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Hong Kong: one country, two systems?

October 23, 2014 Comments off

Hong Kong: one country, two systems?
Source: European Parliamentary Research Service

The on-going heated debate about the introduction of universal suffrage for the election of Hong Kong’s Chief Executive has turned into widespread protests on the territory’s streets. Hopes that the public would be able to nominate candidates were dashed by China’s decision to allow only committee-based nomination of candidates in the 2017 election. The Occupy Central protests, widely known as the Umbrella Revolution, kicked off on 28 September. Agreement to talks, scheduled for 10 October, saw tensions lowered, but after those talks were cancelled by the authorities, organisers called for protesters to return to the streets. With numbers not reaching earlier heights, the authorities appear to have concluded that the protests’ momentum is going.

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Do Experts or Collective Intelligence Write with More Bias? Evidence from Encyclopædia Britannica and Wikipedia

October 22, 2014 Comments off

Do Experts or Collective Intelligence Write with More Bias? Evidence from Encyclopædia Britannica and Wikipedia (PDF)
Source: Harvard Business School Working Papers

Which source of information contains greater bias and slant-text written by an expert or that constructed via collective intelligence? Do the costs of acquiring, storing, displaying, and revising information shape those differences? We evaluate these questions empirically by examining slanted and biased phrases in content on U.S. political issues from two sources-Encyclopedia Britannica and Wikipedia. Our overall slant measure is less (more) than zero when an article leans towards Democrat (Republican) viewpoints, while bias is the absolute value of the slant. Using a matched sample of pairs of articles from Britannica and Wikipedia, we show that, overall, Wikipedia articles are more slanted towards Democrat than Britannica articles, as well as more biased. Slanted Wikipedia articles tend to become less biased than Britannica articles on the same topic as they become substantially revised, and the bias on a per word basis hardly differs between the sources. These results have implications for the segregation of readers in online sources and the allocation of editorial resources in online sources using collective intelligence.

Political Polarization & Media Habits

October 22, 2014 Comments off

Political Polarization & Media Habits
Source: Pew Research Journalism Project

When it comes to getting news about politics and government, liberals and conservatives inhabit different worlds. There is little overlap in the news sources they turn to and trust. And whether discussing politics online or with friends, they are more likely than others to interact with like-minded individuals, according to a new Pew Research Center study.

As Midterm Election Approaches, State Election Laws Challenged, CRS Legal Sidebar (October 7, 2014)

October 20, 2014 Comments off

As Midterm Election Approaches, State Election Laws Challenged, CRS Legal Sidebar (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

As the November 4 election approaches, there have been several court challenges to state election laws. Depending on how the courts rule—and when—these cases could affect election administration in several states during the upcoming election.

2014 Environmental Finance Innovation Summit (White Paper)

October 14, 2014 Comments off

2014 Environmental Finance Innovation Summit (PDF)
Source: Goldman Sachs

The underlying thesis for investing in solutions that benefit the environment is increasingly compelling, given the macro trends of a rapidly growing population and increased urbanization, the social pressures to more effectively manage the environmental spillovers that come with growth, and the security imperatives of protecting against extreme weather. At the same time, capital flow into environmentally beneficial opportunities is often constrained by uncertainties around public policy, budgetary challenges, and the natural fits and starts of nascent technologies. In response to the opportunities and challenges, a number of innovative financing mechanisms and capital markets solutions are being deployed to scale-up investments in clean technology, energy efficiency, water and green infrastructure solutions.

To raise awareness about these developments and to facilitate dialogue, Goldman Sachs hosted the Environmental Finance Innovation Summit on February 13, 2014. The Summit coincided with the powerful nor’easter Pax, which underscored the importance of the topic at hand. With a group of nearly 200 participants, the Summit provided a forum to discuss emerging innovative financing vehicles, identify obstacles and solutions to scaling up these financing mechanisms, offer policy input, and foster partnerships to drive further progress.

The following paper summarizes key takeaways from the summit.

The National Coalition on Health Care Releases Inaugural Congressional Report Card: 113th Congress Fails to Make the Grade on Health Care Costs

October 13, 2014 Comments off

The National Coalition on Health Care Releases Inaugural Congressional Report Card: 113th Congress Fails to Make the Grade on Health Care Costs
Source: National Coalition on Health Care

Today, the National Coalition on Health Care (NCHC) released “Health Costs and the American Family: A Report Card on the 113th Congress,” finding that despite strong bipartisan efforts, this Congress has yet to make the grade in curbing health care costs.

The seven-page report card grades actions taken by the 113 Congress in three areas of health policy where common-ground, bipartisan solutions were possible: modernizing physician payment and SGR repeal, price and quality transparency, and strengthening Medicare. The report card concludes that Congress has so far failed to make meaningful progress toward greater health care affordability.

CRS — Reauthorizing the Office of National Drug Control Policy: Issues for Consideration (September 30, 2014)

October 8, 2014 Comments off

Reauthorizing the Office of National Drug Control Policy: Issues for Consideration (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) is located in the Executive Office of the President and has the responsibility for creating policies, priorities, and objectives for the federal Drug Control Program. This national program is aimed at reducing the use, manufacturing, and trafficking of illicit drugs and the reduction of drug-related crime and violence and of drug-related health consequences. The director of ONDCP has primary responsibilities of developing a comprehensive National Drug Control Strategy (Strategy) to direct the nation’s anti-drug efforts; developing a National Drug Control Budget (Budget) to implement the National Drug Control Strategy, including determining the adequacy of the drug control budgets submitted by contributing federal Drug Control Program agencies; and evaluating the effectiveness of the National Drug Control Strategy implementation by the various agencies contributing to the Drug Control Program. Authorization for ONDCP expired at the end of FY2010, but it has continued to receive appropriations. Congress, while continuously charged with ONDCP’s oversight, is now faced with its possible reauthorization.

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