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AgriProtein wants to revolutionize the food industry with maggots

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Flies are pictured breeding in special lighting that mimics natural mating times.

For many people, the idea of dealing with billions of flies buzzing around rotting food is stomach churning.

But for Jason and David Drew, it’s business.

The two brothers own a company in South Africa that gets flies to lay hundreds of millions of eggs on food waste every day. The larvae are then sold as animal feed.

The Drews’ company, AgriProtein, says its maggot meals are an environmentally friendly alternative to fish meal, a widely used animal feed made with ground dried fish.

“We take waste and convert it into our three products — one of which is protein,” Jason Drew, the company’s CEO, told CNN. The others are an animal feed made using oil extracted from larvae, and a fertilizer made with a blend of larvae and garden compost.

AgriProtein was founded in 2008. It raised $105 million in its most recent round of funding this year and is valued at more than $200 million, according to its founders.

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The black soldier fly, which is bred at AgriProtein’s factories.

‘Nutrient recycling’

Jason’s eureka moment certainly wasn’t glamorous. In 2007, having sold his telecommunications business a few years earlier, he embarked on a passion project to “follow food chains around the world.”

Seeing waste tips surrounded by flies, he realized the insects’ larvae were an untapped source of protein.

The Drews say they have been fascinated with insects ever since they used flies and maggots to go fishing as children at their grandparents’ home in England. Combining that interest with a desire to make food supplies more environmentally sustainable, they began researching the science behind insect farming.

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Co-founder Jason Drew.

“We call it ‘nutrient recycling,'” Jason said. “[We are] recycling waste nutrients into natural protein for chicken and fish.”

Today, AgriProtein has fly factories in Cape Town and Durban. Each factory contains 8.4 billion flies, and takes in 276 tons of food waste every day. The flies lay 340 million eggs on the waste each day.

‘Exciting times for humanity’

Making meals out of maggots took a while to succeed.

“We spent nearly five years in abject failure,” Jason said. “If I had known how hard it would be, and how much it would cost, I would probably not have started.”

The brothers received two grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help fund their research, but they found it harder than expected to master techniques for increasing the number of larvae and keeping them alive for long enough. They also encountered problems keeping costs under control as they tried to grow the business.

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Staff members at an AgriProtein factory. The company has two facilities in South Africa that hold a total of more than 16 billion flies.

But finally, things started to click.

AgriProtein hired its first employee in 2009 and now has 145. Last year, it signed a $10 million deal with engineering firm Christof Industries to set up 100 fly factories worldwide by 2024. The company plans to roll out facilities in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the United States.

The fledgling industry is growing, according to Jason.

“It is exciting times for humanity as we start to tackle waste and protein problems,” he said.

CNNMoney (Hong Kong) First published September 20, 2018: 9:36 PM ET

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What's the best place for your money in the next five years?

What’s the best place for your money in the next five years?

What you should know before buying your first home

What’s the best financial investment for the next five years?—Dave

Finding a safe harbor for your money in the short- to mid-term creates a challenging check list.

You want your money to take on more risk and earn you more than if it were just hanging out in your savings account, earning hardly anything. But you also want it to be relatively accessible on a five-year timeline.

The good news is you can cross a few things off your list right away. Like real estate.

“When you’re looking for liquidity and safety on a horizon of only five years, you don’t want to be invested in a piece of real estate that you have to work desperately to get out of in a down market,” says Derek Green, a broker and investment adviser with Titus Wealth Management in Folsom, California.

Also: Put down the cryptocurrencies.

Sure, there’s potential for growth by investing in cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum, but the up and down swings in those markets make them too risky for a five-year span, according to Green.

“Cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile,” says Green “If it has had a period of downside volatility and you have to sell after five years, it isn’t going to be a desirable situation.”

So what will keep your money growing with manageable risk in the next half decade?

Catch the economic tailwinds

Given the economic climate, the stock market remains among the best havens for your money. But some stocks may be safer than others, says Green.

“The small- and mid-caps will likely have more of a tailwind given rising rates, a changing tax situation and trade tensions,” says Green. “Rather than the larger, internationally-oriented companies in the S&P 500.”

A small-cap, or a stock with a small “capitalization” as determined by the total market value of its shares, is stock of companies that generally have a market capitalization between $300 million to $2 billion. Mid-cap stocks are those between $2 billion and $10 billion. (Large cap stocks are those over $10 billion).

