Daily Archives: October 5, 2014

Shah Rukh receives Global Diversity Award

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London: Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan has been honoured with Global Diversity Award 2014 by British parliament for his contribution to cinema.

House of Commons speaker John Bercow presented the award to Shah Rukh Saturday.

“Now (in) parliament to receive the Global Diversity Award… Humbled and grateful. Thank you,” he tweeted before the ceremony.

Boman Irani, his “Happy New Year” co-star, congratulated the 48-year-old Shah Rukh.

“Proud of you… so very proud, for being bestowed the Global Diversity Award,” Boman tweeted.

The past recipients of the award include megastar Amitabh Bachchan, former beauty queen and actress Aishwarya Rai and Hollywood actor Jackie Chan.

IANS

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High risk Ebola could reach France and UK by end of Oct, scientists calculate

Scientists have used Ebola disease spread patterns and airline traffic data to predict a 75% chance the virus could be imported to France by October 24, and a 50% chance it could hit Britain by that date.

Those numbers are based on air traffic remaining at full capacity. Assuming an 80% reduction in travel to reflect that many airlines are halting flights to affected regions, France’s risk is still 25%, and Britain’s is 15%.

“It’s really a lottery,” said Derek Gatherer of Britain’s Lancaster University, an expert in viruses who has been tracking the epidemic -the worst Ebola outbreak in history.

The deadly epidemic has killed more than 3,400 people since it began in West Africa in March and has now started to spread faster, infecting almost 7,200 people so far. Nigeria, Senegal and now the United States – where the first case was diagnosed on Tuesday in a man who flew in from Liberia – have all seen people carrying the Ebola haemorrhagic fever virus, apparently unwittingly, arrive on their shores.

France is among countries most likely to be hit next because the worst affected countries -Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia – are French-speaking and have busy travel routes back, while Britain’s Heathrow is one of the world’s biggest travel hubs.

France and Britain have each treated one national who was brought home with the disease and then cured. The scientists’ study suggests that more may bring it to Europe not knowing they are infected.

“If this thing continues to rage on in West Africa and indeed gets worse, as some people have predicted, then it’s only a matter of time before one of these cases ends up on a plane to Europe,” said Gatherer.

Belgium has a 40% chance of seeing the disease arrive on its territory, while Spain and Switzerland have lower risks of 14% each, according to the study first published in the journal PLoS Current Outbreaks and now being regularly updated at http://www.mobs-lab.org/ebola.html.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has not placed any restrictions on travel and has encouraged airlines to keep flying to the worst-hit countries. British Airways and Emirates airlines have suspended some flights

But the risks change every day the epidemic continues, said Alex Vespignani, a professor at the Laboratory for the Modeling of Biological and Socio-Technical Systems at Northeastern University in Boston who led the research.

“This is not a deterministic list, it’s about probabilities – but those probabilities are growing for everyone,” Vespignani said in a telephone interview. “It’s just a matter of who gets lucky and who gets unlucky.”

The latest calculations used data from October 1.

“Air traffic is the driver,” Vespignani said. “But there are also differences in connections with the affected countries (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone), as well as different numbers of cases in these three countries – so depending on that, the probability numbers change.”

PATIENTS UNAWARE

Patients are at their most contagious when Ebola is in its terminal stages, inducing both internal and external bleeding, and profuse vomiting and diarrhoea – all of which contain high concentrations of infectious virus.

But the disease can also have a long incubation period of up to 21 days, meaning that people can be unaware for weeks that they are infected, and not feel or display any symptoms.

This, it seems, is what allowed the Liberian visitor Thomas Eric Duncanto to fly to the United States and spend several days there unaware that he was carrying the deadly virus, before being diagnosed and isolated.

In the European Union, free movement of people means someone unknowingly infected with Ebola could easily drive through several neighbouring countries before feeling ill and seeking help, and spend weeks in contact with friends or strangers before becoming sick enough to show up on airport scanners.

Jonathan Ball, a professor of molecular virology at Britain’s Nottingham University said that even with exit screening at airports of affected countries, the long, silent incubation period meant “cases can slip through the net”.

“Whilst the risk of imported Ebola virus remains small, it’s still a very real risk, and one that won’t go away until this outbreak is stopped,” he said. “Ebola virus isn’t just an African problem.”

However, the chance of the disease spreading widely or developing into an epidemic in a wealthy, developed country is extremely low, healthcare specialists say.

According to the latest Ebola risk assessment from the European Centres of Disease Prevention and Control, which monitors health and disease in the region, “the capacity to detect and confirm cases…is considered to be sufficient to interrupt any possible local transmission of the disease early.”

Gatherer cited Nigeria as an example of how Ebola can be halted with swift and detailed action.

Despite being in West Africa and being home to one of the world’s most crowded, chaotic cities, Nigeria has managed to contain Ebola’s spread to a total of 20 cases and 8 deaths, and looks likely to be declared free of the virus in coming weeks.

“Even if we have a worse case scenario where someone doesn’t present for medical treatment, or..it’s not correctly identified as Ebola, and we get secondary transmission, it’s not likely to be a very long secondary transmission chain,” he said.

