying sustainable economic growth,” the brewer said in a statement.Tomonobu Tsunoyama, an analyst at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co. in Tokyo, agreed. “It’s a mature market, but in terms of making money from premium brands, Australia is very similar to eastern Europe,” he said.Even so, total beer consumption in Australia has more than halved in the past four decades, to 84 liters per person a year, while lower-alcohol brews make up one fifth of the total. With total alcohol consumption declining, InBev had been pushing weaker ales on Australians.“The Australian market is very high margin, but very slow growth,” said Duncan Fox, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst.Carlton’s portfolio of beers, which account for almost half the Australian market, has something for almost any palate. The collection is built on the 165-year-old Victoria Bitter, still portrayed as the brew of choice for hot and thirsty Aussie laborers, but also includes foreign brands such as Stella Artois and Beck’s. InBev has in recent years added craft beers including 4 Pines, which is made in the Sydney beachside suburb of Manly.Although Carlton fits with Asahi’s long-term strategy, it’s unlikely to deliver benefits beyond the continent, according to Naomi Takagi, an analyst at SMBC Nikko Securities.“The deal is unlikely to lead to expansion in other countries and thus synergies look thin,” Takagi wrote in a research note.(Updates shares, Australian market figures.)\--With assistance from Shiho Takezawa, Angus Whitley and Takashi Nakamichi.To contact the reporter on this story: Kantaro Komiya in Tokyo at kkomiya4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Rachel Chang at wchang98@bloomberg.net, Reed Stevenson, Jeff SutherlandFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • Should You Start Colorectal Cancer Screening Before Age 50?

    Should You Start Colorectal Cancer Screening Before Age 50?People should begin screening for colorectal cancer at age 45, according to guidelines released last year by the American Cancer Society. Previous guidance from the ACS, as well as guidelines rel...


  • Should You Start Colorectal Cancer Screening Before Age 50?

    Should You Start Colorectal Cancer Screening Before Age 50?People should begin screening for colorectal cancer at age 45, according to guidelines released last year by the American Cancer Society. Previous guidance from the ACS, as well as guidelines rel...


  • Funds managing $2 trillion urge cement makers to act on climate impact

    Funds managing $2 trillion urge cement makers to act on climate impactEuropean funds managing $2 trillion in assets called on cement companies to slash their greenhouse gas emissions on Monday, warning that a failure to do so could put their business models at risk. With the extreme weather and natural disasters associated with climate change intensifying around the world, some asset managers are ramping up engagement with heavy polluters to demand a faster transition to a cleaner economy. “The cement sector needs to dramatically reduce the contribution it makes to climate change," said Stephanie Pfeifer, chief executive of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, which has more than 170 members, mainly European pension funds and asset managers.


  • Opponents of Hawaii telescope gather for protest march

    Opponents of Hawaii telescope gather for protest marchHundreds of opponents of a planned telescope on Hawaii's highest peak have gathered for a protest march. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports that activists opposed to the Thirty Meter Telescope started marching Sunday morning in Waikiki. Last week, hundreds of protesters blocked a road on the Big Island to stop construction of the $1.4 billion telescope on Mauna Kea.


  • Spacesuits have been bulky since before Apollo 11. A skintight design may change that

    Spacesuits have been bulky since before Apollo 11. A skintight design may change thatThe iconic, but bulky, spacesuit worn by Neil Armstrong hasn't drastically changed in decades. A skintight design may change that.


  • Wanna Bet $1.3 Trillion on Chinese Regulators?

