Thursday, March 31, 2016

FBI Public Service Announcement: Stolen Identity Refund Fraud

March 23, 2016

Alert Number


Questions regarding this PSA should be directed to your localFBI Field Office.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Rockefellers Dump Exxon Holdings That Made Family's Fortune

  • Rockefeller Family Fund plans to divest all fossil fuel stocks
  • Descendants of founder call company `morally reprehensible'

Descendants of John D. Rockefeller sold their Exxon Mobil Corp. stock and plan to dump all other fossil-fuel investments in the latest move against the industry that made their fortune.
The Rockefeller Family Fund concluded there’s “no sane rationale” for companies to explore for oil as governments contemplate cracking down on carbon emissions, according to a statement on the website of the New York-based philanthropic foundation Wednesday.

The fund singled out Exxon, the world’s biggest oil explorer by market value, for what it called “morally reprehensible conduct,” a reference to a series of articles last year by InsideClimate News that alleged the oil titan knew about global warming as far back as the 1970s and sought to hide what it knew from investors, policymakers and the public. The Rockefeller Family Fund and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund both are listed as financial backers of InsideClimate News on its website.

“It’s not surprising that they’re divesting from the company since they’re already funding a conspiracy against us,” Alan Jeffers, a spokesman for Irving, Texas-based Exxon, said in an e-mailed statement on Wednesday.

Exxon, which traces its roots to the 1880s and John D. Rockefeller’s integration of refineries and Pennsylvania oilfields, has dismissed the InsideClimate News allegations as products of “anti-oil and gas activists who cherry-picked documents” to distort the company’s role in climate research.

Fossil-fuel investments represent about 6 percent of the Rockefeller Family Fund’s $130 million in holdings, Lee Wasserman, director of the foundation, said in a telephone interview on Wednesday.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Soros, Alarmed by Trump, Pours Money into 2016 Race (BW)

The billionaire has already spent or pledged $13 million to help Hillary Clinton and other Democrats this year.

  • Can the GOP Stop Donald Trump?
The liberal New York financier George Soros, whose effort to unseat President George W. Bush in 2004 shattered political spending records, is returning to big-ticket giving after an 11-year hiatus.

Soros has spent or committed more than $13 million to support Hillary Clinton and other Democrats this election cycle, already more than his total disclosed spending in the last two presidential elections combined.

Soros has expressed alarm over the past few months at the candidacies of Republicans Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. In a statement last week about a new group he's funding to increase voting by Latinos and immigrants in the election, he again mentioned the two candidates by name.

"The intense anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric that has been fueled by the Republican primary is deeply offensive," Soros said in the statement. "There should be consequences for the outrageous statements and proposals that we've regularly heard from candidates Trump and Cruz."

Michael Vachon, a spokesman and political adviser to Soros, said there was no single cause for the increase in spending. "His support of Clinton is one reason. The tone of the other candidates is the other," Vachon said. The Clinton, Cruz and Trump campaigns, which face crucial primary contests in Ohio and Florida today, didn't respond to requests for comment.

Soros's importance to Clinton goes beyond the checks he writes, since other major Democratic donors sometimes follow his lead. At the same time, it's likely that in a general election, Trump would pillory Clinton for her reliance on Soros and other wealthy hedge-fund managers. The billionaire real-estate developer has spent months portraying his Republican rivals as the tools of their donors.

Soros, 85, a Hungarian-born speculator who made billions betting on price swings in currencies and other assets, has long been one of the right wing's favorite bogeymen and a magnet for conspiracy theories.

Last weekend, some Trump supporters and conservative media organizations blamed Soros for demonstrations in Chicago that caused Trump to cancel a planned rally, pointing to his past support for one of the groups that organized protests, In fact, MoveOn hasn't gotten funding from Soros since 2004, according to both Vachon and MoveOn spokesman Brian Stewart.

Soros's personal fortune stands at about $24 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Soros handed off day-to-day management of his hedge fund business in the late 1980s to focus on his charitable pursuits, many of which seek to promote democracy around the world. The Open Society Foundations say they have spent some $13 billion over the past three decades.

