Six from Harvard win Rhodes

first_imgThe six Harvard seniors study widely diverse fields, including computer science, Chinese studies, human migration, economic development, global health science, and math and science education. What they have in common is that they’re all incoming Rhodes Scholars.They were named Sunday as recipients of the prestigious academic awards, among only 32 scholars selected nationally. Aidan C. de B. Daly, Julian B. Gewirtz, Allan J. Hsiao, Benjamin B.H. Wilcox, Nina M. Yancy, and Phillip Z. Yao, all members of the Class of 2013, will receive scholarships that cover the cost of two or three years’ study at the University of Oxford.True local bragging rights, however, may belong to Harvard’s Quincy House, and more specifically to its sixth floor. Four of the six — Daly, Gewirtz, Wilcox, and Yancy — reside on that floor. Wilcox and Gewirtz are even roommates.Here are short profiles of the scholars.Aidan C. de B. Daly For Daly, a concentrator in computer science with a secondary concentration in molecular and cellular biology, becoming a Rhodes Scholar opens a world of opportunities at the crossroads of his fields.“I’m interested in applying computational techniques to problems in the natural sciences,” said Daly, who plans to pursue Oxford’s two-year master’s through research program to explore new areas involving his disciplines. “The U.K. is a particularly auspicious location to study biological problems, being the site of the two largest revolutions in biology: the Darwinian, and the DNA. I believe computational biology is the next revolution. Oxford’s partnership with Microsoft for their 2020 Science Program, among other things, reveals a similar belief and makes it a particularly attractive place to study.”Daly said his time at Harvard, particularly in the computer science department, deepened his interest in research and helped him to define a love of interdisciplinary science. A member of Harvard’s crew and kendo martial arts teams since his freshman year, Daly is now the team captain of the Harvard-Radcliffe Kendo Club.“Not only have I had the chance to take wonderful and eye-opening classes, but I have had the chance to take part in a large-scale research project in clean energy these past two years spanning the chemistry and computer science departments,” Daly said. “I also discovered kendo my first year at Harvard, and my participation and eventual leadership of that club has been a wonderful experience, improving me physically and mentally.”Julian B. GewirtzGewirtz is a concentrator in history with a secondary field in English. Fluent in Mandarin, Gewirtz wrote his senior thesis on the influence of Western economists on Chinese reform. He writes for the Huffington Post on China-related topics and was the publisher of the Harvard Advocate last year.“Oxford has extraordinary faculty and resources for the study of China, and China is so important for the future,” Gewirtz said. “Its re-emergence and modernization is really a world-historic event. I want to learn more and be writing about this, and I also hope eventually to become a participant in the development of U.S.-China relations.”Gewirtz plans to use the scholarship to continue his studies on China at Oxford, reading for the master of studies in global and imperial history during the first year, and for the interdisciplinary master of science in modern Chinese studies in his second year.“It’s been an incredibly exciting 24 hours,” Gewirtz said. “The Rhodes has such an amazing tradition, and I am incredibly grateful to the mentors and friends who supported me through this process, and during my whole time at Harvard. My teachers here have made a tremendous difference to my growth and development.”Allan J. HsiaoAn Adams House resident and economics concentrator, Hsiao plans to use the scholarship to continue his studies of human migration in the context of the developing world. He will pursue two one-year degrees at Oxford: a master of Chinese studies, followed by a master of science in migration studies.“Oxford is at the forefront of research on human migration and poverty,” said Hsiao. “Having access to those scholars will certainly shape how I think about the field. My senior thesis is an economic analysis of issues related to the migrant labor population in China, a population made up of over 200 million people. I’ve also conducted fieldwork consisting of interviews with migrant laborers in southern China. And hearing their stories of both struggle and success in the cities has helped me to better understand the situation beyond the data.”Intrigued by what motivates people to migrate, and what they leave behind, Hsiao has studied Chinese, French, Korean, Arabic, and Haitian Creole, spending one summer studying abroad in Korea and another in China.