Deputy Chief Correspondent, West & Central Africa
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Sep 23, 2014

Harvard endowment grows to $36.4 billion, nears pre-crisis level

BOSTON, Sept 23 (Reuters) – Harvard University said Tuesday
its $36 billion endowment posted a 15.4 percent return in fiscal
2014 as in-house bond managers and outside hedge funds teamed up
to easily beat the portfolio’s 14.6 percent benchmark return.

The endowment, overseen by Harvard Management Company Inc,
grew to $36.4 billion in the fiscal year ended June 30 from
$32.7 billion. That marked a near-full recovery from losses
posted during the financial crisis.

Sep 19, 2014

Banana peel study, ugly art research win Ig Nobel spoof awards

BOSTON (Reuters) – Researchers who measured the slipperiness of banana peels, the ability of pork strips to stop nosebleeds, and the reactions of reindeer to humans in polar bear suits were among the winners of this year’s Ig Nobel prizes for comical scientific achievements.

The annual prizes, meant to entertain and encourage global research and innovation, are awarded by the Annals of Improbable Research as a whimsical counterpart to the Nobel Prizes which will be announced next month.

Sep 9, 2014

Liberia president urges more international help fighting Ebola

BOSTON (Reuters) – Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said on Tuesday she expects the Ebola crisis gripping her country to worsen in the coming weeks as health workers struggle with inadequate supplies, a lack of outside support and a population in fear.

“It remains a very grave situation,” she told an audience at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, via Skype from Liberia’s capital Monrovia. “It is taking a long time to respond effectively(…) We expect it to accelerate for at least another two or three weeks, before we can look forward to a decline.”

Sep 9, 2014

Vermont to Washington: Your education policy is broken

BOSTON (Reuters) – It’s not often that the good folks who run the nation’s state education departments are publicly praised for a job well done. But then there’s Vermont Education Secretary Rebecca Holcombe.

A few weeks back, Diane Ravitch — the highly regarded education critic, gadfly, born-again enemy of standardized testing and author — called Holcombe a “hero” in her blog for refusing the federal government’s offer of a waiver under the No Child Left Behind Act. Specifically: publicly hammering U.S. education policy for the way it hammers teachers and students.

Aug 28, 2014

Exclusive: Air quality problems dog Irving’s New Brunswick oil-by-rail terminal

BOSTON (Reuters) – Irving Oil’s oil-by-rail terminal in Saint John, New Brunswick, has seen increasing air quality problems since it started up in 2012, undermining the company’s assurances to regulators the project would likely not impact the environment, according to documents obtained by Reuters.

The case at Canada’s largest oil-by-rail terminal could have implications for the scores of other facilities planned across North America to handle a surge in domestic crude output, particularly those planned near urban areas.

Aug 28, 2014

Air quality problems dog Irving’s New Brunswick oil-by-rail terminal

BOSTON, Aug 28 (Reuters) – Irving Oil’s oil-by-rail terminal
in Saint John, New Brunswick, has seen increasing air quality
problems since it started up in 2012, undermining the company’s
assurances to regulators the project would likely not impact the
environment, according to documents obtained by Reuters.

The case at Canada’s largest oil-by-rail terminal could have
implications for the scores of other facilities planned across
North America to handle a surge in domestic crude output,
particularly those planned near urban areas.

Aug 28, 2014

Buyout deal caps feud over Market Basket supermarket chain

BOSTON, Aug 28 (Reuters) – A family feud and employee revolt
that tipped New England supermarket chain Market Basket into
chaos ended late Wednesday with a deal to sell the company to
its ousted CEO, Arthur T. Demoulas, according to a statement
announcing the deal.

“He and his management team will return to Market Basket
during the interim period while the transaction to purchase the
company is completed,” the statement said, without detailing the
value of the deal. The statement was provided by a spokesman for
Arthur T. Demoulas.

Aug 7, 2014

Robotic helpers? Scientists tout cheap robot that assembles itself

BOSTON (Reuters) – Scientists say they have developed a low-cost robot prototype made from paper and children’s trinkets that can assemble itself and perform a task without human help.

The technology could eventually lead to affordable ‘robotic helpers’ for use in everything from household chores to exploring space, according to the team of Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineers who developed it.

Jun 27, 2014

Massachusetts abortion clinics boost security, lawmakers seek fix

BOSTON (Reuters) – Massachusetts is beefing up security around abortion clinics and scrambling for a legal fix after the U.S. Supreme Court voided the state’s buffer zone law that kept protesters 35 feet away, saying it violated freedom of speech.

Boston, Worcester and Springfield, the state’s largest cities, have deployed extra police to clinics, and abortion-provider Planned Parenthood said it was training new “patient escorts” to help women through protests if needed.

Jun 24, 2014

A year on, Quebec town remains in grip of ‘train from hell’

LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec, June 24 (Reuters) – Each time a train
rumbles past her house and the clothing shop where she works,
Lucie Roy relives the moment last year when explosions leveled
much of her neighborhood – and she and her two children narrowly
escaped injury.

“I freak out inside when I feel that train shake the
ground,” she said, looking out a window at the tracks and the
blast zone, an open pit crawling with heavy machinery. “I’m
doing my best to move on, but it is hard when I have to face my
nightmare on a daily basis.”

    • About Richard

      "Richard is based in Reuters' Dakar bureau where he has helped lead coverage of two dozen countries in West and Central Africa since September 2009. He previously ran Reuters' energy coverage in the Americas as a senior editor based in New York."
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