Big upward revision for UK growth this year from the OECD

The UK economy will grow much faster this year than previously expected, according to an influential economics organisation, as it revised up forecasts it slashed after the Brexit vote.The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) raised its projections for 2017 GDP growth to 1.6 per cent, a change of 0.6 percentage points since its September prediction. The UK had the biggest upwards revision in 2017 growth prospects (Source: OECD)In September’s forecast the group cut its growth expectations for 2017 in half, predicting one per cent growth as the economy reacts to policy uncertainty.In November, faced with the acceleration of the UK economy on the back of continued strength in consumer spending, the OECD changed its prediction to 1.2 per cent.The Bank of England was among other forecasters surprised by the strength of the British economy. It raised its prediction of growth this year to two per cent last month, and predicted consumers would dip into savings to sustain demand.However, the OECD’s analysis still expects rising inflation to hit demand this year. Jasper Jolly whatsapp The report said: “UK growth is expected to ease further as rising inflation weighs on real incomes and consumption, and business investment weakens amidst uncertainty about the United Kingdom’s future trading relations with its partners.”Read more: UK growth smashes developed nations average to sit atop G7The OECD left its prediction that UK growth will slow to one per cent in 2018 unchanged.The weak growth picture comes amid what the OECD describes as a “low-growth trap” for the world economy, which is expected to grow by 3.3 per cent in 2017 before accelerating in 2018.OECD chief economist Catherine Mann said: “The pick-up in growth from countries taking fiscal initiatives is broadly welcome, but we cannot ignore the danger that the recovery gets knocked off track by policy errors or financial risks and vulnerabilities. Coherent and committed policy action is needed to simultaneously raise growth rates and improve inclusiveness.” Tuesday 7 March 2017 1:00 pm The revision is the largest across the major economies surveyed by the OECD.The OECD and other influential economics bodies have steadily upgraded forecasts of UK growth as the economy has proved resilient since the country’s vote to leave the EU.Read more: UK economy is gaining momentum despite Brexit fears, says the OECDThe organisation’s own measure of economic momentum recently found the UK moving towards a stronger growth picture.[custom id=”220″] whatsapp Share Big upward revision for UK growth this year from the OECD read more

News / China-US trade war brings box carriers a bonus – but 2019 looks less promising

first_imgBy Sam Whelan, Asia correspondent 10/10/2018 The US-China trade war has seemed “positive” for transpacific shipping lines, so far, with importers rushing to beat tariff deadlines.But there is growing concern that a prolonged dispute would leave shippers with question marks on whether to reorganise their supply chains.APL chief executive Nicolas Sartini believes the industry should still achieve around 5% trade growth this year.“So far it’s paradoxical, because the trade war has been rather positive for shipping companies,” he told delegates today at the TPM Asia conference in Shenzhen.“This is probably because capacity was really low in the market before peak season, as people were hesitant and afraid of the situation.“But now the peak season is very strong and the US economy is doing extremely well – for the first time the trade growth is superior to the unemployment rate which is quite remarkable. But the most important factor is that many US importers are anticipating tariff increases and are bringing cargo into the US ahead of when they would have normally.“We have yet another threat, on 1 January, of potential increases to 25% tariffs, so we are expecting – following feedback from customers today – another rush of cargo in the last quarter.”Thomas Knudsen, global forwarding president at Toll Group, said the cargo rush “would see inventories full, come 2019”, potentially resulting in a drop in transpacific volumes at the start of next year.One cargo owner, who controls around 30,000 teu, told The Loadstar her company had shipped a “tremendous amount” of business early to try and avoid the tariffs – “and we’ll continue to ship even higher volumes in the run-up to the end of the year, as in our view the tariff hikes are unlikely to stop”.But she added: “Unfortunate for us, of course, is that if we ship all this business in 2018, we will have a hole in our business in 2019, regardless of the optimism of the American consumer. It’s going to be turbulent and we’re having to look at alternatives, but it’s very, very difficult to move manufacturing in the short term.”Shippers could also be faced with higher freight rates in 2019, according to Philip Damas, head of Drewry Supply Chain Advisors, who noted container shipping’s infamous supply-demand imbalance could soon tip in favour of shipping lines.“Carriers are in a fragile financial situation so they’re not going to continue to inject a lot more capacity. If you look at next year, the numbers indicate demand growth will be higher than supply growth, which hasn’t happened for some time, so the overcapacity is being eroded.“And what this tells me is that next year the carriers will cancel more sailings,” said Mr Damas.He said spot rates were strengthening, although not on intra-Asia trades, where capacity was up and rates down.“However, my main message is that we’re starting to see a phenomenon, where the tendency of carriers to introduce predatory pricing is reducing and their capacity discipline is increasing,” he added.last_img read more