    Wanna Bet $1.3 Trillion on Chinese Regulators?(Bloomberg Opinion) -- If you hold shares in New York-listed Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., you don’t own a stake in a Chinese internet powerhouse.What you have are the American depositary receipts of a Cayman Islands company that has a contract with the Chinese firm. In fact, the country’s largest search and e-commerce provider(1)is ultimately controlled by Alibaba Partnership, a collection of 38 people, most of whom hold senior positions in the company.This business structure, called a variable-interest entity, became common among Chinese companies because Beijing restricts foreign investment in certain sectors, such as the internet. It also enables firms to raise money abroad and lets early investors get their funds out of the country. Tencent Holdings Ltd., Meituan Dianping and Baidu Inc. all hew to various versions of the VIE, allowing them to exploit a gap in Chinese law.In total, almost $1.3 trillion in market capitalization is linked to Chinese VIEs listed outside the mainland, according to U.S. credit-ratings provider Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC.For now, these companies aren’t doing anything illegal and Beijing hasn’t seen the need to close this loophole. Keeping VIEs operating in a gray area gives policymakers the flexibility to crack down at will. But as the trade war intensifies, China has a growing incentive to keep its tech giants, and their cash, at home. In that light, it’s not inconceivable that officials would take steps to eliminate the structure, even if it spooks foreign investors.For years, knowledge that the Chinese government could take action at any time hung a legal cloud over VIEs. S&P previously accounted for such risk among VIEs operating in sensitive businesses, such as Alibaba and Tencent, though not for others in more mundane areas like retail.In a report last week, analysts Clifford Kurz and Sophie Lin wrote that recent changes in China’s foreign-investment law make no mention of VIEs, after an earlier draft sought to prohibit them. S&P interprets this to mean that concerns have diminished. I understand their reasoning, but disagree with the conclusion.Silence is certainly better than an explicit ban. Yet having a gray area within an opaque legal system simply puts such companies and investors at the whim of policymakers. There may indeed be a lack of incentive to dismantle VIEs today, and doing so probably would hurt foreign-investor sentiment. Neither factor amounts to much if Beijing one day gets fed up with Chinese companies using overseas listings as a way to get their assets offshore.This year alone, 31 Chinese companies chose to raise almost $6 billion by listing in the U.S. Not because they get better valuations there, but because founders and VCs know a public offering in China would give them illiquid assets subject to capital controls. Beijing has tried all sorts of things to encourage its companies to list at home, the latest being the SSE STAR Market – a Nasdaq-style tech board – for which regulators eased rules to attract interest. Yet as my colleague Nisha Gopalan wrote recently, Chinese companies still want to raise dollars, both to fund expansion and give Western venture-capital firms a hard-currency exit.If such carrots keep failing, Beijing could very well bring out sticks. Given the state of U.S.-China relations, there’s little reason to believe policymakers will prioritize the concerns of foreign investors over its own desire to prevent capital flight.This means that in assessing VIEs, foreign investors need to consider whether they’re willing to leave $1.3 trillion to the whims of a Chinese legal gray area.(1) Alibaba's revenue primarily comes from sellers paying to get elevated in search results on its platforms.To contact the author of this story: Tim Culpan at tculpan1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Rachel Rosenthal at rrosenthal21@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tim Culpan is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. He previously covered technology for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • 'Flesh-eating' bacteria: Here's how you can avoid contracting necrotizing fasciitis

    'Flesh-eating' bacteria: Here's how you can avoid contracting necrotizing fasciitisAcross the U.S., there appears to be a rise in cases of people contracting 'flesh-eating' bacteria. Experts weigh in on the cause of the bacteria and what families can do to stay safe while enjoying the rest of summer vacation.


  • Europe space agency to join new race to the moon

    Europe space agency to join new race to the moonEurope is to launch a spacecraft to the Moon as it seeks to become a contender in the new space race that has taken off 50 years after the historic US lunar mission.  The Paris-based European Space Agency (ESA) is to land a a robotic rover on the lunar surface rather than astronauts, but says it will eventually send manned missions. After Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the Moon, the initial craze for lunar exploration waned. Enthusiasm has been boosted again by cheaper technology and the increasing involvement of private companies such as SpaceX and Virgin Galactic, which are planning to send tourists into orbit within a few years.  ESA is working with the Canadian and Japanese space agencies to prepare its Heracles Moon mission, to be carried out in the mid to late 2020s. It marks a change in direction for the agency, which had primarily focussed on the scientific aspects of space exploration since it was founded by 22 European countries, including the UK, in 1975.   ESA’s rover will “scout the terrain in preparation for the future arrival of astronauts, and deliver lunar samples to Earth,” the agency said. The rover will use the future Lunar Gateway, a space station to be placed in orbit around the Moon by Nasa and ESA in the 2020s, as a staging post. A small lander carrying a rover, weighing about 1,800kg (3,968lb) in total, will descend on to the Moon’s surface, monitored by astronauts in the Gateway. NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan, Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and Luca Parmitano of European Space Agency (ESA) pose after their final news conference ahead of their launch to the International Space Station (ISS), at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, July 19, 2019 Credit: Reuters An ascent module will take off from the Moon and return to the Gateway carrying back samples taken by the rover. The moon samples collected by the Heracles rover will be flown back to Earth on the Orion manned spacecraft under development by Nasa and ESA. “Goals include testing new hardware, demonstrating technology and gaining experience in operations while strengthening international partnerships in exploration,” ESA said on its website. “Heracles will demonstrate these technologies and prove their value for humans. Later missions will include a pressurised rover driven by astronauts.” The European plan follows China’s landing on the far side of the Moon in January.  Both China and the US are planning  new manned missions to the Moon - and eventually Mars - reviving memories of the Cold War space rivalry between the US and the Soviet Union. The US is planning to land the first woman on the Moon by 2024.  India is also about to launch its Chandryaan-2 Moon mission on Monday, after aborting it just an hour before take-off on July 15.   Israel’s non-profit company SpaceIL has abandoned plans for a second moonshot after its original mission crash-landed in April.


