Today, the Songwriters Hall of Fame has announced their list of nominees for 2019. This year’s class of nominees features a mix of talented artists from a diverse spectrum of “performing songwriters” including John Prine, Missy Elliott, Cat Stevens, Annie Lennox, Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders), Mariah Carey, Mike Love (The Beach Boys), Vince Gill, Jeff Lynne (Electric Light Orchestra), Jimmy Cliff, and more. The organization also recognized a number of non-performing songwriters with a nomination, shining light on some of the less widely-known creative minds behind the music you love.As the nominee announcement press release notes, “The Songwriters Hall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing the work and lives of those composers and lyricists who create music around the world. To qualify for induction, a songwriter must be a published writer for a minimum of 20 years with a notable catalog of hit songs.” Eligible voting members of the Songwriters Hall of Fame will have until December 17th to cast their ballots, from which six songwriters of songwriting teams will be selected for induction at the Songwriters Hall Of Fame Annual Induction & Awards Gala on June 19th, 2019—three from the performing songwriters category and three from the non-performing songwriters category.Of particular note is the nomination of Missy Elliott, who marks the first female hip-hop artist to be tapped for the honor. If chosen, she would be just the third hip-hop artist overall to be inducted (after Jay-Z and Jermaine Dupri).As Variety notes,While she’s kept a relatively low profile in recent years, Elliott has had a vast influence on the sound of hip-hop and R&B, both through her solo work (particularly songs like “The Rain,” “Work It,” “Lose Control” and “Get Ur Freak On”) and her collaborations with Aaliyah, Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige and many others. Congratulations and good luck to all the talented songwriters nominated this year. To see a full list of the 2019 nominees and read their stories, head here.
After spending decades in the news business as journalists and executives for companies such as Time Inc., The New York Times, and Akamai Technologies, John Huey, Martin Nisenholtz, and Paul Sagan came to the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy last spring as fellows to piece together a narrative of what they themselves had just lived through.Their objective was to document and explain how journalism has been fundamentally disrupted and transformed by technology since 1980, and to do so by talking to the key people at leading institutions on both sides of the digital front lines.“Our questions were simple: What happened? How did we blow it? What could have we done differently?” Huey, former editor-in-chief of Time Inc., told a packed house Monday evening at the Harvard Kennedy School. The event was a panel discussion involving some of those key players, including Caroline Little, president and CEO of the Newspaper Association of America; Arthur Sulzberger Jr., chairman of The New York Times Co. and publisher of the Times; and Tim Armstrong, chairman and CEO of AOL.The result of the research that began last spring is “Riptide: What Really Happened to the News Business,” a multimedia history project launched this month that sets out to capture how sweeping technological changes changed not only the way news is delivered to consumers, but how it is gathered and presented, and by whom and for whom, and what that means for the future of the industry.Created in collaboration with the Nieman Journalism Lab, the “Riptide” website features a comprehensive 88-page essay, a timeline, dozens of historical documents, and 61 video interviews with an array of top players in journalism, media technology, and business, such as Sulzberger, Armstrong, and Nicholas Negroponte, founder of the MIT Media Lab — all figures, the three fellows write, “who faced the choices, made the decisions, placed the bets, and now have the hindsight as to how it could, or couldn’t, have played out differently.”“Consumers want curated, high-quality content, and I think there’s a very large role for journalism in the future,” said Tim Armstrong (second from left), chairman and CEO of AOL. The panel included moderator Martin Nisenholtz (from left), Armstrong, Caroline Little, president and CEO of the Newspaper Association of America, and Arthur Sulzberger Jr., publisher of The New York Times.The organizers say they hope the project will continue to grow as they add fresh interviews to the repository in the coming months.When asked by Nisenholtz during the panel discussion about the current state of the newspaper business, Armstrong said that while there remains cause for worry given the contraction of jobs and revenues, he sees reason for cautious optimism, too.“I think if you look at the data, you’d be really concerned because you look at the number of journalists has gone down by roughly 30 percent in the last seven or eight years. Newspaper revenue — people think of journalism as newspapers in many cases — is down about 55 percent,” said Armstrong, whose company announced last month that 40 percent of its Patch network of community journalists and staffers would be laid off.“I think if you look forward, though, there’s some very exciting things on the horizon,” he said. “Consumers like to pay for content, consumers want curated, high-quality content, and I think there’s a very large role for journalism in the future.”Sulzberger said the newspaper industry was slow to recognize how computer science would come to drive the future of journalism.“Engineers, that’s what we didn’t focus on fast enough,” he said. “The need to have engineers building the systems that we are now using, building the tools we are now using.”While many critics have praised the ambitious nature and broad scope of the project, others have taken to Twitter and blogged on The Washington Post, Slate, and Poynter to note its lack of gender and racial diversity. Of the 61 people interviewed thus far for the project, only five are women and only two are not white.“We’re not pessimistic about the future of news,” Sagan said, noting that one of their big takeaways from researching the project was: Don’t be nostalgic. “Because the truth is … that journalism wasn’t always great. There were golden ages with many, many flaws, many, many incorrect stories, many communities that just weren’t covered at all before, many voices that weren’t heard from, not enough diversity,” he said.“It’s one of the things that we encountered even as we went to interview people and didn’t find the kind of diversity we’d like to find in every aspect of our lives. It wasn’t in journalism before, and digital disruption has exacerbated it in some ways, and improved it in others.”
