e-Veritas Archive | January, 2015

As U.S.-Cuba Relations Thaw, ICCAS Hosts Historic Meeting

By Barbara Gutierrez
UM News

Among the 13 dissidents visiting from Cuba, Fernando Palacio speaks at the news conference held at the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies. Photo Courtesy of el Nuevo Herald /Roberto Koltun

Among the 13 dissidents visiting from Cuba, Fernando Palacio speaks at the news conference held at the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies. Photo Courtesy of el Nuevo Herald / Roberto Koltun

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (January 28, 2015) — The University of Miami’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies (ICCAS) hosted a historic meeting last Tuesday of 13 Cuban dissidents—representing more than 30 groups on the island—who came to Miami to call for a dialogue with members of the exile community that they hope will lead to a democratic Cuba.

“We represent a wide range of the views inside of Cuba, and we want to send a clear message that Cubans living on the island and those in exile need to work together toward a democratic future for Cuba,” said Manuel Cuesta Morua, who heads the group Arco Progresista, or the Progressive Arc. “What matters now is our nation.”

Welcoming the dissidents to the UM campus, ICCAS Director Jaime Suchlicki said, “As an academic center, ICCAS will always welcome these Cubans who are fighting for freedom. Their mission is to unite efforts and create a common political platform, and we’re glad to open up our neutral venue so they may discuss their goals.”

Other dissidents at the meeting included Dagoberto Valdés, editor of the magazine Convivencia, (Coexistence), attorney Laritza Diversent, and Eliecer Avila, leader of Somos Mas, or We are More.

The dissidents, whose unprecedented visit was prompted by the U.S. decision to normalize relations with Cuba and the subsequent visit of American diplomats to the island, invited interested parties to another historic meeting that took place at the Cuba Ocho Art and Research Center in Little Havana the following day. About 150 exiles showed up to that meeting, where they called for an end to political repression in Cuba, the release of all political prisoners, respect for all United Nations human rights covenants, and the active participation of ordinary Cuban citizens in developing a new democratic society.

After much deliberation, Morua said, participants at the Little Havana meeting agreed to establish a working roundtable that would include members of the Cuban and Cuban-American community. They also agreed to create a website to keep communication channels open and to draft a proposal for the democratization of Cuba that could be presented at the 2015 Summit of the Americas in Panamá in early April. After many years of absence, Cuba is slated to participate in this year’s summit.

 

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Researchers Develop New Instrument to Monitor Atmospheric Mercury

Special to UM News

Mercury2

Graphic courtesy of UNEP Chemicals Branch, DTIE – Switzerland

 MIAMI, Fla. (January  27, 2015) — Researchers at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science have developed and tested a new sensor to detect ambient levels of mercury in the atmosphere. Funded through a National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation grant, the new highly sensitive, laser-based instrument provides scientists with a method to more accurately measure global human exposure to mercury.

The measurement approach is called sequential two-photon laser induced fluorescence (2P-LIF) and uses two different laser beams to excite mercury atoms and monitor blue-shifted atomic fluorescence. Rosenstiel Professor of Atmospheric Sciences Anthony Hynes and colleagues tested the new mobile instrument, alongside the standard instrumentation that is currently used to monitor atmospheric mercury concentrations, during the three-week Reno Atmospheric Mercury Intercomparison Experiment (RAMIX) performed in 2011 in Reno, Nevada.

The 2P-LIF instrument measured ambient mercury at very minute levels within ten seconds, whereas its counterpart instrument requires at least 2.5 minutes and is not able to differentiate between elemental and oxidized mercury, where the mercury atom is combined with another element or elements and becomes more efficiently deposited in the environment.

“To understand how mercury gets deposited we need to understand its atmospheric chemistry, but our understanding is very limited,” said Hynes, a co-author of the new study. “Our instrument has the potential to greatly enhance our understanding of the atmospheric cycling of mercury and increase understanding of the global impact of mercury on human health.”

