UCU Strike: Pensions vote blocked at University governing body

first_imgOxford dons have vowed “we’re not done” after some members of university management successfully blocked a vote on pensions at Congregation today.A resolution to reverse Oxford’s position on the USS pensions scheme was narrowly defeated in a meeting of Congregation, Oxford’s governing body, as the required threshold of 20 members stood up and suspended the debate.The move was met with anger by the majority of staff attending the meeting at the Sheldonian. A group of around 20 left the meeting in protest, with one saying “it’s a disgrace”.Congregation took place amid a demonstration of around 150 students and trade unionists in front of the Clarendon Building. During the meeting, the demonstrators chanted “let them vote”, “do not stand”, and “sit back down” in an effort to sway the decision.In an unprecedented move, after the decision to suspend the meeting, dons in attendance held a symbolic vote in support of the resolution outside in the Old Bodleian library quad. The resolution passed by 418 votes to two.Proposers of the resolution then read out speeches on the steps of the Clarendon.Professor of Modern History, Robert Gildea, told the crowd: “The administration has expanded exponentially and at the top has developed an administrative centralisation verging on administrative despotism.“VCs no longer come from colleges but some global bank of VCs who seem to have been specially trained in the Dark Arts they need to do their job.“And what is that job? It seems that it is to sell the university brand and defend their own interests while holding down academic pay, casualising academic labour, and axing academic pensions.”He added: “The debate on pensions is also a debate on restoring academic democracy, restoring academic community, restoring academic honour and restoring goodwill.” President of Oxford UCU, Garrick Taylor, told Cherwell: “Oxford UCU are hugely disappointed that management blocked the debate and vote in this way.“This shows the gulf that has now opened between academic and academic-related staff at Oxford and senior management.“As the unofficial vote outside showed, had the resolution been heard, it would have clearly carried.“I’ve already had attendees express that because of management’s actions at congregation they are now going to join the strike.“Members are angry, very angry. Oxford changing its view towards risk could have helped the industrial dispute come to a quick end, and we could have all gone back to work.“The amount of student support for staff today was incredible, and shows the solidarity between staff and students is as strong as ever.”Congregation votes overwhelmingly in support of changing @UniofOxford position pic.twitter.com/A0HTTagIM3— Henrike Lähnemann (@HLaehnemann) March 6, 2018In a statement, Oxford SU said: “Oxford SU is extremely disappointed that the motion on the future of the USS pension scheme was not heard at Congregation today. Balliol College fellow, Sudhir Hazareesingh, said: “I think everybody not only in this university but in all other universities, have been been shocked by Oxford’s leadership on this.”Numerous figures in attendance at the meeting claimed the 20-member threshold to block the debate had only been narrowly met after several recounts.Who were the 21 members of the university who stopped members of Congregation from reversing Oxford’s position on the #USS? #OurOxOurUni #JeezLouise— OurOxOurUni (@OurOxOurUni) March 6, 2018The move followed interventions by Richardson and department heads to encourage the meeting to be suspended until the start of Trinity term.Administrative officials argued this would allow the debate to take place after the consultation period on the USS had ended, and members could have “cleared their diaries”.In her latest email, Richardson told Congregation members she had been “disheartened these past few days by the tenor of some of the debate” over strike action.center_img “It is also disappointing that the Vice-Chancellor herself was not present to hear the voices of staff and students at today’s meeting.”Vice Chancellor Louise Richardson @UniofOxford pretends to care about free speech on campus but has shown her hand through the shameful, anti-democratic shutdown of the Congregation vote on the #USSstrikesShe is no sister of ours. #JeezLouise #OurOxOurUni pic.twitter.com/ZdWNaXwXMr— Oxford SU Womcam (@womcam) March 6, 2018Oxford SU President, Kate Cole, said: “A small selection of the management of our University successfully organised to block our democracy, and as a result a group of members of the supreme body of this University were not allowed to have their voices heard.“Student observers may have been barred from the room against precedent, but they showed their support in their hundreds on the steps of the Clarendon building, and they have been showing their support on the picket lines every morning.“The student voice on this issue is loud and clear – we stand in full solidarity with UCU.”Oxford SU also noted they would be writing to the vice chancellor to express their disappointment.The University of Oxford did not comment further on today’s events.last_img read more

