Exposure to phthalates may raise risk of pregnancy loss, gestational diabetes

first_imgIn recent years, a growing body of evidence has suggested that phthalates—synthetic chemicals used in scores of products ranging from vinyl flooring to food packaging to medical tubing to cosmetics—can cause reproductive harms. Now, two new studies from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health have revealed that these hormone-disrupting chemicals may increase both the risk of miscarriage and risk factors for gestational diabetes.Much of the evidence about phthalates’ potential harm comes from animal studies; less is known about their impact in humans. The results of these two studies are important because pregnancy loss is prevalent—about 31 percent of all conceptions end in miscarriage—and the incidence of gestational diabetes has tripled over the past two decades, now occurring in 7 percent of all pregnancies worldwide.One study followed a group of 256 women at Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center from 2004 to 2014 who were undergoing medically assisted reproduction, such as in-vitro fertilization. The researchers measured concentrations of 11 phthalate metabolites in the women’s urine around the time of conception. Women with the highest concentrations of a type of phthalate called di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, or DEHP, were 60 percent more likely to lose a pregnancy prior to 20 weeks than those with the lowest concentrations, the study found.Lead author Carmen Messerlian, a research fellow in Harvard Chan School’s Department of Environmental Health, called the findings compelling, noting that this was the first study to examine how phthalate exposure may affect pregnancies in their earliest stages among couples who have difficulty becoming pregnant. Read Full Storylast_img read more

Does creating gun-free zones increase safety?

first_img Read Full Story Some communities have designated certain public spaces, like courthouses and municipal buildings, as gun-free zones. But experts say there’s no conclusive evidence as to whether establishing such zones increases safety.A Dec. 4, 2019 story on WAMU (Washington, D.C.’s NPR station) described a recent decision by the Aspen, Colorado city council to ban openly carrying guns in City Hall and other government buildings. Opponents of the decision had said that it would decrease safety, arguing that armed private citizens could help in active shooter situations.David Hemenway, professor of health policy at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said there’s no way to know for sure about the impact of gun-free zones. He posits that it’s because there’s a lack of research on the topic — and on guns and violence in general — because of Congressional efforts to thwart the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from carrying out gun-related research.last_img read more

