Importance of stem cell research

first_imgA temporary restraining order that blocked federal funding for certain kinds of stem cell research was viewed by many as a blow to cutting-edge science that already is yielding clues to cures for a number of fatal illnesses and chronic diseases. Harvard has been in the vanguard of such research, and the University, as a member of the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research, supported an amicus brief filed last Friday (Sept. 3), urging the court to lift the restraining order imposed in Sherley v. Sebelius. The day before that brief was filed, Harvard President Drew Faust visited one of the University’s stem cell labs, and today (Sept. 7) she issued the following:In a recent visit to the laboratory of Doug Melton, co-director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, I was reminded of the remarkable ingenuity and commitment by this extraordinary team of scientists, and their dedication to improving lives. Stem cell research has emerged as one of the most important new areas of human biology. Although the effort is still young, it promises to help us treat and someday even find cures for diseases such as diabetes, ALS, Parkinson’s, and leukemia.This vital work is now in jeopardy because of a recent court injunction halting the use of federal funds to pursue embryonic stem cell research. We hope that the temporary injunction will soon be lifted and that Congress will take the steps necessary to ensure that stem cell scientists can carry on their work vigorously and responsibly, in the interests of the millions of people who may someday enjoy its benefits.Harvard strongly supports its stem cell researchers, and we are deeply grateful for the generosity of the many private donors who will remain critical to sustaining our efforts. But without the flow of essential federal funds, the promise of stem cell science is at risk of becoming a dream deferred — and, for some, a dream undone.last_img read more

Staffing up in Allston

first_imgStone Hearth Pizza, Allston’s newest restaurant, is working with the city of Boston and Harvard University to help local residents have a good shot at being hired for the restaurant’s 25 to 35 new jobs.On Monday (June 27), Harvard University and the city of Boston’s Allston-Brighton Resource Center hosted a job fair to connect residents with Stone Hearth’s hiring managers. More than 50 residents attended. It was one in a series of job fairs geared toward linking local residents with new Harvard tenants, which are bringing more than 100 jobs to the neighborhood.While making and serving good food and buying local and organic food whenever possible are central to Stone Hearth Pizza’s mission, the customer experience is equally as important, officials there say.“We’re here because building a team is one of the most important things that we do,” said Jonathan Schwarz, co-founder of locally owned Stone Hearth Pizza, who is seeking full- and part-time employees, including managers, hostesses, waiters, cooks, and other workers. The restaurant is preparing to open for business in the former Citgo station in Barry’s Corner in late summer. “It’s humbling to be in a position to provide job opportunities to people in this difficult economy,” Schwarz said after meeting one-on-one with dozens of people.The job fair was a four-hour marathon of briefings and interviews for Schwarz, as well as for Melissa Klein, the operations manager, Michael Ehlenfeldt, general manager and executive chef, and Alex Chamberlain, marketing director. Several candidates they saw were very qualified; some had been seeking jobs for some time. The managers said they want employees who care about their jobs, love customer service, and enjoy working in a team. Most restaurants have a high turnover rate, but Stone Hearth’s is half that of similar restaurants, the company says.“I was impressed with Jonathan and his team … there is a certain charisma with this team, and I can relate,” said Rena Foley, a member of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, who hopes to land a post as a greeter/hostess. “I’m excited about this opportunity.”The Stone Hearth session was the second in the job fair series, which also provides pre-session briefings, resume reviewing, and interview practice. The Allston-Brighton Resource Center and the Harvard Allston Workforce Collaborative hosted an employment session in May for Winter Garden Adult Day Care. Upcoming sessions include Maki Maki and Swiss Bakers.“We have hoped that new Harvard tenants in Allston would result in new jobs for Allston residents — tonight’s job fair is a big step forward in that regard,” said Christine Heenan, vice president of Harvard Public Affairs & Communications. “These jobs are important, particularly in this economy, and we see this as an opportunity to integrate Stone Hearth and other new tenants into the fabric of the community from day one.”As for Foley, who is well-known through her parish and volunteer work at the McNamara House, the evening produced a promising link.“Who could say no to Sister Rena Foley,” said Schwarz.last_img read more

