What I’ve Learned: Jorge Martinez on lessons from the Vietnam War

By Gurjit Kaur
Medill Reports

Vietnam War veteran Jorge Martinez, 72, recounts his experiences during and after the war.

When I was 20 years old, I got drafted — wound up in Vietnam. Uncle Sam sent me a letter of greeting: “You are hereby ordered for induction.”

There was a battle called Hamburger Hill. I had my squad. We had been on this mission for about a week. I was taking what they call point, the first man in the squad at the front of the company, being the guy negotiating the jungle. So everybody follows you. The deal was that we were supposed to alternate every day, one squad one day, another squad another day. Then we’re on the trail and Sergeant Clark, our platoon leader, tells us to stop for a mini break. I’m sitting down and this blond blue-eyed kid from New York sits next to me. A kid named Di Meola. He’s a leader for the other squad.

He says, “Well, how much time you got left.” I go, “30 days.”

I ask him, “How much time you got left?” He says, “I got 60.”

No sooner, Sergeant Clark says, “Martinez, moving out.” I turn around, I tell the sergeant, “Hey Sarge, we’ve been at point three days. We’re supposed to alternate every day.”

He tells my friend, “Di Meola, move it out.” So he gets his squad up. They walk past us. He took point. After five minutes of traveling down a bit of a canyon, he ran into an ambush and got blown away.

Continue reading What I’ve Learned: Jorge Martinez on lessons from the Vietnam War

Puerto Rican communities take matters into their own hands

By Joel Jacobs
Medill Reports

As Puerto Rico struggles with crushing public debt, an economic recession and natural disasters, many residents disillusioned with the local and federal government have taken matters into their own hands. For many of the approximately 3.1 million Puerto Ricans on the island, the strategy going forward is oriented around self-reliance. 

“The local government is a colonial government — it does not work for the people,” said Robert Rabin, director of the Vieques Historic Archive in Puerto Rico.

While much of the media coverage has focused on the capital of San Juan, where massive protests led to the governor’s resignation last summer, communities across the island have taken it upon themselves to tackle a wide variety of socioeconomic and environmental issues with local initiatives for everything from electrical power to hospital care.

Not only do these communities face an unresponsive government, but also an exodus of Puerto Ricans to the mainland. Over half a million Puerto Ricans have left the island in the past decade due to natural disasters and lack of economic opportunity.

Population decline in Puerto Rico over the last two decades. Many have left due to natural disasters and lack of economic opportunity. (Data: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis/World Bank. Graph: Joel Jacobs/Medill)

Puerto Rico’s economy was formerly structured around manufacturing, but many U.S. companies moved their factories out of Puerto Rico as a crucial federal tax break was phased out from 1996 to 2005. They took many middle-class jobs with them — currently, manufacturing employs around half the number of Puerto Ricans compared to 2000, a loss of 70,000 jobs.

A graph showing the decline of employment in manufacturing in Puerto Rico over the last two decades. Many U.S. companies left the island after federal tax breaks were repealed. (Data: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Graph: Joel Jacobs/Medill)

The interactive graphic below gives examples of how Puerto Ricans across the island are tackling their communities’ unique challenges.

Photo at top: Mabette Colon (left) and her father, Alberto, residents of Guayama, a municipality in southern Puerto Rico. For years, they have worked to bring attention to coal ash pollution in their community, produced by a nearby coal plant. (Arnab Mondal/Medill)

Fourth annual Women’s March Chicago rallies thousands of supporters

By Shirin Ali
Medill Reports

Thousands of people gathered in Grant Park on Saturday to march for climate change solutions, reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights and getting out the vote, issues highlighted at the annual Women’s March since the 2016 election of President Donald Trump.

Women’s March Chicago organized the event and estimated that 10,000 people participated this year. Despite rain and snow, marchers rallied with enthusiasm and zeal with their, chanting, hoisting homemade signs and wearing pink hats.

Jill Conrad drove more than 80 miles from Ottawa to attend and many people arrived from out of state. Conrad carried a vibrant blue banner that read “Any Functioning Adult 2020,” a message that garnered lots of thumbs up as people snapped picture. Conrad  described the experience as one filled with “lots of good ideas.”

Summing up the protest, she said “It was a great day” and the best part was seeing the unity among the marchers, she said. “It’s good to see people out here together, men and women, black, white, all of [us]. That was the high point.”

Photo at top: Thousands of supporters attended Women’s March Chicago’s annual march on Saturday, January 18, carrying homemade signs that highlighted a variety of issues. (Shirin Ali/MEDILL)

Missouri Valley Conference women’s basketball season in review

Greg Melo
Medill Reports

As the calendar flipped from 2018 to 2019, Missouri Valley Conference games officially kicked into full gear with teams  jockeying for position in lieu of March’s tournament in Quad Cities in Moline. With conference play in full swing, here is a look at the current state of the MVC standings and what each team’s outlook is as we move into February.

All stats and records are provided courtesy of  Missouri Valley Conference. Continue reading Missouri Valley Conference women’s basketball season in review

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.

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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