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USC celebrates win over Cal

first_imgStewart drained four 3-pointers to give him 220 for his career, breaking the all-time USC mark of 218 held by Brandon Granville (1999-02). His record-breaking shot came at an opportune time, as Cal had drawn within five points with a little over 13 minutes remaining. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Then the players lifted senior walk-on Chris Penrose – who hit a 3-pointer in the final seconds – onto their shoulders and carried him off the court. USC’s 84-66 victory over California in its final home game displayed everything that has changed this year within the program – the attitude, the attendance and the atmosphere. LOS ANGELES – USC senior Lodrick Stewart led the student section at Galen Center in displaying the university’s trademark victory sign as the school’s fight song played. Teammates surrounded Stewart, some going into the aisles, as the capacity crowd paid tribute to one of the Trojans’ best seasons since the Pacific-10 Conference expanded to 10 teams in 1979. The players paid tribute back for the electric atmosphere that built all season and reached a crescendo Saturday. center_img “We said from day one, we’re not going to beg our people to come out,” said coach Tim Floyd after his team played in front of a sellout Galen Center-record crowd of 10,027. “You have to earn those things.” USC has done that with a team that has defied all expectations. The Trojans (21-8, 11-5) are guaranteed at least fourth place in the Pac-10, will take second if they win both games in Washington this week and can wrap up third with a win or Stanford loss in the final two games. This for a team that entered the season picked to finish sixth in the conference and starting freshmen at point guard and power forward. “We’re playing for seeding now,” Stewart said. “There’s not a doubt we’re going to the (NCAA) Tournament. I think we’re going now, and the coaches feel the same way.” USC’s 15-3 record at Galen Center is its best home mark since going 16-3 in 1961. last_img read more

Zamora: Redknapp can turn things around

first_imgQPR striker Bobby Zamora says it is “crazy” that there are doubts over the future of Harry Redknapp. Manager Redknapp’s position is under scrutiny following a poor start to the season by Rangers, who are bottom of the Premier League table after seven matches.Zamora said: “Harry has a wealth of experience; relegations, promotions, finals – he’s seen it all. It really is crazy talking like this with so many games to go.“You can win two games and you’re right back up there. It hasn’t come to the point where it’s panic stations – far from it.“We just need a couple of wins – and although they are tough games they can be won. With 31 games to go there’s plenty of time to get out of this.”See also:The Redknapp recap: Harry on Liverpool, injuries, QPR fans and moreFollow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Combat on the Coast nears

first_imgHumboldt County has been witness to its own sons Cass Bell and Tyson Miller climb the ranks from amateur to professional fighters.On Saturday night at Cher-Ae Heights Casio in Trinidad, a new crop of local amateur fighters will test themselves against the rest of the West Coast inside the octagon at Combat on the Coast.Cher-Ae Heights, in partnership with the North Coast Combat League (NCCL), will host a full night of fights Saturday. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the first fight begins at 6 p.m.T …last_img

Instant Diamonds?

