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80 floors, 1,634 steps, and more than $629,000 for kids

By Yunyi(Jessie) Liu
Medill Reports

More than 2,500 people climbed the 80 flights to the top of the Aon Center, the city’s third tallest skyscraper, to help children battling illness and families at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

The annual “Step Up for Kids” event  on Sunday earned $629,772.52 up to now, just shy of the $800,000 goal. All the funds raised benefit the Lurie Children’s Department of Family Services, a division of the hospital that focuses on the mental, emotional and spiritual well-being of patients and their families. K.I.D.S.S. for Kids, a fundraising organization affiliated with the hospital, has organized the event for the last two decades.

Stair-steppers gathered from across Chicago, Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin, according to Ted McCartan, director of Community Engagement at the hospital,.

The event ran from 8 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Chicagoan Terry Purcell championed the competition with an astonishing 9-minute, 44-second climb, followed by Robert Liking at 10 minutes and Tara Linn 10 minutes and 44 seconds.

Photo at top: Kids from the British International School of Chicago, Lincoln Park, completed the climb.  ( Yunyi(Jessie) Liu/MEDILL)

AbbVie share hit 5-year high with strong sales growth in fourth quarter

By Yanchun (Roxanne) Liu
Medill Reports

Stock of AbbVie Inc. (NYSE: ABBV) soared 13.8 percent, hitting a five-year high, after the North Chicago-based biopharmaceutical company reported Friday quarterly adjusted earnings that beat Wall Street expectations and strong growth in sales of flagship drug Humira.

abbvie share
Five-Year Share Prices of AbbVie Inc. Source: Yahoo Finance, Jan. 26, 2018. (Liu Yanchun/MEDILL)

However, net earnings plunged 96.3 percent to $52 million, or 3 cents per diluted share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with $1.39 billion, or 85 cents per share, in the year-earlier quarter. The dive was occasioned mainly by an estimated $4.5 billion tax charge on unrepatriated foreign income, pursuant to the recent Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Excluding special items, the company’s fourth-quarter earnings jumped 21.6 percent to $2.40 billion, or $1.48 per diluted share, from $1.96 billion, or $1.20 per share, a year earlier, exceeding the consensus estimate of $1.45 per share compiled by Bloomberg. Quarterly net revenues rose 13.9 percent to $7.74 billion from $6.80 billion.

Continue reading AbbVie share hit 5-year high with strong sales growth in fourth quarter

Entrepreneurship growing in Japan, but challenges remain

By Qiqi(Vivian) Zhang

When Yorick Traunecker, a 31-year-old Swiss expatriate, wanted to rent a workspace to develop his startup idea in Tokyo, finding TechShop, an open-access DIY workshop in Minato-ku District, was a surprise to him.

“There is no way you can find a space that is as big as this with so much industrial-level equipment,” Traunecker said. “They are good at helping you build prototypes at a really early stage, and they are I think the best at that. Nobody else really helps doing that.”

TechShop opened a year ago as the first membership-based DIY studio in Japan. Its mission is to help entrepreneurs bring their innovations to life, with industrial-level machinery and tools, open co-working space, engineering trainings and networking events.
Continue reading Entrepreneurship growing in Japan, but challenges remain

Tokyo, eyeing 2020, reinforces Japanese character

By Yingcong (June) Fu

Tokyo is pointing toward its second Olympics, in 2020, after more than half a century. Different from the situation in 1964, when Japan’s economy was emerging after World War II, Tokyo is trying to bring a new global image this time after decades of economic stagnation in Japan.

Consistent with the slogan of “discover tomorrow”, the Tokyo government is polishing the city with well-designed details to depict an ideal urban life in the future–heated seats and women-only cars in the subway system, delicatedly-designated public smoking areas, and extremely clean streets with only a few trash cans.

Continue reading Tokyo, eyeing 2020, reinforces Japanese character

Social media brings Women’s March on Chicago to life

By Kara Voght

In the hours following Donald Trump’s presidential victory, a disappointed Liz Radford scrolled through her Facebook feed and noticed posts floating the idea about a women’s march on Washington. Radford decided to gauge interest for a Chicago-based sister march within her own social network the weekend after the election.

