Eating a tiny bit of mom’s poop could give C-section babies an immune ‘primer’

A Mother looks at her newly born infant as she holds the baby against her chest for some skin to skin time

The bacteria that live in our bodies, particularly our guts, play key roles in immunity and development. But babies born by cesarean section don’t get the rich blend of microbes that come from a vaginal birth—microbes that may help prevent disorders such as asthma and allergies. Now, a study suggests feeding these infants a small amount of their mothers’ feces could “normalize” their gut microbiome—the ecosystem of bacteria, viruses, and fungi in the digestive system—and possibly give their immune systems a healthier start.
Newborns’ guts are blank slates: Babies born vaginally get microbes from their mother’s perineum (the area around the vulva and anus), and those born by C-section get them from mom’s skin. Within just a few hours, the differences are stark. For example, Bacteroides and Bifidobacteria bacteria are abundant in the guts of babies born vaginally, but “almost absent in C-section babies,” says Willem de Vos, a microbiome scientist at the University of Helsinki. Because babies born by C-section have higher rates of immune-related disorders later in life, researchers think this early-life bacteria could “prime” the immune system during a critical development period.
To lessen the damage, previous studies have “seeded” C-section babies with their mothers’ vaginal microbiota. But when those efforts didn’t seem to do the trick, de Vos and colleagues theorized that vaginally born babies might get their microbes from accidentally ingesting a smidgen of their mother’s stool during the birthing process. So they recruited 17 mothers preparing to give birth via C-section. Three weeks before the women were to give birth, their fecal samples were scanned for pathogens including group B Streptococcus and herpesvirus.
Seven women had pathogen-free samples. After they gave birth, the researchers mixed 3.5 or 7 milligrams of their diluted fecal matter into 5 milliliters of breast milk—donated from a breast milk bank and pumped from the mothers themselves—and then fed it to their babies.
Next, the scientists analyzed the babies’ gut microbiomes by sequencing genetic material in their feces. They started with the very first bowel movement, known as the meconium, and continued sampling at regular intervals over 12 weeks. When they compared the microbiomes with those of 29 babies born vaginally and 18 born by C-section without fecal transplants, they found the treated babies’ microbiota evolved to resemble those of vaginally born babies within 3 weeks, they report today in Cell. Typically, it takes a full year for this transition to happen.
Like babies born vaginally, treated infants had abundant colonies of Bacteroidales within days. And compared with untreated C-section babies, the treated infants had significantly fewer pathogenic bacteria, such as Enterococcus faecium and Salmonella enterica. The infants didn’t experience any adverse effects during the study period, de Vos says.
The study supports the idea that the “collateral impact” of a cesarean delivery could be mitigated, says Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello, a microbiologist at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. “There’s a reason the orifice for having babies is next to the anal orifice, in all vertebrates,” she says. “This is natural selection, not random. And it’s a clear message from nature telling us, ‘We want the newborns to be exposed to feces.’”
Knowing how much feces to expose them to is critical, however, adds John Penders, a medical microbiologist at Maastricht University. “We don’t know how much babies ingest naturally, so getting the right dose requires careful testing.” Longer studies with more infants should ensure the dose is safe, he says.
De Vos and his colleagues have already started such a study: a randomized, controlled trial in which dozens of C-section babies receive either feces from their mothers or a placebo. The researchers plan to monitor the babies’ health over several years, he says. In the meantime, de Vos cautions that fecal transplants require careful medical management. “This is not something parents should be doing at home.”

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About NASA, SpaceX to Launch First Commercial Crew Rotation Mission to International Space Station

The SpaceX Crew-1 official crew portrait with (from left) NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Soichi Noguchi.
Credits: NASA
NASA and SpaceX are beginning a regular cadence of missions with astronauts launching on an American rocket from American soil to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 is the first crew rotation mission with four astronauts flying on a commercial spacecraft, and the first including an international partner.
NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Soichi Noguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) are set to launch to the space station on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket. The Crew-1 astronauts named the spacecraft Resilience, highlighting the dedication the teams involved with the mission have displayed and to demonstrate that when we work together, there is no limit to what we can achieve. They named it in honor of their families, colleagues, and fellow citizens.
Launch is targeted for Saturday, Oct. 31, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The crew is scheduled for a long duration stay aboard the orbiting laboratory, conducting science and maintenance. The four astronauts are set to return in spring 2021.
NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 test flight completed earlier this year was the final demonstration flight of the Crew Dragon. The test flight, along with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, is helping validate SpaceX’s crew transportation system, including the launch pad, rocket, spacecraft, and operational capabilities. NASA is working to complete the certification of the Crew Dragon system ahead of the Crew-1 mission.
Hopkins and Glover were assigned to the Crew-1 mission in 2018 and began working and training on SpaceX’s next-generation human spacecraft. Walker and Noguchi joined the crew earlier this year.
Michael Hopkins is the commander of the Crew Dragon and the Crew-1 mission. Hopkins is responsible for all phases of flight, from launch to re-entry. He will also serve as an Expedition 64 flight engineer aboard the station. Selected as a NASA astronaut in 2009, Hopkins spent 166 days in space as a long duration crew member of Expeditions 37 and 38 and completed two spacewalks totaling 12 hours and 58 minutes. Born in Lebanon, Missouri, Hopkins grew up on a farm outside Richland, Missouri. He has a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Illinois, and a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from Stanford University. Before joining NASA, Hopkins was a flight test engineer with the U.S. Air Force.

