Stories of learning, teaching, and turning points, in the Experience series.For decades, Walter Willett has worked to improve public health by improving diets, most often through research, but sometimes by picking fights: over trans fats, the food pyramid, red meat. Data quality and thick skin have served him well.Born in 1945 into a Midwestern family with deep ties to farming, Willett did undergraduate study at Michigan State University before getting his M.D. from the University of Michigan. He came to Harvard in the 1970s to continue his medical training and was drawn to the potential for epidemiology to reveal root causes of ailments afflicting his patients, and thereby to prevent them.The Nurses’ Health Study, an analysis of diet, lifestyle, and health, was an early eye-opener. Willett eventually launched follow-ups, including the Nurses’ Health Study 3 in 2010. His broad outline for healthy living is by now familiar: Don’t smoke, exercise regularly, avoid added sugar and processed foods. He is the Fredrick John Stare Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition and chair of the Harvard School of Public Health’s Nutrition Department.Q: I thought we’d start at the beginning. I read that your grandfather was a dairy farmer, is that right?A: Yes.Q: But your father was not?A: He did work in dairy actually. But he was a Ph.D. reproduction physiologist and worked at the American Foundation for the Study of Genetics in the 1950s, when we were living in Madison [Wisconsin]. That meant dairy herd improvement, how to get more milk per cow. So he did research on reproduction biology.Q: Did you grow up in Madison?A: We started living on the actual research farm. I started off in a one-room schoolhouse where there was kindergarten through eighth grade in one room. We moved closer to town so I could go to first grade.Q: You went to Michigan State for undergrad then Michigan for your M.D.; what made you decide to go into medicine?A: I started off studying physics. We had a close family member who was chair of the Physics Department who got me interested. That was wonderful because it was exact and precise. One of the central aspects of physics is measurement and the study of measurement error, which I have found useful right up to today. [But] I realized that the faculty were mostly working in laboratories in the basement of the physics building, doing seemingly arcane things that felt rather disconnected from the world. I was more interested in seeing the world … so I switched over to food science. [I was] inspired by one faculty member whose course I took, Georg Borgstrom, who was looking at the sustainability of our food supply globally. It got me interested in global issues in food production. Food science was connected with many things of interest to me. I had been a member of the 4-H Club vegetable growers and actually won quite a few blue ribbons at county fairs. Food was interesting. I paid my college tuition at Michigan State growing vegetables. That’s when college tuition was $109 a term, so I didn’t have to make massive profits, but it did keep me interested in food and food production.Q: Was that a home garden?A: We lived in a semi-rural area and it turned out the farm next door was owned by someone who was retired. They let me use their land and farming equipment.Q: How many acres did you farm?A: It was probably about 3 acres.Q: All of this happened during your undergraduate years?A: High school and undergraduate years, but mostly undergraduate. I was interested in the health interface with nutrition and with food science, and decided pretty much at the last minute to go to medical school. I didn’t actually graduate from Michigan State. After three years, I went to the University of Michigan because Michigan State didn’t have a medical school at that time.Q: Did you eventually get your bachelor’s degree or go right into the medical program?A: I went right into the medical program. They did allow you to do that.Q: So you were already interested in nutrition by the time you went to study for your M.D.?A: Yes. I had [studied] nutrition from different aspects, food production and food science. I have found it useful to have a food science background, because most nutritionists don’t really understand food and food processing and lots of things that go on behind the scenes before it shows up at a grocery store and on a plate. The food science world has been very good in improving the sanitation aspects, the microbial contamination aspects, of food. But, for the most part, processing has otherwise degraded our food supply in an unfortunate way.Q: Did your interest stem from your family’s involvement in farming?A: It does come from my family’s involvement in agriculture. My father was interested in biology and, in fact, he did the first ova transplant. That wasn’t done in humans, it was done in dairy cows: fertilized ova transplanted to a different cow. I saw that calf being born in our front yard.Q: So surrogate parenting started there …A: Yes, in our front yard. So, there was a strong interest in biology [in my family], and we always had a big home garden. I was in 4-H — that was a family tradition as well — and that got me interested in food, food growing, and production.Q: At what point did you begin to feel that there were problems with the food supply, with diet? Was that part of this early phase or did that come later?A: Well, at that time, the general perception was that the problems were more of undernutrition. And that was true, at least on a global basis. We lived in a college community and we always had quite a few foreign students over to our home. Some of them did work in nutrition and they helped get me interested further in nutrition, especially the global aspects of it. During the 1960s, it was thought that protein undernutrition was most important. There was also a general interest in nutrition being a contributing factor to heart disease during that period of time. I took every opportunity to work on nutrition-related research projects during breaks and summers while I was in medical school. I was [also] the subject of nutrition studies. To cut expenses, I found four other classmates and the five of us rented a four-person apartment. We rotated each one of us through the clinical research unit as subjects. So there was always one of us living in the hospital and being the subject of a feeding experiment. Q: Did you know what the experiment was?A: It was somewhat mundane in terms of defining dose-response relationships between vitamin C intake and blood level. We had to eat a totally restricted diet for weeks at a time there in the hospital.One very formative experience was working with a faculty member conducting a small survey in an Indian community in the upper peninsula of Michigan, the Potawatomi tribe. A classmate and I spent a summer up there collecting dietary data, blood measurements, and anthropometric measurements, which was actually very useful to me. We read this paper from [Martha] Trulson and Bertha Burke at the Harvard School of Public Health Department of Nutrition about how to collect dietary data using a food frequency questionnaire. We used that and it turned out to be a very effective way to collect a lot of information about what people were eating. So it did open my eyes to the fact that you could collect dietary data very efficiently. What we learned from structured dietary questionnaires was interesting, but it was also just shocking that about 50 percent of the adults had diabetes. It turns out that this was what was happening to Native American populations across the country. And it raised the obvious question of: “What’s going on? Why do half the adults have diabetes?”