Three climate change-related projects among recipients of Star Family Challenge grants Star-Friedman Challenge for Promising Scientific Research will double to include HMS, HSPH faculty Star Family Challenge backs big ideas in language, health, and astronomy Related Funding the future Created by a gift from James A. Star ’83, the annual Challenge funds high-risk, high-reward research that is unlikely to be funded through other programs — creative pursuits with the potential to contribute to radical new understandings of the world.“The Challenge sits at the center of who we are as a scientific community,” said Randy Buckner, professor of psychology and neuroscience and chairman of the faculty review committee that selects the projects. “As a scientific community we aspire to take risks … What is needed to achieve those aspirations is often simply the means to begin.”“The Star Family Challenge provides innovative projects and new collaborations the chance to test if their ideas are going to work at the very beginning,” he said. “The Challenge is important for the specific projects it is able to fund, but also because it tells the community what we stand for. We value innovation. They highlight that we take risks, and when we cross traditional boundaries the discoveries in one field can have a dramatic impact and change the course of other fields.”Importantly, next year the Challenge’s ability to fund such projects will expand.,With support from Josh Friedman ’76, M.B.A. ’80, J.D. ’82, and Beth Friedman, the Challenge will double in size and expand to include faculty at both Harvard Medical School and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The expanded program will also get a change to its name, becoming the Star-Friedman Challenge for Promising Scientific Research. Related Expanding support for leading research Related Innovative faculty research receives support Star Family Challenge supports cutting-edge research projects It’s been said that scientists see the world differently than most people.For the faculty selected to receive funding through the Star Family Challenge for Promising Scientific Research, sharing their vision means finding ways to make the invisible visible, from the physics of the early universe to the microbes that surround us to the telltale signs of an asteroid strike that changed Earth’s climate. Inquiring minds rewarded Related “Our main result was the detection of this platinum anomaly in the Greenland ice cores, but the nature of it remains uncertain,” Jacobsen said. “Most likely it’s extraterrestrial … but the Antarctic samples will test whether these results are global.”Matt Nock, Samuel Gershman, and J.P. Onnela“Suicide has been around since the beginning of recorded history,” said Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology Nock. “Since there has been history, humans have been perplexed by this problem, and we haven’t gotten very far.”Despite decades of work to understand suicide and self-harm, Nock said, suicide remains the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., and the second leading cause of death among people age 15‒34.“Over the past 100 years, deaths from conditions like gastritis, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and even cancer, … as we make advances in science and medicine, we’ve seen these causes of death drop,” Nock said. “The same is not true for suicide. The rate is literally the same in 2017 as it was in 1917. We just haven’t made any noticeable progress.”One reason for that, Nock said, is that most studies have the wrong focus.,Though research has shown that the risk of suicide skyrockets in the first month after discharge from hospitalization, Nock and colleagues showed that just 0.1 percent of all studies have centered on that timeframe.“We now have the ability to get some real traction here … because, for better or worse, we have all become digital cyborgs,” Nock said. “We all have these digital appendages we’re walking around with that are collecting data on each of us.”Using data collected from smartphone and wearable sensors, Nock said, researchers can develop “digital phenotypes [that] capture very fine-grained data … about how someone’s thoughts and feelings and behavior change when they move into a depressive episode or a manic episode or a suicidal episode. As part of this year’s program, the researchers selected for awards — Cora Dvorkin; Karine Gibbs, and Colleen Cavanaugh; Peter Girguis and Aspen Reese; Stein Jacobsen; and Matthew Nock, Samuel Gershman, and J.P. Onnela — made short presentations about their work to a crowd in the Faculty Room of University Hall.Here’s what they’re working on.Cora DvorkinA fraction of a second after the Big Bang, the universe underwent a period of exponential expansion — known as inflation — that produced gravitational waves. Those waves left telltale signatures in the polarization of the cosmic microwave background, or CMB, a radiation that permeates all of space.If researchers can “read” those patterns, said Dvorkin, assistant professor of physics, it would offer an important window into the physics of the early universe.“About 380,000 years after the Big Bang, protons and electrons combined to form hydrogen, in a process known as recombination,” Dvorkin said. “Today, we detect the photons (that travel towards us freely since then) at microwave frequencies. What we measure in the sky with telescopes all over the world and satellites in space is the temperature fluctuations of photons in different positions. By assessing the statistical properties of these fluctuations, we can infer the physics from the very early universe.”Cora Dvorkin presents her project on separating galactic foregrounds from primordial gravitational waves using machines learning techniques.