The SpaceX Crew-1 crew members (from left) NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, Victor Glover, Mike Hopkins, and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Soichi Noguchi.
Credits: SpaceX
Victor Glover is the pilot of the Crew Dragon and second-in-command for the mission. Glover is responsible for spacecraft systems and performance. He also will be a long duration space station crew member. Selected as an astronaut in 2013, this will be his first spaceflight. The California native holds a Bachelor of Science degree in general engineering, a Master of Science degree in flight test engineering, a Master of Science degree in systems engineering and a master’s degree military operational art and science. Glover is a naval aviator and was a test pilot in the F/A‐18 Hornet, Super Hornet, and EA‐18G Growler aircraft.
Shannon Walker is a mission specialist for Crew-1. As a mission specialist, she will work closely with the commander and pilot to monitor the vehicle during the dynamic launch and re-entry phases of flight. She will also be responsible for monitoring timelines, telemetry, and consumables, like fuel and atmosphere levels. Once aboard the station, Walker will become a flight engineer for Expedition 64. Selected as a NASA astronaut in 2004, Walker launched to the International Space Station aboard the Russian Soyuz TMA-19 spacecraft as the co-pilot, and spent 161 days aboard the orbiting laboratory. More than 130 microgravity experiments were conducted during her stay in areas such as human research, biology, and materials science. A Houston native, Walker received a Bachelor of Arts degree in physics from Rice University in 1987, as well as a Master of Science degree and a doctorate in space physics, both from Rice University, in 1992 and 1993, respectively.
Soichi Noguchi will also be a mission specialist for Crew-1, working with the commander and pilot to monitor the vehicle during the dynamic launch and re-entry phases of flight, and keeping watch on timelines, telemetry and consumables. Noguchi will also become a long duration crew member aboard the space station. He was selected as an astronaut candidate by the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA, currently the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) in May 1996. Noguchi is a veteran of two spaceflights. During space shuttle mission STS-114 in 2005, Noguchi became the first Japanese astronaut to perform a spacewalk outside the space station. He performed a total of three spacewalks during the mission, accumulating 20 hours and 5 minutes of spacewalking time. He launched aboard a Soyuz spacecraft in 2009 to return to the station as a long duration crew member. The Crew Dragon will be the third spacecraft that Noguchi has flown to the orbiting laboratory.
Lifting off from Launch Pad 39A on a Falcon 9 rocket, Crew Dragon will accelerate its four passengers to approximately 17,000 mph and put it on an intercept course with the International Space Station. Once in orbit, the crew and SpaceX mission control will monitor a series of automatic maneuvers that will guide the Crew-1 astronauts to their new home in orbit. After approximately one day in orbit, Crew Dragon will be in position to rendezvous and dock with the space station. The spacecraft is designed to dock autonomously with the ability for astronauts aboard the spacecraft to take control and pilot manually, if necessary.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon is pictured docked to the International Space Station on July 1, 2020.
After successfully docking, the astronauts of Crew-1 will be welcomed aboard station by NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos. For the first time, the space station’s crew will expand to seven people with Expedition 64, increasing the amount of crew time available for research.
The Crew Dragon being used for this flight will remain docked to the station for the full length of a long duration space station expedition, lasting approximately six months. The Crew-1 astronauts will spend their time aboard the International Space Station conducting new and exciting scientific research in areas, such as botany, cancer, and technology.
Radishes will be grown in space. This model plant is nutritious, grows quickly, and is genetically similar to Arabidopsis, a plant frequently studied in microgravity. Findings could help optimize growth of the plants in space as well as provide an assessment of their nutrition and taste. Scientists are leveraging microgravity to tests drugs based on messenger ribonucleic acids (mRNA) for treating leukemia. A new toilet headed to the space station has a number of features that improve on current space toilet operations and help us prepare for future missions, including those to the Moon and Mars.
During their stay on the orbiting laboratory, astronauts of Crew-1 will see a range of unpiloted spacecraft including the Northrop Grumman Cygnus, the next generation of SpaceX cargo Dragon spacecraft, and the Boeing CST-100 Starliner on its uncrewed flight test to the station. They also will conduct a variety of spacewalks and welcome crews of the Russian Soyuz vehicle and the next SpaceX Crew Dragon in 2021.
At the conclusion of the mission, Crew Dragon will autonomously undock with the four astronauts on board, depart the space station and re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere. After splashdown just off Florida’s coast, the crew will be picked up at sea by a SpaceX recovery vessel and will be brought to shore to board a plane for return to the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
The Crew-1 mission is a major step for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Operational, long duration commercial crew rotation missions will enable NASA to continue the important research and technology investigations taking place onboard the station. Such research benefits people on Earth and lays the groundwork for future exploration of the Moon and Mars starting with the agency’s Artemis program, which will land the first woman and the next man on the lunar surface in 2024.

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About – 10 Habits of Successful. Entrepreneurs – Women On Topp

