Africa Asean MENA Pakistan Press Releases South Africa

Blue California Commercializes Nicotinamide Mononucleotide (NMN) for Supporting an Increased Healthspan

A better cost-effective option is now available for dietary supplement, functional food, and beverage manufacturers.

Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., July 20, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Blue California joins with the innovative Massachusetts-based biotech company Conagen to announce the commercialization of high-purity, fermentation-derived nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN). A nature-based metabolic component which has caught the attention of health-conscious consumers for supporting energy and longevity.

The quest to age healthily and support longevity is surging among health-conscious consumers. “Consumers are reassessing their dietary regimen to make room for ingredients that can support an increased healthspan,” said Chief Science Officer at Blue California, Dr. Priscilla Samuel.

NMN supplements are highly sought-after for healthy aging applications, including brain health, vitality, heart health, metabolic health, and even cosmetics. However, current NMN ingredients used in products on the market are mostly produced by chemical synthesis.

While consumers are exploring dietary supplements for a holistic approach to health, they are also demanding clean labels from their supplements, and moving away from synthetic ingredients. Blue California’s fermentation-derived NMN opens new opportunities for producers to consider consumers’ health more holistically while acquiring a closer-to-nature position.

NMN serves as a precursor to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), a coenzyme present in all living cells and critical for mitochondrial function.

Increased intracellular levels of NAD+ boost energy production and improve cellular health, but levels decline dramatically with age. Replenishing NAD+ in the body with its precursor NMN has been proposed as a way to possibly combat age-related degeneration and increase healthy lifespan.

“Our fermentation-derived offering is well-positioned to capitalize on the growing recognition of NMN as an important ingredient in the food and supplement spaces,” said Samuel. “NMN is a well-known molecule in the longevity research community, and emerging research also suggests potential applications for immune health as well as sports nutrition.”

Harvard professor David Sinclair, a well-recognized leader in the field of aging research, is an advocate of NMN for improving the health of aging populations.

“NMN is a logical extension to our line of “longevity ingredients” which includes ergothioneine and pyrroloquinoline quinone. All of these molecules are made by our own proprietary fermentation processes, enabling our customers to better serve consumers who might reject chemically-derived ingredients,” said VP of Innovation at Conagen, Dr. Casey Lippmeier. “Because of the way we make it, Conagen’s NMN is of the highest purity and quality.  It is also very cost-effective and compatible with clean-label trends, all of which demonstrates our strength as a strategic partner with Blue California.”

As innovation in dietary supplemental nutrition advances, so does the growth of global vitamin, mineral and supplement (VMS) launches. Mintel reported a growth of 67% of global VMS launches in Apr 2020 – Mar 2021, as compared to Apr 2016 – Mar 2017 — where the United States leads the VMS market.

About Blue California

Blue California is a vertically integrated technology company providing innovative ingredient solutions to global partners. With more than 20 years of innovation success, our ingredients are used in commercial products and applications in the industries of nutrition, personal care, healthy aging and wellness, functional food and beverage, and beauty.

About Conagen

Conagen is making the impossible possible. Our scientists and engineers use the latest synthetic biology tools to develop high-quality sustainable nature-based products through systems of manufacturing on a molecular level and fermentation basis. We focus on the bioproduction of high-value ingredients for food, nutrition, flavors and fragrances, pharmaceutical, and renewable materials industries.


Ana Arakelian
Blue California ingredients
Africa Press Releases South Africa

Coalition Including Google, GivePower and Silfab Solar Brings Solar Power to One of Africa’s Oldest National Parks and a Prominent Peace School in the Democratic Republic of Congo

The Garamba National Park and Congo Peace School solar installations will help support critical conservation efforts, vulnerable communities and children affected by conflict

AUSTIN, Texas, July 20, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — GivePower Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to extending the environmental and social benefits of clean, renewable energy around the globe, has completed three solar projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in partnership with Nuru, a Congolese renewable energy utility. The installations, designed to help protect endangered wildlife and support children historically affected by violence, were made possible by Congo Power, an initiative backed by Google, and by Silfab Solar, which generously donated equipment.

GivePower Logo

“The work we are doing with our partners in the Democratic Republic of Congo is both immensely challenging and incredibly meaningful,” said Hayes Barnard, founder and chairman of GivePower. “The DRC is rich in resources that have fueled conflict and instability for decades, while access to electricity remains scarce. Through our collaboration with Congo Power, Google and Silfab Solar, we will collectively unlock new opportunities to scale community-led clean energy solutions.”

