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Wall Street Journal: "What You Won’t Learn From One Wall Street Watchdog Report"

03/21/2017

Wall Street Journal: "What You Won’t Learn From One Wall Street Watchdog Report"

UBS Financial Services Inc. of Puerto Rico has made legal payouts to dissatisfied local investors, but not all those payments can be searched using an online tool from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Photo: Ana Martinez/Reuters

. . . Jill Gross, a law professor who studies securities arbitration for Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, in White Plains, N.Y., said “to be honest, I’m pretty shocked” that BrokerCheck treats corporate and individual broker settlements differently.

In Puerto Rico, hundreds of complaints have been filed against Puerto Rico’s five largest brokerage firms since the fourth quarter of 2013, according to people familiar with the matter. Finra arbitrators, after examining evidence and testimony, have delivered 25 decisions requiring defendants to pay damages in a total of 30 cases.

Many more cases have ended with settlements. Local residents agreed to 483 settlements with Puerto Rico’s five largest firms and their brokers in 2016, according to Securities Litigation and Consulting Group. That is up from up from 197 in 2015 and 5 in 2014.

The five brokerages paid a combined settlement total of about $160 million, according to SLCG and people familiar with the matter.

SLCG tallied up the settlements and payouts by compiling information from individual brokers’ BrokerCheck files. The Wall Street Journal was able to verify the numbers independently.

Of the settlement total, about $140 million was paid by UBS Financial Services Inc. of Puerto Rico, the largest brokerage on the island by assets under management.

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North Country Public Radio: "Under new energy law, will it matter if these SLC towns say no to wind farms?"

03/20/2017

North Country Public Radio: "Under new energy law, will it matter if these SLC towns say no to wind farms?"

Photo: Janice and Joe Pease said they would consider moving away from Hopkinton and selling their home if the North Ridge Wind Farm is built nearby. Credit: Lauren Rosenthal

. . . So, what happens with a project that isn’t so popular? Do local voices have any say in what goes on in their backyard?

Karl Rábago, executive director of the Energy and Climate Center at Pace Law School, said the answer is simple: "Wind farms and solar farms don’t go where they’re not loved, in the end. It’s not worth it to a developer."

Rábago knows of what he speaks: He used to build wind farms back in the mid- to late-2000s and had to walk away from projects that communities refused to welcome. Even if they’re opposed, Rábago said local people can still have their say by negotiating with the developers. That means figuring out what it would take to get on board with a project, whether it's more money or a change in location for a wind tower, and asking for that.

"I think it’s important for local communities to try to be supportive but also, like I say, open and direct about what is needed to make sure that we really do have a rising tide that lifts all boats," Rábago said.

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New York Post: "Most college-bound kids believe they will earn more than their parents: study"

03/20/2017

New York Post: "Most college-bound kids believe they will earn more than their parents: study"

. . . Andrew Raghunanan, who is set to complete Pace University’s five-year accounting MBA program after transferring three years ago from Westchester Community College, is one of those students who believes in the monetary value of getting a college education.

He said he took his first accounting class in high school, and he realized then that he wanted to go into the field “because of the salary and because I just love playing with numbers.”

The 23-year-old Raghunanan’s parents immigrated from Trinidad and Tobago in the 1970s, and he is the first member of his family to go to college. He is set to start working at KPMG in Connecticut in October, after finishing his studies, and expects to start making “above $60,000.”

He, like other survey respondents, says he “most definitely” expects to become wealthier than his mother, who works as an assistant in a dental office, and father, who is employed at a tool company in New Jersey.

“I do expect to become wealthier than my parents, since neither of them went to college,“ added John Schilling, a Denver high school student who plans to enter NYU’s pre-med program this fall. “They both worked very hard and were able to obtain pretty well-paying jobs to help support our family, but neither of them are even close to a doctor’s salary.”

On the other hand, at least some college students are currently heading toward graduation day without a clear idea of their earnings prospects.

Brianna Perriello, a senior who will graduate in May from Pace after having studied marketing and integrated communications, said she has taken a part-time job with Westchester Magazine and plans to continue working part time while going to graduate school. “Salary really didn’t play that big a part” in selecting her course of study, she said.

Will she become wealthier than her parents?