“While I find the languages themselves to be fascinating, I’m also driven by the possibilities they open up,” Hsiao said, “particularly for speaking to people about their lives and their stories.”Benjamin B.H. WilcoxWilcox, a concentrator in history, plans to use his scholarship to continue to study political theory and development economics at Oxford.“It’s a very exciting opportunity to try and answer the same questions I’ve been wrestling with at Harvard, exploring how democracy and development go hand in hand,” Wilcox said. “My work centers on the idea that those two things can, and must, go together.”A passionate cyclist, Wilcox biked across the United States during the summer of 2009, and followed up with a trip from Norway to Italy the next summer.“One thing that unifies everything I do is that I try to see the world from different perspectives,” he said. “There are many, many valid outlooks, and there is not one development solution. When we go to other parts of the world and try to help, it’s important to first find out what is needed, and what is wanted, from the people in those regions.”Wilcox said the scholarship was the result of a strong team effort. “Being a Rhodes Scholar never would have been possible without a huge team of supportive faculty and advisers here at Harvard,” he said. “I have benefited from many, many professors who have gone out of their way to help me through this process, and over the past four years at Harvard.”Nina M. YancySocial studies concentrator Yancy, a member of the Harvard Ballet Company and choreographer for the Harvard Expressions Dance Company, said being named a Rhodes Scholar had expanded her goals exponentially.“I feel like the trajectory of my life has drastically changed in just one weekend,” Yancy said. “This will be a broadening experience in every sense. … Being a Rhodes Scholar puts you in touch with people from all over the world of incredibly high caliber, and I hope to look at my research on a global scale, which will give me a new and wider perspective.”Yancy, who has interned in the British House of Commons, for CNN, and for the Center of American Political Studies, plans to use her scholarship to complete a master of science in global health science at Oxford, followed by a master of science in comparative social policy.“Being at Harvard has been both instrumental and transformational,” she said. “When I came to Harvard, I had no idea how it would shape me: what kind of person I was going to be, or how it was going to change me. I think it will be the same with Oxford. It’s going to be a wild and wonderful ride. I have no idea where it’s going to lead, but I can’t wait to see what happens.”Phillip Z. YaoWinthrop House resident Phillip Yao, a concentrator in physics with a secondary concentration in philosophy, is passionate about the intersection of education and technology. He plans to use the Rhodes scholarship to complete a master of science in education in learning and technology.“I’m fascinated by how we can integrate new technology meaningfully into the classroom in math and science education,” Yao said. “Working with the learning and new technologies research group will not only expand my idea of what’s possible in the classroom, but sharpen my approach to educational analysis. And being part of the community of Rhodes Scholars will also give me direct contact with extraordinary people who have really committed themselves to addressing some of the important issues of our time.”Previously chair of education policy of the Harvard Undergraduate Council and teacher for New York City’s Prep for Prep program, Yao founded a virtual library for more than a million students in India with Pratham, the largest educational NGO in the world, under a summer fellowship.“Coming into Harvard, you worry a lot about academic and social life,” said Yao. “But over the years, through conversations in classrooms and common rooms, my focus has shifted more and more to the problems in the world around us. Leaving Harvard, I sense my own dedication to improving education much more strongly than I did when I entered Harvard. It’s been home to me for a lot of great memories in the past few years, and I’ll definitely miss it when I’m in Oxford next year.”Arguably the most famous academic award available to American college students and graduates, Rhodes Scholarships every year attract hundreds of top students. The 2013 American Rhodes Scholars faced competition from 838 students nominated by 302 colleges and universities nationwide. This year’s awards bring the ranks of Harvard’s Rhodes Scholars to 342.The scholarships were created in 1902 by the will of British philanthropist Cecil Rhodes. Winners are selected on the basis of high academic achievement, personal integrity, leadership potential, and physical vigor, among other attributes.last_img read more

