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  • Thinking green, and thinking big

    first_img <a href=”” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”> <img src=”” alt=”0″ title=”How To Choose The Correct Channel Type For Your Video Content ” /> </a> A problem as complex and potentially intractable as climate change demands equally big solutions. At the first Harvard Thinks Green on Thursday, six Harvard professors gathered at Sanders Theatre to provide just that kind of thinking.The event was meant to tap into the “original fundamental reason why we are all here on campus for four years: ideas,” said Peter Davis, a senior who co-founded Harvard Thinks Big, which co-sponsored the event with the Office for Sustainability and the Center for the Environment. At Harvard, students have the opportunity “to propose them and play around with them and fight against them and to sometimes even work to implement them.”Their ideas, which touched on corners of society from science and medicine to politics and urban planning, made it clear that reversing the declining health of the environment can’t be left to any one group.Peter Davis ’12, co-founded Harvard Thinks Big, which co-sponsored the event with the Office for Sustainability and the Center for the Environment.Don’t wait for WashingtonIn 2009, President Barack Obama used the words “global warming” or “global climate change” in 69 public appearances. In 2010, that number rose to 73. This year, Obama has mentioned climate change once. Clearly, argued Richard Lazarus, Howard and Katherine Aibel Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, climate change has become an untouchable cause in Washington.After years of legislative inaction on climate change, “the United States is experiencing an environmental law-making crisis,” Lazarus said. But there’s no use in pointing fingers at politicians, big business, or other power players for the climate crisis. Rather, he said, the U.S. legal and political systems simply aren’t designed to address long-term, global problems. The Constitution limits sweeping legislation, and lawmakers aren’t rewarded for it at the polls.To change the climate (no pun intended) in the capital, he recommended ending the filibuster, which empowers senators with short-term motives to reject climate change legislation, and promoting the work of individual states such as California that are experimenting with their environmental laws.If anyone has the power to shake things up in Washington, it may be the military. “They care about real facts, real science, and real risks,” Lazarus said. As oil demand increases worldwide and as drought and famine ravage continents, the military must prepare for potential resource wars or mass migrations. “Occupy the military,” Lazarus suggested to the audience.Change the dialogue“We must help educate people about what’s really happening to the environment in language that they can relate to and understand,” said Eric Chivian, director of the Center for Health & the Global Environment and an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School (HMS). “There’s no more compelling way to do this than to talk about human health.”Chivian should know. In 1985, he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work with International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, a group he co-founded in 1980 to convince the public of nuclear war’s potential human toll. The same kind of practical, health-oriented outreach can and should be done to mitigate climate change, he argued.“Global climate changes can be very hard to see,” he said, and “we have no Hiroshimas or Nagasakis to serve as models.” But the loss of biodiversity, for example, could have great costs for medicine. For instance, if polar bears become extinct by 2100 as predicted, scientists will never unlock the mysteries of their hibernation — why don’t polar bears lose bone mass when they’re immobile for six months at a time? — that could hold beneficial knowledge for suffers of osteoporosis.Medicine also provides useful metaphors for why people must act now against climate change. When treating an infant for a fever, for example, “one doesn’t wait until the cultures come back two days later before starting [antibiotic] treatment,” he said. Although the vast majority of fevers are not caused by bacterial infections, the risk is too great to ignore.A doctor “can’t afford to wait,” Chivian said, and neither should leaders who must address climate change.“Global climate changes can be very hard to see,” said Eric Chivian, and “we have no Hiroshimas or Nagasakis to serve as models.” But the loss of biodiversity, for example, could have great costs for medicine.Look to businessAt its best, business can improve the human condition by bringing technology to the masses; at its worst, it can inspire greed that leads to poverty, pollution, and other ills. But no one should doubt that business will be a powerful ally in the fight against climate change, said Rebecca Henderson, John and Natty McArthur University Professor at Harvard Business School (HBS).