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Scientists create hair dyes from Ribena blackcurrant skins

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Ribena: Good for thirst, and your hair

Blackcurrant skins left over in the production of Ribena have been used to create a new type of hair dye.

Scientists at the University of Leeds developed the new technique by extracting natural colouring from the waste skins.

Colour chemist Richard Blackburn said the aim was to create a more natural alternative to existing products.

“Because of issues and concerns around conventional dyes, we wanted to develop biodegradable alternatives that minimise potential risks to health and offer consumers a different option,” he said.

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Blackcurrant skins contain high concentrations of anthocyanins – pigments that provide colour to many berries, flowers, fruits and vegetables.

“They are non-toxic, water soluble and responsible for pink, red, purple, violet and blue colours, and are widely used as natural food colourants all over the world,” Dr Blackburn said.

“We knew they bound strongly with proteins – hair is a protein – so we thought if we could find an appropriate source of these natural colours, we might be able to dye hair.”

Patented technology developed by the scientists enables the pigment to be extracted from the fruit to provide intense red, purple and blue colours on hair.

Further colours can be created – including brown tones – by mixing the blackcurrant pigment with natural yellow.

The colours are expected to last for at least 12 washes, similar to other semi-permanent dyes on the market, according to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Dr Blackburn said the berries “represent a sustainable supply of raw material because of how much blackcurrant cordial we drink”.

Researchers are commercialising the groundbreaking technology through a University of Leeds spin-out company, Keracol Limited, under the brand Dr Craft.

There have been concerns over whether ingredients in common synthetic hair dyes can cause cancer, and their effects on the environment are unknown.

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Health & Lifestyle

Somalia empowers President to appoint foreigner as Central bank governor.

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Somali lawmakers voted on Monday to allow the president to appoint a foreigner as governor of the central bank of the volatile Horn of Africa nation.



Previously only a citizen could be appointed to the role as is the case across much of the continent. The vote was held in the lower house of the parliament.

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An overwhelming majority of lawmakers (158) voted for the change as proposed by the government of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo and Prime Minister Ali Hassan Khayre.

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Seventeen MPs kicked against the move even though the government justified the proposal by saying the country needed every available expertise to change its fortunes.

Even though there is no known foreign candidate for the role, a presidential assent – which is seen as procedural – will see government headhunt for a a new bank chief.

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Health & Lifestyle

Climate change forces El Paso to make treated sewage water turn into drinking water

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As the global climate changes and water becomes an increasingly scarce resource, a number of cities such as India, Australia has earlier express their concern to reduce water shortage.



The authorities has disclosed to her citizens stating that “What we are seeing is a systematic increase in temperature, so we’re seeing the snow-melt runoff earlier…and more rapid melt than average. And again, for a given level of snow-pack, less runoff actually reaching the river and reaching our reservoir.

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However, in a bid to mitigate the water shortages,  El Paso is set to become one of the first cities in the US to treat sewage water and turn it into drinking water.

Chief technical officer of El Paso Water, Mr Gilbert Trejo said that the facility to treat sewage water with multiple steps of filtration such as carbon and UV filtration to make sure no pathogens or microbes are present.

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Adding that It will help to solve a major supply problem in the city and what’s more, some locals even say it tastes better.

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