Two communities (Tadu & Faradje) surrounding the Garamba National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1980 where armed conflicts and instability in past decades have led to an increase in poaching, now have solar mini grids that will bring reliable and clean power to the area. The mini grids, which were built and are operated by Nuru, were largely funded by the European Union through its partner African Parks Network, a not-for-profit organization working to revitalize conservation areas that are currently under threat. With access to stable and affordable electricity the communities of Tadu and Faradje are less reliant on extracting resources from the park and have a greater ability to generate sustainable livelihoods that don’t degrade the surrounding natural environment.

Additional financial support for the solar mini grids included the forward purchase by Google of Peace Renewable Energy Credits (P-RECs), an innovative financing instrument developed by Energy Peace Partners (EPP) to help fund high impact renewable energy projects that promote peace and stability. Google’s support further expands the P-REC market launched by EPP and Nuru in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2020.

The Congo Peace School solar project will help provide vulnerable youth with quality education in a region burdened by conflict. In addition to teaching the standard Congolese curriculum, the one-of-a-kind primary and secondary school provides nutritious meals, computer lab access and nonviolent dispute resolution training. The school is run by ABFEC, a Congolese owned and operated non-profit, with financial support from U.S. non-profits Action Kivu and The Dillon Henry Foundation. Action Kivu provides direct assistance to survivors of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Eastern Congo through entrepreneurial training and education projects rooted in peace and equality.

The three solar projects were spearheaded by Congo Power, an initiative launched in 2017 that seeks to reinforce responsible minerals trade and expand economic opportunity in the African Great Lakes Region through the deployment of clean energy. Congo Power’s founding members include Google, GivePower and the grassroots peacebuilding organization Resolve. The University of California Berkeley’s Renewable and Appropriate Energy Lab, led by Dan Kammen, is also playing an important role in measuring and reporting on the impact of these solar energy systems.

“We are committed to supporting communities committed to conflict-free mining, reducing reliance through enabling livelihoods with clean energy, and improving the lives of people living near natural resource extraction sites. Providing access to clean electricity is a powerful way to do that,” said Alyssa Newman, responsible supply chain manager at Google and founder of Congo Power.  “We are grateful to GivePower for designing and managing our latest Congo Power projects, and to Silfab for donating solar equipment that will have an enduring positive impact.”

Installations in the two communities surrounding Garamba National Park as well as the Congo Peace School project are powered by Silfab Solar’s premium quality solar photovoltaic modules. Leveraging 40 years of solar experience and best-in-class manufacturing technologies, Silfab’s donation will ensure that the three sites have consistent access to clean power for many years to come.

“Silfab Solar is proud to have been a part of the incredible work done by GivePower, Google and the Congo Power project. We are committed to improving access to clean energy and sustainability across the globe and look forward to further collaborations with our partners at GivePower,” said Geoff Atkins, head of sales and marketing at Silfab Solar.

About GivePower

GivePower is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to extending the environmental and social benefits of clean, renewable energy around the globe. GivePower uses solar and battery storage technologies to deliver essential services to the developing world. The organization has helped bring clean power and clean water to underserved communities in more than 20 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America. Visit GivePower at Follow GivePower on FacebookInstagramYouTube and Twitter.

About Silfab Solar

Silfab Solar is the North American leader in the design, development and manufacture of ultra-high-efficiency, premium quality PV modules. Silfab leverages 40 years of solar experience and best-in-class technologies to produce the highest-rated solar modules from facilities in the state of Washington and Toronto, Canada. Each facility features multiple automated ISO 9001-2015 quality certified production lines utilizing just-in-time manufacturing to deliver Buy American approved PV modules specifically designed for and dedicated to the North American market.

Media Contacts:

Julia Pyper
Vice President of Communications

Aparna Mohla
Vice President of Corporate Partnerships

Geoff Atkins 
Tel: +1-905-255-2501 Ext. 737

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Africa MENA Press Releases South Africa

Casio to Release PAC-MAN Collaboration Model with Fun, Retro Styling in a Digital Watch

TOKYO, July 20, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Casio Computer Co., Ltd. announced today the release of the A100WEPC, a collaboration model featuring the iconic PAC-MAN game that is popular around the world. The A100WEPC is based on the recent reissue of the F-100 digital watch, which was originally released in 1978.