  • Why You Experience Blood Glucose Lows When Training for a New Sport

    Why You Experience Blood Glucose Lows When Training for a New SportThe author shares why you require more glucose when you are training for a new sport when you have diabetes.


  • The Problem With Using HbA1C as the Only Indicator of Diabetes Control

    The Problem With Using HbA1C as the Only Indicator of Diabetes ControlThis is why it can be problematic to rely on your HbA1C as the only indicator of your glycemic control.


  • Conspiracy theorist punched by Buzz Aldrin still insists moon landing was fake

    Conspiracy theorist punched by Buzz Aldrin still insists moon landing was fakeBart Sibrel, a filmmaker and conspiracy theorist punched by Buzz Aldrin, has centered his career around disproving the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969.


  • Original moon landing tapes fetch $1.82 million at New York auction

    Original moon landing tapes fetch $1.82 million at New York auctionOriginal videotapes of the Apollo 11 moon landing which a NASA intern bought for $217.77 (£174.14) were sold for $1.82 million at a Sotheby's auction in New York on Saturday. They were bought by Gary George at a government surplus auction in 1976. Lasting two hours and 24 minutes, the tapes are far sharper than those seen around the world at the time of the moon landing on July 20 1969. The footage broadcast across the globe lost quality by the time they were seen on television sets, because of being transmitted via microwave towers, Ticker tape welcome for Apollo 11 astronauts in New York Credit: NASA/Reuters These tapes remained in-house. They represent the "earliest, sharpest, and most accurate surviving video images of man's first steps on the moon," Sotheby's said. They show the entire moonwalk as it was seen by Mission Control staff in Houston, as well as Neil Armstrong's phone call with US president Richard Nixon. The tapes were recorded on a Westinghouse camera NASA had commissioned to send the footage back to earth. Placed in a shock-proof insulated mount, the camera captured Armstrong's descent onto the lunar surface, before being placed on a tripod. Mr George was an engineering student at Lamar University in Texas as well as an intern at the NASA Johnson Space Centre in Houston. He bought around 1,500 reels of magnetic tape and gave most away, apart from three which his father noticed were labelled "APOLLO 11 EVA | July 20, 1969 REEL 1. Mr George gave the reels little attention until 2008 when he heard that NASA was trying to locate the original tapes. The purchaser of the tapes was not disclosed by Sotheby's.


  • Apollo's legacy: A quiet corner of Alabama that is forever Germany

    Apollo's legacy: A quiet corner of Alabama that is forever GermanyIt's not hard to find schnitzel, a quintessential German dish of breaded cutlets, in Huntsville Alabama, the heart of America's Deep South. Klaus Heimburg, Hans Hoelzer and Peter Grau didn't get tickets and so held their own party at a nearby hotel with dozens of other "second generation Germans": the children of the engineers and scientists who, after developing V-2 rockets for the Nazis, invented those that took Americans to the Moon. You know, when all the wives came," smiled Peter Grau, a former telecoms executive himself born in 1949.


  • The Orion capsule for NASA's next moon landing is ready to rock

    The Orion capsule for NASA's next moon landing is ready to rockThe next trip to the moon isn't supposed to happen until 2024, but NASA is now ready to put living humans on the surface.On July 20, the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, NASA confirmed that work on the Orion crew vehicle is complete. The reusable capsule, designed to carry four to six astronauts, is meant to offer a "sustainable" option for carrying humans to other worlds, including the moon and, later, Mars.NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine called the new development "an opportunity to take a giant leap forward for all of humanity." The Orion capsule is supposed to carry humans to the moon in 2024 as part of the larger Artemis program.Orion's first trip to space is planned for 2020/2021, and it's to be an uncrewed test flight in which the module will spend 10 days in orbit around the moon before returning to Earth. The Artemis 2 mission is expected to follow in 2022, this time bringing live astronauts out into space for a moon flyby.The 2024 mission will include an actual, crewed landing, with the module first visiting to to-be-built Lunar Orbital Platform - Gateway, a space station that's meant to remain in lunar orbit and serve as a staging ground for communications, scientific research, habitation, and exploration. NASA hopes that by 2028, humans will have a sustainable presence on the surface of the moon.SEE ALSO: Where are the lost Apollo 11 Moon landing tapes?Also completed is Orion's European Service Module, which will power the capsule and propel it through space. The ESM is a contribution of the European Space Agency.With the announcement of Orion's completion, all eyes are on the upcoming moon missions. But the capsule has a bigger future than that. Not only is it meant to eventually carry astronauts to Mars, it's also, according to NASA, the "backbone for [our] deep space exploration" in general. WATCH: Before Apollo 11, we almost went to the moon with the Russians


  • Teenage climate campaigner Thunberg honoured in France

    Teenage climate campaigner Thunberg honoured in FranceGreta Thunberg, the Swedish teenage activist whose Friday school strikes protesting government inaction over climate change helped sparked a worldwide movement, received the Freedom Prize in France on Sunday. Flanked by two WWII veterans who sponsor the prize, she accepted the award at a ceremony in the northwestern city of Caen, Normandy. "This prize is not only for me," Thunberg said.


