Britain to protect tech firms after Arm and DeepMind sold overseas

first_imgBritain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson giving a statement in Downing Street in central London on April 27, 2020 after returning to work following more than three weeks off after being hospitalized with the Covid-19 illness.DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS While Arm sold for £24 billion ($31.6 billion), DeepMind only sold for a reported £400 million. Given DeepMind is widely perceived as one of the world leaders in AI today, the Google deal is viewed by experts as a bit of a bargain.Ian Hogarth, an entrepreneur turned tech investor, believes that DeepMind should have been nationalized by the U.K government so that it didn’t have to sell itself to an overseas tech giant.“I find it hard to believe that the U.K. would not be better off were DeepMind still an independent company,” he wrote in an essay in June 2018. “How much would Google sell DeepMind for today? $5 billion? $10 billion? $50 billion? It’s hard to imagine Google selling DeepMind to Amazon, or Tencent or Facebook at almost any price.”- Advertisement – – Advertisement – LONDON – The U.K. government introduced new rules this week that are designed to protect Britain’s best and brightest companies from being gobbled up by other, potentially hostile, nations.But some are asking if the rules, which have been in the works for several years and apply from this Wednesday this week, are too little and too late given two of Britain’s most innovative companies have already been sold overseas. Cambridge-based chipmaker Arm was sold to Japanese tech giant SoftBank in 2016 and London-based artificial intelligence lab DeepMind was sold to Google in 2014.Matt Clifford, the chief executive of start-up factory Entrepreneur First, told CNBC that the government should have “probably” intervened in these deals. “Tech is a big and growing national security issue,” he said, adding that “technological sovereignty is very important.”- Advertisement –center_img Hogarth added: “With hindsight, would it have been better for the U.K. government to block this acquisition and help keep it independent? Even now, is there a case to be made for the U.K. to reverse this acquisition and buy DeepMind out of Google and reinstate it as independent entity?”While DeepMind is a leader in AI, Arm is a leader in semiconductors, or chips. Its energy-efficient chip architectures are used in 95% of the world’s smartphones and it is widely regarded as the jewel in the crown of the British tech industry.“In Arm’s case, I can’t see why some investors here didn’t outbid the foreign folks,” said Jon Crowcroft, a computer science professor at the University of Cambridge. “Arm are a massive success and long term super viable too.”SoftBank is now in the process of trying to sell Arm to U.S. chipmaker Nvidia for $40 billion but there are a number of hurdles to overcome before the deal goes through, including regulators in China.Even though DeepMind and Arm are no longer British in some people’s eyes, there are a number of other fast-growing tech companies that very much are — and could be worth protecting. Security firm Darktrace and AI chipmaker Graphcore, for example.Beyond AI and chips, Crowcroft said that Britain has aerospace and biotech companies that are worth protecting, such as BAE Systems.Some have pointed out that the new rules could potentially make it harder for founders and their investors to sell companies. But Chris Smith, a venture capitalist at Playfair Capital in London, told CNBC he doesn’t think it will have a material impact.“The scope is likely to be fairly limited, both in terms of the number of countries on the ‘no deal’ list and the number that would meet the strategic test,” he said. “In reality, it reflects what we already know, that we have two tech universes — one in the West and one in the East.” – Advertisement –last_img read more