Successful entrepreneurs learn to seize opportunities when they arise, avoid the pitfalls that punctuate their career, and encourage employees to get involved in order to achieve their company’s goals. Apparently, some people naturally have these skills, but in reality, most of the methods that lead to success can be learned and developed with time and practice.
However, some entrepreneurs run a one-man business and they also need to have certain habits to enable them to excel in their business. Being independent means working hard, and often also alone. For this reason, you have to put up with great habits that will help you survive daily and keep you in the game for a long time.
Here are ten habits of successful entrepreneurs that are sure to boost your productivity; whether you are working alone or leading a scale-up.
1. Stay informed
As an entrepreneur, you know who your competition is. To stay ahead of the game, it is important to stay on top of what is happening in your industry. Try to set aside an hour a day to stay informed. Have you come across interesting information? Share it with your team or via social media, so you won’t miss any trends or innovations.
2. Disconnect when necessary
Digital follows us everywhere, whether via laptop or smartphone. Taking a break from time to time works wonders for your productivity and overall well-being. So sometimes go play sports or sleep without your phone. Give yourself the rest you need.
3. Take the problems head-on
Entrepreneurship is daring and tasking. It is a jump that involves a lot of risks. And once in a while, a problem may surface. Rather than bypassing it, break it up into parts and fix it step by step. Are you still failing? Then try another approach or look for an experienced partner who will offer you a “mirror”. But whatever you do, don’t give up.
4. Surround yourself with positive people
People who complain or have a negative state of mind are everywhere, and it’s easy to get caught up in a downward spiral by these people. So try to surround yourself as much as possible with positive, ambitious, and inspiring people.
5. Organize your work
Making lists and setting daily goals will help you stay focused on a daily basis. When you run a business, there is often so much tension to deal with that you lose sight of the big picture. Use US President Eisenhower’s method to quickly distinguish the trivial from the essential. This will keep you focused on the right goals.
6. Preserve your work-life balance
As a self-employed person, the line between work and private life is very thin. Your passion becomes your job and often demands your space and time. Keep your limits in mind and give yourself time to recharge your batteries. Also, set aside enough time for your family, friends and for your hobbies and sports activities. This free time and these distractions are extremely refreshing and absolutely essential.
The work continues to pile up and you run up against your own limits? Maybe it’s time to hire a collaborator. Are you facing a temporary spike in activity? There are solutions. Are these busy periods taking too long? Then consider recruiting a first employee.
7. Set yourself three priorities per day
Running a business can be very tasking because the job is never really done. If your schedule is overflowing, choose three tasks each day that you absolutely must and want to complete. These will be your priorities for the day . Once these tasks are completed, you will feel like you have achieved a victory and you can approach the rest of your daily tasks positively.
8. Move regularly and get up from time to time
During the working day, you are often seated: in your office chair, at the table, or in the car when you go to meetings. Sitting for more than six hours a day is bad for your health and productivity. So try to stand or walk regularly. Avoid sitting still when you call; park your car a little further away, and take a breath of fresh air during the lunch break. These are little habits that will improve your daily life.
9. Talk and think like your customer
To fully understand and serve your customers, you need to speak to them regularly. It helps you think from their point of view. So start a dialogue with a customer every day and also regularly review customer reviews.
10. Test a productivity tool
Every day sees the launch of digital tools that make your life as an entrepreneur easier. Regularly test one and profit from it!
There are only 24 hours in a day, and that goes for everyone. Make the most of your available time by adopting efficient habits and a smart way of working.

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Mark Zuckerberg – We’re Announcing An Update to Instagram DMs…

Today we’re announcing an update to Instagram DMs that will bring the best features from Messenger and create a better experience for messaging across both apps. We’ve been working on this since I shared our vision for a privacy-focused social network early last year. Private messaging is one of the fastest-growing forms of communication, and on Facebook’s apps alone people send over 100 billion messages every day.

We’ve heard from people that your conversations get fragmented across different apps, and it’s not always easy to know where to reach someone or where to find a certain chat thread. So we’re connecting the Messenger and Instagram experience so you can easily connect with the people you want across apps. This means that you’ll now be able to use Instagram to send messages and calls to friends and family on Messenger, and vice versa. You’ll have controls over how people can message you across networks, or to not receive these messages at all.

You’ll also start to see a bunch of fun new features for messages in Instagram and Messenger. You’ll soon be able to watch videos with friends and family during a video call, send disappearing messages, and use customization features like chat colors, emoji reactions, and selfie stickers. Check out the video for the full list of features we’re introducing.

We’re starting to roll out these new features on Instagram and Messenger in a few countries today, and we’ll release them everywhere over the coming weeks and months.


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By Bill Gates – Introducing the Green Premiums

Over the past several years, I’ve been making the case that we have to eliminate global carbon emissions. To avoid the worst effects of climate change, we need new zero-carbon ways to generate electricity, grow food, make things, move around, and keep warm and cool.
But knowing what we need to accomplish is very different from knowing how to do it—or even whether we can.
Do we have everything we need to deliver enough affordable electricity for the world, or do we need more innovation? What about things like clean fuels, steel, and cement—are they viable options yet? In short, which clean sources are effective enough and cheap enough now, and which ones aren’t yet?
Understanding the answers to these questions will help us make sure we’re putting our best minds and resources on the toughest problems in climate and energy. In my view it boils down to one issue: What is the difference in cost between a product that involves emitting carbon and an alternative that doesn’t? This difference in cost is what I call the Green Premium, and understanding it is key to making progress on climate change. (It is also a central idea in my book about climate change, which will come out in February.)
Here’s an example of a Green Premium: The average retail price for a gallon of jet fuel in the United States over the past few years has been around $2.22, while advanced biofuels for jets cost around $5.35 per gallon. The Green Premium is the difference between the two, which is $3.13, or an increase of more than 140 percent.
Since airlines would not be willing to pay more than twice as much to fuel their planes—and many customers would balk at the resulting increase in air fares—the Green Premium on biofuels suggests that we need to find ways to either make them cheaper or make jet fuel more expensive. Or a combination of the two.
Unfortunately, calculating Green Premiums is not an exact science. It involves making assumptions about the cost of emerging technologies, for example, that well-informed people can disagree about. It is also important to note that one reason the Green Premiums exist is that the prices of fossil fuels don’t factor in the damage they inflict by making the planet warmer. In many cases, clean alternatives appear more expensive because fossil fuels are artificially cheap.
So even though Green Premiums are an imperfect measure, they are better than no measure at all.
For one thing, they help us measure our progress toward eliminating carbon emissions. The bigger a Green Premium is—especially for lower-income countries like India and Nigeria whose energy needs are growing—the further we are from a zero-carbon future.
They also serve as a guide to action. In cases where the Green Premiums are big, we know we need innovations that will close the price gap. In cases where they’re small—or where clean products are actually cheaper than the polluting version—it suggests that something other than the cost is keeping zero-carbon products from being deployed, and we need to understand why.
I’ll give you two examples that show why I find Green Premiums so useful.
First, electricity. The Green Premium for electricity amounts to the additional cost of getting all power in our grid from non-emitting sources like wind, solar, nuclear power, and fossil fuel plants equipped with carbon-capture technology. For the reasons I explained in this post, there’s a high Green Premium for electricity in most parts of the world, and we need innovation to drive it closer to zero.
But clean alternatives are within striking distance in the U.S. and Europe. One study suggested that decarbonizing Europe’s power grid by 90 to 95 percent would cause rates to go up roughly 14 euros per month for a typical household in the European Union. In the United States, it would cost an extra $18 a month for the average home. While that is still a substantial premium, especially for low-income people, it’s encouraging that Europeans and Americans may be able to generate most of their electricity carbon-free for the cost of a few cups of coffee each month.
Once we know what’s driving a given Green Premium, it acts like a roadmap—it tells us the route we need to take to get to zero. In the case of electricity, one step is to keep deploying renewables where they make sense. Another is to invest more in developing technologies like long-term electricity storage, carbon capture, and advanced nuclear. And we need to modernize and expand the grids that deliver clean electricity from where it’s generated to where it’s needed—often a distance of thousands of miles.
Electricity is a relatively straightforward case. A much more complicated one is manufacturing.
Consider the process of making cement. It’s responsible for releasing carbon dioxide in two ways: when fossil fuels are burned to generate heat for cement production, and during the chemical reactions involved in the manufacturing process.
We don’t yet know how to make cement without releasing this carbon. The best we can do is to capture it once it has been released and stash it away permanently, a process that adds between 75 percent and 140 percent to the cost of cement. Few construction firms would be up for absorbing such a price increase in any competitive market.
Other Green Premiums in manufacturing—for steel, for example—are also quite high. This tells us that we don’t have the tools we need to make clean manufacturing anywhere near economical enough that everyone will adopt it. We need more innovation.
As a rule, there are three levers we can pull to reduce Green Premiums:
• Governments can use policies to either make the carbon-based version of something more expensive, or make the clean version cheaper—or, ideally, some of both. This could include requiring a certain amount of electricity or fuel to be generated in zero-carbon ways.
• Companies and investors can commit to buying and using cleaner alternatives, investing in research and development, supporting clean-energy entrepreneurs and startups, and advocating for helpful government policies.
• Individuals can help create markets for better, cleaner alternatives. When you buy an electric vehicle or a plant-based burger even though it costs more than the alternative, you’re saying to the companies that make these products: “There’s demand for these items. Make more and we’ll buy them.” That will drive investment in research, which helps decrease the price and ultimately makes clean products more affordable and available for everyone.
Not everyone can afford these premiums, but if you can, it’s a productive way to contribute.
I’m convinced that the Green Premium concept can bring clarity to a debate where it is badly needed right now. I hope more people embrace it and help improve the idea. Understanding the Green Premiums will help the world make the most of its efforts and funding as we work together to avoid a climate disaster.