  • As AIDS conference opens in Mexico, migrants are a focus

    As AIDS conference opens in Mexico, migrants are a focusThe spread of HIV as a serious aspect of Latin America's migration crisis -- whether through Venezuelans forced to emigrate to obtain medicine or Central American migrants unaware they carry the virus -- will be a focus of the world AIDS conference opening Sunday in Mexico City. Some 6,000 scientists, physicians, activists and government officials are due to learn about the latest in treatments and research and discuss the human and social costs of AIDS and HIV. At present, no program focuses on Latin America's HIV-infected migrants, said Brenda Crabtree, a Mexican physician and AIDS specialist who is co-chairperson of the conference.


  • Apollo 11 moon landing videotapes sell at auction for $1.8 million

    Apollo 11 moon landing videotapes sell at auction for $1.8 millionFootage of the first moon landing taken in 1969 during NASA's Apollo 11 mission was purchased at auction through Sotheby's for $1.82 million on Saturday.The collection of footage totals about 2 hours and 24 minutes across three reels of film recorded at Mission Control in Houston, Texas. This footage is the "earliest, sharpest, and most accurate surviving video images of man's first steps on the moon," according to Sotheby's.The tapes include recordings of Mission Control as it waited for the lunar-surface camera to be deployed, as well as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin's first steps on the moon and the moment that the astronauts planted the American flag on the surface. Minus the 9 minutes of Mission Control footage, the tapes contain the entire duration of the lunar extravehicular activity (EVA).The Sotheby's listing notes that the audio quality on these tapes is excellent.The reels purchased at auction for $1.82 million.Image: sotheby'sWhile this footage is probably the best look we'll get at the first time humans stepped foot on the moon, this isn't the best footage that ever existed.When NASA filmed the EVA during the mission, it was broadcast from the moon to NASA on Earth in what's known as slow-scan television (SSTV) format and recorded raw on data tape. In order to broadcast the EVA to television viewers, the footage was simultaneously re-formatted in real time to the standard NTSC format and televised live to people all over the western hemisphere.The footage purchased at auction are recordings of the re-formatted NTSC videos. It's believed that the raw SSTV footage was recorded over by NASA, so these NTSC reels are likely the best look we'll ever get of that momentous day on the moon.SEE ALSO: Where are the lost Apollo 11 Moon landing tapes?All of the footage on the reels has been seen before, but as the footage was transmitted over the world, it lost a little bit of quality as it passed through each microwave tower, so the recordings at NASA are the best out there. So who exactly was selling these tapes? An old NASA intern named Gary George who purchased the tapes at a government surplus auction in 1976. He paid just $217.77 for these reels and over 1,000 others at the time. George also digitized these tapes in 2008.Sotheby's did not release the name of the person or company that bought the reels. WATCH: Before Apollo 11, we almost went to the moon with the Russians


  • Somber Monument To Mark Glacier Lost To Climate Change

    Somber Monument To Mark Glacier Lost To Climate ChangeScientists are memorializing Iceland's first glacier lost to global warming with a poignant "letter to the future."


  • Moon back in NASA's court 50 years after 1st lunar landing

    Moon back in NASA's court 50 years after 1st lunar landingFifty years after humanity's first lunar footsteps, the moon is back in NASA's court. SpaceX's Elon Musk also is rooting for the moon, although his heart is on colonizing Mars. Buzz Aldrin, too, is a longtime Mars backer.


