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New Zealand players celebrate after winning the World Cup
New Zealand dethrone Australia for first World Cup in 16 years
22 July 2019, 2:09 PM

New Zealand stunned Australia 52-51 in an exhilarating final on Sunday to dethrone the champions and claim their first netball World Cup title in 16 years.

The Silver Ferns were runners-up in the last three editions that Australia won but were determined not to let history repeat itself at Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena, soaking up the pressure in a tense final quarter to prevail.

“It’s been hard work as the Diamonds have been the benchmark in netball, but Liverpool has been amazing,” Kiwi Maria Folau, who top-scored for her team in the final with 28, said in a courtside interview.

New Zealand coach Noeline Taurua said victory was a boost for netball in the country after they missed out on the Commonwealth Games final last year.

“I’m quite speechless… for us to come out and win this, it’s huge for our netball community and for New Zealand,” she said.

Earlier, England beat South Africa 58-42 for their sixth World Cup bronze medal and the third in a row as coach Tracey Neville took charge of the Roses for the final time.

“This bronze medal isn’t a consolation. World netball is as tight as it’s ever been and we knew we’d get what we deserved, and it was bronze,” England captain Serena Guthrie said.

Guthrie said victory ensured a fitting farewell for Neville, the sister of the England women’s soccer team coach Phil.

“When Tracey first came into his job it was a whirlwind, but to see her grow as a world-class international coach has been a pleasure. Today was about sending her off as best we could and we did that,” Guthrie added.

“It’s hard to keep it together when we have got everybody crying. This has been the best experience. We almost feel like we have won a gold medal.”


Bheki Gumbi
National People’s Front chairperson resigns
21 July 2019, 1:34 PM

The KwaZulu-Natal National People’s Front (NAPF) chairperson Muzi Hlophe has resigned.

The NAPF is amongst new political parties that were contesting the 2019 general elections, but failed to secure a single seat in the provincial legislature.  The party is a breakaway faction from the NFP.

Hlophe says poor work relations with the party leader have led to his resignation.

“The reason why I resigned, I’ve seen that we have no good working relationship with the president of the party, since towards elections until today we never communicated. So I’ve seen that it is very hard for me, as a provincial chairperson of the party, to work if we are not in a good condition, because the president is the one that I must actually liaise with.  It seems as if he feels uncomfortable if I’m in a party because he even mentioned that it seems as if we are competing – me and him – that’s why I’ve resigned from the party,” says Hlophe.

Meanwhile, the leader of the  NAPF Bheki Gumbi says they welcome Hlophe’s resignation.

“In his letter of resignation, he never said anything, except that he is withdrawing his membership, also resigning from the party with no reasons. We believe that everyone has a right to join the party; he also has an equal right to leave the party…. We wish him well. As the NAPF, we are continuing with our struggle, we are building the organisation, we are moving ahead,” says Gumbi.


cold temperature
A strong cold front is expected in parts of SA
21 July 2019, 10:39 AM

South Africans have been urged to keep a close eye out for a strong cold front approaching the western parts of South Africa.

The South African Weather Service says temperatures are also expected to remain low across parts of the Northern and Eastern Cape.

It says the cold front is expected to move inland – with cold conditions expected across Gauteng and Mpumalanga.

SABC weather forecaster Azwi Tuwani says, “The Western Cape has another intense cold front heading towards them, but for the rest temperatures will be warm to a maximum of 19 degrees today and dropping to 12 so temperatures will remain cool in those regions. We are expecting a few clouds that will quickly dissipate for most parts of SA and we are seeing those in Gauteng currently. Partly cloudy skies are expected over the north eastern parts and we are expecting drizzle over the eastern interior and Limpopo for today. We have a high fire danger over the western parts of Northern Cape.

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President of the Rastafari United Front, Thau-Thau Haramanuba
Rastafari United Front to picket at Sunday Times headquarters
21 July 2019, 9:00 AM

The Rastafari United Front says is it will picket at the Sunday Times headquarters in Johannesburg on Sunday to highlight the plight of the Rastafari.

This follows reports published in the newspaper last week, which questioned the work done by Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane for using former SARS law interpreter, Keletso Bizoski Manyike, as a witness for the SARS rogue unit.