New drug for spinal muscular atrophy shows positive results — and could be a threat to Biogen

first_img What is it? STAT+ is STAT’s premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond. Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free! GET STARTED New drug for spinal muscular atrophy shows positive results — and could be a threat to Biogen Adam Feuerstein By Adam Feuerstein June 18, 2018 Reprints Daily reporting and analysis The most comprehensive industry coverage from a powerhouse team of reporters Subscriber-only newsletters Daily newsletters to brief you on the most important industry news of the day STAT+ Conversations Weekly opportunities to engage with our reporters and leading industry experts in live video conversations Exclusive industry events Premium access to subscriber-only networking events around the country The best reporters in the industry The most trusted and well-connected newsroom in the health care industry And much more Exclusive interviews with industry leaders, profiles, and premium tools, like our CRISPR Trackr. Log In | Learn More [email protected] @adamfeuerstein Senior Writer, Biotech Adam is STAT’s national biotech columnist, reporting on the intersection of biotech and Wall Street. He’s also a co-host of “The Readout LOUD” podcast. About the Author Reprints GET STARTED An experimental, oral medicine originally developed by PTC Therapeutics and now licensed to Roche improved the muscle function of babies with a fatal form of the rare, genetic disease known as spinal muscular atrophy, according to preliminary results from a clinical trial presented Saturday.More testing needs to be done to confirm these findings, but if they hold up, the new drug from PTC and Roche could be a significant competitive threat to Spinraza, the first chronic drug approved to treat SMA patients, marketed by Biogen. Biotech What’s included? Tags biotechnologydrug developmentpharmaceuticalsSTAT+last_img read more

B.C. introduces act allowing social enterprise companies

Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Keywords British Columbia Share this article and your comments with peers on social media B.C.’s $500-million investment fund to help small, medium sized businesses James Langton The government of British Columbia is proposing legislation to, among other things, facilitate the creation of social enterprise companies, which would be for-profit businesses that also aim to do good. Amendments to the province’s corporate legislation proposed Monday would allow for a new hybrid type of company – the community contribution company – which, it says, would combine socially beneficial purposes with a restricted ability to distribute profits to shareholders. The government indicates that this new type of hybrid corporation “responds to an emerging demand for socially focused investment options and can help foster social enterprise investments”. Related news B.C. government sets a lower home value for those claiming a tax grant For example, earlier this year, Royal Bank announced the launch of a new $10 million capital fund to help finance projects by organizations and entrepreneurs tackling social and environmental challenges. In particular, it’s targeting projects promoting environmental sustainability and water resource management, and providing employment opportunities for youth and new Canadians. B.C. says that its new “community contribution companies” would be incorporated with the flexibility and certainty of regular companies, but under legislation that ensures they primarily benefit the community. “These companies would allow an alternative business model not currently available through a regular business, whose primary focus is making money for shareholders or a non-profit society,” it notes. These new sorts of companies would also be subject to a higher degree of accountability than an ordinary company and they’d be required to publish an annual report detailing their social spending, it adds. Restrictions on corporate reorganizations would ensure that payout restrictions cannot be circumvented. And, when they are dissolved, these companies would be subject to an ‘asset lock’ — capping dividends on the company shares to ensure that profits are either retained by the company or directed to the community benefit. Subject to passage of the legislation, the government says it will work in the coming months to develop the regulations necessary to implement the legislation. The proposed new legislation will also amend the province’s Financial Institutions Act and Pensions Benefits Standards Act to streamline processes, enhance accountability and ensure consistency between the Financial Institutions Commission and other commissions. It will also clarify the authority of the auditor general, and amend various aspect of corporate legislation. Applications for B.C.’s emergency benefit open May 1 read more

