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Forward, into the past

first_imgIf you’re an undergraduate or graduate student and have an essay to share about life at Harvard, please email your ideas to Jim Concannon, the Gazette’s news editor, at Jim_Concannon@harvard.edu. This summer I worked on an intriguing research project on active galactic nuclei (AGN) at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). AGNs, which include quasars, are some of the most interesting and spectacular phenomena in astrophysics and rank among the most luminous, distant, and oldest objects in the universe. AGNs can be distinguished from normal galaxies by the fact that they typically radiate energy from a compact central source, a black hole, which is equal to or brighter than all of the stars in its galaxy.I have been interested in astronomy and physics since I was 5 years old, and in particle physics, cosmology, and astrophysics in more recent years. So when I was offered the opportunity to conduct research at the CfA this summer with support from a Herchel Smith Harvard Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, I was thrilled.The CfA is a remarkable place where, in addition to being home to the Harvard Astronomy Department, more than 500 astrophysicists conduct some of the most advanced astrophysics research in the world.  My research advisers at the CfA were Martin Elvis, a senior astrophysicist and a leading authority on quasars and AGNs, and Francesca Civano, a postdoctorate fellow and rising figure in the field.The CfA also operates ground-based telescopes in Arizona and Chile and is heavily involved with space-based telescopes like the Chandra X-ray Observatory, launched from the Space Shuttle in 1999. Earth- and space-based telescopes are important to astrophysicists because they allow them to look out great distances (and therefore far back in time) to study complex questions, including how the universe developed and evolved.In my own research, data from the COSMOS Survey, obtained by the powerful Keck telescope in Hawaii, allowed me to look back billions of years in time at the light and physical properties of AGNs as they existed when the journey of their light began. So, in a very real sense, telescopes can be thought of as virtual time machines, since we view light that was emitted long ago.There are a number of reasons why active galaxies can be considered among the most spectacular of all astronomical objects. Perhaps the most prominent is that the source of AGNs’ power is thought to come from super-massive black holes at their centers that produce tremendous amounts of radiation from gravitational energy. In the process, matter falls into the black hole. But much of it (in the form of hot winds and high-energy jets) explodes away from the center, producing enormous luminosities.While quasars can look as if they are point-like stars, they can outshine all the stars in their galaxies by a factor of 100 to 1,000 times, making it difficult, if not impossible, to see the stars of the galaxy.Because the oldest quasars are so far away (for example, 12 billion light-years), we would never be able to see them if not for the tremendous power-producing abilities associated with their super-massive black holes. Some of these can weigh up to 10 billion times more than our star, the sun.Interestingly, the area that the AGN super-massive black hole occupies, from which its enormous power is created, is of relatively small size compared with its host galaxy.  An analogy used by the Chandra X-ray Center, for example, compares the compact central region to a small flashlight generating as much power as all of the homes and businesses in greater Los Angeles.With these key AGN characteristics in mind, the purpose of my research, titled “Optically Faint X-ray Selected Active Galactic Nuclei,” was to take certain astrophysics measurements of a sample of about 150 AGNs in the COSMOS field that had not been measured previously, as well as to perform more specialized analysis on a sample subset.Some of the basic findings of the research were that the sample AGNs are an average of 8 billion light-years away from Earth, which is typical for AGNs of this kind. The results from the overall sample also showed a correlation between luminosity and the quality of the sample fit. In addition, spectral analysis of the AGNs that contained oxygen and neon emissions lines indicated that star formation was taking place that would be consistent with current models of active galaxy evolution.During the summer, I learned that astrophysics research is very expensive and takes time (lots of it), in part because of the complexity of the questions being asked, the huge distances involved, and the precision that is essential to the process.Also, while much has been written about the field, the issue of how to approach the key questions of astrophysics is only indirectly discussed. The guidance and “handing down of knowledge” from mentors is a central tenet, without which one could not make the important connections necessary for true understanding.Much is written in the popular press about the need for collaboration and globalization. But in astrophysics, such cooperation is a norm, as evidenced by the many papers written with 10 or more colleagues around the world.Perhaps this close collaboration should not be surprising, since astrophysicists are among the few researchers trying to understand the very beginnings of the universe, its structural formations, and its likely future course. Then again, maybe it’s just fun getting to work with colleagues using a virtual time machine.last_img read more