first_imgTalk about catastrophism: imagine a geological process creating a dyke 150 miles deep in a few minutes.  This is a new model for how diatremes formed, as described in Nature last week.1  The surprise end of the abstract by Lionel Wilson and James W. Head III states, “No precursor to the eruption is felt at the surface and the processes are complete in about an hour.”    Diatremes are deep, funnel-shaped dykes made of kimberlite rock.  They extend down 200 to 250 meters into the earth and are famous as sources of diamonds.  The origin of diatremes has long been a puzzle.  Diverse and unusual, they have seemingly contradictory characteristics:Relative to normal magmatic eruptions, the most unusual of these characteristics raise the questions of how is it possible to: (1) transport diamonds from the mantle (where they are stable) to the surface (where they are metastable) fast enough to avoid significant alteration over the intervening range of depths at which they are unstable; (2) transport significant quantities of mantle xenoliths to near-surface levels; (3) produce intrusive pyroclastic kimberlitic material at depths where pressures would normally preclude magma fragmentation by volatile expansion, and then separate most of the volatiles from the pyroclastic materials; (4) generate extensive fracturing and brecciation of host rocks in many parts of the system, with minimal contact metamorphic effects; and (5) produce complex shallow structures (diatremes and root zones) in which an unusual widening of the conduit system occurs, sometimes with extensions that do not connect to the surface, and where complex mixtures of fragmented material and coherent dyke segments are present.In light of the difficulties previous models have had, the authors propose a catastrophic eruption: “We propose that essentially all of the rise of kimberlitic magma to the surface takes place via rapid propagation of a dyke from unusually great depths (Fig. 2) rather than the much slower propagation of a diapir to shallower depths before transitioning to a dyke,” they explained.  “This very deep dyke initiation and propagation minimizes thermodynamic problems associated with transporting diamonds from mantle depths to the surface.”    In their model, which describes six stages of the eruption, carbon dioxide creates a sort of magma foam that propagates upward explosively.  Here is the brief description:Dyke initiation in a deep CO2-rich source region in the mantle leads to rapid propagation of the dyke tip, below which CO2 fluid collects, with a zone of magmatic foam beneath.  When the tip breaks the surface of the ground, gas release causes a depressurization wave to travel into the magma.  This wave implodes the dyke walls, fragments the magma, and creates a ‘ringing’ fluidization wave.  Together, these processes form the diatreme.  Catastrophic magma chilling seals the dyke.The walls open up, fill with the kimberlite, and close in rapid succession.  How quickly?  No millions of years required: “The termination of the eruption immediately after diatreme formation, probably within at most a few tens of minutes of the onset of eruption, is a direct consequence of the extreme cooling of magma during the large pressure reductions that occur on venting to the atmosphere.”  Long ages are not needed to explain the rocks found inside, either: “The subsequent very rapid pressure and temperature fluctuations lead to the formation of a diverse suite of rock types in the intrusive deposits that characterize these eruptions.”    In cases where water substitutes for carbon dioxide, the process could be more protracted, they said, similar to “traditional basaltic pyroclastic eruptions.”  Those may take a few more hours.1Lionel Wilson and James W. Head III, “An integrated model of kimberlite ascent and eruption,” Nature 447, 53-57 (3 May 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature05692.If this model is correct, who needs millions of years?  Of all the catastrophic geological processes described in the literature, this one seems among the fastest.  Imagine a funnel-shaped crater filled with rocks and minerals forming in less than an hour.  Undoubtedly, a passing uniformitarian-trained geologist would look at the deposits an hour later and deduce that they took millions of years of slow, gradual processes to form.    It is clear from this example that the presumption of long ages is a mindset drilled into geologists’ heads, not a requirement of the evidence.  This would be a good subject for a Biblical geologist to investigate in more detail.  See also last year’s surprise announcement that rich gold deposits could form in a human lifetime (10/15/2006).    Better hope you are not in the wrong spot when one of these eruptions is about to blow.  Come by shortly afterwards, though; you might just find acres of diamonds.  How’s that for fast delivery?  From mantle to surface, your diamond delivered in just one hour.  Lucy, meanwhile, is somewhere in the sky without any.  She is mourning her demotion as a human ancestor (04/10/2007).  The party at Charlie & Charlie’s really rocked for awhile.  Now that morning has come, she realizes her fling didn’t result in any lasting commitments.(Visited 29 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Telkom goes mobile with 8ta

