Wednesday January 16, 2019
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Indian origin cricketer Gulam Bodi banned for fixing

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Johannesburg: Gulam Bodi, an Indian-origin South African cricketer was charged with several accounts of contriving or attempting to fix matches following an investigation conducted by CSA’s Anti Corruption and Security Unit.

Under the provisions of the Anti-Corruption Code for Personnel, Bodi had until January 18 to respond to the charges.

After he admitted charges of contriving or attempting to fix matches in the 2015 RAM SLAM T20 Challenge Series, CSA banned him for a period of twenty years from participating in, or being involved in any capacity in,any international or domestic match or any other kind of function, event or activity that is authorised, organised, sanctioned, recognised or supported in any way by CSA, the ICC, a National Cricket Federation or any member of National Cricket Federation or any member of a National Cricket Federation.

Though ,commentators there felt that the admission of guilt by Bodi was a strategy to protect the player from criminal prosecution which could lead to large fines or even a jail sentence if he is convicted.

“The decision by Bodi to cooperate in the continuing investigation by CSA and the ICC might be a kind of tactic on his part to avoid criminal prosecution by showing some level of remorse,” said a former teammate and friend of Bodi on condition of anonymity.

“Of late with a family to feed and no serious income from playing cricket, Bodi had resorted to trying to sell real estate abroad, including Dubai and India as an agent, which might have put him in contact with the match-fixing cartels there,” added the friend.

There were reports that even players who had been approached by Bodi but declined his offer and did not report this could be charged with not complying with CSA requirements.

But CSA Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat confirmed that the investigation would continue although both CSA and ICC would not comment any further on the matter.(Inputs from agencies)

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Chocolate Ingredient Cacao Dates Back To 5,400 yrs Ago

A growing interest in cacao flavors, indicates a return to a time when chocolate wasn't just an ingredient buried in a candy bar.

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chocolate
A worker holds dried cacao seeds at a plantation in Cano Rico, Venezuela. VOA

New research strengthens the case that people used the chocolate ingredient cacao in South America 5,400 years ago, underscoring the seed’s radical transformation into today’s Twix bars and M&M candies.

Tests indicate traces of cacao on artifacts from an archaeological site in Ecuador, according to a study published Monday. That’s about 1,500 years older than cacao’s known domestication in Central America.

“It’s the earliest site now with domesticated cacao,” said Cameron McNeil of Lehman College in New York, who was not involved in the research.

The ancient South American civilization likely didn’t use cacao to make chocolate since there’s no established history of indigenous populations in the region using it that way, researchers led by the University of British Columbia in Canada said.

Cacao,chocolate
-A cacao pod hangs from a tree at the Agropampatar chocolate farm co-op in El Clavo, Venezuela. VOA

But the tests indicate the civilization used the cacao seed, not just the fruity pulp. The seeds are the part of the cacao pod used to make chocolate.

Indigenous populations in the upper Amazon region today use cacao for fermented drinks and juices, and it’s probably how it was used thousands of years ago as well, researchers said.

Scientists mostly agree that cacao was first domesticated in South America instead of Central America as previously believed. The study in Nature Ecology & Evolution provides fresh evidence.

Three types of tests were conducted using artifacts from the Santa Ana-La Florida site in Ecuador. One tested for the presence of theobromine, a key compound in cacao; another tested for preserved particles that help archeologists identify ancient plant use; a third used DNA testing to identify cacao.

Chocolate
A light almond cream candy carries the initials for Russell Stover Candies in Kansas City, Kansas. VOA

Residue from one ceramic artifact estimated to be 5,310 to 5,440 years old tested positive for cacao by all three methods. Others tested positive for cacao traces as well, but were not as old.

How cacao’s use spread between South America and Central America is not clear. But by the time Spanish explorers arrived in Central America in the late 1400s, they found people were using it to make hot and cold chocolate drinks with spices, often with a foamy top.

“For most of the modern period, it was a beverage,” said Marcy Norton, a historian at the University of Pennsylvania and author of “Sacred Gifts, Profane Pleasures: A History of Tobacco and Chocolate in the Atlantic World.”

The chocolate drinks in Central America often contained maize and differ from the hot chocolate sold in the U.S. They did not contain milk, Norton said, and when they were sweetened, it was with honey.

 

cocoa, chocolate
A worker holds cocoa beans at SAF CACAO, a export firm in San-Pedro, Ivory Coast, Jan. 29, 2016. VOA

By the 1580s, cacao was being regularly imported into Spain and spread to other European countries with milk being added along the way. It wasn’t until the 1800s that manufacturing advances in the Netherlands transformed chocolate into a solid product, Norton said.

Michael Laiskonis, who teaches chocolate classes the Institute of Culinary Education, said he’s seeing a growing interest in cacao flavors, indicating a return to a time when chocolate wasn’t just an ingredient buried in a candy bar.

Also Read: Consuming Cacao May Improve Vitamin D Intake, Says Study

He said he tries to incorporate chocolate’s past into his classes, including a 1644 recipe that combines Mayan and Aztec versions of drinks with European influences.

“It’s something that’s always been transforming,” he said. (VOA)