Notre Dame names Stephen Schafer first salutatorian in 45 years

first_imgSenior Stephen Schafer, the University’s first salutatorian in 45 years, said he never had a preconceived notion of what he was going to do during the four years leading up to graduation.“I would say if anything defines my time at Notre Dame, it would be embracing uncertainty and diving into unknown places,” he said.Hugh Page, vice president and associate provost, dean of the First Year of Studies and chair of the valedictorian selection committee, said naming a salutatorian allows the University to “recognize in a more formal way two outstanding seniors” who will “represent the virtues and ideals animating a Notre Dame undergraduate education.”Schafer, a native of Edgewood, Kentucky, has a 4.00 cumulative grade point average and will graduate with degrees in finance and economics, according to a University press release. Schafer was also a Malpass Scholar, a merit-based award that provides students with the opportunity to learn and be involved with the process of managing the University’s endowment, the press release said.Schafer was a project leader for the Student International Business Council (SIBC) and Investment Club and a senior mentor for the Wall Street Club, the press release said. He spent the summer of 2013 studying abroad in China and participated in the two-week Ireland Inside Track program in the summer of 2014.After graduation, Schafer has plans to travel to Asia and Europe, he said. He will then go to work in investment banking at Goldman Sachs in New York City, where he interned during his undergraduate career.Before college, Schafer said he knew he wanted to go into finance, but he did not know what type of job he wanted to do.“I think that I came in and was open to a wide variety of experiences and took part in a lot of different events, a lot of different clubs,” he said. “Through that, I was able to experience basically everything in finance from wealth management to sales and trading, to investment banking and private equity.”Schafer said he learned early on how to manage his time efficiently and effectively.“I hit my athletic prime back in seventh grade — and since then, I started focusing on academics,” he said with a laugh. “If I wanted to just get away, I do that by studying.”A defining part of his time at Notre Dame, Schafer said, was his friendships with Notre Dame football players Sheldon Day and Ronnie Stanley.“We all met freshman year and ended up becoming roommates,” Schafer said. “… Last week, both of them got drafted into the NFL, and I was named salutatorian. … It’s a uniquely Notre Dame story.”Schafer said he strove to divide his time equally between his academics and his social life.“A lot of it just comes down to time management, which I think I did very successfully throughout college,” he said. “It may have been at the sacrifice of some sleep, but I would say I have a pretty balanced life in terms of going out and going to sporting events and what not.“ … Throughout my time here, it was more like I was jumping into everything — and wherever it takes me, it takes me,” he said. “It’s something I’m very happy I did and something I want to continue to do.”Tags: Commencement 2016, salutatorian, Stephen Schaferlast_img read more

Harry Potter’s Tom Felton Says He Wants to Come to Broadway

first_img So, what kind of shows does he have in mind for his Broadway or West End debut? “I was in love with Blood Brothers…Jersey Boys, a lot of musicals.” Oh, good, so he does sing! Hey, we still think he’d be great finding his corner of the sky in Pippin. Oh, did we mention that the team actually doubles as casting directors and prophets? Harry Potter bad boy Tom Felton revealed that he wants to sing on stage…eventually. “It’s definitely a dream of mine to be on Broadway and the West End as well,” the English actor told Buzzfeed. We’re right there with you, Felton! “For me, it’s tough commitment wise,” Felton admitted about his stage aspirations, “because you have to commit for such a long time…hopefully when the right opportunity comes, I’ll jump at the chance.” View Comments Last week, reported that Rupert Grint will make his Broadway debut in It’s Only a Play. With Harry Potter headliner Daniel Radcliffe currently on the Great White Way in The Cripple of Inishmaan and his right-hand man in the wings, we dream-cast some of our other favorite Harry Potter alums, including Draco Malfoy himself.last_img read more