ETF trends for 2021

first_img Keywords ETF,  Outlook 2021 An inhospitable environment for bond ETFs ETF inflows hit $7 billion in May Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Along with its horrific human toll, the Covid-19 pandemic brought widespread disruption that will continue to shape the investment landscape in the new year. On the bright side, there’s hope that mass dissemination of vaccines will alleviate the global health crisis and revive economic growth.Apart from the initial market shock in March that caused all sectors to plunge, the pandemic has had mixed results for equities. Selected growth stocks surged in 2020, especially in the technology sector, amid the shift to remote working, shopping and education. At the other extreme, industries such as airlines and hotels sustained devastating losses and saw plummeting stock prices. BMO launches new U.S. ETF series While technology stocks have soared, there’s concern over sky-high valuations. This leaves value-oriented money managers seeking bargains among beaten-up companies whose fortunes should improve as vaccinations and pent-up demand bring consumers out of isolation.As always, advisors should position clients in core asset classes to provide a solid foundation regardless of what direction markets take. Beyond that, key considerations revolve around whether to favour equities with superior growth prospects that are trading at lofty earnings multiples, or to emphasize more modestly valued market segments such as cyclical stocks that should benefit from an economic revival. Another important decision is whether to reduce fixed income exposure amid historically low yields for high-quality bonds.Investing in innovative growth companies has proven to be a great complement to portfolios, said Lisa Lake Langley, president, CEO and founder of Toronto-based Emerge Canada Inc.“The pandemic has accelerated the need globally for technology across all sectors,” said Langley, whose firm’s five actively managed ETFs launched in July 2019 were among the hottest performers of 2020.The flagship of what is one of the industry’s newest and smallest ETF families is the $115-million Emerge ARK Global Disruptive Innovation ETF, which returned 130.8% in 2020. Managed by New York-based ARK Investment Management LLC, the leading-edge technologies that the Emerge ETFs invest in include artificial intelligence, energy storage, automation and robotics, genomics and biotechnology, and financial applications.Langley acknowledged that for all but the most risk-tolerant clients, no one’s portfolio should be entirely invested in disruptive innovation. “This is a growth accelerator for a portfolio,” she said. “When you have a portfolio of 100% technology, you’re going to be subject to tremendous volatility.”Paul MacDonald, chief investment officer with Oakville, Ont.-based Harvest Portfolios Group Inc., shares the belief that the secular growth trend in technology will continue. But he expects a shift away from the biggest companies. “What we’ve started to see recently is some of your other players that are in the technology space playing catch-up.”While growth-style stocks have outshone value stocks in recent years, at some point — perhaps in 2021 — there will be a change in market leadership. “I wish I had a clock that specifically said what time,” MacDonald said. “But we do think that there’s opportunity in some lagging sectors.” Among them, he said, is U.S. banks, assuming a recovering economy and greater visibility of earnings.The greatest potential for gains are in those areas of the economy that have been hit hardest by Covid-19 restrictions. “Definitely one of the areas that has been impacted more by the pandemic than some of the other areas is travel and leisure,” said MacDonald. “I think there is a lot of pent-up demand for that. I think people are looking for a bit of an escape and I think that having the vaccine and having the economies reopen really does open the opportunity for people to resume their lives again.”The bigger-picture decision for 2021 is striking the right balance between equities and fixed income. “Optimism on the economic front, and a supportive liquidity backdrop, lead us to favour stocks over bonds right now,” said Ian Riach, senior vice-president and portfolio manager, Franklin Templeton Multi-Asset Solutions, with Toronto-based Franklin Templeton Investments Corp. Riach is co-manager of the Franklin Multi-Asset ETF Portfolios and the Quotential portfolios, which partly use ETFs.Speaking at Franklin Templeton’s 2021 outlook conference held online in December, Riach said that he and his colleagues favour foreign stocks over Canadian names. This is because of the concentrated nature of the Canadian economy and the stock market. “There are more opportunities for diversification in the U.S., and more opportunities for growth in emerging markets.”Riach cautioned against abandoning bonds altogether, because this asset class tends to dampen volatility and acts as a diversifier. “We do believe, though, that bonds need to be actively managed, and investors need to be selective regarding regions and other sectors.” Examples of interest-bearing securities that Franklin Templeton managers have employed to enhance yield include high-yield bonds, Maple bonds (Canadian-dollar-denominated securities of foreign issuers) and floating-rate bank loans.Future trends that will affect investors and ETFs was the topic of a Nov. 30 panel discussion held at a conference run by London, U.K.-based ETFGI LLP and moderated by ETFGI managing partner and founder Deborah Fuhr. One theme that will be critically important over the next decade is environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing, said panelist Pat Chiefalo, managing director and head of iShares with Toronto-based BlackRock Asset Management Canada Ltd.Chiefalo told the virtual conference that, in addition to newer ETFs that have ESG and sustainability criteria embedded in them, more traditional wealth management is heading in the same direction. “You cannot fully think about risk management if you do not incorporate sustainability.”Jonathan Needham, vice-president, ETF distribution, with Toronto-based TD Asset Management Inc., pointed to the expansion of actively managed, outcome-oriented ETFs aimed at solving clients’ needs, whether for risk reduction or enhanced income. “About 25 cents of every dollar today goes toward active solutions. It’s certainly a trend I continue to see growing,” said Needham, who also noted the growing ranks of investors who want to express their market convictions through ETFs employing niche and thematic strategies.As for ETF industry growth, executives expect positive momentum to continue in 2021. Sales trends proved favourable both globally and in Canada during a difficult 2020. Assets of Canadian-listed ETFs totalled $249.7 billion at the end of November, according to the Canadian ETF Association, up 24.7% from 12 months earlier.Kevin Gopaul, head of ETFs for Toronto-based BMO Global Asset Management, cited the risks of higher inflation and the likelihood of tax increases as factors that will make fees an important consideration for  investors. “ETFs — because of the efficient fee structure, or in many cases tax efficiency, and a lot of the transparency — will help people manage risk in the portfolio, and have a more cost-effective outcome,” Gopaul told the ETFGI conference.Panelist Michael Cooke, senior vice-president and head of ETFs with Toronto-based Mackenzie Investments, viewed the pandemic as the latest in a series of stress tests for the industry. Though there were difficult conversations with investors in early 2020 during the market plunge, “it’s like growth rings on a tree trunk, [with] more and more investors joining every year,” he said. “I think we all came out better aware, better educated and more confident in the resilience of the ETF market.” Related news Share this article and your comments with peers on social media a man on a precipice iStock Rudy Luukko last_img read more

