Monday, November 30, 2015

Seabirds Are Dumping Pollution-Laden Poop Back on Land

"Mark Mallory was in a helicopter flying over the bleak Arctic tundra when he was struck by the view of Cape Vera on Devon Island. He had been flying over blue water and brown landscapes in Nunavut for some time, so the bright orange 1,000-foot cliffs towering over green ponds were a sight for sore eyes.
“The green and orange contrast when you’re coming in from the air is unbelievably beautiful,” says the Canada research chair and associate biology professor at Acadia University in Nova Scotia. Mallory was interested in studying northern fulmars, seabirds related to petrels that nest in the tens of thousands on the cliffs of this uninhabited island.
The lichen on the cliffs and the moss in the small freshwater pools underneath them got him thinking about what the birds were doing to the island.
“You get relatively lush conditions. It’s like an oasis,” he says. That's because the birds are enriching the land with their poop, which is filled with nutrients including nitrogen and phosphorous. “That’s a natural process that happens anywhere in the world where you’ve got a concentration of seabirds.”
What he found, though, is that nutrients weren’t the only thing these birds were bringing back from the sea—the colonies also are contaminant hotspots..."

Announcing "Mission Innovation"

"Today in Paris, President Obama and French President Hollande, along with a wide range of other top global leaders, will announce Mission Innovation, an initiative to dramatically accelerate public and private global clean energy innovation to address global climate change, provide affordable clean energy to consumers, including in the developing world, and create additional commercial opportunities in clean energy. 
Through the initiative, 20 countries are committing to double their respective clean energy research and development (R&D) investment over five years. These countries include the top five most populous nations -- China, India, the United States, Indonesia and Brazil. They stretch across five continents. And when you add all partner countries together, they represent 75 percent of the world’s CO2 emissions from electricity, and more than 80 percent of the world’s clean energy R&D investment..."
Mission Innovation

Police Use of Force: Rules, Remedies, and Reforms

"Several high-profile police shootings and other law enforcement-related deaths in the United States have sparked intense protests throughout the country and a fierce debate in Congress concerning the appropriate level of force police officers should wield in a society that equally values public safety and the lives of each of its citizens under law. These incidents have been the subject of several congressional hearings, have prompted the introduction of various legislative measures, and have catalyzed a new civil rights movement in the United States aimed at reforming the criminal justice system. Reformers claim that police work too closely with local prosecutors resulting in insufficient oversight and have called for greater involvement by the federal government. The law enforcement community and its supporters have countered that these recent deaths are anomalous in otherwise exemplary police conduct, and that placing the federal government in direct regulation of state and local police would present an unwarranted intrusion into state and local affairs.

To provide legal context for this debate, this report will address three overarching questions: (1) what are the constitutional rules governing an officer’s use of force; (2) what role has Congress played in providing a remedy for a violation of these rules; and (3) what are the potential reforms to these rules and remedies?..."

Friday, November 27, 2015

A Brief History of Cranberries

"You may not know it, but Vaccinium macrocarpon will probably be on your table this Thanksgiving. It’s not a virus—it’s the botanical name for the American cranberry, a fruit that shines next to a turkey, some mashed potatoes and some grateful, hungry guests. Here are some great moments in the history of this superfood:
1550: A Sour Staple 
Cranberries were a staple for Native Americans, who harvested wild cranberries and used them in a variety of remedies, foods and drinks. National Geographic’s Sarah Whitman-Salkin writes that the berries were even used in an energy bar-like food called “pemmican,” which served as a vital source of nutrition for fur traders during the winter months.
1816: Commercial Cranberries
Commercial cranberry cultivation started in the United States in 1816. Shawnie M. Kelley writes that when Captain Henry Hall, a Revolutionary war veteran, came across a cranberry vine thriving in some sand on Cape Cod, he became the first person to successfully cultivate cranberries. 
1912: Cranberries in a Can
Cranberry sauce may be a Turkey Day staple, but it wasn’t available in a can until 1912, when a lawyer named Marcus L. Urann revolutionized the industry got the idea to buy a cranberry bog and can cranberries. He eventually formed a cranberry cooperative that renamed itself Ocean Spray. By 1940, cranberry sauce had become the jiggly, canned log beloved (and argued over) by millions of Americans..."