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How touch can influence judgments

Psychologists report in the journal Science that interpersonal interactions can be shaped, profoundly yet unconsciously, by the physical attributes of incidental objects: Resumes reviewed on a heavy clipboard are judged to be more substantive, while a negotiator seated in a soft chair is less likely to drive a hard bargain.The research was conducted by psychologists at Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Yale University. The authors say the work suggests that physical touch — the first of our senses to develop — may continue to operate throughout life like a scaffold upon which people build their social judgments and decisions.“Touch remains perhaps the most underappreciated sense in behavioral research,” said co-author Christopher C. Nocera, a graduate student in Harvard’s Department of Psychology. “Our work suggests that greetings involving touch, such as handshakes and cheek kisses, may in fact have critical influences on our social interactions, in an unconscious fashion.”Nocera conducted the research with Joshua M. Ackerman, assistant professor of marketing at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, and John A. Bargh, professor of psychology at Yale.“First impressions are liable to be influenced by the tactile environment, and control over this environment may be especially important for negotiators, pollsters, job seekers, and others interested in interpersonal communication,” the authors wrote in the latest issue of Science. “The use of ‘tactile tactics’ may represent a new frontier in social influence and communication.”The researchers conducted a series of experiments probing how objects’ weight, texture, and hardness can unconsciously influence judgments about unrelated events and situations:— To test the effects of weight, metaphorically associated with seriousness and importance, subjects used either light or heavy clipboards while evaluating resumes. They judged candidates whose resumes were seen on a heavy clipboard as better qualified and more serious about the position, and rated their own accuracy at the task as more important.— An experiment testing texture’s effects had participants arrange rough or smooth puzzle pieces before hearing a story about a social interaction. Those who worked with the rough puzzle were likelier to describe the interaction in the story as uncoordinated and harsh.— In a test of hardness, subjects handled either a soft blanket or a hard wooden block before being told an ambiguous story about a workplace interaction between a supervisor and an employee. Those who touched the block judged the employee as more rigid and strict.— A second hardness experiment showed that even passive touch can shape interactions. Subjects seated in hard or soft chairs engaged in mock haggling over the price of a new car. Subjects in hard chairs were lessflexible, showing less movement between successive offers. They also judged their adversaries in the negotiations as more stable and less emotional.Nocera and his colleagues say these experiments suggest that information acquired through touch exerts broad, if generally imperceptible, influence over cognition. They propose that encounters with objects can elicit a “haptic mindset,” triggering application of associated concepts even to unrelated people and situations.“People often assume that exploration of new things occurs primarily through the eyes,” Nocera said. “While the informative power of vision is irrefutable, this is not the whole story. For example, the typical reaction to an unknown object is usually as follows: With an outstretched arm and an open hand, we ask, ‘Can I see that?’ Thisresponse suggests the investigation is not limited to vision, but rather the integrative sum of seeing, feeling, touching, and manipulating the unfamiliar object.”Nocera said that because touch appears to be the first sense that people use to experience the world ╤ for example, by equating the warm and gentle touch of a mother with comfort and safety ╤ it may provide part ofthe basis by which metaphorical abstraction allows for the development of a more complex understanding of comfort and safety. This physical-to-mental abstraction is reflected in metaphors and shared linguistic descriptors, such as the multiple meanings of words like “hard,” “rough,” and “heavy.”Nocera, Ackerman, and Bargh’s work was supported by the Sloan School of Management at MIT and by the National Institute of Mental Health. read more

