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News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.ogj.com

Facilitating innovation sooner would be a more effective step than simply imposing mandates or increasing funding in breaking an apparent US energy and climate research and development logjam, speakers suggested during a Mar. 27 discussion at the Brookings Institution.

News Article | April 16, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

A girl drags a banner reading "yes" across piles of "yes" leaflets in the Kadikoy district of Istanbul (AFP Photo/BULENT KILIC) Istanbul (AFP) - Turkey on Sunday votes in a referendum on expanding the powers of the head of state under President Tayyip Erdogan that will determine its future political destiny but whose outcome remains in doubt after a bitterly-contested campaign. Over 55.3 million Turks are able to vote in the referendum on sweeping changes to the president's role which, if agreed, would grant Erdogan more power than any leader of Turkey since its founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and his successor Ismet Inonu. Opinion polls, always treated with caution in Turkey, predicted wildly divergent scenarios with analysts saying the outcome remains too close to call despite the clear advantage in resources and airtime enjoyed by the 'Yes' campaign. As the rival sides held rallies up until the last hour of legal campaigning Saturday to sway undecided voters, Erdogan confidently predicted that the 'Yes' camp had victory in the bag. For more news videos visit Yahoo View, available now on iOS and Android. But he urged people not to succumb to "lethargy" in voting, saying "the stronger result the better". "A 'Yes' that emerges from the ballot box with the highest margin will be a lesson to the West," he said in the Istanbul district of Sariyer, the last of a stamina-busting sequence of rallies. If passed, the new presidential system would dispense with the office of the prime minister and centralise the entire executive bureaucracy under the presidency, giving Erdogan the direct power to appoint ministers. The system would come into force after November 2019 elections. Erdogan, who became president in 2014 after serving as premier from 2003, could then seek two more five-year mandates. But it could also have even wider implications for the key NATO member, which for the last half century has set its sights on joining the European Union. Erdogan has warned Brussels that in the event of a 'Yes' vote he would sign any bill agreed by parliament to reinstate capital punishment, a move that would automatically end its EU bid. Western reactions to the referendum outcome will be crucial, after Erdogan accused Turkey's allies of failing to show sufficient solidarity in the wake of the July 15 failed coup. "The referendum will mark another turning point, or rather crossroads in Turkey's political history," wrote Hurriyet Daily News chief editor Murat Yetkin. Sinan Ekim and Kemal Kirisci of the Brookings Institution think-tank said in a report the changes if agreed "would set in motion the most drastic shake-up of the country's politics and system of governance in its 94-year-long history". The opposition has cried foul that the referendum has been conducted on unfair terms, with 'Yes' posters ubiquitous on the streets and opposition voices squeezed from the media. The poll is also taking place under a state of emergency that has seen 47,000 arrested in an unprecedented crackdown after the botched putsch. Supporters see the new system as an essential modernisation step for Turkey but opponents fear it risks granting Erdogan authoritarian powers. The standard-bearer of the 'No' camp, Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, warned at his final rally that Turkey was deciding if "we want to continue with the democratic parliamentary system or one-man rule". He described the new system as "a bus with no brakes and whose destination is unknown". Voting in the country's east gets under way at 7:00 am (0400 GMT) and an hour later elsewhere. Key factors influencing the result will include whether the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) can perform the delicate balancing act of bringing both nationalists and conservative Kurds behind the new system. After a slew of attacks over the last year blamed on Kurdish militants and jihadists, security is set to be a major issue on polling day. Authorities in Istanbul on Friday detained five people suspected of planning an attack on polling day, following the arrest of 19 alleged Islamist extremists in the Aegean city of Izmir earlier in the week. The Dogan news agency said a total of 49 IS suspects had been detained in Istanbul alone over the last week. More than 33,500 police officers will be on duty in Istanbul alone on referendum day, according to Turkish media.