Why a Yam Is Not a Sweet Potato

"Amid predicable fare of the Thanksgiving table there usually sits a bright orange dish - perhaps topped with marshmallows and brown sugar - that adds some sweetness to an otherwise savory meal. Southerners often refer to this as sweet potato casserole; Northerns might say it's candied yams. In this case, the Southerners win. The orange-fleshed tuber on American plates and in pies is a sweet potato, regardless of what some traditions - and grocery store label - say. 
For starters, sweet potatoes and yams aren’t even related. Sweet potatoes are from the morning glory family and yams are related to lilies and grasses. Yams - a staple in some West African countries - are native to Africa and Asia, while the sweet potato hails from South America. True yams can’t be found in most American grocery store chains at all, but they are stacked in piles in West African and Caribbean ones. .."
Yam vs Sweet potato

Daily Pill Can Prevent HIV

"Preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a medicine taken daily that can be used to prevent getting HIV. PrEP is for people without HIV who are at very high risk for getting it from sex or injection drug use. People at high risk who should be offered PrEP include about 1 in 4 sexually active gay and bisexual men*, 1 in 5 people who inject drugs, and 1 in 200 sexually active heterosexual adults. When taken every day, PrEP is safe and highly effective in preventing HIV infection. PrEP is even more effective if it is combined with other ways to prevent new HIV infections like condom use, drug abuse treatment, and treatment for people living with HIV to reduce the chance of passing the virus to others. Many people who can benefit from PrEP aren't taking it. If more health care providers know about and prescribe PrEP, more HIV infections could be prevented..."

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

How to be a Savvy Shopper with Savory Leftovers

"Thanksgiving is finally over, and now comes the biggest weekend for holiday shopping.  According to the National Retail Foundation, the average shopper spends about $380 from Black Friday to Cyber Monday.  
When planning out your shopping budget, you may forget to account for the meals you eat before, during, and after a long shopping trip.  Those lattes, sandwiches, garlic knots, and smoothies you may buy to fuel your shopping can really start to add up and will put a damper on your holiday shopping budget. 
A great way to save money is to cut back on eating out and enjoy your Thanksgiving leftovers.  Your leftover turkey and sides are safe in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days… that’s until Cyber Monday!  Enjoy your leftovers to fuel up before you head out the door to hit up the sales or to help you relax after a long day of retail therapy.  Reheat your Turkey Day favorites in the microwave to 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer.  Gravy should be reheated until boiling.  Cover leftovers to retain moisture so they stay savory. 
If you are planning a longer shopping trip, you can save money by opting out of the food court and packing turkey sandwiches.  Pack an insulated cooler or lunch box with everything you need to make your sandwiches—sliced turkey, cheese, and condiments as well as any cut fruit or veggies.  Use frozen gel packs or bags of ice to keep these items cold for several hours.  Items like bread, chips, pretzels, and whole fruit are safe if kept at room temperature.  If you do this, don’t forget wet knaps to clean your hands before your meal..."
Turkey leftovers

U.S. Census Bureau Releases Key Statistics for Thanksgiving Day

"In the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims — early settlers of Plymouth Colony — held a three-day feast to celebrate a bountiful harvest. This event is regarded by many as the nation’s first Thanksgiving. The Wampanoag Indians in attendance played a key role. Historians have recorded ceremonies of thanks among other groups of European settlers in North America. These include the British colonists in Virginia as early as 1619.
The legacy of thanks and the feast have survived the centuries, as the event became a national holiday 152 years ago (Oct. 3, 1863) when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November as a national day of thanksgiving. Later, President Franklin Roosevelt clarified that Thanksgiving should always be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of the month to encourage earlier holiday shopping, never on the occasional fifth Thursday,,,:
Thanksgiving 2015