The PAC-MAN arcade game was first released in 1980 by BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Inc. (then Namco), and it has countless fans around the world. The F-100 watch was released in 1978 and was the first Casio quartz watch in a resin case, delivering advanced functionality with a stopwatch, digital alarm, and calendar functions.

The new A100WEPC watch is based on the recently released A100 watch, which reprises the design of the original F-100, including the unique four-button front layout. The styling is designed to evoke the fun, retro look of the PAC-MAN game. The watch face features colorful pixelated PAC-MAN and ghost characters, and the center ILLUMINATOR logo is rendered using the PAC-MAN font. The face design faithfully replicates the PAC-MAN game screen, down to details like the pink line marking the exit of the nest from which the ghosts emerge. The gold-plated watch case is inspired by the color of the PAC-MAN arcade game cabinet. The top watch band is laser etched with a rendering of PAC-MAN being chased by ghosts, and the reverse scene with PAC-MAN chasing ghosts is rendered on the bottom band. The case back also features the PAC-MAN logo and icons.

The watch comes with special packaging imprinted with PAC-MAN character icons and the game score screen, to deliver the full look of the PAC-MAN game.

More information:


PAC-MAN™&©BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Inc.

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Africa Press Releases South Africa

Casio lance le modèle de collaboration PAC-MAN avec un style rétro et amusant dans une montre à affichage numérique

TOKYO, 20 juillet 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Casio Computer Co., Ltd. a annoncé aujourd’hui la sortie de l’A100WEPC, un modèle de collaboration mettant en vedette le jeu iconique PAC-MAN, populaire dans le monde entier. L’A100WEPC est basée sur la récente réédition de la montre à affichage numérique F-100, sortie initialement en 1978.


Le jeu d’arcade PAC-MAN est sorti pour la première fois en 1980 par BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Inc. (alors Namco), et il compte d’innombrables fans dans le monde entier. La montre F-100 est sortie en 1978 et était la première montre à quartz Casio dans un boîtier en résine, offrant des fonctionnalités avancées avec des fonctionnalités de chronomètre, d’alarme numérique et de calendrier.

La nouvelle montre A100WEPC est basée sur la montre A100 récemment sortie, qui reprend le design de la F-100 originale, y compris la disposition unique des quatre boutons à l’avant. Le style est conçu pour évoquer l’aspect amusant et rétro du jeu PAC-MAN. Le cadran de la montre présente des personnages colorés et pixelisés de PAC-MAN et de fantômes, et le logo ILLUMINATOR central est rendu en utilisant la police de caractères de PAC-MAN. Le design du cadran reproduit fidèlement l’écran du jeu PAC-MAN, jusqu’aux détails comme la ligne rose marquant la sortie du nid d’où émergent les fantômes. Le boîtier de la montre en plaqué or s’inspire de la couleur de la boîte du jeu d’arcade PAC-MAN. Le bracelet supérieur de la montre est gravé au laser avec un rendu de PAC-MAN poursuivi par des fantômes, et la scène inverse avec PAC-MAN poursuivant des fantômes est gravée sur le bracelet inférieur. Le dos du boîtier présente également le logo et les icônes de PAC-MAN.

La montre est livrée avec un emballage spécial imprimé des icônes des personnages de PAC-MAN et de l’écran de score du jeu, pour offrir le look complet du jeu PAC-MAN.

Plus d’informations :

PAC-MAN™&©BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Inc.

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HRW: Kenya Mishandled COVID Cash Program for the Poor

In a report released Tuesday, Human Rights Watch accused the Kenyan government of failing to properly handle a cash transfer program intended to help the poor during the COVID-19 pandemic. The rights group says the money instead went to people connected with officials and politicians.

Anette Okumu, 42, lost her business due to COVID-19. She and her neighbors in the Kibera section of Nairobi registered for a government cash support program in April to help her feed her nine children.

Okumu says her husband was jobless, and she really needed that money because she has a child who has sickle cell anemia and the disease requires her to feed her child healthy food. Okumu says she was hopeful that she would receive help from the government. She says she did not get the money — but others did.

In May of last year, President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered the Treasury to release some $100 million to support the country’s most vulnerable people for at least eight months.

