Generation UNDP China, CCIEE launch report to facilitate low-carbon development Finance and Policy AFD and Eskom commit to a competitive electricity sector Adhering to his pledge of lowering electricity tariffs, the Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, has appealed to the African Development Bank (AfDB) to assist in reducing prices.The multilateral development finance institution has assured Museveni that they are planning several interventions that will bring down the electricity tariffs in the country, Nigeria Today reported.It is reported that this assurance came after the Ugandan President had expressed concern over the high cost of electricity, which he says is not coming down until a loan from the bank to support infrastructure development of the sector is fully paid.Credit guarantee facilityAfDB President, Akinwumi Adesina, said the bank will restructure the loan’s tenure in order to provide affordable electricity to all Ugandans, media reported.“In this regard, the bank will float a credit guarantee facility of $500 million bond. This facility will restructure tenure of the loan over 15 years’ period and will bring down the electricity tariffs.“The bond holders will be paid revenue that will be generated from projects (Bujagali),” Akinwumi said.He added that there was a need for a government mandate for the bank to proceed with Bujagali.According to media, Museveni’s concern follows reports by Ugandan manufacturers and other big businesses that have been complaining about the high cost of electricity in the country, which they say makes their products non-competitive in the region.Lowering electricity tariffsESI Africa previously reported that Museveni had stated that a team from the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) has agreed to further discussions on the prospects of lowering the cost of power generated from the hydro power plant.The IFC is an arm of the World Bank Group that offers investment, advisory, and asset management services to encourage private sector development in developing countries.It was reported that power tariffs in the country are expected to be cut from the current $0.113 per unit to at least $0.05. Previous articleIngula celebrates as last unit kicks into actionNext articleRenewable energy investments maturing Babalwa BunganeBabalwa Bungane is the content producer for ESI Africa – Clarion Events Africa. Babalwa has been writing for the publication for over five years. She also contributes to sister publications; Smart Energy International and Power Engineering International. Babalwa is a social media enthusiast. Low carbon, solar future could increase jobs in the future – SAPVIA RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR BRICS Comments are closed.
Low carbon, solar future could increase jobs in the future – SAPVIA BRICS TAGSAfrica Infrastructure ForumAfrican Development BankBRICSSouth AfricaSouth African Chamber of Commerce Previous articleEskom signs $2.5bn loan agreement with China Development BankNext articleNigeria urgently needs its Petroleum Industry Bills signed into law Ashley TheronAshley Theron-Ord is based in Cape Town, South Africa at Clarion Events-Africa. She is the Senior Content Producer across media brands including ESI Africa, Smart Energy International, Power Engineering International and Mining Review Africa. Featured image: Stock The African Development Bank (AfDB) in collaboration with the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry will hold a panel discussion on the Africa Investment Forum (AIF) at the BRICS Business Forum later today.Africa has huge infrastructure deficit. This year’s African Economic Outlook, a flagship report by the African Development Bank, estimates that Africa would need between $130 billion and $170 billion to meet its infrastructure needs.According to the AfDB, total commitments were at just $63 billion, as at 2016. This represents a financing gap of approximately $67 to $107 billion a year, in just infrastructure.To address Africa’s investment challenge and to unleash its potential, the African Development Bank and its partners are championing AIF, which will be an annual forum.AIF’s goal is to harmonise processes between the African Development Bank and its partners, to reduce intermediation costs, to improve quality of project information and documentation, and to increase action-oriented engagements between African governments and the private sector.Updated information will be provided as the meeting unfolds. AFD and Eskom commit to a competitive electricity sector RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Generation Finance and Policy UNDP China, CCIEE launch report to facilitate low-carbon development
