TIME Education

Donor Behind Largest Gift in Harvard’s History Explains Inspiration

Gerald Chan
Gerald Chan Stephanie Mitchell—Harvard Public Affairs and Communications

The family foundation's donation was partly inspired by a mother's volunteer work in vaccinations

Chinese businessman Gerald Chan explained the story behind his family foundation’s $350 million gift to Harvard’s School of Public Health on Monday.

The donation by his family’s Morningside Foundation is the largest Harvard has ever received and one of the largest ever given to an institute of higher education.

Chan said the donation was inspired by his mother’s volunteer work, vaccinating children in China in the 1950s. Chan’s mother, a nurse, administered vaccines to neighborhood children in the family kitchen, using the same needle repeatedly and disinfecting it in boiling water.

“As you can imagine, the needle was blunted by repeated use, so the injections got extraordinarily painful,” said the Hong Kong property developer. “It was no wonder that many children screamed and wailed in our kitchen.”

Chan said he was also inspired by his father’s decision to support the education of friends’ children overseas.

“In keeping with my mother’s work in improving people’s health and my father’s commitment to education, my brothers and I thought it most fitting to celebrate their legacy with a gift to Harvard School of Public Health,” he said.

TIME Crime

Oklahoma is Changing The Way it Carries Out Lethal Injections

The new execution guidelines come after a report detailed the chaotic scene during the prolonged killing of Clayton Lockett

Oklahoma will change how it conducts lethal injections following a recent state report detailing widespread problems in the prolonged execution of death row inmate Clayton Lockett.

Robert Patton, the director of the state’s Department of Corrections, announced Monday that he would implement every recommendation in the Sept. 4 report that he had the authority to carry out and will now be present in the lethal injection for all future executions. The report, conducted by the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, described a chaotic scene on April 29 as executioners attempted and failed multiple times to insert an IV into Lockett’s arms, neck and feet. Officials eventually settled on placing an IV in the inmate’s groin but used a needle that was too short and later became dislodged, allowing the sedative midazolam to leak into the surrounding tissues rather than the bloodstream.

The execution helped renew the public debate over capital punishment and led President Obama to order a review of its practice in the U.S.

The Oklahoma report made numerous suggestions for improving the state’s lethal injection protocol, including keeping the IV insertion point visible at all times, conducting formal training for executioners and maintaining additional execution drugs. Patton said the state will adopt most of those recommendations, but he disagreed with the widely-held view that the 43-minute execution was “botched.”

“The cause of death was judicial execution,” Patton said, according to the Tulsa World, echoing the findings of an autopsy released last month.

Jerry Massie, a spokesperson for Oklahoma’s DOC, said the prison system could not carry out a recommendation calling for only one execution a week because the governor and the courts set those dates. Massie said the DOC would be able to implement the rest of the recommendations without additional costs.

 

TIME Research

Harvard Gets Biggest Gift Ever for Public Health School

$350 million from Hong Kong group

Harvard University announced Monday that its School of Public Health has received a $350 million gift from a prominent Hong Kong group, the largest-ever single donation in the university’s 378-year history.

The university announced the donation from the Morningside Foundation, which was established by the late T.H Chan, who earned his masters and doctorate at Harvard. In honor of the gift, the school is changing its name to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The Morningside Foundation supports higher education through scholarships and professorships in both Asia and North America. Harvard said the money will support faculty and students working to reverse four different global threats: old and new pandemics from Ebola to obesity, harmful physical and social environments due to water pollution or gun violence, poverty and humanitarian crises, and failing health systems worldwide.

“This extraordinary gift from the Chan family will enable Harvard’s School of Public Health to tackle intractable health problems and to translate rigorous research into action and policy worldwide,” Harvard University president Drew Faust said in a statement. “The Chan family’s generosity sends a signal to the world: this is the public health moment.”

TIME Food & Drink

Olive Garden Introduces the ‘Never Ending Pasta Pass’

Darden

For $100

Get ready for all-you-can-eat pasta.