<a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMI-msIAI84″ rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”> <img src=”https://img.youtube.com/vi/WMI-msIAI84/0.jpg” alt=”0″ title=”How To Choose The Correct Channel Type For Your Video Content ” /> </a> Researchers from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Harvard Medical School, the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI), and Harvard-affiliated hospitals have uncovered an easily detectable, “premalignant” state in the blood that significantly increases the likelihood that an individual will go on to develop blood cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma, or myelodysplastic syndrome.The discovery, which was made independently by two research teams affiliated with the Broad and partner institutions, opens new avenues for research aimed at early detection and prevention of blood cancer. Findings from both teams appear this week in the New England Journal of Medicine.Most genetic research on cancer to date has focused on studying the genomes of advanced cancers, to identify the genes that are mutated in various cancer types. These two new studies instead looked at somatic mutations — mutations that cells acquire over time as they replicate and regenerate within the body — in DNA samples collected from the blood of individuals not known to have cancer or blood disorders.Taking two very different approaches, the teams found that a surprising percentage of those sampled had acquired a subset — some but not all — of the somatic mutations that are present in blood cancers. These individuals were more than 10 times likelier to go on to develop blood cancer in subsequent years than those in whom such mutations had not been detected.The “premalignant” state identified by the studies becomes more common with age; it is rare in those under the age of 40, but appears with increasing frequency with each decade of life that passes, ultimately appearing in more than 10 percent of those over the age of 70. Carriers of the mutations are at an overall 5 percent risk of developing some form of blood cancer within five years. This “premalignant” stage can be detected simply by sequencing DNA from blood.“People often think about disease in black and white — that there’s ‘healthy’ and there’s ‘disease’ — but in reality most disease develops gradually over months or years. These findings give us a window on these early stages in the development of blood cancer,” said Steven McCarroll, senior author of one of the papers. McCarroll is an assistant professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and director of genetics at the Broad’s Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research.Benjamin Ebert, co-director of the HSCI Cancer Program, associate member of the Broad, and associate professor at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, is the senior author of the other paper.The mutations identified by both studies are thought to originate in blood stem cells, and confer a growth-promoting advantage to the mutated cell and all of its “clones” — cells that derive from that original stem cell during the normal course of cell division. These cells then reproduce at an accelerated rate until they account for a large fraction of the cells in a person’s blood. The researchers believe these early mutations lie in wait for follow-on, “cooperating” mutations that, when they occur in the same cells as the earlier mutations, drive the cells toward cancer. The majority of mutations occurred in just three genes; DNMT3A, TET2, and ASXL1.“Cancer is the end stage of the process,” said Siddhartha Jaiswal, a Broad-associated scientist and clinical fellow from Massachusetts General Hospital who was first author of Ebert’s paper. “By the time a cancer has become clinically detectable it has accumulated several mutations that have evolved over many years. What we are primarily detecting here is an early, premalignant stage in which the cells have acquired just one initiating mutation.”The teams converged on these findings through very different approaches. Ebert’s team had hypothesized that, since blood cancers increase with age, it might be possible to detect early somatic mutations that could be initiating the disease process, and that these mutations also might increase with age. They looked specifically at 160 genes known to be recurrently mutated in blood malignancies, using genetic data derived from approximately 17,000 blood samples originally obtained for studies on the genetics of type 2 diabetes.They found that somatic mutations in these genes did indeed increase the likelihood of developing cancer, and they saw a clear association between age and the frequency of these mutations. They also found that men were slightly more likely to have mutations than women, and Hispanics were slightly less likely to have mutations than other groups.Ebert’s team also found an association between the presence of this “premalignant” state and risk of overall mortality independent of cancer. Individuals with these mutations had a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and ischemic stroke as well. However, additional