ABCBy ASHAN SINGH and STEPHANIE FASANO, ABC News(NEW YORK) — Last month, at a mansion in Atlanta called the Collab Crib, a group of creators is hoping to shake things up.The group was putting together their own rendition of the “Buss It” challenge. Having recently gone viral on TikTok, the challenge had caught the attention of celebrities like Gabrielle Union and Chloe Bailey, each dropping it at the “Buss It” line of Erica Banks’ song.These creators are only some of the 35 people who live between two mansions — Collab Crib and Valid Crib. They’re comedians and actors, and singers and dancers. Altogether, they have amassed billions of views on their social media platforms.“When you try to explain it, it really sounded like a cheat code,” said Noah Webster “Because it’s like, how do you pull this off? But really, it’s just honestly, because we’re in the future now, social media… Everybody [is] on TikTok, Instagram. If you’re not, what are you doing?”Following the country’s racial gut check last year, the fight for equality hasn’t stopped. On social media, sometimes without even realizing it, influencers of color like those at Valid and Collab have been taking back the narrative of online ownership and credit for one’s work — and the financial rewards that come with going viral, too.Having followed the social media industry since YouTube was in its infancy, Dorsey is keenly aware of the demand and value or content. So, why not create a house for creating content?“We have social media celebrities that come together to make content via their Instagram, their YouTube, their TikToks… These days, a lot of companies and brands want and need content,” Dorsey said. “When we would travel together. We would get together in different Airbnbs and different houses in other cities, and we noticed that their numbers would grow like crazy when they were together just in a short period of time. So I said, what if we just lived all together?”Between both houses, the average age of the creators is barely 20. With over 14 million followers and over 360 million likes, brands have taken notice.Of the two houses, Valid Crib began organically via a group chat started by best friends Devron Harris and D’Aydrian Harding.“I knew, over time, as we kept gradually adding more people to the group chat … I was looking at everybody’s content, [and] everybody in our group is actually funny,” said Harding. “The people in our group are actually funny … and that’s how we all integrated with each other.”“I finally quit my job, started making some money, and that’s when I started taking it serious, like, ‘OK, this could be on some serious joint,’” Harris added. “And then it starts getting off, then I moved to [Atlanta], then I met Adrian and the rest of Valid Crib.”Black creators and influencers like Harris and Harding have been pushing back against long-existing disparities and carving out space where their work is not only valued but respected.“Sometimes, Black influencers, traditionally, haven’t gotten the brand deals because they don’t have the numbers,” said Taylor Lorenz, a culture and technology reporter for The New York Times. “I think it’s hard being an influencer. You basically make money by having people relate to you and a lot of white suburban kids feel like they can’t relate to young Black kids in America.”“They have traditionally sort of taken what they wanted from those communities, and maybe whitewashed it but not really paid homage or respect to the actual creators creating this stuff,” she added.Dorsey says he’s seen these low numbers, particularly with TikTok, which Lorenz said breaks from other social media networks in that a person doesn’t need a huge following to go viral.“You don’t have to have a single follower … because all of the feeds, all of the content, is distributed through this ‘For You’ page,” Lorenz said. “It’s this algorithm that plucks the best content from the whole app and uses technology to kind of determine who to show it to.”The platform has come under fire for its algorithm in the past, such as last summer, when users called out that it had blocked the hashtags for Black Lives Matter and George Floyd.At the time, the company said, “We acknowledge and apologize to our Black creators and community who have felt unsafe, unsupported or suppressed. We don’t ever want anyone to feel that way. We welcome voices of the Black community wholeheartedly.”In a more recent statement to ABC News regarding the issues these black creators raised, the company said, in part, “We continue to remain committed to elevating and amplifying Black voices and creators in our community. We’ve launched the TikTok for Black Creatives program, a new incubator program that will invest in and support emerging Black creators. … We care about the experiences Black creators have on TikTok and continue to work each and every day to create a supportive environment for our Black community.”Dorsey says a lot of the dance challenges people have seen blow up on TikTok were initially created by Black people before being co-opted by white people, who went on to monetize their viral success.One such example is the “Renegade” challenge, which was created by 16-year-old Jalaiah Harmon in 2019. White creators went on to popularize the dance without giving Harmon credit.More attention translates into more followers, which in turn leads to bigger and better business deals.