“In the long run, there is no better hope for human progress than business,” she said, “because business is about innovation and scale. Business has learned how to motivate people in ways we’ve never seen before.”After spending 20 years studying large companies undergoing dramatic shifts, Henderson said, she knows that big changes — for example, committing to reducing emissions from factories or investing heavily in the development of new, noncarbon energy sources — will be painful for the industries that undertake them. But if Americans can restructure the ways we do business to place more value on long-term results, the payoffs of combatting climate change could be huge.“Building an enterprise that opens a whole new market, getting really rich, and making a difference … is a high like almost no other high,” she said. “This transition we face as an economy, as a world, is ripe for the taking. It is going to hit every major industry: agriculture, energy, construction, consumer goods, textiles, services.“It’s coming down the pike. It can make us all rich,” she continued. “But it will require commitment, vision, hard-headed realism, and the creativity to unite those to make it happen.”Target cities, building by buildingBuildings are an often overlooked culprit in global warming, said Christoph Reinhart, associate professor of architectural technology at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD). They account for 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions, and unlike other climate offenders — say, gas-guzzling old cars — most won’t be replaced by new state-of-the-art structures anytime soon.“One can make mistakes but should not build them,” he mused, quoting Goethe.What we can do, Reinhart insisted, is empower architects and urban planners to develop sustainable neighborhoods by giving them more sophisticated tools for measuring buildings’ impacts on the environment.Working with one of his GSD classes, Reinhart has already designed a model that combines predicted climate changes with future price scenarios to show what a building is likely to cost its owner over the years in energy bills. Such models make the effects of climate change measurable, and can help to justify the cost of energy-efficient upgrades to old buildings.“Working on the design, construction, and maintenance of energy-efficient and comfortable cities is a defining task of our time,” he said.Leaders wantedTackling climate change will require true leaders — people with strong convictions and the courage to act on them, said Robert Kaplan, an HBS professor of management practice.For a good example of strong leadership on sustainability, Kaplan looked not to Washington or the global community but to Harvard itself. The University’s 2008 plan to model sustainability through both research and campus activities — and its specific goal of reducing Harvard’s carbon emissions by 30 percent over a decade — “was and is an ambitious goal.” By creating specific priorities and action plans, and by bringing Harvard’s disparate Schools together in the process, Harvard is well on its way to achieving its reduction target under President Drew Faust’s watch, he said.“A lot of people think leadership is about charisma,” Kaplan said. “But we’re learning here at Harvard through sustainability that it’s about articulating a clear vision,” creating a detailed plan, and following through on the specifics. “Just think if we followed this template in our government,” he added.Think small, too2010 saw the single largest jump in carbon dioxide emissions worldwide (5.9 percent) of any year on record, according to figures released earlier this month by the Global Carbon Project. Thanks to rapid industrialization in China and India (and increasing demand for those countries’ products in the United States and Europe), it’s more pertinent than ever that we change our ways, said James McCarthy, Alexander Agassiz Professor of Biological Oceanography.“The later we start this, the more difficult it will be,” he said.The good news is that introducing a host of small, “painless” changes to the way people use energy can make a marked difference, McCarthy said. He cited Harvard and the city of Boston, which hopes to reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020. Both organizations have identified many small areas for improvement that add up to a larger environmental goal.“By the time you leave in four years, you will have seen real progress,” McCarthy told students in the audience. “Those small differences really do add up.”last_img read more

