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Taliban vows to pave way for investment in Afghanistan – Anadolu Agency

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KABUL, Afghanistan

The Taliban has expressed assurance that it would pave the way for global investment in the “future of Afghanistan”.

Mohammad Naeem, the spokesman for the Taliban’s Qatar office, said on Thursday in a series of tweets following a meeting between Adam Boehler, CEO of the US International Development Finance Corporation, and Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, the political deputy of the Taliban.

“The opportunities for financial investment in Afghanistan were discussed during the meeting. American delegation said that Afghanistan was a promising country for global investment. So peace and stability should be brought for the attraction of global investment,” Naeem tweeted.

Boehler on Twitter had said his visit to Qatar was aimed at peace and stability in the region.

There was no immediate reaction to this meeting from the Afghan government officials in Kabul.

However, Sediq Sediqqi, the Afghan presidential spokesman, said on Thursday the Taliban has no legal or religious justifications left to continue the war against people and the state of Afghanistan.

“Scholars in the Islamic world and in Afghanistan, for years, have considered the ongoing war by the Taliban against the people and the state of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, forbidden and without legal justification,” he said while hailing similar comments made by Sheikh Ahmed Al-Raissouni, the president of the International Union of Muslim Scholars in a recent interview with the Afghan broadcaster Tolo News.

This comes as the Taliban is engaged in US-brokered intra-Afghan peace talks with the officials from the Kabul government in the Qatari capital Doha since Sep. 12.



Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.

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This Is Where Healthcare Leaders Are Investing Their Money – Forbes

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2020 has certainly highlighted the value that a strong healthcare system can provide for a community. Moreover, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, healthcare systems and patients worldwide have turned to more creative solutions in order to deal with crises, deliver care when needed, and innovate as necessary.

Throughout this time, funding and investment in the healthcare industry has by no means slowed down. In fact, the need for innovation in a coronavirus pandemic-driven, socially isolated world has provided even more inspiration for investors to put their money into avenues which can provide viable solutions.

Famed consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers and CB Insights recently published a report highlighting the latest trends in venture capital funding for healthcare related industries. These key findings indicate where investors are focusing the majority of their time and efforts, and hence likely portray where the healthcare industry is moving.

Location

In terms of “dollars raised,” the report indicates that Silicon Valley, New England, North Central, San Diego, and the New York Metros are the top 5 regions for healthcare. In Q3 of 2020, Silicon Valley raised nearly $2.5 billion, with New England raising $1.9 billion. But this statistic is not entirely surprising, given the sheer amount of capital and technology talent that’s present in the Silicon Valley area. As some of the world’s largest technology companies are so heavily invested in healthcare, this makes sense. Furthermore, Silicon Valley has always been a “startup” hub, with executives easily transferring their talents from one firm to another, seeking to develop the next innovation. New England is no different, given that it is home to some of the largest pharmaceutical and biomedical innovation companies in the world.

Sectors

On a similar note, biotechnology is the leading subsector in healthcare investments. In Q3, investors poured nearly $3.9 billion into this subsector, marking an astounding 38% increase from Q2 2020, which raised $2.8 billion. The push for new innovation in biotechnology has never been more prevalent—ranging from new ways to develop and test treatments, to novel technological tools and interfaces for healthcare. The second heaviest area of investment was medical devices and equipment, with nearly $892 million raised.

Deals

The largest healthcare deals in Q3 2020 were the following:

a.    Bright Health—Value of Deal: $500 Million

b.    Tizona Therapeutics—Value of Deal: $300 Million

c.    Village MD—Value of Deal: $275 Million

d.    Freenome—Value of Deal: $270 Million

e.    Thrive Earlier Detection—Value of Deal: $257 Million

f.     Recursion Pharmaceuticals—Value of Deal: $239 Million

g.    Instil Bio—Value of Deal: $170 Million

h.    Kronos Bio—Value of Deal: $148 Million

The last three of these, Recursion Pharmaceuticals, Instil Bio, and Kronos Bio are all listed as biotechnology companies, yet again driving the point that biotechnology leads the healthcare investments realm.

Overall, this report provides a very pragmatic yet illuminating picture of where investors are placing their money and time. Indeed, 2020 has truly ignited a fire in many to continue to innovate to solve some of healthcare’s toughest challenges. However, given the cyclical nature of healthcare, and the fact that new technology continues to drive forward medical innovation as quickly as it can get developed, these trends are by no means stagnant. Rather, as with any legitimate industry that fosters growth, healthcare will inevitably continue to undergo dynamic transformation in the coming decades.

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Verv: "Applying for a new investment was tough" – Innovation Origins

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When the UK went into lockdown in mid-March, the small Verv team, surprising as it may sound, was well prepared for the turbulent time ahead of them. “In 2019, we had already made significant cost savings after reviewing our business strategy,” says Louanne Steyn, CFO of Verv, “so we had a good overview of all our costs. We knew what we could do to reduce them in the short term.”

For example, Verv canceled the lease of their London office. “We are a small team and now we all work from home. If necessary, we can rent a space to get together.”