Appeals court hears arguments in admissions case

first_img Members of Harvard and the higher education community react to the ruling in the admission lawsuit Final arguments in admissions suit Lawyers for Harvard defend University practices, warn of dire consequences if overturned Last fall, U.S. District Court Judge Allison Burroughs ruled that Harvard’s admission policies don’t discriminate on the basis of race, don’t engage in racial balancing or use quotas, and don’t place undue emphasis on race in considering applicants’ admissions files. Burroughs suggested that Harvard couldn’t offer students the benefits of a diverse campus if it stopped considering race in admissions.On Wednesday, a three-judge panel heard oral arguments in an appeal of that decision by Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), an organization founded by Edward Blum, the architect of a range of attacks on Civil Rights protections for members of underrepresented minority groups. In its suit, SFFA argued that Harvard discriminated against Asian American applicants.During the afternoon hearing, which was streamed on audio, the team of judges for the First Circuit Court of Appeals — Chief Judge Jeffrey Howard, Judge Juan Torruella, and Judge Sandra Lynch — frequently cited previous Supreme Court precedent, noting that earlier rulings by the top court have upheld the use of race as one factor in college and university admissions.“Your argument seems to come down to ‘Harvard must admit based only on academic rating and may not consider anything else,’” Lynch suggested to the plaintiff. “So, can we go back to the law? Harvard can in fact consider other things than merely class ranking and the academic achievement of the Asian American applicants, correct?”For more than 40 years, the Supreme Court has allowed colleges to consider race as a factor in pursuing diverse student bodies, provided that they do so within prescribed bounds.In his remarks, Harvard co-lead counsel Seth Waxman ’73 detailed the College’s whole-person admissions process, noting that every applicant’s file is reviewed during a meeting of 40 admissions officers and invited faculty, who look at a range of factors, including grades, essays, personal statements, letters of recommendation, and the narrative analyses of alumni or staff interviewers.Following the afternoon hearing, Harvard President Larry Bacow reiterated the University’s commitment to diversity in education. “Today’s hearing underscored that we are all more than our numbers — more than our grades, class rank, and test scores,” he said. “Harvard is a special place because each student has something special to contribute to this community. Everyone has their own story and their own unique life experience. We embrace diversity because we learn from our differences.”Lawyers for SFFA and for the U.S. Justice Department, which filed an amicus brief supporting the plaintiff, reiterated SFFA’s claim that Harvard discriminates against Asian-Americans in its admissions.A judgment by the federal appeals court could take months, and many legal experts expect the case ultimately to be decided by the Supreme Court.As part of the day’s proceedings, lawyers addressed the court on behalf of a number of Harvard College students, alumni, and student groups who had offered “friend of the court” testimony during the 2018 trial.David Hinojosa from the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, representing a group of Latinx, Asian American, Black, and Native American prospective and current students and alumni, said his clients understand the importance of admissions programs like Harvard’s in helping to ensure that “remarkable, well-rounded, underrepresented students of color are not overlooked in the admissions process.”Hinojosa offered the example of Thang Diep ’19, who described in his college essay how he overcame bullying because of his accent and embrace of his Vietnamese identity. Hinojosa also cited Sarah Cole ’16, who described in her essay how she became involved in trying to end youth violence after the death of a friend. Both were excellent students, said Hinojosa, and their admissions files reflected academic achievements along with strong personal qualities and lived experiences.If the SFFA suit is successful, he said, “Their applications would look markedly different, as they and other students of color would not be able to fully convey their strengths and contributions. This is not what the courts intended.”In their appeal filing in February, SFFA and Blum asked the court “to determine whether Harvard’s use of race is truly exemplary, or whether it violates Supreme Court precedent.”Harvard’s response filing noted that its admissions process complies with the law. The response also said that, with respect to the trial judge’s factual findings, the appellate court reviews those for clear error, “a bar SFFA makes no serious effort to meet.” Relief and vindication Ruling finds that College does not discriminate Major outpouring of support for University in legal battle over admissions approachcenter_img Hundreds of social scientists, business executives, Nobel laureates, state attorneys general, colleges rebut group appealing judgment in favor of Harvard’s policies The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news. Related Judge upholds Harvard’s admissions policy “Among other factual findings, the court found that Harvard evaluates each applicant as an individual; that it considers an applicant’s race only for highly qualified applicants and as one of many factors; that it does not employ quotas; and — critically — that it does not harbor any discriminatory intent. Rather than engage with these factual findings, SFFA largely ignores or misstates them,” the Harvard brief said.In the lead-up to the hearing, Civil Rights advocates and representatives from higher education expressed their support for Harvard’s admissions practices.“Our country still has a long way to go in confronting racial injustice,” said Sarah Hinger, senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s Racial Justice Program. “The Supreme Court recognized that integrated and inclusive education spaces are critical to creating a more equitable society as recently as four years ago. The challengers in this case are making a bold attempt to upend established law and turn back the clock on diversity in education when we need it most.”Ted Mitchell, president of the American Council on Education, whose membership includes more than 1,700 colleges and universities, related associations, and other organizations, said, “The district court issued an unambiguous ruling in Harvard’s favor, and we expect the circuit court will do the same. For four decades, the U.S. Supreme Court has consistently upheld the principle that institutions have a compelling interest in student body diversity. It has done so in the face of repeated efforts to slam the door on schools considering race and ethnicity while assembling a talented, diverse student body … Now, more than ever, our country needs its colleges and universities to be unwavering in their commitment to a diverse community of learners.”Blum has long moved to dismantle race-conscious admissions practices. He was the driving force behind Fisher v. University of Texas, which alleged the university discriminated against white applicants in its admissions. In 2016, the Supreme Court ruled that the school was within its rights to use race as a factor in admissions, upholding decades of legal precedent. In July, SFFA filed another suit targeting the University of Texas, and it has similar litigation pending against the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.last_img read more