Starting Monday afternoon, pasta fanatics can purchase online what Olive Garden is billing as limited edition Never Ending Pasta Passes. It buys seven weeks of unlimited pasta, salad, bread and Coca-Cola soft drinks, for the cool price of $100.

Only 1,000 passes will be released, the restaurant said, in conjunction with Olive Garden’s most popular promotional offer, the Never Ending Pasta Bowl. Jay Spenchian, the company’s executive vice president of marketing, said that it “served more than 13 million bowls of pasta during last year’s promotion.”

Both promotional offers will run from Sept. 22 through Nov. 9, and Spenchian hopes the new promotion will “make our fans feel like VIPS.”

TIME Crime

Celebrities Ante Up to Find ALS Ice Bucket Pranksters

Celebrity Sightings In New York City - April 22, 2014
Actor Drew Carey leaves the "Good Morning America" taping at the ABC Times Square Studios on April 22, 2014 in New York City. Ray Tamarra—GC Images

Stars are upset by news that Cleveland-area teens dumped urine on a 14-year-old autistic boy who thought he was taking the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Drew Carey, Donnie Wahlberg, Montel Williams and Jenny McCarthy have offered to kick into a Cleveland-area effort to bring justice to a local 14-year-old who was the victim of a vicious Ice Bucket Challenge prank.

Carey, The Price is Right host, offered to donate $10,000 a local Ohio police department in a series of tweets on Saturday, in response to news that a group of teens had reportedly dumped urine and other excrement on an autistic 14-year-old who thought he was participating in the viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

On Sunday, McCarthy,Wahlberg, and Williams also offered to donate to the effort.

In a lengthy Facebook post, talk show host Williams said that “quite frankly, the parents of the kids who did this out to go to jail too.”

The Bay Village police department, near Cleveland, said it’s working with the school district to investigate the incident and bring charges as quickly as possible.

It’s unclear whether or not the police department is taking donations to aide in the investigation, but a news release suggests donations can be made to the family of the victim through a representative. The police department also said it’s hoping the “collective community anger” over the incident will lead to support for organizations like Autism Speaks. On Sunday, Carey tweeted that he may be working with a site like Kickstarter or Go-FundMe to raise more money given the response to his tweets.

TIME Race

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Bruce Levenson Isn’t a Racist; He’s a Businessman

Bruce Levenson
Atlanta Hawks co-owner Bruce Levenson Dave Tulis—AP

Sure, there are assumptions he makes that are cringeworthy—but the questions about how to attract more white fans were entirely reasonable.

Well, the pitchforks are already sharpened and the torches lit anyway, so rather than let them go to waste, why not drag another so-called racist before the court of public opinion and see how much ratings-grabbing, head-shaking and race-shaming we can squeeze out of it? After all, the media got so much gleeful, hand-wringing mileage out of Don Sterling and Michael Brown.

The only problem is that Atlanta Hawks controlling owner Bruce Levenson is no Donald Sterling. Nor is his email racist. In fact, his worst crime is misguided white guilt.

I read Levenson’s email. Here’s what I concluded: Levenson is a businessman asking reasonable questions about how to put customers in seats. In the email, addressed to Hawks president Danny Ferry, Levenson wonders whether (according to his observations) the emphasis on hip-hop and gospel music and the fact that the cheerleaders are black, the bars are filled with 90% blacks, kiss cams focus on black fans and time-out contestants are always black has an effect on keeping away white fans.

From left: Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Dominique Wilkins Courtesy of Iconomy, LLC

Seems reasonable to ask those questions. If his arena was filled mostly with whites and he wanted to attract blacks, wouldn’t he be asking how they could de-emphasize white culture and bias toward white contestants and cheerleaders? Don’t you think every corporation in America that is trying to attract a more diverse customer base is discussing how to feature more blacks or Asians or Latinos in their TV ads?

Back when the original Law & Order first launched, there was a cast shake-up that added more women, reportedly in an effort to attract more female viewers. MTV shows like Finding Carter and Teen Wolf can’t get through an emotional scene without a pop song coming in to sing to the viewer what they should be feeling, because that’s what their demographic wants. Car companies hire specialized advertising agencies to create ads to appeal specifically to women, blacks and Latinos. That’s business.

