Over the past decade, Mitinori Saitou at Kyoto University in Japan has been teasing apart the genetic cascade that prompts a stem cell to turn into a primordial germ cell (PGC), the cells that generate thousands of eggs in a woman and millions of sperm in a man. He has succeeded, with incredible implications for the future of human reproduction.Saitou partnered with colleague Katsuhiko Hayashi from the University of Cambridge in the UK to take mature skin cells from an adult mouse and turn them into induced pluripotent stem cells. These pluripotent stem cells could also be turned into PGCs.

Then came the ultimate test of their discovery. They implanted the PGCs into sterile mice. About one mouse in four became fertile again—male mice began producing sperm, and female mice began producing eggs. Hayashi harvested these sperm and eggs and combined them in the lab to produce living embryos, Soup kitchen to close due to lack of funds, which he placed into surrogate mouse mothers.The mouse babies were born fertile and healthy, with a success rate around one-third that of current in-vitro fertilization (IVF) techniques. To illustrate what he’d accomplished, Hayashi took a skin cell from a normally-colored mouse and used it to grow egg cells in an albino mouse. When the babies were born, they had the dark coloring of their genetic parent.However, their own naturally-occurring PGCs were fragile and misshapen, and any offspring they might have would carry a high risk of genetic diseases.

“While it is exciting that artificial primordial germ cells express the same markers as natural cells, there is much work to be done before we can conclude that the derived from these cells can be considered fully functional,” said Dr. Alan B. Copperman, Director of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center, in an interview with Healthline.Copperman is worried about certain markers that attach themselves to DNA, called epigenetic markers, which affect how DNA is expressed in cells. These markers become attached to DNA strands as the result of very early experiences in the womb and during childhood. These markers are normally erased and replaced by a new set when a PGC creates a sperm or egg cell, giving offspring a fresh chance to interact with its environment. With artificial PGCs, flawed epigenetics may be causing the high rate of failure.

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Soup kitchen to close due to lack of funds

The Arch at St George’s Cathedral, one of Cape Town’s oldest and largest soup kitchens, will serve its last meal on Thursday.The Arch’s co-ordinator, Mary van Blerk, said the soup kitchen, started by two parishioners in the mid-1970s, served meals to about 300 people every weekday, but had run out of funds. The director of The Homestead, Paul Hooper, said the Arch had provided for those on the margins of society, from street children and prostitutes, to refugees and people just released from prison.

“The Arch soup kitchen… played a key role for so many years in reducing the vulnerability of our weakest members of society by providing a warm meal and a safe space when there is nowhere else to turn,” he wrote on Monday in a letter to church leadership.Van Blerk said the project had relied on donations from parishioners and supporters, and had no choice but to close once these dried up and volunteers became more difficult to find.“It cost quite a lot to run,” said Van Blerk. “We have three employees and we had to pay for the soup mix, bread and ingredients.”

Until the beginning of this year it also received a donation from the Community Chest, but Van Blerksaid this ended because the project wasn’t a registered non-profit organisation.On weekdays between 9am and lunchtime the project provided a meal of a mug of soup – usually beef and onion – and three slices of bread, for R1, or a simple mug of soup for 40c. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays there was a special meal of soya mince and vegetable stew with rice which cost R1.50 in addition to the soup and bread.Van Blerk said businesses also donated food to the project, which they gave away for free. She said people without money would be asked to perform “small tasks”, such as sweeping the floor or collecting mugs, in return for a meal.

The soup kitchen has been operating from St George’s Cathedral since the mid-1970s.The project continued to be run by volunteers until the early 1990s when it was taken over by the St George’s Cathedral Foundation, a charity that employed three staff to work in the Arch.

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Previously limited to those who can respond to an email within three minutes, Chez le Commis supper club will soon be coming to a parking lot near you.Vin de Chez, a 40-seat pop-up wine bar, will operate out of a parking lot at food incubator Union Kitchen on select Sundays while the weather holds out, starting on Sept. 29, chef Tom Madrecki announced today.Madrecki, who learned to cook during unpaid gigs at some of the world’s best restaurants like Noma in Copenhagen and Le Chateaubriand in Paris, maintains a full-time corporate job on the Hill and will be running the pop-up with partner Liz Bird. The 25-year-old cook has said since starting Chez in March of 2012 that he prefers the challenge of serving a six-course dinner from his Clarendon apartment to professional chefdom.