  • How NASA plans to complete Trump’s goal of planting a US flag on Mars by 2033

    How NASA plans to complete Trump’s goal of planting a US flag on Mars by 2033Commander Neil Armstrong and lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin landed the Apollo Lunar Module Eagle on the moon 20 July 1969, commemorating the historic moment by placing a US flag on Earth’s natural satellite. Exactly 50 years later, NASA is once again attempting to push the boundaries of space with a lofty goal: to have a manned mission reach Mars by 2033. The plan defies analysis from independent experts who say the timeline is unfeasible, but NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine hasn’t given up just yet. In his testimony to the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on Thursday, the official described a range of possibilities that could allow the space agency to reach the Red Planet by 2033. “There are technologies that can be developed that accelerate the path and there are new approaches that I don’t think are being considered,” Mr Bridenstine told the politicians. “I think if we could do that, I think we can accelerate the timeline.”“I have said publicly I am not willing to rule out the 2033 timeline,” he added. Earlier this month, Donald Trump addressed the nation during Independence Day celebrations in Washington and described the Apollo 11 moon landing as an example of what the country was capable of. “For Americans, nothing is impossible,” the president said. “Exactly 50 years ago this month, the world watched in awe as Apollo 11 astronauts launched into space with a wake of fire and nerves of steel, and planted our great American flag on the face of the moon.”Mr Trump then spoke directly to Gene Kranz, the Apollo program flight director, adding: “Gene, I want you to know that we’re going to be back on the moon very soon, and, someday soon, we will plant the American flag on Mars.” The lofty promise arrived at a critical point for NASA: the agency has been planning to create a long-term human presence on the moon with the ultimate goal of enabling astronauts to reach the Red Planet. No humans have launched from US soil since the space shuttle programme ended in 2011.Using NASA’s Space Launch System, a heavy-lift rocket being built for a debut flight in late 2020, the agency is aiming to return humans to the moon by 2024 in an accelerated timeline set in March by the Trump administration.NASA officials say exploration of the moon and Mars is intertwined, with the moon becoming a test-bed for Mars and providing an opportunity to demonstrate new technologies that could help build self-sustaining extraterrestrial outposts.Technologies that can mine the moon’s subsurface water ice to sustain astronaut crews, but also to be broken down into hydrogen and oxygen for use as a rocket propellant, could be crucial for missions to Mars.The planet is reachable in months-long missions when at its closest orbital approach of 35.8 million miles from Earth.“It’s utilisation versus curiosity,” says roboticist and research professor at Carnegie Mellon University William Whittaker, comparing the Artemis program, as the new lunar mission has been dubbed, with Apollo. Artemis is the twin sister of Apollo and goddess of the moon in Greek mythology.Other technological feats are also set to expand the US’s presence in space, including a plan by a NASA-funded lab in Colorado to send robots to the moon to deploy telescopes that will look far into our galaxy, remotely operated by orbiting astronauts.The radio telescopes, to be planted on the far side of the moon, are among a plethora of projects being undertaken by the US space agency, private companies and other nations that will transform the moonscape in the coming decade.“This is not your grandfather’s Apollo programme that we’re looking at,” says Jack Burns, director of the Network for Exploration and Space Science at the University of Colorado, which is working on the telescope project.“This is really a very different kind of programme and, very importantly, it’s going to involve machines and humans working together.” The work in Boulder and elsewhere underlines NASA’s plan to build a lasting presence on the moon, unlike the fleeting Apollo missions in the 1960s and 1970s.Vice president Mike Pence in March announced an accelerated timeline to put humans on the moon in 2024 “by any means necessary”, cutting the agency’s previous 2028 goal in half and putting researchers and companies into overdrive in the new space race.Additional reporting by Reuters