Cambodian study hints at subclinical H5N1 cases

first_imgJan 25, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – A recent study in Cambodia suggests that some human cases of infection with the H5N1 avian influenza virus escape detection because symptoms are mild or absent, according to a report from an international avian flu conference this week in Bangkok.The meeting drew about 500 experts from 40 countries to discuss research and ideas on a wide range of topics. Some other topics discussed included the idea of stockpiling vaccine adjuvants to prepare for a pandemic, the use of engineered human antibodies as a defense against the H5N1 virus, and the high H5N1 case-fatality rate in Indonesia.Cambodian studyThe Cambodian researchers tested 674 people in two villages who were exposed to the virus and found that seven of them, all between the ages of 4 and 18, had antibodies signaling previous infection, according to a Jan 24 Bloomberg News report.The finding contrasts with previous serologic studies of people in areas affected by H5N1 outbreaks. A review published Jan 16 in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) said the few serologic studies since 2003 of people with potential exposure to H5N1 suggest that asymptomatic or mild cases are rare. The studies involved people living with backyard poultry, workers in live-bird markets, and healthcare workers.More cases of mild disease might suggest that the virus is improving its ability to spread among humans, while becoming less virulent. Based on the current global count of 353 cases with 221 deaths, the case-fatality rate is almost 63%.The Cambodian researchers, led by Sirenda Vong of the Pasteur Institute of Cambodia in Phnom Penh, conducted their study in early 2006, according to the Bloomberg story. The researchers asked villagers about their exposure to poultry and tested their blood for antibodies to H5N1.The median age of the seven people who had antibodies was 12 years, compared with 27 years for those who had no antibodies, the story said.Vong and colleagues had conducted a similar study of 351 Cambodian villagers in 2005 and found that none had antibodies to the virus. The study was published in Emerging Infectious Diseases in 2006.Malik Peiris, a microbiology professor at the University of Hong Kong, told Bloomberg that the latest study supports findings from the 1997 H5N1 outbreak in Hong Kong, in which human cases were first reported. The virus infected 18 people, 6 of whom died. Peiris said children were less severely affected than adults and had a better survival rate, Bloomberg reported.”Most of the children diagnosed in Hong Kong in 1997 had a very mild course of infection; they basically had a mild flu-like illness and they recovered,” Peiris was quoted as saying. “I don’t think there is any evidence to say the situation has changed.”The recent NEJM review said H5N1 infections involving febrile upper respiratory illnesses without pneumonia in children have been reported more often since 2005, but early antiviral treatment may account for this.Stockpiling of adjuvantsAnother topic raised at the meeting was the idea of separately stockpiling adjuvants, immune-boosting chemicals that enable vaccine producers to reduce the dose of antigen in a vaccine without reducing immune response. Global health officials, including those at the World Health Organization (WHO), hope this dose-sparing approach could dramatically increase the world supply of pandemic vaccine.Albert Osterhaus, a virologist at Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands who spoke at the conference on Jan 23, said stockpiling adjuvants would be useful if the pandemic strain turned out to be a subtype other than H5N1, according to a Jan 23 Reuters report.”There’s a lot of discussion to vaccinate people against H5N1 with adjuvanted vaccines,” Osterhaus said. “We might do that, but it’s very expensive and it might well be that the pandemic outbreak may not be caused by H5N1 but by H7, H9, or H2 [viruses].”Osterhaus said adjuvants should be stockpiled separately from antigens, Reuters reported. “Adjuvants can be stockpiled and H5 antigen as well,” he said. “So if the pandemic is going to be H5N1, you just mix them and you get a vaccine. If not, you rapidly produce the antigen and add it together with the adjuvant.”Currently, the United States has no licensed influenza vaccines that contain adjuvants, according to a previous CIDRAP News report. However, a few studies of influenza vaccines with alum-based adjuvants have shown acceptable protection levels. In August, researchers working on a GlaxoSmithKline vaccine reported positive results for a split-virus vaccine combined with a proprietary oil-and-water adjuvant. A month later, Sanofi Pasteur reported promising results for its inactivated vaccine paired with its own adjuvant.Using engineered antibodiesIn other developments, a researcher from Crucell, a Dutch biotechnology company, reported at the conference today that engineered human monoclonal antibodies to the H5N1 virus protected mice from several strains of the virus, according to a Reuters report.Crucell created the human antibodies by mixing antibody fragments taken from nine blood donors with antigens from two H5N1 strains found in Vietnam and Indonesia, Reuters reported.Mark Throsby, project director for antibody discovery at Crucell, told the conference that in vitro studies showed that one line of the engineered antibodies neutralized several strains of the H5N1 virus, including strains isolated in Hong Kong in 1997, Indonesia in 2005, and Vietnam in 2003, Reuters reported.In the animal studies, he said, researchers injected the engineered antibodies into mice that had been given normally lethal doses of H5N1 virus 3 days earlier. “We were able to protect all the animals,” Throsby was quoted as saying. “It reduced their disease and they became well again.”Drug resistance in Indonesia?Yesterday Menno de Jong, a virologist at an Oxford University clinical research unit in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, spoke on the topic of drug failure in the treatment of patients who have H5N1 infections. The case-fatality rate for the disease in Indonesia is especially high—82%, compared with about 63% overall, based on WHO figures.De Jong told the conference that researchers are conducting studies to see if H5N1 patients in places like Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam require higher doses of antiviral medications, Reuters reported yesterday.”It could be they are treated later, or the virus is different, more virulent,” de Jong told a Reuters reporter. “There are many maybes, including differences in the susceptibility of the virus.”He told Reuters that the H5N1 viruses in Indonesia appear less susceptible to osteltamivir, the antiviral recommended as first-line treatment for H5N1 infections. “It’s not a resistant virus, it’s just that a bit more drug [may be] needed to inhibit these [H5N1] clade 2 viruses,” he said.De Jong was a member of the WHO expert panel that wrote the recent review in the NEJM on human H5N1 cases. In line with de Jong’s observations at the Bangkok meeting, that article said clade 1 viruses appear to be 15 to 30 times more susceptible to oseltamivir than clade 2 viruses from Turkey and Indonesia. However, the panel wrote that the clinical relevance of this difference in oseltamivir susceptibility “remains to be determined.”See also: Jan 16 CIDRAP News story on NEJM review of human H5N1 cases: “Exposure source unclear in 25% of H5N1 cases”Sep 7, 2006, CIDRAP News story “Cambodian study suggests mild H5N1 cases are rare”Oct 30, 2007, CIDRAP News story “The Pandemic Vaccine Puzzle, part 4: The promise and problems of adjuvants”last_img read more