“With Chez, we only have 16 seats. I feel like crap telling people that, within three minutes, they’ve lost their chance,” From her kitchen“She got to know people”, Madrecki says, referring to how quickly people have to respond to his supper club emails to snag a spot.Madrecki says he’s been looking for a way to bring more people to the table, going as far as New York City to serve 80 at an upcoming reservations-only event. His fare focuses on turning local ingredients into high-end plates—think aged squab and squid ink.Union Kitchen founder Jonas Singer says the pop-up Madrecki proposed a couple months ago fit right in with the food incubator’s vision.

Madrecki, who will take advantage of some commercial kitchen space in addition to cooking outdoors, says the license opened the door for him to focus on wine. He says the temporary café concept comes not from D.C.’s burgeoning pop-up culture but from a wine-import business he frequented in Copenhagen. Its owner took wines to an outside space under a bridge and offered food and drink during the summer months.

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From her kitchen“She got to know people”

In Montez Motes’ kitchen, every recipe was a secret, of sorts. It wasn’t that she wouldn’t share them. More often than not, she couldn’t describe exactly how to recreate her dishes.“Her friends would say, ‘Tell me how you made this,’” said Motes’ daughter, Patricia Motes Boren. “And she’d say, ‘Oh, I used a little of this and a little of that.’ And that was true. She never measured.”Boren, who lives in Roswell, said she learned to cook watching her mother as she would “take a pinch of this and a pinch of that.” It was her time in the kitchen that helped define her mother’s life.

And that was true. She didn’t have one.”Montez Howell Motes of Marietta died Sunday from complications of cancer. She was 85.A service is planned for 11 a.m. on Wednesday at Winkenhofer Pine Ridge Funeral Home, which is also in charge of arrangements. She will be buried later in the week in Alma, near her husband of nearly 60 years, Edward James Motes, who died in 2007.A native of Blackshear, in South Georgia near Waycross, the former Montez Howell was the youngest of 10 children and the last survivor of them all, her daughter said. She was primarily a homemaker after she married in 1948, but did hold several jobs, including working in a jewelry store in Waycross, before the couple relocated to the Atlanta area in 1967.

Motes’ time in the kitchen was something she thoroughly enjoyed, said her son, Michael Motes, who lives in Cobb County.“The cooking is how mother entertained. It is how she socialized,” her son said. “She would cook for you in a heartbeat and it would be a nice meal, complete with fresh vegetables. That is how she got to know people.”Whether they were friends from the neighborhood, the church or even patrons from the greeting card and gift shops that she and he husband ran for several years, they all eventually got a taste of Motes’ cooking, her children said.In her years as a proprietor, Motes seemed to enjoy talking to the customers more than anything, Boren said. It wasn’t so much about the sale than the relationships she created. And those relationships were lasting, her son said.

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Never underestimate the power of a tidy kitchen. If yours is a chaotic jumble of bills and books, it’s a stressful place to be, so get tidying.Peter Walsh, author of Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat? (Free Press), says a messy kitchen can also equal poor food choices: “If your son’s football kit takes up your kitchen work surface, then you won’t be chopping vegetables on it.”Psychologist Meredith Fuller agrees: “If you have to clean up before you prepare a meal, you’re far more likely to opt for takeaway.”

From cake pop- and pie-makers to waffle irons and pizza ovens, the range of cute food appliances on the market is enough to make you drool. But while they may look fantastic on the kitchen bench, Everything and the kitchen sink , these gadgets could be sabotaging your plans for healthy eating.There are appliances that are more worthy of your cash and better for your waistband, b+s nutritionist Lisa Guy says. “If you’re trying to maintain a healthier diet, then don’t purchase ones that encourage you to cook unhealthy meals.” Instead, she suggests spending your money on a good-quality food processor and a juicer so you can make yourself nutritious vegie juices.