  • Battle cries of freedom

    first_imgOn the fifth floor of Countway Library at Harvard Medical School (HMS) is a wall-high glass case that contains a human femur cracked open by a Minié ball. The Civil War rifle projectile is the size of a bird’s egg. Considered a miracle of ballistics in its day, this conical bullet illustrates the gravity of injuries in a conflict that killed 750,000 Americans, with twice as many dying from disease as from battle.The exhibit that includes the Minié ball also features letters, photographs, and pamphlets of the era, and is designed to encourage reflection on the injuries from war. Soldiers then, as now, came home with stumps, shell-shattered faces, and lifelong intestinal diseases.The harsh realities are amply illustrated in “Battle-scarred: Caring for the Sick and Wounded of the Civil War,” open through at least next June. The exhibit officially launched on Thursday with a pair of afternoon lectures at HMS’ Tosteson Medical Education Center. Curating the exhibit was Jack Eckert, with help on some anatomical exhibits from Dominic W. Hall. Both are with Countway’s Center for the History of Medicine.The photographs of the injured that put a literal face on those who fought and died in the Civil War were not prurient, but were taken for their documentary value, explained Jeffrey Reznick, chief of the History of Medicine Division at the National Library of Medicine in Maryland. Photo by Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff PhotographerHarvard President Drew Faust, Lincoln Professor of History in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, delivered “Civil War and the End of Life,” a look at how the war violated longstanding ideals of death, burial, and grieving. Jeffrey Reznick, chief of the History of Medicine Division at the National Library of Medicine in Maryland, followed with “Disability and the Cultural History of Modern War.” The collection of today’s National Museum of Health and Medicine began in 1862 as the Army Medical Museum. That vast collection exists today, Reznick explained, as “a national monument in its own right.”Such was the scale of the Civil War, said Faust, that the conflict was “more destructive than all our wars combined.” In first 12 hours of the first battle of the war, at Bull Run, she said, the death toll climbed to half that seen in the entire Mexican-American War a decade before.The bloody confluence of modern weapons and ancient battle tactics overwhelmed not only the centuries-old culture of grieving, but the standards of medical care, identification, and burial that were weakly mustered to cope with it. Faust said  there were no identification tags, no system for notifying next of kin, no infrastructure for graves registration, no ambulance corps, and no war hospitals. (Eventually, in the North, there would be 400.)At the heart of the exhibit are photographs of the injured, putting faces on the humanity and suffering. One picture shows eight uniformed Union officers, with an array of the blunt nubs left by amputation.Such explicit photos were not prurient, said Reznick, but were taken for documentary value. Similarly, the specimens collected during the war — gruesome bone fragments included — were “not for curiosities, but data.” He said proof of that came with printing of “The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion (1870-1888),” a six-volume, 3,000-page natural history of the war’s toll of injury and disease.The short-lived Confederacy produced no parallel volumes. But the exhibit does sample the 14 surviving issues of the “Confederate States Medical and Surgical Journal,” published in 1864 and 1865.Amputations were the war’s signature wounds. The same glass case with the bullet-pierced artifacts includes a shiny bone saw that looks as capable as it was 150 years ago. But soldiers also came home with ailments less visible, disabilities that sound a modern echo. One was called “irritable heart,” a combat-induced anxiety disorder.“When I left my good home,” a broadside poem, uses a variant on the idea of the disabled man’s empty sleeve. The final verse (“Stranger, pardon, if I ask you, / ‘Buy a one-armed Soldier’s song.’”) is common to other broadside poems of the era. Courtesy of the Harvard Medical Library Rare Books CollectionThe exhibit and its captivating online version open a window onto the culture that grew up around soldiers who returned home without arms or legs, about 70,000 from both sides, by one estimate.There are examples of the mendicant literature that enabled hobbling and hampered veterans to make a living on the streets by selling pamphlets and broadside poems. “Please buy a copy of my song,” reads one, the work of Pvt. James R. Thomas, who lost an arm at the Battle of South Mountain. “Please assist the work of this one hand, and I will return many thanks to you.”There are advertisements of the day for artificial limbs. (Between 1861 and 1873, American inventors filed more than 80 patents for such prosthetics, made of wood, cork, rubber, iron, and leather.) The Salem (Mass.) Leg Company produced ads using endorsements from injured soldiers, including one who expected to resume dancing “once winter is over.”Competition for the prosthetics market was hot. An ad for Douglass Patent Artificial Limbs of Springfield bragged that their “limbs have never been dependent on the Government for their support.” After the war, federal authorities promised prosthetics to every veteran who needed them, prompting the phrase “government legs.” These free limbs were one feature of U.S. government benefaction after the war; another was the country’s first elaborate pension system.During her lecture, Faust noted that the Civil War not only challenged old paradigms of what made a good death, it also started up the vast machinery of the pension system that transformed the government into an active player in the welfare of its citizens.One recipient of that support was Philon C. Whidden, M.D. 1866 (1839-1900), one of the faces of war shown in the exhibit. He interrupted his Harvard medical studies to join the Union Army as a private. Wounded at Antietam, Whidden used what he called his “slight medical knowledge” to convince surgeons not to cut off his massively avulsed left leg. But by 1891, after years of increased suffering, he submitted to an amputation below the knee, and the next year applied for an increase to his pension of $24 a month.Also damaged in the war were the families of soldiers who fretted over their loved ones, often with cause. Even mourning could be difficult, since half of those killed in battle were never identified, Faust said.Such was the scale of the Civil War that the conflict was “more destructive than all our wars combined,” said Harvard President Drew Faust, Lincoln Professor of History. The first 12 hours of the first battle of the war, at Bull Run, she said, matched one-half of the death toll of the entire Mexican-American War a decade before. Photo by Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff PhotographerThe death of Mary Louisa Bodge Glover in 1864 was ascribed to grief, coming a year after her husband, Lt. Alfred R. Glover of Cambridgeport, died in battle. Their pictures appear in the exhibit, along with a leather folder containing Lt. Glover’s portable kit of homeopathic medicines. It looks ready to use.There also are deft sketches by Massachusetts battle surgeon Lucius M. Sargent, an 1857 graduate of HMS. One drawing of a camp scene in Virginia illustrates a letter to his son, George. Sargent wrote, in what could be a summary of every war, “I have not got anything to love here.”last_img read more