Eclipse Safety

first_imgOn the afternoon of Aug. 21, Georgians will have the opportunity to share in the experience of seeing the summer afternoon sky darken as the moon’s shadow covers the sun, and they are excited.It’s going to be quite a show, but it’s important that eclipse viewers don’t get so caught up in the hype that they abandon safety, said Pam Knox, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agricultural climatologist.It sounds obvious, but no one should look directly at the sun — even during the eclipse — without eclipse glasses from a reputable source, she said.“Even at 99 percent coverage, the sun is so strong that it can do some real, permanent damage to your eyesight,” Knox said. “No one should look at the eclipse without glasses.” Everyone in the continental United States will experience some level of solar eclipse on Aug. 21, but the total solar eclipse will be only visible in a wide swath stretching from Salem, Oregon, to Charleston, South Carolina.Only viewers in the very northeast corner of Georgia will see the sun completely blocked by the moon’s shadow. The rest of the state will see an 87 to 99 percent eclipse between 1 and 4 p.m. No matter where viewers are in the state, it is not safe to look at the sun without eye protection.Even occasional quick glances up at the sun can damage the eyes and cause burns to the retina — these cells at the back of the eye are responsible for processing light information. The damage, which appears as blurry spots in the field of vision, may be temporary, but very well could be permanent, according to NASA.gov.Eclipse-viewing glasses or solar shields are necessary to prevent eye damage. Dark or polarized sunglasses will not protect your eyes.“The eclipse glasses are so dark that if you put them on and look outside now, you wouldn’t be able to see anything,” Knox said. “If you can see anything through your eclipse glasses, they’re not strong enough.”Consumers should only buy glasses from reputable dealers. Earlier this summer, NASA.gov posted a list of eclipse glasses manufacturers that they have certified as safe. That list is available at eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety.Consumers should be wary of noncertified glasses because there are a lot of fake eclipse-viewing classes out there this year, Knox said. Consider joining a group viewing party at an area park or nature center. Many schools and parks departments around the state and across the country will host organized eclipse-watching parties where they will provide glasses, eclipse shields or other safe ways of viewing the eclipse.Knox is helping to host UGA’s Eclipse Viewing Party at Sanford Stadium from 1 to 4 p.m. on Aug. 21. Sponsored by the UGA Athletic Association, UGA Atmospheric Sciences Program, Frankin College of Arts and Sciences and Department of Geography, the event includes disposable eclipse glasses that will be available for the crowd.Another option for safely watching the eclipse includes building an eclipse projector out of wood or cardboard. “Pinhole viewers” allow people to safely watch the projection of the eclipse on a piece of paper or board. NASA.gov features directions for some of these viewers and there are many other project tutorials online as well.For more information about eclipse safety and the path of the eclipse through Georgia, visit eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety. For more information about weather and climate in Georgia, visit blog.extension.uga.edu/climate/.last_img read more

Sanders focuses on Vermont jobs in keynote speech at energy conference

first_imgUS Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) delivered the keynote address Tuesday at a conference on a cutting-edge Vermont initiative to improve energy efficiency, save consumers money and create good-paying jobs.Vermont was awarded $69 million in federal funds in 2009 to match an equal investment by the state’s utilities to develop a more efficient and more reliable electric system. The so-called smart-grid project will make Vermont the first state in the nation to provide high-tech meters in virtually all businesses and homes. By 2013, real-time information on energy consumption will let consumers make smarter choices.Sanders spoke at the conference hosted by the University of Vermont and Sandia National Laboratory, a world leader in energy research working with the state on implementation of the smart grid.‘I am excited about the partnership with the Sandia National Lab because of what that partnership can do to not only make us a leader in energy efficiency and sustainable energy but also in the process to create good-paying jobs for Vermonters,’ Sanders said afterward.A member of the Senate energy committee, Sanders has been instrumental in persuading the New Mexico-based national energy lab to open a New England satellite center at the University of Vermont.‘This is a big deal. We have before us an extraordinary opportunity â ¦ to be a leader for the nation,’ Sanders told the conference. ‘If we can pull off half of what I think we can, this will be a significant step forward.’A new Sandia-Vermont Center for Excellence would conduct advanced research that will bring the nation closer to energy self-sufficiency, increase energy efficiency, and develop a new green economy. This partnership will work with businesses and academic researchers to develop new technologies, new policies and new procedures.‘What Vermont offers Sandia, the Department of Energy, and the nation is a real-world model for this new research and technology,’ Sanders said.‘Over the long-term, this center will help create jobs and new educational opportunities for Vermont students and workers. It will make Vermont’s and America’s businesses more competitive both in the new technologies of the smart grid and locally distributed sustainable energy.’  Source: Sanders’ office. BURLINGTON, Vt., May 17, 2011last_img read more