first_img15 October 2010South Africans are set to benefit from increased competition in the local mobile telecommunications market, with fixed-line operator Telkom launching its own cellular offering, branded as 8ta (Heita!).The launch revealed who was behind the high-profile “Heita!” (a township slang greeting) advertising campaign, which has intrigued South Africans for the past few weeks.Addressing guests at the network’s launch in Johannesburg this week, Telkom Mobile executive Amith Maharaj said that 8ta products would offer more value than any other network provider, and that the new service would “get people to talk more”.“I’m not exaggerating when I say that this is the start of a new era in mobile phone communication in South Africa,” Maharaj said. “Consumers will at last have a real choice.”Free talk time, real-time usage infoAccording to 8ta, all prepaid customers will for the first time benefit from free talk time to any network every time they receive calls from a mobile phone – 1 free second of airtime for every 3 seconds of call received – a benefit that is available all day, every day.Calls from 8ta to fixed line will cost 60% less than typical market rates for similar calls, and there will be a flat rate of R2.50 per minute to over 100 international destinations.“Additionally, when you send five SMSs in a day, 8ta will give you 50 bonus SMS’s at no extra cost to use that same day,” the network operator said in a statement.The network will also provide prepaid internet customers with an out-of-bundle rate of R1 per megabyte, while prepaid data bundles can be purchased for as low as 25c per megabyte.The billing system ensures that both prepaid and contract customers have access to real-time usage information so that they can understand their consumption moment by moment, without receiving unexpectedly high bills at the end of the month.“We are able to mobilise the reliability of fixed-line and the agility of mobile to provide products that South African people really want,” said Telkom Group acting CEO Jeffrey Hedberg.National coverage, ‘top notch’ service8ta has constructed 800 base stations across the country, and plans to construct a further 3 200 base stations over time to improve coverage and connectivity. The services have been built on an end-to-end Internet Protocol based 2G and 3G network, which is easily upgradable to a Long Term Evolution (LTE), or “4G” network.“To ensure top notch customer service and quality of experience, a new call centre and new IT systems have also been implemented,” Telkom said.8ta has also entered into a national roaming agreement with MTN to extend its coverage reach to more than 96% of the South African population.The network will also offer a full international roaming service through another established and experienced international service provider when it launches post-paid services next month.8ta has created a countrywide sales network that includes the major consumer retailers and mobile wholesalers as well as 132 Telkom Direct outlets across South Africa.“We wanted to create a brand that builds upon Telkom’s heritage around quality and innovation,” said Telkom South Africa MD Pinky Moholi. “At the same time, we realised the need to be simple and to be authentically South African.”SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Gripen first for SA woman fighter pilot