“A detection of primordial gravitational waves would constitute our most direct probe of the energy scale of the very early universe, and would transform our understanding of fundamental physics,” Dvorkin said. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff PhotographerMaking sense of the polarization patterns of the CMB, however, is easier said than done. Foreground contamination from our own galaxy makes it difficult to isolate background signals.“How do we know if a measurement is primordial?” Dvorkin asked. “We have a potential sign coming from gravitational waves, but we have these galactic foregrounds … which have a signal that is very similar to the signal we are expecting to see.”While researchers have made progress filtering out those foreground elements by using complex statistical methods, Dvorkin, undergraduates Sebastian Wagner-Carena ’18 and Max Hopkins ’18, and graduate student Ana Diaz Rivero hope to use newly developed learning algorithms to improve the process.“A detection of primordial gravitational waves would constitute our most direct probe of the energy scale of the very early universe, and would transform our understanding of fundamental physics,” Dvorkin said. “In addition, it would tell us something about the quantum nature of gravity, since the signal is originated in the quantum fluctuations of space time.“It would also give us a unique window into the highest energy we have ever probed … we could be measuring energies at the level of the grand unified theory model, or 1012 times higher than those probed at the Large Hadron Collider.”Karine Gibbs and Colleen Cavanaugh“When you think of microbes, you can think of them as being divided into three groups,” Gibbs, associate professor of molecular and cellular biology, told the audience. “There are things that are found in the environment, in the soil, or on plants. You can think of microbes as being commensal — organisms that are found in or around us. But when we think of microbes, we also often think of virulence. If you have ever had food poisoning, that is the result of a foreign microbe coming into your gut and taking over.”Karine Gibbs presents a project with Colleen Cavanaugh (not pictured) on determining the switch to virulence in endogenous members of the gut microbiome. “The goal is to ask, for commensal bacteria … are only some strains in some people virulent, or is the case that any strain at any time can become virulent?” Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff PhotographerWhile it is tempting to think that the solution would be simply to identify all the microbes with the potential for causing illness, Gibbs said the uncomfortable truth is that there is evidence that, for some microbes, every strain may have the potential for virulence.To explore that question, she and Cavanaugh, the Edward C. Jeffrey Professor of Biology, plan to study a common microbe found in the gut, Proteus mirabilis. While typically harmless, the microbe can become virulent and cause a variety of infections.“This is a great model, we believe, to test this hypothesis,” Gibbs said. “The goal is to ask, for commensal bacteria … are only some strains in some people virulent, or is the case that any strain at any time can become virulent?”To get at that question, they will combine expertise from Gibbs’ lab with research from Cavanaugh’s lab to look at how bacteria interact.“Using deep genomic sequencing, the isolation of single strains, sequencing of whole genomes, and characterization of phenotypes, we want to ask specific questions,” Gibbs said. “In a healthy person, which bacteria are usually present? When you look at an infected person, do you see different strains, and are there characteristics of these human-associated pathogenic strains that are different?”Peter Girguis and Aspen ReeseIt’s natural to be concerned about the potential impact of microbes on human health. But Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology Girguis told audience members that, on balance, we needn’t be.“The good news is the vast majority of microbes in our biosphere are doing good things for us,” he said. “They produce half the oxygen you breathe, and they fix nitrogen, making it available for living organisms to use. Microbes are the stewards of our Earth … Without them, our biosphere would come to a halt.”Yet despite the importance of microbes, Girguis said researchers know frustratingly little about many of them. Most cannot be cultured in the lab, and in many cases relatively little is understood about their metabolism.,While technologies such as high-throughput sequencing have made it possible to study closely the microbes living today, Girguis said there is still a great deal to be learned by studying microbial populations of the past. To find them, he and Aspen Reese plan to turn to Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology and its thousands of samples — some more than a century old — preserved in formaldehyde and ethanol.The Challenge, said Reese, a junior fellow in the Society of Fellows, is that these “wet” specimens were prepared with an eye toward preserving morphology, not genetic material, “which is a problem because we need to get DNA to identify which microbes are present.”Using techniques developed to “unfold” proteins, Reese and Girguis plan to extract DNA from specimens stored at Harvard and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., and analyze their genetic sequences to see how microbiota may have changed over the last 100-plus years.