‘You have to develop thick skin, I guess. You can get attacked for things that are just completely untrue.’Q: Did they know what was going on?A: No, it was not at all clear. That’s been a background question as our work has unfolded. I think now we understand that much better. It’s clearly related to a susceptibility that isn’t manifested until you have an adverse diet and lifestyle, but also now it’s pretty clear that the foods people were eating were really fuel for diabetes. [The foods] were mainly from the U.S. Department of Agriculture food surplus program, and turn out to be those that will result in high rates of diabetes.So that was a very formative experience. Then I came to Boston to do an internship and residency in internal medicine at Harvard [Medical] Services at Boston City Hospital. There I met really fantastic faculty members: Ron Arky — Ron was the first attending that I had when I came to Boston; Frank Speizer, who I still work with; Charlie Davidson, who died a couple of years ago and who was very interested in nutrition. So it was quite possible to keep an interest in nutrition alive while I was an intern and resident here, though there wasn’t much occasion for research. One of the other projects I did while I was in medical school was to spend an elective in Tanzania. I really enjoyed that and managed to go back to Tanzania and teach for three years at the University of Dar es Salaam.I forgot to mention that while I was in residency here, the Vietnam War was going on … I was a conscientious objector and had to do alternative service, which I did working in a health center in East Boston. It was mostly evening clinics, so I could do an M.P.H. here half-time, which was a great experience. It greatly broadened my view of the world and health. [And when I] went to Tanzania, it turned out that they needed people to teach public health there, so I switched from teaching internal medicine to doing that.Q: So, this was after you graduated from the School of Public Health?A: Right, yes.Q: Tell me about Tanzania.A: Well, that was great. I started off teaching internal medicine, which I enjoyed. With internal medicine here, you largely help people maintain function. But in Tanzania, most people had curable conditions. It was fun to see patients get up and walk away, walk out of the hospital after a few days. But also I appreciated that the bigger challenges, as they are here, were public health issues. So I came to appreciate how much epidemiology could offer. I came back and did a doctoral degree in epidemiology after three years in Tanzania. I was fortunate to work with many great people but especially Brian MacMahon, who was the founder of chronic disease — noncommunicable disease — epidemiology. It offered a perspective we didn’t get in medical school. When someone had a condition like breast cancer, almost never did someone ask why, or if they got cataracts — why? Once you started asking those questions, lots of interesting hypotheses emerged. As it turned out, many of those were related to diet and nutrition. I remember one day, Brian said, “It looks like diet might be an important contributor to breast cancer,” which had never crossed my mind before. At that point in time, very few people were looking at that. Those who were thought that diet might be important in a general way, but it was viewed as too complicated and too difficult to study. It was a relatively untouched area.Q: Had you begun working on the Nurses’ Health Study by then?A: Yes. I started when I came back [in the late 1970s]. Frank Speizer was the PI [principal investigator]. I met him as an attending at City Hospital. In the early days, I and one other person ran the Nurses’ Health Study on a day-to-day basis. I did my thesis on smoking and heart disease [using data from] the Nurses’ Health Study. I realized that this could be an ideal setting in which we could study diet in relation to long-term health outcomes, including heart disease and cancer, and other conditions as well. There was a lot of interest in diet and heart disease in the Nutrition Department here. People were being given strong advice on what to eat and what not to eat — for example, to really avoid eggs because they’re high in cholesterol and the cholesterol levels in blood were recognized as one of the most important risk factors for heart disease. Given the strength of the dietary advice, you would have thought there were half a dozen studies showing that people who ate more eggs had higher risk of heart disease, but there were zero such studies. It was a hypothesis, a guess, but there was never any qualification [saying] that it’s our best guess without direct evidence. The recommendation was repeated enough that it became etched in stone. There was one small study on eggs and heart disease from Framingham that showed no relationship, but it was very small. It seemed to me that if we were going to be making recommendations and giving dietary guidance, we needed an empirical basis for doing that, because we could be wrong. The Nurses’ Health Study seemed like it could provide that opportunity. It included a large number, over 100,000 highly motivated participants who could provide high-quality data. And so, in the late ’70s, I worked on pilot testing using standardized questionnaires to collect information on diet. And in 1980, after a series of pilot studies, [we] administered the first dietary questionnaires.Q: So diet information was not part of the original Nurses’ Health Study?A: The Nurses’ Health Study was originally narrowly focused on oral contraceptives and breast cancer, with a few added questions on smoking and weight and a few other things. It was a very slim study. In thinking about