first_imgMajor Catherine Labuschagne completed her maiden solo flight in the South African Air Force’s Gripen Jas 39C in October, becoming the first woman fighter pilot ever to fly the supersonic aircraft.Maj Catherine Labuschagne made history when she became South Africa’s first female fighter pilot. (Image: SAAF)Brand South Africa reporterLabuschagne, who is identified by her call sign of Siren, is now the only female member of the SA Air Force’s (SAAF’s) elite 2 Squadron. The squadron, which flies the single- and dual-seat Gripens, is based at Makhado Air Force Base in Limpopo province.Formerly known as Air Force Base Louis Trichardt and today also called the Fortress of the North, or Castrum borealis, Makhado is the most northerly of South Africa’s bases.Established in the 1940s, 2 Squadron has earned many battle honours, including El Alamein in 1942, South East Europe in 1944 and 1945, and Korea from 1950 to 1953. Lieutenant Colonel Glen Gibson is the unit’s officer commanding (OC).Labuschagne trained on the venerable Impala jet before graduating to the Hawk 120 lead-in fighter trainer in preparation for the step up to South Africa’s most formidable aircraft. Pilots are required to accumulate about 430 hours on the Hawk and pass several courses before they can sit behind the controls of a Gripen.Dedicated and meticulousShe got her wings in 2000 and, a decade later, is one of South Africa’s most highly skilled women pilots. Although she’s never felt that she’s had to work as hard as her male colleagues, the going has been tough, Labuschagne admits.“You need to be dedicated; you need to be meticulous; you need to work hard, be committed to what you do; and definitely must have passion for what you do,” she said in a recent television interview.Labuschagne boasts 1 900 flying hours, of which 1 000 have been on military jets.Back in 2004 she made military history as the first woman to fly in a Gripen, but it was from the back seat of the two-seater 39D. Today she is among the first group of locally trained Gripen pilots to complete their operational conversion course – the initial six received their training in Sweden.Major Labuschagne (left) during training in Sweden. (Image: SAAB)The other local graduates are Lieutenant Koobendra Chetty (Saffron) and Lieutenant Colonel Gys van der Walt (Samurai). The three will complete their training in 2011 with Major Lance Mathebula (Lancelot), who trained in Sweden.Gripen instruction takes place at 85 Combat Flying School, based at the Centralised Training Centre at Makhado and operating under the motto Detrimento sumus (Destruction is our business). The centre offers a computer-based instruction system and a virtual aircraft training facility, also known as a simulator.According to 2 Squadron’s OC Gibson, the approximate ratio of air and simulator sorties is 50:50.SAAF setting the exampleThe Gripen is a single-engine fighter built by Swedish manufacturer Saab. Besides the SAAF, which was Gripen’s first export client, the craft are currently in service in the Czech, Hungarian and Swedish Air Forces.The SAAF has placed an order for 17 single-seater 39C craft and nine two-seater 39D craft, and in April 2008 took delivery of its first Gripen.To date, 15 of the nimble fighters have arrived in South African airspace, and the order is expected to conclude in 2012. The Gripens will replace the fleet of Cheetah fighters, some of which have been in service since 1986. The Cheetahs, which are basically refurbished Mirages, have now been retired.Before the Gripens could formally join the SAAF fleet, they had to pass a stringent two-year test programme to adapt the craft to local systems.“South Africa was the first export customer to select Gripen, and its recognition of Gripen’s capabilities and its faith in Saab has inspired other new Gripen customers, including the Czech Republic, Hungary, the UK’s Empire Test Pilot School and, more recently, Thailand,” says Saab president Åke Svensson.Svensson adds that the success of future negotiations with other countries depends to a degree on the performance of the aircraft in South Africa.BAE Systems South Africa CE Mike O’Callaghan says the purchase of the Gripens and Hawks has revived the country’s defence and aerospace industry and enhanced its reputation internationally. The UK-based BAE Systems is that country’s biggest defence contractor, and manufactures the Hawk fighters.With a maximum speed of Mach 2 – twice the speed of sound, or about 2 400km/h – and a highly advanced sensor system, the Gripen is widely regarded as the world’s top medium-weight fighter aircraft.During the recent 2010 Fifa World Cup, Gripens and Hawks were responsible for much of the security in the air.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Farm Bureau officers, trustees elected

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Ohio Farm Bureau’s officers and trustees were elected Dec. 5 during the organization’s 101st annual meeting. Below are links to individual news releases on the election results.  The news release also contains a link to a hi-resolution photo.Election resultsPresident Frank Burkett III Vice President Bill PattersonTreasurer Cy Prettyman District 1 Trustee Chris Weaver: Defiance, Fulton, Henry and Williams CountiesDistrict 5 Trustee Craig Polhman: Allen, Paulding, Putnam and Van Wert CountiesDistrict 6 Trustee Paul Harrison: Hancock, Hardin, Seneca and Wyandot CountiesDistrict 10 Trustee Mike Bensman: Auglaize, Logan, Mercer and Shelby CountiesDistrict 13 Trustee Jerry Lahmers: Carroll, Harrison, Jefferson and Tuscarawas CountiesDistrict 15 Trustee Michael Videkovich: Fairfield, Hocking, Pickaway and Ross CountiesDistrict 19 Trustee John Mossbarger: Clinton, Fayette, Greene and Warren CountiesDistrict 20 Trustee Nathan Brown: Adams, Brown, Clermont and Highland CountiesSouthwest regional trustee Kyle Smith: Adams, Brown, Butler, Champaign, Clark, Clermont, Clinton, Darke, Delaware, Fayette, Franklin, Greene, Hamilton, Highland, Madison, Miami, Montgomery, Preble, Union and Warren CountiesThis is a news release for use by journalists. Questions should be directed to Ty Higgins, 614-246-8231.Editors: Please click on each trustee or officer’s name for a high-resolution photo.last_img read more

