1 Mar

Harvard Chan program seeks to improve worker well-being

first_img Read Full Story Levi Strauss & Co. has recognized the Harvard Chan SHINE program (Sustainability and Health Initiative for Netpositive Enterprise) for its role in advancing the health and well-being of the people who make Levi Strauss clothing around the world.The program, founded and led by Eileen McNeely, Instructor in the Department of Environmental Health, has been conducting worker well-being research in Levi Strauss supplier factories around the globe.  By working with SHINE, Levi Strauss has been able to identify areas for improvement in working conditions.  More than 13,000 apparel workers, mostly women, working in factories across Cambodia, China, Mexico, Poland, and Sri Lanka, have been positively impacted by this research.Through this multi-year study, SHINE’s research has found that by actively cultivating trust, respect and fairness, supplier factories have improved gender equality, well-being and productivity.  Levi Strauss aims to leverage these findings to continue strengthening factory policies and systems — and to continue worker empowerment programs — in order to continue improving the well-being of the workers the company relies on to manufacture its products.last_img read more

18 Jan

Woman Accused Of Sending Ricin Letter To White House Arrested At Peace Bridge

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) The White House / Tia Dufour WASHINGTON – A woman suspected of sending an envelope containing the poison ricin, which was addressed to the White House, has been arrested at the New York-Canada border, three law enforcement officials told The Associated Press on Sunday.The letter had been intercepted earlier this week before it reached the White House. The woman was taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Peace Bridge border crossing near Buffalo and is expected to face federal charges, the officials said. Her name was not immediately released.The letter addressed to the White House appeared to have originated in Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have said. It was intercepted at a government facility that screens mail addressed to the White House and President Donald Trump and a preliminary investigation indicated it tested positive for ricin, according to the officials.The officials were not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. There have been several prior instances in which U.S. officials have been targeted with ricin sent through the mail.A Navy veteran was arrested in 2018 and confessed to sending envelopes to Trump and members of his administration that contained the substance from which ricin is derived. The letters were intercepted, and no one was hurt.In 2014, a Mississippi man was sentenced to 25 years in prison after sending letters dusted with ricin to President Barack Obama and other officials.last_img read more

17 Jan

Better, Healthier Cotton

first_imgBreeding cotton varieties with resistance to root-knot nematodes and better cotton fiber quality are at the forefront of Peng Chee’s research at the University of Georgia.The UGA Tifton-based cotton breeder has been working on host-plant resistance to root-knot nematodes for 10 years. Chee has made progress in understanding the inheritance of resistance and developed tools for incorporating nematode resistance genes from the natural cotton breeding stocks into new cotton varieties. Nematode resistance“Our lab seeks to develop DNA markers for the resistance genes that will allow breeders to keep track of these genes in breeding populations without having to traditionally screen for individual plants that are resistant or susceptible” said Chee, an agronomist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.Using DNA markers to select resistant plants is much quicker than traditional screening using nematode inoculation, a method Chee calls “very tedious, time consuming and expensive.”Using the traditional screening method, it can take approximately two months to discover if a plant is resistant or susceptible to nematodes, he said. “But with DNA testing, a conclusion can be made in a matter of hours regarding if a seed has the resistance genes or not. The seed does not even need to be planted,” Chee said.Research on host-plant resistance to nematodes is important because the microscopic worms can severely affect cotton crops. The nematodes damage the plant’s root system, which prevents the plant from getting the proper amount of water and nutrients. Root-knot nematodes thrive in sandy soils, which are prevalent in Georgia. About 70 percent of Georgia’s cotton fields are infested with this parasitic nematode.“Nematodes can impact cotton production in years when it’s really dry because they inhibit the ability of the cotton plants to utilize what little water is available in the soil during times of drought. They also cause similar damage in really wet years, like last year when cotton plants were in stress from poor fertility due to fertilizer leaching,” Chee said. Root-knot nematode infection also has a “synergistic effect” with the fungal disease Fusarium wilt, he said. Severe outbreaks of the disease were observed in a number of Georgia counties last year.Chee also noted there aren’t many economical options to controlling nematodes, especially since the nematicide aldicarb was recently removed from the market. Nematode resistant cotton cultivars offer growers a cost effective means to manage this pest.Fiber qualityIn addition to host-plant resistance, Chee’s research in the UGA Molecular Cotton Breeding Lab also focuses on genes that influence fiber quality in cotton. Chee believes fiber quality improvement is important for the U.S. cotton industry in order to compete with other cotton producing countries and the synthetic fiber industry.“The U.S. cotton industry has changed in the last 20 years from when cotton was used domestically. Today, most cotton is exported,” Chee said. “To stay competitive in the global cotton market, we need to produce cotton with better fiber quality than what’s currently in the market. Better cotton quality means a better price for producers and thus better quality products for consumers.” One of the main goals of Chee’s lab is to explore wild cotton varieties to identify fiber quality genes currently not in the cotton germplasm and breeding them into cultivated cotton varieties adapted for Georgia. Limited cotton stocks were brought into the U.S. when cotton first became a domestic crop, he said. “Many potentially useful genes for fiber quality got left behind in the wild gene pool. I believe that cotton breeding stocks with a broad genetic base is the key to answers for future challenges in cotton production while maintaining and improving our long-term competitiveness in the international fiber and textile market,” Chee said. For more information about the research conducted in the UGA Molecular Cotton Breeding Laboratory, see www.nespal.org/peng_lab.last_img read more