Racism, Guns, Violence: South Carolina Shooting Highlights America’s Demons

first_img[dropcap]R[/dropcap]ev. Craig Robinson, the pastor of the nearly 150-year-old Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Bay Shore, was walking out of Bible study class Wednesday when tragic news blared from his phone.Nine people killed inside historic Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Pastor among the dead. White gunman on the loose.“My knee-jerk reaction was confusion,” Robinson, 29, recalled.His brief moment of disorientation quickly descended into anguish.Robinson then became succumbed by “profound numbness,” he said.The nine people fatally shot by a 21-year-old gunman ranged in age from 26 to 87. They were participating in Bible study class—a common weekly event in African Methodist Episcopal churches, formed after the American Revolution by African Americans peacefully protesting racism at a Methodist church in Philadelphia. Burned down by white supremacists, Emanuel A.M.E. Church was rebuilt in 1834, rising out of the ashes like a phoenix—staring hate in the face and becoming a symbol of determination and hope for generations of its devout parishioners, now numbering 3 million worldwide.The alleged gunman, Dylann Storm Roof, who was captured in North Carolina following a tip from a brave florist, mingled among the living inside the church where Booker T. Washington and Martin Luther King Jr. once spoke, and, according to police, opened fire after about an hour. He reloaded as many as five times, police said. The .45-caliber pistol, according to his uncle, was a gift from his father.The shooting brings to the fore once more the divisive debate about gun violence in America as well as the state of race relations in this country. The backdrop: South Carolina, where a confederate flag defiantly soars above its State House—the same flag emblazoned on Roof’s license plate, according to reports.Fueled by racism, enabled by what some deem lax national gun laws, and committed in a house of worship revered as a historical refuge and stronghold from the prejudice and bigotry unleashed—often violently—against the African American community since Emanuel A.M.E. Church’s 1816 founding, Wednesday’s mass slayings resonated deep with local civil rights leaders, gun control advocates, and the leaders of LI’s own African Methodist Episcopalian congregation.“This was a horrific violation of rights on all levels,” Frederick Brewington, an outspoken Hempstead-based civil rights attorney and board member of Syosset-based nonprofit Erase Racism, told the Press. “And it took me back to the type of attacks that we as a country had seen when we saw the bombing of the 16th Street [Baptist] Church, when four little girls were killed, an attack on a religious institution.“The underlying factors of race being a motivated factor for this gentleman was particularly disturbing,” he said.Roof, who was pictured in Facebook photos with South African apartheid-era patches on his clothes, allegedly spewed hate-filled venom as his victims desperately sought answers.“You are raping our women and taking over the country,” Roof allegedly told one of his victims amid the violence.On Friday, one day after his capture and extradition back to South Carolina, Roof was charged with nine counts of murder for a shooting spree that some have equated to a modern-day lynching.The FBI is investigating the shooting rampage as a hate crime.Photos from Roof’s perp walk show him sneering.Meanwhile, a nation is in mourning—yet again.A CALMING PRESENCE LOSTAmong the dead in the Wednesday evening massacre was the church’s pastor, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, also a South Carolina state senator.Robinson knew Pinckney. He had met the venerable pastor around the time he began running for state senate. Robinson came away impressed. He still remembers the moment Pinckney handed him his card.“A really charismatic presence,” Robinson said of the slain pastor. “A very commanding presence.”They weren’t extremely close, but the pair had mutual respect for one another.“When I realized that he had passed away, that he was one of the ones murdered, it definitely did touch me in a different way because I could share in the story.“I, too, was touched by his [life] even in a very small way,” he said. View image | Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York View image | It’s times like these that parishioners would seek out Pinckney for guidance, as they did following the recent police shooting that led to the death of 50-year-old Walter Scott, an unarmed black man in South Carolina.