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HKS in the News June 11, 2012

1. The madness of attacking an unknown enemy (Burns) The Financial Times

2. Health policy vs. jobs (Chandra) The Boston Globe

3. Springfield is responsible for corrupt Illinois? (Campante) The State-Journal Register (IL)

4. Minority digital use needs new direction (Ferguson) USA Today

5. Vietnam banking reform in trouble (Pincus) The Nation

6. Number of young home buyers plunges in Mass. The Boston Globe

7. Youngest Nobel Peace Prize Winner Discusses Middle East at IOP The Harvard Crimson

The madness of attacking an unknown enemy

The Financial Times

June 8

Quoted: Nicholas Burns, Belfer Center

Topic: U.S. – Iran relations

… In recent months there have been two rounds of talks between Iran and representatives of the self-styled world powers - the US, China, France, Britain, Germany, Russia and the EU.

… The second exchange came at this year's Brussels Forum, hosted by the German Marshall Fund of the United States... Nicholas Burns, a former senior official at the US State Department, offered the forum an eloquent riposte.

What was needed, he said, was protracted engagement with Tehran. Mr Burns, who handled Iran policy for the Bush administration, is no dove. He made the simple but supremely wise point that, before going to war, nations should at least know their enemy. Thus far the US had not properly tried diplomacy. Sure, there had been desultory contacts over the years, usually in places such as Vienna or Geneva. But the US "has not had a single, sustained conversation with the Iranian leadership since the Jimmy Carter Administration". …

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Health policy vs. jobs

The Boston Globe

June 11

Quoted: Amitabh Chandra, Interfaculty Initiative in Health Policy

Topic: U.S. healthcare

Hospital officials frequently warn state and national lawmakers that aggressive cost controls will lead to health care job losses. But two Harvard University economists argue in a New England Journal of Medicine perspective piece published online last week that health care jobs have no place in the policy debate.

There’s a bigger employment picture to consider, Harvard School of Public Health professors Katherine Baicker and Amitabh Chandra write.

“Salaries for health care jobs are not manufactured out of thin air — they are produced by someone paying higher taxes, a patient paying for more health care, or an employee taking home lower wages because higher health insurance premiums are deducted from his or her paycheck,” they write. …

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Springfield is responsible for corrupt Illinois?

The State-Journal Register (IL)

June 9

Quoted: Filipe Campante

Topic: Research on political corruption by Campante

If two professors are correct in their just published study, Illinois’ sordid history of dishonesty in state government may exist because the capital is here instead of in Chicago.

That, says Dr. Filipe Campante of Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, plays a role in our state’s problems with governmental corruption because Springfield is in a sparsely populated downstate area. …

Campante and Quoc-Anh Do of the school of economics at Singapore Management University, combined to write, “Isolated Capital Cities, Accountability and Corruption: Evidence from U.S. States,” that is getting a lot of attention. Springfield is a prime example of their thesis.

“Illinois and New York are the first two states that come to mind when we talk about our study,” says Campante. …

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Minority digital use needs new direction

USA Today

June 11

Quoted: Ronald Ferguson, Malcolm Wiener Center

Topic: The negative impact of digital devices on students

… While blacks (54%) and Hispanics (51%) have less access to the Internet than all Americans (66%) from computers at home, these two groups use their mobile phones more than whites to access the Internet, visit social media sites, and send e-mails and text messages, according to polling by the Pew Research Center. And the concern is that these devices are being used more for entertainment than for educational purposes. …

Ronald Ferguson , director of the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University, has studied the negative impact of television and other digital devices on students. In an essay, he said his research found that "black and Hispanic students reported less leisure reading at home compared with whites, watched television more … and (perhaps as a consequence) were more prone to become sleepy at school."

Ferguson has been calling for integrating the type of training proposed by the FCC into our national education strategy, which should be aimed not only at minorities but at the poor as well. The FCC notes that only 40% of households with less than $20,000 in annual income have access to the Internet at home. …

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Vietnam banking reform in trouble

The Nation

June 11

Quoted: Jonathan Pincus, Ash Center

Topic: Vietnam’s banking problems

Vietnam's drive to restructure its troubled banking sector is being derailed by powerful interest groups as the political will needed to force through painful reforms falters, experts say. …

What the government needs to do is "take over the weakest banks, merge them, sell off the bad debt and then resell the merged bank", said Jonathan Pincus, a HCMC-based economist from the Harvard Kennedy School's Vietnam programme."It would be quicker and less risky for the system as a whole. But bank owners would resist this," he said. …

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Number of young home buyers plunges in Mass.

The Boston Globe

June 10

Cited: Research by the Joint Center for Housing Studies

Topic: Home ownership trends in Massachusetts

Interest rates have hit historic lows and home prices have fallen, making real estate a buyers’ market. But one important segment of potential buyers is not ready to sign on the dotted line: young adults. …

Financially, the recent recession and high unemployment rate have put buying beyond the reach of many young people, said Chris Herbert, research director at Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.

Rising student loan debt - up at least 35 percent since 2004 to an average of more than $25,000 per graduate, according to the Project for Student Debt - could also make it more difficult for young adults to afford a home, Herbert said. …

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Youngest Nobel Peace Prize Winner Discusses Middle East at IOP

The Harvard Crimson

June 8

Cited: H. E. Tawakkol Karman John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum event

H. E. Tawakkol Karman, co-recipient of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize and the first Arab woman to win a Nobel, said that she was effective in fighting for women’s rights in Yemen by focusing on human rights for all.

Karman, a Yemini activist and journalist, spoke at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum on Thursday evening. Karman’s keynote speech kicked off a conference at the Kennedy School entitled “Culture Identity and Change in the Middle East: Insights for Conflict and Negotiation.” …

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Broadcast Notes

Juliette Kayyem, Belfer Center

NPR “All Things Considered,” 6/8

Topic: Environmental sustainability and the military

This selection of media appearances is compiled by the Office of Communications and Public Affairs.

To submit an item please email Jane Finn-Foley

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