Chadwick Boseman earns 2 nominations for NAACP Image Awards

first_imgLOS ANGELES (AP) — With his final two performances, the late Chadwick Boseman has earned two NAACP Image Awards nominations. Boseman scored nods Tuesday for his work in the Netflix films “Da 5 Bloods” and “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” The actor died last year after privately battling colon cancer. “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” came away with nine nominations. It delves into the story of blues singer Ma Rainey during a turbulent recording session at a Chicago music studio in 1927. Netflix emerged with a leading 48 nominations. The awards honoring entertainers and writers of color will air on CBS on March 27.last_img read more

CFPB continues overdraft program data collection, seeks survey

first_img 8SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) staff updated CUNA and other financial trade associations on the status of potential rulemakings in a meeting Monday. Despite a pre-rule action on overdraft programs appearing on the bureau’s fall rulemaking agenda, the CFPB said is still gathering information on overdraft programs.“The bureau is still doing data collection on overdraft programs, which is understandable given the importance of the topic,” said Leah Dempsey, CUNA’s senior director of advocacy and counsel, who attended the meeting. “So we think this makes it unlikely that any action happens in the fall.”Luke Martone, senior director of advocacy and counsel for CUNA, also attended.The CFPB issued a notice last week requesting information on point of sale and ATM overdraft disclosure forms. The bureau has requested to the Office of Management and Budget that it conduct a national web survey of 8,000 individuals as part of this study. Comments are due by Nov. 3. continue reading »last_img read more

Recovery position

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Bouncing back

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Qatar makes London debut with £160m City office buy

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Got masks? China orders three months’ supply of Indonesian face masks amid coronavirus outbreak

first_imgCoordinating Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto said that China has placed large orders for Indonesian-made masks in an effort to stop the spread of a coronavirus within the country.“All mask production has been ‘locked’ by China,” he said during a seminar on Monday, adding that as much as three months’ worth of mask production had been ordered by the East Asian country.Read also: [UPDATED] Suspected Wuhan coronavirus in Indonesia: What we know so far The senior minister said that producers should stock up to meet domestic demand to make sure that Indonesians have access to masks.The 2019-nCoV virus was first detected on Dec. 31 in Wuhan, China and spread to other countries earlier this year. The new strain of virus had killed 426, all but one in China, and had infected more than 20,000 globally as of Tuesday morning.Airlangga said airlines and tourism were among the first sectors affected by the outbreak as people canceled their travel plans. “The continuation of the Belt and Road Initiative is also awaiting the developments in China. I think that is one of the biggest effects,” he told reporters.  Despite the adverse effects of the virus, Airlangga said that Indonesia should remain optimistic as the country had secured some investment commitments during the 2020 World Economic Forum Meeting in Davos, Switzerland last month. Read also: Jokowi’s coronavirus diplomacy works well to convince desperate ChinaThe minister also said that the country would continue to expand its economic influence to the Asia-Pacific region with more comprehensive economic partnership agreements.”Optimism is key during these uncertain times,” he said, adding that Indonesia should strengthen its domestic markets, expand exports and find import substitutes to keep its economy buoyed.Topics :last_img read more