News Article | April 25, 2017
Site: www.sciencemag.org

A surge in innovation tied to low-carbon energy technologies is showing signs of tapering off in the United States, at a time when the Trump administration is targeting the field for cuts in government research spending. The number of patents issued in fields related to cutting carbon emissions climbed from 15,970 in 2009 to approximately 35,000 in 2014 and 2015, before slipping back slightly to about 32,000 in 2016, according to a new report issued today by the Washington, D.C.–based Brookings Institution. It’s too soon to know whether this short-term drop is part of a bigger trend, says Devashree Saha, the study’s lead author and an associate fellow at Brookings. But it could be compounded by a push from the new president to pare back spending on renewable energy research, she says. “That, I think, raises a lot of concerns as to what is going to be the future of cleantech innovation in the next few years." Patents can serve as a handy metric for innovation, because they track new inventions their creators think are economically valuable enough to patent. By that measure, the years from 2001 to 2009 were relatively staid for clean energy, as patents issued each year hovered around 15,000, according to the study. Saha and her fellow researchers counted patents related to a number of energy fields, including solar, wind, energy storage, energy efficiency, and nuclear power. Beginning in 2010, however, things took off, climbing steadily for 5 years. During that time, the growth in patents issued in clean tech fields outpaced patents overall, and also outpaced high-tech fields including pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and semiconductors, according to the report. One likely reason for the shift was an injection of federal research dollars, including an infusion to help recover from the 2008 recession, and Obama administration initiatives to boost research in renewable energy, says Jesse Jenkins, a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Energy Initiative in Cambridge. The federal recovery act pumped $3.3 billion into research and development at the Department of Energy (DOE), including a significant chunk for renewable energy–related work. The Obama administration also funded the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), the $290 million program to push “moonshot” energy technologies into commercialization. Research spending through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy averaged $1 billion per year under Obama, $100 million more annually than under former President George W. Bush. But David Hart, an energy policy expert at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia, cautions that other forces were probably crucial. It can take years for research spending to translate into patent applications, and for the patents to be issued. Hart suspects much of the credit for the patent boom lies with growth in private industry, spurred in part by government regulations to encourage more clean energy, such as tax credits and state-level renewable energy quotas. He also questions whether anything can be concluded from the downturn in clean energy patents in the last year. Saha, the study’s author, agrees that federal spending doesn’t explain all of the bump. In addition to growing corporate investment, in 2011 Congress also passed legislation to streamline the patent process, which could have resulted in more patents being issued, she notes. All three, however, agree the Trump administration could have an impact on the direction of such energy innovation. The president’s so-called “skinny” budget, for instance, would cut DOE’s energy-related research by 44% and eliminate ARPA-E. And Hart worries that some clean energy technologies, such as more efficient electrical grids and devices that can store intermittent solar and wind power, are still in an early stage where private investment alone won’t bring them to fruition. “They may have enough momentum on their own” to make it to market, he says. “But I think there is still an important role for the government.”

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. & ORLANDO, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), a leader in health and health care improvement worldwide, kicked off its 18th Annual Summit on Improving Patient Care in the Office Practice & the Community, April 20-22 in Orlando, Florida. Against the backdrop of ongoing uncertainty in the US health care sector, hundreds of motivated health improvers, health care professionals, and community change agents are gathered at this year’s #IHISummit to take stock of progress with new, more integrated patient care models and to co-create solutions to new challenges. To open the Summit, Kavita Patel, MD, MS, a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and a co-founder of Tuple Health, addressed the pressures a new political environment is putting on health care reform at the federal and state levels, as well as the transformative initiatives health and health care leaders are engaged in across the country. She was joined onstage by Trissa Torres, MD, IHI Chief Operations and North America Programs Officer, who offered practical advice to attendees who are experiencing daily demands related to their organizations’ standings and stability in the marketplace while never wavering in their commitments to patients. Torres commented, “There are so many things coming at all of us from so many different directions – requirements for performance, requirements for reporting – it can feel overwhelming. As we face this, let’s focus our practice efforts and our energy in order to make some choices. Start by thinking about who are the patients we serve, and what matters most to those patients? It will help us have the most impact, and also help us reconnect to our sense of purpose.” Additional speakers at this year’s Summit include Erika Bliss, MD, Founder and CEO of Qliance, a membership-based primary care company operating throughout the Puget Sound region, and Maureen Bisognano, President Emerita and Senior Fellow, IHI. Dozens of Summit sessions, including half-day minicourses, extended learning labs, and general conference workshops, will offer primary care practices, multispecialty clinics, academic practices, government agencies, community health centers, and home health agencies the best and most innovative improvements for application across diverse care settings and communities, on topics such as: Follow the Twitter hashtag #IHISummit for up-to-the-minute developments and commentary. About the Institute for Healthcare Improvement IHI is a leader in health and health care improvement worldwide. For more than 25 years, IHI has partnered with visionaries, leaders, and front-line practitioners around the globe to spark bold, inventive ways to improve the health of individuals and populations. Recognized as an innovator, convener, trustworthy partner, and driver of results, IHI is the first place to turn for expertise, help, and encouragement for anyone, anywhere who wants to change health and health care profoundly for the better. Learn more at ihi.org.