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Top 50 Modern TV Stand Design Ideas For 2020

TV stands also referred to as TV consoles, are furniture items used to hold the television above the floor at a comfortable viewing height for a seated viewer. Typically used in residential living rooms, most TV stands provide additional storage options such as shelves and drawers for minimizing living room clutter.
Many TV stands also include the option for having closed backs to any open shelves that can hide the assortment of wires needed by the television and other devices. Unlike larger media centres that occupy a much more significant amount of wall space, TV stands are more streamlined and minimal furniture items that can also hold the television. TV stands are available in a range of lengths and unique styles for each desired unique household aesthetic.p

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About – Fuel Cells for Heavy-Duty Trucks


Wqeinheim (Germany), September 8, 2020. Freudenberg Sealing Technologies has launched the development of a special fuel cell system for heavy-duty trucks. The company is collaborating with Quantron AG, a specialist in the field of commercial vehicle conversion. The project’s first fuel cell system will be installed in a heavy-duty truck for real-world testing in the near future. These collaborative efforts are being supported by the Energy Research Program of the Bavarian State Ministry of Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy in Germany.
The 40-ton heavy-duty trucks are the titans of the highways. Thanks to their large loading volume, they enjoy great popularity among freight carriers. While state-of-the-art technologies have been implemented in this weight class in recent years to improve environmental performance, safety and efficiency, overall fuel consumption and vehicle emissions still remain a challenge. This is true particularly within the European Union, where trucks account for 25 percent of the entire CO2 emissions in the transportation sector.
While battery-electric vehicles can be used efficiently and in an eco-friendly way in urban areas, fuel cell technology offers the optimal approach when it comes to emission-free logistics over long distances and with higher payloads. Electric commercial vehicles that are powered solely by batteries are not suited for everyday operations, partly because of longer charging cycles and limited range. During stop-and-go traffic or traffic jams, the battery loses significant power. An additional, time-consuming refueling stop is economically inefficient. A battery-powered electric drive may also require concessions in terms of payload.
An alternative to the 40-ton truck with diesel driveWeinheim (Germany), September 8, 2020. Freudenberg Sealing Technologies has launched the development of a special fuel cell system for heavy-duty trucks. The company is collaborating with Quantron AG, a specialist in the field of commercial vehicle conversion. The project’s first fuel cell system will be installed in a heavy-duty truck for real-world testing in the near future. These collaborative efforts are being supported by the Energy Research Program of the Bavarian State Ministry of Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy in Germany.
The 40-ton heavy-duty trucks are the titans of the highways. Thanks to their large loading volume, they enjoy great popularity among freight carriers. While state-of-the-art technologies have been implemented in this weight class in recent years to improve environmental performance, safety and efficiency, overall fuel consumption and vehicle emissions still remain a challenge. This is true particularly within the European Union, where trucks account for 25 percent of the entire CO2 emissions in the transportation sector.
While battery-electric vehicles can be used efficiently and in an eco-friendly way in urban areas, fuel cell technology offers the optimal approach when it comes to emission-free logistics over long distances and with higher payloads. Electric commercial vehicles that are powered solely by batteries are not suited for everyday operations, partly because of longer charging cycles and limited range. During stop-and-go traffic or traffic jams, the battery loses significant power. An additional, time-consuming refueling stop is economically inefficient. A battery-powered electric drive may also require concessions in terms of payload.
An alternative to the 40-ton truck with diesel drive