diet, it was also apparent that we needed to consider physical activity at the same time, and also include questions about alcohol, which were thought to be too sensitive to be asked on the original questionnaire. So we embedded questions on that, along with other beverages. There were a lot of gaps we filled in to give a better picture of the lifestyles of participants.Q: Have you been at Harvard since then?A: Yes, I did my doctorate degree when I came back from Tanzania in 1977, then a postdoc and assistant professorship.Q: How would your career have been different if you had not gotten onto the Nurses’ Health Study?A: It’s hard to know. The Nurses’ Health Study was intrinsically part of my experience here as a doctoral student. I did continue to do some moonlighting, practicing internal medicine at the East Boston Health Center to support a family while being a student and a postdoc. I could have continued down a primarily clinical pathway, which I enjoyed. But I came to realize that I couldn’t be the kind of internal medicine doctor I wanted to be and also be a leading researcher at the same time. It was certainly beyond my capacity, because both are very demanding.Q: What was the attraction of research over a clinical career?A: What I found with clinical internal medicine was that I was seeing so many problems over and over again: congestive heart failure, hypertension, and diabetes. That was somewhat frustrating, because you never cure anyone of these conditions. Certainly, you can help people maintain a better quality of life for a long time, but it seemed to me it would be much better if we could prevent or delay the onset of these conditions.Q: And where are we in that process now? Clearly we know more.A: We’ve come a long way in many of these areas. For example, we published in the New England Journal [of Medicine] about 10 years ago an analysis showing that with just moderate diet and lifestyle changes we could prevent about 80 percent of heart disease, and in another paper, 90 percent of type 2 diabetes. So these are largely preventable conditions. For breast cancer, our percentages are lower, but we’ve made some pretty good dents in understanding avoidable causes for breast cancer. For colorectal cancer, quite a large fraction can be prevented by diet and lifestyle. So we’ve come a long way and life expectancy has increased quite a bit since the 1960s. The rates of heart disease and cardiovascular mortality have fallen over 60 percent since that time. But there’s still a huge gap between what we know and what actually is being put into practice. In the same paper that showed that heart disease is about 80 percent preventable, only about 4 percent of the participants in the Nurses’ Health Study were practicing all the elements of a healthy lifestyle. So there are huge gaps between the potential for prevention and reality, and growing gaps by economic and racial divisions in this country. Part of the population, those with more education and resources, has been very efficiently taking up this information and incorporating it into their lives, but other parts of the population have had minimal changes. In some groups, life expectancy has gone down for complex reasons related to education and poverty. So we’ve made huge progress in understanding. We’ve made, on average, considerable progress in improving diets and lifestyle, but there’s still a lot to learn and even more to do in terms of implementation.Q: So we have a good idea of the important steps to take, but we have these enormous obesity and diabetes epidemics under way. Is our health, as it relates to nutrition, better now than it was in the ’70s?A: Yes it is, on average, but the average hides massive variability. Our nutrition is better and we’ve benefited from that [in terms] of life expectancy. Back in the ’50s and ’60s, it was almost routine that men had a massive MI [myocardial infarction, or heart attack] in their 50s and often died from it. It was the big one that people expected at age 55. That kind of event happens rarely now.Q: Your work has touched so many different areas, hundreds and hundreds of papers, is there a particular one that, when you think back on your career, was the best, or most important, or most enduring?A: Probably some of the most important papers were not ones that got the most attention. They were more methodologically oriented, showing that, yes, we can measure diet in large populations using the techniques we’ve used in the Nurses’ Health Study, which became the foundation for a lot of other work. But in terms of more substantive topics, probably the work on trans fats has been the most interesting and satisfying and has gone though the implementation cycle now pretty well. I was interested in trans fats from the time we started the dietary assessment work in the ’70s. At that time, [there was] laboratory work documenting the importance of prostaglandins [a kind of fat molecule] in many physiological processes. What I realized, partly from my food science background, is that we were taking natural vegetable oils — corn oils and soybean oils — and partially hydrogenating them. These oils were mostly made up of essential fatty acids that were the precursors of the prostaglandins and we were twisting the shape of these molecules. That seemed like a really risky thing to be doing. When you change the shape of those essential molecules, they will not have the same function. It was quite unpredictable what that would do, but it’s unlikely when you throw sand in a finely working Swiss watch, that it will work better.Data collected over the past few decades should soon start to yield more insights on mental and cognitive function, said Willett, pictured at his Cambridge home.Q: You called attention to that. It has worked through the regulatory process and recently the government took action.A: Trans fats had been in the category called GRAS, or generally recognized as safe. And the FDA has recently said that the evidence no longer supports the conclusion that trans fats are generally recognized as safe. They could have said that 15 years ago, but they finally said it. And there’s a 60-day comment period, but no one would dare say they’re generally recognized as safe today. That means they can’t be added to foods without special approval, which will effectively eliminate trans fat in our food supply. That was quite a long process because we had to create a database — no one had a comprehensive database of the trans fat content of commonly eaten foods in the United States. There had been some measurements made, but it was haphazard as to what was measured. We obtained data from different laboratories and also set up an analysis system so we could