Uruguay and the U.S. Train to Enhance Peacekeeping Missions

first_imgBy Dialogo August 14, 2015 Uruguay is a country with a population of less than 3.5 million, but is generally considered the top provider of peacekeeping Troops per capita in the world. Its Military is considered a worldwide leader in peacekeeping operations, as it continually provides Troops to many United Nations peace missions. The training helps service members perform tasks more efficiently and safely. “Our Army is fortunate. We live in a peaceful region, and deploying for peace missions presents a challenge,” said Uruguayan Army Colonel Carlos Frachelle, ENOPU’s director. “So receiving this training, which is the result of years of practical experience from U.S. personnel, is an opportunity we find to be very valuable.“The context of the peace missions is continually evolving; the operational environment is always changing. So, the challenges our personnel face are more and more complex,” he added. “Training courses like this help them perform these missions more effectively and efficiently, and will help avoid unnecessary risks and even save lives.” The training included debates as well as practical exercises, demonstrations, and events based on possible scenarios with the course culminating in closing ceremonies that gave students a chance to share experiences about what they learned. Varied and relevant training GPOI, which is a U.S. State Department assistance program executed by the Department of Defense, strives to enhance international capacity to effectively conduct United Nations and regional Peace Support Operations (PSO) by building partner nation capabilities to train personnel and sustain peacekeeping proficiencies. It also works to increase the number of capable Military Troops and Formed Police Units (FPU) available for deployments, in addition to facilitating the preparation, logistical support, and deployment of Military units and FPU to PSO. As of January 31, there were 1,459 Military and police personnel working in UN peacekeeping missions, including MINUSTAH, the UN Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), and the UN Operation in the Ivory Coast (UNOCI), according to the UN report “Troop and Police Contributors.” The dismantling of the base after eight years of service was an extended effort involving 80 service members working night and day for 28 days. The base’s closure coincided with a reduction in the contingent of Uruguayan service members at MINUSTAH. Uruguay began contributing Troops and police officers to MINUSTAH in June 2004, and at one point had four bases in Haiti. In 2010, after a magnitude 7 earthquake struck Haiti, killing an estimated 225,550 people, injuring 350,000, and leaving about 1.5 million people homeless, the South American country had 1,200 Troops in Haiti. The training developed in Uruguay improves the ability of service members to protect civilians during peace missions and is intended to reduce the need to use force, lowering the odds that a peacekeeping unit or civilians will be injured. Using behavioral indicators, peacekeeping forces are taught to identify those who could harm the general population. They also facilitate the protection of human rights. Other peacekeeping missions But after meeting the mission’s objectives, MINUSTAH’s command directed Uruguay to reduce its contingent from 700 to 250 in January 2015. center_img “It is imperative that the United States support [Uruguay’s] brave efforts in peacekeeping operations,” said U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Shannon Souma, in charge of the GPOI at the Office of Security Cooperation in Montevideo. Ninety percent of the service members in the Uruguayan Armed Force have or will participate in a foreign mission. Uruguay is participating in other international peacekeeping missions as well. Uruguay’s contribution to MINUSTAH Among those, is the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). As part of the MINUSTAH Military component’s draw down plan, Uruguayan service members closed the LTC Gonzalo Martirené Base in the commune of Mirebalais on February 4. “The service members’ operational environment is usually complex and often very dangerous,” Lt. Cmdr. Souma said. “It is really important for them to be able to identify potential threats so they can protect themselves and the civilian population. Ultimately, in the future, Uruguay will be able to train independently, and all service members will receive this training before leaving on a peace mission.” The course was developed by a team of experts from the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory who were led by one of the laboratory’s sociology professors, Nathan Meehan, Ph.D. Uruguay’s National School for Peace Operations (ENOPU) and human behaviorists from the United States who participate in the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI) sponsored a training mission from July 13-17 in the South American nation for Soldiers who serve as international peacekeepers. The training program leverages the vast experiences of Uruguayan service members, some of whom have been on various missions, to create a course of instruction that prepares future service members efficiently. The training was also attended by a member of the Brazilian Army, as provided in the framework of the Latin American Association of Training Centers for Peace (ALCOPAZ), which in turn has facilitated the exchange of students and instructors with neighboring countries. The team’s principle tasks included conducting broad research on human behavior, including interviewing Uruguayan peacekeeping service members, during which researchers asked the service members to recount their experiences in peace operations to determine what types of behavior indicated potentially hostile intentions. “At this time, there are civilian, police, Navy, Air Force, and Army personnel filling a wide variety of functions,” Col. Frachelle said. “It is because of them that we can proudly say that we have a cumulative experience in peace missions that few countries possess.” last_img read more

