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Azawakh

The Azawakh is a breed of dog from West Africa. It is used as a sighthound, they have been relegated to a secondary function of camp guardian due to the lack of game in the region. With ancient origins, it is raised throughout the Sahelian zone of Mali and Burkina Faso; this region includes the Azawagh Valley. While associated with the nomadic Tuareg people, they are bred and owned by other ethnic groups such as the Peulh and Hausa; the Azawakah is more related to the Sloughi. Morphology is similar to that of the Middle Eastern and South Indian sight hounds, all swift, high-bred coursing hounds, although there are several obvious differences. For example, a short, flat back combined with long legs place the hips higher than the withers; the Azawakh is almond thin. It moves with a distinctly feline gait and can be found in a variety of colors as well as varying degrees of refinement, though format is constant; the standards call for a hound from 33 to 55 pounds. The coat is short and absent on the belly.

Its bone structure shows through the skin and musculature. Its muscles are "dry", meaning that they are quite flat, unlike the Whippet. In this respect it is similar in type to the Saluki. Colours permitted by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale breed standard are clear sand to dark fawn/brown and brindle, with white bib, tail tip, white on all feet. Since 2015 white stockings that go above the elbow joint are considered disqualifying features in the FCI member countries, as is a white collar or half collar; some conservationists support the idea that in Africa, Azawakhs are still found in a variety of colours such as red, blue fawn and blue and black with various white markings including Irish marked and particolour. Because of this wide color variation in the native population, the American standard used by the AKC and UKC allows any color combination found in Africa; the Azawakh's light, lissome gait is a notable breed characteristic, as is an upright double suspension gallop. Azawakhs are an sound coursing hound.

Serious injuries are rare. The dogs heal quickly from injury. Azawakh have no known incidence of hip dysplasia. There is a small occurrence of adult-onset idiopathic epilepsy in the breed. Wobbler disease, or cervical vertebral instability, does occur; some breeders believe this is a developmental problem where puppies grow too due to a high-protein Western diet. Like the Basenji and Tibetan Mastiff, the Azawakh has a single annual estrus. Unassisted birth of healthy puppies is normal. Litter sizes are from four to six puppies, but litters as small as one and as large as ten occur. Azawakh need a high level of exercise and should have regular runs off lead in large enclosed areas to run off steam; the dogs are social and emotional. They need a master that provides fair leadership. Azawakh thrive on companionship of other Azawakh. Bred by the Tuareg and various other nomads of the Sahara and sub-Saharan Sahel in the countries of Mali, Burkina Faso, southern Algeria, the breed known by the tuaregs as ”Oska” was used there as a guard dog and to hunt gazelle and hare at speeds up to 40 miles per hour.

The austerity of the Sahel environment has ensured that only the most fit dogs survive and has accentuated the breed's ruggedness and independence. Unlike some other sighthounds, the Azawakh is more of a pack hunter and they bump down the quarry with hindquarters when it has been tired out. In role of a guard dog, if an Azawakh senses danger it will bark to alert the other members of the pack, they will gather together as a pack under the lead of the alpha dog chase off or attack the predator; the Sloughi, by comparison, has a high hunting instinct. Azawakhs have a range of temperaments from lap dog to quite fierce. Lifelong socialization and firm but gentle handling are critical. Well socialised and trained, they can be good with other dogs, cats and strangers. Unlike other sighthounds, the primary function of the Azawakh in its native land is that of protector, it can perform independently from its master. With those they accept, Azawakh are gentle and affectionate. With strangers many are not inherently aggressive.

Although raised to guard against predators, they do not have innate aggression toward canines or humans unless they are threatened. Azawakh have tremendous endurance, they are nearly impervious to heat. They will run in weather over 100 degrees Fahrenheit that would kill a Greyhound. Many Azawakh dislike cold weather. Azawakh form complex social hierarchies, they are able to recognize each other after long periods of separation. They can be found sleeping on top of each other for warmth and companionship. Alberto Rossi: "To raise an Azawakh is like building a fragile construction, which takes a lot of sensibility and can be destroyed from one minute to the next, but every minute it lasts, it fills you with great happiness. Every time I´m sitting in a chair or sofa at least one of my dogs tries to take a seat on my lap; the same happens to those of my guests. In these moments they seem to be the image of calmness, gent