measure trans fats in foods and continually update the analyses. It was a lot of work, because the manufacturing process was changing over time and if we didn’t keep updating that information we would have missed what was happening.So this was a big effort by many people in our group over 30 years and our findings turned out to be extremely controversial. The main heart disease prevention establishment had pretty much decided that saturated fat was the problem. They really attacked us for raising this distraction, that trans fat might be a problem, as did the food industry for different reasons. We were very much by ourselves out on a limb for quite a while. But we kept accumulating data. And other people looked at this and virtually everyone found that trans fat was a problem.Q: You’re clearly no stranger to controversy. Do you have any advice to students and young researchers coming up for when they get a result that they think might be unpopular?A: Well, there’s no question that having the best and strongest data is most fundamentally important. That is the good thing about science: There is a process of replication and improvement of data quality. And sometimes it’s not at all a straight line process, but doing everything possible to have the best data possible is certainly the first thing to do. I think that there has been a debate within science, at least within epidemiology, whether scientists should be engaged in discussions about the interpretation of results and policy. Some say, “No, just publish the data, your responsibility ends there: Somebody else should interpret the data. Leave that to the policymakers.” But I think if that’s what I had done, our findings would have just been buried. Policymakers, most of them, don’t understand the issues nearly as well as the people working with the data. And there were powerful interests, both from the well-intended cardiovascular prevention community and also the economically influenced manufacturing industry, that really wanted to have these results ignored or dismissed. So I think at certain times, and with care and caution to be as objective as possible, it is appropriate to be part of that discussion and not let potentially important findings be buried.Q: What about the personal challenge of managing controversy? Do you need to take a deep breath when you know the fight is coming? Do you ever think, “Geez, this may not be worth it?”A: Well, yeah, you have to develop thick skin, I guess. You can get attacked for things that are just completely untrue. One of the whisper campaigns [was that] I was bought out by the olive oil industry — when I never got a penny from the olive oil industry — and things like that. So you do have to have thick skin. And it’s important to recognize it’s possible that your data are wrong. Every study has the possibility of getting a wrong answer for many different reasons and that’s why it is really important that there be confirmatory evidence. And then it also does depend on whether it’s something that’s important enough to be worth a fight. But in this case it was. We calculated that the number of deaths per year potentially due to trans fat in the diet were running in the tens of thousands. That’s not trivial and it was worth spending the extra effort, not allowing this to get buried, which would have been most convenient for many parties.Q: How about missteps along the way? Have there been mistakes you regretted? How do you handle that sort of thing and how do you recover from it?A: We had a couple of events that fortunately didn’t make a big difference in the long run. We did have [one] when we were launching the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, our cohort of men. It almost crashed at the beginning because of a programming error — made by someone no longer here — that resulted in each ID number being sent to 10 different people. Of course, we take great effort to have questionnaires come back to us [without] names and addresses to maintain confidentiality. We realized pretty quickly when we started getting mail returns that we were in deep trouble. Fortunately, many people did send back their questionnaire with a name and address on the envelope. If that was true we could right away identify the person. But not everybody did, so we spent two years and many resources sorting that out. We eventually had to exclude several hundred people, which wasn’t too bad out of 50,000. So we have had technical issues like that, even though we have quite a bit of quality control, redundancy, and safety checks. Basically, I believe in Murphy’s Law, that if something can go wrong, it will go wrong, as a very fundamental principle, and I spend a fair amount of time thinking about what might go wrong. Still, to this day, new issues arise that we didn’t anticipate. There’s almost never too much quality control and redundancy in big studies like this where so much is at stake.We just had a paper in BMJ [in which] there was one variable that was misinterpreted slightly by one person in our group and almost every number in the manuscript was off by a slight amount. It was something that didn’t change any conclusions, but we still had to correct it. I think we have never had … of the thousands of papers we published, an error that changed conclusions, but we’ve had a few small errors that we wish we’d avoided, and work hard to prevent those.Q: What advice do you have for a young researcher starting out today?A: I found it tremendously useful to have had experiences from a wide variety of fields that may sometimes seem disconnected. However, that’s where the interesting new connections often arise and how we can bring a different perspective to an unsolved problem. This may not work for every field, but at least for [those going into] public health, I would encourage a young researcher to take every opportunity to see the world from a different perspective. That may turn out to be very useful in an unpredictable way, and if not, it will have made your life more interesting. Obviously, we need to dig down deeply into our research topic, but too often we’re only told to focus, focus, focus. Finding the right balance between focusing and having a broad perspective is critical.Q: What, to your mind, is most exciting in public health today?A: I think one of the big frontiers is the mind and the central nervous system. We know less about that than about other organ systems and relatively little about the causes of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, so we’re putting more emphasis on that. The timing is good. When we started and our participants were relatively young, there was almost none of that [Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s] in