“The first way that influencers monetize is through ads,” Lorenz said. “They post ads for different products on their page. Another way that influencers monetize is through launching their own products. … They launch their own makeup, beauty clothing line, or they start selling, you know, even water bottles. Something that they consider synonymous with their brand.”She went on to say, “A lot of influencers will use different platforms that kind of generate recurring revenue so that they know how much they’re getting each month.”In Dorsey’s experience, someone who has 500,000 followers who can get 200,000 views per post could make anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 for each ad.Dorsey said he chose Atlanta for their home base because in Los Angeles they would “have to fight and fight for a [seat at the] table,” Atlanta offers them a chance to “build our own table.”“Atlanta is definitely next, and we got a lot of potential here in Atlanta, too,” said Harding.“It’s a Black Hollywood,” Harris added.Najja Parker, an entertainment and culture reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, says the city is attractive for Black people who are seeking success in the entertainment industry but don’t want to go to LA or New York City.“You can find similar or even better success here,” she said, subsequently listing several stars who hail from the city, like T.I., Killer Mike, Ludacris, Usher and Tyler Perry.But in pioneering a new place to lift off, there’s also a lot of pressure to get it right, Dorsey says.“We’ve got one shot at this,” he said. “Only one shot to show the entire world what we can do, and it’s not only just for us, it’s going to change it for everything in Atlanta.”For what it’s worth, those who are managed by Dorsey say they wouldn’t be as successful as they are without him.“He’s been looking out for me from the beginning,” Harris said.“My whole goal for them,” Dorsey said, “is to elevate their true talent. … We’re in the course of changing history… When it’s over, and we get [what] we want, then there’s a great reward at the end.”Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
WeWork CEO Sandeep Mathrani (Wikipedia, iStock)In April, a Manhattan landlord who leases a large space to WeWork received an email from a broker who was working on behalf of the struggling co-working company to renegotiate its office leases.“I told him politely it’s not happening, so don’t waste your time,” the landlord said, noting that because his lease with WeWork is below market-rent, he’s comfortable taking the space back. “I’m going to play hardball.”Brokers at Newmark Knight Frank and JLL have spent the last several weeks reaching out to WeWork’s landlords — trying to negotiate concessions on billions of dollars of leases that threaten the company’s cash flows.WeWork had $47.2 billion worth of lease obligations on its books as of late last year, and is reportedly looking to reduce those rent liabilities by 30 percent.Now as Covid-19 puts further pressure on the co-working company’s bottom line, critics are raising questions about whether its business model of packing a rotating cast of strangers into tight spaces can survive in a world of social distancing and contact tracing.That raises the stakes for WeWork’s lease negotiations, according to those who believe this could be a make-or-break scenario for the Softbank-backed company once valued at as much as $47 billion before its failed IPO last year. WeWork was recently valued at just under $3 billion, Bloomberg reported in May.WeWork’s critics have long speculated that the company could be forced to file for bankruptcy in a downturn. If that happened, WeWork would have several scenarios laid out in front of it, experts told The Real Deal.“Landlords aren’t always willing to make concessions outside of bankruptcy,” said Timothy Duggan, an attorney at the Stark & Stark in New Jersey who represented office equipment provider Transamerica as a creditor when Regus — another large flex-office company — filed for bankruptcy in 2003.But that dynamic often changes once under Chapter 11.“If I’m a landlord and I know a bunch of other landlords are making concessions and I have a shot of coming out of bankruptcy, I might be more willing to make a deal,” Duggan noted.Still, under the protection of bankruptcy the company’s core challenge would be the same: It still has to convince its creditors that it has a viable plan to turn things around.