Archive for October 26th, 2009

Nonlinear Development by Rafael Rangel Aldao

October 26, 2009


Francois Franceschi: As criollo as arepas

Nonlinear Development by Rafael Rangel Aldao

The kid from Maracay, Francois Franceschi, As criollo as arepas

No country appreciates pertinent science like Israel.  It is key to the greatest ecological and political tension in the world: war and the desert.

That was the way it was in 1933 when Dr. Chaim Weizmann (CW) conceived the idea of an institute in the town of Rehovot, and even in 1949, starting year of the famous Weizmann Institute (IW).

. The new nation, led by the same CW, has a worldview vision based on pure science such as chemistry, biochemistry, optics, electronics, bacteriology, biophysics, polymers, isotopes, and applied mathematics. . Neither war, nor desert.

Not surprisingly, then, that twenty years later, in 1969, a graduate of IW published in Nature, stuff about the structure of collagen, or striated muscle, little relevant to the defense of Israel. A decade later, the lady is set on another distant abstraction, the cellular protein factory, the ribosome. The woman, from Israel, creates an international network of researchers, including a boy from USB (Simon Bolivar University) who in the eighties began his scientific career in Maracay, with Flor Herrera, at BIOMED, Núcleo Aragua UC, near Commercial Batah.  From La Morita to Berlin and Hamburg.

In 2000-2001, Ada Yonath and her team deciphered the structure of the ribosome, with a curious detail. Of four key articles, three, have as a principal author, in Cell, Nature and EMBO-J,respectively Flor’s pride, the kid from Maracay Francois Francheschi, as criollo as an arepa. The finding, wins the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2009, to Ada Yonath, Thomas Steitz and Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, who independently explained how proteins are made.

Half of all antibiotics target the ribosome, Ah, relevance! That is why, François, leaves Europe and academia for the United States in 2002 as chief technology officer of Nobel Steitz and his company Rib-X. In recent years, they created new ribosomal antibiotics for the rich and for the poor,  for Israelis and for Palestinians, among others.

Former Minister of Finance accused of mega corruption, what will the Comptroller say now?

October 26, 2009

corruptionWhile I don’t particularly like Isamel Garcia of Podemos, he simply stuck his guns with Chavez for too long, you have to give him his due for doing what others are afraid of. In a little noted act last Friday, Garcia went to the Prosecutors Office with the leader of his party Podemos in the National Assembly to denounce (There is a more detailed article in Saturday’s El Nacional on page A-2, by subscription) a billion dollar corruption scheme by former Minister of Finance Rafael Isea.

You have read about this before in my blog, but as far as I can remember this is the first time a formal accusation is made. Essentially, Isea purchased “structured notes” of foreign bonds abroad and then sold them to local brokers (One of which was his main adviser and is part of the accusation, he was adviser and recipient at the same time)

According to the accusation, Isea spent between US$ 7 and 10 billion in purchasing these notes with dollars at Bs. 2.15 per $ which were then sold to local brokers at a higher price, but below the swap market price. These notes were used to lower the swap rate during the first semester of 2008, but it ended up being a waste of time, as the rate rose sharply again later. But the intermediaries made a lot of money and it is rumored that Isea made so much money that he purchased a number of radio stations that allowed him to become Governor of Aragua State in the Fall of 2008.

I wonder what the Comptroller Russian the Ruffian will say now, he always says that there are no “formal” accusations of corruption.

I wonder if a 10 billion dollar accusation will wake him up from his stupor.

Kudos to Garcia, he still has to work harder for me to like him…