The kitchen is the hub of the home, and it’s usually lit accordingly with an array of spotlights, pendants, downlights, chandeliers, lamps and built-in cabinet illumination. But while multi-layered lighting adds warmth and character to the kitchen, too much can tempt your tastebuds.A study by Cornell University Food and Brand Lab revealed that with subtle lighting and some soft music playing, you’re likely to eat about 18 per cent less.So aim for ambient. Turn down the lights, tune into the stereo and you may help trim your tummy.Photos of chocolate cakes or salty chips can trigger the centre in your brain that’s associated with appetite control and reward, according to findings by the University of Southern California. The study, which involved participants looking at photos of high-calorie foods, found that simply viewing images of sweets or fattening foods made them yearn for the real thing.

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Everything and the kitchen sink

The knives were out in last night’s kitchen renovation episode, kicking off with Simon telling viewers “if you want drama, you’ve come to the right place”. Jay was “grumpy as anything” and throwing bales of Pink Batts around from the get-go, but quickly calmed down to tell everyone about the “massive awesome amazing bench space” the Black Team was planning for their kitchen. Sounds rad. Also, an island bench for Amanda to dance on in her stilettos… Sounds less rad.

With the Black Team short on volunteers due to sickness, Zach the builder was full of praise for Jay who seems to be coming more alive as the show goes on, a pity it seems to be an inverse relationship with Amanda’s helpfulness in the DIY area.The competitive nature of the show came out when the Orange Team was short of wood for framing, and the Black Team had wood to spare, but Zach cut it up and threw the short ends over the fence to Baby Sam, the Orange builder.The nature of the show means teams need to strike an awkward balance – you want to beat the other team, but you also have to be prepared to be neighbours at the end of it all.

Simon’s take on the incident was to congratulate himself on his “I just like to sit on the fence” joke. Amanda’s take on the DIY challenge was to profess “I just really love filling holes, I’m really really good at it” – not sure if she had watched the instructional video on which equipment to use, because the girls had a disaster. Their attempt at fixing holes in a wall with a combination of jigsaw puzzling bits of GIB together and topping the whole thing off with a pavlova-looking amount of plaster had Stan the DIY man shaking his head.

As it would have taken a “month of Sundays” for the plaster to dry, Marty and Sarah won the challenge, with Sarah claiming she had actually done a better job than her husband.No hugs in store for Jay and Amanda, Zach was only doling them out if they won the challenge – he must have some sort of prophetic powers that meant he knew he was on safe ground with that promise.

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AS IT adjusts to the end of its run of sustained, double-digit rates of annual economic growth, China is staking a great deal on the idea that growth and urbanisation are linked. It has made continued urbanisation a pillar of the government’s long-term strategy for rebalancing. But policymakers who put so many of their hopeful eggs in the this basket must also consider a vexing chicken-and-egg question: is it urbanisation that causes growth, or is it the other way round? In a paper released in July, two scholars argue that “the direction of causality likely runs from growth to urbanisaton, rather than vice versa.”

There are caveats galore about their findings, especially as they relate to China. The scholars, Anett Hofmann of the London School of Economics and Guanghua Wan of the Asian Development Bank,House members want California egg measure removed from farm bill,seek not only to determine the impact of economic growth on urbanisation, but also that of industrialisation and education. And, while they seek and find indications that growth causes urbanisation, they do not themselves investigate the reverse sort of causality. They leave off noting instead that “attempts to identify a causal effect of urbanisation on growth have so far been unsuccessful”.

More relevant still is the fact that China is not betting the farm, as it were, on urbanisation. True, some influential figures have hinted at the belief that it might be sufficient as a spur to future growth. For instance Zhang Liqun, of the State Council’s Development Research Centre, recently said that “the growth momentum gained from the processes of industrialisation and urbanisation alone will support the country’s steady growth.”But the senior leader most closely identified with the idea is the current prime minister, Li Keqiang, and he has outlined a more nuanced position. Elaborating his position in an article published in May in a theoretical journal of the Communist Party, Qiu Shi (here in Chinese), Mr Li wrote that “China is experiencing exponential urban growth which will spur investment and consumption and play a significant role in expanding domestic demand.”

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House members want California egg measure removed from farm bill

More than a third of House members  are urging congressional negotiators to keep out of a new farm bill a measure that would prevent California from requiring that eggs imported into the state be produced under standards ensuring that hens can spread their wings.Some 151 Democrats and 16 Republicans signed letters warning the measure could upset a wide range of state laws. GOP lawmakers said it also could jeopardize the entire farm bill.