Steyn herself works from Devon, southwest of London. “During this pandemic, it is important to cut costs wherever possible and to be intelligent with spending. This will make a difference later on.”

Better focus on product strategy

Verv already had plans to invest in 2020. At the same time, the start-up focused on the latest predictive maintenance technology currently being applied to household appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers and refrigerators. Verv’s technology measures and analyzes the energy consumption of appliances at very high speeds. By applying specialized algorithms to this data, it is able to detect behavioral anomalies that can signal a fault in the machinery. Due to the high resolution of the technology, errors can be detected and prevented in real time, right down to the level of parts of a device.

Integrated microchip

The solution is available in multiple forms, including built-in firmware on an integrated microchip and an online adapter. By remotely performing a thorough analysis, Verv can provide the manufacturer with a detailed diagnosis and recommendations that can be passed on to repair departments and engineers at the companies involved as well as to consumers who own the device.

With sustainability at its core, Verv wants to offer the market more opportunities to repair rather than replace so that devices and appliances last longer and result in less waste. Steyn thinks that the corona crisis may create new opportunities in the market. “People have less money to spend. They want their things to last longer. Maybe now they’ll start thinking more carefully about the use of raw materials.”

Technology for all electrical products

Manufacturers can integrate the microchip into their devices or devices. But owners of existing devices can also benefit from the predictive maintenance solution. The concept is simple: It uses an online adapter with technology to collect the required data and send it to the platform.

The technology can be applied to any electronic device. “Think of chargers for electric cars where it is important to be able to quickly detect anomalies,” says Steyn. This market is expected to grow due to the need for sustainable transportation.

At one point, Verv was looking for new investments to further develop the technology and prepare for a commercial rollout. “This was a lot harder because investors were first looking at their existing portfolios and were reluctant to invest in new start-ups.”

Re-screened by InnoEnergy

In March, one of the owners of Verv, EIT InnoEnergy, investigated the possibility of reinvesting in some of the start-ups it has in its portfolio. “The process of applying for this was very tough,” says Steyn looking back. “We already knew in 2019 that 2020 would be a challenging year. But corona made that even more difficult.”

Verv further increased its focus on business strategy and product development. At the same time, the company went through the selection procedure set up by the EIT InnoEnergy start-up team. “Now that they have made additional investments, we are in a position to much more easily attract other investors.”

Product delivery likely in 2022

Steyn is happy that Verv is experiencing good traction this year and expects the company to survive the corona crisis. “I have worked for other companies within the circular economy before. I think it’s important to contribute to a more sustainable world with Verv.”

Verv’s business objectives and business strategy will not be greatly influenced by corona, Steyn thinks. Its technology remains on track for mass production, which is likely to start in 2022.

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Almost £10m has been lost to investment scams since March lockdown – Yahoo Canada Sports

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The Canadian Press

Montreal Impact use options on 10 players, including striker Quioto, ‘keeper Diop

MONTREAL — The Montreal Impact have elected to hang on to some of the club’s top talent, including striker Romell Quioto and goalkeeper Clement Diop, but may soon be parting ways with midfielder Bojan Krkic. The club announced Friday that it has exercised options for 10 players on its roster and opted not to pick up options for another four. Deals on five other players are set to expire at the end of 2020.“All of these decisions are about the financial and sporting sides, and we need to be better,” Impact sporting director Olivier Renard said on a video call. “We need to make the jump.”Some of the options weren’t picked because the club is looking to make space for new players, he added.“We have space to make movement and we will make that as soon as possible,” Renard said.In addition to Quioto and Diop, Montreal is keeping goalies James Pantemis and Jonathan Sirois, defender Karifa Yao, midfielders Clement Bayiha, Mathiew Choiniere, Tomas Giraldo and Amar Sejdic, and forward Mason Toye. The club previously extended loans for defender Luis Binks and midfielder Lassi Lappalainen through 2021.The club did not exercise options on four players, including Krkic, midfielders Steeven Saba and Shamit Shome, and forward Anthony Jackson-Hamel. The decision doesn’t necessarily mean Krkic won’t wear an Impact jersey next season, however. Renard said the club is interested in bringing the 30-year-old Spanish midfielder back, but decided not to pick up his option “for many reasons.” He said the Impact have made Krkic an offer, and the decision is now up to him.Krkic played in 17 regular-season games for Montreal this year, tallying four goals and two assists.Four other players will be out of contract at the end of December, including defenders Rod Fanni, Jukka Raitala and Jorge Corrales. A loan agreement for midfielder Orji Okwonkwo is also set to expire at the end of the year.Raitala, Montreal’s captain, and Corrales will not return next season, Renard confirmed, but the club is still waiting to see if Fanni, 38, wants to continue playing professionally. The moves come after the Impact finished ninth in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference (8-13-2). Montreal was eliminated from the post-season with a 2-1 loss to the New England Revolution in the play-in round. The Impact still have at least one game to play in 2020. The team is set to face Honduran club Olimpia in CONCACAF Champions League action on Dec. 15. Players who did not have their options picked up are not required by MLS to play in the game, but Renard said he is hopeful they will join anyway. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020. The Canadian Press

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