Soros spent an unprecedented $27 million trying to defeat Bush's re-election in 2004, much of it through independent groups known as 527s that could accept donations of unlimited size. While the groups Soros funded knocked on doors and tried to boost voter turnout, a conservative 527 group aired a powerful series of ads questioning Democrat John Kerry's war record, helping Bush win a second term. "They were in-your-face distortions of the truth," a frustrated Soros told the New York Times Magazine in 2006. "People don't care about the truth."

Soros signed on as an early backer of Obama during the 2008 campaign, but spent only about $5 million on political causes that cycle, according to a tally by Bloomberg that doesn't include undisclosed donations to political nonprofits. He spent even less in 2012, even though the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling prompted a flood of new seven-figure contributions that year.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland that January, he remarked to Reuters that some hard-right candidates would provide a big contrast with Obama but "there isn't all that much difference" between the president and Mitt Romney, the eventual Republican nominee. He also remarked that "a lot of the talent has left" Obama's administration.

A few months later, Soros told a Clinton confidant that he wished he hadn't backed Obama in the primary four years earlier.

"He said he's been impressed that he can always call/meet with you on an issue of policy and he hasn't met with the president ever," Neera Tanden said in a 2012 e-mail to Clinton, who was then serving as Obama's Secretary of State. "He regretted his decision in the primary -- he likes to admit mistakes when he makes them and that was one of them."

The e-mail was one of thousands of Clinton's messages that the State Department later made public, several of which show what a warm reception Soros got from her office. They show him planning a meeting with Clinton to request funding for a university he supports; recommending a few names of potential mediators for a crisis in Albania; and having a long talk with one of her aides about the situation in Burma. Over the past few years, Soros' charities have given between $1.5 million and $6 million to the Clinton Foundation.

Soros's biggest contribution this year is a total of $7 million to Priorities USA, the main super-PAC supporting Clinton. Another $1 million went to American Bridge, an opposition-research group. And last week, he announced he was putting $5 million into a new super-PAC known as Immigrant Voters Win. The group is part of a coordinated $15 million voter-turnout effort, first reported in the New York Times, that is targeting Latinos and immigrants in Colorado, Nevada and Florida.

The $13 million total puts Soros near the top of the list of this election cycle's biggest donors, and it doesn't include the $5 million he's pledged to another effort, led by Democratic lawyer Marc Elias, to challenge new voter-identification laws and other restrictions at the state level.

In an era of super-PACs, Soros's giving doesn't stand out like it used to. Thomas Steyer, the former San Francisco hedge-fund manager, spent more than $70 million in 2014, and the casino mogul Sheldon Adelson gave more than $90 million in 2012.

At Davos in January, Soros remarked that Trump and Cruz are engaging in "fear mongering." But he predicted that neither of them would prevail in the November election. "Here I have to confess to a little bit of bias, so take that into account," he told Bloomberg Television. "I think it's going to lead to a landslide for Hillary Clinton."

Friday, March 25, 2016

Why More Students Are Leaving the U.S. for College (BW)

Forty universities in Europe offer English-language bachelor's degrees to American students for an irresistible price: free.

When Michael Ferrante, a 21-year-old college senior, returned to Baltimore to finish school after studying in Berlin for a year, he had only one regret—not having applied to college in Germany in the first place.

"It was infinitely cheaper to study in Berlin," said Ferrante, who graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in German Language and Literature. In high school, he had planned on studying in Germany, but he applied to U.S. colleges because he was more familiar with American schools. "I feel like most Americans don't think of Continental universities as having the same academic rigor as top-flight American universities," he said, "But based on my experience in Germany, it's just a different kind of rigor."

It's also a different price tag. Ferrante said he paid $500 for two semesters at Humboldt and Die Freie Universität in Berlin and spent roughly $27,000, with financial aid, for the same amount of time at Hopkins.

More American students are choosing to study abroad. In the 2013-2014 school year, the number of U.S. students studying abroad was 72 percent higher than it had been in 2000-2001, according to a report from the Institute of International Education. Many students are choosing to go further than a one-semester break and attend all four years of college in a foreign city. The number of students enrolled in college outside their countries rose 463 percent from 1975 to 2012, said a report last month by Moody's Investors Service. International students in the U.S. have grown by 70 percent since 2005, according to the report. 