  • Club Coordination Council updates bylaws, allocates funding to clubs

    first_imgTags: CCC, Club Coordination Council, Student government, student government in focus Club Coordination Council (CCC) president Marisa Thompson said the CCC is one of the most underutilized student government groups on campus.“When people want something done in their hall, they go to their Hall Council,” she said. “When they want some type of event programming on campus, they go to SUB. But when a club wants to achieve a goal on campus, often, they don’t know where to turn.”The group plays a number of roles in the administration of clubs on campus, she said.“The CCC is involved in undergraduate club activity on campus in the forms of monetary allocation, prospective club approval and student government representation,” Thompson said.In addition to an administrative role, Thompson said the group also acts as a voice for the interests of clubs in various organizations across campus.“It represents club interests to SAO, the Financial Management Board, senate and the Executive Programming Board. It is composed of 27 undergraduate members and one SAO advisor.She said there are three executive board members: Thompson, vice president Will Fields and controller Aaron Vernon.Thompson said there are also six divisions, each division representing different types of clubs on campus: academic, athletic, cultural, performing arts, special interest and social service. Each division has a division chair and three division representatives who are elected by clubs at the club information meetings.“Anyone who is an active member of a club on campus can run for a division representative position on the CCC,” Thompson said. “Its main purpose in student government is to make sure that clubs are represented to the rest of the Student Union.”Thompson said this year, along with the usual business of hearing appeals for additional funding, the CCC has been working on their guidelines, bylaws and operating procedures.“We wanted to make this a particular focus of our work in the fall, that way we could make sure that our treatment of all clubs is as equitable as possible,” Thompson said. “Right now we are preparing for Winter Reallocation in January and are working on more ways to make the CCC more transparent than it has been in the past.”Thompson said one of the overall goals of the Council has been to make their organization as transparent as possible.“We are looking at multiple ways of achieving this, such as restructuring the Spring Allocation process and providing more online resources,” Thompson said.The CCC is important because undergraduate clubs make up a large part of student life at the University, Thompson said.“The idea of student government is to make the undergraduate experience as fulfilling and meaningful as it can be, while also disseminating information about the University administration,” Thompson said. “We want to act as a resource for clubs on campus by communicating both what it takes to administratively run a successful club as well as what the University can do to help that effort.”last_img read more

