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One of the six ravens in the Tower of London has disappeared
Workers fear he is dead, which could be a grim sign for the UK. According to legend, if there are less than six ravens in the Tower, the kingdom will perish.
The fusion energy device kept a temperature of 180 million degrees Fahrenheit, or 100 million degrees Celsius, for 20 seconds
The Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR) fusion reactor recently set a world record by maintaining its plasma temperature at a super-hot 180 million degrees Fahrenheit for 20 seconds. It may not seem like a long time, but no previous fusion plant has operated for more than 10 seconds under these conditions - even the KSTAR reactor only lasted eight seconds in 2019.
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Eating family style: Cape Town's La Tête closes its doors - Eat Out
Thursday, January 21st, 2021by Katy Rose La Tete by Claire Gunn. One of Cape Towns most iconic restaurants, and multi Eat Out award-winner, La Tête has announced that it will be closing with its last service on the 6th of February 2021. The bistro-style restaurant shook up the Cape Town food scene with a fearless dedication to locally sourced ingredients and nose-to-tail eating. Owner and chef, Giles Edwards assisted by his always-beaming Head Chef Siviwe Jaxa turned out some impressively simple food that won them many accolades both in South Africa and abroad. Famed for its freshly baked madeleines (served with a rich vanilla Crème Anglaise dipping sauce and best paired with a double espresso), La Tête brought French-style food to Capetonians and their Instagram feeds. The embossed white plates became ubiquitous on social media, with diners raving about the restaurants simple and delicate approach to local ingredients. Some of the most memorable dishes include the Blood-pudding Scotch eggs and Chicken Hearts served with potatoes and a glossy jus sauce. Edwards has been a strong supporter of smaller winemakers, and the wine list always featured some of the lesser-known and hard to come by vintages. In a social media post late on Wednesday evening, Edwards posted: We are devastated to announce that La Tête will be closing its doors in the first week of February. Despite great determination to see ourselves through this prohibitive time, we can honestly say that we have tried every avenue to no avail. Most of the team have been with us either from the beginning or through many seasons. The issue of leaving our amazing team of 16 staff without employment weighs heavily on our hearts. Regretfully, it is out of our hands. I would like to thank each one of you for your hard work, skill and dedication which has kept our dream alive over the years. I could never have imagined such an abrupt end to it all. In a last message Giles asks all friends of La Tête to join them before 6 February for one last hurrah in these last few weeks as we say goodbye. We will be serving some of our favourite dishes for our final weeks of trading. Reservations are strongly recommended. Contact the team at www.latete.co.za READ FROM 2017: Eat this now: The fish sandwich at La Tête on Bree Street, Cape Town. Header image by Claire Gunn.
Secret meetings with Zuma could sink Mkhwebane - Mail and Guardian
An alleged string of lies about Mkhwebane’s meeting with the former president in her contentious R3.2-billion Absa report has the public protector in a legal wrangle
Alleged lies about clandestine meetings with former president Jacob Zuma could sink public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, who is facing three perjury counts related to her R3.2-billion Absa Bank report. The public protector, who was represented by the Economic Freedom Fighters former chairperson, advocate Dali Mpofu, cut a lone and dejected figure in the box as she made her first appearance on Thursday at the Pretoria magistrates court. This was after the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigations (the Hawks) issued a summons to her last month, and the head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in Pretoria, Sibongile Mzinyathi, decided to prosecute. In a bold statement on the strength of its case, the NPA asserted: The investigation is done, and the state is ready for trial. It is unclear whether the former president would be called, either by the state or by Mkhwebane, to give evidence at the mooted trial. In the charge sheet against Mkhwebane, the NPA alleges that the public protector lied under oath in November 2017, April 2018 and June 2018 when she deposed three affidavits in filing papers to appeal adverse findings made against her office by the high court in Pretoria. Mkhwebanes alleged lies are related to her June 2017 report, which found that the South African government and the South African Reserve Bank failed to recover R3.2-billion from Absa. This was for the R1.5-billion lifeboat loan, at 1% interest, the central bank gave the now-defunct Bankorp bank between 1985 and 1991, and again in 1992. Bankorp, which Absa acquired when the latter was formed in 1991 through an amalgamation of various other banks, was facing total collapse when the Reserve Bank granted it the loans at low interest rates. In her June 2017 report, Mkhwebane found that the government and the Reserve Bank did not implement the CIEX report to recover the Bankorp/Absa loans, stemming from a 2010 complaint to the public protectors office. CIEX is a United Kingdom-headquartered asset-recovery company. Among others, the remedial action set out by the accused [Mkhwebane], [who] directed that the chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee take steps to amend section 224 of the Constitution to strip the [Reserve Bank] of its primary objective to protect the value of the currency and to change the consulting obligation with the minister of finance, reads the NPA charge sheet against Mkhwebane. The Reserve Bank reviewed these findings and had the remedial actions set aside by the high court in Pretoria. Mkhwebane had also ordered that the 1998 Special Investigating Unit (SIU) proclamation, which was to probe monies owed by Absa and other companies to the Reserve bank, needed to be reopened and amended. Absa, the finance ministry and the treasury filed applications to review the remedial action related to the SIU, to which Mkhwebane deposed an answering affidavit to the applications in November 2017. Advocate Dali Mpofu (left) with Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane ahead of her first court appearance. (Supplied) The NPA alleges that the public projector lied under oath in her affidavit, saying she had only met Zuma once in April 2017 to discuss her CIEX report, while knowing that the declaration was false. Prosecutors further allege that, in Mkhwebanes April 2018 affidavit, which sought direct access to appeal to the Constitutional Court after the Absa/Treasury review application went against her, she said she had had a second meeting with Zuma. The purpose thereof was to clarify the [former presidents] response to the provisional report, while knowing that the purpose declared was not correct. According to the charge sheet, the third perjury count stems from Mkhwebanes June 2018 replying affidavit in her direct access application. She declared that she did not discuss the final report [or] new remedial action with the [former president] on 7 June 2017, while knowing that it was not true. Mkhwebane was released on Thursday, and the matter was postponed until March for the resolution and management of pre-trial issues.