Royal Navy warships monitor significant Russian presence close to UK waters

first_imgRoyal Navy warships monitor significant Russian presence close to UK waters Every move made by the Russians – a surfaced submarine, destroyer, corvette, patrol ship and their supporting tugs and supply ships – was watched closely by eight Royal Navy ships from the English Channel to the Celtic Sea in a concerted operation over the last two weeks.First Sea Lord, Admiral Tony Radakin, said:This is why the Royal Navy is at sea every day, protecting the UK and our interests. Even with the pressures of Covid, we remain at short notice to respond to threats both in home waters and around the world. Despite the increase in Russian activity, both on the surface and underwater, we are always ready to respond.Type 23 frigate HMS Northumberland watched the movements of Udaloy-class destroyer, the Vice-Admiral Kulakov, as she sailed North West of the Outer Hebrides, off the west coast of Scotland.Patrol ship HMS Severn was on duty in the English Channel and Dover Strait, where she shadowed a surfaced Kilo-class submarine, the Stary Oskol, the corvette Boikiy, patrol ship Vasiliy Bykov and support ships.Severn was also on patrol as the Vice-Admiral Kulakov sailed through the English Channel as she headed north.For some of the operation, the Russian ships sheltered from bad weather within the Baie de Seine, a bay in northern France, where Severn was joined by allied French Navy ships and aircraft.Commander Philip Harper, Commanding Officer of HMS Severn, said:In very challenging conditions with rough weather, Severn and several other British and allied ships, have spent 20 days ensuring that Russian transiting warships remain under our watchful eyes.HMS Lancaster joined Severn in this operation, closely tracking Steregushchiy-class corvette Boikiy in the English Channel and using her Wildcat helicopter to gather intelligence using the aircraft’s powerful array of sensors.Meanwhile, three Royal Navy warships – HMS Tyne, HMS Richmond and HMS Kent – combined to escort the same group of Russian ships as they operated in the Celtic Sea and approaches to the South West coast of the UK.This task group were joined by RAF Typhoon and F-35s jets, plus tankers RFA Tideforce and RFA Tiderace, which kept the allied ships replenished throughout the operations and contributed to monitoring duties while in the Irish Sea. /Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here. Why?Well, unlike many news organisations, we have no sponsors, no corporate or ideological interests. We don’t put up a paywall – we believe in free access to information of public interest. Media ownership in Australia is one of the most concentrated in the world (Learn more). Since the trend of consolidation is and has historically been upward, fewer and fewer individuals or organizations control increasing shares of the mass media in our country. According to independent assessment, about 98% of the media sector is held by three conglomerates. This tendency is not only totally unacceptable, but also to a degree frightening). Learn more hereWe endeavour to provide the community with real-time access to true unfiltered news firsthand from primary sources. It is a bumpy road with all sorties of difficulties. We can only achieve this goal together. Our website is open to any citizen journalists and organizations who want to contribute, publish high-quality insights or send media releases to improve public access to impartial information. You and we have the right to know, learn, read, hear what and how we deem appropriate.Your support is greatly appreciated. All donations are kept completely private and confidential.Thank you in advance!Tags:aircraft, British, destroyer, English, France, French, Government, helicopter, intelligence, Lancaster, operation, Richmond, Russia, Scotland, UK, UK Government, weatherlast_img read more