PR Insight: The power of awards and the art of winning them

first_img 6SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Five steps to increase your chancesby: Mary CoxReceiving an award – whether an industry award or local – can be extremely valuable for a credit union. Awards recognize excellence and validate the relevance and success of products, services, initiatives and even executives. They have the power to enhance a credit union’s image and strengthen visibility among members and potential members, thus increasing membership and loyalty.But securing an award can be challenging as competition tends to be fierce. Increase your chances of being selected by developing and executing a carefully crafted and strategic award campaign.1. Execute an Email and Social Media CampaignThere is an art to securing awards. While most require an application form, awards are often discussed by the association or publication months before the deadline. For these, credit unions should begin campaigning for the award early – before the award is officially announced.Develop an email and social media campaign that targets the award decision makers. Craft emails, tweets and posts that specifically speak to the reasons your credit union should be recognized. For example, if the award is recognizing credit unions that exemplify green initiatives, send regular updates about what your credit union is doing to be more eco-friendly. continue reading »last_img read more

Shelby relief bill to advance to full Senate

first_imgThe “Financial Regulatory Improvement Act,” a NAFCU-backed regulatory relief bill authored by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., was approved by the committee in a party-line vote of 12-10 after mark-up on Thursday.The package, which Shelby first released last week, includes several NAFCU-backed provisions for credit union relief and transparency at NCUA. The bill would require public NCUA budget hearings and require the agency to study the impact of its risk-based capital proposal on mortgage servicing assets.Before the final committee vote, panel members approved an amendment from Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., to raise the asset threshold for institutions subject to CFPB examinations from $10 billion to $50 billion. NAFCU supports this amendment, although the association has always advocated the exemption of all credit unions from CFPB regulation. Also added was a NAFCU-backed amendment from Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, to bar federal financial institution regulators, including NCUA, from participating in the Justice Department’s Operation Choke Point initiative.A substitute amendment to the bill from Ranking Member Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, released Tuesday, was rejected along party lines, with 10 voting aye and 12 nay. continue reading » 7SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

In celebration of Women’s History Month

first_imgAs I reflect on International Women’s Day (March 8) and National Women’s History Month, I realize just how profound of an impact the women’s movement has had on my professional journey, which began in 2001. Fast forward to 2020, and I’m celebrating the 20th anniversary of my being in the amazing credit union industry.I knew from a young age that I wanted to make a positive influence, and make a difference in the work that I chose to do. I wanted to excel as a role model for young women. Today, I’m proud to serve as an executive leader at PSCU, with an amazing opportunity to promote diversity, equality and inclusion in our workforce of more than 2,000 employees. I’m excited to witness the impact that women leaders in both our company and our industry are making, as well as to help shape our vision for success.Inspiring Through MentorshipWhen I was in college, I began to understand the importance of always having a mentor that I could lean on to give me advice and to challenge me. After starting in the financial services industry as a young adult, I received my first promotion at the age of 24 to a leadership role. I remember thinking at the time, “Am I really ready to lead people?” My mentor had recruited me based on her experience working with me and mentoring me at a previous financial institution. She watched me develop and gave me guidance on what I needed to do to get to the next steps in my job. I was beyond thrilled to have her guidance and insight. If I didn’t have a mentor, I know that I would not have had the confidence to lead others. continue reading » 7SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Donald Trump Hosting Presidential Campaign Rally Wednesday in Bethpage