News Article | April 27, 2017
Site: hosted2.ap.org

(AP) — Authorities in Indian-controlled Kashmir have banned 22 social media sites in an effort to calm tensions in the disputed region after videos depicting the alleged abuse of Kashmiris by Indian forces fueled protests. But the sites remained online Thursday as the local telecom company struggled to block them. The government said Wednesday that the one-month ban was necessary for public safety because social media were being "misused by anti-national and anti-social elements." "It's being felt that continued misuse of social networking sites and instant messaging services is likely to be detrimental to the interests of peace and tranquility in the state," the public order said. Pranesh Prakash, policy director for the Indian advocacy group the Center for Internet and Society, called the ban a "blow to freedom of speech" and "legally unprecedented in India." An official with Kashmir's state-owned telecom company, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd., said engineers were still working on shutting down the 22 sites, including Facebook and Twitter, but so far had been unable to do so without freezing the internet across the Himalayan region. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to give technical details of the effort to the media. Meanwhile, 3G and 4G cellphone service has been suspended for more than a week, but slower 2G service is still available. Residents of Srinagar, the region's main city, were busily downloading documents, software and applications onto their smartphones which would likely be able to circumvent the social media block once it goes into effect. Many expressed relief to still have internet access Thursday morning. "It was a welcome surprise," said Tariq Ahmed, a 24-year-old university student. "It appears they've hit a technical glitch to block social media en mass." While the government has halted internet service in Kashmir in previous attempts to prevent anti-India demonstrations, this is the first time they have done so in response to the circulation of videos and photos showing alleged military abuse. Others mocked the government. A Facebook post by Kashmiri writer Arif Ayaz Parrey said the ban showed "the Indian government has decided to take on the collective subversive wisdom of cyberspace humanity." Indian police and paramilitary officials accuse agitators of using social media to instigate violence. An international journalists' rights group urged Indian authorities to immediately revoke the "sweeping censorship of social media," saying it "will bring neither peace nor order" in the region. "Such broad censorship clearly violates the democratic ideals and human rights India purports to uphold," said Steven Butler, Asia Program coordinator at the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists. The statement quoted a 2016 report from the U.S. think tank the Brookings Institution saying that India blocked access to the internet in various regions to prevent demonstrations 22 times in the 12 months starting in July 2015, "more often than did Syria, Pakistan and Turkey combined." Pavan Duggal, an Indian lawyer and expert in cyberlaw, said the government can block social media "if it is necessary and expedient to do so in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India." But such "blocking is of no consequence, given the intrinsic ability of people to use proxy servers and access the said blocked websites," he said. "Blocking websites is like trying to fix a leaking roof by Band-Aid." Kashmiris have been uploading videos and photos of alleged abuse for some years, but several recently posted clips, captured in the days surrounding a violence-plagued local election on April 9, have proven to be especially powerful and have helped to intensify anti-India protests. One video shows a stone-throwing teenage boy being shot by a soldier from a few meters (yards) away. Another shows soldiers making a group of young men, held inside an armored vehicle, shout profanities against Pakistan while a soldier kicks and slaps them with a stick. The video pans to a young boy's bleeding face as he cries. Yet another clip shows three soldiers holding a teenage boy down with their boots and beating him on his back. The video that drew the most outrage was of young shawl weaver Farooq Ahmed Dar tied to the hood of an army jeep as it patrolled villages on voting day. A soldier can be heard saying in Hindi over a loudspeaker, "Stone throwers will meet a similar fate," as residents look on aghast. Protests and clashes are an almost daily occurrence in Indian-administered Kashmir, where anti-India sentiment runs deep among the mostly Muslim population after decades of military crackdowns. Disputes over control of the Kashmir region, claimed by both India and Pakistan, have sparked two wars between the nations since 1947. Associated Press writer Ashok Sharma in New Delhi contributed to this report.