Administrator discusses leadership

first_imgDrew Buscareno, Assistant Vice President for University Relations, gave a lecture titled “Servant Leadership” from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at the Mendoza College of Business Tuesday. Buscareno’s was one in a series of lectures for Mendoza’s “Ethics in Business week”.“Servant leadership” is a leadership philosophy developed by Robert Greenleaf which centers on the idea that a leader is meant to serve others and to allow full growth of the organization and its constituents.Buscareno said servant leadership can be practiced by anyone, including people in positions that are not traditionally considered leadership positions.“One of the insights I have had on servant leadership is that those who practice it can really transcend any kind of organizational hierarchy their formal position has placed on them,” Buscareno said. “Servant leaders aren’t really bound to an organizational structure.”Jodi Lo | The Observer Servant leadership allows people to become more involved with their organization as a whole and enables a greater opportunity to network ideas within as well as outside their current department, Buscareno said.“This model is absolutely a relationship-centric model,” Buscareno said. “I think there is an incredible humility combined with a fierce drive to create a better system.”One of the examples Buscareno pointed to was the leadership of Pope Francis. He said Pope Francis’ efforts to ground the mission of the Church in the reality faced by the people the Church intends to serve exemplifies the principles of servant leadership.“[The example of Pope Francis] gives us an insight on the definition of servant leadership,” he said.Buscareno said the principles of servant leadership rely on a model of “walking with, listening to, speaking truth and breaking bread.”“This [model] gives us a good framework of how we can practice servant leadership,” Buscareno said. “In the examples that I’ve brought, there is this intense focus to ‘walk with.’ The practice of servant leadership, no matter what the role we’re in, attempts to become grounded in whoever we serve.”Those who want to practice servant leadership should identify mentors in their lives who embody its principles, recognize the importance of team work and “be content to be a beginner,” Buscareno said.“There is a passion for mission among servant leaders. It is all about the mission and all about those who are part of that mission,” he said. “Service orientation can help influence our team performance. That’s the kind of savvy that often comes with leadership, when leaders see that opportunity to connect and face this barrier of ideas together.”Tags: Drew Buscareno, Ethics in Business week, Mendoza, Pope Francis, Robert Greenleaf, servant leadershiplast_img read more

Uruguayan General to Coordinate All UN Blue Helmets

first_imgBy Javier Bonilla, for Defensa.com December 08, 2016 Uruguayan General Carlos Loitey was appointed chief military advisor to the United Nations (UN) Department of Peacekeeping Operations. “This is the first time Uruguay has had a position of so much responsibility and decision-making power within the most important peacekeeping organization,” said Defense Minister Jorge Menéndez. Between 1,300 and 1,400 Uruguayan troops are serving on peacekeeping missions. The secretary of state explained that the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), which traces its roots back to 1948 and was formally established in 1992, centralizes the actions of peacekeeping missions, their troop deployments and the contributions made by countries to the missions. The head of the department, Frenchman Hervé Ladsous, receives military advice from a high-ranking UN official who is “the most important peacekeeping mission advisor.” This position recently became available. Previously, the UN sent out a call to different countries asking them to propose candidates for this position. “In response to the call, the Ministry of Defense, along with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Uruguayan Army, evaluated the possibilities. The name of General Carlos Loitey, a person with broad experience in peacekeeping missions, was put forward. He was Uruguay’s representative on missions to the United States, and today he commands Army Division II in San José,” explained Menéndez. The proposal was analyzed and after two candidate selection rounds, Gen. Loitey was chosen for the position from a group of four applicants, “which is a source of pride and uplift for Uruguay, as well as an acknowledgment of our long-standing contributions to peacekeeping missions.” Menéndez stressed that the selection is a result of Gen. Loitey’s personal merits, as well as the acknowledgment that the country is up to the great responsibility required by this international organization. Gen. Loitey will assume his position before the end of the year and will be based in the United States. Uruguay deployed between 1,300 and 1,400 troops on three major missions: the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), and in the Sinai Peninsula following the 1978 Camp David Accords. Uruguay has also sent military observers to Kashmir in the India-Pakistan border, and the Sahara, among other destinations, and participated in the high-profile missions to Cambodia, Mozambique, Angola and Eritrea in the ’90s and early 2000s. Gen. Loitey is the commander of the approximately 1500 troops of Army Division II, after being promoted to this position at the end of 2012. The division oversees the military units of Colonia, Soriano, Durazno, Flores, Florida and San José in the southeastern part of the country. Hailing from Dolores (Soriano), Gen. Loitey was trained as an infantry weapons officer and served as the defense and military attaché assigned to the Uruguayan Embassy in the United States, as the head of the Uruguayan delegation to the Inter-American Defense Board and as advisor to Uruguay’s permanent mission to the Organization of the American States. Previously, he served as chief of staff of the Army, and director of the Military Arms and Specialties Institute, as well as of Uruguay’s National Intelligence Agency. At the international level, he was a military observer in Iran-Iraq (1990), Rwanda (1995), and the Congo (2003), in addition to being part of the Uruguayan contingent of the U.N. mission to Cambodia (1993), and serving as head of the Integrated Support Services for the UN Mission to the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) in 2010, among other locations.last_img read more