Five Ways to Start Eating Insects

"In  the Mexican state of Oaxaca, crispy, chili-spiced chapulines (grasshoppers) are a common bar snack. Bee and wasp larvae are part of the indigenous cuisines of Taiwan and Japan. Stir-fried beef and ants is a traditional Khmer dish in Cambodia, witchetty grubs have sustained many generations of Aboriginal Australians. Insects, after all, are a source of sustainable protein.
Here are a number of new companies and products trying to make eating insects a more palatable prospect in the West, where the idea of ingesting “creepy crawlies” is still fairly taboo.
With the Livin Farms Hive, you can “start the next big food revolution out of your kitchen” by growing protein-rich mealworms on your desk or counter. The hive, which resembles those stackable, dorm-friendly plastic drawers, can produce up to 500 grams of mealworms per week.
Each drawer contains a different stage of the mealworm’s lifecycle. Mealworm pupae are placed in the hive’s top drawer, where they mature into beetles and lay eggs. The eggs drop down through a filter to a lower drawer and eventually hatch into mealworm babies. The babies grow to an edible size (about 3 centimeters long) and are collected in the bottom drawer. Some will transform back into pupae, and those can be put back in the top to start the cycle over again..."
Eating insects

Protect Your Wallet and Your Information This Holiday Season

"As the holiday shopping season officially gets underway, the FBI would like to take this opportunity to warn shoppers to be aware of the increasingly aggressive techniques of cyber criminals who want to steal your money and your personal information.
For example, watch out for online shopping scams—criminals often scheme to defraud victims by offering too-good-to-be-true deals, like brand name merchandise at extremely low discounts or gift cards as an incentive to buy a product. Beware of social media scams, including posts on social media sites that offer vouchers or gift cards or that pose as holiday promotions or contests. Always be careful when downloading mobile applications on your smartphone—some apps, disguised as games and offered for free, maybe be designed to steal personal information. And if you’re in need of extra cash this time of year, watch out for websites and online postings offering work you can do from home—you may actually become the victim of an advance fee, counterfeit, or pyramid scheme, or become an unknowing participant in criminal activity..."
Holiday money issues

The Islamic State—Frequently Asked Questions: Threats, Global Implications, and U.S. Policy Responses

"When addressing threats emanating from the Islamic State (IS), numerous strategy and operational considerations arise that might be of interest to U.S. policymakers, especially in the wake of the deadly November 13, 2015, terrorist attacks in Paris. IS activities and U.S. and coalition party policy and operational responses are an amalgam of complex, and at times competing, challenges. Since the establishment of IS, its strategic objectives and tactical activities have evolved, gaining strength in some areas and having its capability degraded in others. U.S. and other nations’ responses continue to evolve as the threat posed by IS changes. Contained in this report are short answers to related frequently answered questions. Each section contains references to CRS reports that address the question in greater detail. This report will be updated as additional products become available and events warrant..."
Islamic State

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Registration Task Force (RTF) Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC)

"The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) chartered the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Registration Task Force (RTF) Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) (Task Force) to provide recommendations to the FAA “on registration requirements and process for small UAS, including those used for commercial purposes, and all model aircraft.”

Federal law (49 U.S.C. § 44101(a)) requires that a person may only operate an aircraft when it is registered with the FAA. An “aircraft” is defined as “any contrivance invented, used, or designed to navigate, or fly in, the air” (49 U.S.C. § 40102(a) (6)). In 2012, Congress confirmed that UAS, including those used for recreation or hobby purposes, are aircraft consistent with the statutory definition set forth in 49 U.S.C. § 40102(a)(6). See Pub. L. 112-95, §§ 331(8), 336. The FAA currently requires civil UAS operators who have been granted operational authority by exemption to register their aircraft. The FAA would also require registration for civil UAS that would be operating under the proposed rule titled Operation and Certification of small UAS (sUAS). See 80 FR 9544 (Feb. 23, 2015)..."

Follow Along: A Global Agreement to Act on Climate

"Every day, we are seeing and feeling the effects of climate change -- here and across the globe. It poses a clear and present threat to our economic and national security. No country is immune from the consequences of climate change, and no country can act alone. Right now, we, as people, face a critical moment.
For the first time in history, we have a chance to put in place a global climate agreement that will spur countries to take ambitious action that will reduce carbon pollution, support clean energy, and ensure we deliver a planet that is worthy of future generations. That is why President Obama is heading to Paris on November 29th. He will meet with leaders of countries large and small -- the world's largest emitters and the ones that are most at risk -- to find a way we can collectively reduce global emissions. 
Watch what the President had to say about it on his Facebook page..."
Global climate change agreement

Monday, November 23, 2015

Baby, it’s cold outside. Time to stock up on firewood.