  • Drug Trafficker and Paramilitary Sought in Colombia Dies

    first_imgBy Dialogo January 03, 2011 Pedro Guerrero, alias ‘Cuchillo’ [‘Knife’], one of Colombia’s most-wanted drug traffickers and former paramilitary leaders, accused of around three thousand murders, died in a police operation on Christmas Eve, President Juan Manuel Santos said on 29 December. “The murderer of murderers fell. We’ve been after him for many years,” Santos specified at a press conference, after adding that this is “the heaviest blow that has been struck against the criminal gangs.” The director of the police, Gen. Oscar Naranjo, displayed a pistol encrusted with gold and diamonds that Guerrero used to carry, according to him, as well as a knife with which the forty-year-old drug trafficker was in the habit of “beheading his victims.” Guerrero, for whom the United States was offering a 2.5-million-dollar reward, died in an operation by around two hundred “jungle” commandos, in the town of Puerto Alvira, between the departments of Meta and Guaviare (in southeastern Colombia), according to the police. After battling with his bodyguards, the uniformed personnel arrested seven men, including “El loco Harold” [“Crazy Harold”], the criminal organization’s finance chief. Nevertheless, Guerrero was not found, and a search began that ended on 28 December with the discovery of his corpse floating in a stream located two hundred meters from the site where the fighting was concentrated, according to Defense Minister Rodrigo Rivera. All the same, ‘Cuchillo’s’ body did not show any wounds on an initial examination. “It has not been documented that he died from a bullet or a stab wound,” affirmed the director of the state Institute of Legal Medicine, Juan Isaac. “Guerrero’s cause of death is being studied,” Isaac added. Nevertheless, an official announced later that the Colombian police believe that ‘Cuchillo’ drowned in a spring in the eastern part of the country, after suffering a heart attack and while fleeing drunk through the jungle. “‘Cuchillo’ was drunk, and when he became aware of the presence of our helicopters over the house where he was celebrating Christmas, he succeeded in escaping together with two of his bodyguards, while others shot at us with machine guns,” affirmed Gen. Carlos Mena, director of the Judicial Police (Dijín). Accused of around three thousand crimes, ‘Cuchillo’ was the subject of four open arrest warrants for criminal conspiracy, aggravated homicide, and narcotics trafficking. He was also under investigation for forced disappearance and forced displacement of peasants. Despite announcing in April 2006 that he would demobilize, amid negotiations between the United Self-Defense Units of Colombia (AUC, extreme right-wing paramilitaries) and then-president Alvaro Uribe’s administration (2002-2010), ‘Cuchillo’ declined to do so and became the leader of the self-proclaimed Anticommunist Popular Revolutionary Army of Colombia (Erpac), an AUC dissident group. He then became a kind of heir to Carlos Castaño, one of the founders of the AUC, an organization that he promised to refound after the process of demobilization. According to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, Erpac has around one thousand men. Other sources, such as the private Institute of Development and Peace Studies (Indepaz), indicate that the group has influence in twelve of the country’s thirty-two departments, even in the capital itself. According to the United States, the organization led by ‘Cuchillo’ is one of the chief suppliers of cocaine to its territory. In addition to Erpac, which the Colombian authorities classify within the group of criminal gangs (Bacrim), criminal organizations at the service of drug traffickers and made up of former paramilitaries, at least five other similar factions are active. Prominent among them are the Águilas Negras [Black Eagles], the Urabeños, the Paisas, the Renacer [Rebirth] gang, the Machos, and the Rastrojos [Stubble], which are believed, according to Indepaz, to be made up of between 7,400 and 12,000 men, counting the members of their support networks.last_img read more