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Swimmer comes up aces

first_imgThere’s a magic trick that Chuck Katis has: You pick a card at random, memorize it, and shuffle it back into the deck. “Got it?” Katis asks. You nod. Seven of spades.He presents his arm — not a typical next step in magic. “Squeeze my wrist hard,” he commands. “Think about the number or face of your card.”After you’ve squeezed for a good 10 seconds, Katis reveals the underside of his wrist, which is bare. He massages the area, and suddenly you see, unmistakably, a seven forming in his skin. How’d he do that?Katis, a Harvard College freshman by way of Falls Church, Va., has been practicing magic for more than 10 years — about the same amount of time he spent working to become a standout swimmer, earning a spot on Harvard’s swimming and diving team.As a high school student, Katis founded The Magic of Miracles, a nonprofit that brings magic to young cancer patients, allowing them a much-needed release from their difficult daily lives.“I was watching ‘House,’ or one of those medical dramas, and the story involved a young child, and I was just playing around with a deck of cards, practicing some stuff, and I realized that I’d been doing magic since I was 8 years old and had been performing for friends and family, but I wasn’t really using it for anything other than entertainment,” said Katis. “So I put the two together and realized that, with everything these kids are going through, they could really use a distraction.”Katis and his small staff travel to area hospitals to perform, and then teach tricks to the kids “so they can develop and learn their own magic and perform for other patients, nurses, and also themselves, to take their mind off of stuff.” Katis is talking with local hospitals about expanding the Virginia-based organization to Boston.“Whatever little bit of courage I needed to start something to potentially help a lot of people is nothing compared to the courage these kids have to maintain,” he said.At Harvard, Katis is also predicted to do great things. He’s currently the Crimson’s top breaststroker and individual medley swimmer, and his coaches believe he has an excellent shot to win the Ivy League Championship in both events and qualify for the NCAA Championships.But Katis might’ve never made it to Harvard, if not for a little … magic.While returning from a recruiting trip to Palo Alto, Calif., Katis was deciding between Stanford and Harvard. “I was on one of those jumbo jets, about 500 people, and had no idea where to go. Both schools were great, swimming is great at both schools … so I threw it in the air and said, ‘God, give me a sign,’ and I just let it go,” he recalled.“I was coming back from the plane’s restroom, and I was wearing a Stanford sweatshirt, and the guy sitting next to me asked if I was a Stanford student. I explained how I was on a recruiting trip, and of all the people on the plane, he said, ‘I was a Harvard undergraduate.’ The ‘Twilight Zone’ theme song started going off in my head.”Katis’ seatmate was in his late 20s and already a vice president for a renowned media corporation, as well as a former Rhodes Scholar. The decision crystallized for Katis, who is considering an economics concentration.Katis said he thrives on the “pure competition” of swimming. “Our entire team is going to do great things this year. We’re all very excited,” he said.And from his Harvard dorm room, he’ll continue helping his foundation raise funds and grow. “To see the reaction of people, to see how people forget about the rules of the world for just a second … every second of that I can give is worth it.”last_img read more