A cycling project that connects the four endpoints of Croatia

first_imgThe project involves a large number of participants and volunteers, and the target groups are recreational cyclists and passionate cyclists, and young people (pupils and students). The farewell of Mary and the team that will accompany him will be organized on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 at 12 o’clock in in the center of the City of Crikvenica. You can find more information about the project at official website, and you can follow the news on Facebook. The goals of the project are marketing promotion of the cycling tourist offer (creation of new products in the pre and post season, “Bike & bed” standard, cycling events, “Bike share” system…) and general tourist offer, branding of Croatia as a desirable and interesting cycling tourist destination, education various target groups on the need to play sports, the importance of a healthy lifestyle and ecology, raising awareness of traffic safety, promoting the values ​​represented by the European Union, raising awareness of the need to adjust the corridors of major national cycling routes and connecting with EuroVelo routes and environmental protection. The start date of the ride, the length of 2020 kilometers, and the year before 2020 are associated with Croatia’s presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2020 and the European Capital of Culture project “Rijeka 2020”, and marketing activities will draw attention to the values ​​promoted and represented by the European union.center_img “Croatia – a cycling paradise with Marija Zubčić with the support of Giant Croatia” is a national project of the former Croatian Mountain Bike national team member Marija Zubčić and the Crikvenica Cycling Club, and the AHA Association! and marketing agencies aha marketing doo, which promotes Croatia as a cycling tourist destination attractive to a growing number of tourists attracted by a specific form of soft adventure tourism, values ​​promoted and represented by the European Union, nature conservation – ecology and healthy, active lifestyle and traffic safety. The ride starts on May 9, 2019 (Europe Day) and is set in the PPS period (preseason). It includes 9 stages that will connect 4 extreme geographical points of the Republic of Croatia by bicycle (south – Cape Oštra – Peninsula Prevlaka – west – Cape Lako near Bašanija – lighthouse Savudrija – north – Žabnik – part of Sveti Martin na Muri – east – Rađevac – part of Ilok) and visit all counties, 4 national and 5 nature parks to show the beauties and peculiarities of Croatia from a cycling perspective.last_img read more