"It’s fall in North America.  It’s the time of year that marks the transition from summer into winter.  It’s when the night time comes earlier and the weather cools considerably.  It’s also the time of year when most of us start to turn on our heat or start to acquire firewood. 
There are a lot of us that use firewood as a heat source.  According to U.S. Census data 2.4 million homes across the country are heated by wood.  This number does not include homes that use firewood as secondary heating or those of us that use it when we’re camping or even just to sit around in the yard.  Whether or not you use wood to heat your home or build a campfire, firewood is used by millions of Americans. 
Unfortunately, firewood also presents a very real threat to our nation’s forests.  Invasive insects like the Asian longhorned beetle, the emerald ash borer, and gypsy moth can be spread into new areas of the country on firewood.  While the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service works with states on imposing quarantines to restrict the movement of potentially infested wood from areas that have these types of pests, it is up to all of us to help protect our trees by not moving firewood.  By buying or acquired firewood where you will eventually burn it, you can stop damaging forest pests from getting into new areas..."

George Washington’s October 3, 1789, Thanksgiving Day Proclamation

On October 3, 1789, President George Washington issued a proclamation naming Thursday, November 26, 1789 as an official holiday of "sincere and humble thanks." The nation then celebrated its first Thanksgiving under its new Constitution. 
View a fascimilie of President George Washington's proclamation. 
Thanksgiving proclamation

How Globalization and Climate Change Are Taking Away Our Favorite Foods

"I'm the type who looks at a menu online and decides what to order before I get to a restaurant. I am also loyal to a fault: When I find what I love, I stay with it. I mean this in every sense of the word.
In regard to food, I’m not alone. The standard American diet is, with a few notable exceptions, a supersized version of what we ate 40-odd years ago, made up of mostly grains, fats, oils and animal-based proteins. We eat about the same amount of fruit today that we did in the 1970s (60 pounds a year) and the same amount of vegetables we ate in the 1990s (110 pounds). In the last 45 years, our milk consumption has dropped from 21 gallons to 13 gallons, but we moved the fat we used to get from whole milk over to cheese, which is why our dairy consumption has nearly tripled—from 8 pounds to 23 pounds per person. Our love of cheese has contributed to a whopping 20 additional pounds in total fat we eat each year.
The loss of agrobiodiversity—the reduction of the diversity that’s woven into every single strand of the complex web that makes food and agriculture possible—has resulted in a food pyramid with a point as fine as Seattle’s Space Needle, making it harder and less pleasurable for us to feed ourselves..."
Climate change

Refugee Security Screening

"U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is deeply committed to safeguarding the American public from threats to public safety and national security, just as we are committed to providing refuge to some of the world’s most vulnerable people. These goals are not mutually exclusive. 
This fact sheet provides information about the security screening and background checks required by the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP). The USRAP is an interagency effort involving a number of governmental and non-governmental partners both overseas and in the United States. Refugee applicants are subject to the highest degree of security screening and background checks for any category of traveler to the United States.
All refugee applicants and their family members included in the application must complete and clear biographic and biometric security checks. Through close coordination with the federal law enforcement and intelligence communities, these checks are continually reviewed and enhanced to address specific populations that may pose particular threats...."
Refugee screening

FDA Has Determined That the AquAdvantage Salmon is as Safe to Eat as Non-GE Salmon

"After an exhaustive and rigorous scientific review, FDA has arrived at the decision that AquAdvantage salmon is as safe to eat as any non-genetically engineered (GE) Atlantic salmon, and also as nutritious.