Minneapolis council members pledge to disband police as protests mount

first_imgTopics : Minneapolis City Council president Lisa Bender told CNN “the idea of having no police department is certainly not in the short term.”In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a series of reforms he said were designed to build trust between city residents and the police department.De Blasio told reporters he would shift an unspecified amount of money out of the police budget and reallocate it to youth and social services in communities of color.He said he would also take enforcement of rules on street vending out of the hands of police, who have been accused of using the regulations to harass minority communities.Curfews were removed in New York and other major cities including Philadelphia and Chicago.Talking reformPresident Donald Trump said on Twitter he ordered the National Guard to start withdrawing from Washington D.C. “now that everything is under perfect control.”In the nation’s capital, a large and diverse gathering of protesters packed streets near the White House, chanting “This is what democracy looks like!” and “I can’t breathe.”A newly erected fence around the White House was decorated by protesters with signs, including some that read: “Black Lives Matter” and “No Justice, No Peace.”Republican Senator Mitt Romney marched alongside evangelical Christians in Washington on Sunday, telling the Washington Post that he wanted to find “a way to end violence and brutality, and to make sure that people understand that black lives matter.”A common theme of weekend rallies was a determination to transform outrage over Floyd’s death last month into a broader movement seeking far-reaching reforms to the US criminal justice system and its treatment of minorities.The intensity of protests over the past week began to ebb on Wednesday after prosecutors in Minneapolis arrested all four police officers implicated in Floyd’s death. Derek Chauvin, the officer who pinned Floyd to the ground, was charged with second-degree murder.Still, anger in Minneapolis remained intense. The city’s mayor ran a gauntlet of jeering protesters on Saturday after telling them he opposed their demands for defunding the city police department.The renewed calls for racial equality are breaking out across the country as the United States reopens after weeks of unprecedented lockdowns for the coronavirus pandemic and just five months before the Nov. 3 presidential election.US Democrats have largely embraced the activists packing into streets to decry the killings of black men and women by law enforcement, but have so far expressed wariness at protesters’ calls to defund the police.Former US President Barack Obama said in an YouTube commencement address for 2020 graduates that the protests roiling America right now “speak to decades of inaction over unequal treatment and a failure to reform police practices in the broader criminal justice system.” A majority of city council members in Minneapolis have pledged to abolish the city’s police department after the death of an unarmed black man in custody last month led to some of the biggest protests seen in the United States.Huge weekend crowds gathered across the country, mostly peacefully. The near-festive tone was marred late on Sunday when a man drove a car into a rally in Seattle and then shot and wounded a demonstrator who confronted him.The outpouring of protests followed the May 25 killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died after being pinned by the neck for nine minutes by a white officer’s knee in Minneapolis. A bystander’s cellphone captured the scene as Floyd pleaded with the officer, choking out the words “I can’t breathe.”center_img “I have cops in my family, I do believe in a police presence,” said Nikky Williams, a black Air Force veteran who marched in Washington on Sunday. “But I do think that reform has got to happen.”Nine members of the 13-person Minneapolis City Council pledged on Sunday to do away with the police department in favor of a community-led safety model, a step that would have seemed unthinkable just two weeks ago.”A veto-proof majority of the MPLS City Council just publicly agreed that the Minneapolis Police Department is not reformable and that we’re going to end the current policing system,” Alondra Cano, a member of the Minneapolis council, said on Twitter.Council members said such reforms would be a long, complex process and provided little detail on the way forward.last_img read more

Finland’s Elo increases exposure to hedge funds, private equity

first_imgElo was formed in January 2014 through the merger of Pension Fennia and LocalTapiola.According to the interim report, the equities allocation dropped to 30.7% at the end of September from 35.3% at the same point a year before.Elo said it also made a big reduction in the proportion of corporate bonds in its portfolio in the spring.“Since the end of July, corporate bond margins have been growing in the energy and mining sectors, and also in other sectors,” Hiidenpalo said.“The supply of new corporate bonds has decreased considerably as uncertainty grows.”Exposure to hedge funds increased to 13.3% at the end of September from 10.3% 12 months before.Private equity exposure, too, has grown, rising to 5% from 3.8%.Hiidenpalo told IPE: “We are quite happy with our hedge fund allocation, at the moment around 15%.”She said the shift to hedge funds had been an independent decision and not directly related to the reduction in equity or credit market exposure.Seh said Elo was following its dedicated long-term investment strategy on hedge funds.“It is true a market correction has happened, and this may provide some new investment opportunities in equity and credit markets going forward,” she added. Equities overall returned 4.7% between January and September, down from 7.3% over the same period last year, while fixed income made a loss of 0.2% compared with a 3.4% return.Real estate returned 5.8%, up from 4%.Within equities, unlisted equities generated a return of 12.1%, up from 9.7%, while the return on private equity rose to 18.7% from 15.4%.Hedge funds returned 2.2%, down from 5.3% a year earlier.The solvency ratio declined slightly to 23.9% of technical provisions at the end of September from 26.4% at the same point a year before.Elo’s total assets climbed to €20.1bn at the end of September from €19.4bn at the end of September 2014. Finland’s Elo reported a 2.4% return on investments over the first nine months of this year, down from 4.9% in the same period in 2014, and increased its allocation to hedge funds and private equity.In its interim report for January to September, the mutual pensions provider said falls in commodity prices and economic uncertainty in China were reflected in the equity markets, whose decline steepened in August.Hanna Hiidenpalo, Elo’s director and CIO, said: “European equity markets have yielded better returns from the beginning of the year than US markets but declined from the spring highs more than the US.”She said Elo had reduced its equity risk somewhat compared with the beginning of the year. last_img read more