research will be needed to determine the nature of these associations.In the related paper, McCarroll’s team discovered the phenomenon while studying a different disease. They, too, were looking at somatic mutations, but they were initially interested in determining whether such mutations contributed to risk for schizophrenia. The team studied roughly 12,000 DNA samples drawn from the blood of patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, as well as healthy controls, searching across the whole genome at all of the protein-coding genes for patterns in somatic mutations.They found that the somatic mutations were concentrated in a handful of genes; the scientists quickly realized that they were cancer genes. The team then used electronic medical records to follow the patients’ subsequent medical histories, finding that the subjects with these acquired mutations had a 13-times elevated risk of blood cancer.McCarroll’s team conducted follow-up analyses on tumor samples from two patients who had progressed from this premalignant state to cancer. These genomic analyses revealed that the cancer had indeed developed from the same cells that had harbored the “initiating” mutations years earlier.“The fact that both teams converged on strikingly similar findings, using very different approaches and looking at DNA from very different sets of patients, has given us great confidence in the results,” said Giulio Genovese, a computational biologist at the Broad and first author of McCarroll’s paper. “It has been gratifying to have this corroboration of each other’s findings.Jaiswal will present the findings on Dec. 9 at the American Society of Hematology annual meeting in San Francisco.All of the researchers involved emphasized that there is no clinical benefit today for testing for this premalignant state; there are no treatments currently available that would address this condition in otherwise healthy people. However, they say the results open the door to entirely new directions for blood cancer research, toward early detection and even prevention.“The results demonstrate a way to identify high-risk cohorts — people who are at much higher than average risk of progressing to cancer — which could be a population for clinical trials of future prevention strategies,” McCarroll said. “The abundance of these mutated cells could also serve as a biomarker — like LDL cholesterol is for cardiovascular disease — to test the effects of potential prevention therapies in clinical trials.”Ebert agreed: “A new focus of investigation will now be to develop interventions that might decrease the likelihood that individuals with these mutations will go on to develop overt malignancies, or therapeutic strategies to decrease mortality from other conditions that may be instigated by these mutations,” he said.The researchers also say that the findings show just how important it is to collect and share large data sets of genetic information: Both studies relied on DNA samples collected for studies completely unrelated to cancer.“These two papers are a great example of how unexpected and important discoveries can be made when creative scientists work together and with access to genomic and clinical data,” said Broad Deputy Director David Altshuler, one of Ebert’s co-authors. “For example, Steve’s team found stronger genetic relationships to cancer than they have yet found for the schizophrenia end point that motivated their original study. The pace of discovery can only accelerate if researchers have the ability to apply innovative methods to large data sets.”
Rating agency Standard & Poor’s confirmed German shipping major Hapag-Lloyd’s B+ rating and took the company off its CreditWatch with future negative implications.Hapag-Lloyd was upgraded to Outlook Negative. The merger with United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) has added debt to the company’s capital structure.However, due to the acquired ships and containers of UASC no bigger investments are planned in the next few years, thus, more cash flow should be available for repayment of debt and deleveraging, the German shipping giant said.“The company should be able to maintain credit ratios we consider commensurate with the current rating in 2017-2018,” Standard & Poor’s wrote in the Research Update.The rating agency also acknowledged the competitive advantages of the merger with UASC such as Hapag-Lloyd’s larger size and capacity, an enhanced network diversity, and the access to a young fleet.“Hapag-Lloyd has demonstrated its ability to integrate acquired businesses and extract synergies, for example, after the 2014 takeover of the container liner shipping activities of Chile-based Compañía Sud Americana de Vapores S.A. (CSAV), which underpins our rating action,” the rating experts informed.HapagLloyd plans to realize USD 435 million in annual synergies starting in 2019 from the merger and has a solid financial structure including a liquidity reserve of USD 1.2 billion.Furthermore, a cash capital increase of USD 400 million is planned within six months after the closing of the merger end of May. The capital increase is backstopped by a group of Hapag-Lloyd’s shareholders.