For those looking for something a little safer, Green recommends shorter maturity bonds or a short-term bond exchange traded fund. A shorter duration means less credit risk and less interest rate risk. And those are both good things in a rising interest rate market.

Look for a higher yield

Looking beyond investments, Green advises finding somewhere other than your savings account for the money.

“You’re probably going to lag behind the rate of inflation in a savings account,” he says.

Of course, there are high yield savings accounts available. While they tend to be among the safest options with the lowest risk, they offer the lowest returns. Use these only if security and accessibility to the funds is paramount.

Better than savings accounts are CDs, or certificates of deposit, which are insured, timed deposits offered by banks and credit unions that have very low risk, but offer slightly better returns than savings accounts.

“CDs are getting more attractive as short-term interest rates increase.”

For example, a CD with a five-year term, might carry an annual percentage yield of 2.65%.

Don’t set and forget

Given the relatively short time horizon and the dynamic economic picture, Green advises that you keep your eyes on that money and be a little more proactive with your investments than usual.

The reality is, he says, there are just too many things in play to leave your money alone for very long.

“We may go from rising interest rates to falling interest rates during that five year cycle,” says Green. “I would recommend semi-annual to annual rebalancing of the portfolio.”

Have a money question for Money Moves? Ask us here to be included in a future column.

CNNMoney (New York) First published September 7, 2018: 3:50 PM ET

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After a rough year, GoPro gets back to basics

Watch: We test the new GoPro Hero7 Black

Driving full speed into a turn at the Sonoma Raceway, GoPro VP Rick Loughery flipped his go kart and crashed spectacularly, grinding to an upside-down halt on the side of the track.

His co-workers let out a chorus of “ooohs!” before one quietly said what they all seemed to be thinking: “I hope he’s OK — and I hope he was filming.”

The video, shot on a brand new GoPro Hero7 Black camera with a new image stabilization feature, was impressively smooth for such a violent event. Loughery suffered light injuries.

GoPro has been bruised recently, too. But it hopes a new update to its flagship Hero camera, announced Thursday, can help it recover.

Earlier this year, GoPro laid off 20% of its workforce and shut down its fledgling drone division. It discontinued its Karma drone after the product failed to take off and sometimes literally fell from the sky. GoPro’s stock has fallen but stabilized since the company went public in 2014. In January, CEO and founder Nick Woodman said he was open to selling the business.

However, Woodman says he fully expects the company to be profitable in the second half of this year. He says GoPro is experiencing success with other products, like the $599 Fusion spherical camera. But it’s also focusing on the same camera that’s been at the core of its brand for 16 years,

“I can’t tell you how excited I am to shatter the myth that the world is over GoPro,” said Woodman over lunch after the race. Dressed in his own white racing jumpsuit, Woodman won the go kart race with the best time.

The $399 Hero7 Black, shipping at the end of September, is a return to the basics for GoPro. The camera doesn’t deviate far from the company’s most successful formula: rugged, compact and high-res. It features only a few hardware upgrades from the previous model, including more memory and an improved microphone.

What it does add is a truly impressive new digital image stabilization feature called HyperSmooth, which uses software to steady the footage so it almost looks like it was shot with a gimbal.

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The new GoPro Hero7 Black camera

The camera also packs in new features designed to appeal to the Instagram set, a sign that GoPro is paying close attention to the future of photography: influencers.

It adds the ability to shoot in portrait mode, the orientation of choice for Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook stories. A mode for limiting clips to 15 or 30 second also seems custom made for social media. And a time-lapse mode with stabilization can turn what would be a long drawn-out video of someone’s adventure into a bite-sized video at 30-times the speed.

“We spent some time trying to make GoPro relatable to everybody, and that was a mistake,” said Woodman. “We recognize that our market opportunity is active people and the capture creatives.”

We tested the cameras at one of GoPro’s press events, which typically involves putting a handful of reporters in just enough danger to give GoPro’s lawyers a heart attack. I raced the go karts and did barrel rolls in a biplane, and the footage was oddly smooth. CNN’s Samuel Burke went mountain biking with Woodman. Past events have included putting reporters in fighter jets and the Arctic Circle, and on America’s Cup boats and surfboards off the coast of a Mexican penal colony.