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York By Rashed Mian and Timothy BolgerRepublican presidential candidate Donald Trump is rallying Wednesday on Long Island less than two weeks before an uncharacteristically pivotal New York State primary—and authorities are bracing for a crowd of up to 13,000 people.The GOP frontrunner, reality TV star and real estate magnate will hold the rally 7 p.m. Wednesday at Grumman Studios in Bethpage. Nassau County police said the venue can hold more than 12,000 people and up to 1,000 protesters—for and against Trump—are expected to rally outside in a “free speech zone” on South Oyster Bay Road.“Violence will not be tolerated,” Acting Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter told reporters when asked how authorities are preparing for the bad behavior that has made headlines at some of Trump’s other rallies nationwide. Krumpter would not say if specific threats have been received, but warned drivers to expect major traffic delays in the HIcksville area. He said police are expecting even more protesters than the hundreds they saw at the 2008 and 2012 presidential debates at Hofstra University.Those who get tickets to attend the rally will be required to go through metal detectors and be screened by Secret Service agents before entering the facility, the police commissioner said. No firearms will be allowed inside the venue, he noted. Grumman Road, the route to the venue, will be closed at 2 p.m. Wednesday along with South Oyster Bay Road between South Broadway and Grumman Road.Grumman Studios and the adjoining Gold Coast Studios boast a combined 605,000 square feet of space. Grumman Studios itself is equipped with seven stages, and has played been the set of major movie productions such as The Avengers, Amazing Spider-Man and several live TV broadcasts such as “Peter Pan Live” starring Allison Williams and Christopher Walken. Iranian immigrant Parviz Farahzad, a real estate mogul, owns Grumman Studios.A coalition of protesters, including African Americans, Latino groups and the political-arm of Planned Parenthood in Nassau County, have already announced plans to hold a peaceful anti-Trump rally outside the studio in response to his controversial comments seen as anti-immigrant, Islamophobic and misogynistic. In a press release, protesters said they plan to “embrace and empower the groups that Donald Trump aims to tear down, like women, Muslims and immigrants.”But he also has his supporters. Nassau GOP boss Joe Mondello has endorsed Trump. Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, who lives in Bethpage, reportedly plans to attend the rally but has not endorsed the candidate.The rally comes as Trump has 737 delegates as of Tuesday, about half of the 1,237 needed to secure the Republican nomination. Presidential primary candidates historically need not rally in The Empire State since they usually clinch their party’s line well before the primaries here, which this year fall on April 19. Trump is leading the polls in his home state of New York, which has the second-most remaining available delegates after California.Trump is coming off perhaps the roughest patch of his campaign. On March 30, Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, was charged with simple battery in Florida for allegedly grabbing Michelle Fields, then a Breitbart reporter, who was attempting to ask Trump a question. Trump, no stranger to incendiary comments, received widespread condemnation days later when, in responding to a hypothetical posed to him by MSNBC, he suggested that women who undergo illegal abortions should be punished. Trump later backtracked, saying that abortion providers who perform the procedure should be punished instead if abortion is made illegal.“The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb,” Trump said in a statement clarifying his position.Trump previously stirred controversy when he called for a ban of all Muslims from entering the United States and said he would compel Mexico to build a wall to keep immigrants from crossing the southern border. He’s also toyed with the idea of placing Muslim American citizens in a database and told one interviewer: “I think Islam hates us.”Trump’s interpretation of how Muslim Americans perceive this country comes in stark contrast to statements made by the Muslim community on Long Island who have repeatedly condemned violence and proclaimed that the so-called Islamic State is a false caliphate that doesn’t represent the religion of some 3 billion people. Muslim Americans throughout the US have reported unprecedented levels of backlash—ranging from verbal broadsides and physical attacks—against members of the community and their mosques amid the election season.Trump isn’t the only White House candidate making a campaign stop on the Island. Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who is languishing behind Trump and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), made stops at Hofstra, Sagamore Hill and The Paramount in Huntington on Monday. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton will reportedly hold events with party faithful in both Nassau and Suffolk counties. Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, was in Elmont on Tuesday. Her opponent, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), has yet to announce plans to come to LI.last_img read more