Oxford Covid vaccine team are developing new jab to deal with mutant strains - The Sun
OXFORD scientists are working on their Covid jab to assess whether it can deal with emerging coronavirus variants. Strains from South Africa and Brazil with concerning mutations have left scientists scrambling to work out if their jabs will be affected. Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates Sheila Evans receives an injection of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine at the Al Abbas Mosque, Birmingham, January 21Credit: PA:Press Association Oxford is now undertaking feasibility studies to reconfigure the technology used to make its vaccine, The Telegraph reported, citing confirmation from the university. The scientists are working on estimating how quickly they could reconfigure their technology, should the challenge ever arise in order to attack new variants. It is hoped they will be able to make tweaks within just 48 hours notice. A University of Oxford spokesman said: "It is known that viruses constantly change through mutation These changes are being monitored closely by scientists, and it's important we continue to remain vigilant for changes in the future. "The University of Oxford is carefully assessing the impact of new variants on vaccine immunity and evaluating the processes needed for rapid development of adjusted Covid-19 vaccines if these should be necessary." Experts say if the new variants escape the vaccines in use, it should be possible to refashion them in rapid time. AstraZeneca vaccination doses prior to being given to patients Credit: Getty Images - Getty The process of changing the vaccine and getting it into arms would take a few weeks, according to Sir Patrick Vallance, the Chief Scientific Adviser. Talking to Sky News yesterday, Sir Patrick said: Fortunately the new vaccine technologies, particularly mRNA [used for the Pfizer and Moderna jabs], are relatively easy to change. You dial up a change, It only takes a few weeks for that change to be made. I think that's what we are going to see. I wouldn't be at all surprised if we needed slight variations of the vaccine to make sure we keep on top of this. Changes will occur all over the world, viruses mutate, i would expect to see more of that going forward. On the need for annual vaccines, Sir Patrick said regular Covid jabs would be needed regularly and potentially have to be changed - as is the case for the flu. He said: I think its quite likely that we are going to need regular vaccination, at least for a few years, and I think its quite likely that those vaccines may need to change a bit as they do for flu every year. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the MHRA will be ready to approve tweaked Covid vaccines. He is pictured with a vial of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine on November 30Credit: AFP or licensors Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday that the nations medicines regulator will be ready and able to give approval to tweaked Covid vaccines amid new variants popping up. Tory MP Neil OBrien asked Mr Johnson at prime ministers questions in the House of Commons about concerning data from South Africa that the virus could mutate and thus dodge the vaccines and reduce their efficacy. Mr Johnson said: We have been talking about that with the scientists over the last days and weeks intensively, just in the last few hours. We are confident that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency will be in a position to turn around new applications for new variants of vaccines, as may be required to deal with new variants of the virus. The MHRA said: We are in discussion with vaccine manufacturers on potential modifications that may be needed for current vaccines to be effective against new variants, if required, according to the Financial Times. It comes after scientists have warned Covid-19 vaccines being rolled out in the UK and around the world may be less effective against the South African strain, known as 501Y.V2. Both the variants from South Africa and Brazil have a mutation called E484K that is known to essentially evade some antibodies. The UK variant, found in Kent, does not have this mutation. A study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, found the mutations in the South Africa variant may be resistant to immunity from previous coronavirus infection. Lawrence Young, a virologist and professor of molecular oncology at Warwick Medical School, who was not involved in the research, said: This preprint suggests that individuals might be able to get infected with a variant of Sars-Cov-2 (the virus that causes Covid-19) even if they have previously had Covid-19. It also shows we urgently need to find out if we could see infection with this variant post-vaccination. Sir Patrick said there are unanswered questions about variants such as 501Y.V2. He said laboratory studies suggest this may be a virus that can escape some of the immune effects of antibodies, but we dont know to what degree. Sir Patrick said: We should get information on clinical effects because vaccinations are occurring in South Africa, they are occurring in Brazil, and they are occurring in other places variants may occur, so we should get some more information on that. They are more worrying in the sense they are a little more different in terms of how the immune system may recognise them. It is a real issue of concern. Its something we need to keep an eye on, but we dont have all the answers yet. I would just caution the laboratory studies are not perfect predictors of what happens in the clinic so we need to get clinical data as soon as we can. Sir Patrick said there is we are increasingly of the view that it will be susceptible to the vaccine. It comes as recent laboratory tests have indicated that the Covid vaccine developed by Pfizer is likely to work against the UK variant that emerged in Kent, called B.1.1.7. The researchers said their results indicate its is "unlikely that the B.1.1.7 lineage will escape BNT162b2-mediated (Pfizer/BionTech vaccine) protection". But it has not yet released findings on the concerning E484K mutation. BioNTech has said it plans to publish a more detailed analysis of the likely effect of its vaccine on the South African variant within a few days. GP surgeries are 'ready to go' on Covid vaccines - but don't have supplies, warns top doc