our cohort. Now, with three or four decades of data, people are developing these kinds of conditions, so we can connect what people were doing 30 and 40 years ago with their mental function and cognitive function.The whole area of the microbiome is very interesting. For decades, we thought the fecal microbiome was really important, but didn’t really have the tools to study it. We did some pilot work back in the early ’80s and our dietitian said, “If you do one more stool collection like that, I’m quitting.” We had to have fresh feces, with viable organisms. Now, by analyzing the genes, you don’t have to have the living bacteria.It [also] goes back to what got me interested in nutrition in the first place. On a global basis, there are huge issues about being able to feed the world’s population a healthy diet in a sustainable way. This is a major issue and it goes back to the farm and the way we’re producing food now. We still have our family farm in Michigan, run by an uncle, but it is unrecognizable now. It was small fields and hedgerows, just teeming with biodiversity. It’s all [been] flattened into massive fields of corn, of soybean, which is what has happened across our country. When we look at the grain produced in the United States, only about 10 percent is eaten by Americans. Most is fed to animals and converted to ethanol for fuel.I’ve seen the world change before my eyes. We have a little place in New Hampshire, a little island called Toad Island because there were toads all over the island when we bought it in the 1970s. This last summer, there were zero toads. And we went to a little field where there’s milkweed and there’s always lots of monarch butterflies — there were no monarchs this year. And, of course, the honeybee population is precarious. There’s obviously multiple factors operating here, but we are destroying the biome’s diversity very rapidly. The fact that extinction is happening right before my eyes is amazing and profoundly disturbing. So, somehow, we have to have some constraints and some limits to the way we are dealing with our environment to maintain biodiversity and, in the end, produce healthy food in a sustainable way. That will be a very big issue in the coming decades.Interview was edited for clarity and length.
Report: State Could Improve Policy, Offset Oil CostsNRDC Report Says Transportation Planning Can Buffer Automotive Fuel CostsVermont could be doing more to protect its citizens from the high costsof fuel oil for our cars and trucks, according to a new report releasedby the Natural Resources Defense Council, a national environmentalgroup.States that adopt laws to promote clean and efficient vehicles, preventsprawl, and invest in public transit, are helping protect their citizensfrom high oil prices, according to the report, “Fighting Oil Addiction:Ranking States’ Oil Vulnerability and Solutions for Change.””Based on this report, the results for Vermont are mixed,” said BrianShupe, the sustainable communities director and energy co-director forthe Vermont Natural Resources Council. “Despite our green image andreputation for forward-thinking policy, this report shows that Vermontis not among the most innovative states when it comes to taking steps toreduce our reliance on oil for transportation.”The report highlights two critical areas related to our nation’saddiction to oil: vulnerability to high oil prices and implementation bystates of policy alternatives and solutions.Vermont ranks 16th among the 50 states with regard to the specificpolicy steps the state is taking to cut down on oil use, but ithighlights some gaps. The report also shows that the state is relativelyvulnerable to high oil prices based on Vermonters’ incomes. According tothe report, Vermont motorists spent an average of $1,856 on gasoline in2007. This amounts to 5.1 percent of the average income, making thestate the 31st most vulnerable to high oil prices. The report does notconsider oil use for heating.One area in which the NRDC report finds Vermont lagging relates togrowth management and planning.”Several states have an agency that coordinates development policieswith state spending decisions to promote smart growth and avoid sprawl,”Shupe explained, “but Vermont lacks such an entity. We did get pointsfor Act 200 (Vermont’s planning and growth management law), although thestate agency planning requirements of that law have been ignored forover a decade.”The report also noted that Vermont lacks a target for reducing vehiclemiles traveled by Vermonters. Between 2000 and 2005, the average numberof vehicle miles traveled increased by 11 percent.”This is largely because we’re developing communities that are notwalkable and are difficult to serve by transit,” Shupe said. “Greaterefforts to promote smart growth, avoid scattered, low densitydevelopment and invest in alternative transportation are critical toreducing our vulnerability to sticker shock at the gas pump.”According to the report, the five states implementing the mostcomprehensive policies to reduce oil use are California, followed by NewYork, Connecticut, Washington and Pennsylvania. In New England, RhodeIsland, Maine and Massachusetts also rank ahead of Vermont.For a copy of the full report go to www.nrdc.org/media/2008/080722.asp(link is external)
Linden Tree Retreat & Ranch from Velika Plana in Donji Pazarište, a small town in the heart of Lika, is the winner of this prestigious award for 2020. Tripadvisor awards the Travelers’Choice award for accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently receive excellent reviews from travelers and rank in the top 10% of facilities on Tripadvisor. Linden Tree Retreat & Ranch was founded by Bruce Yerkovich, guided by his vision of a new, sustainable wildlife refuge. His dream was to shape an untamed landscape, with care and respect for the country, people and wilderness of Croatia – a vision that still nourishes and develops today. The result is an original American ranch in complete harmony with the environment. “This award is a recognition of our hard work and the commitment of my team. As pioneers of transformative tourism in Croatia, we are especially pleased to be recognized by TripAdvisor. We are grateful for the opportunity to share the beauties of our country with guests in our accommodation and our excursions. ” points out Bruce Yerkovich, owner of the award-winning Ranch. Linden Tree Retreat & Ranch is a small, private eco-safari-style resort with a capacity of 30 beds. Tripadvisor is the world’s largest online travel platform and the most visited tourist site in the world, ie the starting point of every trip, which is why the Tripadvisor awards are among the greatest possible recognitions in tourism.
