Tag Archives: USD

Dar lacks bankable projects, experts say

Tanzania is awash with cash, but no credible projects to finance, stock...

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How WhatsApp founder Jan Koum became co-founder of $19bn messenger service

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters): WhatsApp grew up in Silicon Valley, but its founder’s background in Eastern Europe gave it its DNA. The messaging company bought by Facebook for $19 billion in a deal announced on Wednesday has become a global force, with 450 million customers who find it an easy way to send messages across borders and between different brands of mobile devices. Founder and chief executive officer Jan Koum, 37, grew up mostly in the Ukraine, and moved to Mountain View, California, as a teenager, an immigrant path reminiscent of other Silicon Valley successes such as Max Levchin, the Ukrainian-born co-founder of Paypal, and Google’s Russian-born co-founder, Sergey Brin. Like technology titans Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, Koum dropped out of college, but in his case, it was San Jose State rather than Harvard. Koum’s eastern European background was key to WhatsApp’s creation, according to Jim Goetz, the partner at Sequoia Capital who backed the company. Unlike companies such as Google and Facebook, which try to learn as much as possible about each user, WhatsApp does not collect personal information such as name, gender, or age, Goetz wrote in a blog post, and messages are deleted from servers once delivered. “It’s a decidedly contrarian approach shaped by Jan’s experience growing up in a communist country with a secret police,” Goetz wrote. “Jan’s childhood made him appreciate communication that was not bugged or taped.” Similarly, Brin’s early childhood in Russia contributed to its “Don’t Be Evil” motto. Koum’s view was evident in a tweet he wrote last year about Iran and Turkmenistan blocking WhatsApp. “When government gets in the way, consumers and freedom to communicate suffers,” he wrote. He also sees advertising as an imposition. “When advertising is involved, you the user are the product,” Koum wrote in a 2012 blog post, disparaging the effort other companies make to collect personal data. That same year, he quoted singer Kanye West in a tweet, writing, “You think you free but you a slave to the funds, baby.” WhatsApp charges 99 cents a year, and that bargain-basement approach extends to the WhatsApp’s original office, according to Yoav Leitersdorf of YL Ventures, who visited in 2010 in an attempt to invest in the young company. He’s still impressed by both the founders and what he saw. “It was like a car dealership with no cars inside and hardly any furniture at all for that matter,” Leitersdorf recalled. “I remember parking my car and walking around the building for about five minutes or more, looking for the office door.” The office contained a handful of desks atop a stained wall-to-wall carpet, he said. At the time, Koum mentioned that many of the engineers worked remotely; today he provides recommendations for some on his LinkedIn page

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$60m supersonic private jet where the entire cabin WALL is a giant screen

It is the plane that could finally end the argument over who gets the window seat. The spike S-512 is a supersonic jet that will enable travelers to reach destinations in half the time it currently takes. A firm attempting to build a private supersonic jet has revealed a radical new design where the entire cabin wall is a screen that can be turned into a giant window. Live video from outside the plane can create a panoramic image – or the passengers of the $60m jet can opt to have their family snaps shown or even watch a movie on the walls. The supersonic jet has a revolutionary windowless passenger cabin. Instead, the interior walls will be covered with a thin display screen. Spike Aerospace’s S-512 supersonic jet project is far from being a real thing, but when the plane arrives and is actually sold for $60 million dollars a pop, one thing buyers won’t be getting are windows — at least in the cabin. To complete the illusion, the plane will use an array of exterior cameras, or offer passengers the option to replace it with prerecorded footage or static images. Spike Aerospace explained the decision to go windowless in a blog post, saying windows typically require extra structural support, something that adds weight. That’s not desirable for a plane that’s been designed to hit speeds of 1,370 mph, more than twice the cruising speed of long-distance commercial passenger flights. The S-512 was announced in December, and comes from a team of former engineers at Airbus, Boeing, and Gulfstream. The 18-passenger craft promises trips between New York and London in three hours, or LA to Tokyo in about six hours, something that requires breaking the speed of sound. Of course that’s when the plane hits its manufacturing phase, something Spike projects for 2018. In the meantime, the company is still retooling the design for the craft, and plans to spend two years prototyping and testing after that.

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Kristin Cavallari shares one more pregnant selfie as she works out in the gym with son Camden

She recently revealed that she is expecting another boy. Kristin Cavallari shared another snap on Instagram documenting her growing baby bump on Saturday as she took a break from working out in her gym with her son Camden in the background And on Friday, Kristin Cavallari eagerly shared yet more pictures of her burgeoning baby bump with the world via Instagram, as she took a break from working out to focus on a well-posed mirror ‘selfie’. The 27-year-old was hanging out in her gym with her one-year-old son Camden playing in the background when she put her camera phone to good use. The 27-year-old reality star showed off her cooking skills as she revealed on Instagram that she was making ‘wild mushroom and asparagus risotto’ The reality star was dressed in a very tight exercise ensemble consisting of a white belly-hugging tank top pulled over the top of black leggings. Her lengthy blonde tresses were pulled back into a comfortable ponytail and there were no accessories to be seen on Kristin’s body as she appeared to be engaging in a gym session. Apparently unable to decide which was the hotter photo, The Hills star created a side-by-side collage featuring two minutely different shots, then uploaded her artwork to the internet and captioned it ‘Baby bump getting BIG.’ As Kristin formulated Instagram-worthy poses, her cute son Camden – who she had with her husband Jay Cutler, Chicago Bulls quarterback – looked to be enjoying a little playtime in the background. Kristin and Jay announced they were expecting their second child in October of 2013. Last month the beauty told E! she wouldn’t mind either a boy or a girl: ‘There’s great things about both. Another boy would be fun: Cam would have a little buddy and then I’d be the woman of the house.’ She added: ‘But of course I want a little girl, so I don’t know. Either one would be great.’ On top of the exciting baby news, the couple received even more good fortune in early January as Jay re-signed a seven-year contract with his football team that is reportedly worth over $100m. Kristin and Jay started dating in 2010, became engaged in April of 2011, called it off three months later, then reconciled and got married last June after Kristin got pregnant.