President of the Rastafari United Front, Thau-Thau Haramanuba, says they are unhappy with the manner in which Manyike is being portrayed.

“We found that the article was quite distasteful – without getting into the merits of the case that is at hand about the rogue unit, but looking at the manner in which our member is being portrayed.”

“We find that the very opening line was designed to undermine and discriminate to say dope, smoking, unemployed Rastafarian – so that itself is out of the question.  Dope is drugs, not dagga, so now they are implying he is a drug user and so forth,” says Haramanuba.

Kitchen disruption: better food through artificial intelligence
21 July 2019, 7:25 AM

Looking for that perfect recipe, or a new flavour combination that delights the senses?

Increasingly, players in the food industry are embracing artificial intelligence to better understand the dynamics of flavour, aroma and other factors that go into making a food product a success.

Earlier this year, IBM became a surprise entrant to the food sector, announcing a partnership with seasonings maker McCormick to “explore flavour territories more quickly and efficiently using AI to learn and predict new flavour combinations” by collected data from millions of data points.

The partnership highlights how technology is being used to disrupt the food industry by helping develop new products and respond to consumer preferences and offer improved nutrition and flavour.

“More and more, food companies are embracing digitization and becoming data-driven,” said Bernard Lahousse, co-founder of Food pairing, a start up with offices in Belgium and New York which develops digital food “maps” and algorithms to recommend food and drink combinations.

Lahousse said his company has “the largest flavour database in the world” that enables better food predictions based on both human preference and data analysis.

“Instead of using an expert panel or consumer panel we develop algorithms that can translate into how consumers view this product,” he said.

New York-based Analytical Flavour Systems uses AI to create a model or “gastrograph” of flavour, aroma, and texture to predict consumer preference of food and beverage products.

The platform, which recently raised $4 million in funding, aims to help companies “create better, more targeted and healthy products for consumers,” according to founder Jason Cohen.

It’s not clear how much funding is going into AI food ventures, although overall food tech investment amounted to $16.9 billion in 2018, according to data from the investment platform AgTech Funder.

Brita Rosenheim, a food tech analyst and investor in Analytical Flavour Systems through the firm Better Food Ventures, said technology can help “digitize existing data” from human taste panels and speed up the process for developing new food products.

“The typical food product development process is long, and there are a lot of holes where there is no clear feedback on how the market is reaction, so this kind of technology can help,” Rosenheim said.

Food pairing, for example, offers its “flavour intelligence” map based on molecular analysis: a Spanish dry-cured ham, for example, has elements described as “cheesy” or acidic while beetroots have a “woody” and “caramellic” flavour profile.

Lahousse said one of its notable pairing recommendations was oysters and kiwi, which became a signature dish at a well-known Belgian restaurant.

“Food pairing maps out all possible pairings, but food is cultural and personal,” he said. “That is why we also use consumer behaviour to increase the relevance of the pairings when we work with food companies.”

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology illustrated how AI can be useful in determining optimal growing conditions by growing basil with supercharged flavour, and hope to adapt that for other products.

“Artificial intelligence could give us the ability to utilize vast datasets of detailed agricultural information for the improvement of our food crops, faster than ever before,” said John de la Parra, head of MIT’s Open Agriculture Initiative.

Better data collection and standards are essential to enabling innovations in food, said Matthew Lange, a lecturer at the University of California at Davis and head of the IC3 Foods research centre on food informatics working on data standards for food properties.

“I see a lot of people applying machine learning around flavour and nutrition in recipe development,” Lange said.

Lange said this could take off even more with better standards and data sharing to map flavours and aromas, opening up new possibilities for “personalized” foods and recipes that offer better flavour, nutrition and stainability.

“If we have the ability to ‘play back’ flavour and aroma it will create a veritable explosion in technology and the business models,” he said.

“Imaging being able to dial in (the preferred flavours and aromas) to create a sauce just to your liking,” he said. “Maybe you want to create something to have a sense of the beach, so this becomes an experience.”

MIT’s de la Parra said the notion of AI-personalized food is not likely soon.

“Personalized food on the individual level is a lofty goal,” he said.

“To be done well, it would require large amounts of personal data, much of which might be complicated by questions of privacy and security. It is more likely, in the foreseeable future, that AI would be used to predict broad trends in consumer trends and tastes.”





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