Japan’s Yoshihide Suga was voted prime minister by parliament on Wednesday to become the country’s first new leader in nearly eight years, appointing a new cabinet that kept about half of the familiar faces from predecessor Shinzo Abe’s lineup.Suga, 71, Abe’s longtime right-hand man, has pledged to pursue many of Abe’s programmes, including his “Abenomics” economic strategy, and to forge ahead with structural reforms, including deregulation and shutting down bureaucratic turf battles.Abe, Japan’s longest-serving premier, resigned because of ill health after nearly eight years in office. Suga served under him in the pivotal post of chief cabinet secretary, acting as top government spokesman and coordinating policies. Suga, who won a ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leadership race by a landslide on Monday, faces a plethora of challenges, including tackling COVID-19 while reviving a battered economy and dealing with a rapidly aging society.With little direct diplomatic experience, Suga must also cope with an intensifying U.S.-China confrontation, build ties with the winner of the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election and try to keep Japan’s own relations with Beijing on track.About half of the new cabinet are carryovers from Abe’s administration. Only two are women and the average age, including Suga, is 60.Among those retaining their jobs are key players such as Finance Minister Taro Aso and Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, along with Olympics Minister Seiko Hashimoto and Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi, the youngest at 39. “It’s a ‘Continuity with a capital C’ cabinet,” said Jesper Koll, senior adviser to asset manager WisdomTree Investments.Abe’s younger brother, Nobuo Kishi, was handed the defence portfolio, while outgoing Defence Minister Taro Kono takes charge of administrative reform, a post he has held before.Yasutoshi Nishimura, Abe’s point man on COVID-19 response, remains economy minister, while Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshi Kajiyama, the son of a politician to whom Suga looked up as his mentor, also retains his post.Rough Road Ahead?Katsunobu Kato, outgoing health minister and a close Suga ally, takes on the challenging post of chief cabinet secretary. He announced the cabinet lineup.Tomoya Masanao, head of investment firm PIMCO Japan, said Suga’s goal of a more digitalised society could widen the gap between rich and poor and would require political capital.”Abe’s administration built political capital for itself with loose monetary and fiscal policies, a balanced and skillful diplomacy with the United States and China, and implementation of flexible domestic politic,” he said. “The new administration, on the other hand, faces a rough road ahead.”In a move that resonates with voters, Suga has criticised Japan’s top three mobile phone carriers, NTT Docomo Inc , KDDI Corp and SoftBank Corp, saying they should return more money to the public and face more competition.He has said Japan may eventually need to raise its 10% sales tax to pay for social security, but not for the next decade.Clues as to whether and how Suga will push ahead with reforms could come from the lineup of government advisory panels such as the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy, Koll said.”The ambition of Mr. Suga to speed up and reinvigorate the process (of reform) is absolutely clear, but the next layer of personnel will be interesting,” he said.Speculation has simmered that Suga might call a snap election for parliament’s lower house to take advantage of any rise in public support, although he has said handling the pandemic and reviving the economy were his top priorities.Topics :
A third decision was made to reinvest the principal payments on the securities purchased under the asset purchase programme as they matured for as long as necessary.“This will contribute to favourable liquidity conditions and an appropriate monetary policy stance,” Draghi said, adding that technical details would be given later.The central banker made a fourth policy decision to admit regional and local government bonds into the QE programme.“We decided to include euro-denominated marketable debt instruments issued by regional and local governments located in the euro area in the list of assets eligible for purchase by the respective national central banks,” he said.The bank also decided to continue its main refinancing operations and the three-month longer-term refinancing operations as fixed rate tender procedures with full allotment for as long as necessary and at least until the end of the reserve maintenance period of 2017.“Our new measures,” Draghi said, “will ensure accommodative financial conditions and further strengthen the substantial easing impact of the measures taken since June 2014, which have had significant positive effects on financing conditions, on credit and on the real economy.”European stocks rose in early trading today on hopes the ECB would cut rates and announce an increase in the pace of QE.The rate cut was in line with money market expectations.Markets are also keeping a keen eye on US rates, which could be changed by the Federal Reserve at its committee meeting on 15-16 December. The European Central Bank (ECB) is cutting its key deposit rate by 10 basis points to minus 0.30% with effect from 9 December and extending its quantitative easing (QE) programme in several ways, following the meeting of its governing council today.While the size of the asset-buying programme is to be kept at its current pace of €60bn a month, rather than being expanded as some market participants had hoped, the central bank announced several measures to effectively increase it.The deposit rate was the only key rate to be changed, with the interest rate on the ECB’s main refinancing operations, as well as the rate on the marginal lending facility, remaining unchanged at 0.05% and 0.30%, respectively.Mario Draghi, president of the ECB, told a press conference: “The monthly purchases of €60bn under the asset purchase programme are now intended to run until the end of March 2017 or beyond if necessary, or, in any case, until the governing council sees a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation consistent with its aim of achieving inflation rates below but close to 2% over the medium term.”