Beachside suburbs lead house price surge in Queensland’s southeast: REIQ

first_imgBrisbane’s housing market continued to grow steadily in the September quarter, according to the REIQ.Signs of improvement in Queensland’s jobs market have also helped the housing sector, with the unemployment rate falling to 5.9 per cent in September from 6.3 per cent at the start of the year. WHERE YOU SHOULD INVEST REIQ chief executive Antonia Mercorella. Photo: Claudia Baxter.The cruise industry has been one of the biggest contributors to growth, pouring $1.1 billion into the state’s economy and supporting more than 4000 jobs, according to the Palaszczuk government. The number of cruise ship visits to the state has nearly doubled over the past four years. HOW TO SELL YOUR HOME The Gold Coast has a new house price record of $606,000, according to the REIQ.REIQ chief executive Antonia Mercorella said the strong performance of the southeast corner’s coastal markets had been thanks mainly to growth in the tourism sector.Ms Mercorella said the coastal markets had helped drive overall growth in the state’s property market over the past 12 months, with more than 58,000 houses sold and median house price growth of 2.4 per cent.“Tourism is one of the largest contributors to Queensland’s gross state product, with almost eight per cent of GSP coming from tourism,” Ms Mercorella said. “This is roughly $25 billion in the year to June 2016, which means when that sector grows, it offers employment opportunities and this attracts workers who need somewhere to live.” Brisbane’s apartment market continued to soften in the September quarter. Picture: Mark Calleja. This property at 29-31 Wyuna Dr, Noosaville, recently sold for a record price.SOUTHEAST Queensland’s world-class beaches are driving a surge in home prices in the state’s coastal property markets, as Brisbane and the Gold Coast break house price records.New quarterly figures from the Real Estate Institute of Queensland reveal Noosa was the state’s top performing market in the three months to September, recording annual house price growth of nearly 10 per cent.Over the past five years, Noosa’s median house price has jumped by more than 40 per cent — driven by a boost in tourism numbers.A sprawling waterfront home with a drive-through boatshed, two jetties and a boat ramp at 29-31 Wyuna Dr, Noosaville, recently sold for close to $11.9 million — setting a new record for the area. Noosa’s median house price grew 9.6 per cent in the year to September 2017, according to the REIQ.The REIQ’s latest Queensland Market Monitor shows house prices in the Sunshine Coast statistical division grew 22 per cent over the September quarter, from $557,500 in June to $570,000.The Gold Coast also performed strongly, hitting a new house price record of $606,000, while the annual median house price in Brisbane reached a new record high of $660,000 — almost 30 per cent greater than it was five years ago. GET THE LATEST REAL ESTATE NEWS DIRECT TO YOUR INBOX HERE More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus22 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market22 hours agoBut it’s a different story for Brisbane’s unit market, with prices falling 2.6 per cent over the past year as the inner-city continues to suffer from an apartment glut.The new annual median unit price is $440,750 — down from $452,500 a year ago. “With more supply expected online over the next 12 months, we expect this market will not firm up until mid-2019 at the earliest,” the report said. This home at 29-31 Wyuna Dr, Noosaville, recently sold for close to $11.9m through Tom Offerman Real Estate.last_img read more