Vancouver schools announce graduation plans

first_imgIn-person graduations are set for August, at the earliest, with some virtual celebrations before thenVANCOUVER — School districts across the state of Washington are scrambling, trying to figure out how best to honor the class of 2020, while respecting the stay-at-home order currently in place, and a ban on large gatherings.The Jim Parsley Center, home for Vancouver Public Schools administration. Stock photo by Mike SchultzThe Jim Parsley Center, home for Vancouver Public Schools administration. Stock photo by Mike SchultzYou can read Clark County Today’s previous story about what Battle Ground, Evergreen, and Hockinson school districts are doing here.Vancouver Public Schools announced Wednesday that district officials are planning in-person graduations for next August, following efforts to gather feedback from high school seniors.“A recent survey of our high school seniors ranked in-person graduations as their first preference,” wrote Superintendent Steve Webb in a letter sent to families. “However, these events must be held later this summer when it is deemed safe to hold large gatherings.”The district has set graduation dates as follows:Aug. 13Hudson’s Bay H.S., 5 p.m. at Kiggins BowlFort Vancouver H.S., 8 p.m. at Kiggins BowlVancouver Flex Academy, 5 p.m. at Columbia River High School stadiumVancouver School of Arts & Academics, 8 p.m. at Columbia River High School stadiumAug. 14Vancouver iTech Preparatory, 5 p.m. at Kiggins BowlSkyview H.S., 8 p.m. at Kiggins Bowl Columbia River H.S., 8 p.m. at Columbia River High School stadiumIf the state’s reopening plan doesn’t allow large gatherings on those dates, the backup dates will be the week of August 31 through September 4. Seniors will be allowed to walk the stage, but social distancing rules will be in effect for students and staff. The event will be livestreamed in order for friends and family to take part.“In the meantime, we will celebrate our seniors with activities that follow state requirements to maintain a safe environment for all,” Webb wrote. Vancouver Public Schools Superintendent Steven Webb at a school board meeting in November. Photo by Chris BrownVancouver Public Schools Superintendent Steven Webb at a school board meeting in November. Photo by Chris BrownThat will include video celebrations for each school posted on social media and school websites. Virtual awards and recognition events for seniors will be announced June 8-9.Seniors should watch for details from their school’s principal regarding their last day, cap and gown pickup, yearbook pickup, diplomas, and more.“Thank you for your continued patience and understanding as we navigate the difficult circumstances of the state’s closure and reopening plan,” said Webb. “We look forward to providing graduation activities that honor our seniors. We are proud of what they have accomplished throughout their school experience and want to ensure that they receive the recognition they deserve.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textTags:Clark CountyCovid-19LatestVancouvershare 0 Previous : Vancouver’s Living Hope Church to reopen drive-in services Next : County Council temporarily eases pot shop restrictions to help one retailerAdvertisementThis is placeholder text Vancouver schools announce graduation plansPosted by Chris BrownDate: Thursday, May 7, 2020in: Youthshare 0 last_img read more