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A colorful shot taken on the new GoPro camera

Woodman participates in all the events. As a hyper-competitive California surfer who peppers business talk with phrases such as “crushing it,” Woodman has long been the walking embodiment of the GoPro brand. But the 43-year-old father of three also acknowledges that he’s perhaps aging out of GoPro’s target audience. Woodman still uses GoPro for his many extreme sporting hobbies, but also to film his own brood.

“The video serves as propaganda to remind them how much they love each other,” said Woodman. “You realize how rad you are as a family.”

But he thinks of GoPro as a lifestyle company more than a camera company. And that means adding features to the Hero that will appeal to the next generation of camera (and selfie) obsessed customers, while keeping its surfer DNA.

“The brand needs to stay young, hip, sexy,” said Woodman. “But we’ve got to stay rad.”

CNNMoney (San Francisco) First published September 20, 2018: 8:59 AM ET

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comcast fox sky

Comcast outbids 21st Century Fox for Sky

comcast fox sky

Comcast outbid 21st Century Fox and its powerful backer, Disney, on Saturday in an auction for control of European broadcaster Sky.

Comcast lodged a winning bid of $39 billion (£30 billion) for Sky following a rare, three round auction managed by UK’s Takeover Panel. Both companies were vying for 61% control of Sky. 21st Century Fox already owns 39% of the company.

Both companies must now make their offers official. Then the Sky board will make a recommendation, and Sky shareholders have until October 11 to vote.

–This is a developing story

CNNMoney (London) First published September 22, 2018: 2:34 PM ET

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More, Aditya Birla's retail chain, gets Amazon investment

More, Aditya Birla’s retail chain, gets Amazon investment

Amazon is worth $1 trillion

Walmart recently spent billions to get into online retail in India. Now Amazon is going offline in the hope of gaining millions of new customers in the vast market.

The e-commerce giant is buying 49% of More, a popular Indian supermarket chain, according to multiple reports in local media. The remaining 51% will be owned by Indian private equity firm Samara Capital.

More has over 540 supermarkets and hypermarkets across India. It is part of a bigger retail business that was recently sold by Indian conglomerate Aditya Birla Group to a company called Witzig.

An Amazon spokesperson told CNN that Amazon and Samara have “agreed to co-invest” in Witzig but declined to comment on the size of Amazon’s investment or its stake.

Witzig director Paurush Roy confirmed Samara Capital’s 51% stake and its acquisition of More, but did not comment on Amazon’s involvement.

“We are confident that through More, we will be able to address customer needs for choicest of grocery and food items across the country,” Roy said.

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The deal will allow Amazon to expand its offline presence in India.

Amazon took a small stake in an Indian fashion retailer — Shoppers Stop — last year, but the More investment is its first big foray into brick-and-mortar retail in the country.

It’s a move that will intensify its battle with Walmart for the country’s hundreds of millions of shoppers.

Walmart took control of Flipkart — India’s biggest e-commerce company and Amazon’s chief rival in the country — in May, spending $16 billion on a 77% stake.

The Arkansas-based retailer had been trying to expand its footprint in India for years, but could only open a handful of wholesale distribution outlets because of laws restricting foreign investment in retail.

Walmart’s purchase of Flipkart gives it direct access to an Indian e-commerce market that Morgan Stanley has estimated will be worth $200 billion by 2026.

But most Indians, like many Americans, still prefer to buy groceries in person. Amazon’s purchase of US grocery giant Whole Foods last year was driven by a desire to bring offline shoppers into its online ecosystem. It will be hoping More customers do that as well.

CNNMoney (New Delhi) First published September 20, 2018: 12:05 PM ET

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sky auction

Comcast-Fox battle could end in a one-day auction on Saturday

sky auction

Sky’s fate is likely to be decided in a one-day auction between Comcast and 21st Century Fox.

The UK Takeover Panel announced Thursday it would hold an auction for the European broadcaster on Saturday if there’s no resolution to the long-running takeover battle by close of business on Friday.

Sky (SKYAY) has been the subject of an extended fight between Comcast and Fox (FOX) — now backed by Disney (DIS), which is in the process of acquiring most of Rupert Murdoch’s entertainment assets.

The biggest pay-TV broadcaster in Europe and its 23 million subscribers are attractive assets to US media companies that want to expand overseas and bolster their defenses against an onslaught from Netflix (NFLX) and Amazon (AMZN).

Comcast (CMCSA) is the current higher bidder for Sky, having offered £14.75 ($19.30) per share — or about $34 billion in total — in July. That compares to Fox’s offer of £14 ($18.30) per share for the 61% of Sky it doesn’t already own.