Jeremy Woolfe: The ‘slow burn’ of the IORP II Directive

first_imgIn Brussels-speak, the word ‘probably’ could mean ‘not for a very long time’, warns Jeremy WoolfeThe clearance of the draft IORP II Directive through the European Parliament’s key Economic and Monetary Control Committee (ECON) committee, due in the first week of December, has now been delayed.The new set date is “probably” 25 January 2016, a parliamentary official informs IPE, but with the word “probably” emphasised.Explanation for the existing and possible further hold-up is that major political parties have yet to agree on major “compromises” (amendments), meaning there remain major different opinions. These include the serious issues of cross-border matters, funding rules and transparency.As a result, the word “probably” could be translated, in Brussels-speak, as “not for a very long time”! This would obviously upset reformists.Overall, the status quo today appears not much removed from that in, say, October 2013, when Matti Leppälä, secretary general at PensionsEurope, gave a general thumbs-up for the new rules while calling for something not too “burdensome”.At the same time, other archives show that the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority’s relevant stakeholder group (OPSG) suggested the need for a serious upgrade to the IORP I of 2003. The group noted that many of Europe’s estimated 140,000, mostly small pension schemes were less efficient than if the individual retirement savers had invested alone.The European Commission itself is, at present, keeping largely mum: “We don’t have much to say at this stage.”But Better Finance recently wrote a bitter letter addressed to Brian Hayes MEP, the centre-right ECON committee coordinator. Guillaume Prache, head of the consumer interest group, noted that the “proposed amendments in the ECON draft report would mean a very significant step back in the protection of EU pension savers”.It argued against a watering down of the information IORP participants would receive through the so-called  Pension Benefit Statement (PBS). The letter then went on to complain about ECON proposals to delete Commission requirement for disclosure of funding levels to participants. The body went on to comment that the amendments to IORP II were clearly in direct contradiction to the Capital Markets Union Action Plan.Historical background is that the new rules for occupational pensions, as proposed by the Commission in April 2014, passed first to the Council of the EU, representing national governments, before going on to the Parliament. This order is contrary to normal practice.In December 2014, the Council gave crucial support for the removal of remaining prudential barriers for cross-border IORPs, while advocating provisions for clear and relevant information to members and beneficiaries. In addition, the member states’ position was, and most likely still is, to recommend good governance and risk management, and ensure that supervisors have the necessary tools to supervise IORPs effectively.One has to ask why MEPs, who supposedly also reflect the views of their national interests, should now have  suggested a mammoth number of 700 amendments during the later committee processing stage?As for next steps, the Dutch six-month presidency, starting in January 2016, is considered unlikely to tolerate matters dragging on after any vote in the European Parliament. However, it will also face the need for the whole re-worked shooting bag to have to go back to “trilogue”, which would involve the Commission, the Council and Parliament having to get together in three-way meetings to agree finalisation. Only an optimist would see this lasting just another 2-3 months.As stated by Erik Hormes, from the office of Paul Tang, centre-left MEP shadow coordinator for IORPS II in the ECON committee, he has never seen a Directive on “such a slow burn”.That’s certainly one way of putting it.last_img read more

Bill Clinton and Daughter in Kenya to visit foundation projects

first_imgFormer US President Bill Clinton and his daughter, Chelsea Clinton, are in Kenya on behalf of the Clinton Foundation for a visit of charity projects around the country that are run by the foundation.During  her visit to Kenya’s Mbagathi District Hospital Friday Morning,  Chelsea praised the work of the hospital’s maternity unit.The maternal program of the hospital is supported by the Clinton Foundation.Over the weekend they  are expected to focus on  issues to do with investing in women and also empowering them. They will also address matters of climate change.Mr Clinton and his daughter started their nine day tour in Tanzania,  which will also taken them to Liberia and Morocco.Some of the projects that are run by the Clinton Foundation in Tanzania include commercial farm projects that partners with thousands of neighboring smallholder farmers to provide training and seeds for corn and soy crops.Clinton was accompanied by an entourage  of donors, whose plan is to visit projects funded by the Clinton Development Initiative to boost agriculture, health, education and wildlife conservation. Bill Clinton on arrival in Kenyalast_img read more

Greensburg Prevention Group needs survey responses

first_imgGREENSBURG, Ind. — The Greensburg Prevention Group is asking adults within the city limits to complete a Community Perception Survey.The group will use the survey responses to determine what the city’s worst substance abuse issues are and how to address them.Survey questions include topics such as alcohol, prescription drugs, marijuana, heroin, and underage consumption.The Greensburg Prevention Group would like to receive 300 responses by April 30.last_img

Girls Area Softball Sectional Scores (5-23)

first_imgGirls Area Softball Sectional Scores.Tuesday  (5-23)Class 1A-Sectional 60 @ Rising Sun.Hauser  10     South Decatur  0Oldenburg  16     Shawe Memorial  0Class 2A-Sectional 45 @ Switz. County.SW-Hanover  12     North Decatur  0Milan  12     Switzerland County  1Class 3A-Sectional 29 @ Madison.Connersville  8     Greensburg  7Franklin County  4     Lawrenceburg  1Class 4A-Sectional 14 @ Bloomington North.Bloomington North  4     East Central  0Bloomington South  8     Columbus North  0last_img read more