FDA’s Review of the GE Salmon

The FDA scientists rigorously evaluated extensive data submitted by the manufacturer, AquaBounty Technologies, and other peer-reviewed data, to assess whether AquAdvantage salmon met the criteria for approval established by law; namely, safety and effectiveness. The data demonstrated that the inserted genes remained stable over several generations of fish, that food from the GE salmon is safe to eat by humans and animals, that the genetic engineering is safe for the fish, and the salmon meets the sponsor’s claim about faster growth.
In addition, FDA assessed the environmental impacts of approving this application and found that the approval would not have a significant impact on the environment of the United States. That’s because the multiple containment measures the company will use in the land-based facilities in Panama and Canada make it extremely unlikely that the fish could escape and establish themselves in the wild..."
Non-GE Salmon

Another View of the Gender Earnings Gap

"In 2014, the female-to-male earnings ratio stood at 0.79, indicating that the median earnings of women who worked full time, year-round was 79 percent of what their male counterparts earned.
There is also a considerable gap when focusing on men and women living in the same household. Currently, the median earnings of wives is $12,154, or 33 percent of the median earnings of husbands, $37,363.
The gap is substantially smaller among unmarried, or cohabiting, couples. Cohabiting women earn a median of $18,350, or 67 percent of the median for cohabiting men, $27,352. Note that these data measure income earned in 2014...."
Gender earning gap

Saturday, November 21, 2015

New Handbook Highlights Resources for Conservation on Organic Farms

"Consumer demand for organic products continues to grow. The Organic Trade Association that represents more than 8,500 organic businesses across 50 states reports that demand for organic products exceeded $39 billion in 2014. To meet that demand, more farmers and ranchers are pursuing organic certification and seeking assistance through USDA programs.
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is making sure that its people in the field are prepared to work with organic producers and those who want to get into organics. The agency has just released to staff its new Organic Farming Handbook describing things they need to know when working with organic producers..."
Organic farming

3 Toy Tips to Keep Your Child Safe This Holiday Season…and All Year Long

 "Sometimes the holiday season can be stressful. But, shopping for toys doesn’t have to be. In fact, the good news is that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has reported a decline in toy recalls in the past few years and consumers can shop with confidence.
In fiscal year 2015, CPSC issued 25 toy recalls, way down from 172 in 2008. Even with the decline in recalls, CPSC continues to detect and detain too many violative toys at U.S. ports. These dangerous imports have excessive lead and phthalates, as well as small parts. Thankfully, these toys never reached the hands of kids. CPSC also receives reports of kids who have suffered toy-related injuries and even deaths. A new report released for calendar year 2014 shows an estimated 183,800 toy-related injuries and 11 deaths. For toy-related deaths and injuries, it is important to note that although a toy was associated with many of the incidents..."
Toy safety tips

FTC Offers Top 10 Holiday Shopping Tips For Consumers, And Advice For Online Retailers

"Whether you’re shopping by phone, mail or online this holiday season, the Federal Trade Commission offers 10 tips to help you shop wisely and save a few bucks, too. Need tips on making a shopping budget, comparing prices, taking advantage of rebates and layaway, and protecting your identity when shopping online? Check for helpful information.
In addition, an FTC business blog post, Cyber Monday success: Five tips for online retailers, advises merchants to honor their delivery promises, prevent back-order blunders, avoid illegal negative option sales, make return policies clear, and maintain high security standards to prevent fraud and identity theft. Learn more at"
Holiday shopping tips

Attorney General, Director Brief Media on Efforts to Protect the Homeland

In light of the recent Paris terrorist attacks, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and FBI Director James Comey discussed ongoing efforts to protect the security of the U.S. during a press briefing today in Washington, D.C.
Of the investigation into the attacks, Lynch said the Department of Justice (DOJ), the FBI, and other agencies are providing support to French authorities to “coordinate strategies and to advance our shared efforts.” She also said that the services of DOJ and FBI victim assistance professionals are being made available, the FBI Legal Attaché Paris office has been expanded, and U.S. personnel are working day and night to respond to any additional requests from our French partners for assistance..."
FBI and homeland security

EPA Proposes to Reduce Smog-Forming Pollution Transported Across State Lines

"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing updates to the agency’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) to address interstate air quality impacts for the 2008 ozone air quality standards. The proposed updates would reduce summertime emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) from power plants that contribute to downwind ozone problems in the eastern half of the U.S.

