Chile’s president pushes progress


first_imgChilean President Sebastián Piñera said Friday that he hopes to lead fast-growing Chile past the middle-income rut that has trapped many of the world’s developing nations, and instead bring it into the ranks of developed nations by the end of the decade.Piñera, who spoke to a packed John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), said that an overhaul of the nation’s education system will be a key factor in sustaining the growth needed to achieve that goal, as will continued investment in infrastructure, and maintenance of the South American nation’s many free-trade ties.Piñera, who was elected in early 2010, said that the rapid growth experienced by Chile from the late 1980s to the late ’90s has resumed in the past year or so. Piñera said the nation’s stable democracy, economic growth, and free trade with many nations have made conditions ripe for continued expansion. He was concerned, however, that the prosperity being experienced by the Chilean people not lessen their desire to continue the hard work needed to achieve that goal.Piñera, a businessman who received a doctorate in economics from Harvard in the 1970s, was introduced by HKS Dean David T. Ellwood and by Merilee Grindle, Edward S. Mason Professor of International Development at the Kennedy School and director of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS). The event was co-sponsored by DRCLAS and by the Harvard Organization for Latin America.In her introduction, Grindle highlighted Harvard’s many connections to Chile. In addition to students from Chile studying here, Harvard faculty members and students travel to Chile to study and conduct research, some of it through the regional office that the Rockefeller Center maintains in Santiago.Last spring, Piñera met with Ellwood and Harvard President Drew Faust when a delegation from Harvard visited Chile. Faust returned the favor on Friday, greeting Piñera during a visit to Massachusetts Hall.Piñera’s tenure got off to a rocky start. Ten days before he took office, a major earthquake struck the nation, taking hundreds of lives, destroying roads, bridges, schools, and hospitals. The ruined infrastructure and buildings and the disruption to the economy amounted to 20 percent of the nation’s gross national product, Piñera said. (By comparison, the disruption from Hurricane Katrina striking New Orleans was just a tenth of a percent of the U.S. gross national product.)In recent decades, Piñera said, two important impediments that divided the globe have fallen. The first was the Berlin Wall, which divided east and west. The second was a metaphorical wall, which separated rich northern nations from the poor southern ones. Rapid development of southern economies has rendered that divide obsolete, he said, though work remains to be done.Latin American nations, Piñera said, have missed major opportunities to make their mark on the world stage. Blessed with large amounts of land and ample natural resources — while being spared the disruption of World War II, the religious strife like that in Ireland and the Middle East, and the regional conflicts like those in Africa — Latin America has nonetheless failed to produce the economic growth and resulting prosperity of industrialized nations.“We need to recover the time we lost,” Piñera said.Chile has already made significant progress, Piñera said. Chile was once the poorest Spanish colony, but after the “Chilean miracle” of the late 1980s and ’90s it has the highest per capita income, at $15,000, in Latin America. Key to this transformation, Piñera said, is the nation’s free-trade policies. About 70 percent of Chile’s gross national product comes from international trade.The nation went through a period of stagnation during the past decade, but growth has picked up again, rising 8.4 percent during the first part of this year, lifting wages and exports, he said.Piñera is aware how difficult it will be to avoid the trap that often causes developing nations to plateau once they rise to middle-income status. Only five economies, those of Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore, have successfully gone from undeveloped to developed in recent decades. Piñera said he wants Chile to be the sixth.“We are fully aware that despite this [recent growth], we are halfway toward transforming Chile into a developed country,” Piñera said.Driving the change, Piñera said, will be a major, $4 billion reform of the nation’s educational system, from the earliest grades to the university level, to keep abreast of rapidly evolving technology.“We arrived late to the Industrial Revolution. We will not arrive late to this new revolution, which is much, much more important than the old one,” Piñera said.Piñera’s optimism about Chile was not reflected in his opinion of the international community. International institutions are badly in need of reform, he said, as evidenced by the many challenges facing them involving climate change, terrorism, the drug trade, and the economic crisis.Piñera mentioned two agreements in the offing that he said will help Chile toward its goal. One is a trade pact with the United States and nations around the Pacific, and the second is an agreement being negotiated with Massachusetts around energy, education, and technology.“We are still working,” Piñera said. “We have difficult times ahead. This is a time for great people, and not people who give up at the first obstacle.”last_img read more