“For the first time, we’re going to be able to see what microbiomes looked like before 1990, when we started actually doing sequencing analyses,” Reese said. “Secondly, we want to start asking what we can do with museums to help us learn about microbiomes in the future — can we change the way museums take in animal specimens to allow us to ask better questions in the future about how these communities are actually changing over time?”,Stein JacobsenThe end of the last Ice Age marked the start of a millennia-long warming trend on Earth, but approximately 12,000 years ago the process mysteriously reversed, with the planet suddenly returning to near-glacial conditions for more than 1,000 years. Known as the Younger Dryas period, the era is associated with the extinction of creatures like mammoths and mastodons, as well as the end of the Clovis culture, believed to be the first human civilization in North America.What’s not known about the period, said Professor of Geochemistry Jacobsen, is whether the sudden cooling was part of the global climate cycle or was caused by a natural disaster, like an asteroid strike.Stein Jacobson presents his project on solving the Young Dryas mystery. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff PhotographerIn an attempt to answer that question, Jacobsen examined ice cores collected in Greenland and uncovered an anomaly: Unusually high levels of platinum were trapped in the ice at the start of the Younger Dryas.“Platinum concentrations are very low in crustal rock, but relatively high in meteorites,” he said. “There’s so little of it that all the platinum that has ever been mined would easily fit in this room. But what we want to know is whether this platinum anomaly is global.”To do that, Jacobsen worked with other researchers to obtain new samples from Taylor Glacier in Antarctica, which he plans to test using a pair of new, more precise mass spectrometers.“We are prepared to do a much better analysis than we were able to do before,” Jacobsen said. “The mass spectrometer we already have set up in the lab is more sensitive than the last instrument we used by a factor of about 30, and our other new instrument allows for very high prevision isotope ratio measurements. “That allows us to test existing theories using ecologically valid data,” Nock said. “That can help move us toward the Holy Grail of being able to intervene before people become suicidal. If we get good enough at identifying people when they’re most at risk, we can then beam them interventions to their smartphone or social media that can drive down that risk.”Nock, Assistant Professor Gershman of Harvard’s Center for Brain Science, and Onnela of the Harvard Chan School have developed a plan to use smartphone monitoring, wearable sensors, and real-time tests to measure suicidal thinking and collect massive amounts of data on 100 adolescents after their discharge from Franciscan Children’s Hospital in Brighton, Mass. The hope, Nock said, is that the pilot project might lead to future funding for larger, similar efforts.“Our goal here is to use this information to provide a much richer digital and computational phenotype of … what happens during suicidal thoughts and behaviors,” he said. “The upside here if we succeed is potentially huge. This will not only give us a better understanding of what suicidal episodes look like for the first time, it will also help us improve our ability to predict when people’s suicidal thoughts may worsen and when people may actually engage in suicide attempts … and hopefully decrease the loss of life due to suicide.”
Show Closed This production ended its run on April 5, 2015 What’s the first thing you do when you sit down to write? Check email compulsively and answer it exhaustively. Like most writers, I find a million reasons to procrastinate. How do you stay motivated to finish a piece? Usually you are writing to address some psychic struggle you have with yourself or the world, so the motivation is to unravel that riddle for yourself and get to tomorrow feeling you are a better, more whole person. I think that motivation is pretty profound. Name a playwright that influenced you. What’s the nitty, gritty hard work of being a playwright that no one ever told you? Carving out a tenable financial life that allows you to indulge in the most beloved and unremunerative of crafts, which is writing plays. Balancing film and television and teaching jobs so that I can do the one thing I feel I’m truly good at is my greatest challenge. Dare I say it—even after the great privilege of four shows on Broadway and some very welcome moments of recognition beyond my wildest dreams—that remains a daily struggle. Related Shows How do you celebrate when you are finished? A martini with my husband. Posterity What’s your number one research secret? Dial a librarian at the New York Public Library. Did you know they have a 24-hour service, where you can call and get a librarian on the line and ask him or her any research question under the sun and they will get back to you? Isn’t that amazing? God bless the New York Public Library. Because of the topic of this work, which of your works best reflects the legacy you want to leave behind? I’m always in love with the draft that’s in front of me, so I would probably answer this question with whatever draft is most current. Was there a specific event that sparked the idea behind Posterity? I took a trip to Oslo and visited the sculpture studio of Gustav Vigeland. There I saw six plaster casts of a study he did for a bust of Ibsen, and I was really moved by them. The first one was robust with a furious expression and giant mutton chops, and the second one was diminished. In the third one, he’d lost his hair and his eyes were fading. Finally, in the sixth study, it looked like a death mask. I read that the studies were made while Ibsen was desperately ill and his face was transforming due to his infirmity. So Vigeland