“This update will help protect the health and lives of millions of Americans by reducing exposure to ozone pollution, which is linked to serious public health effects including reduced lung function, asthma, emergency room visits and hospital admissions, and early death from respiratory and cardiovascular causes,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “The proposed updates support states’ obligation to address air pollution that is carried across state lines.”

The Clean Air Act’s “good neighbor” provision requires states – or, as a backstop, EPA – to address interstate transport of air pollution that affects the ability of downwind states to attain and maintain clean air standards. Under the “good neighbor” provision, states develop state implementation plans while EPA plays a backstop role by issuing federal implementation plans (FIPs) if a state fails to submit an approvable plan. Today’s proposal provides the FIP that would apply if EPA’s backstop obligation is triggered. States may choose to have their emissions sources controlled by the FIP rather than developing their own plan...:
Smog pollutants

New and Improved Charts and Data on Auto Loans

"Today, the New York Fed announced that household debt increased by a robust $212 billion in the third quarter of 2015. Both mortgage and auto loan originations increased, as auto originations reached a ten-year high and new mortgage lending appears to have finally recovered from the very low levels seen in the past year. This quarter, we’re introducing an improved estimate of auto loan originations, some new charts, and some fresh data on the auto loan market. The Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit and this analysis use our Consumer Credit Panel data, which is itself based on Equifax credit data..." 
Automobile loans

Here's What You Need to Know About Our Strategy to Defeat ISIL

"Summary: A progress update on our fight against ISIL in the wake of the recent attacks in Paris.
There's no question that the tragic events in Paris underscore the urgency of our campaign to defeat and ultimately destroy ISIL. As President Obama has said, the fight against ISIL will be long -- ISIL is a determined, well-resourced, and brutal enemy that aims to establish branches beyond Iraq and Syria, preying on vulnerable populations. 
This is why, at the President’s direction, the U.S. government for more than a year has executed a comprehensive and sustained strategy to defeat ISIL. Since last summer, we’ve built a global coalition of 65 partners who are working together to degrade and destroy ISIL..."
ISIL defeat strategy

Infographic: The Screening Process for Refugee Entry into the United States

"The Screening Process for Refugee Entry Into the United States
Recurrent vetting: Throughout this process, pending applications continue to be checked against terrorist databases, to ensure new, relevant terrorism information has not come to light. If a match is found, that case is paused for further review. Applicants who continue to have no flags continue the process. If there is doubt about whether an applicant poses a security risk, they will not be admitted.
  1. Many refugee applicants identify themselves to the U.N. Refugee Agency, UNHCR. UNHCR, then:
    • ​​Collects identifying documents
    • Performs initial assessment
      • Collects biodata: name, address, birthday, place of birth, etc.
      • Collects biometrics: iris scans (for Syrians, and other refugee populations in the Middle East)
    • Interviews applicants to confirm refugee status and the need for resettlement
      • Initial information checked again
    • Only applicants who are strong candidates for resettlement move forward (less than 1% of global refugee population).
  2. Applicants are received by a federally-funded Refugee Support Center (RSC):​​
    • Collects identifying documents
    • Creates an applicant file
    • Compiles information to conduct biographic security checks..."
      Refugee screening

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

USDA Embraces One Health Approach for Solving Problems Associated with Antimicrobial Resistance

"This week is World Antibiotic Awareness Week and USDA remains focused on prolonging the usefulness of a very precious resource—antibiotics.  These medicines successfully treat and prevent infectious diseases and must be used responsibly to remain effective to all who need them.  USDA also recognizes that antimicrobial resistance, or the ability of bacteria and other microbes to survive the effects of an antibiotic and then proliferate, is a serious threat to both animal health and human health.
Earlier this year, the World Health Assembly developed a global action plan to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR).  The five objectives of the plan are: Increasing awareness, strengthening research and surveillance, reducing infections, optimizing antimicrobial use, and ensuring sustainable investments to contain AMR.
At USDA, we use a One Health approach that embraces the idea that a problem such as AMR arising at the intersection of the health of humans, animals, and the environment can be solved only through a coordinated multidisciplinary approach...."
Antimicrobial resistance

