A look at COVID-19 vaccines already in use, or getting close

first_imgWhile a few have already hit the market, there are still dozens of coronavirus vaccines in development around the globe. The race started a year ago when the virus first emerged in China.  Some of the vaccines use tried-and-true technologies while others are taking novel approaches. Preliminary results show a range in effectiveness, from about 50% to over 90% for some. So far, country regulators have OK’d about a half dozen vaccines, sometimes even before they were rigorously tested. A few more vaccines are nearing the finish line.last_img

ND encourages liberal arts education

first_imgWhile technology jobs dominate the top 10 of U.S. News’ list of the 100 Best Jobs of 2013, Notre Dame continues to emphasize the value of a liberal arts education. Notre Dame requires students to complete 14 liberal arts courses in different disciplines in order to graduate, according to the University website. In 2010, there were 2,333 students enrolled in the College of Arts and Letters. The College of Engineering enrolled 937 students the same year.    Dean Peter Kilpatrick of the College of Engineering said technology education and the liberal arts do not need to be mutually exclusive. He said a liberal arts background benefits engineers because it is important they can analyze, think creatively and develop designs. Engineers with such skills are in a unique position to shape public policy, Kilpatrick said. “We should have more senators and congressmen and presidents who are engineers, not just lawyers,” he said. “I think engineers very much need an appreciation for the social impact of the work that they do in terms of building infrastructure.” Students outside the College of Engineering should be exposed to quantitative analysis, Kilpatrick said. He said several departments within the College of Arts and Letters are starting to introduce these concepts. “A lot of the engineering students that go into analytics jobs could just as easily be business students who are properly skilled in analytics or even Arts and Letters students who take coursework in quantifying things, data analytics, that sort of thing,” Kilpatrick said. Dean John McGreevy of the College of Arts and Letters agreed students with liberal arts majors could work in technological fields. “A company like Google is hiring lots of people to design programs and applications coming from a liberal arts background because they want the creativity or the ability to think across cultures that they associate with a liberal arts background,” McGreevy said. A liberal arts background enables students to address life’s big questions, McGreevy said. He said the abilities to write, speak and analyze data prepare students for leadership roles. “It’s not just about obtaining skills, although skills are important,” he said. “It’s also what kind of society should we have, how do we think about inequality, how do we think about human dignity, how do we think about the environment, does God exist. We want our students who are going to become leaders to be engaged in that conversation.” Kilpatrick said each of the University’s academic departments should interact more closely with other disciplines to enrich all programs. “People in civil engineering who are deeply interested in the beauty of the built infrastructure might find ways to interact much more closely with architecture, with industrial design,” he said. “You could do that, presumably, for virtually every discipline.” The nation needs more engineers, Kilpatrick said. He said many more college students in China major in engineering or engineering technology than do in the United States. “We’re going to run the risk of them out-producing the [United States] … and that could mean problems for our economy,” Kilpatrick said. “We won’t have the command over the market in technological products that maybe we enjoyed in the last part of the 20th century.” Kilpatrick said Notre Dame is working to ensure students who want to study engineering can complete the coursework. Interest in engineering is also growing, he said. “We need to be careful that we don’t retain such a high percentage that we don’t enable students to figure out, ‘Do I really love engineering, or am I doing this for the job?” Kilpatrick said. “We really want students to discern properly, ‘What’s your vocation as a person?’” Kilpatrick said the University should modernize its general education requirements. “I think we want to continue to have an emphasis on the human sciences … but I think we need to refresh it and think about how do we best equip students for the 21st century,” he said. “We live in times that are very different from even 20 years ago.” Kilpatrick said he suggests instituting an introduction to technology literacy course so students become informed enough to enter the public dialogue about technological issues. “There are really important decisions that our government is making that the majority of our country can’t weigh in on because they don’t know enough,” Kilpatrick said. McGreevy said although he does not see a need for a technology literacy course, he anticipates the University will soon reexamine its core requirements. “Our core requirements haven’t changed in quite a while … and they’re there for good reasons,” McGreevy said. “It’s always good to be looking at them and thinking through what set of requirements make most sense at the current moment for a great Catholic university.” The University aims to prepare students for more than just their first jobs, McGreevy said. “It’s a lifetime investment, we hope, in developing those writing and reading and speaking skills,” he said. McGreevy said although skepticism about the value of a liberal arts education exists, he is more convinced than ever of its value. “Our experience at Notre Dame tells us that liberal arts students get jobs and they get good jobs,” he said. “But even more important, the investment that our students make in becoming better writers, better speakers, better able to analyze data, prepares them for their careers over the long haul and indeed prepares them, we hope, to be better citizens, better people, better capacity to make a real contribution to society.” Contact Marisa Iati at miati@nd.edulast_img read more