“People aren’t living in very crowded conditions (in Europe), so the disease doesn’t have the same environment it has in a shanty town in Monrovia, where the environment is perfect for it to spread. It’s a different matter in modern western cities with the very sanitised, sterile lives that we live.”

HT

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Impact Investing Needs Millennials

As impact investing tries to make the move from philanthropic thought experiment to powerful instrument for global change, a vital demographic and financial reality is emerging – it’s going to be millennial investors (particularly those inheriting or building significant private wealth) who make or break it.

Since the term was coined in 2007, impact investing – the idea that private capital can be deployed to alleviate pressing social needs like access to clean water, affordable housing or preventative healthcare while returning a financial profit – has attracted significant public and media attention. However, impact investing’s legitimacy as an alternative asset class remains elusive.

Impact investment continues to suffer from limited transaction flow and anemic dollar commitments. Most relevant to stunted growth, however, is cultural resistance – the inertial apathy of traditional financial players who are wary of novel, risky investment structures and skeptical about trading some amount of profitability for social return. Without the commitment of commercial financiers to include impact investments in their core portfolios, or pressure from mainstream investors to insist that they do, impact investment’s route to scale is uncertain.

Enter the millennials (the roughly 80 million Americans born between 1980 and 2000, and their peers around the world), who conceive of financial return differently, and more expansively, than their elders. For millennials, pressing social problems are not just the preserve of philanthropists or governments. Millennials consistently cite social impact as one of the most important roles of business. Of all the generations alive today, millennials are the most willing to trade financial return for greater social impact, according to “Millennials and Money,” a 2014 study from Merrill Lynch’s Private Banking and Investment Group.

According to another study, U.S. Trust’s “Insights on Wealth and Worth,” wealthy millennials are almost twice as likely as their grandparents to regard their investments as a way to express social, political, or environmental values (see chart), and nearly three-quarters of millennials believe that it is possible to realize market-rate returns investing in companies based on their social or environmental impact.

These opinions matter. Millennials are poised to share in the largest intergenerational wealth transfer in human history – one widely-cited estimate puts its value at $41 trillion in the United States alone by the year 2052.

Millennials therefore represent a sizeable, well-capitalized cohort of investors with a generational commitment to furthering the social good and a desire to engage their peers – and parents – in doing likewise. As recent events show, they are beginning to act on these principles. At the recent Nexus Global Summit on Innovative Philanthropy at the United Nations, which we attended, 600 largely millennial-aged participants from 41 countries representing nearly $750 billion in private and family wealth spent three days exploring and sharing case studies of social investments. Some of the investments had the sophisticated deal structures of large corporate transactions, some showed private sector engagement driving infrastructure development and quality-of-life improvement, and all demonstrated growing connections between policy and profit at national and international levels.

When we contrast our inspiring experience at Nexus alongside the still-limited impact- investment landscape, we conclude that three actions will be critical to accelerating the mobilization of capital by millennials and allowing impact investing to scale to a projected $1 trillion market by 2020.

First, private-sector entrepreneurs need to keep identifying opportunities to build companies that can accept and use impact capital to grow to scale, providing an increasing capacity for deal flow. Some commentators have compared the opportunity presented by impact investing to the early days of venture capital. We find such comparisons premature, but agree in one respect: to scale, impact investing will require a small contingent of ambitious investors prepared to make sizeable bets on promising entrepreneurs in order to demonstrate the asset class’s viability.

Second, millennials should vote with their wallets and demand that retail banks, wealth managers, and advisory firms provide a suite of financial products that range across the risk/return/impact triangle. Wealth management firms acknowledge that they are not yet positioned to give impact investing equal footing to conventional investments. In the “Millennials and Money” report we cited above, Merrill Lynch described one client’s impact investment as “a tricky undertaking for both client and advisor.the collaboration, in many ways an experiment, is ongoing.” For the same investment, the report asks, “what measures should be used to judge the social impact of these investments? How long should you wait for that impact to take hold, let alone a profit stream?” These are the questions investors are looking to advisory firms to answer, not just ask.

Of course, not all millennials will inherit or create millions in personal wealth. But our generation is remarkably consistent in attitude, regardless of financial position – 92% say business success should be based on more than profit. Millennials also believe in the power of private capital. More than half of millennials in the same study (conducted by Deloitte) believed that business, not government, will have the greatest impact in solving society’s most pressing challenges. We expect that wealthy millennials will pave the way for the mainstreaming of impact investment products for their peers as well as their Baby Boomer and Generation X parents and grandparents, whatever the size of their portfolios.

Third, growing impact investing will take collaboration and cooperation. Public-and private-sector actors will need to partner with academia to aggregate information on impact investing deal activity, compile best practices in impact measurement, reduce transaction costs, and inspire new participants through social engagement. The first report of the U.S. National Advisory Board on impact Investment is an important first step; the next challenge for government is to design and foster a supportive regulatory environment, one that regards private capital as positive force to be harnessed, and impact investors as partners in social progress.

We anticipate that millennials’ growing commitment to impact investing on multiple dimensions – dollars committed, deals completed, financial returns achieved, and development goals addressed. Most importantly, however, we look forward to a growing alignment of developed world capital with a social conscience, driven by one of the core millennial mantras: doing well by doing good.

Harvard Business Review

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