New Study on Senior Deaths: Drowning and Fires Lead List of Non-Fall Related Deaths

"There were more than 12,500 deaths of adults 65 years old and older from 2009 to 2011 that were associated with consumer products reported to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Nearly three-quarters of the deaths involved falls, 70 percent of which were due to falling on stairs, ramps, landings and floors.
Twenty-seven percent of the consumer product-related deaths reported to CPSC were not fall related. Instead, the deaths most frequently involved drowning in pools or bathtubs, fires in the home involving clothing, cigarettes, lighters, cooking or heating, and rollovers or collisions involving ATVs.
older adult swimming
A report released by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), “Consumer Product-Related Non-Fall Fatalities Involving Victims 65 Years of Age and Older 2009-2011”, identifies the following top 10 product group hazards involved in the non-fall senior deaths..."

Georgetown University Is Trying to Purge Its Slave Trade Connections

"Georgetown University is known for its stately buildings, top-notch programs and long history. But that history has a dark side, too: The Catholic university, which was founded in 1789 and is located in Washington, DC, got some of its funding from the sale of slaves. Now, the school has decided to rename two buildings that reflect its ties to that industry, reports Katherine Shaver for The Washington Post.
The school’s Working Group on Slavery, Memory and Reconciliation recently recommended that the university’s president, John J. DeGioia, rename a residence hall, Mulledy Hall, and a meditation center, McSherry Hall, reports Shaver. The move comes after a sit-in outside of De Gioia’s office and demands that the halls be renamed.
Mulledy Hall, which was recently constructed, was named for Thomas F. Mulledy, who incurred a large debt while serving as Georgetown’s president in the 1830s. To finance the debt, he oversaw the sale of 272 slaves under the auspices of the Corporation of Roman Catholic Clergymen, a Jesuit organization that owned a tobacco plantation in Maryland and went on to found Georgetown. WAMU’s Michael Pope explains that Mulledy disregarded orders to keep the slaves’ families intact and not to use the sale of slaves to pay debts. ulledy Hall will be temporarily named Freedom Hall, Shaver reports..."
Georgetown University

The Prevention of Violence Against Children: A Global Effort

"November 19th is the International Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse. Learn more about how CDC is protecting the futures of children all around the world with the Violence Against Children Survey.
On September 25th, the United Nations released a comprehensive list of Sustainable Development Goals designed to improve global inequalities by 2030. These goals, ranging from improvements in economic growth and clean energy to ending world hunger, require that all people from all parts of the world join together for the common good of humanity. They ask that we recognize each of the goals as imperative to the well-being of future generations, which is a timely reminder as we approach the International Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse on November 19th..."
Child abuse

European Security, Islamist Terrorism, and Returning Fighters

"On November 13, 2015, coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris left at least 129 people dead and over 350 injured at six locations throughout the city. French President François Hollande attributed the attacks to the Islamic State terrorist organization (which subsequently claimed responsibility), and asserted that France's response would be "merciless."
The attacks were the worst-ever terrorist incident on French soil, and the latest in a number of examples of Islamist terrorism in France and Europe over the past year and a half. (Also see CRS Insight IN10301, France: Efforts to Counter Islamist Terrorism and Radicalization.)
These attacks have reinforced European concerns about European citizens training and fighting with extremist groups in foreign conflicts (especially in Syria and Iraq) and heightened fears that terrorists could slip into Europe as part of an ongoing influx of migrants and refugees. News reports indicate that one of the seven assailants killed during the attacks may have entered Europe through Greece in early October with a Syrian passport as part of the refugee flows (authorities have not conclusively made this link); at least two suspects—both French nationals—may have traveled to Syria. While evidence suggests that the Islamic State was directly involved in planning and carrying out these attacks, worries also persist about "homegrown" extremists inspired by Islamist propaganda to commit violence at home without ever traveling abroad. Other recent terrorist incidents in Europe include:

The May 2014 killing of four people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels, Belgium; the suspect is a French Muslim who reportedly spent a year with Islamist fighters in Syria.