“We put up a Facebook page on a Saturday morning, and by that night we had a thousand interested people,” she said.

That social media moment inspired her to begin planning the Women’s March on Chicago. Co-chair Radford and her fellow organizers relied on social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram to galvanize a grassroots effort that culminated in Saturday’s 250,000-person march.

“It’s social media’s own creature,” she said. “You have this tool available, and because you have that tool, that informed your thinking about how you’ll start implementing your idea.”

Protestors cross a bridge in Grant Park to line up for the Women's March on Chicago (Kara Voght/MEDILL)
Protesters cross a bridge in Grant Park to line up for the Women’s March on Chicago (Kara Voght/MEDILL)

Radford, 45, said the initial overwhelming response speaks to the power of social media platforms that make it easy for people to get involved with causes they care about.

“You don’t have to leave your house, you don’t have to call anybody, you just log onto your computer,” she said. “It offers an instant community, and I think a lot of people need that right now.”

Continue reading Social media brings Women’s March on Chicago to life

Road ahead bumpy for CBRE

By Mindy Tan

Analysts warn that the road ahead for CBRE Group Inc. could be bumpy, pointing to uneasiness in certain global economies, unfavorable foreign currency movement, and stiff competition from international, regional, and local players.

This is translating into pressure on its stock price. The closing price of the real estate firm, which is based in Los Angeles, Calif., was $30.34 Tuesday. up 1 percent. The consensus 52-week target price of analysts polled by Bloomberg is $33.83.

The lag in CBRE’s stock performance relative to the broader market is “likely due to investor concerns that the commercial real estate market will, or already has, started to roll over, and the tired story of rising interest rates,” said Brandon Dobell, an analyst at William Blair, in a report dated Dec. 5.

Continue reading Road ahead bumpy for CBRE

Surging New Trier gets measure of redemption

By Giuliana Allegrotti

It was their worst game of the year.

Back on Dec. 2, the New Trier girls basketball team lost to conference rival Niles West 52-45. New Trier was sloppy on both ends of the floor; unforced turnovers and lackadaisical defense plagued the team the entire game. They had poor body language and looked defeated long before the game was even over.

It was easy to understand, then, why memories of that game were on the minds of New Trier players last Friday night, as they looked to avenge that early December loss against Niles West.

“We were all embarrassed by it,” senior guard Kristie Kalis said. “We knew we were better than them, we just didn’t play well.”

New Trier won handily 66-40 last Friday, never even allowing Niles West to get within striking distance. The win brought the Trevs to 4-3 in the Central Suburban League play and 12-8 on the season. They’ll play a non-conference game against Libertyville Tuesday night, and resume CSL play again Friday against Glenbrook South.

Continue reading Surging New Trier gets measure of redemption

Uptown homeless endure cold in tent city

By Rebekah Frumkin

Chicago’s homeless struggle to survive the bitter cold in tents. Medill reporter Rebekah Frumkin spent time talking with residents of the Uptown Tent City, an encampment under Lake Shore Drive where 20 of Chicago’s roughly 125,000 homeless live.

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Video: South Side communities feel pain due to lack of level 1 trauma care


By Amina Ismail

Summer is approaching and so is the likelihood of an increased number of deaths from gunshots. There have been more than 1,000 people shot by guns since the beginning of 2015, according to statistics gathered by the Chicago Tribune, and the summer heat will drive that number higher. Many of those shootings happen on the South Side where there is no level 1 trauma center – the emergency medical care best prepared to treat patients critically injured by gunshots.

President Barack Obama’s recent announcement that he would build his presidential library in Chicago was applauded by many. The decision to spend more than half-a-billion dollars to build it on the South Side, however, angered some, specifically those who’ve been seeking a level 1 trauma center for the area.

Continue reading Video: South Side communities feel pain due to lack of level 1 trauma care

Composers transform nature’s symphony into songs of the wild

By Sara Freund

Leafless trees stretch their branches toward the gray sky like ageless giants at the Chicago Botanic Garden .

The trees appear frozen still, but they are warriors. Some species of oak trees sense when they’re under attack – they detect the saliva of chewing insects and retaliate.  The oaks release chemicals to warn their neighbors of an impending attack. Continue reading Composers transform nature’s symphony into songs of the wild