Hammond R.A.,Brookings Institution | Dube L.,McGill University
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2012

We argue that food and nutrition security is driven by complex underlying systems and that both research and policy in this area would benefit from a systems approach. We present a framework for such an approach, examine key underlying systems, and identify transdisciplinary modeling tools that may prove especially useful.

Hammond R.A.,Brookings Institution
Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity | Year: 2010

Purpose of Review: To review a selection of research published in the last 12 months on the role of social influence in the obesity epidemic. Recent Findings: Recent papers add evidence to previous work linking social network structures and obesity. Social norms, both eating norms and body image norms, are identified as one major source of social influence through networks. Social capital and social stress are additional types of social influence. Summary: There is increasing evidence that social influence and social network structures are significant factors in obesity. Deeper understanding of the mechanisms of action and dynamics of social influence, and its link with other factors involved in the obesity epidemic, is an important goal for further research. © 2010 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Rothwell J.T.,Brookings Institution
Urban Studies | Year: 2012

A large body of recent research claims that racial diversity hinders the general trust of others, but these studies rarely consider how racial segregation mediates diversity. This article re-examines the issue by considering how the residential isolation of minorities alters general trust and one manifestation of trust: volunteering in cities. Using data from the US, the results from a regression analysis suggest that metropolitan-level racial segregation decreases trust and volunteering. Diversity has no significant effect. The results are robust to a variety of specifications and assumptions. The use of historical metropolitan and state characteristics improves the fit between segregation and distrust, and political affiliation is explored as a potential link between group distrust and general distrust. High levels of trust have been identified as a source of good governance and economic performance; integration is likely to enhance these attributes regardless of the level of diversity. © 2011 Urban Studies Journal Limited.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ECONOMICS | Award Amount: 450.00K | Year: 2011

This award provides partial funding for the Brookings Conference on Macroeconomics and the accompanying Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, a conference volume.

The conference is designed to bring together scholars in economics (primary macroeconomics) to focus on the scientific analysis of economic policy issues. The topics include fiscal and monetary policy, asset pricing, labor markets, consumptions and saving behavior, business investment, housing, wage and price setting, business cycles, long-run economic grown, the distribution of income and wealth, intermational capital flows and exchange rates, international trade and development, the macroeconomic implications of health costs, energy supply and demand, environmental issues, and the education system.

The papers presented develop empirical evidence, include real world institutions, and focus on relevance to policy. A wide range of methodological approaches are included. Papers are available online to the general public, and the series has been praised as a key forum for discussion of economic research and policy.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 450.00K | Year: 2015

This award provides partial funding for the Brookings Conference on Macroeconomics and the accompanying conference volume, the Brookings Papers on Macroeconomic Activity. The conference is designed to bring together economic scientists to focus on the scientific analysis of economic policy issues. These issues include the changing labor market, financial institutions, global economic policy, heath care, data improvement, inequality, and long run economic growth. The papers presented at the conference are available online to the public. They develop empirical analysis, employ a wide range of research methods, include real world institutions, and focus on relevance to policy. The award promotes the national interest by improving the quality of the economics used in making policy decisions.

BPEAs work not only adds to the body of economic literature but increases the contributions of economic research to our understanding of public policy. This is in part due to a high degree of interaction among the organizers, researchers, discussants, and attendees. Each researcher invited to present engages in an intensive process of three rounds of review, criticism, discussion and editing. BPEA encourages scientists to apply the best knowledge of the profession to pressing policy issues and uses policy concerns to point the professions way toward new science.

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