The January 2015 attacks in Paris in which gunmen killed 17 people in three related incidents that targeted the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, police officers, and a kosher supermarket. The perpetrators of the attacks were French-born Muslims, with possible ties to Al Qaeda in Yemen or the Islamic State.

The February 2015 shootings in Copenhagen, Denmark, in which a self-radicalized Danish-born citizen of Palestinian descent murdered two individuals—one at a cafe that had been hosting a free speech debate, another at a synagogue—and wounded five police officers.

The attempted August 2015 attack on a train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris that was thwarted by six passengers, including three Americans; the suspect is a Moroccan man who may have traveled to Syria..."
Islamist terrorism

How We're Welcoming Syrian Refugees While Ensuring Our Safety

"The President’s number one priority -- and my focus every day -- is the safety and security of the American people. At the President’s direction, bolstered by a global coalition of 65 partners, we are taking the fight to ISIL -- working together to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group.
The tragic event in Paris last week was a horrific attack on humanity, but we have always said that defeating an enemy as dangerous and determined as ISIL will be a long fight. Now, even as we intensify our efforts in coordination with our partners to take ISIL out, we cannot turn our backs on those most threatened by the terrorist group.
The refugees that have captivated so much attention in the wake of Friday’s attack are fleeing precisely the type of senseless slaughter that occurred in Paris. To slam the door in their faces -- to decide not to help when we know that we can help -- would be a betrayal of our values. It would be un-American.
That’s why, once it was concluded that we can do it safely, the President announced a plan to resettle at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in the United States next year. We remain steadfastly committed to that plan because it is consistent with our values and our national security..."
Syrian refugees

Monday, November 16, 2015

Hate Crime Statistics, 2013

"According to the FBI’s latest report, law enforcement agencies reported 5,479 hate crime incidents involving 6,418 offenses to our Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program in 2014. And these crimes—which often have a devastating impact on the communities where they occur—left 6,727 victims in their wake.
The latest figures are down from 2013, when 5,928 criminal incidents involving 6,933 offenses were reported..."
Hate crime

6 Charts that Will Make You Optimistic About America’s Clean Energy Future

"Over the last few years, we’ve been in the midst of a clean energy revolution. New technologies, once unthinkably expensive to install and use, have become increasingly cost-competitive at a staggeringly fast clip. Today, the Energy Department released a new report called “Revolution… Now,” which details five booming clean energy technologies -- plus a few other promising pieces of clean tech that will be key to solving major problems, like climate change. Let’s take a quick peek at six charts that can help us understand these technologies..."
Clean energy

Researching Current Federal Legislation and Regulations: A Guide to Resources for Congressional Staff

"This report is designed to introduce congressional staff to selected governmental and nongovernmental sources that are useful in tracking and obtaining information on federal legislation and regulations. It includes governmental sources, such as, the Government Publishing Office’s Federal Digital System (FDsys), and U.S. Senate and House websites. Nongovernmental or commercial sources include resources such as HeinOnline and the Congressional Quarterly (CQ) websites. The report also highlights classes offered by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) and the Law Library of Congress..."
Federal legislation and regulations

Veterans and Homelessness

"The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan brought renewed attention to the needs of veterans, including the needs of homeless veterans. Researchers have found both male and female veterans to be overrepresented in the homeless population, and, as the number of veterans increased due to these conflicts, there was concern that the number of homeless veterans could rise commensurately. The 2007-2009 recession and the subsequent slow economic recovery also raised concerns that homelessness could increase among all groups, including veterans.

Congress has created numerous programs that serve homeless veterans specifically, almost all of which are funded through the Veterans Health Administration of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). These programs provide health care and rehabilitation services for homeless veterans (the Health Care for Homeless Veterans and Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans programs), employment assistance (Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program—a Department of Labor program—and Compensated Work Therapy program), and transitional housing (Grant and Per Diem program) as well as supportive services (the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program). The VA also works with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide permanent supportive housing to homeless veterans through the HUD-VA Supported Housing Program (HUD-VASH). In the HUD-VASH program, HUD funds rental assistance through Section 8 vouchers while the VA provides supportive services. In addition, the VA and HUD have collaborated on a homelessness prevention demonstration program..."