  • Neurotoxins on your kid's broccoli: that's life under Trump

    Neurotoxins on your kid's broccoli: that's life under TrumpIn the choice between big chemical corporations and ordinary citizens, the Environmental Protection Agency has made clear where its allegiances lie ‘How much is your child’s health worth?’ Photograph: Fuse/Getty ImagesHow much is your child’s health worth? The answer coming from the leadership of the US Environmental Protection Agency is: not that much.The EPA administrator, Andrew Wheeler, this week confirmed what many Americans already know: when the Trump administration weighs the competing interests of corporate profits versus public health, the corporations win, hands down.Wheeler announced Thursday that despite what independent scientists say is a wealth of evidence tying the popular insecticide known as chlorpyrifos to neurodevelopmental damage in children, the pesticide should continue to be applied by farmers to foods that children regularly consume, including apples, grapes, broccoli and cherries. That decision comes even though residues of the chemical in food and water are among the exposures known by scientists to contribute to a range of cognitive problems in kids, such as a reduced IQ. Studies have shown that even pregnant women’s exposure can have an impact on their children.Wheeler said the data showing harm was not complete or “reliable”, and the agency would continue to monitor the issue for at least three more years.That position contradicts the EPA’s stance four years ago, when it said that it could no longer back the safety of the insecticide in food and drinking water as is required under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA). The scientific evidence warranted a ban from agricultural use just as the chemical was banned from household use nearly two decades ago because of the known dangers, the agency found.The move to ban chlorpyrifos from agricultural use was strongly opposed by the Dow Chemical Co, which has been selling chlorpyrifos products since 1965. But it wasn’t until early 2017 that the company found a sympathetic ear in Washington, when Donald Trump assumed the presidency. Dow and its chemical industry lobbyists wasted no time using their money and their messaging to lean on the new administration with a request to keep the profitable pesticide on the market. A $1m donation from Dow for the Trump inaugural fund didn’t hurt.Dow and chemical industry lobbyists argued that chlorpyrifos was a “critical pest management tool” for farmers and said the science showing harm was insufficient to warrant a ban.The talking points were adopted by the administration even as health and environmental advocates, including the American Academy for Pediatrics, warned that continued use of the chemical put our country’s future generations in danger. Developing fetuses, infants, children and pregnant women are at the most risk.And if the science showing harm to children is not enough to warrant public outrage, there also is a wealth of scientific evidence showing that chlorpyrifos adversely affects many critically endangered animals.Several states are already banning or moving to ban chlorpyrifos, including Hawaii and New York.Litigation over the issue led a federal appeals court to order the EPA to issue a final ruling, which Wheeler did this week. And though the announcement came as no surprise to the scientists and health professionals who have been following the issue, it cemented for many a deep sense of foreboding about what the future holds when science is scorned for the sake of placating a corporate profit agenda.“The economic and human health impacts are substantial and real,” Dr Leonardo Trasande, who directs the division of environmental pediatrics within the department of pediatrics at New York University’s Langone Health, told me. The EPA decision to continue to allow chlorpyrifos into American diets is “emblematic” of a broad dismissal of scientific evidence related to human health issues, in his view. Attacks on scientific norms are likely to continue unabated, he warned.So here we are – with scientific concerns for the safety of our innocent and vulnerable children on one side and powerful, wealthy corporate players on the other. Our political and regulatory leaders have shown whose interests they value most. * Carey Gillam is a journalist and author, and a public interest researcher for US Right to Know, a not-for-profit food industry research group


