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Scientists identify mystery liquid in Egyptian stone coffins

The unsettling red liquid pooled around three decomposed mummies found inside a 2000-year-old burial chamber in the historic port city of Alexandria in Egypt has taken on a life of its own

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The unsettling red liquid pooled around three decomposed mummies found inside a 2000-year-old burial chamber in the historic port city of Alexandria in Egypt has taken on a life of its own.

Horrifying images of a trio of skeletons floating in the murky soup led to rumours the “mummy juice” contained medicinal or supernatural properties, with locals anxious to bottle the stuff.

Others feared its odd colouring signified the presence of a metal such as mercury.

The large, black granite sarcophagus was unearthed in the Sidi Gaber district earlier this month and cracked open despite fears that doing so would unleash an ancient curse.

The General Secretary of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Dr Moustafa Waziri dismissed early speculation the tomb could contain the remains of Alexander the Great, saying instead it may have belonged to a priest.

However, the discovery of possible arrow damage to one of the skulls means the bones probably belonged to military officials, according to a statement released by Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities yesterday.

The skeletons, immersed in red liquid, were found inside a black granite sarcophagus unearthed in the Sidi Gaber district of Alexandria, Egypt this month.

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One of the three skulls was found to have been damaged by what archaeologists believe was an arrow.

Authorities also revealed the liquid was neither “juice for mummies that contains an elixir of life” nor “red mercury” but something far more pedestrian — sewage water.

But the ugly — or in this case — smelly truth has failed to scare off the believers, even inspiring an online campaign.
A change.org petition entitled “let the people drink the red liquid from the dark sarcophagus” has attracted more than 16,000 signatures.

“We need to drink the red liquid from the cursed dark sarcophagus in the form of some sort of carbonated energy drink so we can assume its powers and finally die,” petition founder Innes McKendrick wrote by way of explanation.

Workmen found the black granite tomb five metres underground during construction of an apartment building in the historic Mediterranean port city.

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Ex-Jumia executives set to launch new e-commerce platform, Kapu

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A couple of former executives of e-commerce giant, Jumia, have teamed up to float a new company to be known as Kapu which will be launched next week in Kenya.

In a statement on Friday, leader of the team, Sam Chappatte, who was Jumia’s CEO before leaving the firm in November last year, the new e-commerce platform which will be launched in the east African country before expanding to other countries on the continent.

Other top former Jumia executives who have teamed up with Chappatte who is the founder and CEO of Kapu include Cyrus Onyiego who served as Jumia Travel MD and Jumia Food COO, who is now Kapu’s COO, as well as Stanislas Barth, ex-Jumia Head of Offline Sales who will serve as Head of Supply and Marketing at Kapu.

The new platform, according to Chappatte, is coming at a time Kenya continues to record steady growth in e-commerce.

“According to statistics, e-commerce user penetration is above the regional average, with revenues expected to have a positive annual average growth of 16.4% by 2025.

“With revenue of US$1.1 billion and a share of 76.1%, e-commerce generated the highest digital revenues in 2020. Kenya is also ranked among the top drivers of e-commerce volumes in Sub-Saharan Africa,” he said.

“Just last year, a report by digital payments firm, Visa, revealed that the country’s e-commerce transactions are mainly driven by cross-border merchants.

“This means two things, firstly there is potential for the local e-commerce market to develop, and a need to examine if sufficient acquiring infrastructure exists domestically to enable these players.

‘The growth is driven by both digital payments and cash-on-delivery showing the potential to convert more customers to digital payments through CNP, such as card-on-file and CP SoftPOS or mPOS activities,” he added.

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Kenyan smartphone reseller startup, Badili Africa, secures $2.1m funding to scale up operations

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Kenyan smartphone reseller startup, Badili Africa, has secured $2 1 million in pre-seed funding to enable it scale up its operations beyond its country of origin.

Founded in March 2022 by the duo of Rishabh Lawania and Keshu Dubey, Badili enables customers to trade in their old phones for new ones at friendly prices, according to Lawania who is the CEO of the company.

The seed finding was led by Venture Catalysts, V&R Africa, Grenfell holdings and SOSV with participation from family offices and angel investors from Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and India, Lawania said in a statement on Friday.

“We are launching in Uganda and Tanzania and have established strong partnerships with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

“Within the next six months, we will be expanding to a few West African markets to get our foot in the door of some of the major markets in Africa,” he said.

“We are a young startup but since our launch in March this year, we have expanded to over 37 towns in Kenya with about $2M in annual revenue.

“The seed funds are meant for the expansion of our operations across the continent which is one of the fastest growing in the world,” he added.

According to its website, Badili Africa has a platform where sellers express interest to sell their phones and then get an evaluation and a quote before determining the final price.

The company then refurbishes and repackages the phones before selling them with a one-year warranty.

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