never completed the definitive bust, but wound up with an amazing study of a man in the last stages of his life. I thought that was an amazing record of Ibsen’s last days and I wanted to write a play inspired by it. What do you miss most about not having another person as the director? Someone to blame. What’s a play that changed your life? What essentials items do you like to have on hand when you write? I have a number of rocks from the beach at Cadeques in Spain, which is where Salvador Dali spent a lot of his childhood and which inspired some of his earliest Surrealist landscapes. I keep them on my desk as talismans. What’s something you think all aspiring playwrights should do? It’s challenging because theater tickets are expensive, but they should compulsively and devotedly go to the theater. See as much as they possibly can. Read as much as they possibly can. Also, I always say to students when I teach, “Write with all the urgency and passion and determination of a really good suicide note.” Let your plays be letters to the world from the deepest part of your soul. View Comments What time of day do you get your best work done? Between 11am and 3pm. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received about writing? The great director Lloyd Richards said, “Write for an audience that is smarter than you.” It’s a good one, right? Doug Wright is a highly decorated playwright and librettist: He won a Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize for I Am My Own Wife and an Obie Award for Quills (for which he also wrote the Golden Globe-nominated screenplay). His book for the musical Grey Gardens received Tony and Drama Desk nominations. His other numerous credits include the book for the musical The Little Mermaid and the TV special Tony Bennett: An American Classic, which won seven Emmy Awards. Now Wright is directing the premiere of his play Posterity at the Atlantic Theatre Company. The scribe invited Broadway.com into the gorgeous penthouse apartment he shares with his husband (singer/songwriter David Clement) to talk Ibsen, secrets of the NYPL and more. What’s your favorite line in Posterity?
Set for July 25-29 at Wahsega 4 H Center in Dahlonega, Ga., the camp is open to youth ages 12–14. The camp is provided at minimal cost through funding from the Office of the Secretary of Defense and through Operation: Military Kids. Campers pay just $20 for the week.The campers will go through the same bag-and-drag experience and deployment line on the first day of camp as their military parents’ experience. They’ll be issued dog tags and an army green T shirt which will serve as their uniform. The campers will wake up at 7 a.m. for their daily exercise regime and eat military rations just like their soldier-parent. Stengthening inside and outThe theme for the week will be an introduction to Georgia 4-H and learning skills to better communicate the issues of military life. Campers participate in adventure activities like whitewater rafting, spelunking, zip-line riding and wall climbing.”The kids participate in many unique and adventurous activities not offered at other 4 H camps across our state,” said Marcus Eason, the Georgia Operation: Military Kids program coordinator. “They’ll go on a three-hour tour of Raccoon Mountain Caverns and then roll out their sleeping bags, turn out their headlamps and spend the night in one of the many rooms of the cave,” he said. “All this happens after a long day of whitewater rafting down the Ocoee River in Tennessee.” Wearing dog tags and eating powdered eggs may not sound like typical 4-H camp activities. But then again, Georgia 4-H’s military kids camp isn’t your standard camp.Operation Military Kids High Adventure Camp is a week of 4 H camp designed for children of military families. The camp is open to children whose parents are currently deployed, soon to be deployed or have recently returned from deployment by the Active, Reserve, or Guard components, and is available to all service branches. Practically free Focus on “suddenly military”The OMK camp will benefit children of parents who are “suddenly military,” he said. “Suddenly military kids are those who, prior to this experience, have never experienced their Guard or Reserve parent being deployed,” Eason said. “While the camp is open to all military youths, it will especially support youths who don’t live on military installations.” In the past, these children’s parents have been soldiers who served their country by spending one weekend a month or one week training each summer away from home, he said.This is the sixth year the military kids camp will be held innorth Georgia. To make attending more convenient for working parents, the camp will begin on Sunday and end on Thursday, so parents transporting their kids to Wahsega 4-H Center won’t have to miss two days of work, he said. McIntosh County 4-H will provide a school bus to transport campers from Fort Stewart. “We not only are recruiting military youths for camp, but are also seeking energized adults to volunteer for the week of camp,” Eason said.For questions about camp or to volunteer as an adult leader, e-mail Eason at email@example.com or call him at (706) 542-4444. For more information on the Georgia OMK program visit the website www.georgia4h.org/omk/
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A 25-year-old Freeport man was killed when he crashed his car in Merrick early Saturday morning.Nassau County police said John Dabney was driving a Nissan Altima westbound on Sunrise Highway when he struck the guard rail, causing the vehicle to overturn near the corner of Lansdowne Avenue shortly before 5 a.m.Dabney was taken to Nassau University Medical Center where, he was pronounced dead eight hours later.