“Today, the nation looks at South Carolina and is looking at us to see if we will rise to be the body, and to be the state that we really say that we are,” Pinckney had told his state senate colleagues. “Over this past week, many of us have seen on the television, have read in newspapers, and have seen all the reports about Walter Scott, who, in my words, was murdered in North Charleston. It has really created a real heartache and a yearning for justice for people, not just in the African American community, but for all people, and not just in the Charleston area, or even in South Carolina, but across our country.”Now it’s up to others like Robinson to uncover a sliver of hope in the face of immense pain and to lift the spirits of those torn apart by the recent intersection of racism and gun violence, an unenviable task.Robinson is Bethel’s chief theologian, yet he continues to participate in weekly Bible study.“I learn things from my congregation all the time and I preach about it in my sermon,” he said.It’ll be at this Sunday’s sermon where he intends to address Wednesday’s unconscionable tragedy.Such unexplainable incidents can be “unnerving, disorienting, and confusing,” he conceded. “It can incite fear and doubt in a lot of people’s minds.”Despite the progress America has made in the 150 years since the end of the Civil War and the decades since the civil rights movement, the country may still have to look to its past in order to crack away at the underlying issues that breed intolerance and prejudice and open it up to sunlight for all to see, community leaders said.America, Robinson said, has yet to confront its “birth defect.”“This nation is built on the three-fifths law in the Constitution; this nation is built, especially the Southern part of this nation—if we really take the history of this country seriously—it was built on the backs of slavery.“The Western part of this county was built on the backs of Native Americans, Mexican and Chinese immigrants, who were thought to be subhuman and only good for labor—that is the history of America.“Slavery built the nation’s capital,” he continued. “At the very core of America’s invention and creation there is this clear prejudice against people of color, and that’s part of America’s original birth defect.”Brewington, Long Island’s prominent civil rights attorney, also believes it’s time for America to engage in deep reflection, however shameful the flaws may be.Now may be the time to have an “open and frank and respectful discussion about our historical underpinnings,” he said. “And the fact that we are built on a foundation that structured itself on the most vicious form of human bondage known to man.”Slavery, racial segregation under Jim Crow, that “was our history,” Brewington added. “We were all part of it, either we supported it, we did nothing about it, or we were the victims of it, and that’s where we need to start.”As it typically is with race, such a conversation won’t be comfortable. Nor should it be, said Robinson.“I don’t think there will ever be a time when talking about race and its effect on all people involved is ever going to be a comfortable conversation,” he said.“It’s going to be uncomfortable,” Robinson added.“I think there’s real courage when you do the thing that is uncomfortable,” he continued. “That is part of what courage is about. It’s facing the uncomfortable thing with a certain level of fortitude.”Those seeking inspiration need look no further than the founding of the very congregation where nine God-loving people drew their final breaths.Roughly 11 years after America gained independence, a former Delaware slave named Richard Allen decided he had just about had enough. Protesting segregation at St. George’s Methodist Church in Philadelphia, Allen and a group known as the Free African Society staged a walkout.Thus, the African Methodist Episcopal Church was born.Their act of defiance spread to other major cities across the Northeast. By the 1800s, an African Methodist Episcopal Church was formed in Harlem, where it still stands tall.It was a tumultuous time, and expansion came at a cost.A group of white supremacists burned Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston to the ground. Instead of living life in fear, the congregation rebuilt the church in 1834.Out of the ashes, the movement grew. In 1865, Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Bay Shore was formed.In 2016, the entire A.M.E. church will celebrate its bicentennial. Its