Technology Needs to Make Healthy Food Scalable and Affordable

first_imgTrends Driving the Loyalty Marketing Industry Related Posts Many have been calling the healthy and organic food category the next trillion-dollar industry. With allergen-free foods experiencing 30 percent sales growth in the U.S. and healthy snacks alone estimated to top $138 billion by 2020, it’s not surprising that 88 percent of consumers say they’ll pay more for access to healthy foods.The demand is there, but the problem is scaling health food production to meet it. And many worry about what will happen if healthy food doesn’t become more cost-effective to produce: American adults hit an all-time high in obesity in 2017, with just shy of 40 percent considered obese. Nineteen percent of young people fit in the same category.Some big corporations have jumped in the fray to produce healthy foods at scale, from Coca-Cola’s Honest Tea to PepsiCo’s KeVita kombucha. But many who purchase natural and organic foods argue that big corporations create synthetic products or dilute the richness of the products offered by smaller manufacturers using traditional methods.The onus is on technology to make health food production more scalable and cost-effective, as Humm Kombucha’s Eric Plantenberg explains.Old-School vs. High-TechPlantenberg, the chief sales and marketing officer at Humm, remembers watching his mother make kombucha in their family kitchen. His mother, a nurse who grew up on a largely organic farm, made the drink for its health benefits. “We’re full of low-nutrition food these days as a country,” he explains. “Thirty to 40 years ago, the entire food industry changed from producing high-nutrient food to high-caloric because it was less expensive to produce.”Plantenberg continues, “It was a great ‘feed the world’ mentality, but it completely stripped foods of nutrients. And the bacteria in your stomach drives your tastes and preferences — if you eat an apple a day, you crave an apple because your body wants what it knows. People have been feeling bad — they’re unhappy with their bodies, not just in image, but in microbial discomfort — and it was a setup for the entire movement of natural foods.”Humm was founded by friends Michelle Mitchell and Jamie Danek in the middle of the recession in 2009.  They got 15 orders after trying to sell the homemade product to friends. Plantenberg says it had a viral effect immediately — people felt better after consuming the fermented drink, even if they didn’t change their daily Snickers or McDonald’s habits. That momentum often propelled customers to take on other lifestyle changes, including food modifications.But as the call for kombucha grew, the grassroots brand had to keep up with it, transitioning from making 10 gallons per week in the kitchen to making 250 in the first six months. The company struggled to figure out how to get bigger vessels, transport the large quantities, and manufacture 50,000 gallons each week. “How do you bridge a very small-batch process and scale it to something 20 million people are asking to drink?” Plantenberg asks.Following a Steep TrajectoryHumm’s team felt the steep growth of the health food market. “We’ve been through a lot to figure out how to make the tech scalable,” Plantenberg says. “The affordability issue of clean, healthy food is very real. Natural products facilities’ processes are very labor- and time-intensive.”He explains, “Whole Foods gets a bad rap, but the markup on junk food is so much higher than it is on healthy food. The whole supply chain of healthy foods is broken, and demand has far exceeded our capacity to make products. How do we do this and maintain our quality? A warehouse brand approached us to buy massive amounts of our product, but the quality has to remain the same.”Mackenzie Stabler, the brand’s director of innovation, has been trying to help the brand do just that: “When Jamie and Michelle started out in the kitchen, they had recipe flexibility, but also inconsistencies from batch to batch. These days, we define quality as having consistency, but it has to make sense with our size.”She said there’s very much been a relationship between technology and the brand’s ability to keep its products accessible. “Four years ago, we didn’t need a full lab and guard columns (GC). We measure consistency through technology: GC, data tracking, flavor profiles layered on top through GC information to see the peaks and valleys from batch to batch.”Scaling up has been challenging, as what worked even a year ago doesn’t make sense now. The company has adopted data analysis akin to other high-tech business segments. “Everything we do now is through data collection, algorithms, and quality control software — we’re finding where things correlate, extrapolating trends and outcomes, and doing variable testing. It’s been huge in scaling our process development,” Stabler says.Jumping HurdlesTweaking each aspect of the process to scale has created new hurdles to overcome. Stabler says the brand had a flavor in a conventional version that it had to reformulate as organic. It had created a sensory experience with one conventional product, but it couldn’t replicate it with a singular organic product. Instead, the brand put the new version together through all-organic flavor compounds and aromas.Stabler says tech-fueled tweaks have also lowered the sugar in Humm’s kombucha, making the healthy product even healthier. “The relationship between sugar and acidity allowed us to change the flavors,” she says. “We had the same base product and just adjusted the sweetness or acidity in either direction and used the lab to determine the content of each item.” The brand’s new line extension has only 5 grams of sugar per serving.But this testing carries a price. Stabler says mass-manufactured kombucha tends to share more similarities with juice from concentrate than 100 percent juice, which is more akin to handmade kombucha. “When a company is using concentrate, the first ingredient will be water; full-strength products will list kombucha first and then the ingredients of kombucha in parentheses,” she explains. “There’s no legal requirement to advertise whether it’s from concentrate or not; from concentrate is cheaper, diluted with water, and it doesn’t require the business to manufacture or grow cultures. They’re essentially a co-packer of a kombucha product.”Healthy foods, Stabler says, are in the beginning stages of their revolution. “Go back to when beer started — looking at the tech advances, it was very similar to how kombucha has grown,” Stabler says. “But kombucha, until the 1980s, was a pocket thing that still resembled how it had been made in China and Russia. Now, we have mainstream demand to make more, but a consistent, safe product only happens with technology. You can’t do things the old-fashioned way and serve a million people. We want to be sustainable.”As Humm’s experience proves, the healthy food market may be the next trillion-dollar industry, but it’s already flagged a ripe opportunity for entrepreneurs in the tech arena: healthy food manufacturing. If tech companies shift some of their focus to automating and streamlining the production of healthy food, data-heavy companies like Humm will be able to meet demand — and make people healthier — that much faster. Brad is the editor overseeing contributed content at ReadWrite.com. He previously worked as an editor at PayPal and Crunchbase. You can reach him at brad at readwrite.com. Tags:#food#health#healthy food#Trending What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Follow the Puck Brad AndersonEditor In Chief at ReadWritelast_img read more