Inside the home at 107 Henzell St, Kippa-Ring.Mr Musgrave said the Kippa-Ring market was strong with plenty of buyers inquiring about listed properties and coming through the doors of open homes. “Kippa-Ring offers competitive pricing and good homes on the market from the lowest price point up to decently priced, fully renovated properties,” he said. “There is also a full spectrum of buyers in the market from first homebuyers through to those wanting to buy their forever home. “Most are looking for lifestyle at a good price.” According to Core Logic data, the median house price in Kippa-Ring is $435,000. The home at 107 Henzell St, Kippa-Ring. Picture: Supplied.A KIPPA-RING fixer-upper with a huge garage attracted strong interest from buyers before selling to a family keen to undertake a total renovation.The four-bedroom property at 107 Henzell St sold for $435,000 on March 6.Marketing agent Dave Musgrave, of One Agency, said the two-storey property with pool and six-car garage was a “total renovator”.“Because it needed a full renovation, some buyers thought it was above what they could do but for the family who bought it, it was right up their alley,” he said. More from newsLand grab sees 12 Sandstone Lakes homesites sell in a week21 Jun 2020Tropical haven walking distance from the surf9 Oct 2019
The 29-year-old interrupted his loan spell at Fenerbahce in January so that he could continue the campaign with Antonio Conte’s side. However, he made just seven competitive appearances, many of them off the bench.Advertisement Inter Milan do not wish to take up the €12m option to buy Victor Moses from Chelsea following his January arrival, according to Italian reports. Loading… Promoted ContentWhich Country Is The Most Romantic In The World?Couples Who Celebrated Their Union In A Unique, Unforgettable Way9 Best Movie Robots Of All Time2020 Tattoo Trends: Here’s What You’ll See This Year7 Mind-Boggling Facts About Black Holes6 Interesting Ways To Make Money With A DroneThe Very Last Bitcoin Will Be Mined Around 2140. Read More9 Facts You Should Know Before Getting A Tattoo10 Of The Dirtiest Seas In The WorldWho Earns More Than Ronaldo?Celebrities Showing Support For George Floyd ProtestsBest & Worst Celebrity Endorsed Games Ever Made Calciomercato.com report that Inter are not prepared to pay the full €12m option to buy at the end of the season. If Chelsea are ready to extend the loan longer with another option to purchase, then that would be considered. read also:Luke Shaw names Victor Moses as his toughest opponent Ashley Young also joined Inter in January, but immediately became first choice on the left and made a far bigger impact than Moses. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has launched an investigation to see if an ad placed last week to sell a baby for $500 was real or a hoax.The ad said the baby is two weeks old, sleeps and doesn’t make noise at night.It also said the seller would provide clothes and formula, and offered to include the baby’s 4-year-old sister for free.The supposed seller claimed to work for the state’s Department Children and Families.Department officials say they’ve interviewed one suspect who denied involvement.Investigators are now waiting for computer records that could point them in the right direction.No other information is available at this time.
THE Police football club will once again meet Western Tigers in the final of a football tournament, this time the Limacol round robin/knockout football tournament final billed for Saturday at the GFC ground, Bourda.The Police clinched their spot in the final through a 2-1 win against Winners Connection FC.Winners hadn’t a chance to impose their physical style of play as they were oftentimes overwhelmed by the sheer pace of the Police attack.This pace ensured they scored first through Junior Gordon in the 25th minute; leaving the Linden side behind the proverbial eight-ball.The Linden side tried hard but could not find the breakthrough in the first half, but eventually slotted home in the 68th through Allon Garrett.This led to Police picking up the pace for more frequent raids on their opponents and eventually took the lead again in the 85th minute.A cross from the left side of the box fell neatly at the feet of Lerone Charles whose first time finish left the goalkeeper helpless to even scratch a save.Game two saw crowd favourites Western Tigers play against the Santos line-up with the former winners a 3-2 firecracker.Santos as usual looked to capitalise on the Western Tigers’ ‘grooving-in’ period to produce the spark and it paid off, as Ryan October eventually assumed the lead in the 26th minute.Devon Millington did not allow that lead to stand into the break and utilising his skills, brought the game back level after collecting an expertly sent through ball to beat the keeper.An own goal on the part of Western gave Santos the lead once more in the 52nd minute but not for long as Millington returned to bring the game level just two minutes later.Then four minutes later, he slotted home his third for the winners to ensure that the Western Tigers scoop up the second spot.In Saturday night’s final Santos will play Winners Connection in the third-place game from 18:30hrs.