two-century old mission remains as relevant as ever.AMERICA’S SCOURGEFormer Democratic congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy seen in the film “The Long Island Railroad Massacre: 20 Years Later.”Carolyn McCarthy’s 17-year career in Congress was defined by tragedy.The 1993 Long Island Rail Road Massacre killed her husband and permanently injured her son.Then a nurse, McCarthy decided a career change was in order. Her desired destination: the halls of Congress.The former Democratic congresswoman last year decided not to seek reelection after a long battle with cancer.The issue that spurred her into action, gun control, however, remains very much on her mind.McCarthy said she sympathized with President Obama, who appeared frustrated with the lack of progress on gun control during his remarks on the Charleston shooting.“I understand how the President felt because certainly I felt that way for a lot of years when we thought we had a bill that could pass, going way back to Columbine and even before that,” McCarthy told the Press.“It’s just common sense, but this country is just not ready for it,” she conceded. “It breaks my heart when I see what happened in a church.”Although law enforcement in recent years have been focused on Islamic terrorism, it’s mass shootings that have claimed far more lives.In 2014, for example, 30 mass shootings in the United States killed four or more people, resulting in 136 deaths, according to the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security at Duke University.Tom Goodhue, executive director of Long Island Council of Churches, isn’t so sure gun control measures would’ve prevented the alleged gunman from carrying out his plan in South Carolina.“What we haven’t begun to think about…is how do we secure gun safety?” Goodhue said. “All of the gun control legislation in the world doesn’t help you much if a father gives a troubled young man a .45.”“Newtown happened with a gun purchased legally by the mother and stored in an unlocked gun cabinet,” he added.McCarthy more than anyone else understands the minefield that is gun control. It was never her intention to infringe on Americans’ right to own a gun, she said. But accessories like high-capacity magazines, which enable someone to fire off dozens of bullets in seconds, trouble her. Oftentimes before law enforcement arrives, the carnage is over.The former Congresswoman said that taking away Americans’ right to bear arms will never happen. “It’s in the Constitution that they’re allowed to own guns,” she said. “But I think the majority of gun owners agree that there are people that shouldn’t have a gun.“The battle will continue.”Robinson said the problem goes even deeper than gun control and racism. It’s America’s propensity for violence that also spurs such incidents like the one in Charleston.“Guns aren’t the problem, and controlling them isn’t necessarily going to do anything, but what is the problem is that the culture of violence in this country and around the world and in human nature allows us to devalue human life.”He often thinks back to something one of his favorite theologians once said: “Violence comes when we cease to see another person as human.”“This is a human question,” he said. “There’s no reason you need to kill a deer in the forest. Most people in this county aren’t living a subsistence lifestyle, so it’s for sport.”“We don’t value life,” Robinson added. “And no amount of gun control laws is going to make a human value life more, and that’s where I think the church is going to have to step in.”And so it’s up to houses of worship—the very place where evil reared itself once again—to be a place of healing.Goodhue doesn’t quite know what churches, synagogues, and mosques can say or do to repair shattered hearts.“There’s a pathology at large here that’s far beyond simple healing,” he said. “This is far more complex healing…we all have some work to do in all of this.”It’s possible that the nation will derive strength from the individuals suffering the most. On Friday, several members of the victims said they forgive the alleged shooter.“I still have hope,” said Robinson. “As a minister, as a follower of Jesus, as a person of faith, I still believe that goodness is possible. I still believe that these types of courageous conversations can happen and do happen…I am confident that peace is possible because I have peace. And it starts with each individual finding that place of peace and sharing it with your neighbor.”–With Jaime Franchi and Christopher Twarowskilast_img read more