10 million endowed gift supports psychosis research efforts

first_imgRelated StoriesSchwann cells capable of generating protective myelin over nerves finds researchTargeted treatment offers symptom relief for patients with psychosisStudy: Treatment of psychosis can be targeted to specific genetic mutationBecause the gift is endowed, the perpetual funding will secure the future of behavioral health research at Vanderbilt.”We are already providing clinical care to many patients during their first episode of psychosis. This transformational gift now allows us to map the trajectory of psychosis,” said Stephan Heckers, MD, MSc, chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. “The outstanding translational research environment at Vanderbilt University Medical Center is the ideal place to realize the vision of our donor.”The gift will allow researchers to engage and track patients for longer periods of time, enabling longitudinal research studies that could otherwise not be accomplished. Through enhanced assessments, increased medication monitoring and earlier interventions, the team at Vanderbilt hopes to gain insight into what determines positive and negative treatment outcomes and to extend the lives of people with psychotic disorders, which are associated with a shortened life expectancy.”We are extremely grateful to the donor for making this translational research possible. The donor’s vision will impact many patients at Vanderbilt and will greatly advance our research agenda,” said Heckers. Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Jun 13 2019Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences has received a $10 million endowed gift to fund translational research, support clinical programs and create an endowed chair within the department.As a family member of a loved one with schizophrenia, the donor, who wishes to remain anonymous so the focus remains on the patients and new treatments, is energized by the potential of developing early treatments to slow or prevent psychosis from reaching more critical stages.”Seeing firsthand the devastation of the effects that these diseases have on not just the individual, but the whole family, I believe we need to try anything possible to help alleviate the pain of these experiences,” said the donor. “We keep hoping that something will come along that helps slow the progression of psychotic disorders. If we can work with patients through their first episodes so we can hopefully prevent future ones, that will be the key to improving lives.”The donor made the gift to help other families find answers as they struggle through the challenges of learning a loved one has a psychotic disorder and finding viable treatment options. The early days can be difficult. The burden of psychosis ripples through families as uncertainty and difficulty alter the fabric of life. We are grateful for the pivotal generosity that will ensure other people, and their families, are supported and better understood as they tackle treatment. This gift will reverberate for decades to come.”Jeff Balser, MD, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicinecenter_img Source:Vanderbilt University Medical Centerlast_img read more