By Ginger Thompson and Marcelo Rochabrun, ProPublicaLeer en español.Buried deep in the Trump administration’s plans to round up undocumented immigrants is a provision certain to enrage Mexico — new authority for federal agents to deport anyone caught crossing the southern border to Mexico, regardless of where they are from.If present immigration trends continue, that could mean the United States would push hundreds of thousands of Guatemalans, Hondurans, Salvadorans, Brazilians, Ecuadorans, even Haitians into Mexico. Currently, such people are detained in the U.S. and allowed to request asylum.President Trump wants them to do so from Mexico, communicating via videoconference calls with U.S. immigration officials from facilities that Mexico would presumably be forced to build.“This would say if you want to make a claim for asylum or whatever we’ll hear your case but you are going to wait in Mexico,” a DHS official said. “Those are details that are being worked out both within the department and between the US government and the government of Mexico … there are elements that still need to be worked out in detail.Kelly and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will travel to Mexico later this week to meet with representatives of the Mexican government. It remains unclear if they will discuss this issue.The new authority for immigration agents is among the dramatic, some would say untenable, tactics the Trump administration is preparing to deploy as it upends President Obama’s policies on illegal immigration.A pair of memos signed by John Kelly, the Homeland Security secretary, and publicly released on Tuesday outline the plans for what present and former government officials say will be a massive roundup of undocumented immigrants. Near final drafts of the memos had leaked over the weekend and had been first reported by McClatchy.Officials disclosed that two former Senate aides to Attorney General Jeff Sessions drafted the plan without input from career DHS policy staffers. The ideas aren’t new. Many of the approaches described in the memos come from a 1996 law that policy makers and law enforcement agents had disregarded as either unenforceable or absurd.“Most of these provisions of law have been there for decades,” the DHS official said. “We are simply trying to execute what Congress has asked us to do.”Among them was the Mexico part of the plan, for example, which calls for returning undocumented immigrants “to the foreign contiguous territory from which they arrived.” The memo goes on to point out how foisting the immigrants onto Mexico would benefit DHS’s budget, saying that it would, “save the Department’s detention and adjudication resources for other priority aliens.” However, former senior Mexican and American immigration officials said it could very well create new security problems along the border, as authorities in each country push unwanted migrants back and forth.The American Immigration Lawyers Association said that the proposal would violate U.S. law and international treaty obligations. Mexico is as likely to embrace the plan as it did the notion of paying for a wall. “I would expect Mexico to respond with an emphatic ‘No,’” said Gustavo Mohar, a former senior Mexican immigration and national security policy official.Whether viable or not, the Trump administration’s deportation plans mark a dramatic departure from decades of policy and practice. Current and former immigration policy officials say that while the details of how the administration intends to carry out the plans remain unclear — if not insurmountable — the administration’s overall message to enforcement agents across the country is clear: the limits have been lifted.President Obama attempted to focus enforcement efforts on immigrants who had been convicted of serious crimes, and on those who were caught while or shortly after illegally entering the country. Still, his administration deported record numbers of immigrants, most of whom had only been accused of minor crimes and immigration violations.The Trump administration says it, too, is focused on deporting criminals, but it has redefined crimes to include any activity that might bring a conviction, including entering the U.S. without permission. Effectively, that makes virtually everyone in the U.S. without a proper visa subject to roundup at their workplace or home.“If you are present in the U.S. without being admitted or paroled or having overstayed your visa, the immigration laws of the U.S. subject you to removal,” the DHS official said. “Everyone who is in violation of the laws is theoretically subject to enforcement. The Department has limited resources and we will, to the extent that we can, focus on folks who have committed serious crimes.”The only clear exception, according to the enforcement plan and the DHS briefing, is for immigrants who were illegally brought to the U.S. as children, known as Dreamers.“Anyone who complained about Obama as the deporter-in-chief,” said David Martin, formerly DHS’s principal deputy general counsel, “is unfortunately going to get a taste of what it’s like when someone is really gung-ho.”Greg Chen, the policy director at AILA, said the Trump plan would “effectively unleash a massive deportation force with extremely broad authority to use detention as the default mechanism for anyone suspected of violating immigration law.”The question looming over the proposals is how many of them, with all their legal and logistical obstacles, will the president actually be able to carry out.The memos, for example, authorize the Border Patrol to hire 5,000 new agents, even though the force has never been able to fill the slots it has already been allotted. Some 60 percent of applicants to the Border Patrol fail the required polygraph, and those