Despite the growing interest in a global education, Americans have few guides to understand European college processes, which vary by country. "I was shocked that there isn't the European equivalent of a Princeton Review or a Fiske Guide because there's so much information [in the U.S.]," said Jennifer Viemont, co-founder of Beyond The States, a database of 350 colleges in 30 countries that offer bachelor's degrees taught in English. Viemont began the project four years ago when her high-school aged son expressed interest in going to college abroad. "Other than country-specific websites like or, there's not a lot of literature out there," she said. 

College in Europe can be astonishly cheap for Americans. Forty public and private colleges in continental Europe offer free bachelor's degrees, taught in English, to Americans, said Viemont. An additional 98 colleges ask tuition of under $4,000 per year, she said. European colleges want American applicants because they can charge higher tuition for non-EU residents. Americans in Europe will still pay considerably less than they would at home, where the average out-of-state tuition for private universities is $32,405 a year, according to the College Board. The only European colleges that have bigger price tags are owned by American universities such as American College in Paris or Bard College in Berlin, said Viemont. 

There are nonetheless costs to studying in Europe. Universities there don't own dorms the way American universities do, said Viemont; the cost of living off-campus varies by city and by country. Further costs such as regular flights home can tack on thousands of dollars.

The main thing that holds some Americans back from studying across the Atlantic is a fear that they'll sacrifice quality—and North American career opportunities. "The biggest worry people seem to have is that a name from Europe won't carry the same weight as one from the U.S., but there's a serious upshot of graduating a year early and with a fraction of the debt," she said. "Plus, you've seen the world."

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Putin Says He Needs Someone to Hang If Crimea Link Not Built (BW)

President Putin visits Russia's Crimean Federal District
Vladimir Putin meets with construction workers on the construction site of a bridge across the Strait of Kerch, on March 18. The Russian government plans to build a bridge linking mainland Russia to Crimea.

  • President complains nobody wants to be responsible for project
  • Link from Crimea to Russia is `historical mission,' Putin says

President Vladimir Putin said he wants to identify an official who can be hanged if a road leading to a new bridge that will link Crimea to Russia isn’t built, as he complained that nobody wants to take charge of the project.

“There should be a specific person who can be hanged if it’s not done,” Putin said during a visit to Crimea to view construction work on Friday, the second anniversary of Russia’s annexation of the peninsula from Ukraine. Officials keep passing responsibility for the work to colleagues in different ministries, he said.

The president’s comments were figurative, the Kremlin’s press service said later. Putin criticized officials after being informed about troubles building the road linking the bridge with Crimea’s capital, Simferopol. “A specific entity, a specific person responsible for the whole project is needed, so i wouldn’t have to call all government phones or regions,” Putin said after viewing work on the bridge.

‘Historical Mission’

The road will lead to a 19-kilometer (12 miles) bridge planned to end the peninsula’s isolation. Construction of the span is a “historical mission” for Russia that must be completed by Dec. 18, 2018, Putin said. Linking Crimea to Russia across the Kerch Strait, it will boost economic growth, he said.

Putin annexed Crimea in March 2014 after the peninsula approved joining Russia in a referendum branded illegal by the U.S. and the European Union, which imposed sanctions. The vote took place after masked, armed men seized the parliament and government buildings in Simferopol following the overthrow of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in February. Putin at first denied sending troops to Crimea, then later admitted that Russian servicemen had assisted local self-defense units.

The Crimean peninsula is connected to Ukraine and has no land link to Russia. It was conquered by Russian Empress Catherine the Great in the 18th century and became part of Ukraine only in 1954 -- a gift of then-Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev.

Crimea ‘Occupation’

Ukraine has vowed to reclaim Crimea. French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel “reaffirmed that the EU does not recognize the occupation of Crimea by Russia,” at talks Thursday in Brussels with President Petro Poroshenko, according to the Ukrainian presidential website.

Crimeans’ decision to join Russia should be respected and the peninsula’s status can’t “be the subject of any negotiations,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call Friday.

Russia’s “illegal invasion” of Crimea won’t be accepted “under any circumstance and Moscow eventually has to end its occupation of Ukraine’s sovereign territory,” U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on a visit to the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, in December.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Israel’s Cellebrite reportedly the security company helping FBI unlock San Bernardino iPhone

Israeili YNetNews reports that the so-far unnamed “third party” which has offered to help the FBI try to break into the San Bernardino iPhone is Cellebrite, a mobile forensics company based in Israel.