The U.S. EPA Mercury and Air Toxics Standards and the International Minamata Convention on Mercury have focused on limiting the emissions of toxic air pollutants, including mercury. Hynes noted that these represent huge steps forward, but their effectiveness in protecting human health may be limited without an increased understanding of the global cycling of atmospheric mercury.

Mercury3

Graphic courtesy of UNEP Chemicals Branch, DTIE – Switzerland

Mercury is deposited on the ground (dry deposition) or via rainfall (wet deposition) where it bioaccumulates and biomagnifies, ending up at much high concentrations in fish and mammals. Direct exposure to mercury by humans is primarily through the ingestion of methyl mercury from fish consumption.

The study, titled “Deployment of a sequential two-photon laser-induced fluorescence sensor for the detection of gaseous elemental mercury at ambient levels: fast, specific, ultrasensitive detection with parts-per-quadrillion sensitivity,” was published in the December 8 issue of the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques. The study co-authors include: Anthony J. Hynes, Dieter Bauer, James Remeika, Stephanie Everhart, and Cheryl Tatum Ernest of the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences. The Instrument development was supported by NSF Award #MRI-0821174.

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Office of the Vice Provost Announces 2015 Provost’s Research Awards

Special to UM News

CORAL GABLES, FLA. (January 23, 2014) — The Office of the Vice Provost for Research has announced the recipients of the 2015 Provost’s Research Awards, which will provide salary support and direct research costs to faculty for a wide range of research topics–from the chemical communication of toadfish to the epidemiology of a stock market bubble. In all, 55 faculty representing 29 departments in nine schools and colleges on the Coral Gables and marine campuses were selected for the awards.

The Provost’s Research Awards are designed to foster excellence in research and creative activity and increase the overall research portfolio at the University of Miami. Applicants are reviewed by faculty subcommittees of the Research Council representing the arts, business, humanities, natural science, engineering, and social sciences. Funding is awarded in three categories based on discipline: the Max Orovitz Research Award in Arts and Humanities; the James W. McLamore Research Award in Business and the Social Sciences, and the Research Award in the Natural Sciences and Engineering.

Approximately 150 applications were evaluated based on their scholarly, scientific and/or creative merit, the likelihood that the work will lead to major peer-reviewed outcomes, and the opportunity for faculty career enhancement.

View a list of this year’s awardees.

Posted in Honors, NewsComments Off

Using a UM Facility for a Camp Program? Be Sure to Complete Essential Paperwork

The University of Miami hosts a variety of camps and programs on its Coral Gables campus. As per the BSF-090 Camps Policy, all camps and programs that use a University facility, whether they are organized by University departments or users external to the institution, must complete:

  1. Camps Facility Use Agreement
  2. Camp Registration Form
  3. Any additional forms as may be required by the facility coordinator

Completed forms must be sent by the facility coordinator to the Financial Operations office, (Roxana Galban, 305-284-9793, contracts@miami.edu ) for University approval.

Camps that do not complete the required forms will not be permitted to utilize any University facility.

PLEASE NOTE: Background checks on all camp employees, volunteers, or affiliates working at the University of Miami are required. This requirement is a material term of the Camp Facilities Use Agreement. The background screening must include a Level 2 background screening as defined by the State of Florida, which includes fingerprint checks through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Failure to comply with this requirement will result in the immediate termination of the Camp Facilities Use Agreement.

Please refer to www.miami.edu/summercamps for more information.

Posted in Briefly Noted, NewsComments Off

Miami CFAR Accepting Applications for Summer Research Awards for Students

The Miami Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) is accepting applications for summer research awards for students from the University of Miami and other universities in the United States. The awards, stipends of $2,000 per student for a 10-week project, are aimed at undergraduates or those who have completed their bachelor’s degree within the past year. Applications are due April 10. Please visit the Summer Research Awards page on the Miami CFAR website for details.

 

 

Posted in Briefly Noted, NewsComments Off

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