Freudenberg Sealing Technologies’ fuel cell expertise is focused on making emission-free, economically viable heavy-duty transportation a reality. In the past year, the company has launched successful development projects for buses and cruise ships with partners such as FlixBus and Meyer Werft in Germany. With the cooperation of Quantron AG, a specialist in retrofitting existing commercial vehicles with electric powertrains and batteries, Freudenberg has now turned its attention to truck solutions in the 40-ton weight class to create a low-emission alternative to standard commercial heavy-duty trucks powered by diesel drivetrains. The goal is to test the fuel cell systems for performance, durability and range under continuous commercial driving conditions. The project is funded by the Energy Research Program of the Bavarian State Ministry of Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy and is one of the first initiatives that explicitly supports the development of a fuel cell for use in heavy-duty trucks. A first test vehicle with the new drive technology is expected to be rolling across Bavarian roads in mid-2021. The vehicle named Energon was presented to the public in early August this year.
“Fuel cell trucks are the only economical, emission-free alternative that permits large payloads as well as significant ranges and fast refueling cycles,” said Dr. Manfred Stefener, Vice President Fuel Cell Systems at Freudenberg Sealing Technologies. “That’s why we are looking forward to working with Quantron AG to create fuel cell applications that are explicitly designed for the maximum load and operating points of trucks.”
Clear focus on heavy-duty trucks

Fuel cells for trucks must cover completely different load and operating profiles than those for passenger cars: On average, a passenger car drives for a maximum of one hour per day and stands still for the remaining 23 hours. This is why passenger car systems are designed for only 5,000 to 8,000 operating hours. Truck systems, in contrast, require a service life of at least 35,000 hours. This is because commercial vehicles earn money exclusively through reliable, continuous operation.
As it focuses on heavy-duty trucks, the current project offers additional innovations. These include, for example, the consistent use of material combinations that optimize the service life as well as the development of special interfaces for space-optimized application in a commercial vehicle. This makes it possible to perform maintenance, repair and replacement tasks with a minimal effort at any time and, thanks to the standardization, to operate a maximum range of vehicles. Existing fuel cell systems were originally developed for passenger cars. For heavy-duty applications, however, all essential design aspects of the system have to be optimized for a long service life.

“The goal is to develop fuel cells that can manage a long service life and real heavy-duty profiles to outshine the diesel when it comes to total cost of ownership,” Dr. Stefener said. “We intend to launch a sustainable, emission-free alternative for heavy-duty traffic on the market.”
For decades, Freudenberg Sealing Technologies has been supporting automotive and commercial vehicle manufacturers in reducing the fuel consumption and emissions of their internal combustion engines with innovative sealing technology. In the mid-1990s, the Freudenberg Group, began conducting research into alternative drive concepts and started developing technically-sophisticated components for fuel cells and batteries. Among other things, the company has developed gas diffusion layers (GDL), humidifiers, filter solutions and seals for fuel cell stacks that are ready for series production.
Unique depth of value creation at the company
At the beginning of 2018, Freudenberg Sealing Technologies strategically supplemented this expertise by acquiring fuel cell manufacturer, Elcore. As a result, the company now offers comprehensive systems competence as well as deep value creation in the core components of fuel cells. In 2019, Freudenberg Sealing Technologies also acquired majority ownership of US-based XALT Energy, a market leader in the development and production of advanced lithium-ion batteries and battery solutions.
These strategic acquisitions have positioned Freudenberg Sealing Technologies as a market leader in the development and production of alternative and electric drivetrain solutions focused on both lithium-ion batteries and fuel cells. This provides a significant value benefit for customers. The company is actively capitalizing on this depth of expertise: The in-house production of gas diffusion layers, permeable sealing materials and catalysts forms the basis for fully integrated membrane-electrode assembly (MEA) and offers the starting point for truck fuel cells of the future.
“Merely assembling purchased components is not a solution for the heavy-duty fuel cells of the future in high volumes,” said Claus Möhlenkamp, CEO of Freudenberg Sealing Technologies. Instead, the company focuses on the design of the overall system and the targeted further development of its material and design expertise at a component and system level. “With this research and development project, we are consistently pursuing our fuel cell strategy for heavy-duty applications,” Möhlenkamp added. “Thanks to our cooperation with Quantron AG, we can bring the latest research results of the Freudenberg Group for truck fuel cells on the road within a very short time.”

Ulrike Reich
Head of Media Relations & Internal Communications

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About – New Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron Concept revealed

Audi has surprised customers and fans by introducing a new sportback version of the Q4 e-tron one year ahead of launch. But will this fancy SUV be enough to convince more people to buy a premium EV?

Looks like Audi’s design wizard Marc Lichte has conjured up another hit with the Q4 Sportback e-tron
It’s fair to say the Q4 e-tron Concept didn’t exactly set the world on fire when it was introduced at the Geneva Motor Show last year. Granted, it had tough competition – the hotly anticipated GT e-tron Concept was centre stage and the rest of the Audi stand had cameos from the TTRS, RS5 and R8 Spyder among many other Ingolstadt headturners.
Despite its importance to Audi and VW Group, the Audi Q4 e-tron Concept also received a shrug of the shoulders from followers of my Audi Instagram – always a useful barometer of opinion – although this was before the Porsche Taycan single handedly Made EVs Great Again.
But since then, Audi’s been busy hammering away in the bodyshop and the result is a hot sportback version that’s guaranteed to get the automobile internet talking ahead of the launch of both versions in less than a year’s time.
They’ve done such a magnificent job that it’s quickly become one of my favourite SUV designs of recent years. Comparing this Q4 with the one we saw at Geneva in 2019 is similar to the transformation they pulled off with the new generation Q3 and RSQ3 versus their previous incarnations.
The difference is so dramatic, it feels like the Q4 got its first facelift before it even launched.
Even better, they’ve nailed the range issue that dogged its big brother, the e-tron Quattro, with both Q4s almost level pegging with the Tesla Model Y – but more on that later. For now, here are the headline stats.