Marriott plans £500m sale and management deals

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‘Today is wonderful’: Relief in Lagos as lockdown ends

first_imgFrom lockdown to curfew The stay-at-home order applied to Lagos, neighboring Ogun state and the Nigerian national capital Abuja.But in the face of mounting social distress and discontent, President Muhammadu Buhari last week ordered a “phased and gradual easing,” replacing the lockdown with an overnight curfew.The relaxation has triggered deep concern in some quarters, given how easily the coronavirus spread and the poor state of Nigeria’s health system.According to official figures, nearly 2,500 cases of coronavirus have been recorded in Nigeria, leading to 87 deaths.But as elsewhere, the true scale of the epidemic could be much greater, given the paucity of testing.In the northern state of Kano, investigators determined that a spate of fatalities — previously described as “mysterious deaths” by the authorities — was largely caused by COVID-19.”Coronavirus is presently the major cause of the mass deaths in Kano,” Nasiru Sani Gwarzo, whose team carried out door-to-door research, said on Sunday.Gwarzo did not provide a figure for the fatalities, although gravediggers say they have been burying dozens of corpses per day.Kano had seen a series of high-profile deaths including academics, bureaucrats, businessmen and traditional leaders. Africa’s biggest city, Lagos, got back to work on Monday at the end of a five-week coronavirus lockdown.In the metropolis of 20 million, where exuberance and poverty live side by side, relief at being able to earn money once again was almost palpable, despite Nigeria’s mounting COVID-19 toll.All shops seemed to be open, car parks were full and hawkers selling cool drinks, grilled meat and vegetables were pitching their wares on street corners as before, AFP reporters said. Nigeria follows South Africa, the continent’s other economic giant, which returned to work on Friday. Rwanda, a fast-expanding economy in East Africa, partially ended a strict six-week-long lockdown on Monday. Adewale Oluwa reopened his fruit and vegetable stall, carefully setting out a fine array of tomatoes. By 10 am, his customers were out in force and laughter was in the air as old acquaintances spotted each other.”We were so impatient” for the confinement to end, Oluwa said. “Today is wonderful.”Minibus stations were as busy as before the lockdown, although touts wore masks as they called out to passengers.center_img ‘Month of hunger’ Many people said they were glad to be back earning money — upwards of 83 million of Nigeria’s nearly 200 million population live on the equivalent of less than $1 per day, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in a report on Monday.For those without savings or working in the informal sector, the lockdown was a cruel blow. “It was really a big loss,” Oluwa said.”You know, we sell perishable [food], so we need to open every day. So to lock down for weeks was [a] big issue for us.”Bus driver Ganiyu Ayinla said: “It’s been over one month of hunger and suffering.”I can now make money to take care of my family,” he said, smiling as he braked at a busy stop to pick up passengers. From the Ajegunle Tollgate, an area bordering Ogun State, a long queue of passengers waited to board.Security agents and transport union officials were on hand to ensure drivers complied with directives requiring social distance, face masks, hand washing and use of hand sanitizers before boarding.”We will only allow passengers with a nose mask to enter. And only drivers that make provision for water, soap and hand sanitizers for their passengers can operate. Buses are also required to carry not more than 60 percent of their capacity,” a police officer who gave his name as George, told AFP.He said his team had prevented some 50 buses flouting the order on Monday morning.Huge numbers of people rushed to the reopened banks to get money — many did not have an ATM card to withdraw from a cash machine.”Look at this mess, there’s no social distancing,” said a driver, Anderson Kiagbodo, observing hundreds of people milling outside a branch of GT Bank, with security guards standing impotently nearby.”Don’t be surprised if the spread of the virus explodes after this.” Topics :last_img read more