Sure, there are a few assumptions he makes that make me cringe a little. For example: “My theory is that the black crowd scared away the whites and there are simply not enough affluent black fans to build a significant season ticket base.” On the other hand, I have no evidence that he’s wrong on either count. Even if he is, the question still needed to be raised, because racism is a realistic possibility as to why whites in Atlanta may not be coming.

To Levenson’s credit, in that same paragraph, he dismisses fans who complained about the arena’s site as code for racist fear that “there are too many blacks at the games.” He further decries the white perception that even though the percentage of blacks in attendance had lessened, they still feel it’s higher and therefore somehow threatening. His outrage seems authentic.

Businesspeople should have the right to wonder how to appeal to diverse groups in order to increase business. They should even be able to make minor insensitive gaffes if there is no obvious animosity or racist intent. This is a business email that is pretty harmless in terms of insulting anyone — and pretty fascinating in terms of seeing how the business of running a team really works.

The thing that makes me mad is that Levenson was too quick to rend his clothing and shout mea culpa. In his apology, he wrote, “By focusing on race, I also sent the unintentional and hurtful message that our white fans are more valuable than our black fans.” But that’s not the message in the email at all. If the seats had been filled, even if by all blacks, the email wouldn’t have been written. He wasn’t valuing white fans over blacks; he was trying to figure out a way to change what he thought was the white perception in Atlanta so he could sell more tickets. That’s his job.

Abdul-Jabbar is a six-time NBA champion and league Most Valuable Player. Follow him on Twitter (@KAJ33) and Facebook (facebook.com/KAJ). He also writes a weekly column for the L.A. Register.

TIME Environment

California Blue Whales Are Making a Comeback

Blue whale
Getty Images

New study shows the marine mammal’s population in the Golden State is nearly back to pre-whaling levels

California’s endangered blue-whale population may not be so endangered after all, according to a study released Friday.

New research published in the journal Marine Mammal Science found the state’s current population of the aquatic mammal is nearly as high as before the practice of whaling became popular.

“It’s a conservation success story,” said Cole Monnahan, the study’s lead author and a doctoral student at the University of Washington, in a statement.

The International Whaling Commission banned the hunting of blue whales for commercial purposes in 1966, after which whaling has only been carried out illegally. Other causes of death also include pollution, shipping and getting accidentally caught up in other fishing.

Blue whales are the world’s largest known animals, growing to nearly 100 ft. in length and weighing over 200 lb.

The study’s revelations concern California’s blue-whale population rather than the total number in the North Pacific, which has been known to be about 2,200 for some time now, although researchers did find that previous estimates of the pre-whaling population might have been inaccurate.

Scientists always assumed the pre-whaling population was much larger, but the authors of Friday’s study estimate the current population is up to 97% of historical figures. They arrived at this conclusion by using historical data to estimate the number of whales caught between 1905 and 1971.

“Our findings aren’t meant to deprive California blue whales of protections that they need going forward,” Monnahan added. “California blue whales are recovering because we took actions to stop catches and start monitoring. If we hadn’t, the population might have been pushed to near extinction — an unfortunate fate suffered by other blue-whale populations.”

The one problem the massive marine mammals still face is being hit by ships, with at least 11 blue whales being struck off the West Coast last year. But Monnahan and his co-authors say this won’t affect the population’s stability.

TIME Disease

Hundreds of Children Stricken by Rare Respiratory Illness in Colorado

The illness appears to almost uniquely target children

Just as schools usher in a new group of students, plus all of their germs, hundreds of children in Denver have come down with an unusual and severe respiratory illness that has ailed communities across the U.S. in recent weeks.

Officials at Children’s Hospital Colorado told the Denver Post that the hospital has treated more than 900 children for the illness since Aug. 18. Similar outbreaks have been reported in geographic clusters around the Midwest this summer, including in St. Louis.