U.S., Argentina Resume Military Ties Amid Visit by Top Pentagon Official

first_imgBy Dialogo September 03, 2012 BUENOS AIRES — Frank Mora, the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs, visited Buenos Aires on Aug. 16 — marking the first official trip by a high-level Pentagon official to Argentina since its February 2011 confiscation of a U.S. military aircraft for inspection. Mora’s visit signals Washington’s desire to focus on reviving a long-standing history of mutual trust and defense cooperation. “For Argentina, military relations with the United States should be given importance since the U.S. is the world’s primary power and because it has unquestionable influence in the hemisphere,” said political scientist Rosendo Fraga, who heads the Nueva Mayoria think tank in Buenos Aires. “It makes sense for Washington to improve relations with Argentina within the overall context of its foreign policy toward South America, where Argentina has the second- largest GDP after Brazil and the third-largest population after [Brazil and] Colombia.” Argentina and the United States have a long successful history of military cooperation. In 1963, the Pentagon established a Military Assistance Program (MAP) for its South American neighbor. Like most other MAPs, it provided assistance in materials and machinery for military production, direct transfers of military equipment and training of personnel. That cooperation strengthened throughout the years, with only one interruption during the Argentine military regime of 1976-83. Military relations on the upswing Between 1950 and 2000, Argentina received $34 million in U.S. military aid and has sent more than 5,200 exchange students to the United States for defense-related courses. In 2009, Argentina ranked fourth among countries participating in U.S. training programs, with 688 students, according to Just the Facts, a website that monitors military assistance to Latin America. Yet an about-face in Argentine foreign policy had strained cooperation. “The bilateral relationship between the two countries in the military area has multiple possibilities, but the issue is that the Argentine government does not appear to want to advance with these,” Fraga said. However, Mora’s visit offers hope that ties are on the mend. Argentine Defense Minister Arturo Puricelli praised U.S. defense policy during a recent gathering at the Education Center of the Armed Forces (CEFFAA) where he thanked Mora for his visit and “predisposition to work in the intensification of U.S.-Argentine relations.” Puricelli explained that the renewed relationship should be developed on the basis of “mutual respect” — and must be “aligned with” South American defense policies to ensure the objective of creating a regional “zone of peace.” Mora thanked Puricelli for the opportunity “to exchange and share ideas and policies in the area of defense” and highlighted the regional armed forces’ “professionalism, respect for the rule of law, and subordination to civilian governments.” Threats of the 21st century Mora also touched on new multidimensional and transnational threats confronting the hemisphere like cyber attacks and natural disasters. He urged Argentina “to utilize the armed forces to support decisions made by civilian authorities to establish cooperative and transparent relations” between governments. Argentina was notably absent from the recent U.S.-led Panamax 2012 military exercise aimed at bolstering hemispheric cooperation. Its decision to abstain, however, is difficult to interpret as ideologically based since Ecuador — a member of the ALBA regional alliance— set aside fundamental differences with Washington and participated in the exercises. So did 13 other countries: Belize, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, and Peru. During the Cold War, Argentina and the United States cooperated to protect themselves from the communist threat. In the early 1990s, with the Cold War over, attention turned to fighting drug trafficking — and following the 9/11 attacks, the focus has been on eradicating narco-terrorism. Argentina has been a victim of international terror in 1992, when the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires was bombed in an attack that left 29 people dead — and again in 1994, when a truck bomb destroyed the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, killing 85 people and injuring more than 300. Argentina is pursuing military cooperation with a myriad of non-traditional partners. Some of these alliances — such as the ones it’s formed with Venezuela and China — bring into question shared values with the United States. Despite these recent mixed signals and lost opportunities, officials from both sides are now seeking common ground in order to avoid discarding years of friendship and cooperation. You forgot to comment on the “immense” cooperation provided by the United States to Britain during the Falklands conflict… that took place not long ago. I think that regarding military cooperation, it only should be at low intensity, because the “Falkland” still exists and it has not been resolved, and we all know what was and what currently is the policy of Washington! It is the comment of a sepoy. Vomitive. If we want to know if they really want to cooperate with Argentina, we will ask them to sell us fighter aircraft and also the transfer of technology from them, as they are offered to Brazil. UNITED STATES AND THE STATES OF COMMERCIAL SPIRIT, TRAFFICKERS, SPECULATORS AND OPPORTUNISTS, ETC., DO NOT HAVE FRIENDS, THEY HAVE PARTNERS, BUDDIES, AS THEY ARE BANDS OF RATS WITH SUIT AND TIE EMBEDDED IN THE STATES AND SKIRTS OF A PEOPLE AND NATION. THE CONTRARY IS PURE SHIT. WHY IS THE WORLD IS DIVIDED INTO DRONES AND WORKERS?last_img read more