“I’d like to,” she said, “but it’s really not that important.”

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New York Times: "Scientists Bristle at Trump Budget’s Cuts to Research"

03/17/2017

New York Times: "Scientists Bristle at Trump Budget’s Cuts to Research"

Photo: A scientist working with the Zika virus at a National Institutes of Health lab in Bethesda, Md., last year. President Trump would cut the budget for the National Institutes of Health by 18 percent. Credit Gabriella Demczuk for The New York Times

. . . Judith Enck, a regional E.P.A. official in the Obama administration and now a visiting scholar at Pace University School of Law, called the proposed science cuts in her former agency “nonsensical.”

Noting that one of the programs being cut monitors chemicals known as endocrine disrupters, she said, “Not having the latest science on endocrine disrupters will make more people sick. And that is not something the states will pick up.”

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Law360: "Trump's Proposed DOJ Budget Cuts Would Gut Civil Rights"

03/17/2017

Law360: "Trump's Proposed DOJ Budget Cuts Would Gut Civil Rights"

Law360, New York (March 16, 2017, 9:14 PM EDT) -- The Trump administration's Thursday proposal to cut the U.S. Department of Justice’s budget even as spending on immigration enforcement and other areas increases is another indication that the new administration will put less emphasis on civil rights, fair lending, antitrust and other areas, experts say.

While President Donald Trump's budget proposal is almost certainly not expected to become law, the document does set out the administration’s priorities and main areas of focus. Immigration enforcement and violent crime reduction have clearly taken the lead, and, based on the budget outline released by Trump's Office of Management and Budget, it appears that other areas within the Justice Department's purview will have to face less funding.

"There's only so much money to go around," said Michael Weinstein, a partner at Cole Schotz PC and a former federal prosecutor.

The Trump administration's budget blueprint requests $27.7 billion for the Justice Department for 2018, a $1.1 billion, or 3.8 percent, drop from the 2017 allocation to the department under the continuing resolution that expires in April.

However, even with that drop, the administration is seeking to increase funding for the FBI by $249 million, or 3 percent, over the current continuing resolution and an additional $175 million to go after what the document calls "the worst of the worst criminal organizations and drug traffickers in order to address violent crime, gun-related deaths and the opioid epidemic."

Funding for immigration judge teams, to deal with illegal entry and unlawful presence cases, will see a jump of nearly $80 million from the existing continuing resolution and increases the number of Justice Department officials that will work on immigration cases.

The proposed budget also provides an additional $171 million for short-term detention space for federal detainees, including undocumented immigrants, over existing levels.

Those funding increases, coming with the broader cuts that the Trump administration wants to see inside the Justice Department, means that certain areas are going to have to take a backseat to immigration and other priorities, said Randolph McLaughlin, a professor at Pace University Law School.

"Clearly the areas that will be cut are the areas that are of interest to civil rights litigators," he said.

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New York Law Journal: "Pace Recognizes DiFiore"

03/16/2017

New York Law Journal: "Pace Recognizes DiFiore"

Courtesy photo/Mark Liflander

Chief Judge Janet DiFiore, second from right, was recognized by the Elizabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University Wednesday at its 22nd annual Leadership Awards event. Joining DiFiore, from left, is law professor Jay Carlisle, dean David Yassky, and university president Stephen Friedman.

http://www.newyorklawjournal.com/id=1202781207463/Pace-Recognizes-DiFiore

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amNewYork: "Trump’s EPA cuts could have drastic effect on NYC, experts say"

03/16/2017

amNewYork: "Trump’s EPA cuts could have drastic effect on NYC, experts say"

President Donald Trump's planned cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency could negatively impact New York City, experts say. Above, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt addresses employees at the agency's headquarters on Feb. 21, 2017, in Washington, D.C. (Credit: Aaron P. Bernstein / Getty Images)

. . . Among the “potentially serious implications” for NYC, according to the recently departed regional EPA administrator for the city (and elsewhere) Judith Enck, would be a risk to the safety of drinking water.

“New York (City) is unique in that not all our drinking water is filtered. It’s a real wonder,” explained Enck, a Barack Obama appointee who resigned her post on Jan. 18 and is now a visiting scholar at Pace University’s Haub Law School.