Vegas comes to the ‘Big Four’

first_imgBatesville, In. — The Big Four Café restaurant will continue operations under the ownership/management of Chef Devin Murchin, who is relocating to Batesville from Las Vegas where he was a chef at Caesars Palace reports spokeswoman Mary Ellen Rippe.  “A seamless transition to Chef Devin will take place by the end of February” she adds. Breakfast and lunch will continue to be served with an all new menu that takes advantage of local, fresh infused ingredients and provides patrons with more choices for everyday and seasonal favorites. Devin is returning home to Batesville where he graduated from Batesville High School in 1998. Utilizing his experience from Caesars, where thousands of meals were served every day, combined with his creative culinary skills learned from Johnson and Wales, will bring a fresh foodie experience to diners.“I’m excited to be returning to Batesville with my family and becoming a part of this community” states Devin. “I look forward to sharing my 25 years of experience and extensive training in Italian, French, Mexican, Asian, Mediterranean and Eastern European Cuisine with our guests”.Located in the heart of downtown Batesville, the Big Four Café is on the historic RomWeber Campus at 121 S. Depot Street. Hours of operation will not change with food service beginning from 7:00 am to 2:00 pm Monday through Friday and from 7:00 am to 1:00 pm Saturday and Sunday. For more information visit the website at www.bigfourcafe.com.last_img read more

Rita E. Roell

first_imgRita E. Roell, age 92 of Batesville, died Friday, August 17, 2018.  Born May 8, 1926 in Franklin County Indiana, she is the daughter of Frances (Nee: Schreibeis) and Joseph Jaehnen.  She married Otto Roell August 5, 1950 at St. Peter’s Church in St. Peter’s, Indiana and he preceded her in death November 16, 2007 after 57 years of marriage.  A homemaker, she worked part time at the Batesville Herald Tribune for several years and was a member of St. Louis Church and the Daughters of Isabella.Rita and Otto enjoyed lively games of Solo and 500 with family and friends, attending dances on Saturday evenings, Sunday afternoon church picnics, ball games and reunions.  They traveled to several states and Germany visiting family and old friends along the way.  Their greatest pleasure was seeing their children and families as much as possible.  Rita enjoyed the weekly bingo games at St. Louis Church and her monthly 500 card club parties until her health prevented it.  Her dry sense of humor became more apparent in later years along with the hilarious one liners.She is survived by daughters and sons-in-law Regina and Tom Meyer of Batesville, Melissa and Tim Schneider of Sunman; sons and daughters-in-law Robert and Robin Roell of Greensburg, Melvin and Sheila Roell, Dennis and Beverly Roell, William and Melanie Roell and Steven and Tammy Roell, all of Batesville; sister Florence Merkel of Milan; twenty four grandchildren; thirty two great grandchildren; several step grandchildren and step great grandchildren as well as numerous nieces and nephews.  In addition to her husband and parents, she is also preceded in death by her infant son Joseph; sisters Marie Feller, Angela Krause, Dorothy Ruhl and brothers Joseph and Norbert Jaehnen.Visitation is Friday, August 24th, from 9 – 11:30 a.m. at the Weigel Funeral Home.  Funeral services follow at Noon at St. Louis Church with Rev. Stan Pondo officiating and burial in the church cemetery.  The family requests memorials to the Sunman Rescue Squad or Margaret Mary Health Foundation Hospice.last_img read more

Full program tonight at Thunderhill Raceway

first_imgBy Edward AnschutzSTURGEON BAY, Wis. (July 30) – A full program is on slate for tonight (Wednesday) at Thunderhill Raceway.IMCA Xtreme Motor Sports Modifieds, IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars, Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMods, IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks and Street Stocks will be in action beginning at 6:30 p.m. start time.The Door County Fair show is being treated as a regular night and is a track point night. Lineups will be set by point average. The night will also count towards the $30,000 contingency program. In addition to a full night of racing, there will be a Tough Truck Tug-O-War competition and a tentative Burn Out contest. For more info, please call Jeremy 920.495.0559The ladies and mechanics will get their shot at the flat 1/3-mile clay oval. Both a powder puff and mechanics’ race are scheduled. All extra event participants must be signed at the back gate before the night starts. If you want to go in the stands with no carnival rides it cost $5 to get into the fair. The cost to get in the grandstand is $10 for adult admission 13 years and up; 12 years old and under is $5 for the stands. Pit passes will be $25.last_img read more