Post offices could be credit unions’ next competitors

first_img 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr When I was a young girl in the U.S., my parents – both born in Mexico – visited the local U.S. Postal Service (USPS) office to do more than buy stamps and mail packages; they also bought money orders. Without a banking relationship in our community, my parents considered the post office to be a dependable and acceptable way for them to conduct these specific financial transactions.Today, as an adult and a strong advocate of the credit union movement, I find myself reflecting on my family’s experience. My parents bought money orders at the post office because it was convenient, reasonably priced and they weren’t asked a lot of questions. Simply stated: The post office fulfilled a simple need.What if the post office had offered other financial services? Services similar to those offered by today’s credit unions? Would they have chosen to use those services?The changing landscape of financial services, coupled with struggles faced by the USPS, is creating what could be perceived by credit unions as an unsettling reality: Competition from post offices, especially among minority populations, is a real threat. continue reading »last_img read more

Broome County appoints new Director of Security

first_img(WBNG) — Broome County Executive Jason Garnar appointed Brian Norris as Broome County Division of Security Director Thursday morning. Norris says he is honored to be his position and plans to “streamline” the division’s internal process and improve its infrastructure among other goals. “I plan to continue our community outreach programs andbuild upon them to connect with our Broome County residents,” he said. “We have a diverse department and I want to continue to improve and diversify my staff to better serve the county and its visitors,” Norris said in a news release. Norris fills the position following the retirement of former Broome County Division of Security Director James Dadamio, who served as director since 2006.center_img Norris says there’s always room for the county officers to learn and grow. County officials credit Norris with his more than a decade of service with the division. “Norris brings years of experience and knowledge to this position,” said County Executive Garnar in a news release. “We’re excited for him to take on this new role with the department.”last_img read more

Fulton County, which includes most of Atlanta, is expected to finish counting its ballots overnight.

first_imgThe fact that ballots remained uncounted on Wednesday came as little surprise. Voters were allowed to deposit absentee ballots in county drop boxes until 7 p.m. Tuesday. The process of counting them is labor-intensive, involving manually removing ballots from envelopes and, in some cases, subjecting them to human review.- Advertisement – But there were also unwelcome surprises, most notably a pipe that burst Tuesday morning in State Farm Arena, the stadium where the Atlanta Hawks play basketball and where Fulton County was tabulating votes. The plumbing failure, announced by county officials late Tuesday night, delayed the counting of an estimated 50,000 ballots.The Trump campaign, which has been challenging election results in several counties and states, announced a lawsuit Wednesday over 53 absentee ballots in Chatham County, Ga., that suggested they may have arrived too late to be counted.In a news conference Wednesday morning, Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, said that the largest number of outstanding ballots — which at that point numbered more than 60,000 — were from Fulton County. About 50,000 ballots had been from DeKalb County, a Democratic-leaning area that also includes part of Atlanta, and roughly 7,000 ballots were from Forsyth County, which voted heavily for Mr. Trump in 2016.- Advertisement – Mr. Raffensperger, a Republican and supporter of Mr. Trump, said he would pressure county officials in the state to complete their tallies on Wednesday. Across Georgia on Wednesday night, the margin between the candidates continued to narrow. About 33,000 votes separated the presidential candidates, with President Trump leading Joseph R. Biden Jr. by less than one percentage point, with about 49.7 percent of the vote.The closely contested presidential race in Georgia, which awards 16 electoral votes, underscored the fact that this Deep South state, once a reliable Republican stronghold, has become a legitimate battleground.center_img ATLANTA — In a nail-biting scenario whose resolution could help determine the winner of a tumultuous presidential race, the elections director in Fulton County said Wednesday that Fulton — the state’s most populous county, which encompasses most of Atlanta — is expected to finish counting absentee ballots overnight. The counting in Fulton County, which is a Democratic stronghold, may not end until after midnight, the director, Richard L. Barron, said Wednesday. “As long as it takes, we are going be here,” he told reporters.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more