Health officials believe that the sickness is related to a rare virus called human enterovirus 68 (HEV68), the Post says. HEV68, first seen in California in 1962, and an unwelcome but highly infrequent visitor to communities worldwide since then, is a relative of the virus linked to the common cold (human rhinoviruses, or HRV), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

HEV68, which almost uniquely affects children, tends to first cause cold-like symptoms, including body aches, sneezing and coughing. These mild complaints then worsen into life-threatening breathing problems that are all the more dangerous to children with asthma. Since viruses do not respond to antibiotics, hospitals have treated the illness with asthma therapies.

Although extremely unpleasant, no deaths have so far been reported from this summer’s outbreak.

There is no vaccine for HEV68, and health officials are encouraging the same practices that guard against the common cold: keep your hands to yourself, and wash them often.

TIME politics

Speaker Boehner: Our Economic Recovery Is Stuck in the Senate

It is time for the White House and Senate Democrats to put politics aside and start putting people first

This week, as summer comes to a close, members of the House and Senate will return to Washington. But perhaps only one legislative body can accurately claim to be returning to work. While Democrats in the Senate have been dragging their feet this Congress, the House of Representatives has been busy proposing and passing solutions to America’s most pressing problems.

In the last year and a half, the House has passed more than 40 bills aimed at creating jobs, supporting wage earners, and easing the financial pains that working families all over America are suffering with in President Obama’s economy. Where are these bills now? They are stuck in the Senate. Why they are stuck, is a question for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

These bills are not thousands of pages long, nor are they partisan attempts to slam massive, new, and unwanted federal government programs down the throats of the American people. We all remember the disaster that became Obamacare. Passing something before we know what’s in it may be the Pelosi Doctrine, but it’s certainly not a transparent way to govern.

Instead these common-sense jobs bills, many of them bipartisan, are aimed at strengthening small businesses, allowing working moms and dads to keep more of their wages, and helping our seniors and our veterans. But instead of working with Republicans on the American people’s priorities in September, Senator Reid will instead focus on his obsession with the Koch brothers. This obsession is costing our economy jobs and has turned the United States Senate into a legislative graveyard.

The president likes to remind Americans he may use his fancy pen and phone, threatening undesired executive action. But if he really wants to use his pen to make progress on any number of these issues, then he should pick up the phone and start dialing Harry Reid’s number and tell him to allow a vote on these jobs bills. We have plenty for him to sign.

Even though the president and his party in the Senate have not been willing to deal with us, Republicans will continue to work and pass meaningful legislation this month.

Our American Solutions package will include several bills focused on creating jobs and kick-starting our economy. Americans are looking for answers to the problems they face, and our solutions will help them find work, lower the cost of living, and restore opportunities.

This common sense legislation deserves to become law, but the House cannot do it alone. We need willing partners in the President and the leadership in the Senate. We also cannot afford any more delays. The Congressional Budget Office recently reported that our economy would grow by just 1.5 percent this year, much slower than the Obama administration predicted. On top of that, 7.5 million workers remain in part time jobs while wanting a full time job, and a large majority of Americans believe we are headed in the wrong direction.

We do not have to wait until after Election Day to work together. If the administration and Senate Democrats change course, we can begin to make a real difference for American families right now.

This September the House will focus on providing solutions to address the American people’s priorities, and that means jobs. It is time for the White House and Senate Democrats to put politics aside and start putting people first. They can start by following the House’s lead.

John Boehner is the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.

TIME Military

U.S. Strikes in Iraq Against Jihadists, Moving West Toward Syria

A Kurdish peshmerga fighter takes up position at the front line against the Islamic State, in Khazir
A Kurdish fighter primed for action against ISIS in the northern Iraq town of Khazir on Sunday. Ahmed Jadallah / Reuters

It looks increasingly like the U.S. will start attacking targets there

The U.S. military took a unilateral giant step toward bombing targets inside Syria over the weekend as it swung its crosshairs west and began bombing Islamic militants in the western Iraq province that borders Bashar al-Assad’s war-ravaged country.