Kia and Mazda scoop up multiple AJAC Canadian Car of the Year awards

first_img Kia came next, with the Best Small Car and Best Large Car titles, for its Forte and Stinger, respectively. Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Chrysler, Ford, Infiniti, Hyundai and Jaguar rounded out the winning brands. ‹ Previous Next › PlayThe Rolls-Royce Boat Tail may be the most expensive new car everPlay3 common new car problems (and how to prevent them) | Maintenance Advice | Driving.caPlayFinal 5 Minivan Contenders | Driving.caPlay2021 Volvo XC90 Recharge | Ministry of Interior Affairs | Driving.caPlayThe 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning is a new take on Canada’s fave truck | Driving.caPlayBuying a used Toyota Tundra? Check these 5 things first | Used Truck Advice | Driving.caPlayCanada’s most efficient trucks in 2021 | Driving.caPlay3 ways to make night driving safer and more comfortable | Advice | Driving.caPlayDriving into the Future: Sustainability and Innovation in tomorrow’s cars | virtual panelPlayThese spy shots get us an early glimpse of some future models | advertisement Best Small Car in Canada for 2019Kia Forte Best Large Car in Canada for 2019Kia Stinger Best Mid-Size Premium Car in Canada for 2019Mercedes-Benz E 400 4MATIC Best Large Premium Car in Canada for 2019Volvo V90 R-Design Best Sports-Performance Car in Canada for 2019Mazda MX-5 Best Small Utility in Canada for 2019Hyundai Kona Best Mid-Size Utility in Canada for 2019Mazda CX-5 Best Large Utility in Canada for 2019Mazda CX-9 Best Mid-Size Premium Utility in Canada for 2019Infiniti QX50 Best Pick-up Truck in Canada for 2019Ford F150 Diesel Best EV in Canada for 2019Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Best Premium EV in Canada for 2019Jaguar I-PACE All 12 vehicles are eligible for the Canadian Car of the Year and Utility of the Year title, which will be named at the opening of Toronto’s Canadian International Auto Show in mid-February. The Canadian Green Car and Green Utility of the Year will be named a month later at the Vancouver International Auto Show. RELATED TAGSNon-LuxuryNew VehiclesNon-Luxury COMMENTSSHARE YOUR THOUGHTS Trending in Canada We encourage all readers to share their views on our articles using Facebook commenting Visit our FAQ page for more information. The Rolls-Royce Boat Tail may be the most expensive new car ever See More Videos Mazda, Kia and about a half-dozen other automakers took home category wins in the contest for Canadian Car of the Year and Canadian Utility of the Year mid-January, ahead of the overall winner of both titles being announced in mid-February.The 12 cars were selected from a pool of 55 new-for-2019 vehicles by close to 70 members of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), and the awards they’d earned were handed to their manufacturers January 17 at the Montreal International Auto Show.Mazda picked up the most hardware, with three trophies, for the Mazda MX-5 Miata, the Best Sports-Performance Car; the Mazda CX-5, the Best Mid-Size Utility; and the Mazda CX-9, the Best Large Utility. Created with Raphaël 2.1.2Created with Raphaël 2.1.2 Mark Richardson, President of AJAC, presents the awards for Best Small Car in Canada for 2019, awarded for the Kia Forte; and Best Large Car in Canada for 2019, awarded for the Kia Stinger, to Michael Kopke, Director of Marketing for Kia Canada. Buy It! Princess Diana’s humble little 1981 Ford Escort is up for auction An engagement gift from Prince Charles, the car is being sold by a Princess Di “superfan” Trending Videoslast_img read more