He’s got all the moves. Mr Lichte shimmies his way around the Q4 Sportback e-tron – now my favourite compact-ish SUV. Pic: Audi Media
Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron at a glance:
• Top Speed – 112mph/180km/h
• 0-62 mph/100 km/h – 6.3s
• Range – 450km/280 miles (Quattro). A rear wheel drive version will offer 500km/311 miles
• Power – 82 kilowatt hours battery, 225 kW output through 2 electric motors
• Charging: 125kw max, for an 80% charge in 30 minutes
• Platform – MEB
• Class – “Upper third of compact class” – Audi
• Dimensions – wheelbase 2.77m, length 4.6m, height 1,6m, width 1.9m

Confident lines and statement lights – the new Q4 Sportback e-tron Concept
Sportback/coupe styled SUVs are a relatively new niche for Audi, but one it has quickly excelled in. By now, you’ll probably either love or hate their design regardless of brand, with many people seeing them as needless, less practical “lifestyle” alternatives to SUVs. The problem with that line of thought is that SUVs are needless lifestyle alternatives to good, practical avants and large sedans. So where do you begin and end with it all?

The Q4 Sportback e-tron – coming to an abandoned dystopian car park near you. Pic: Audi Media.
Audi’s first foray into this market was the sporty coupe-style Q8, which has already become hugely successful only a couple of years into its run. Meanwhile, the new Q3 and RSQ3 sportbacks surprised everyone with their sleek good looks and are destined to be revealed as big sellers once the official stats catch up with what dealers are telling me. The e-tron Quattro then got the sportback make-over, and the best-selling Q5 will be next in line, with test cars already seen on the loose in Germany. If the Audi Q5 sportback render below looks anything like the real thing, and I reckon it will, then they will sell like hot cakes.

The facelift Q5 will be the next to get the Sportback treatment
With the Q4 e-tron Concept revealed last year, I didn’t expect to hear much else about it until the end of this year when the first teaser camo cars are likely to be seen. That was until Audi UK spilled the beans last week and asked me to join a virtual reveal which would launch the Q4 Sportback e-tron to the media. After interviews with the CEO and other senior suits, Audi’s design head honcho Marc Lichte – looking once again like a cool, bonkers genius from a Tim Burton movie – took to the stage (or rather, his design lair at the heart of Audi HQ) to explain the thought process behind the car.
Thankfully, the Q4’s lines are more Batman than Beetlejuice, with razor-sharp angles casting dramatic shadows on the atmospheric Kinetic Grey shown here. It comes complete with rear lights that look cribbed from the yet-to-be-released Audi e-tron GT, which itself has a distinct Batmobile vibe.

Pic: Audi AG Media.
As ever with recent design launches, Mr Lichte talked about “quattro haunches” and “quattro blisters”, the favourite buzzwords from the PR team. Up front, there are already some changes from the Q4 we saw last year, the sportback now owning a less fussy, highly aerodynamic front grill making it look more conventionally “EV” in appearance and new lights. It’s still very obviously Audi, in case there’s anyone left in the world who can’t recognise one of those grills when they see it.
Despite being only 1cm longer than the regular Q4, the sloping roofline makes it look way longer and sleeker than its boxier brother. The rear three-quarters angle shows the car off at its best, bringing an unexpectedly sharp boldness and originality to the whole design. The PR people were right – the haunches are huge and definitely a talking point, as is the rear spoiler which becomes an integral, almost sculptural part of the overall design.

Spoiler alert – the sculptured lines of the Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron’s huge rear wing
Look – here’s a video!
Studio tour of the new Q4 Sportback e-tron Concept
But what about the performance? Audi is billing the two cars as “identical twins” in terms of specs, both producing 225 kW from an 82 kilowatt hours battery in the top model. This powers all four wheels via two electric motors, allowing 0-100 km/h of 6.3 seconds and a range of 450km (280 miles) and a restricted top speed of 180 km/h (112 mph). However, a rear wheel drive version will offer increased range of 500 km (311 miles) according to the WLTP standard.
This actually puts the Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron’s range bang in the middle of Tesla Model Y territory, even if the latter would leave it for dust at the traffic lights.

Size matters, and the Q4 e-tron Sportback will obviously be a bit bigger than the Q3 and a bit smaller than the Q5. If you want more technical stats: 4.6m long, 1.6m high and 1.9m wide
Centre stage at the back are lights that seem inspired by the Audi e-tron GT, a cute statement of intent from Audi that this car is sharing design ideas not with the old Q5 (as per the e-tron Quattro, which actually shares some of that car’s parts) but with the future flagship itself. You can see the resemblance, below.

Inside, the Q4 Sportback e-tron is a bastion of sustainability. The headlining, window pillars, upper section of the door rail and dash panel are decked out with microfibre textiles. The floor covering is made from recycled materials and all four seats are Alcantara rather than leather, for that full Autogefuhl seal of approval.

Sassy yet classy – but enough about me. The interior retains Audi’s trademark premium fit and finish
Up front is the latest incarnation of Audi’s ground-breaking Virtual Cockpit, which remains the best in the business. But now, there’s a new trick up Audi’s digital sleeve – yes, the Q4 Sportback e-tron comes with augmented reality on the windscreen, which places important information such as navigation arrows directly on to the road in front of you. Or at least, it presents that illusion. We saw it first in the VW ID.3 and there had been rumours it would make the leap to the Q4 – so thankfully, it’s happened.

Fancy LEDs and a beautiful two-tone design complete a look that to my eyes is far more elegant than the cluttered VW ID.3 and cheap as chips Tesla Model Y
No new car would be complete without a touchscreen, and this is no exception. In the middle above the console is a 12.3 inch unit with all the usual operational functions. There’s no traditional central console where a gear would normally be found, but rather a spacious storage compartment with a charging station for a mobile phone as well as horizontal area into which the transmission mode is integrated.
In terrible news for duster manufacturers the world over, there is a big reduction in the use of shiny black plastic, with a classy two-tone colour scheme instead.
Interestingly, there’s no third screen as per the e-tron Quattro and all new higher spec Audis from theA6/Q7 upwards. Either the Q4 doesn’t make the grade, or that whole concept has been reviewed. It’s probably the former, but many customers won’t mind. It seems that when it comes to setting temperatures, we just love good old fashioned buttons.