UK hands Comcast advantage in Sky takeover tussle with Fox

first_img Fox says Disney may buy Sky News in fresh takeover twist This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. 21st Century Fox is seeking to buy the 61 percent of Sky that it does not own for £11.4 billion but the long-running saga has been plagued by fears over media plurality and broadcasting standards Britain gave the edge Tuesday to US cable giant Comcast in a multi-billion-pound takeover battle with Rupert Murdoch’s entertainment titan 21st Century Fox for pan-European TV group Sky. Explore furthercenter_img Citation: UK hands Comcast advantage in Sky takeover tussle with Fox (2018, June 5) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-06-uk-comcast-advantage-sky-takeover.html © 2018 AFP Culture Secretary Matt Hancock announced that he has cleared Comcast’s £22-billion ($29.4-billion, 25.1-billion-euro) bid for all of Sky, setting the stage for a potential bidding war.Sky, which is best known for its live coverage of English Premier League football, has long been a jewel in the crown of media magnate Murdoch.”I have concluded that the proposed merger does not raise public interest concerns and so I can confirm today that I will not be issuing an intervention notice,” Conservative Party minister Hancock told parliament.However, turning to Fox’s lower offer per share for the 61 percent of Sky it does not already own, Hancock added he favoured “divesting Sky News” to a suitable third party to address public interest concerns identified by regulators, before giving it the nod.Fox is seeking to buy the 61 percent of Sky that it does not own for £11.4 billion but the long-running saga has been plagued by fears over media plurality and broadcasting standards—and the increasing influence of Australian-born US citizen Murdoch.’Bidding war on horizon’Deputy leader of the main opposition Labour party, Tom Watson, who is a vocal critic of Murdoch, urged Hancock to “protect the interests of the public”.He said: “With Comcast now in the ring, the future for Sky is uncertain. A bidding war is on the horizon.”New York-listed Fox had already proposed in April to sell rolling TV news channel Sky News to Disney to finally clinch its takeover of Sky. Comcast, which itself had lost out to Disney last year in an effort to buy 21st Century Fox, had last month formalised its Sky cash bid.Hancock made his announcement in light of a final report from Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The regulator again raised the possibility of “increased influence of the Murdoch Family Trust over public opinion and the UK’s political agenda”, should Fox win control of Sky News.”The CMA concluded in line with its interim findings that the merger may not be expected to operate against the public interest on the grounds of a genuine commitment to broadcasting standards,” Hancock said.He added: “I agree with the CMA that divesting Sky News to Disney, as proposed by Fox, or to an alternative suitable buyer, with an agreement to ensure it is funded for at least ten years, is likely to be the most proportionate and effective remedy for the public interest concerns that have been identified.”Consultation periodThere will now be a 15-day consultation period to finalise details of the Sky News divestment before Hancock reaches his final decision on the Fox deal.However, he also warned that—should a Sky News sale not be attainable—then his “only effective remedy would be to block the merger altogether”.Earlier this year, the CMA had provisionally ruled that Murdoch’s planned takeover was not in the public interest on media plurality concerns.Murdoch owns also major British newspaper titles The Times and The Sun.Comcast’s superior cash offer values each Sky share at £12.50, which is significantly higher to Fox’s offer price of £10.75.Back in 2011, Murdoch failed to buy the British pay-TV group, then known as BSkyB, owing to a phone-hacking scandal at his now-defunct News of the World tabloid newspaper.last_img read more