Jakarta wants 1,800 additional medical workers by next week

first_imgAccording to a letter announcing the recruitment circulated last week, the city is looking for pulmonary specialists, internists, pediatricians, obstetricians, general practitioners, nurses, infectious disease nurses and midwives. The administration is also looking for radiographers, surveillance personnel and educators.Read also: Jakarta sees rising COVID-19 hospitalizationsThe medical workers will be paid between Rp 4.2 million (US$286.35) and Rp 15 million a month.Indonesia recently recorded an unprecedented spike in confirmed COVID-19 cases, including in Jakarta, which saw 901 new cases on Tuesday after a record-high daily increase of 1,114 on Sunday. Governor Anies Baswedan, however, said on Monday that COVID-19 transmission in the capital was under control, attributing the spike in cases to aggressive testing.Widyawati said the administration would try to keep the bed occupancy rate below 60 percent, adding that private hospitals were reducing the number of COVID-19 patients they were treating so that they could handle other patients.Topics : The Jakarta administration is hoping to recruit 1,800 medical workers by next week to address the COVID-19 crisis in the capital.“We are recruiting now and by next week, there will be 1,800 medical workers ready,” Jakarta health agency head Widyawati told journalists on Tuesday.She said the additional medical workers were needed because Jakarta was expanding the city’s 67 COVID-19 referral hospitals. The administration was adding more rooms, medical equipment and beds.last_img read more

Mesut Ozil not included in Arsenal Europa League squad for Eintracht Frankfurt clash

first_imgMesut Ozil not included in Arsenal Europa League squad for Eintracht Frankfurt clash Comment Advertisement Metro Sport ReporterWednesday 18 Sep 2019 5:45 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link934Shares Mesut Ozil has been left out of Arsenal’s Europa League squad for the match against Eintracht Frankfurt (Picture: Getty)Mesut Ozil has been left out of Arsenal’s Europa League squad for Thursday’s match against Eintracht Frankfurt.The former Real Madrid playmaker has been used sparingly by Unai Emery so far this season with the former Germany international belatedly making his first appearance of the campaign against Watford on Sunday.Ozil trained with the rest of Arsenal’s first team squad on Wednesday but did not make the trip while Sokratis Papastathopoulos, whose comical error gifted Watford a route back into Sunday’s match, also didn’t travel. Both have been ‘rested’ according to Emery.Rob Holding, who has been out since November following a cruciate knee ligament injury, has been included and is primed to make his first team comeback, potentially alongside fellow Englishman Calum Chambers.AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENTMore: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man City Advertisement Mesut Ozil trained on Wednesday but was not included in Arsenal’s Europa League squad (Picture: Getty)Summer signing Kieran Tierney and Hector Bellerin are both back in first team training but are not yet ready for competitive action so Sead Kolasinac and Ainsley Maitland-Niles are likely to fill the full-back positions.Youngsters Reiss Nelson, Gabriel Martinelli, Emile Smith Rowe and Joe Willock are likely to feature, while Bukayo Saka, who made his Arsenal debut in this competition last season, has been included in the tarvelling party.Alexandre Lacazette’s injury, coupled with the decision to loan out Eddie Nketiah, means Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could be pressed into action again, even ahead of Sunday’s Premier League match against Aston Villa.More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing Arsenallast_img read more

Allegheny County Leaders Agree: Gov. Wolf’s Restore Pennsylvania Infrastructure Plan Will Help Region Thrive