The touchscreen and Virtual Cockpit of the Q4 – but it’s a return for analogue buttons to control the air-con
Welcoming both cars today was Andrew Doyle, Director of Audi UK, who said they “show our plans to cascade e-tron technology into the compact SUV class will be downsizing without in any way downgrading” and added “both versions are underpinned by the very latest technology delivered with characteristic Audi quality and ingenuity. I have no doubt they will encourage wider acceptance of the benefits of electric driving”.
On this, he’s absolutely right and I envisage more sales for both Q4s than for the e-tron Quattro as long as they are priced well. But it’s going to be a crowded market, so how will they compare with their compact rivals?
The SUV version of the popular Model 3 is sure to be a huge success for Elon Musk, but it’s come with the usual Tesla baggage of late deliveries and disappointing build quality. Tesla owners @carconfections counted a litany of problems in the early model they reviewed for their YouTube channel, both externally and inside the car, from panel gaps to exposed wiring. However, on paper, the Tesla Model Y leaves the Q4 standing. The basic long-range version is almost 2 seconds faster to 100kmh but with near-identical range. The Performance version is 3 seconds faster to 100kmh but has 18 miles additional range compared to the Quattro version of the Q4. If Audi were to release an S version, and disappointingly there’s no news on that yet, then it’s likely to be no faster than the bog-standard Tesla in terms of acceleration, if not driving sophistication.
Also coming up soon will be the Ford Mustang Mach-E which will have a myriad of models, including the short range AWD with 210 miles/338km of range and 0-62mph in the mid 5 seconds all the way to the GT Performance with a 0-62mph of about 3 seconds. The sensible one, the rear wheel drive extended range will have a range of 300 miles/483km which puts it a little lower than the Q4 but still a bit faster to 62mph.
And within VW Group itself will be the ID.4 which will mark VW’s first foray into the North American EV market, with obviously comparable stats to the Audi Q4.
Below: the Ford Mustang Mach E (top left), the VW ID.4 (bottom left) and the Tesla Model Y (right). /

Simon Says:
So what are my thoughts on today’s reveal? To say the Q4 and this hot sportback version are hugely important cars for Audi and VW Group would be the understatement of the year. Sitting on the same electric-bespoke MEB architecture as much of the VW ID series, this car is the first true EV from Audi, built new from the ground-up on a pure EV platform. It’s also one of the first premium, higher volume results of VW’s 50 billion+ euro investment in electric, on which they’ve gambled the entire Group’s future.
No pressure, then.
I genuinely believe the muted reaction to the first Q4 concept last year spooked a few suits and this sportback, first scale-modelled at HQ a year ago, should do a huge amount to allay any concerns and provide more choice for customers. So what are the highs and lows of this new concept for me?
First, it looks a million dollars. The rear-quarter view is better than all the competitors and as long as the Board doesn’t send it to VW’s infamous Department for Making Concepts Dull Again, this design should be more or less ready to go.
Second, range finally doesn’t seem to be much of an issue, thank goodness. Audi got schooled on this with the e-tron Quattro by that most irritating of mediums – Tesla Twitter – and have taken no chances with both Q4s having a range bang in the middle of the sector average and highly competitive with Tesla. The fact that the car is on the new MEB platform helps – the e-tron Quattro had been criticised for being the right car built from the wrong materials and got a reputation for being a bit hefty. Having been there myself a few times, I know how the poor beast felt. But the new platform has ironed out these problems, allowing the entire VW Group the opportunity to slap whatever car they want on highly engineered, and highly slimming EV specific platforms.
Third, one of the most important elements here is one I don’t have the answer to – value. Will Audi shock everyone in the same way VW did last year with its ultra competitive ID.3 pricing? Well, I wouldn’t take any bets on it, this is Audi after all, but I do think they will have to be more competitive than they were with the e-tron Quattro. The Q4s will be higher volume which may help, but if Audi really wants to put their foot in Elon’s door, then they may have to show more willing to offer value. This is especially true in the post-covid economic environment; better product value is one thing, improved transparency/flexibility in terms of car financing is another. Can Audi dealership groups keep charging near double-digit interest on monthly PCPs when major central banks are registering almost zero?
Finally, Vosprung. New Audi CEO Markus Duesmann has said he wants to bring Vorsprung back to the brand, and eagle-eyed readers may have noticed the V-word emblazoned on the wall’s of Lichte’s design lair on the video grabs. But the Q4’s performance isn’t exactly the epitome of raging, sweaty, pulse-racing Vorsprung. It’s more… Horlicks, knitting and a nice sit down.
Thankfully there is a chance the Q4’s somewhat gentle 0-62mph time may be revised by software tweaks before launch; the VW ID.3 will get a full two seconds chopped off its 0-62mph between now and first deliveries thanks to software improvements. But there need to be serious questions asked as to why Audi still can’t get anywhere near the sort of performance figures that Tesla techies seem to conjure up in their sleep. Or perhaps the problem is that they are not being asked to.
Legacy car manufacturers are taking an awfully long time to understand that Tesla is using the full performance and torque of its electric cars as PR hype, even if most of Tesla’s customers seem far happier playing with excel spreadsheets and powerpoint than driving with pace and passion. The scenario we see today, where real car enthusiasts get dull EV specs from their favourite sporty brands whilst watching nerds and geeks get all the fun stuff from Tesla is one where there will only be one winner. His name is Elon and just check out his stock.
There may of course be an S version, but Audi perhaps needs to work on ending its ye olde legacy habit of announcing the hot versions centuries after the initial models (often just prior to the base model’s facelift!). If Ford and Tesla can have them from the get-go to excite and entice customers to look at their products and the cheaper trims they’ll actually buy, then why can’t the home of Vorsprung?
With a few performance tweaks and competitive pricing, the Q4 Sportback e-tron Concept looks well placed to shift thousands of units when the finished version is released and be a compelling justification for VW Group’s move to electrification. From the look of the pictures so far, it will attract those who want classier interiors and a bit more style than many of its competitors. And with range no longer an issue, there will be even more reason to buy.
I’ll be here and on my Instagram to give you updates all the way to launch. Stay tuned!