The measure, which would prohibit states from imposing conditions on another state’s production of agricultural goods, is included in the House-approved farm bill. There is no similar measure in the Senate version of the legislation.  Formal House-Senate negotiations to reconcile differences in the farm bill are expected to begin in September.The measure was sought by Rep. Steve King, a Republican from Iowa, the No. 1 egg-producing state. He contends that California exceeded its authority and interfered with Congress’ power to regulate interstate commerce in imposing conditions on farmers who want to sell eggs in the nation’s most populous state.

Proposition 2, passed by California voters in 2008, requires California farmers to give egg-laying birds enough room to stand and spread their wings. State legislation passed two years later  added a requirement that, when the initiative takes effect in 2015, all eggs sold in the state come from farms that meet the California standards.Democratic Reps. Kurt Schrader of Oregon and Gary Peters  of Michigan, who gathered the Democratic signatures for a letter, say the measure  “represents an extraordinary attack on states’ rights.’’Critics contend the King measure would threaten laws in other states dealing with issues such as food safety, environmental protection and animal welfare. A diverse coalition of 64 groups, including the Humane Society of the United States, Consumers Union and the Sierra Club, also is working to keep the language from a final farm bill.

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Croatia’s food safety system conforms to high European standards, and all production is carried out in facilities where health safety standards have not been compromised in any way, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) said in a statement on Friday, following Bosnia and Herzegovina’s decision to ban imports of some Croatian products.Croatia began the process of alignment with EU standards in 2007 and most of its food production facilities, namely 825, operate in conformity with the highest EU standards, while only 90 have been granted temporary approval for work with food of animal origin. These are expected to be fully aligned with EU standards by 2015, according to the HGK.

Some of these facilities had exported their products to Bosnia and Herzegovina by July 1 under a special agreement, Moving away from IT services to products,which ceased to be valid when Croatia joined the European Union, after which Bosnia and Herzegovina imposed a ban on imports from those businesses.The HGK believes that this is not about protecting Bosnian consumers, because the Croatian products are fit for consumption just as they were while the special agreement between the two countries was in force, or about protecting Bosnian producers, because their number is relatively small.

“It is hard to say whether this is about scoring points for particular political purposes at home or about diverting attention from the fact that most of the Bosnian producers were not fully prepared when Croatia entered the EU, partly due to the idleness of the Bosnian veterinary service which is enforcing this ban,” the statement said.The HGK said that the discrimination of Croatian products was evident in the fact that Bosnia and Herzegovina required only Croatian products to be in conformity with the highest EU standards, while the same was not required of products from other countries, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia.The HGK expressed hope that the Bosnian authorities, together with the veterinary authorities in Croatia, would find a mutually satisfactory solution.

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Moving away from IT services to products

While the last two decades saw the Indian IT industry grow into a $100-billion industry, the sector missed out on developing software products and an opportunity to differentiate in the face of global competition.Earlier this year N.R. Narayana Murthy pointed out the need to position India as an ‘innovation’ destination, build products and add value by strengthening its existing areas and looking at new ones. This clarion call is resonating amongst others in the Indian industry at a time when winning deals and getting Fortune 500 companies to open up their technology budgets are getting harder.

Analysts and industry watchers are of the view that despite growth in the sector’s contribution to India’s GDP, from 1.2 per cent in fiscal 1998 to 7.5 per cent in the 2012 fiscal, the sector still missed out on opportunities to position India.The two most often cited areas are software products and the ability to go beyond body shopping and cost arbitrage. “When I look at Indian IT services players, I can’t distinguish one from the other,” says a US-based outsourcing advisor who does not wish to be identified as he works with some Indian IT companies.

The differentiation, he adds, can come by working closely with outsourcers and identifying new ways in which those companies can improve their top- or bottom-line. Industry watchers feel that methods that worked in the past will not work in the future.“Customers around the world complain that Indian sales people continue to confuse aggressiveness with inquisitiveness. In other words, instead of trying to understand, anticipate and pro-actively shape customer issues that can drive future demand, they assume that the answer to sales growth rests in simply calling upon a customer more frequently,” says Peter Schumacher, CEO, Value Leadership Group. This, in effect, sums up the sector.Products can offer some differentiation. “Indian companies were never serious about building products and that needs to change,” according to Pradeep Mukherji, President and Managing Partner, Avasant.

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