“Even in bankruptcy, they still have to get people to believe they can come out of this,” Duggan added. “It’s all still one big negotiation.”ReWorkWeWork had $1.3 billion of long-term debt when it issued its prospectus last year, including credit agreements with JPMorgan and $669 million in corporate bonds. Those bonds were trading for as low as 28 cents on the dollar in May. “Even in bankruptcy, they still have to get people to believe they can come out of this.” — Timothy Duggan, Stark & Stark The task of convincing creditors that the company can turn itself around would fall largely on the management team headed by Sandeep Mathrani — the veteran retail executive who led mall landlord General Growth Properties through bankruptcy in 2010.Mathrani joined WeWork earlier this year to help right the ship after its co-founder Adam Neumann was ousted following the IPO debacle.“He is a proven leader with turnaround expertise in the real estate industry,” SoftBank’s Raul Marcelo Claure, the former interim chairman of WeWork, said about Mathrani in a February statement.To be clear, WeWork has made no public plans to file for bankruptcy, and that option is by no means an inevitability.A spokesperson for the company told TRD that WeWork has a strong financial position with $3.9 billion in cash and commitments that “provides us the liquidity to weather this current climate while also executing on our five-year plan and investing in our future.”“We continue to rightsize our portfolio by exiting locations that are unprofitable, growing in markets where we see enterprise demand,” the spokesperson added, noting WeWork is planning to open more than 60 new locations through early 2021 and is investing $100 million in WeWork India.But the company’s critics have long speculated that WeWork could end up in bankruptcy, particularly during an economic downturn.The company has laid off thousands of employees since November. Softbank backed out of a financial bailout and IBM is reportedly ready to walk from its WeWork space at 88 University Place — one of the first locations in the co-working company’s pivot to an enterprise model.Softbank last month took another writedown on its WeWork investment, saying it expects to take a $6.6 billion loss for the year on the portion of the firm’s stake held outside of its $100 billion Vision Fund.“Every writedown takes Wework’s carrying value closer to reality,” Redex Holdings analyst Kirk Boodry opined in Reuters. “Clearly the value is zero.”Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son said in April that he expects a significant portion of the 88 companies backed by more than $80 billion in venture capital from the first Vision Fund to end up in bankruptcy.“I would say 15 of them will go bankrupt,” Son predicted, adding that he expects another 15 of the fund’s bets to prosper.WeWork chairman Marcelo Claure, though, sought to distance his company from those remarks.“Make no mistake: SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son and myself are huge believers in the new WeWork and its management team, we will continue to support the company,” he Tweeted in May. “We have no doubt that WeWork will emerge from COVID19 stronger than ever and are committed to profitability by 2021.”Mathrani said WeWork paid rent at 80 percent of its locations in April and May and that it collected rent from 70 percent of its members. It’s difficult to gauge whether or not the Newmark and JLL brokers have been successful in negotiating the necessary concessions from building owners.Representatives for Newmark and JLL did not respond to requests for comment.WeWork may be able to avoid the bankruptcy route thanks to a number of leases that are reportedly held by subsidiaries with “limited parent guarantees.” That means WeWork could walk away from individual leases without triggering liability back to its parent company.A new chapter?But if it came to a bankruptcy situation, experts laid out several scenarios.In Chapter 11 a tenant usually makes a binary decision on leases: It either accepts the lease or rejects each deal. Landlords who hold rejected leases get to file a claim as an unsecured creditor and divvy up whatever’s left over after the restructuring plan. They usually end up accepting pennies on the dollar for their agreements.WeWork could have options other than up or down on leases, and the Regus case could provide a blueprint.Duggan said that Regus got permission from the court to take a second shot at renegotiating its leases during bankruptcy, and the flex-office company was successful in reworking about 70 deals. The benefit of doing it that way, he added, is that landlords are more likely to see it as their last shot at coming away with a more favorable outcome.