  • From Tesla to Twitter, a Guide to This Week’s Quarterly Reports

    From Tesla to Twitter, a Guide to This Week’s Quarterly Reports(Bloomberg) -- The upbeat picture painted by this past week’s blowout bank earnings heralded a promising earnings season. Too bad other industries didn’t get the memo.In the same week the five biggest U.S. lenders raked in over $30 billion in earnings for the first time, others around the globe left investors wondering how the bottom fell out so fast. Netflix Inc. sunk the most in three years amid a surprise drop in U.S. customers, while online retailer Asos Plc plunged after issuing another profit warning. Meanwhile, one-time earnings bellwether Alcoa Corp. beat on profit -- but also cut its forecast for global aluminum demand, adding to concerns that trade frictions are eroding the outlook for the industrial metal.This week, a range of high-profile companies report results, from tech titan Amazon.com Inc. and embattled aircraft maker Boeing Co. to burger behemoth McDonald’s Corp. and electric-car maker Tesla Inc. The earnings will offer a glimpse into every major sector of the economy, and Wall Street will be watching for signals like reduced hiring expectations, stalled capital expenses or consumers’ waning willingness to accept price hikes.With stock markets trending near record highs but recession risks on the rise, the second quarter could be yet another notch in the longest bull market in history -- or the beginning of its end.Here’s a look at what we’re watching:CarsAutomaker earnings may show how much the one-two punch of slowing sales and massive technological disruptions are impacting the industry’s bottom line.Those challenges have forced Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen AG further into one another’s arms. After extending an alliance to include joint work on electric and autonomous vehicles, they’re expected to report stagnant or shrinking revenue. Daimler AG will put out finalized results weeks after the Mercedes-Benz maker posted a preliminary loss along with its fourth profit warning in just over a year. And analysts are projecting another unprofitable quarter for Tesla, which is blowing its battery-powered rivals out of the water but is still struggling to make money.The challenges extend to Asia, too. Nissan Motor Co. is set to give more details about restructuring efforts including potential job cuts as it tries to revive profitability that’s at a decade low. Jaguar Land Rover’s Indian owner Tata Motors Ltd. is also under pressure to show its cost-cut efforts are bearing fruit as it’s hit with hurdles from Brexit, a slowdown in China and flagging demand for diesel vehicles.ConsumerIf sales slow at McDonald’s, Starbucks Corp. or Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., it will be a sign that consumers are cutting back on spending and eating out less. Higher labor and commodity costs have also forced restaurants to raise prices to maintain margins, and diners might balk at the idea of paying more for coffee and guacamole-stuffed burritos.Higher prices in recent quarters have benefited Starbucks as well as beverage makers Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc. At Anheuser-Busch InBev, which just sold its Australian beer assets, investors will listen for any signs an IPO for the rest of its Asian business could be back on the table.China, meanwhile, will be the focus when European luxury conglomerates LVMH and Kering SA report results. The health of sales in that region will be scrutinized after showing surprising resilience in recent quarters, despite an ongoing trade war with the U.S. and the nation’s economic slowdown. Hong Kong protests, meanwhile, are hurting luxury spending at companies such as Richemont and Swatch Group AG.EntertainmentAT&T Inc. and Comcast Corp. can’t wait to enter the battle against Netflix and Walt Disney Co.’s Hulu for streaming-video viewers, but they have to contend with the continued decline of their legacy businesses first. As consumers flee traditional cable packages in favor of services like Netflix, AT&T and Comcast are expected to lose television customers, so investors will watch for signs that broadband subscriber growth can offset those declines.With casino companies including Las Vegas Sands Corp. and MGM Resorts International and their Asia subsidiaries reporting, investors will be on the lookout for any impact from China’s economic weakness.IndustrialsThe future of the 737 Max will be in focus when we hear from Boeing, which plans to report a $4.9 billion accounting charge related to its beleaguered jetliner. Southwest Airlines Co. and American Airlines Group Inc. have already removed the Max from their flight schedules through early November. Southwest is the model’s biggest operator while American is the world’s largest airline, and both carriers are sure to field questions about the Boeing crisis on their conference calls with analysts this week.Another company on the hot seat is aerospace-parts giant United Technologies Corp., whose merger agreement with Raytheon Co. has drawn fire from activist investors Dan Loeb and Bill Ackman. Investors in Caterpillar Inc., meanwhile, will look for more clarity on global demand for the company’s iconic machines in the second half of the year.TechnologyTech investors have a lot of information heading their way, with Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc., Intel Corp. and Twitter Inc. all reporting. Their main question is whether those firms can keep revenue climbing amid the U.S.-China trade war and signs of slowing economic growth. There’s also mounting regulatory pressure on the sector around antitrust and privacy concerns. One player that’s avoided the recent scrutiny is Microsoft Corp., whose quarterly profit just topped estimates on the strength of its cloud-computing business.For hardware companies like Texas Instruments Inc. and Intel, the focus will be on the loss of market share in China as the companies grapple with a ban on exports to Huawei Technologies Co., a key customer.Amazon’s Prime Day got scads of attention last week, but it won’t be reflected in the company’s upcoming results. Investors in the e-commerce giant will be paying close attention to the fast-growing advertising and cloud business units.BankingEurope’s banks are expected to trail their U.S. peers for yet another quarter as global trade tensions continue to weigh on client activity. And unlike American banks, the Europeans don’t have a healthy stream of income from lending to fall back on due to negative interest rates.Deutsche Bank AG has already announced a loss for the quarter as it embarks on massive cutbacks, and investors will press for more details. France’s BNP Paribas SA has agreed to take on Deutsche’s hedge-fund and electronic-trading clients, but the integration is proving difficult and BNP will have to show progress in turning its own stocks trading unit around following embarrassing losses last year.Finally, Credit Suisse Group AG will have to answer questions about the surprise exit of a key wealth management executive who was seen as a potential successor to CEO Tidjane Thiam.\--With assistance from Brendan Case, Craig Giammona, Joe Deaux, Molly Schuetz, Craig Trudell, John J. Edwards III, Christian Baumgaertel, Eric Pfanner, Ville Heiskanen, Reed Stevenson and Christopher Palmeri.To contact the reporters on this story: Matthew Boyle in New York at mboyle20@bloomberg.net;Anne Riley Moffat in New York at ariley17@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Kevin Miller at kmiller@bloomberg.net, Jonathan RoederFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