Sandstone Pillars In New Mexico Identified As Fossil Termite Nests

first_img Published: Oct. 22, 1997 Share Share via TwitterShare via FacebookShare via LinkedInShare via E-mail More than 100 sandstone pillars in New Mexico reaching heights of 20 feet above ground appear to be giant, fossilized termite nests roughly 155 million years old, according to new research by a team of Colorado scientists. “These probably are the world’s largest trace fossils,” said University of Colorado at Boulder research associate Stephen Hasiotis, who led the study. Trace fossils — the tracks, trails and burrows left by organisms — help scientists reconstruct past biodiversity conditions and ancient ecosystems, he said. The pillars, up to six feet in diameter, had previously been thought by some geologists to be fulgurites, glassy mixtures of sand and rock fused together by lightning strikes. But the new analysis indicates the pillars contain intricate, interconnected galleries and chambers nearly identical to the interior structures of some contemporary social termite nests. Some of the fossil nests near Gallup, N.M., appear to reach more than 120 feet below the ground in places where researchers were able to trace their pathways down steep hills and cliff sides. Since some types of termites construct their nests around dead and dying tree stump and root systems, Hasiotis speculated the bottom of the fossil nests marked the Jurassic water table. In 1996, Hasiotis reported the discovery of hundreds of smaller Jurassic termite nests in Colorado and adjoining states, evidence that termites played a major recycling role in the ecosystem at the time. “These pillars are compelling new evidence that termites were well-established and more widespread in the Jurassic than we had thought,” he said. A paper on the subject was presented by Hasiotis Oct. 23 in Salt Lake City at the Geological Society of America’s annual meeting. Other authors include Fred Peterson and Christine Turner of the U.S. Geological Survey in Denver and Timothy Demko of Colorado State University. In addition to their role as organic recyclers, contemporary termites are believed to pump about 20 million to 40 million tons of methane into the atmosphere annually. “Since methane is a greenhouse gas, all these termites running around during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods could have had a significant impact on local, regional and global climate,” said Hasiotis. The pillars were built in ancient sand dunes by the insects, which used their saliva, feces and partially digested woody material to bond the sand grains together. The fossilized nests resemble and rival the size of modern giant termite nests found in Africa and Australia today, he said. Simple and compound “galleries,” or tunnels radiate out from the central nest chambers, which are as large as Frisbees, he said. There even is evidence of ancient fungal gardens in the nests as large as softballs. Fungal gardens found in termite nests today are known to regulate nest heat and humidity. The large amount of protein available in the form of Jurassic termites might have made the towers tempting targets for ancient predators, said Hasiotis. He speculated that low-slung, armored dinosaurs like stegosaurs and anklyosaurs may have feasted on the large termite colonies. The New Mexico fossils are not the oldest termite nests ever found. In 1993, Hasiotis and USGS researcher Russell Dubiel found fossils of 220-million year old termite nests in Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park. The recent research effort was part of the Morrison Formation Extinct Ecosystem Project, a cooperative effort between the National Park Service, the USGS and a number of universities in the West, including CU-Boulder. Color photos of the fossil termite nests can be accessed and downloaded from the EurekAlert news website at: read more

CU-Boulder Initiating Strategies For Building

first_img Published: Sept. 28, 1999 More than 100 students, staff, administrators, deans and faculty at the University of Colorado at Boulder gathered to discuss strategies for enhancing the campus environment at the Chancellor’s Retreat on Community, held Sept. 22 at the University Club. “This is what a university is supposed to be about—learning about different points of view and talking with people you don’t know to find ways to create a community that is supportive and enriching,” said Chancellor Byyny. The meeting was coordinated by the Building Community Campaign Committee, a group that has been meeting for the past year to address issues, concerns and perceptions about the lack of a feeling of community on the Boulder campus. Elease Robbins, interim associate vice chancellor for student affairs and dean of students, is chair of the building community campaign committee. “This is a great start for including the campus in discussions regarding building community,” Robbins said. “A wide variety of people had an opportunity to explore the issues from multiple perspectives.” Jack Kelso, emeritus professor of anthropology and faculty ombudsperson, Jennifer Lyn Simpson, doctoral student and research associate for the building community campaign and Brenda J. Allen, associate chair and associate professor of the communication department, gave motivating speeches on the importance of improving the sense of belonging at CU-Boulder. They also addressed the challenges that inhibit it. Excerpts from their speeches will be printed in the Oct. 8 edition of the campus newspaper, the Carillon. Fifteen small groups assembled to discuss the definition of community, inhibitors to enhancing community, and what can be done collectively and individually to promote community on the campus. Following are some of the strategies that were presented: * Examine and revise campus reward systems that recognize competition over collaboration. * Involve faculty and include an academic focus on defining and developing a supportive community. * Create shared values, purpose and experiences by building traditions of community meetings and celebrations, which evolve over time and are flexible, so that all people feel included. * Plant seeds of courtesy, civility, welcoming and caring. One simple strategy is to acknowledge and greet other people. * Work together to rally around things the community agrees on. The analogy of an athletic team was used as an example of teambuilding, working together for a common goal in spite of differences. * Take risks to offer mutual support, respect, trust and acceptance of others. * Appreciate and respect others’ differences. * Include underrepresented groups and people not associated with a particular group in community-building activities. * Integrate existing campus groups to be a part of a larger community. * Celebrate the positives of the campus community and appreciate small successes. * Examine and change physical spaces to encourage community interactions. For more information on the building community campaign, or to nominate someone who has done something great for the community, visit the Web site at Share Share via TwitterShare via FacebookShare via LinkedInShare via E-maillast_img read more