BRYAN FAUST/Herald PhotoOffensive MVP (tie): QB John Stocco, WR Paul HubbardDefensive MVP: LB Mark ZalewskiSpecial Teams MVP: LS Dave PeckOffensive Scout Team MVP: RB Jerry ButlerDefensive Scout Team MVP: LB Culmer St. Jean Seeing as he played out just one drive in the second half against Indiana Saturday, one could only imagine just how many yards John Stocco could have accumulated had he remained in the game.It didn’t matter, however, to the powers that be in the Big Ten, who awarded Stocco his third career Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honor for his efforts in the 52-17 victory.UW head coach Bret Bielema credited his quarterback’s consistency in explaining the 304 yards and three touchdowns Stocco racked up in an abbreviated stint against the Hoosiers.”I walked down the hallway yesterday when we found out John had gotten that MVP award and told Paul (Chryst, UW offensive coordinator), and he goes, ‘That’s pretty good considering he only played really two quarters and a series,'” Bielema said at his press conference Monday. “The amazing part [was] just the consistency he was able to deliver the football, [and] also making the correct calls.”Bielema rejected any notions that Stocco’s improved statistics are a reflection of better play, saying that the fifth-year senior takes the same attitude into every game and simply happened to shine in a more obvious manner against the lowly Hoosiers.”He carries over a mentality that he just lives every play for what it is, probably a 1-0 mentality to the finest,” Bielema said, referring to Wisconsin’s No. 1 team goal. “He isn’t going to let one play adversely affect the next, not only in his game, but … if he throws the ball to someone and maybe they don’t come up with the play that he was looking for, he doesn’t just turn and go the other way. He continues to come back if he believes there’s that ability in someone.”Pertaining to Bielema’s weekly selections, Stocco earned co-Offensive MVP honors for the Badgers along with Paul Hubbard, the player largely responsible for Stocco’s success. Hubbard tallied six receptions for 122 yards and a touchdown Saturday. Bielema said Hubbard had been itching for a big game and finally cashed in against a stunned IU secondary.”He just took a little bit more of a personal urgency,” Bielema said. “Last year when entering spring ball, he was kind of thrust into the role of a potential go-to guy without ever really having to work to get there. I thought he was into it during the course of the summer and every game leading up to this past weekend.”Stocco becomes the third Badger to receive Player of the Week accolades from the Big Ten. LB Jonathan Casillas was honored on Sept. 4 after the Badgers’ victory at Bowling Green, and punter Ken DeBauche made the list in defeat against Michigan — with both players representing special teams.On the defensive side of the ball, Mark Zalewski was Bielema’s player of the week for Wisconsin. Zalewski, who made six tackles, and the defense’s fine effort was outshined by the offense, although Indiana failed to score a point until many of UW’s starters had left the game.Rounding out Bielema’s MVP list, long snapper Dave Peck was the Special Teams representative for nine perfect snaps — seven PATs and two field goal attempts. Jamil Walker was Offensive Scout Team Player of the Week for the second consecutive time, and safety-converted-linebacker Culmer St. Jean was his Defensive Scout Team counterpart.Return game struggling earlyDespite being asked about potential changes on kickoff returns, Bielema gave no clear answer as to whether current returners Josh Nettles or Jarvis Minton would be replaced.On the unit labeled by Bielema as UW’s “Achilles heel,” Nettles has struggled out of the early going, failing to give Wisconsin any kind of good field position and making poor choices, namely taking the ball out of the end zone when most would take a knee for a touchback.”That is the one unit that I don’t believe we’ve had a winning effort to this point,” Bielema said. “I brought it up yesterday in our staff meeting as well as to our players and definitely have to make a huge step forward in that regard.”The eternal optimist, Bielema said a lack of experience has contributed to a return game in the doldrums, and that means Wisconsin’s defense hasn’t allowed many scores in the year’s first five games.”Fortunately, if you want to turn negatives to positives, the reason we haven’t had much work on kickoff returns is because there hasn’t been that many touchdowns scored against us,” Bielema said. “Obviously the returners are different, but as many as eight guys on that unit hadn’t had any previous reps other than this year, and we just haven’t had that many opportunities.”Badgers help in searchOn the sadder side of events, three Badgers lost a high school friend and teammate Friday night, when Luke Homan drowned after attending Oktoberfest U.S.A.Homan, a student at UW-La Crosse, attended high school and played on the basketball team at Brookfield Central with Badger football players Joe Thomas, Ben Strickland and Steve Johnson. The trio was released Sunday by Bielema to search for Homan, but their friend was found dead in a river Monday.”I told them, they were relieved of Sunday’s obligations, no questions asked, and they went up there and tried to take part in the search,” Bielema said. “I touched base with them again last night as well as this morning, and we don’t have any structured things today.”Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, to Luke Homan’s family, and everybody associated with their friends as well.”