The FBI has been reportedly using the services of the Israeli-based company Cellebrite in its effort to break the protection on a terrorist’s locked iPhone, according to experts in the field familiar with the case. Cellebrite has not responded to the report. But if it is indeed the “third party” in question, and it is able to break into the terrorist’s iPhone, it would bring the high-stakes legal showdown between the government and Apple to an abrupt end. Cellebrite, considered one of the leading companies in the world in the field of digital forensics, has been working with the world’s biggest intelligence, defense and law enforcement authorities for many years. The company provides the FBI with decryption technology as part of a contract signed with the bureau in 2013.

Cellebrite declined to comment officially, and no information was given as to the method the company plans to use. One unlikely source claims to know …

“I promise you that [Apple CEO] Tim Cook and Apple are not going to be happy with the solution that the FBI has come up with,” McAfee, the controversial technology executive, told CNBC’s Power Lunch. “Because it is almost as bad as a universal master key.”

Not that there’s any reason to believe the man who previously suggested he was going to use “social engineering” when the phone’s owner has been unable to access it and the employee who used it is dead. Indeed, there are plenty of reasons not to.

There’s the small matter of the fact that the FBI hasn’t come up with anything – it has been approached by an outside company. McAfee also suggests that the technique is a relatively easy one. If that were the case, it would have been something that could have been tried without delaying the hearing. Finally, he has given no clue at all what the method is. If he knew it, you’d expect him to at least describe it at at outline level.

Edward Snowden has described two possible methods that could be used, both complex and high-risk. The first is to use chip decapping to physically reveal the passcode. A lower-risk method would be to desolder the flash memory and reset the counter between attempts by copying the original data back to it.

In the Congressional hearing, Cybersecurity professor Susan Landau strongly hinted that the NSA may also have the capacity to break into the phone using techniques unknown to the FBI.

The court hearing originally intended to hear arguments from both sides has been put on hold for now.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

INMIGRACION Alcanza la Cantidad Máxima Reglamentaria de Visas H-2B

USCIS ha recibido una cantidad suficiente de peticiones para alcanzar la cantidad máxima reglamentaria de visas H-2B establecida por el Congreso para el año fiscal (FY) 2016. El 15 de marzo de 2016 fue la fecha final para recibir nuevas peticiones de trabajadores H-2B que solicitan una fecha de inicio en el empleo de antes del 1 de abril de 2016.
Qué sucederá luego de que se alcanzó el tope
USCIS rechazará las nuevas peticiones de Visas H-2B que se recibieron después del 15 de marzo y que solicitan una fecha de comienzo en el empleo antes del 1 de abril de 2016, excepto las indicadas a continuación.

Peticiones exentas de la cantidad máxima reglamentaria

USCIS continuará aceptando peticiones H-2B que estén exentas de la cantidad máxima reglamentaria determinada por el Congreso. Esto incluye los siguientes tipos de peticiones:
·      Para el año fiscal 2016 únicamente, los trabajadores identificados como “trabajadores que regresan”, quienes estuvieron contados contra la cantidad máxima reglamentaria de los años fiscales 2013, 2014 o 2015

·         Actuales trabajadores H-2B que están en los Estados Unidos y solicitan una extensión de estadía, si corresponde; cambiar los términos de su empleo o cambiar de empleador
·         Trabajadores de procesamiento de huevas de pescado, técnicos de procesamiento de huevas o supervisores de procesamiento de huevas y
·         Trabajadores ejerciendo labores o servicios desde el 28 de noviembre de 2009 hasta el 31de diciembre de 2019 en la Mancomunidad de las Islas Marianas del Norte y/o Guam.
Peticiones que incluyen Trabajadores H-2B que Regresan
A fin de evitar retrasos en el procesamiento de las peticiones, exhortamos a aquellos peticionarios que incluyen en su petición a trabajadores H-2B que regresan (“H-2B returning workers”), a escribir “H-2B Returning Workers” en un lugar prominente del sobre, así como en la portada. Usted puede encontrar más información en el alerta web, Trabajadores H-2B que Regresan Exentos de la Cantidad Máxima Reglamentaria para el Año Fiscal 2016.
Para más información acerca del programa de visas de empleo H-2B, visite nuestro enlace o llame al Centro Nacional de Servicio al Cliente al 1-800-375-5283.

