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Adult skills giant Learndirect in rescue deal

Adult skills giant Learndirect in rescue deal

Business
A little-known education entrepreneur has swooped to seal an audacious takeover of Learndirect, Brit‎ain's biggest provider of apprenticeships and adult training services. Sky News can reveal that Dimensions Training Solutions (DTS) struck a deal on Saturday to acquire Learndirect in a deal which will preserve roughly 1,000 jobs and the training courses of thousands more people.The ‎acquisition will be transformational for DTS, which is part of a wider group owned by Stonebridge Colleges, a mini-conglomerate in the further education sector.It will bring to an end months of uncertainty about Learndirect's future, with doubts about its survival prospects exacerbated by an adverse Ofsted evaluation of part of its business but which were originally triggered by govern...
Astronomers identify 121 giant planets likely to host habitable moons

Astronomers identify 121 giant planets likely to host habitable moons

Science
June 14 (UPI) -- Astronomers have identified 121 giant planets that potentially host habitable moons. Scientists believe the next generation of telescopes will be able to target alien moons in search of signs of life. Scientists identified the candidates among exoplanet data collected by NASA's Kepler telescope. Kepler's main goal is to help astronomers locate habitable planets outside the solar system. Exoplanets are said to exist in the habitable zone when they orbit their host star at a distance that allows water to persist in solid, liquid and gas forms. Earth-like rocky planets are the first choice for astronomers searching for potentially habitable alien worlds, but as recent studies inside the solar system have revealed, moons surrounding gas giants also possess the potential for ...
Qatar taps into giant Argentinean shale reserve

Qatar taps into giant Argentinean shale reserve

Business
June 4 (UPI) -- Buying an equity stake in the Vaca Muerta shale natural gas basin in Argentina marks a debut in unconventional resources, Qatar Petroleum announced. The state-owned petroleum company in Qatar said it reached an agreement with U.S. supermajor Exxon Mobil to take a 30 percent stake in its operations in Argentina. The arrangement gives Qatar Petroleum access to the Vaca Muerta shale basin, located onshore in the Neuquén basin in Argentina. "This is an important milestone, as it marks Qatar Petroleum's first investment in Argentina as well as its first significant international investment in unconventional oil and gas resources," Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, the company's president and CEO, said in a statement Sunday. Vaca Muerta is considered one of the best shale basins in...
Giant canyons discovered in Antarctica

Giant canyons discovered in Antarctica

Science
Media playback is unsupported on your device Scientists have discovered three vast canyons in one of the last places to be explored on Earth - under the ice at the South Pole. The deep troughs run for hundreds of kilometres, cutting through tall mountains - none of which are visible at the snowy surface of the continent. Dr Kate Winter from Northumbria University, UK, and colleagues found the hidden features with radar. Her team says the canyons play a key role in controlling the flow of ice. And if Antarctica thins in a warming climate, as scientists suspect it will, then these channels could accelerate mass towards the ocean, further raising sea-levels. "These troughs channelise ice from the centre of the continent, taking it towards the coa...
Xiaomi eyes a giant Chinese IPO

Xiaomi eyes a giant Chinese IPO

Finance
IN CHINA no company achieved $ 1bn in annual revenue as quickly as Xiaomi did, in the year following the launch of its first smartphone in 2011. Chinese media initially nicknamed Xiaomi the “Apple of the East” (its literal translation is “little rice”). That was a stretch, even in good times. But within another two years the affordable-handset-maker became the world’s most valuable startup, worth $ 46bn.Analysts reckon that it now wants to raise up to $ 10bn in an initial public offering (IPO) on Hong Kong’s stock exchange which was announced on May 3rd. (Its filing documents disclose neither the valuation that it is seeking, nor a fundraising target.) That could afford it a very generous valuation of as much as $ 80bn—not far off the $ 91bn market...