UK roundup: Falling life expectancy could reduce liabilities

first_imgUK pension fund liabilities could fall by up to 2% due to revised mortality figures, according to Willis Towers Watson.New data from the Continuous Mortality Investigation (CMI), which monitors UK longevity trends, showed standardised mortality rates improved by 2.6% a year on average between 2000 and 2011, but since then “have been close to zero”.Stephen Caine, senior consultant at Willis Towers Watson, said: “For some schemes about to embark on new funding negotiations, adopting [new CMI data] could cut life expectancy for a male retiring now by around six months compared with the assumptions made when they last went through this process three years ago. This could represent a reduction in liabilities of up to 2%.”However, Aon Hewitt has warned that the same data could mean some pension schemes finding themselves at the wrong end of poor pricing in the longevity hedging market. Tim Gordon, head of longevity at Aon Hewitt, said: “It is increasingly difficult to argue that the fall off in national mortality improvements since 2011 is simply a blip. However, the underlying picture for pension schemes is complex and, accordingly, a more tempered view is appropriate.”Gordon added that the longevity swap market was “in a state of flux”.“With changing or incomplete data, there remains a risk that schemes considering hedging their longevity risk may end up with poor pricing, or make a decision based on out-of-date information,” he said.In its 2016 update, the CMI said: “Mortality improvements in the general population since 2011 have been unusually low compared to the earlier part of this century.”Figures to the end of December 2016 showed life expectancies at age 65 were 1.3% lower for males and 2% lower for females when compared to 2015 data, the CMI said.Premier Foods reduces pension billPremier Foods, the listed food manufacturer, has reduced its pension spending by £32m for the next three financial years owing to an improvement in its pension schemes’ funding levels.For the three financial years from 2017 to 2020, Premier Foods will pay £107m into its pension schemes, versus £133m under its previous arrangement. In addition, its administration costs are expected to fall by £2m a year due to a contribution from one of the group’s pension schemes.Between 2020 and 2023 the company will pay £114m into its schemes, compared with £101m under the previous arrangement.The owner of popular UK brands including OXO and Mr Kipling revised its deficit reduction payments following a 2016 actuarial valuation. Chief financial officer Alastair Murray said this would allow the company to “focus on maximising the company’s free cash flow generation and debt reduction”.Performance monitor for LGPSKAS Bank is to provide investment performance reporting and monitoring services to the UK’s local government pension schemes (LGPS).The company was appointed through the LGPS’ central framework for tenders, administered by Norfolk County Council.Pat Sharman, managing director for the UK branch of KAS BANK, said: “By providing independent performance measurement, we provide our clients with information that helps them with the governance of their scheme, engage in conversations with their service providers based on unbiased information and, where needed, execute decisions in the interest of all the members of the scheme.”NHS employers to pay pension admin costsEmployers in the National Health Service (NHS) Pension Scheme are to pay an additional 0.08% of pensionable pay towards administration costs, the government has ruled.From 1 April, employer contributions to the unfunded scheme will rise from 14.3% to 14.38%, the UK’s Department of Health announced last week.The NHS Pension Scheme has more than three million members, including 850,000 pensioners.last_img read more