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About – A Community of Elevated Luxury

The Space
The facilities and services provided by with our villa ensure a pleasant stay for guests. The hotel provides 24-hour security, daily housekeeping, gift/souvenir shop, portable wi-fi rental, ticket service to ensure our guests the greatest comfort.

Guests can choose from 4 rooms, all of which exude an atmosphere of total peace and harmony. Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast or are just looking for a way to unwind after a hard day, you will be entertained by top-class recreational facilities such as boats, hiking trails, yoga room, snorkeling, surfing lessons. Whatever your purpose of visit, we are an excellent choice for your stay in Bali.
Guest Access
Welcome drink and cool towel upon arrival
24 hours unlimited WIFI in your villa and public areas
Daily Staff
Tax and service charge
Two Private swimming pools
4 Air-conditioned bedrooms
4 En-suite bathrooms
Satellite TV, DVD and CD players
Children allowed in the villa
Baby Cots
Laundry Service available
Spa Treatments available upon request
Internet Connection
DVD Library
Book Library
In house food menu
BBQ facilities
Interaction with Guests
Looked after by a large household staff, Mandala strives to cater for every whim or desire.

Kitchen Staff-Trained in the preparation of both local and international cuisine. A in-house menu at reasonable prices is provided and the cooks will do all the market shopping.

Room Attendant-Responsible for all housekeeping duties and providing waiter service throughout the villa.

Security Guard-Proving the villa with night time security.
Gardener and Pool Attendant-Tending the garden, the grounds of the villa and the pools.
The Neighborhood
What’s nearby *
Tirta Gangga Water Palace-9.5 km
Lempuyang Temple-11.7 km
Padangbai Bay-12.4 km
Goa Lawah Temple-17.3 km
Getting Around
Just in front of the villa is the only surfing spot in East Bali, it has calm waves and beautiful coast which make this beach good for surfing by locals and tourists. Jasri beach is deserved to be the choice for watersports such as scuba diving, paddle boarding and snorkeling are easily enjoyed in the pristine sea . Boats called jukung in indonesien are always available for fishing. The frequent cultural ceremonies that take place on the oceanfront will give you the chance to see and enjoy the special and authentic character of this region.

-Cooking class Off-site
-Tour or class about local cultureAdditional charge
-Happy hour Additional charge
-Bike tours Additional charge
-Walking tours Additional charge
-Yoga classes
-Massage chair
-Spa lounge/relaxation area
-Spa Facilities
-Diving Additional charge
-Cycling Off-site
-Hiking Additional charge
-Bicycle rental (additional charge)
-Massage Additional charge
-Spa and wellness centre
-Fishing Additional charge
Other Things to Note
Nyepi Day

Please be informed that Bali island celebrates Nyepi (Silent) Day each year on below dates. The Nyepi (Silent) Day is a day of absolute silence throughout the island. No outdoor activities are allowed including check in and check out from hotels.
Dates affected: March 17, 2018 | March 7, 2019 | March 25, 2020 | March 14, 2021 | March 3, 2022 | March 22, 2023

**Extra-person charges may apply and vary depending on property policy.
Government-issued photo identification and a credit card, debit card, or cash deposit may be required at check-in for incidental charges.
Special requests are subject to availability upon check-in and may incur additional charges. Special requests cannot be guaranteed.

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Amazon Infuses Rs 1,125 Crore Into India Unit Ahead Of Festive Sales – Times Of India

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Amazon Corporate Holdings Private Limited, Singapore and Inc Limited, Mauritius have pumped in Rs 1,125 crore into Amazon Seller Services, regulatory documents sourced by business intelligence platform Tofler, showed.
Amazon Seller Services allotted equity shares to these entities for the said transaction on September 17, 2020.
Amazon did not respond to queries.
In June this year, Amazon had pumped in fresh capital to the tune of Rs 2,310 crore into Amazon Seller Services. In January this year, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos had announced $1 billion (over Rs 7,000 crore) investment in India to help bring small and medium businesses online. Previously, the online retail giant had committed $5.5 billion investments in India, one of Amazon’s most important markets outside of the US and a key growth driver.
Amazon rival Flipkart had announced raising $1.2 billion funding led by parent Walmart in July – which valued the e-commerce company at $24.9 billion.
Interestingly, Reliance Industries – which had announced the acquisition of Future’s retail, wholesale, logistics and warehousing units for Rs 24,713 crore last month – is also bolstering its operations ahead of the festive season.
Earlier this month, RIL’s retail arm – Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd – had said US private equity firm Silver Lake Partners will buy 1.75 per cent stake for Rs 7,500 crore.
Reliance Retail’s network includes supermarkets, consumer electronics chain stores, cash and carry wholesale business, fast-fashion outlets, and online grocery store JioMart – spanning almost 12,000 stores in nearly 7,000 towns. In May, Reliance launched an online grocery delivery service, JioMart and had tied up with WhatsApp to connect customers with local kirana stores.
E-commerce companies see a large chunk of their business coming in during the festive sales and they make significant investments ahead of time to ramp up their capacity to be able to handle the spike in orders.

As per a report by RedSeer, festive sales are expected to almost double this year and touch $7 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV) as compared to $3.8 billion in the same period last year.
GMV is a term used in online retailing to indicate the gross merchandise value of products sold through the marketplace over a certain period.

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