The reason New Yorkers can drink unfiltered water from the Catskills is “because there is a real effort to protect it at the source. EPA staff are very diligent about looking at (water) test results” to make sure parasites such as cryptosporidium and harmful bacteria and pathogens do not raise to unsafe levels and sicken the people who drink it.

Cutting staff that performs such jobs — as well as EPA police who patrol reservoirs in Westchester and the Catskills — will reduce protections, she said.

Congress appropriates money for upgrades that flows to the state and then the city to beef up water infrastructure that, in NYC, “is really old and really vulnerable to problems,” she said.

Our metropolis “has a massive problem with sewage discharges into its waterways,” such as the Hudson and East rivers, the Gowanus Canal and New York Harbor, after rainfalls, Enck continued.

EPA staff typically responds — as hundreds of employees did after Superstorm Sandy — to help damaged sewer plants get back online, but the cuts “would affect the EPA’s ability to respond to emergencies,” she said.

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Journal News: "Micro-apartments offer big style in Yonkers"

03/16/2017

Journal News: "Micro-apartments offer big style in Yonkers"

. . . "It’s one of the hot trends in planning and housing," said Justin Woods, an urban planner and professor at Pace University. "It started in the tech hub in Silicon Valley and spread to Seattle. You’re starting to see them pop up in places throughout the country."

Woods said the tiny housing is mostly built for millennials, adults who are between 20 and 36 years old.

"A lot of research has shown that millennials aren’t as concerned with space like for entertaining, they’re much more concerned with amenities and location," Woods said.

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Associated Press: "Test meant to screen teachers instead weeded out minorities"

03/13/2017

Associated Press: "Test meant to screen teachers instead weeded out minorities"

This March 8, 2017 photo shows the front page of a document explaining a certification exam known as the Academic Literacy Skills Test, designed to measure the reading and writing skills of aspiring teachers, in New York. New York state education officials are poised to scrap the test which critics say is racially biased, redundant and a poor predictor of who will succeed as teacher. But backers of the test say eliminating it could put weak teachers in classrooms. (AP Photo/Barbara Woike)

NEW YORK (AP) — New York education officials are poised to scrap a test designed to measure the reading and writing skills of people trying to become teachers, in part because an outsized percentage of black and Hispanic candidates were failing it.

The state Board of Regents on Monday is expected Monday to adopt a task force's recommendation of eliminating the literacy exam, known as the Academic Literacy Skills Test.

Backers of the test say eliminating it could put weak teachers in classrooms. Critics of the examination said it is redundant and a poor predictor of who will succeed as a teacher.

"We want high standards, without a doubt. Not every given test is going to get us there," said Leslie Soodak, a professor of education at Pace University who served on the task force that examined the state's teacher certification tests.

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FiOS1 News: "Apps built for the elderly compete at Pace"

03/06/2017

FiOS1 News: "Apps built for the elderly compete at Pace"

Watch the video.

From an app that translates texting acronyms like 'BRB' and ‘G2G', to an app that scans menus at restaurants and enlarges them on a screen to better see the type, students at Pace are harnessing technology to improve the lives of others.

The Westchester Smart Mobile App Development Bowl challenges young people to create mobile apps to improve an aspect of daily life for people ages 65 and older.

"The students need to be aware that they are not developing apps for people their age. They need to develop apps for older adults who need services that they don’t have access to without these apps," said associate professor at Pace, Jean Coppola.

The contest involves more than 250 participants from nearly 50 teams presenting their apps to folks from the likes of Google and Apple.

One team includes two Pace university students who live in Mahopac and Harrison: George Samuels and Arton Mirakaj. They’ve developed a virtual reality app to help older stroke victims.

"We created like a space environment where we immerse you in this world where you have asteroids coming at you and you blow them up so it’s essentially a game," said the pair.

The game requires a slight movement of the head to gaze at asteroids and destroy them. They say it prevents geriatrics from not being able to move around and becoming lonely.

"What we're trying to do is distract them from the outside world of no one really talking to them, them being by themselves, and give them something to do," Samuels and Mirakaj continued.

The judging and awards ceremony takes place at Pace University's Kessel Student Center on April 28th.

Watch the video.

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