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Airbnb opens its doors in Cuba to visitors from around the world this April. Other American players follow ...

Cuban tourism is about to get a shot in the arm: Airbnb has announced that it will welcome visitors of all nationalities to the island nation starting April 2, reports the Associated Press.

The news comes shortly after US President Barack Obama touched down in the country with his family, the first time an American president has done so since 1928.

Airbnb received special authorization from the US Treasury Department before it expanded its service. It began allowing US citizens to stay with hosts in Cuba last April and had roughly 1,000 properties listed on its site.

Today, it says it has over 4,000 homes there and more than 13,000 guests from US have stayed with Airbnb hosts across nearly 40 cities and towns around the country.

American hotel chains Starwood and Mariott have also received authorization to begin running operations in Cuba; the former says it’s signed a deal to run three hotels properties there.

Cuba’s hotels have been run by the government for over half a century. It was only in the 90s that it allowed families to rent out rooms in their homes, many of which have been spruced up with the help of foreign investors. That’s right up Airbnb’s alley and it’s likely that its service will play a major role in encouraging tourism across the country.

AP Photo

HAVANA (AP) -- Online lodging service Airbnb is allowing travelers from around the world to book stays in private homes in Cuba after the San Francisco-based company received a special authorization from the Obama administration, Airbnb announced Sunday.

Airbnb was the first major American company to enter Cuba after Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro declared detente on Dec. 17, 2014. The service handles online listing, booking and payments for people looking to stay in private homes instead of hotels. Cuba has become its fastest-growing market, with about 4,000 homes added over the last year.

Airbnb had only been allowed to let U.S. travelers use its services in Cuba under a relatively limited Obama administration exception to the half-century old US trade embargo on the island. The expansion of that license gives Airbnb the ability to become a one-stop shop for travelers seeking lodging in private homes, which have seen a flood of demand from travelers seeking an alternative to state-run hotels.

Airbnb's new authorization was announced on the morning of an historic three-day trip by Obama to Cuba and a day after Starwood Hotels announced that it had signed a deal to run three Cuban hotels, becoming the first U.S. hotel company in Cuba since Fidel Castro took power in 1959 and took over the island's hotels. Airbnb said world travelers could begin booking in Cuba in April 2, the anniversary of the country's start of operations on the island.

Also on Sunday, Marriott International Inc. said it had gained Treasury Department authorization to pursue a deal in Cuba. The hotel company, which is based in Bethesda, Maryland, said it is in talks with potential partners on the island. Its CEO, Arne Sorenson, is in Cuba with Obama's delegation.

All hotels in Cuba are now owned by government agencies and many are known for poor service and decrepit infrastructure. Foreign hotel chains operate some of the island's larger and more luxurious hotels, which are running at full capacity thanks to a post-detente boom in tourism that saw visitor numbers surge nearly 20 percent last year.

One of the first openings in Cuba's centrally planned economy came when the government allowed families to rent rooms in their homes for a few dollars a night, starting in the 1990s. That has become a full-blown private hospitality industry, with many Cubans using capital from relatives abroad and even foreign investors to transform crumbling homes into the equivalents of small boutique hotels.

Many websites allow foreigners to book Cuban private homes, known as "casas particulares," but none has emerged as a dominant player. Many travelers still find it hard to guarantee bookings and make electronic or credit card payments. Airbnb is promoting its service as a solution to those problems in Cuba.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

How Gut Bacteria Are Shaking Up Cancer Research

  • Roche says it plans to study role of microbiome in cancer
  • Vedanta expects more drug companies to enter the field

Top scientists at Roche Holding AG and AstraZeneca Plc are sizing up potential allies in the fight against cancer: the trillions of bacteria that live in the human body.

"Five years ago, if you had asked me about bacteria in your gut playing an important role in your systemic immune response, I probably would have laughed it off," Daniel Chen, head of cancer immunotherapy research at Roche’s Genentech division, said in a phone interview. "Most of us immunologists now believe that there really is an important interaction there."

Two recent studies published in the journal Science have intrigued Chen and others who are developing medicines called immunotherapies that stimulate the body’s ability to fight tumors.