It’s rare for a UK takeover to be decided by auction but the process is designed to produce final bids from each suitor that can then be evaluated by shareholders.

The regulator said the auction would consist of up to three rounds. The lower bidder -— currently Fox — would be able to bid during the first round, and Comcast would counter in the second. Both hopefuls would be able to bid in the third and final round.

None of the companies involved responded to requests for comment.

The auction would bring a dramatic end to a turbulent chapter for the media industry, which saw Comcast lose out to Disney for most of Fox’s business in a contest that appeared to be personal for Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and Disney CEO Bob Iger.

Top original shows and premium sports content have made Sky a leader in pay TV in the United Kingdom and other markets including Germany and Italy. It also sells broadband and mobile phone services.

— Hadas Gold and Ivana Kottasova contributed to this article.

CNNMoney (London) First published September 20, 2018: 5:57 AM ET

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Trade war has killed Alibaba's pledge to create 1 million US jobs

Trade war has killed Alibaba’s pledge to create 1 million US jobs

How Jack Ma changed China

Chinese tech billionaire Jack Ma’s promise to create 1 million new US jobs is the latest casualty of the trade war.

The Alibaba (BABA) chief grabbed attention at the start of last year when he made the highly ambitious pledge following a meeting with Donald Trump, who was president elect at the time.

But in an interview published late Wednesday by China’s official news agency, Xinhua, Ma said the waves of new tariffs imposed by Washington and Beijing in recent months have undermined the plan.

“This promise was on the basis of friendly China-US cooperation and reasonable bilateral trade relations, but the current situation has already destroyed that basis,” Ma said. “This promise can’t be completed.”

A spokeswoman for Alibaba, China’s biggest e-commerce company, confirmed Ma’s comments to CNN.

Analysts had already expressed serious doubts about the pledge, which Alibaba announced after Trump and Ma met at Trump Tower in New York in January 2017.

“Jack and I are going to do some great things,” Trump said at the time.

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Donald Trump and Jack Ma met in New York in January 2017.

Ma’s vague promise wasn’t based on Alibaba investing in the United States to build factories or fulfillment centers. Instead, he talked about stimulating trade by helping American small businesses sell their products to consumers in China and elsewhere in Asia.

Alibaba held a big conference in Detroit last year to encourage American small businesses and farmers to sell their products to Chinese consumers through its platforms. The company didn’t immediately respond to a request Thursday for information on how many US jobs those efforts have created so far.

In the Xinhua interview, Ma said Alibaba “will not stop promoting the healthy development of China-US trade.”

A strong advocate of globalization, he has expressed growing fears about the trade war, telling investors earlier this week that it could drag on for as long as 20 years.

“It’s going to last long, it’s going to be a mess,” Ma said Tuesday in Hangzhou, the city where Alibaba is based.

The 54-year-old tycoon, who set up Alibaba in his apartment nearly two decades ago, announced this month that he will step down as executive chairman of the company next year. Daniel Zhang, the current CEO, will succeed him.

Ma, a former English teacher, said he wants to return to education.

— Yong Xiong and Sherisse Pham contributed to this report.

CNNMoney (Hong Kong) First published September 19, 2018: 10:54 PM ET

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Sony is getting in on the retro console craze

Sony's Aibo robot dog is back

It’s game on again for the original PlayStation.

Sony plans to release a revamped model of the iconic gaming console, called PlayStation Classic on December 3, Sony announced Wednesday.

The company said the game system will retail for $99.99.

The new version is 45% smaller than the original and ditches CDs in favor of 20 pre-loaded games, including “Final Fantasy VII,” “Tekken 3” and “Wild Arms.” A complete roster of games will be announced soon, including more “fan favorites,” according to the release.

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Sony’s PlayStation Classic (left) and the original.

The console will be shipped in its classic packaging with two replica controllers and slightly enhanced graphics compared to the original version.

The release comes nearly 25 years after the original version went on sale. The PlayStation proved to be a winner for Sony, which became the first console to sell 100 million units worldwide and helped Sony dethrone the once-dominant Sega brand in the 1990s.

With the classic, Sony is taking a page from Nintendo’s playbook. In 2016, the company tapped into the retro craze by releasing the NES Classic, a slimmed-down version of the original Nintendo Entertainment System, which was for sale in the 1980s. The company sold more than 2 million of the retro devices in just five months.