who pass take 18 months to get sent out into the field.The Trump plan calls for the expansion of a George W. Bush-era program, known as 287g, which allows DHS to deputize state and local police as immigration agents. It was touted after 9/11 as a critical “force-multiplier.” But by 2010, some of the country’s largest police departments were refusing to participate because they believed it would shatter the trust between their officers and the communities they were sworn to protect. Meanwhile, participating agencies, which foot the bill for the program, were suddenly saddled with new debts and hounded by accusations of racial profiling and other abuse, forcing the Obama administration to suspend expansion of the program.Until now, the enforcement of summary deportation laws, known as “expedited removal,” have been limited to those apprehended within 14 days of illegally entering the country and within 100 miles of Canada or Mexico. The memos signed by Kelly would allow use of those laws anywhere in the country against anyone who entered illegally within the past two years.Lucas Guttentag, a former DHS adviser and Stanford law professor, said this would “unleash chaos,” violate due process, and meet challenges in court, similar to those that scuttled the administration’s travel ban.There would also be aggressive challenges, lawyers said, to plans that would allow immigration agents to deport unaccompanied minor children who crossed the border illegally, rather than uniting them with parents or other relatives in the U.S.The reason for discussing unaccompanied minors is ” that they have been abandoned by their parents or legal guardians,” the DHS official said. If it is “determined that there is a parent or guardian in the U.S. that they can be handed over to, then DHS needs to take a hard look over whether that person is actually” an unaccompanied minor.“There will be a renewed focus on ensuring that folks don’t abuse the system,” the DHS official added.They also expect legal opposition to a proposal that would strip undocumented immigrants of existing privacy protections, allowing personal information such as asylum cases or immigration violations to be publicly disclosed.“We want to ensure that our privacy policies are consistent with the law,” the DHS official said. “The Privacy Act applies by statute to citizens” and green card holders. “The President has asked us to align our laws with what congress has directed.”“The Trump people have clearly bought into the model of harsh enforcement. They apparently think, ‘we’ll be tough, and a lot of people will leave on their own,’” said Martin, an immigration law professor at the University of Virginia. “They believe they’ll win in the court of public opinion. I’m not sure about that. A lot of Americans know hard-working undocumented immigrants. The kind of enforcement Trump’s people are talking about will visibly create many more sympathetic cases than unsympathetic ones.”Some of the provisions explicitly acknowledge that it could take years before DHS has the manpower and money to pull off what the president has ordered. Immigration enforcement agents, however, have already begun filling the policy void by launching raids and deportations, including some that advocates worry are meant to test the limits. Meanwhile panic has taken hold in many immigrant communities.“The level of fear is more than anything we’ve ever seen,” said Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. She said the plan’s sweep, “sent a chill to my bones,” because it threatens to do irreparable harm to millions of families. She added, “This all seems aimed at changing who we are as a nation.”ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter. Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York
by: Robin ReminesAccording to the January NCUA Report, “In 2015, NCUA will redouble its efforts to ensure that the credit union system is adequately protected from cyber threats. Field staff will be reviewing credit unions’ ability to manage information security, including their capacity to detect cyber-attacks and perform sound due diligence with regard to any third-parties that handle credit union data.”And if that’s not enough to get your blood pressure up, the report emphasizes that cyber security is among the three supervisory priorities for 2015 (interest rate risk and BSA Compliance are the other two).And to keep it interesting – NCUA will also be focusing on credit unions’ ability to recovery from a security breach – in other words – where is your Incident Response Program?It is clear that NCUA isn’t taking cyber risks lightly. And while the attention is warranted, credit union CIO’s are left without specific guidelines on what specifically “adequately protected” means. This reminds me of when I was a VP/IT at a credit union and NCUA required a pandemic plan. We all knew we needed a plan yet were left wondering if our efforts would really be effective if that scenario was played out. continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr “The best defense is a good offense” is a quote variously attributed to a legendary football coach, military theorist, or boxer, but it’s also now Kevin Ryan’s strategy for member service in the time of COVID-19 at Financial Center First Credit Union($609.9M, Indianapolis, IN).The president and CEO of the Hoosier State cooperative said his team first went on the defensive as the coronavirus pandemic clamped down on his membership and everyone else participating in the U.S. economy.“We were asking ourselves a lot of defensive questions,” Ryan says. “How do we handle this? How can we keep branches open? Then, we got to the point where we had to play offense.”To do that, Financial Center asked one simple question: What do members really need from us?