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Debate captivates nation

first_imgThe final stretch of the presidential race kicked off last night as President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney faced off on employment, the economy and healthcare in the first of three 2012 presidential debates. Students tuning into the debates had mixed feelings about how convincing the candidates’ plans were on the controversial topics. Senior Betty Graham said the issue of education hit home for her as a college student. “Romney was quoted as saying college students should ask our parents for a loan, but that’s not an option for a lot of students, even from high-income families,” she said. “For me that was a big deal. … Romney didn’t really respond to it in a great way.” Graham found merit in both candidates’ philosophies toward education for younger students. “I think a lot of the responsibility lies at the state and local level, but I think in terms of what Obama talked about, with education being the future of America – they can’t just leave that up to towns and states,” she said. “Mississippi needs help, they can’t get it done on their own.,” she said. Senior Tom Swanson was not affected by either candidate’s statements on education. “No candidate is ever going to say he’s against education,” Swanson said. “They both end up saying the same politically-correct platitudes. I would call it a draw.” As much of the debate focused on the role of small businesses, Graham said she felt the distinction between “small” and “large” businesses was unclear. “I wish one of them would have taken the time to say what in their eyes is a big or small business,” she said. “When Obama brought up the fact that under some definitions Donald Trump is a small business, it gets tricky. … I thought small business was the ‘mom and pop’ hardware store.” Senior Patty Walsh was not wholly convinced by Romney’s claim he would not reduce taxes on large corporations as president. “He’s definitely easy to criticize as flip-flopping on issues,” she said. “The temptation is to say he won’t stick behind that, and that he’ll be tempted by his background to be lenient toward big business. But I don’t think, given the economy we’re in, he has the room to let his preferences decide.” As Obama frequently alluded to Romney’s alleged plan to cut taxes by $5 trillion, Graham was unconvinced by Romney’s explanation the cuts would be made up for by eliminating exemptions and loopholes. “When Obama said the math doesn’t add up … I’m cautious about that,” she said. “I know neither of the candidates want to say they’re not going to not cut taxes – we all want to hear they’ll cut them or not raise them.” Swanson said third-party research exists to support both sides of Romney’s claim. “I’ve read findings that would vindicate both sides,” he said. “I think [Obama’s refutation] will resonate with people’s common sense, true or not. I think voters are going to have to do their homework and educate themselves going into the other debates.” As the survival of the Affordable Care Act hinges on the outcome of the election, the candidates debated whether a $716 billion cut in payments to healthcare providers serving Medicare recipients was a result of streamlining inefficiencies or reducing quality of care. “I agree with Romney on this one,” Graham said. “I think it’s going to hurt the patients in the long run. [Quality of care] does affect me. Sure, I can stay on my parents’ insurance until I’m 26, but what does that do if the care is mediocre?” Graham found little comfort in Obama’s reassurance he can maintain Medicare successfully. “Cutting off the elderly is a big deal,” she said. “Romney backed Obama up in a corner there. Obama did not do a good job of explaining how it won’t collapse.” Following Romney’s pledge to replace Dodd-Frank, a package of regulations on financial institutions, Walsh said it was unclear as to what the presidential hopeful would replace it with, or whether it should have been focused on at all. “First of all, the fact they were talking about it in such a specific way was frustrating,” she said. “Even as an educated student in the business college, I can’t speak to that issue. He gave no information [on his proposed replacement regulation].” Swanson said the limited time available was not constructive for a detailed explanation of Romney’s proposed regulations. “I don’t think he was too vague,” he said. “I don’t think he could do much more on that score … and I don’t think Obama defended Dodd-Frank well.” Walsh said the debate did not affect her voting decision, although it may have highlighted some of her favored candidate’s weaknesses. “I think across the board, a lot of people are already locked into their beliefs,” she said. “You go in rooting for your candidate and based on their performance, my support might be affected. I think it’s more of a call-to-arms situation.” For Graham, the debate inspired her to seek more information. “After watching this, it definitely shook my thinking a bit,” she said. “I’ve got to do some research. People who are less firm in their decision could be swung in a different direction.”last_img read more

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A GAL for every child would cost big bucks