  • Controversy Swirls Around King Tut Head Sold at Christie’s Auction

    Controversy Swirls Around King Tut Head Sold at Christie’s AuctionPhoto Illustration by The Daily Beast/Christie'sThis month a sculpture of King Tutankhamun, one of only a few portraits of the king in existence, sold at Christie’s for just shy of $6 million. The sale of the life-sized head was surprising not only because the item sold for so much money, but also because the item is the focus of legal action, protests, and a potential diplomatic dispute. There’s no evidence that this statue of Egypt’s most famous monarch left Egypt legally and many believe that the item was looted. Nevertheless, despite protests from the Egyptian embassy in London, Christie’s went ahead with the sale and allowed both the seller and the buyer to remain anonymous. In a statement, Christie’s said “We recognize that historic objects can raise complex discussions about the past; yet our role today is to work to continue to provide a transparent, legitimate marketplace upholding the highest standards for the transfer of objects.” Their position is that the sculpture had previously belonged to Prince Wilhelm von Thurn und Taxis, who owned the item in the 1960s and ’70s. Apparently, it was subsequently sold, in the early 1970s, to Josef Messina, the owner of a gallery in Vienna. An investigation by Live Science revealed that there are reasons to doubt this story. Wilhelm’s son and niece told the publication that Wilhelm had no interest in ancient artifacts. “He was not a very art-interested person,” his niece Daria von Thurn und Taxis, told them. Egyptologist Sylvia Schoske, who wrote an article about the sculpture, said that when she studied it, it was owned by an antiquities dealer named Heinz Herzer. As Owen Jarus put it, it’s all rather “sketchy.” Christie’s, for their part, stated that they had verified provenance “with all previous owners of the head.” The Egyptian government believes that the item was looted from the Karnak Temple, just north of the ancient city of Luxor, sometime after 1970. The date is important because it was around this time that UNESCO created a set of guidelines regarding the preservation of cultural heritage, specifically intended to prevent artifacts from leaving their countries of origin without government permission. Antiquities dealers around the world are aware that they must produce proof of provenance—that is, a trail of ownership going back at least to this date (although ideally to the item’s discovery) if they want to sell across international borders. Egypt, for the record, has older legislation: it has restricted the unauthorized removal of antiquities from within its borders since 1835.What this means of course is that even if Christie’s story is accurate, conversation should not stop there. As academic Brent Nongbri, author of the book God’s Library, told The Daily Beast, “Even if Christies is being fully truthful, the removal of the artifact from Egypt in the 1960s without proper documentation was in violation of Egyptian law at the time. The current seller and buyer are thus in an awkward position, and so is Christie’s, which facilitates these shady transactions by their tolerance/encouragement of anonymous selling and purchasing. If everything about this sale was completely legitimate, why all the secrecy?”The reason that Egypt has older legislation is the same as the reason that the King Tut sculpture fetched nearly $6 million at auction: people are fascinated by ancient Egypt and are willing to pay a premium for pieces of her heritage. The European preoccupation with ancient Egypt began in the Napoleonic period. Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt was motivated by a desire to destabilize the British, but when his fleet sank in 1798 at the Battle of the Nile the French rebranded the enterprise as a scientific endeavour. In scientific terms, the French had been successful, it was during this period that they acquired the Rosetta Stone, which they subsequently handed over to the British. As a result of failed political ambitions, there was a frenzy of interest in Egyptian antiquities. Speaking in 2017, museum curator Tom Hardwick said “Ancient Egypt [was] a way of legitimizing interest [in the country] – by using arguments like: ‘then they built pyramids, now they live in mud huts. It’s clever white people who need to look after this’.” The idea of a lost, technologically sophisticated civilization had a certain romanticism and this was only amplified by myths about the “Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb” and the perceived strangeness of ancient Egyptian religion. Combined together these factors made ancient Egyptian artifacts among the most desirable in the world. Egyptologist John Darnell, professor of Near Eastern languages and civilizations at Yale University, told me that fascination with Tutankhamun, in particular, is in part due to misconceptions about who he was. “Tutankhamun often appears as the tragic boy king, who died before his reign had really begun,” said Darnell, but “in fact, we know he and his administrators were quite active in the south, and his reign sees an at least partially successful military campaign in the northeast.” It’s difficult to say how much of this was down to his advisers, added Darnell, “but his reign is in fact significant, and his tomb—as fantastically rich as it was in never before seen treasures of imperial Egypt—is not the only reason for which we should remember Tutankhamun.”It was only in the 1830s, with the awareness of just how many Egyptian artifacts had been exported from the country, that the government stepped in and began to restrict the mining of the country’s non-renewable antiquities reserves. Even then excavations were a financial operation. The renowned archaeologist Flinders Petrie, pioneer of modern archaeological methods, sold futures in order to fund his excavations. The consequences of doing this was that anything he found would be broken up and divided between the museums and collectors who invested in him. The Egypt Exploration Fund, which was founded in the late nineteenth century to “explore, survey, and excavate Egypt” was very explicit about this aspect of their work. Nongbri pointed me to the Secretary's report from 1899-1900, which records that the “distributions” were “a duty which the Committee performs with a full sense of responsibility, especially towards the subscribers in America, with whom we have entered into a formal undertaking that antiquities shall be distributed in strict proportion to subscriptions received.” The discovery of antiquities has had a financial angle for hundreds of years. It is financial interest that was on display at Christie’s when the Tutankhamun sculpture sold. It remains to be seen if it will be turned over to the new owner. Zahi Hawass, former Egyptian minister of antiquities, suggested that Egypt will almost certainly lodge an official complaint with UNESCO and take legal action in order to repatriate the sculpture. In the meantime, one of the few portraits of King Tutankhamun will remain in the hands of an anonymous private collection. Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. 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    Scientists Resuscitate 41,000-Year-Old Worm. Here's How.Scientists are uncovering, thawing and resuscitating various life forms, some of which are older than modern human civilization, as glaciers recede.Tatiana Vishnivetskaya, a microbiologist at the University of Tennessee, reported in 2018 the discovery of a 41,000-year-old segmented nematode worm her team retrieved from deep below the Siberian permafrost, The Washington Post reported Sunday.The worm wriggled back to life upon thawing, Vishnivetskaya reported. This nematode measured half a millimeter long and sported a brain and nervous system. It is more complex than the single-celled organisms scientists have thawed and resuscitated in the past, according to The Post.“Of course we were surprised and very excited,” Vishnivetskaya told the newspaper.“These buggers survive just about everything,” Gaetan Borgonie, a nematode researcher at Extreme Life Isyensya in Belgium, told The Post. Nematodes are known to survive inhospitable climates, according to Borgonie. He has found communities of these resilient worms thriving 2 miles under the Earth’s surface in South African mine shafts, according to Nature.“If they survived 41,000 years, I have no idea what the upper limit is,” he said to The Post.


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