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Australian miner to study niobium project

Cradle Resources intends to carry out a definitive feasibility study for its Panda Hill Niobium Project in Tanzania and intends to complete an equity raising for its financing. The company had previously estimated initial capital expenditure for a one million tonne per annum project at US$125 million. This will generate earnings before interest and taxes (EBITDA) of US$100 million per annum over a 26 years mine life. The project has already received strong expressions of interest and it appears likely that the equity raising will be taken by London-based funds that specialise in investing in emerging resource projects. A due diligence process has commenced with the interested parties. A further announcement will be made upon details being finalised. Panda Hill covers 22 square kilometres and lies close to a major highway, an international airport, existing roads, rail, and power. Source Tanzania Daily News

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NAEB seeks to boost capacity of coffee washing stations

The National Agricultural Board (NAEB) is seeking to leverage the growing number of coffee washing stations to improve the quality and volumes of exports in a bid to boost the country’s foreign exchange receipts from coffee. Speaking during a strategic planning meeting with farmers and owners of washing stations yesterday, George Kayonga, director general of NAEB asked stakeholders to coordinate within themselves and the board to deal with problems that undermine the quality of coffee. “If no one tells us problems faced in the coffee washing stations, how shall we know about them and solve them?” We only get to know [about washing stations] that worked and those which didn’t at the end of the season. So it’s important we solve these issues because they have an impact on our production,” he said. Celestin Gatarayiha, the head of coffee division at NAEB, said that the number of coffee washing stations went up from 210 in 2012 to the current 220, but most of them operate below capacity. He said that out of 220 washing stations, only 28 operate at full capacity while 80 of them operate at between 50-100 per cent of their installed capacity. About 91 stations operate below 50 per cent capacity while 21 stations didn’t work at all. “If all the washing stations were working at 100 per cent efficiency, they would have led to an increase in volumes produced by over 70 per cent,” he noted. During the meeting, it was noted that some of the washing stations were located far from coffee growing areas, which has often forced farmers to move long distances or simply abandon washing their coffee. Coffee, one of Rwanda’s leading export revenue earner after tourism and tea, performed poorly last year because of low international prices and prolonged drought. International prices stood at an average $3.67 (Rwf 2,494) per kilogramme for fully washed coffee last year, down from $6 (Rwf 4,044) during the 2012 season. Gatarayiha said total revenues from coffee over 2013 stood at $55.2 million (Rwf37.2 bn) from 19,969 tons exported, less than the $69.5 million ($46.8 bn) that was earned in 2012. Last year’s farm gate price for coffee was set at Rwf143 per kg of cherries at the beginning of the season compared to Rwf170 per kg in 2012. The stakeholders were in agreement at the end of the meeting that managers of coffee washing stations needed to engage the export board to see that they work to increase production this season. By Ben Gasore, The New Times

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Putin and Ukraine’s Yanukovych hold private meeting in Sochi

Russian President Vladimir Putin met his embattled Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych on the sidelines of the Winter Olympics, officials say. Mr Yanukovych, left, is likely to have raised the issue of a suspended Russian bailout programme for Ukraine’s battered economy Neither side would confirm what was discussed during the informal conversation during the opening ceremony in the Russian city of Sochi. Russia has frozen delivery of a $15bn (£9bn) bailout programme pending the formation of a new government in Kiev. Mass anti-government protests erupted in Ukraine in late November. Under pressure from Moscow, President Yanukovych had refused to sign a far-reaching association and trade agreement with the EU. Amid continuing protests, Mr Yanukovych has accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov – widely seen as pro-Moscow – and a new prime minister has yet to be nominated. Struggle for influence The meeting between Mr Putin and Mr Yanukovych in Sochi on Friday evening was confirmed by senior Russian and Ukrainian officials. There was no information about what was discussed, but correspondents speculate it was likely to include the suspended Russian financial package – which Ukraine desperately needs in the face of a sliding currency, dwindling foreign reserves and rising borrowing costs. Last week Ukraine’s central bank imposed new capital controls in a bid to shore up the Ukrainian currency, the hryvnya. Mr Yanukovych’s meeting with Mr Putin follows talks in Kiev last Wednesday between Mr Yanukovych and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. In the face of protracted protests gripping Kiev and elsewhere, Ukraine has become an arena for a struggle for influence between traditional ally Russia and the West, say correspondents. But a recorded phone call which emerged on Thursday has put on show differences between the US and EU. Washington’s European envoy Victoria Nuland was heard using an expletive to disparage the EU’s handling of the crisis and revealing Washington’s determination to influence the outcome of the Ukrainian struggle. The conversation, apparently between Ms Nuland and the US ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, appeared on YouTube on Thursday. The insult has been called “totally unacceptable” by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ms Nuland is said to have privately apologised to EU officials

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