In November, University of Chicago researchers wrote that giving mice Bifidobacterium, which normally resides in the gastrointestinal tract, was as effective as an immunotherapy in controlling the growth of skin cancer. Combining the two practically eliminated tumor growth. In the second study, scientists in France found that some bacterial species activated a response to immunotherapy, which didn’t occur without the microbes.

Human Microbiome

That’s increased drugmakers’ interest in the human microbiome -- the universe of roughly 100 trillion good and bad bacteria, fungi and viruses that live on and inside the body. Roche is already undertaking basic research in the field and plans to investigate the microbiome’s potential for cancer treatment, Chen said.

"Certainly, we are already scanning the space for interesting opportunities as the science continues to emerge," he said. "We are very interested in testing these in a controlled setting."

Some experienced investors are skeptical and see the possibility of an approved product for cancer to be at least five years away.

"To therapeutically influence the microbiome long-term in humans is a big hurdle," said Sander van Deventer, managing partner at venture-capital firm Forbion Capital Partners. "The microbiome is very stubborn. Everything we’ve done so far has only had a temporary effect."

Nestle’s Investment

Earlier in his career, van Deventer chaired the department of gastroenterology and hepatology at the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam, the first clinic in the world to perform fecal transplants to fight hospital infection Clostridium difficile with good bacteria. Forbion hasn’t yet invested in any microbiome biotechs, "but we’re looking at all of them all the time," he said.

Efforts are under way to turn bacteria into regulated pharmaceutical products to treat illnesses of the gut, where the microbes reside.

Nestle SA last January invested $65 million in ambridge, Massachusetts-based Seres Therapeutics Inc., which is developing a treatment for Clostridium difficile, which affects the digestive system. That follows early efforts to harness the microbiome’s benefits, which spawned probiotic foods and supplements as well as transplants of healthy bacteria.

The promise in cancer will draw more large drugmakers into exploring the human microbiome, said Bernat Olle, chief executive officer of Vedanta Biosciences, a Boston-based startup.

Treatment Potential

"That’s the sense we get based on how we’re being approached by new pharma groups and how serious they seem to be about wanting to enter the field,” Olle said in a phone interview. Vedanta last year announced a license agreement with Johnson & Johnson on its experimental microbiome drug for inflammatory bowel disease.

Another startup, 4D Pharma Plc, in November said it had discovered a bacterium that produces a response comparable to that of an immunotherapy in animal tests for breast and lung cancers. The London-listed company plans to start trials in patients by the end of this year. To support research in autoimmune and neurological diseases, in addition to cancer, the company has raised over 100 million pounds ($140 million) from investors over the last two years, CEO Duncan Peyton said in a phone interview.

French biotech Enterome is taking a different approach: developing treatments based on bacterial secretions. Enterome plans to close a private financing round of about 15 million euros this month, according to CEO Pierre Belichard. More news may be on the way.

‘Active Discussions’

"We are in active discussions with the usual suspects in the immunotherapy space," Belichard said in an interview in London.

Those active in the field include a wide range of pharma companies including AstraZeneca, Roche, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., and Merck & Co.

"Personally, I think it’s a fascinating area," Susan Galbraith, head of oncology research at AstraZeneca, said in an interview in London.

Studies have shown that immunotherapies have varying degrees of success even in genetically identical mice, and the Science study from Chicago suggests that the diversity of the microbiome may help explain that variability, Galbraith said. AstraZeneca isn’t conducting its own research in the area and would prefer to wait to see evidence in human trials before getting involved, she said.

The sheer number of bacteria, some of which could actually switch off an immune response, and the question of how much bacteria is needed, make it a complex area of research, Roche’s Chen said. It’s possible that the same bacteria could induce both harmful and helpful responses, depending on the patient, he said.