first_img February 15, 2006 Regular News Jan Pudlow Senior Editor What would it cost to finally fund the mandate that every abused and neglected child in dependency courts be given a guardian ad litem, as the law in Chapter 39 requires?For the first time, the statewide Florida Guardian Ad Litem Program has an answer: Another $22.8 million over two years, on top of the nearly $25.7 million current budget, for a total budget request of $48.5 million.Now, of 43,859 children under Department of Children and Families supervision, 17,587, or 40 percent, have no one advocating for the child’s best interest in dependency court.When GAL Executive Director Angela Orkin presented those figures at The Florida Bar’s Legal Needs of Children Committee at the Midyear Meeting in Miami, she was asked what the response had been so far at the legislature.“‘Wow! That’s a lot of money!’” Orkin answered.But, she said she was heartened by strong support from Rep. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, chair of the House Fiscal Council, who has consistently supported growth of the GAL program so that every child can be represented eventually.“Does that mean $22 million? I don’t know what that means. It’s a big increase for a program our size,” Orkin said.The program is utilizing more volunteers than ever, more than 5,000, but additional people are needed.When Orkin later presented those figures to the Senate Justice Appropriations Committee, she emphasized progress made so far.“Last year, when you gave us $3.3 million, we were able to increase representation to about 2,300 kids. Over the last 18 months, we’ve increased children by 5,200, so we’ve almost doubled what you gave us.”But, the problem is the remaining 17,500 children with no one speaking up for their best interest in court.The committee’s chair, Sen. Victor Crist, R-Tampa, said, “This committee understands the importance of your work. We provided as much support as we humanly could. When the service was created, we funded $20 million. Last year, we reached in and pulled out another $3 million, one of the largest increases in this committee. We will support it to the best of our abilities.”Fourth Judicial Circuit Judge David Gooding, who handles juvenile cases in Jacksonville and has increased adoptions by 300 percent, told the senators, “I wish I could appoint a GAL for every child.”Later, in an interview, Judge Gooding said, “I view the failure to provide a GAL for every child as an unfulfilled promise to children. You shouldn’t break promises to anybody, but you especially shouldn’t break promises to children.”One child came to the Senate committee to tell how much her life has changed for the better since she and her sister were adopted by the same family, and she had a GAL helping her along the way.“It’s wonderful to have a family actually care about me,” the 15-year-old girl from Quincy said. “I have somebody to run and talk to when I am not feeling OK. It’s great to have a family instead of moving from home to home, and you have to leave and get used to another family and then move again. Betsy was my GAL, and she was good because she was always there when my caseworker wasn’t there. She was backup when I needed her. She has an open heart, and when I needed something, she would do it right then and there, or keep trying until she got it done.”Crist told the girl: “You coming here and speaking to us helps us better understand what we are trying to do for others. You are a voice for thousands of people.” no one advocating their best interest in dependency court. A GAL for every child would cost big buckscenter_img Of the 43,859 kids under DCF supervision, 40 percent have A GAL for every child would cost big buckslast_img read more

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Success enabler or cost recovery: The paradox of transaction fees for credit unions

first_img 6SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Fees are a touchy topic. While they represent a meaningful revenue opportunity for most credit unions, they are hotly debated by leadership teams and can be vilified by members—even ranking as a top reason to change primary financial institutions.In the current climate, it’s challenging to keep return on assets (ROA) where it needs to be without some element of transactional fee-based revenue. So the question isn’t “if” but “how” credit unions should include fees in their operating plans.Many credit unions justify new transaction fees by saying they help offset the cost of new technology. The paradox here is that most new technologies create self-service capabilities.And, being a consumer, I think if I serve myself it should be cheaper. Credit unions and other financial institutions have marketed their way around this expectation with the term “convenience fee.”This can be counterintuitive because we expect personal service to be better and, therefore, more expensive, and we expect self-service to be cheaper. To go against this market norm you either have to have a monopoly or a novel self-service solution. continue reading »last_img read more

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The first theme park Fun Park Mirnovec opens on July 15