President Obama said Sunday he will detail his plans for destroying the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in a speech to the nation Wednesday. “The next phase is now to start going on some offense,” he said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “And ultimately we’re going to defeat them.”

He made clear—twice—that international borders won’t hamper U.S. efforts. “We will hunt down [ISIS] members and assets wherever they are,” he said. “I will reserve the right to always protect the American people and go after folks who are trying to hurt us wherever they are.”

Wherever. That means only one thing: Syria is the next stop on the road to defeating the Islamic jihadists.

“You don’t want to give them sanctuary at all,” says Anthony Zinni, former chief of U.S. Central Command, which oversees the region. “You can’t have a Pakistan,” where U.S. military efforts in Afghanistan have been frustrated by enemy forces who could scoot across borders to escape U.S. attacks. “They’ll simply regroup inside Syria and then re-attack—that’s stupid” if allowed to happen, the retired Marine general says.

The nation’s top military officer has already said rooting out ISIS’s Syrian haven is required for success. “Can they be defeated without addressing that part of the organization that resides in Syria?” Army General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Aug. 21. “The answer is ‘no’.”

The challenge of any U.S. military action in Syria is to hurt ISIS without helping the government of dictator Assad, whose civil war against several rebel groups, including ISIS, has killed nearly 200,000 people over three years. “We are supporting the Syrian moderate opposition,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Sunday in Tbilisi, Georgia.

The strikes launched Saturday and Sunday marked the first acknowledged time in a month-long U.S. bombing campaign of nearly 150 strikes against ISIS that U.S. munitions hit targets in western Iraq’s Anbar province. Prior American attacks had been limited to northern Iraq.

Like earlier strikes, the Pentagon justified the weekend’s action as part of Obama’s two-pronged ISIS effort to protect U.S. interests in Iraq and prevent humanitarian disasters against the Iraqi people. Earlier strikes were needed to defend the Mosul dam from an ISIS takeover, the Pentagon said, due to fear that the militants might sabotage it and send a 60-foot cascade of water down the Tigris River, threatening residents of Mosul.

The U.S. military used a similar justification for the weekend’s strikes on ISIS units near Anwar’s Haditha dam on the Euphrates River. “The potential loss of control of the dam or a catastrophic failure of the dam—and the flooding that might result—would have threatened U.S. personnel and facilities in and around Baghdad, as well as thousands of Iraqi citizens,” Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement.

The attacks in Anbar—even if from the sky— mark a watershed return for the U.S. to the Sunni-dominated province where American forces fought several of the Iraq war’s most deadly battles before leaving the country nearly three years ago. It’s a tacit acknowledgement that the U.S. withdrawal—aided and abetted by a recalcitrant Iraqi government—was premature.

The Anbar action comes nine months after ISIS forces took control of Fallujah, one of its main cities and the site of some of the 2003-2011 war’s bloodiest battles between U.S. forces and Iraqi insurgents. Some U.S. military officers believe Washington should have begun stepped-up military action back then.

Military experts are divided on how well the Obama Administration has handled the ISIS threat. Lawrence Korb, a former assistant defense secretary in the Reagan Administration, praises the President’s methodical approach. “You make it clear we’re going to get these guys,” says Korb, now with the Center for American Progress think tank, “just like we got [Osama] bin Laden.”

Others suggest partisanship at home has hobbled the U.S. effort to deal with ISIS. “Our nation is suffering this current distraction because of our inability to reach a consensus on how to deal with the crisis in Syria over a year ago,” says Jerry Hendrix, a naval flight officer who went on to serve as the Navy’s top historian before retiring from the service as a captain two months ago. Hendrix, now a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, blames “the hyper-partisan atmosphere and the continuous election campaign we find ourselves in” for the delay.

For his part, Zinni finds what he sees as Obama’s foot-dragging distressing. “The President’s job is not to put his finger up and test the political winds,” he says. “It’s to make a decision based on threats to our people and interests, and then explain to the American people why he’s doing it.”

Obama gets his chance Wednesday, the eve of the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

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