Nintendo then released another version, dubbed the Super Nintendo Classic Edition, in 2017. That sold more than 4 million units worldwide and helped Nintendo power up its profits.

CNNMoney (New York) First published September 19, 2018: 8:19 AM ET

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new york review of books

New York Review of Books editor out week after publishing widely criticized #MeToo essay

new york review of books
Jian Ghomeshi (L) and Ian Buruma (R)

The top editor of the New York Review of Books has left the magazine less than a week after publishing a highly controversial essay by a former radio host accused of sexual assault.

Ian Buruma is no longer with the publication, a spokesperson for New York Review confirmed to CNN on Wednesday. The spokesperson did not provide any details of what led to Buruma’s departure. Buruma could not be reached for comment.

Buruma’s exit comes almost exactly one year after he assumed the top editorial post. While it remains unknown whether he was forced out or left of his own volition, it’s difficult to ignore the firestorm that preceded it.

On Friday, the New York Review of Books published an essay online by Jian Ghomeshi, a former Canadian radio host who lost his job in 2014 over sexual misconduct allegations, with ultimately more than 20 women coming forward with allegations of various forms of sexual assault. He was acquitted of sexual assault charges in 2016 after signing an agreement to be on good behavior.

In the essay, titled “Reflections from a Hashtag,” Ghomeshi bemoaned his fall from grace as he sought to “inject nuance” into his story.

“There has indeed been enough humiliation for a lifetime. I cannot just move to another town and reboot with a pseudonym. I’m constantly competing with a villainous version of myself online,” Ghomeshi wrote. “This is the power of a contemporary mass shaming. Even people who are supportive sometimes have expectations of how I will act based on a singular, sexualized identity that was repeated in media stories. But this period has also been a tremendous education.”

The piece was widely derided the moment it went live on the internet last week, with criticism aimed at Ghomeshi for writing it — and at Buruma for publishing it.

Buruma, who became New York Review’s editor last year following the death of the magazine’s co-founder Robert Silvers, defended the piece, telling Slate that it “seemed like a story that was worth hearing — not necessarily as a defense of what he may have done.”

“But it is an angle on an issue that is clearly very important and that I felt had not been exposed very much,” Buruma said in the interview.

Plenty of media observers didn’t share that view.

“What Buruma and the NYRB leadership failed to grasp was that men like Ghomeshi aren’t entitled to a nicely packaged redemption arc, and readers won’t benefit from having an alleged abuser describe life after being exposed as abusive,” wrote Mili Mitra in an opinion piece for the Washington Post. “At the end of the day, the essay never tackled the tensions brought on by the advent of the #MeToo movement. Instead, it read like a thinly veiled attempt by Ghomeshi to resuscitate his career and relevance. Thankfully, it seems to have failed.”

Buruma, in his interview with Slate, indicated that he shared Ghomeshi’s desire for more “nuance” in the #MeToo debate.

“Something like rape is a crime, and we know what happens in the case of crimes,” he said. “There are trials and if you are held to be guilty or convicted and so on, there are rules about that. What is much murkier is when people are not found to have broken the law but have misbehaved in other ways nonetheless. How do you deal with such cases? Should that last forever?”

CNNMoney (New York) First published September 19, 2018: 3:18 PM ET

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EU probes Amazon over how it uses the data it collects

EU probes Amazon over how it uses the data it collects

Amazon is worth $1 trillion

EU antitrust regulators are examining how Amazon uses data and whether it has leveraged information gleaned from smaller retailers to boost its own sales.

Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said her office had started gathering information on the issue, while cautioning that the probe was still at a very early stage.

Vestager said the goal was to determine whether online platforms that sell their own products were using data from rival retailers to gain an unfair advantage.

“Do you then also use this data to do your own calculations, as to what is the new big thing, what is it that people want, what kind of offers do they like to receive, what makes them buy things?” she said at a news conference.

“We have no conclusions,” she added. “We haven’t formally opened a case, but we are trying to make sure that we get the full picture.”

Amazon (AMZN) did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The European Union has emerged as a key battleground for tech companies because it has introduced tough rules on data protection, hate speech, taxation and competition issues.

The European Commission ordered Google (GOOGL) in July to pay €4.34 billion ($5 billion) for unfairly pushing its apps on smartphone users and thwarting competitors. Apple (AAPL) and Facebook (FB) have also been penalized by European regulators.

CNNMoney (London) First published September 19, 2018: 10:39 AM ET

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