first_imgThe first theme park for children and adults in Croatia, Fun Park Mirnovec, which is being built in Biograd na Moru, following the example of the world’s famous adrenaline entertainment centers, will open its doors on July 15. 2017In Biograd na Moru, along the Adriatic Highway on 45.000 square meters, final preparations and completion of works are underway so that everything is ready for the first guests from July 15, so Croatia will finally get top tourist content that we chronically lack. “The official opening is 15.7., While from 05.07. a limited number of tickets will be released for sale and can be purchased through the park’s website, and after the opening it will be possible to buy them at the entrance to the park. Prices will range from 110 kn to 190 kn depending on the type of ticket and season. Every day we receive a large number of inquiries from foreigners and locals via info e-mail and telephone, which confirms the great interest in the region. ”Points out Slobodan Bursać, director of sales and marketing.The construction of Fun Park Mirnovec, the largest investment in the entertainment industry in the country, is worth about 12 million euros, and the investor is a regional leader and well-known producer of film and entertainment effects, Mirnovec pyrotechnics from Samobor. The uniqueness of the park is a business concept that has been successfully proven for decades in far more developed markets around the world, and it is a combination of adrenaline rides and fun for children in one place.Visitors to the park will have at their disposal 24 attractions divided into three thematic units: Pirate City, Space and the Wild West. Of the 24 attractions, the most interesting are certainly the Adria Eye, from which you can see the entire panorama, from the Kornati islands to Lake Vrana, as well as the Tornado and Big Blue rollercoaster. Also, within the park there will be a meaningful animation program, as well as a rich catering offer, both for children and for children. The great news is that the park will be open all year round, and the working hours of the park will be from 11 am to 23 pm. ” The park will be open from Easter to the New Year, while in the pre-season and post-season it will work on weekends, and in the tourist season of course every day. Although the season is the main part of the park’s business year, we will provide team building services, celebrations, theme parties and other entertainment to complete the offer and operate in the pre / post season.. ”Bursać points out.Fun Park Mirnovec has a capacity of 5.000 to 8000 people, and the annual number of visitors is estimated at about 150.000-180.000. This whole great tourist story counts 120, of which 20 are full-time employees and the rest are students and seasonal employees. “The opening of a park of this size and this kind of content will have great positive effects for this part of the region. New jobs, student jobs and attracting foreign guests are just some of the positive effects from which the surroundings will benefit. We have excellent cooperation with local authorities and tourist boards, and the common goal is to extend the season. ”Concludes Bursać.Biograd na Moru is a great location because it is located in the center of the Adriatic, and the focus is not only on Dalmatia, but on the entire wider region. Also, the amusement theme park is a phenomenal tourist content, which our tourism lacks so much. This is proved by the interest of current guests from Zadar, Šibenik and other destinations, who can hardly wait for the opening of the amusement park.Global trends in the amusement park industryWhether it is a theme, amusement, water or educational park, a technology museum, a zoo or an aquarium, the demand for this type of entertainment is not growing. All over the world, existing parks are being continuously upgraded and improved, and new ones are being opened.According to research by the International Amusement Park Association (IAAPA), the amusement park industry has a significant impact on national economies. The United States is the most developed market in the world. With 400 parks and 330 million visitors a year and revenues of $ 13 billion, they make up 52% ​​of the total world market.Europe is one of the most developed in terms of the number of parks per capita. It is a market with 300 parks, 163 million visitors a year and total revenues of $ 6 billion. Although comparisons with the booming Asian market are ungrateful, the old continent and the cradle of industry continue to grow at a rate of over 3% per year. The industry employs 53.000 people, and the number of visitors in the leading parks reaches a growth rate of up to 25% per year.Content, content and only quality contentThe motive for the arrival is not accommodation, but diverse, quality and authentic content of the tourist destination. Our biggest tourist advantage is precisely our incredible diversity and authenticity. Thousands of amazing stories that tourists want to see, experience and taste. It is through theme parks and museums that Croatia must build its tourist product in order to tell all our indigenous incredible stories.The first amusement theme park in the first year of operation plans to attract 180.000 visitors, and this great tourist story will certainly be a real impetus to the development of the destination and will increase the competitiveness of Biograd, Zadar County and beyond on the tourist map of Croatia. Also, such investments and tourist stories through the aspect of generating quality content must be declared strategic tourist projects, as well as have the great support of tourist institutions.An excellent tourist story that will raise the whole region to a higher level, primarily through the additional quality content of the tourist destination, which is chronically lacking in our tourism.last_img read more