Jones Beach Air Show: US Air Force Thunderbirds Named 2017 Headliners

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation announced that the United States Air Force Thunderbirds will headline next year’s Bethpage Air show at Jones Beach.The May 27-28 event will mark the fifth time the famed demonstration squad will soar over the skies of Long Island to celebrate the unofficial start to summer. The Thunderbirds’ last appearance was in 2015, before an audience of more than 439,000 people over the course of two days.“We are confident that their return to Long Island in 2017 will draw an equally large crowd as well,” Linda Armyn, Bethpage Federal Credit Union’s Senior VP of Corporate Affair, said in a statement.This past air show, which for the first time in the event’s history featured a trio of jet teams, including the US Navy Blue Angels, set an attendance record with more than 453,000 spectators.The 14th annual air show will also mean the return of Levittown native Major Kevin Walsh, who will be flying high in Thunderbird No. 7.Officials announced that the US Army Golden Knights Parachute Team will also be on hand for the show, which is still five months away.As they look toward the future, state officials said the Blue Angels have already committed to return in 2018.last_img read more

McDonald targets mid-single digit sales growth in 2021 and 2022

first_img– Advertisement – Still, the company reminded investors of the ongoing uncertainty as a result of the coronavirus crisis. It said it would continue to evaluate its financial expectations and will provide updates if warranted.Earlier on Monday, the company reported its third-quarter results, topping analysts’ estimates for both its earnings and revenue. McDonald’s U.S. business saw same-store sales return to growth in the quarter, boosted by popular promotions, like its deal on rapper Travis Scott’s favorite order and the limited-time spicy McNuggets.McDonald’s shares were recently up nearly 4% in premarket trading. The stock, which has a market cap of nearly $167 billion, has risen nearly 10% since the start of the year.- Advertisement – McDonald’s incoming U.S. President Chris Kempczinski speaks during a press conference in New York November 17, 2016.Shannon Stapleton | Reuters As the coronavirus pandemic has upended both McDonald’s business and the broader restaurant industry, the company is taking note of how consumer behavior has changed. Its new strategy unveiled to investors on Monday doubles down on such trends, like customers’ preference for core menu items and the surge in drive-thru orders.With its digital sales expected to exceed $10 billion this year, the company is planning to launch “MyMcDonald’s” across its six top markets by the end of next year. The new platform will tie together McDonald’s various tech investments, like its app and digital menu boards, and make it easier for customers to order and pay for their food. McDonald’s will test a loyalty program in the Phoenix area as part of the plan.The company said it plans to take advantage of the strength of its drive-thru lanes by testing automated order taking, drive-thru lanes only for digital orders and a restaurant design without any indoor dining. McDonald’s also said that the “vast majority” of new restaurants in the United States and its International Operated Markets segment, which includs France and the United Kingdowm, will have drive-thru lanes.The pandemic has also pushed McDonald’s customers to return to their classic menu items, like the Big Mac or McNuggets. The company said that its core menu items account for about 70% of its sales. It’s planning on tweaks to improve the taste of its burgers, like toasting the buns golden brown and changing how they’re grilled.But chicken is growing faster than beef. In response, McDonald’s is planning to expand its line of chicken offerings, including the long-awaited launch of its Crispy Chicken Sandwich in the U.S. early next year. The sandwich is meant to rival those of Chick-fil-A and Popeyes.McDonald’s strategy also includes staying relevant for its consumers. Its famous orders promotions, like those with Scott and reggaeton singer J. Balvin, are “just the beginning.”The chain plans to roll out new packaging worldwide and an advertising campaign focused on its values and commitments to workers, suppliers and franchisees.This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.Programming Note: For more on McDonald’s, watch CEO Chris Kempczinski on “Squawk on the Street” at 10 a.m. ET Tuesday.center_img McDonald’s said Monday it’s expecting mid-single digit sales growth in 2021 and 2022 as the fast-food giant plots its recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.Its strategy to drive sales growth includes more collaborations with celebrities, adding more chicken to its menu and piloting a loyalty program in the U.S.The company told investors that it’s expecting annual capital expenditures of $2.3 billion, about half of which will be spent building new restaurants. New locations will contribute about 1.5% to 2% to McDonald’s systemwide sales growth in 2022.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more