Lesser cuckooshrike

The lesser cuckooshrike is a species of bird in the Campephagidae family. It is found in Brunei, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand, it is 20 cm in length. The male is dark grey, paler below with contrasting dark, blackish flight feathers, a blackish head; the tail is black with light tips, ranging from white to greyish. The female is paler with pale barring on underside. Immature birds are browner with grey and white spotting on the pale breast; the iris is brown, the bill and feet are black. It is resident across the Malay Peninsula and the Greater Sundas, where it is an occasional bird of lowland and hill forests; the lesser cuckooshrike prefers primary forest but visits surrounding cultivated areas and plantations and gardens. It keeps to treetops, where it can be seen singly or in pairs and in mixed flocks. In winter small flocks form, its diet consists of insects. Jean Delacour,'The Lesser Graybirds of Asia and Malaysia', American Museum Novitates, 3 April 1951 ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity website: Downloaded on 11 October 2007

Betting on Zero

Betting on Zero is a 2016 American documentary directed by Ted Braun. It investigates the allegation that Herbalife is a pyramid scheme, follows Bill Ackman's short investment in Herbalife, ostensibly a billion-dollar bet that the company will soon collapse; the documentary follows billionaire hedge fund titan Bill Ackman and several former Herbalife distributors after Ackman takes a billion dollar short position in Herbalife, alleging it is a pyramid scheme destined to collapse. The film chronicles Ackman's feuds with Herbalife CEO Michael O. Johnson and investor Carl Icahn, the resulting controversy over both the short and Herbalife's business practices. In addition to filming countless hours of cinéma vérité footage tracking Bill Ackman, anti-Herbalife activist Julie Contreras and others, Director Ted Braun approached Herbalife CEO Michael Johnson, majority investor Carl Icahn, current Herbalife distributors, but all declined to appear on film or on record. Instead, Braun sourced archival footage of these characters.

The film was produced by Zipper Bros Films, the company that produced Undefeated, winner of the 2012 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. At the time of its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2016, the financing for Betting on Zero had not been publicly disclosed. However, subsequent to the FTC formally charging Herbalife in July, 2016, John Fichthorn, co-founder of Dialectic Capital Management, revealed that he had financed Betting on Zero. Fichthorn held a short position in Herbalife, when asked on CNBC's Fast Money Halftime Report if he would consider shorting the stock again he said he "absolutely" would, but since early 2014, when Betting On Zero went into production, he's had no position in Herbalife. An open critic of multi-level marketing companies, Fichthorn's firm, Dialectic Capital, held short positions in Nu Skin and Primerica as of August 2016. Bill Ackman, had no part in funding the film. Fichthorn financed Betting On Zero through Biltmore Films, a company he co-founded along with Burke Koonce to finance and produce business and financial films.

It was reported that Podesta and Partners, a lobbying firm run by Heather Podesta and retained by Herbalife bought 173 tickets to an October 2016 screening of Betting On Zero at the Washington D. C. Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival in an attempt to keep the theater empty; this attempt by Podesta to subvert the screening was lampooned by comedian John Oliver on the November 6, 2016, episode of Last Week Tonight. Herbalife and others have criticized the film, arguing that the film ignores Ackman's questionable tactics, including his requests that government regulators shut down Herbalife. Herbalife registered the movie's title as a domain and bought placement on Google's search engine for an ad, leading searchers to a web page with their rebuttal of the criticisms of the movie. After premiering at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival, Gunpowder & Sky Distribution FilmBuff, secured distribution rights and planned a theatrical release in early 2017; the film has been acclaimed, holding a 100% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Fionnuala Halligan of Screen Daily wrote, "Even if it tells the age-old story of the filthy rich getting richer and the poor going nowhere, Betting on Zero is still rather shocking." Kimber Myers of IndieWire rated it a letter grade of "B" and wrote, "Betting on Zero takes a matter-of-fact approach to its material, but it makes a convincing and sometimes emotional argument against Herbalife." John Fink of The Film Stage commented, “The film evangelizes Ackman’s position and, in a certain context, can be seen as another prong in his attack on global nutritional multi-level marketing firm Herbalife. This, of course, is only a danger if you ignore the evidence presented by the film and your own gut instinct.” The film was nominated for Best Documentary Screenplay from the Writers Guild of America. Betting on Zero on IMDb Betting on Zero at Rotten Tomatoes Official website forbes.com