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Talk of the towns

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

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Brazil sees record daily coronavirus cases, official says outbreak under control

first_imgBrazil reported a record 34,918 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the same day that one of the senior officials leading the country’s widely criticized response to the crisis said the outbreak was under control.Brazil, the world’s No. 2 coronavirus hotspot after the United States, is fast approaching 1 million cases, although experts say the true number is likely higher due to patchy testing. Brazil also registered 1,282 COVID-19 deaths since its last update on Monday, the Health Ministry said, bringing confirmed fatalities in the country to 45,241.Walter Braga Netto, the head of the office of the president’s chief of staff, known as Casa Civil, and one of the top officials handling the crisis, said it was under control. “We are not seeing transmission slowing down” in Brazil, Etienne said.PAHO recommends that Brazil and other regional countries strengthen social distancing and urged that reopening of the economy be done slowly and carefully.Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has long opposed social distancing measures, and many of the country’s states are re-opening for business even though the outbreak remains severe. Topics :center_img “There is a crisis, we sympathize with bereaved families, but it is managed,” said Braga Netto, who spoke during a webinar held by the Commercial Association of Rio de Janeiro.Braga Netto said Brazil’s deaths-per-million-people figure was better than that of Belgium, Spain, the United Kingdom, Italy and France. As such, the Army general said he “was trying to convey a message of optimism in the management of the crisis.”His optimism was not shared by the World Health Organization’s regional director.Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Director Carissa Etienne said in a video briefing from Washington that Brazil is a major concern. Latin America’s largest country accounts for about a quarter of the roughly 4 million coronavirus cases in the Americas and nearly 25% of the deaths, she said.last_img read more

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Strathclyde backs new life sciences venture fund

first_imgTypical initial investments in companies will range from £2m to £5m.The EC III UK investment follows a £5m investment in Epidarex Capital II UK by SPF. It forms part of SPF’s direct investment portfolio (DIP), set up to secure attractive new opportunities for which there is no access within other SPF asset classes.The DIP targets 5% of SPF’s total fund value, £20.9bn at 31 March 2020, with venture/growth capital making up 8% of the DIP allocation.SPF told IPE: ““Our DIP invests on an opportunistic basis with a UK or local impact. To date the majority of Epidarex investments have been university spin-outs of intellectual property/technology sourced from the respective universities of Glasgow, Strathclyde, Edinburgh and Aberdeen amongst others and meet our criteria for this particular portfolio.”SPF continued: “This is an equity investment which balances our portfolio in terms of diversification, and is likely to make good returns in line or above the industry standard for this asset class.”EC III UK’s target internal rate of return (IRR) is no less than 25% (net) and it has a 10-year term, plus up to two one-year extensions.Earlier this year, SPF also awarded mandates for private debt, as it expands its allocation from 1.5% to 4.5% of the portfolio.Three private corporate debt mandates were awarded, with Barings and Alcentra each managing 1.25%, and Partners Group 1%, of the total fund.Barings and Alcentra had previously each managed 0.75% of the fund. These investments have now been wrapped into segregated mandates as part of the latest tender process. The Partners Group mandate is also segregated.A further 1% of the total fund has been earmarked for SPF’s first allocation to private real estate debt, to be managed by ICG LongBow through pooled funds.To read the digital edition of IPE’s latest magazine click here. Strathclyde Pension Fund (SPF) – Scotland’s largest local authority pension fund – has invested £15m (€16.5n) in Epidarex Capital III UK (EC III UK).Epidarex Capital Management is a transatlantic life science venture firm based in Edinburgh, and the new fund invests in early-stage, high growth life science health companies from emerging research hubs across the UK, including spinouts from universities.The managers consider that these regions – falling predominantly outside the three main life science clusters of London, Oxford and Cambridge – have many outstanding research institutions but lack access to risk capital. This results in a wider selection and less competition for the best opportunities.EC III UK had a first close of £102.1m, compared with its £85m target. The British Business Bank is the cornerstone investor, other investors including the Universities of Edinburgh, Manchester, Glasgow and Aberdeen.last_img read more

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