Measures for tourism continue in June

first_imgTourism is undoubtedly the most affected and endangered in this unprecedented health and economic crisis. That is why we took special care of tourism and through government measures we ensured the continuation of measures in June and beyond, he points out Tonči Glavina, Secretary of State in the Ministry of Tourism. The plan is also to launch a new part-time measure in June for those companies that are not currently covered by the minimum wage. “What makes me especially happy is the fact that a high level of agreement was reached at yesterday’s meeting of the Economic and Social Council, which includes employers, trade unions and the state.”Concludes Glavina. Namely, a session of the Economic and Social Council was held yesterday, at which a decision was made that companies from the tourism, catering, transport and event industry sectors will be able to receive grants of HRK 4.000,00 for June. If employers decide to pay the profit, they do not have the right to use the measures for May, said the Minister of Labor and Pension System Josip Aladrović, and added: “We will introduce a ban on the payment of dividends and profits for all medium and large companies by the end of 2021, because we believe that it is not opportune not to use retained earnings and profits from previous years, and at the same time expect state aid. If someone takes advantage of the measure, we will leave him the option to return the support and then pay the profit and dividend to the shareholders”, Said Aladrović. Photo: Pixabay.com “Tomorrow we expect a decision of the Management Board of the Croatian Employment Service on the extension of “minimum” measures in accordance with the situation in the economy. Companies from the tourism, catering, transport and event industry sectors (organizers of events, fairs and congresses) will be able to receive support of HRK 4.000,00 for June. Companies from these groups of activities will have to prove a drop in revenue of 50 percent or more compared to the same period last year. This measure will be extended until August 31, depending on the state of the economy. Furthermore, a tax and contribution write-off or a moratorium on benefits will be available for June. ” Glavina points out. In any case, tomorrow we will find out all the details about the extension of measures to help the tourism, catering, transport and event industries.last_img read more

China slashes rate, pumps $7b into market to counter virus

first_img“By offering funds at a lower rate, the PBoC will be able to keep market interbank rates low even as the liquidity from the RRR (reserve requirement ratio) cuts is absorbed by the banking system,” he said, referring to an earlier lowering of the amount of cash lenders must keep in reserve.Read also: China’s economy to return fast to potential growth, PBOC saysThe deadly pathogen has claimed almost 40,000 lives worldwide, hitting businesses and consumers, and its global spread has dampened hope of a quick recovery in export-dependent China, where the pandemic first erupted in December.The latest move comes as governments and central banks around the world ease monetary policy and unveil titanic stimulus measures worth around $5 trillion to counter the economic impact of the pandemic, which forecasters warn will cause a deep recession. China’s central bank on Monday cut an interest rate on loans to banks by the largest margin in five years and injected 50 billion yuan (US$7 billion) into the financial system to help the world’s second-largest economy weather the coronavirus impact.The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) said it launched a 50-billion-yuan reverse repurchase operation on Monday and lowered the seven-day reverse repurchase rate from 2.40 percent to 2.20 percent.It was the “largest cut since 2015 and takes the 7-day reverse repo rate to its lowest on record”, said Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist at Capital Economics. The Communist Party’s decision-making politburo also called last Friday for stronger counter-cyclical policy measures and a step-up in stimulus.The politburo said where appropriate, the fiscal deficit ratio should be raised, special treasury bonds should be issued, and that there should be an increased quota of local government special bond issuance, China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported.Effective loan rates should also be guided down, “maintaining reasonable and sufficient liquidity”, officials added.Monday’s move appears to have had little impact on market sentiment, with Shanghai’s key stock index about one percent lower in the afternoon.Read also: New coronavirus cases fall in China but fears grow over global spreadAs COVID-19 ravages the global economy, analysts have cut growth forecasts for China, which was the first to see the effects from containment measures aimed at halting its spread.S&P Global Ratings said its revised economic growth estimate for China in 2020 is now almost half its pre-outbreak growth assumption of 5.7 percent.ANZ Research economists Xing Zhaopeng and Raymond Yeung said in a note that the PBoC’s rate cut “is intended to lower Chinese corporates’ funding costs”.They expect it will be followed by cuts in the medium term lending facility rates and loan prime rate.Topics :last_img read more