  • China plans to repatriate tourists stranded in Bali

    first_imgBali Airport Authority head Elfi Amir said the details of the plan – including the number of Chinese nationals to be repatriated from Bali and the number of airplanes to be used for the repatriation – were still uncertain.“We have yet to receive an official notice. We’ve only received verbal information. The permits will be processed in Jakarta,” Elfi told on Thursday morning. “In principle, [the airport authority] supports [the move].”He said the authority had coordinated with related parties to ensure that the technicalities of the plan would be properly addressed.“We last heard that [China] was still preparing the required permits and that Indonesia would support the repatriation of Chinese nationals,” Elfi said.A Boeing 777 owned by China Eastern Airlines is due to land at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport on Friday, he said.“It will depart for Denpasar from Shanghai and then go to Wuhan,” he said. (rfa)Topics : The Chinese government plans to repatriate its citizens from Bali following the recent cancellation of all flights to and from mainland China, Bali airport authority officials have said.Flights to and from China have been suspended since Wednesday at Ngurah Rai International Airport as part of government measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, stranding thousands of Chinese tourists on the island.Read also: Thousands of Chinese tourists stranded in Bali as govt halts flights to and from Chinalast_img read more

  • Hesitant flyers: People remain wary of air travel because of health, cost concerns, survey shows

    first_imgMany people remain reluctant to fly amid lingering fears of COVID-19 and concerns about travel costs, a survey by state-owned airport operator Angkasa Pura (AP) I has found.The AP I survey found that 84 percent of the 500 respondents were erring on the side of caution and were taking a “wait and see” approach, mostly because of the perceived heightened risk of COVID-19 transmission during flights.The results of the survey come despite the government laying out strict health protocols for the aviation industry. The protocols were stipulated in Transportation Ministry Circular No. 13/2020 and cover mandatory procedures from pre-flight to post-flight to reduce the risk of virus transmission. “We need to pay special attention to [consumers’] level of confidence. Airports needs to demonstrate compliance with the health protocols,” AP I president director Faik Fahmi said on Wednesday during an online webinar held by The Habibie Center.The low level of consumer confidence is a major challenge for the already struggling aviation industry, which has been battered by the pandemic as people canceled travel plans due to travel restrictions.Domestic air passenger numbers saw a steep 98.3 drop in May, falling to 87,000 from 5.3 million in May 2019, according to Statistics Indonesia (BPS). The number of international air passengers also dropped more than 99 percent year-on-year (yoy) in May to 11,700 passengers.However, AP I recorded around 394,000 passengers in the first 10 days of July, a huge increase from around 222,000 passengers in the first half of June and 76,000 passengers in the entire month of May. To address the passengers’ concerns, Faik said the company, which manages 13 airports across the country, planned to digitize airline passenger check-in procedures to minimize person-to-person contacts.In the AP I survey, 68 percent of respondents said they favored online flight check-in to avoid contacts with airport staff, while 76 percent said they would feel more comfortable using digital customer service at airports.“The role of technology has become crucial to meet our customers’ desires,” he said.In addition to the fear of COVID-19 transmission, the high cost of rapid and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, a requirement for air travel, has also dampened people’s interest in flying. As many as 78 percent of the survey respondents said they hoped air travel costs could be reduced.“A lot of our customers complained about the high prices of rapid tests. While the Health Ministry has set a price ceiling of Rp 150,000 [US$10.25] for the test, in reality the price is much higher,” Faik said.The Health Ministry issued on July 6 a circular that set a price ceiling of Rp 150,000 for COVID-19 rapid tests, following numerous complaints over high prices.Earlier this month, Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi has also asked the Finance Ministry to subsidize rapid tests for public transportation users.Several Indonesian airlines have also taken initiatives to drive up air travel demand by providing free or low-cost COVID-19 testing for their passengers.Airlines under Lion Air Group, namely Lion Air, Wings Air and Batik Air, are offering rapid COVID-19 testing for passengers, with prices starting from Rp 95,000, the company’s spokesperson Danang Mandala Prihantoro said in a statement in June.Meanwhile, national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia service and business development director Ade R. Susardi emphasized on Wednesday the importance of restoring consumer confidence in the aviation industry.“We are now trying to increase our passengers numbers by convincing people that it is safe to fly. With a rising number of passengers, we can boost our cash flow,” Ade said.Garuda Indonesia currently has an occupancy rate of around 40 percent, he said.Topics :last_img read more