Still, "it’s one of the most interesting developments we’ve seen in science over the last several years," he said.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Amnesty International: Human Rights Conference 2016

Human Rights Conference 2016

The Conference

Dates: April 1st- 3rd 2016
Location: DoubleTree by Hilton Miami Airport & Convention Center in Miami, FL
711 N.W 72nd Avenue Miami, Florida, 33126 (Map)

Copyright 2016 Favianna Rodriguez,
The 2016 Annual General Meeting will bring together over a thousand human rights activists from throughout the U.S. and around the world to engage in networking opportunities, human rights actions, inspiring plenaries, outstanding keynotes and hands-on workshops, as well as to shape the policies of the organization. This year's conference is shaping up to be incredible, and through our conference, communities will be inspired to expand awareness, initiate change, and call the world to action. Our theme this year is "Change Our World." We stand shoulder to shoulder with activists in the United States and throughout the world to make a lasting human rights impact. We strive to embrace and reflect all identities that make up humanity in order to foster a world where justice, freedom, and dignity are recognized as central to the inalienable rights of all human beings.

"You cannot change any society unless you take responsibility for it, unless you see yourself as belonging to it and responsible for changing it. " - Grace Lee Boggs.


Experience the excitement of human rights activism happening at the
51st Annual General Meeting
Get Social with us!

Join the conversation at #OurWorld

Download our AGM App!

This year we are proud to announce that you can use the official AIUSA conference app on your smart phone. You can use the AGM App to check out the conference schedule and explore sessions, view a map of the venue, and build your own conference schedule. Best of all, you can even use the app to connect with your fellow attendees! Don’t forget to check back frequently and keep up-to-date with all your important conference details.

To get the app:
  • Find & download the app for free in the Apple and Android store. Search for 'AGM App' or click here to get it now!
Our AGM App allows you to:
  1. View the AGM 2016 schedule and explore sessions
  2. Build your own personal conference schedule.
  3. Stay up-to-date with program changes & updates
  4. Learn about and connect with speakers & activists
We would like to give a special thank you to our 2016 AGM Program Committee for their hard work and commitment to the success of our Annual General Meeting and Human Rights Conference:
Michael Andrews- Area Coordinators Steering Committee Member, Thomas Benner- National Resolutions Committee Member, Rita Coeling- Mid-Atlantic Representative, Julie Ikeda- Western Representative, Lisa Konczal- Country Specialist for Nicaragua, Erin Nuzzo- Legislative Coordinator, Akriti Panthi- Mid Western Representative, Kendrick Perkins- Southern Representative, Gerry Carolina Riverdeneira- National Youth Area Coordinator and Diedre Stieglitz- Northeast Representative.
We would like to thank our Host Committee members for their work:
Reakman Afshar, Betsy Akin, Shaharazad Arteaga, Rocio Avalos, Emily Beck, Pabitra Benjamin, Emily Benner, Abbey Clark-Moschella, Sara S. Cleveland, Rodrick Colbert, Joshua Cooper, Erin Crockett, Maria & Miguel Del Carpio, Luis Diaz Quilotte, Ike Dimitriadis, Mara Domider, Lynsey Duncan, Laura L. Finley, Savannah Fox, Nick Geballe, Marselha Gonçalves Margerin, Oliver Hidalgo-Wohlleben, Tracey S. Kardash, Lisa Konczal, Alicia Koutsoulieris, Steve Latimer, Edward Lescurieux, Sterling Llwellyn, Laura Maida, Jiva Manske, Carlos Marin, Julio Melendez ,Blaine Mineman, Isaac Newton Kinityt, Stephany Noriega, Derin Oduye, Nick Ogutu, Falaye Rufus Olakitan, Rachel O'Leary, Theophilus Oluwatobi Achuba, Kamila Anastatia Orlova, Maura Padron, Sheena Patel, Ben Podnar, David Rendell, Estefania Rodriguez, Favianna Rodriguez, Lucie Ruffo, Mary Tam, Christopher Vichiola, Aquib Yacoob, Rania Zakaria.

Voting on Resolutions

Please note a change in our voting processes this year. In order to be eligible to cast a vote for resolutions at the AGM (April 1-3), you must be a current dues-paying member, which means that you must have joined or renewed your membership by no later than February 11, 2016 (50 days before the start of the AGM). To renew or become a member, please click here. AIUSA Membership is not included with any ticket purchase. If you have any questions about this process, please contact Michelle Menzel at
Download the Group Voting Form here

Conference Registration

The Annual General Meeting registration is now available! Online registration will close on Monday, March 28th at 11:59 PM ET.