The head of Human Rights Watch in East Africa, Otsieno Namwaya, says that money never served its intended purpose.

“Most of the households that were supposed to have received support from the government never received anything,” he said. “The few who received something did not receive the amount the government said it had sent to them. The majority over a period of eight months received 3,000 – 4,000 shillings. The government was saying it was sending a total of 35,000 for the period of eight months.”

The Washington-based rights group says its investigators spoke to 136 government employees and Nairobi residents for its eight-month study.

The researchers found that the cash transfer program lacked transparency in multiple ways, from the registration process to the distribution of funds.

A report released by the Office of the Auditor-General in April 2021 said that some $4 million was dispersed to help nearly 100,000 Kenyans in a poor section of Nairobi for one month.

But the investigators said they could not verify the identities and addresses of more than 97,000 alleged recipients. Their report concluded “the lawfulness and utilization of the $4 million could not be confirmed.”

Namwaya says most of the money instead went to friends and family of officials and the employees of certain government agencies.

“Politicians and government officials actually ensured that official aides, people working offices and relatives were benefiting from the money when the evidence suggests that these people did not deserve to get the money. While the people who really deserve the money, people who were going hungry for even as far as four days a week were not getting the money,” he said.

The program was run by the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection. VOA reached out to the principal secretary of the ministry for comment but received no response.

Human Rights Watch is calling on Kenyan authorities to investigate the issue and extensively review and strengthen internal mechanisms for implementing such programs in the future.

Source: Voice of America


US Strikes Al-Shabab in Somalia for First Time in Six Months

Somali commandos coming under attack from the al-Shabab terror group got some help from above, for the first time in months, in the form of a U.S. airstrike.

The Pentagon late Tuesday confirmed U.S. forces were behind the single strike near Galkayo, about 580 kilometers north of the capital of Mogadishu, which was first announced by Somali officials earlier in the day.

A Pentagon official told VOA the strike was authorized under existing authorities to defend U.S. partner forces and came even though no U.S. troops were on the ground.

“U.S. forces were conducting a remote ‘advise and assist’ mission in support of designated Somali partner forces,” U.S. Defense Department spokesperson Cindi King said. “There were no U.S. forces accompanying Somali forces during this operation.”

Tuesday’s airstrike targeting al-Shabab is the first such strike in six months, and the first carried out since U.S. President Joe Biden took office.

U.S. officials declined to elaborate on why this strike was approved or whether U.S. Africa Command will start conducting a more intensive air campaign in support of Somali forces, like those the U.S. has deployed in previous years.

The U.S. carried out 63 airstrikes against al-Shabab in 2019 and 53 airstrikes in 2020.

Another seven airstrikes were launched in the first two-and-a-half weeks of 2021, before former U.S. President Donald Trump left office.

U.S. officials explained the slowdown by citing on a Biden administration review of the military’s airstrike policy. Still it, sparked concern among senior Somali officials, causing some to warn the change would allow al-Shabab “to come out of hiding.”

Since then, Somali officials have repeatedly called for the resumption of U.S. airstrikes.

Somali Army spokesman Colonel Ali Hashi Abdinur told VOA earlier this week he hoped the U.S. would resume the strikes, especially to target the al-Qaida-linked fighters in areas where the Somali infantry can’t reach.

“We have good cooperation and collaboration with the U.S.,” he said. “There are hard-to-reach areas in the forests where the airstrikes used to target their leaders.”

Somali officials have also said they would like to see expanded support from the U.S., not just airstrikes.

Last week, the U.S. military gave Somali special forces six armored personnel carriers (APCs), doubling the number of vehicles capable of protecting their elite Danab units from improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

But Somali military officials say they need more.

“We have AK-47s (automatic rifles),” one senior Somali military officer told VOA. “We need extra weapons like heavy machine guns, mortars … RPG (rocket-propelled grenades).”

“We also need medical support, uniform, camps for troops to sleep and rest, and rations,” he added.

Top U.S. military commanders have likewise warned about the growing danger, some admitting that the decision by the Trump administration to pull out almost all U.S. forces from Somalia has made the situation worse.

“Since that time, we have been commuting to work,” AFRICOM commander General Stephen Townsend told lawmakers this past April. “There’s no denying the reposition of forces outside Somalia has introduced new layers of complexity and risk.”