Santander scheme targets disposable income in leisure property deals

first_imgHe added that the scheme was looking into the acquisition of further entertainment venues, as they often presented opportunities to grow income with the opening of other food outlets.“Often these assets were built with public money and it would be uneconomic to do privately. But suitably repriced, they make a very good opportunity for us, particularly where we can see there is scope to add on hotel space, additional corporate hospitality or nightclub facilities.”“We like properties whereby the intrinsic value may take 7-10 years to emerge, and will need work to do it,” he added. “If the value is obvious, it will be wiped off the price.“Because they are perhaps a 7-10 year game, a pension fund would be the natural holder of these assets, but you need a pension fund with the capability to compete effectively in a transactional situation and the governance to support it.”Speaking to IPE’s How We Run Our Money, Barker said that the fund’s strategy was to target distressed situations “where the property intrinsically has a much better value”.“That’s not to say that it’s actually distressed property,” he explained. “It’s a distressed situation where – it could be the tenant, it could be the landlord, or in many cases, it’s the landlord’s banker – in trouble and therefore the need for a transaction leads to a price distortion.” The UK’s £7.8bn (€9.3bn) Santander pension scheme is to grow its exposure to leisure and retail assets in an attempt to benefit from the “mass affluent generation looking to relive their youth”, according to the company’s head of pensions.The master trust, encompassing half a dozen legacy defined benefit funds of varying sizes, has grown its property portfolio by £800m since Antony Barker joined the firm in mid-2012 from consultancy, JLT.As part of the expansion, it has acquired stakes in the Manchester Arena concert venue, a brewery complex in London and Liverpool One, a 16-hectare shopping centre redevelopment.According to Barker, both the price of concert tickets and the speed at which these were sold were good indicators of how UK residents were spending their disposable income.last_img read more

Think tank questions PRI signatories’ ESG capacity

first_imgDedicated ESG specialists are rare at institutions signed up to the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), in particular at asset owners, according to analysis carried out by climate and energy think tank E3G.The analysis found that, in general, PRI signatories directly employed one ESG specialist per $14bn (€13bn) of assets managed on average. One-third of its signatories directly employed no dedicated ESG staff* and a further 20% employed only one ESG specialist.E3G said this meant that over 500 PRI signatories directly employed one or no ESG staff. There are more than 1,700 signatories to the PRI.Signatories that employed a high proportion of ESG staff tended to be smaller boutique investors, according to the analysis. Source: E3GESG specialists as a percentage of total staff by institution typeWhere asset owners did employ ESG specialists, they said, these employees tended “to define an RI [responsible investment] policy and monitor its implementation by investment managers”.Policymakers should understand this difference and take it into account when developing sustainable finance strategies, said Egli and Maule.“Sustainable finance policy responses should acknowledge the fact that best practice development of RI policies needs to start with asset owners, even if much of the implementation is “one level down” at investment managers,” they said.E3G is represented on the European Commission’s High Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance.A senior responsible investment specialist at a UK pension fund recently told IPE it was positive that asset managers had begun to make more senior appointments in the responsible investment area, but this trend had yet to materialise in the asset owner segment. In contrast to asset managers, asset owners were not sufficiently valuing the multi-disciplinary skills of ESG staff, the pension fund executive said.E3G’s Egli and Maule said they explored the possibility that signatories declared no dedicated ESG staff because they fully integrate responsible investing throughout their business, but suggested this did not bear up.“This could be true in certain circumstances, for example at investment managers that specialise in ESG investing,” they said. “However, based on our conversations with many leading responsible investors and observing the data, we find that boutique ESG investors tend to declare all staff as ESG.”Overall, Egli and Maule conclude that “while some investors outsource responsible investing, and others claim to take an integrated approach, it is clear that the majority of investors assessed here need to rapidly expand and strengthen their in-house expertise by employing more specialists and training existing staff”.*According to E3G, the PRI defines ESG specialist/staff as follows: “Dedicated responsible investment/ESG staff are those individuals with the majority of their time allocated to responsible investment/ESG activities (either oversight or implementation).” One quarter of the signatories in the dataset used by E3G were asset owners and the rest were investment managers.The authors of the E3G briefing, “The lack of ESG capacity at leading investors”, Florian Egli and Sam Maule, said that while the vast majority of asset owners and investment managers employed fewer than 10% of their staff as ESG specialists, investment managers tended to hire more dedicated ESG staff than asset owners (see graph).#*#*Show Fullscreen*#*#last_img read more