  • UN pension fund launches digital identity pilot project

    first_imgIt added that the proof of concept aimed to “overcome the limitations of the existing manual process and prevent new risks from happening, which could hamper the flow of entitlements”. The United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF) is gearing up to test the use of biometrics and other modern technologies to certify pensioners’ benefit entitlement after more than 70 years of a manual, paper-based process.The move to launch a pilot project follows a successful “proof of concept” prototype that used biometrics, blockchain, geo-location, and mobile apps, according to a statement from the $60.8bn (€54.9bn) defined benefit pension fund.The prototype was created and tested in collaboration with the International Computing Centre, an information technology and communications provider within the UN system.According to the UNJSPF, the proof-of-concept experience “confirmed the value of digital identity and blockchain technologies to automate the certificate of entitlement process with secure mechanisms that create traceable, immutable, and independently auditable evidence”. Source: UN Photo/Evan SchneiderEvery year the pension fund has to verify more than 70,000 beneficiaries located in more than 190 countries, confirming they are still alive.For the last 70 years, this confirmation has required every beneficiary to return a signed paper-based form – a certificate of entitlement – which is currently sent by regular post.The pension fund also has to confirm beneficiaries’ residence if they are paid under a “local track” system, which converts the value of US residency-based benefits to a local currency and local cost of living.According to the UNJSPF, the biometrics were used for personal identification and confirming a beneficiary was still alive, while geo-location was used to confirm a beneficiary’s residence.Following the success of the proof-of-concept prototype, the pension fund is taking steps to start a pilot project with a view, if successful, to implement the solution for all new retirees.New pensioners of select UN entities or member organisations will be given the opportunity, on a voluntary basis, to use and test the new approach.In 2018, the UNJSPF had nearly 130,00 active participants and more than 78,000 beneficiaries, who were paid $2.67bn in benefits.last_img read more

  • Crystal Powell wins Mission Catwalk Avant Garde Challenge

    first_img Sharing is caring! Share EntertainmentNewsRegional Crystal Powell wins Mission Catwalk Avant Garde Challenge by: – May 16, 2012 Share Sharecenter_img Front view of design. Photo credit: Tiffany Lue YenAGSelectPR, Kingston, Thursday, May 17, 2012: Jamaican Crystal Powell wowed judges on Mission Catwalk episode eight with an avant garde, couture garment made from alternative material- old newspapers and materials from a hardware store. This is the second win for the 25 year-old who previously won the Flapper challenge on episode three.For Crystal, the win was a confidence booster: “I got a chance to show the judges that I can be dramatic and over the top and very intense, moods I usually reserve for my poetry and drawings. Avant guarde is highly regarded in fashion, so for me it was a validation of my design acumen.”Inspired by the Crusades, Crystal wanted her design to be pretty but unsettling to reflect “how something which purportedly started out with good intentions could have such devastating and ugly results.Side view of design. Photo credit: Tiffany Lue YenThe garment’s top was made from newspaper with a unique amour-like stencil made by applying black spray paint over a polyflex sink protection mat. The collar and belt of the dress (made from folded newspapers spray painted in red) formed both a sword and cross. The skirt was made of cut newspaper folded into flower-like shapes, still using the same stencil pattern but this time sprayed in red. The bold and dark effect was accentuated by black flowers, lipstick and gloves. The purple feather earring and cobalt (blue) tights were used to incorporate the traditional colours of priesthood- purple, red and blue and continue the theme of the Crusades. Copper and steel wires added for further dramatic effect.Crystal’s effort won her a feature in OCEAN Style Magazine. Guest judge and editor of OCEAN Style, Douglas Gordon thought her work was “creative, interesting, well-constructed and editorial-ready.” Equally impressed were the regular judging panel: Keneea Linton-George, host and executive producer of Mission Catwalk, Novia McDonald-Whyte Jamaica Observer Lifestyle editor and Carlton Brown, celebrated menswear designer. Crystal Powell. Photo credit: Alty Benjamin Jr.Though Ryan Berkeley of Guyana did meet the challenge requirement, the episode five runner-up received the lowest score and was sent home. Of the remaining seven designers, three are Jamaican (Crystal Powell, Janel Jolly and Gregory Williams), two are from Barbados (Kesia Estwick and Kerin Scott) while Trinidad and Belize have one representative each in Ryan Chan and Rebecca Stirm. Mission Catwalk originally started with an all Jamaican cast, with season two seeing participants from five countries from around the region.The series will climax with a grand showdown at Caribbean Fashion Week with the top three designers in June. To find out ‘Who will rule the catwalk?’, keep watching the show which airs Tuesdays at 8:30 PM on TVJ and is simultaneously streamed online at Episodes also repeat Thursdays at 5:30 PM. Presented by NCB, Supreme Ventures and Digicel, Mission Catwalk is now shown in six regional countries: Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Guyana and Belize. Press Release 298 Views   one comment Tweetlast_img read more