Predicting sudden cardiac death


first_img Powerful new tool may enable opportunities for biological understanding, clinical interventions “In my clinical practice, I often encounter families devastated by a sudden and unexpected death. This finding indicates that genetic testing — if made widely available — can provide a way to identify high-risk individuals currently flying under the radar. If identified, we have a variety of approaches proven to prevent disease onset available within routine clinical practice,” said Khera.In addition to Khera, the research team was co-led by Sekar Kathiresan, CEO of Verve Therapeutics; Anthony Philippakis, cardiologist and chief data officer at the Broad Institute; and Christine Albert, chair of cardiology in the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai. Genome editing with precision Each year, sudden cardiac death affects 220,000 U.S. adults, most of whom have no prior symptoms of a heart issue.By identifying rare DNA variants that substantially increase risk of sudden cardiac death, researchers led by investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard have laid the foundation for efforts to identify individuals who could benefit from prevention strategies before they experience symptoms.The scientists also determined that such variants are present in approximately 1 percent of asymptomatic adults — corresponding to 3 million people in the United States.The findings are presented at the Scientific Sessions of the American Heart Association and published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.The authors performed gene sequencing in 600 adult-onset sudden cardiac death cases and 600 controls who remained healthy — the largest such study performed to date and first to use a control group. A clinical geneticist reviewed all of the DNA variants identified, classifying 15 as clinically important pathogenic variants.“Strikingly, all 15 of these pathogenic variants were in sudden cardiac death cases, with none in controls,” said lead author Amit V. Khera, cardiologist and associate director of the Precision Medicine Unit at MGH’s Center for Genomic Medicine and the Broad Institute’s Cardiovascular Disease Initiative. The prevalence of a pathogenic variant was found to be 2.5 percent in cases and 0 percent in controls.Next, the investigators studied the genes of 4,525 middle-aged adults without any signs of heart disease, finding that 41 (0.9 percent) carried a pathogenic variant. These individuals have been followed for more than 14 years, and those who inherited a pathogenic variant had a more than three times greater risk of dying from cardiovascular causes. “Our hope is to empower our patients to better understand, predict, and prevent bad health outcomes — especially irreversible tragedies such as sudden cardiac death — using genetic information.” — Amit V. Khera Calculating genetic risk for obesitycenter_img Prime editing system offers wide range of versatility in human cells, correcting disease-causing genetic variations Related Based on these results, Khera and colleagues plan to conduct genetic-sequencing tests for thousands of adult patients at MGH and affiliated hospitals who volunteered for a research program designed to understand how genetic and environmental factors impact risk of important diseases. They aim to find the 1 percent of individuals with rare genetic variants linked to heart disease, and offer tailored prevention programs in a Cardiovascular Genetics Program or a new MGH Preventive Genomics Clinic that Khera is co-leading and is embedded within primary care.“Our hope is to empower our patients to better understand, predict, and prevent bad health outcomes — especially irreversible tragedies such as sudden cardiac death — using genetic information,” said Khera.Funding support was provided by an institutional grant from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard (BroadIgnite, to Khera), grant 1K08HG010155 from the National Human Genome Research Institute (to Khera), a Hassenfeld Scholar Award from Massachusetts General Hospital (to Khera), an institutional grant from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard (BroadNext10, to Philippakis and Kathiresan), and a sponsored research agreement from IBM Research (to Khera and Philippakis).last_img read more