Joseph Mariathasan: The problem with commodities

first_imgThe first is the changes in the headline spot prices of the commodities. The second is the return on the collateral used to back up investment in futures by an institutional investor that typically would not be leveraging its investment, so a $100m (€94m) investment via futures contracts would generate a Treasury bill rate of interest on the capital. The third is the so-called “roll yield” obtained through switching from a maturing futures contract to one of longer maturity.In the case of energy futures, the longer-dated contracts have often stood at a lower price than maturing contracts, giving rise to a ‘backwardation’ in prices, in contrast to the situation seen in financial futures markets and precious metals such as gold, where the longer-dated contracts are in ‘contango’ – i.e. priced above maturing contracts. The size of the contango or backwardation can change rapidly reflecting supply and demand but also interest rates, storage and borrowing costs.What this has meant is that a major source of returns for investors in energy contracts has been obtained through rolling the futures contracts. In 2006, when oil went from $35 to $50 a barrel, the S&P GSCI index had a negative return of 14% because the energy markets were in contango, whilst in 2007, with the markets in backwardation, the return was 32% when oil prices shifted from $50 to $80 a barrel. When the oil futures markets are in contango, as has been the case recently, investors in ETFs that are rolling futures will be making losses every time.Institutional investors that have made major investments into commodities, particularly energy, either exclusively or through tracking indices such as the S&P GSCI or Dow Jones, may need to think deeply about what role commodities play in their portfolios. Perhaps investors also need to be aware that, in every other asset class, capitalism works for them. Companies exist to make profits, so the value of ownership goes up, while bonds pay interest and capital back.Whether that is true for commodities is unclear. Gold may provide diversification, but its price can just as easily go down 50% as go up, and there is no reason why the price of a barrel of oil has to be worth more in 50 years’ time than it costs today. It can be useful to include commodities in a portfolio primarily for their correlation characteristics. A lot of assets don’t like inflation – bonds, for example, and even equities in the short term. Commodities in that sense are often seen as inflation hedges. But, on a pure return and volatility basis, their weight would be zero.The danger for institutional investors is that, whilst commodities can act as a powerful diversifier for institutions that need to reduce volatility, even by small amounts, the prospects for extraordinary gains are more suspect. Moreover, the timing, even for diversification benefits, may be unattractive if the lack of backwardation driven by the influx of investment by the institutions themselves means the opportunity for positive returns is greatly diminished.It is interesting to note that even proponents of risk parity acknowledge that commodities should not have the same risk weighting as equities and bonds. Long-term institutional investors should look to assets that can generate economic returns rather than serve as a volatile store of value. Joseph Mariathasan is a contributing editor at IPE Investors should look to assets that generate returns, not merely store value, argues Joseph Mariathasan“The Stone Age did not end for lack of stone, and the Oil Age will end long before the world runs out of oil” is an oft-quoted comment by Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani, the former Saudi oil minister. And whilst there is plenty of talk about alternatives to fossil fuels, and electric cars are coming into use, it is still difficult to see a complete transition from the petrol engine for possibly decades.But oil prices have collapsed since mid-2014. Perhaps that is why almost one-third of the most active oil futures contract, West Texas Intermediate, was held by ETFs at one stage. They were hoping to be in at the bottom when (and if) the oil price rebounds. Inflows into commodity baskets rose to a 16-month high in the first half of November, according to ETF Securities.But investors face a major problem with commodity investment often glossed over by intermediaries. Investment in via the futures markets – either directly or indirectly through use of indices based on futures contracts – generate returns through three different sources.last_img read more

Dutch APG finalises London acquisition with Delancey

first_img”As well as being a site of global importance and with great potential, we will be taking great care to ensure that a new vision emerges that is inclusive of the local community and is cutting edge in terms of its positive environmental and social impact, contributing to the quality and sustainability of the area in the interest of the community.” he said.The Earls Court site comprises more than 25 acres of land that formally housed the Earls Court Exhibition Centres. It sits within the boroughs of Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington & Chelsea, and comprises London’s largest cleared Zone 1 development site. Dutch pension investor APG has completed the acquisition of Capital & Counties Properties interests in an Earls Court development site in London for £425m in a joint venture with real estate firm Delancey.An announcement stated that Transport for London’s interests in the project remain the same and it will work alongside the JV to deliver one of the most important mixed-use developments in London.Robert-Jan Foortse, head of European property investments at APG, said: “As a long-term responsible pension investor, we are continuously looking for attractive investments in property worldwide that help us realize stable returns for ABP and other pension fund clients we work for.” He added that the investment in the Earls Court development site in London fits the core of APG’s strategy as it represents an attractive opportunity to gain access to high quality property with promising long-term growth potential.last_img read more

New Event on Decarbonising Blue Economy

first_imgHeriot Watt University and Energy Technology Partnership are jointly hosting an event on decarbonising the blue economy.The event will take place on July 22, 2019, at Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (ECCI).The event will provide more knowledge about understanding how we use combinations of new technologies, new industrial opportunities and new business models with a holistic approach to deliver a low carbon, Blue Economy.The event will see the attendance of industry, governmental and non-governmental organizations, as well as Scottish Universities with a stake in marine energy, transport, remote and off-grid business, automation and sensing, sustainable food, oil & gas and geothermal.last_img read more