Zika Virus concerns: Please go to this link from the Center for Disease Control for any questions you might have about the Zika virus and your health while attending our Annual General Meeting in Miami.
Contact Us
For more information on this year's conference, contact or 212.633.4168

Monday, March 14, 2016

Yahoo CEO Hopes to Stay in Job Even If Company Changes Hands

Yahoo CEO Mayer Wants a Role In Company’s Future

  • Marissa Mayer makes comments on Charlie Rose's interview show
  • Leader has been under pressure to drive turnaround of company

Marissa Mayer is hopeful of keeping her job leading Yahoo! Inc. even if the struggling Web pioneer changes hands.

Under pressure from investors and facing a potential proxy fight, the chief executive officer has pledged to do what’s best for shareholders as Yahoo reviews alternatives for separating its core Internet business from a stake in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. There are many viable options for splitting the company, Mayer said during an interview Thursday on the “Charlie Rose Show.”

Those included being acquired by a strategic buyer or private equity, along with a reverse-spin to extricate the core Web operations from its Chinese holdings.

“I certainly hope the strategic alternative has a place for me,” she said. “But that said, we’ll obviously honor our commitments to our shareholders.”

Mayer is considering strategic options for the company even as she tries to drive a turnaround with a new plan for sparking growth. Activist investor Starboard Value LP, which has been critical of her efforts to restore growth and boost shareholder returns, has taken initial steps for a potential proxy fight that could recast the board with new directors, people familiar with the matter said last month.

Yahoo’s Future

“The primary issue is Yahoo, our technology, the employees, the services, the end-users -- how do we get that to the best possible place for Yahoo and find it the best possible future,” she said. “I’m secondary to that.”

Mayer expressed confidence in the turnaround plan, saying she can see success coming closer though most similar efforts can take five to seven years. Mayer said that, among other options, Yahoo going private may give her the opportunity to drive new recovery plans away from public scrutiny.

The company has said the turnaround includes cutting costs to drive efficiency and invest in more promising opportunities. Yahoo announced Friday it would shut down Livetext, a messaging app, at the end of the month. The service, which was rolled out with fanfare last year, enabled users to communicate via video -- without audio -- and text. The company will incorporate the “learnings and features” into products including Yahoo Messenger.

Yahoo also said it was closing regional media properties, including the astrology service in countries such as France and India.

Friday, March 11, 2016

These Are the Highest-Paying Jobs in America (BusinessWeek)

To become a high earner, hone skills that will protect you from automated competition

Operations At The Community Clinic Health Center As Senate Will Take Up Doc Fix

If a robot wouldn't be able to handle your job, then you might be in the rarefied group that got the highest paychecks in America last year. According to a new report from career website Glassdoor Inc., physicians, lawyers, and pharmacy managers had some of the top salaries in 2015. 

The firm compiled a list of the 25 highest-paying jobs in America based on job and company reviews from the beginning of 2015 until January of this year, and physicians topped the list. One thing that is quickly apparent is the more skills a role requires, the better chance it has at commanding a higher salary. "This report reinforces that high pay continues to be tied to in-demand skills, higher education, and working in jobs that are protected from competition or automation," said Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, Glassdoor's chief economist. "This is why we see several jobs within the technology and health-care industries."

Other roles that received at least 75 salary submissions and topped the list include software architects, software development managers, and strategy managers. Here's a full look at the top 25 and their salaries.

The report comes after the World Economic Forum (WEF) released a study earlier this year that predicted millions of jobs will be lost by 2020 due to technological developments. "[C]urrent trends could lead to a net employment impact of more than 5.1 million jobs lost to disruptive labour market changes over the period 2015-2020, with a total loss of 7.1 million jobs—two thirds of which are concentrated in the Office and Administrative job family—and a total gain of 2 million jobs, in several smaller job families," the report said.

Among Glassdoor's list of the lowest-paying jobs are a few from the office and administrative area that the WEF study referenced. Roles where technological advances have already caused staffing cuts in a respective field were likely to have been among the lower-paying jobs last year. "Unlike the highest-paying jobs, these lower-paying jobs typically do not require higher education, technical skills, and in some cases are being replaced by automation or technology," Chamberlain said. 

The report also dived into how many openings there are for each role on the firm's website. While there are nearly 8,000 listings for product managers, it might be tough to land a role as an information systems manager, given the mere 147 openings on Glassdoor.