“Our understanding of what’s happening in Somalia is less now than it was when we were there on the ground,” he added.

In the meantime, AFRICOM has been trying to make do, sending troops into Somalia for periodic training missions to supplement about 100 troops now working mostly out of the U.S. Embassy.

AFRICOM officials have also made their final recommendations regarding troop numbers in Somalia and all of Africa as part of the Pentagon’s ongoing force posture review, which is expected to wrap up around the end of August.

For now, however, warnings about the danger posed by al-Shabab continue to abound.

“Al-Shabab still enjoys a lot of freedom of action,” Vice Admiral Hervé Bléjean, director-general of the European Union Military Staff, said at a virtual defense forum last month. “You can really feel the atmosphere of the insecurity there.”

Yet there is some disagreement as to whether airstrikes, whether carried out by the U.S. or others, are the solution.

Records kept by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a U.S.-based nonprofit research group, suggest that the danger to civilians in Somalia from al-Shabab actually decreased in the absence of airstrikes.

ACLED said it found 155 incidents in which al-Shabab targeted civilians in the six months before Biden took office, and just 90 in the six months after he became president.

One former Danab officer, speaking on the condition of anonymity, also questions the dependency on airstrikes, even though he told VOA that “there is nothing that al-Shabab hates more.”

The officer said U.S. airstrikes have killed about 100 of the terror group’s commanders, including former leaders Ahmed Abdi Godane and Aden Hashi Ayro, almost to no avail.

“The strategy has failed,” he said. “We need to change the training. We need to change the dynamics and training. We have to have mobile forces, prepare the forces for guerrilla war, good at shooting.”

An Africa Union official who asked not to be identified because he does not have authorization to speak to media agreed.

“Airstrikes cannot have an impact until the ground forces are effective,” the official said. “Until you cripple the command and control, their capacity to regroup, to be organized to be led — that is when the airstrikes will be effective.”

“But they still have leaders replaced, so what you are doing is quite minimal,” he added.

Source: Voice of America


Activists: West Darfur Women Suffer Depression After Deadly Fighting

Hundreds of women displaced by recent inter-communal fighting in the Al Geneina town of West Darfur are suffering from anxiety and depression as they shoulder the responsibility of caring for their families without husbands, say women’s rights activists in Sudan’s western region.

The fighting that erupted in April left more than 200 people dead and a little more than 200 others wounded.

Thousands of families have been sheltering in government buildings, schools and mosques in overcrowded conditions with limited access to proper sanitation, according to Sumeya Musa, a women’s advocate with the local nongovernmental organization, Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa.

“Some don’t have a place to sleep, some lose their job and property and everything. Some are suffering from social pressure, raising children alone, taking care of elderly and sick people and yet they don’t earn anything for life, so these economic and social pressures have really affected their lives,” Musa told VOA’s South Sudan in Focus program.

Sixty-five-thousand people — mostly women and children — were displaced in the wake of the violence, according to the United Nations.

Musa said some women reported being raped or sexually harassed but most incidents of sexual violence are covered up for fear of stigma.

“There are a lot of women who got miscarriages and they really are in need of psycho-social support. There are those who have unwanted pregnancy through rape cases and other forms of gender-based violence. We all know that during war time, a lot of things happen,” Musa told VOA.

Sudanese women are hoping peace will be restored soon so they can return to their homes, said Musa. She said many of the women know that a peace deal was signed between the transitional government and armed groups but are not clear on what it entails regarding women’s rights.

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir mediated the talks between Sudan’s transitional government and the armed groups in the South Sudanese capital, Juba. The transitional government was created following the ouster of President Omar al-Bashir after three decades in power. Women were key players in the pro-democracy revolution in Sudan. Women helped organize protests that led to al-Bashir’s removal from office.

Several women in the gathering sites do not want to talk about the abuses they suffered during the recent fighting, believing they will not receive help or see justice in the court system, said Musa.

“The most important thing is to give full protection to women against all forms of violence. Especially at homes or on the streets against sexual harassment when they are going out to look for work or they are returning back to the camp,” Musa told VOA.

The United Nations Population Fund has set up five temporary spaces where social workers coordinate with midwives deployed by the state health ministry to provide sexual and reproductive health services and support victims of gender-based violence.

Musa says she hopes more social workers, psychologists and health care providers will be deployed so that the women of West Darfur get the help they need.

Source: Voice of America