“The problem outside bankruptcy is, sometimes the landlords don’t believe the company is going to file,” Duggan said.If WeWork were to file, though, Duggan explained the company could then go to their landlords with more leverage. “Now [WeWork] can say, ‘Here’s proof; We’re in Chapter 11,’” he said.Even if it were to play out that way, Mathrani and his team would still have to convince WeWork’s largest landlords that it could come out of restructuring with a successful plan, according to sources.Bankruptcy experts say that in Chapter 11, a committee of unsecured creditors made up mostly of WeWork’s largest landlords would play a significant role in approving or shooting down a restructuring plan.“The institutional landlords are really going to decide whether they believe in the plan or not,” said one attorney who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he represents one of WeWork’s landlords.“It’s really hard to see WeWork coming out of this if they do file,” the attorney added. “In order for the company to be reorganized, its creditors have to be confident that management can execute.WeWork’s five biggest landlords around the country, as of last summer, were Beacon Capital Partners, Nuveen Real Estate, the Moinian Group, Boston Properties and the Chetrit Group, according to data from Costar Group. A spokesperson for Beacon Capital declined to comment, and representatives for Moinian, Boston Properties and the Chetrit Group did not respond to requests for comment.Chad Phillips, head of Nuveen’s Americas office portfolio, pointed out that the company only has 2 percent of its space exposed to WeWork. He added the investment manager believes demand for flexible office space will increase post-Covid as large office tenants move to a hub-and-spoke model.“That said, flexible operators will need to evolve their business models and modify their formats with less density and more company control over their spaces,” he said, adding that stronger operators who can pivot in light of the pandemic stand to gain market share in the flex office space.“A wonderful thing”As observers watch closely, some are planning for a fallout from WeWork’s big push to reorganize. “There’s not enough demand to support the scale of what they have. In some buildings they have 300,000 square feet when in reality they might want 60,000 square feet.” — Ryan Simonetti, Convene Ryan Simonetti, co-founder and CEO of Convene, said he’s already been approached by office landlords who are trying to figure out what to do with their space if they take it back from WeWork.He said Convene — which leases meeting rooms and other workspaces on a short-term basis — is considering signing its own lease deals for some of the spaces or partnering with landlords to manage them.“We’re looking at what would it take to reconfigure a WeWork location to a Convene offering?” Simonetti noted. “There’s not enough demand to support the scale of what they have. In some buildings they have 300,000 square feet when in reality they might want 60,000 square feet.”In the most extreme scenario, WeWork would fail to convince its creditors of a successful path forward. In that case, liquidation may be the only option.“There’s no magic bullet here,” said attorney Hugh Ray, head of the bankruptcy practice at the trial firm McKool Smith.“In some cases, Chapter 11 is a wonderful thing,” he added. “When it works, it’s wonderful to see. But it doesn’t work for everyone.”Contact Rich Bockmann at [email protected] or 908-415-5229 This content is for subscribers only.Subscribe Now
With 15 years in the business, Dover operator Bayliss Executive Travel’s ethos has always been to provide the best. The firm reveals how it does just thatWhen it comes to starting a business, it is important that goals are put in place and that these objectives are not lost along the way.The firm operates a 16-strong fleet on a variety of workFor Dover-based Bayliss Executive Travel, it’s always been about being able to provide the best drivers, the best vehicles and, overall, the best service.“When the company was established, it was with a view to be able to provide a level of service unrivalled by anyone, anywhere,” says Operations Manager, Rob Marriott. It was in 2004 that Bayliss was set up by Scotsman Alistair Bayliss, running a seven-seat VW Caravelle. Work consisted of feeder work for companies such as Leger Holidays, Consort Travel and Travelsphere Holidays.“One of our biggest clients was SMS, which is a Maltese company. It was running quite a few ground handling cruise ships from Dover, Southampton and Harwich, so there was quite a bit of work from that as well,” says Rob.When Rob joined the firm in 2005 it enabled the business to grow as there were now two people to do the work.The fleet size grew steadily with the addition of two 16-seater minibuses and the firm’s first full-size coach was bought in 2009.