The investment and development company JTH Costabella organized a ceremonial tour of the completed rough construction works of the Costabella hotel resort yesterday, at which the signing of the property management contract between JTH Costabella and the renowned hotel company Hilton was held. After Dubrovnik and Zagreb, Hilton is also coming to Rijeka. The future hotel resort will have five stars, and the amount of investment has grown from the initial 40 million euros to as much as 80 million euros. The resort will have 132 rooms and 66 suites, all with balconies or terraces and views of the Kvarner Bay. Also, guests will have access to a private sandy beach as well as rich wellness facilities that include two swimming pools, a large spa, sports facilities and a fitness center. Furthermore, the resort will offer six restaurants, a beach bar and a rooftop restaurant, which will allow guests to enjoy the beautiful sea view. All engineering and earthworks under the sea should be completed by June 15, so that the sea water does not become cloudy during the bathing season. The hotel should receive its first guests under the name “Hilton Costabella Beach Resort & Spa” in May 2020. Minister of Tourism Gari Capelli pointed out that such investments best show the way in which Croatian tourism should be developed. The Mayor of Rijeka, Vojko Obersnel, expressed great satisfaction that this large hotel complex will receive its first guests in the middle of 2020, at a time when Rijeka is the European Capital of Culture and expects an increased arrival of guests. “We can boast of the fact that in recent years we have an increase in arrivals and overnight stays in the city at an annual rate of 20% and what we chronically lack are precisely the accommodation capacity. Therefore, I am especially pleased that this resort will be built soon, and I am especially pleased that it will be part of the Hilton hotel chain.”Said Mayor Obersnel. The co-owner of the company JTH Costabella, Jaroslav Trešnjak, reminded that exactly two years ago, the cornerstone was laid for the future hotel resort. “I am convinced that the cooperation of our company with the world-famous hotel group will be of great importance for the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County and will definitely affect the increase in the number of overnight stays and the growth of the tourism industry in our region.Said Tresnjak. The last phase of construction follows, ie the installation of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, cooling, gas, water and sewage distribution, electrical distribution and other technical equipment in the main hotel building and villas. The construction of an outdoor swimming pool, which is connected to the main hotel building by a glazed elevator, is also underway. Hilton Executive Director for Southern Europe Alan Mantin pointed out that tourism in Croatia is experiencing a strong upward trend. “When we open the Hilton Costabella Beach Resort & Spa next year, it will be one of the top hotels in this part of Europe. We are convinced that the Hilton brand will contribute to the recognition of this part of Croatia, as well as the recognition of Croatia on the international market. We hope that infrastructure, such as Rijeka Airport, will follow our momentumSaid Mantin.
Hermes EOS is wholly owned by Hermes Investment Management, the asset manager created by the £40.2bn BT Pension Scheme.Elsewhere, the Government Pension Fund Norway has begun tendering for three financial management consultancy firms to join its new four-year framework agreement.The NOK185.7bn (€21.5bn) sovereign fund said it required consultancy services in relation to the administration of the fund, with successful firms providing data and analysis for investment strategies, responsible investment practices and framework follow-ups.The fund produced an annual return of nearly 11% over 2014, with strong equity growth offsetting a decline in the oil price.The Oslo Stock Exchange was down 5.5% over the end of the fourth quarter – with energy-sector stocks falling in value by 25% – but nevertheless finished the year up by 5% due to the consumer and materials sectors. Consultancy Towers Watson has appointed stewardship overlay firm Hermes EOS to assist the company on its fiduciary management activities.Hermes EOS will engage on ESG matters on behalf of Towers Watson’s global fiduciary management business, which currently has around $75bn (€69bn) in assets under management.The stewardship firm normally engages companies on ESG matters with regards to public policy and also on social matters such as wages, health and safety and corruption.Towers Watson is its first fiduciary management client and now acts on behalf of £134bn (€183bn) of assets.