first_img Government That Works,  Infrastructure,  Press Release,  Restore Pennsylvania Harrisburg, PA – Community leaders in Allegheny County say Governor Tom Wolf’s Restore Pennsylvania aggressive infrastructure investment plan will help the region thrive.“Restore Pennsylvania is consistent with what we are trying to accomplish in our communities. From disaster recovery, to stormwater and green infrastructure projects, and removal of blight and redevelopment of neighborhoods, we all struggle with the same challenges,” Bellevue Mayor Emily Marburger, Braddock Mayor Chardaé Jones, Sharpsburg Mayor Matthew V. Rudzki and Wilkinsburg Mayor Marita Garrett said jointly in a letter to the General Assembly from the Millennial Mayors of Allegheny County. “We can think of no other effort as bi-partisan as improving Main Street without raising taxes on citizens. On behalf of our communities, our generation, and all Pennsylvanians, we strongly encourage you to support Restore Pennsylvania.”Their support was echoed by the borough council of Castle Shannon and the city council of Pittsburgh, which each passed a resolution formally supporting Gov. Wolf’s Restore Pennsylvania initiative. Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto submitted a letter to the Allegheny County Delegation and General Assembly asking them to “consider seriously how this proposal can help everyday Pennsylvanians.”“As a mayor, I understand that the challenges in front of public officials are as tough as they have ever been,” Peduto wrote. “Let’s build on our natural strengths, invest in our people, and Restore Pennsylvania, together.”In a letter to Allegheny County Delegation Members, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald made note of the economic turnaround of the region while calling for the responsible development of the natural gas industry.“As companies continue to extract natural resources from under our feet, it’s only appropriate that they also help us invest in our infrastructure,” he wrote. “I wholeheartedly support this proposal from Governor Wolf and encourage your support of the same.”Gov. Wolf visited several communities in Allegheny County that were devastated last year by flooding and mudslides including Bridgeville and Carnegie. He also visited Pitcairn to discuss blight remediation, broadband access expansion and green infrastructure creation. These issues will be addressed with Gov. Wolf’s Restore Pennsylvania plan.“It’s no secret that Pittsburgh and Allegheny County are in the midst of a renaissance,” said Gov. Wolf. “Through initiatives like high-speed internet access expansion and blight remediation, Restore Pennsylvania will build on the momentum of the region’s growing economy while extending that economic growth to communities that are still struggling.”Restore Pennsylvania is a statewide plan to aggressively address the commonwealth’s vital infrastructure needs. Funded through a commonsense severance tax that the Independent Fiscal Office has determined will be primarily paid for by out-of-state residents, Restore Pennsylvania is the only plan that will help make Pennsylvania a leader in the 21st century.View the full Restore Pennsylvania plan. May 07, 2019 SHARE Email Facebook Twittercenter_img Allegheny County Leaders Agree: Gov. Wolf’s Restore Pennsylvania Infrastructure Plan Will Help Region Thrivelast_img read more

Germany to impose Solvency II measures on local pension funds

first_imgIn particular, the VAG’s application of  paragraph 124, concerning investment principles, to IORPs had been criticised and remains unchanged in the final 360-page draft which will now be presented to parliament.It introduces the principle of “entrepreneurial prudence” (unternehmerische Vorsicht) for investments which according to aba was superfluous as IORPs already operated under the prudent person principle.Further, aba noted that IORPs were no enterprises and did not aim to return a profit.One major criticism voiced by the association was a limit on “non-listed” vehicles, which the law said should be “kept to a cautious level”.In its comment on the original draft the aba had cautioned that this would also apply to most real estate holdings and a cap on those would prevent IORPs from accessing illiquidity premiums in future.Similarly, the German actuarial society (DAV) as well as the federal employer association (BDA) warned not to link  paragraph 124 to IORPs as it introduced stricter than necessary regulatory requirements regarding supervision and in parts was not consistent with other regulations applying to this sector.The aba pointed out the limitations under the new legal draft were not in line with the “prudent person principle” which should allow IORPs the freedom to make decisions.One point welcomed by the occupational pension sector were changes to payout structure of the Pensions-Sicherungs-Verein (PSV), the industry’s buffer fund for insolvencies.According to the final draft, the PSV would also be exempt from any new Solvency II-based capital requirements placed on other insurers. In addition, it will in future be more easy to allow partial payments of the levies in years when the number of insolvencies is exceptionally high.,WebsitesWe are not responsible for the content of external sitesLink to draft version of the Versicherungsaufsichtsgesetz The German government’s final draft of the new insurance supervision law (VAG) will impose elements of Solvency II on the country’s Pensionskassen and Pensionsfonds, despite objections by industry and employer bodies. The VAG had to be amended to fulfil requirements under Solvency II but occupational pension groups lamented that the insurance framework was, in part, being transferred onto schemes.The German pension fund association aba told IPE it had not yet had the chance to check the new draft in detail but at first glance it seemed that “unfortunately” a lot of its requests for amendments, made after the first draft was published in late July, went unheeded.One of the main demands of various representatives from the occupational pensions sector had been a completely independent set of rules on the supervision of IORPs – a demand which has not been met.last_img read more