“We took on more drivers and the business has grown from there to what we are today,” Rob explains.A one-stop shopBayliss now operates a 16-strong fleet made up of seven full-size coaches, two VIP coaches, a minibus, a midibus, three double-decker buses and two cars. Two of the full-size coaches are 75-seat over-deckers, which Rob describes as “very successful vehicles” due to their capacity for one wheelchair user and huge amount of luggage space.Managing Director Alistair Bayliss set the firm up in 2004While some operators have found their niche over time, focusing on certain types of work – whether that be privates hires, coach tours or anything in between – Bayliss operates a varied portfolio, with Rob describing the business as a “one-stop shop for coach transport needs”.Work consists of private hires – including airport and cruise transfers – daily school runs, and occasional rail replacement work. The firm also operates its own day breaks and UK and European holidays – a part of the business that is headed up by Alistair’s partner Simone.Sports travel partnerships also make up part of Bayliss’ work, with the company providing transport for local football, rugby and cricket clubs.VIP team coachIt also became the official travel partner for Sheffield United Football Club in 2014 – the first-ever team coach supplier for the Club – and a partnership that has just been renewed with the delivery of a new SC7-bodied Volvo B11R in January.Bayliss’ Sheffield United team coach is ‘creating a lot of interest’“Our relationship with Sheffield United originated from one of our Maltese clients who sponsored them quite a few years ago and we got involved,” explains Rob.“We told them we wanted to provide them with a coach to bring the team’s families and any sponsors down to their FA Cup semi-finals match against Hull City at Wembley Stadium.“We then got a phone call from Sheffield United saying they would like to use the vehicle for the first team, so I drove them down to Wembley.“From there, Sheffield United invited us to continue the season with the vehicle. We ended up buying a new coach for the next season and it’s gone on from there.”The team coach has been completely specified to the team’s exacting requirements. The interior of the Volvo B11R includes a number of bespoke features including leather seats, a medical table, kitchen, satellite TV and enhanced subwoofer audio system. “It’s creating a lot of interest,” says Rob. “Not just from within the industry, but we’ve also been approached by a few different football teams as well, which is really great.”Glowing reviewsWhen the VIP coach isn’t being used to transport the Sheffield United team, it is being utilised by running routes for Snap – the on-demand scheduled intercity coach specialist.Operations Manager Rob Marriott: ‘We’re a one-stop shop’The coach is used to pick up Snap customers from London and take them to Nottingham, before going onto Sheffield and taking the football team to a match – with the appropriate driver rest in between.Says Rob: “We started working with Snap towards the end of last year and the relationship we’ve developed with them works really well for us – their concept is brilliant.“We would like to operate more Snap routes if we could, but where we are based it makes things a little bit difficult.”Although Bayliss hasn’t been running Snap routes for long, its drivers and vehicles are already getting glowing reviews from passengers.Snap’s Service Delivery Director, Paul Adcock, says: “Snap customers rate every trip they take with us and we use those ratings to award new ‘Snaps’ to the operators they rate the best.“Bayliss get absolutely brilliant ratings – with a 4.85 out of 5 average over the last six months – because ‘Snappers’ love its friendly drivers and customer service and when they get the VIP team coach as well, that’s the hat trick.”Award-winning firmBayliss’ commitment to providing high-quality vehicles, drivers and services was rewarded at last year’s British Coach Tourism Awards where it took home the Medium Coach Tour Operator of the Year accolade.Judges were suitably impressed with the operator’s “high standard of presentation, smart modern branding and attractive livery”, stating that Bayliss “clearly shows the benefits of moving with the times and staying upmarket and up to date”.Rob says: “We try not to blow our own trumpet. It may seem with the awards we have won and have been shortlisted in recently that we have changed our ways, but we haven’t. We still like to keep ourselves to ourselves and get on quietly with doing the best job we can.”Strong commitmentThe firm’s commitment to compliance has also been strengthened by its recent CoachMarque accreditation.The VIP coach has been specified to the team’s exacting requirementsFounded by the Confederation of Passenger Transport, members of the scheme are benchmarked against a strict set of criteria and independently audited on a regular basis to ensure that they continue to meet and provide the highest levels of standards in coaching.