Family files suit in crash


first_imgHe later was ordered to pay $83,000 in restitution to the family of the victim, Jayson Maddela, and other people injured in the crash. When the crash occurred, Jayson, a former Desert Rose Elementary School student, was making his final visit to Palmdale, where he had lived most of his life. Minutes earlier, Jayson’s parents had signed papers to sell their Palmdale home. Jayson, his mother and two older brothers had moved to Gardena two months earlier while Jayson’s father stayed in the house pending the sale. With Mendoza behind the wheel, the SUV slammed head-on into Jayson’s mother’s Honda Accord, which was stopped in a left-turn lane on Avenue S at 30th Street East, sheriff’s deputies said. The impact shoved the Honda backward into a pickup truck that was stopped behind it, fatally injuring Jayson, who was in the back seat. Before hitting the Honda, the GMC Suburban had driven into the left-turn lane to pass two other vehicles traveling in front of it, then clipped the back of a truck, deputies said. The charge on which Mendoza was convicted will count as a strike under the state’s “three strikes, you’re out” law. Mendoza was convicted in 1998 of assault with a deadly weapon and in 2004 of possessing less than an ounce of marijuana, prosecutors said. [email protected] (661) 267-5744 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! LANCASTER – The family of a 10-year-old boy who died in a drunk-driving crash has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver, a Palmdale ex-convict who was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Juan Mendoza had a blood-alcohol level of 0.13percent – above the 0.08 legal limit – and also showed indications of drug use when he was tested after the March11,2005, crash, which occurred as Mendoza’s sport utility vehicle was passing other vehicles at a Palmdale intersection. The lawsuit names as defendants Mendoza and the owner of the GMC Suburban. Mendoza was sentenced in June 2005 after pleading no contest to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated after prosecutors agreed to dismiss an additional charge of driving under the influence with injury. last_img read more

Uganda see off Burundi in CECAFA opener


first_img0Shares0000Uganda Cranes players celebrate one of their two goals against Burundi during the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup at the Lugogo Complex on December 7, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluKAMPALA, Uganda, Dec 7 – Hosts Uganda saw off a nervous second half before beating Burundi 2-1 in their opening Group A match of the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup at the Lugogo Stadium in Kampala on Saturday evening.Fahad Bayo and Bright Anukani got the goals for the Cranes while Cedric Rurasenga scored the consolation for the Burundians. With the victory, Uganda move top of the group with maximum points and will face Djibouti in their second match on Monday while Burundi will face Somalia.The cranes were in total dominance of the opening half and were a beauty to watch. Within the opening 25 minutes, they were already 2-0 up and looked so comfortable in front of their adoring home fans.They broke the deadlock in the 10th minute, Anukani hitting the back of the net with a brilliant low shot from 20 yards out after a poorly defended ball landed kindly on him.Burundi’s day went from bad to worse when they had to change their centre back pairing after Muryano Musa picked up an I jury and was replaced by Issa Hakizimana.Uganda continued their dominance in the match and were 2-0 up in the 24th minute with Anukani on e again playing a key role.The midfielder put Bayo through on goal with a brilliant through pass and the burly forward did the rest by slipping the ball under Burundi keeper Fabien Mutombora’s arms.On the half hour mark, the impressive Anukani had a chance for his second of the day but could not keep his header down unmarked off a Mustafa Kiiza corner.On the other end, a tad of complacency saw Shafik Kagimu lose the ball in a dangerous area but luckily for him, Abedi Bigirimana failed to punch him by taking a rushed shot that went wide when he had acres of space in front of him.Anukani continued to terrorize the Burundi backline and he created two more chances that should have wrapped up the game. Another brilliant pass between the defenders landed on Paul Willa, but his shot from the right went wide.A minute to the break  Anukani clipped over a pass destined for Bayo, but the striker’s looping g header went just over.Three minutes into the second half, Uganda should have been safely 3-0 up, but Bayo’s effort from the right hit the crossbar with the Burundi defense caught napping.Burundi kept the fight on and they halved the deficit on the hour mark from the penalty spot, Cedric Rurasenga sending the keeper the wrong way after Revita John had handled the ball inside the box.The goal gave Burundi hope and they should thank their lucky stars for Uganda’s glaring misses just five minutes later.Okello who had been exciting in the middle of the pack dribbled into space inside the box, but his low shot came off the bar. The rebound fell kindly on Viane Sekajugo with a gaping g goalmouth, but the winger shot over.Having dodged a bullet, Burundi piled the pressure, but could not get the best quality ball in the attacking third.They almost snatched a draw at the death, but Chancel Ndaye’s well delivered freekick rolled across the face of goal with no one to touch it into an empty net.0Shares0000(Visited 11 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more