  • Matt Jarvis hopes to get frustration out of his system

    first_img The Canaries were beaten 2-1 at home by Leicester before the international break, which was a first defeat in a promising run of four matches. Jarvis, on loan from West Ham, admits not having another game to quickly try to put things right has made it a difficult spell for those left at the Norfolk club’s training base. “As a group it wasn’t nice to lose before the international break as you have that feeling for two weeks,” Jarvis said. “We have had time to reflect on Leicester and want to put things right now.” Jarvis added: “We want to keep our away record going and have shown in games how well we can play. “Everyone can see how good the team is, but you have to be consistent too. “In every match this season we are looking to make a strong start to ensure the other team doesn’t pick up momentum, and Sunday is no different.” Jarvis has impressed since his deadline day loan move from West Ham, scoring twice in four appearances. The 29-year-old, however, is not about to rest on his laurels. “It has been a good start for me here,” he said at a press conference. Winger Matt Jarvis hopes Norwich can finally get a fortnight of frustration out of their system with victory at Newcastle on Sunday. “I scored quite a few for Wolves when I was in the Premier League with them, and it is one thing I have needed to improve on. “I have scored a couple at Norwich already, and hopefully I can keep that up. “We have got a competitive squad, so I know I need to maintain my form. “When you are given the chance to play you have got to take it.” Newcastle may be currently propping up the rest of the Premier League, but Canaries boss Alex Neil will not allow any complacency from his squad. “We want to make sure that we go about our business in the right way and hopefully put a really good performance in,” the Scot said on Norwich City TV. “Out of the 10 games we have played so far (in all competitions), we have done really well in eight. “That is a great ratio for us, but we will be looking to improve on that as well. “It is such fine margins by which you win or lose games at this level. “There have been a couple of games this season where I felt we have deserved to win, but we haven’t – and those four or five extra points would put you in a very different scenario.” Press Associationlast_img read more

  • PBC Supervisor of Elections Wendy Link tells 850WFTL “We’re Ready” for Presidential Primary

    first_imgFlorida voters will head to the polls on Tuesday, March 17th to cast their ballots in the presidential primary and also to decide 20 different municipal elections including selecting a new mayor of Boca Raton.Already some 40,000 absentee ballots have been cast in Palm Beach County.Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Wendy Link sat down with 850 WFTL to explain how this time around, the county is ready for a problem-free election with new voting equipment and no problematic apps to get in the way like in Iowa.Listen to the full interview here.’s too late to register to vote in the upcoming presidential primary, but you still have time to do so for the August primary and the general election in November.Click here to register.last_img read more