“You’ve got to have all sorts of procedures in place to be a CoachMarque member and it is an elite group of operators, so we are very proud to be a part of it,” says Rob.“It’s another feather in our cap to show the industry and our current and prospective clients that Bayliss’ standards are very high.“We will continue to keep these standards up every year to remain a CoachMarque member and we are also working towards becoming part of DVSA’s Earned Recognition scheme.”Exciting times aheadIt has been 15 years since Bayliss was established and when it comes to the business’s success, Rob attributes this to hard work and good drivers.“We like to think we look after our drivers from top to bottom because they’re not just a number to us – they’re a huge part of the business. Without them we wouldn’t be able to run, so we make sure that we look after them and in turn they are great ambassadors for the company,” he says.While no solid plans have been made to celebrate the firm’s 15-year anniversary, there are plans to continue to invest in the fleet this year.Says Rob: “With London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone and other Clear Air Zones coming into place in other cities, we have to make sure we are prepared. Already 95% of our vehicles are Euro 6, but we’re looking to replace more in the next few months.“There is some exciting news coming up, but we can’t reveal it yet, so watch this space.”
Based on traffic from the Halloween costume animal safari post we ran Monday, we have scientifically determined that readers like pictures of kids in Halloween.And we are nothing if not responsive to our readers’ every whim. Which is to say: HERE ARE MORE HALLOWEEN PICTURES, VILLAGERS. (We shot these at the Village Shops just before dusk).A couple of Things.This young man has a lot of Lancer spirit, if not a lot of fashion sense.Windy was quick to bolster the front lines with reinforcements at Village Barber Shop.There is something kind of terrifying about the idea of KU football…
The Atlantic:A recent study from Northwestern University corroborates Agostini’s experience, suggesting that the stress of racial discrimination may partly explain the persistent gaps in academic performance between some nonwhite students, mainly black and Latino youth, and their white counterparts. The team of researchers found that the physiological response to race-based stressors—be it perceived racial prejudice, or the drive to outperform negative stereotypes—leads the body to pump out more stress hormones in adolescents from traditionally marginalized groups. This biological reaction to race-based stress is compounded by the psychological response to discrimination or the coping mechanisms youngsters develop to lessen the distress. What emerges is a picture of black and Latino students whose concentration, motivation, and, ultimately, learning is impaired by unintended and overt racism.Emma Adam, a professor of human development and social policy at Northwestern and the study’s senior author, said prior research had established racial differences in levels of cortisol—a hormone that increases when the body is stressed—between black and white youth, and linked this to the impact of discrimination. In the current research review, she and her co-authors set out to connect the dots. “We had observed these [dissimilarities] and knew that sleep and stress hormones have strong implications for cognition … we also knew that there was a strong racial gap in academic attainment.”Read the whole story: The Atlantic More of our Members in the Media >
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Genghis Khan, the Gobi Desert and yaks are all most of us know about Mongolia. But an intrepid lawyer from Kent and Sussex firm ASB Law, legal executive Laura Over, will soon be an expert on the place. Over and her friend Paul Evans are driving the 10,000 miles from England to Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar. They are taking part in the Mongol Rally charity race and, to make it that bit more gruelling, the rules state that the vehicle’s engine must be 1200cc or smaller. Over says: ‘We’re aiming to average nine or 10 hours’ driving a day, so the race should take us four to five weeks.’ Money raised will go to three charities: the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation, Cancer Research and the Neurofibromatosis Association. But there’s just one tiny hitch: they haven’t actually tracked down a car yet. If anyone out there would like to donate a vehicle, which will be auctioned for charity when they reach their destination (though it may have a few more miles on the clock by then), visit www.thetwomongoleers.co.uk.