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New From the GAO

September 30, 2014 Comments off

New From the GAO
Source: Government Accountability Office
Reports

1. Afghanistan Equipment Drawdown: Progress Made, but Improved Controls in Decision Making Could Reduce Risk of Unnecessary Expenditures. GAO-14-768, September 30.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-768
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666236.pdf

2. Bureau of Prisons: Information on Efforts and Potential Options to Save Costs. GAO-14-821, September 30.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-821
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666255.pdf

3. Unmanned Aerial Systems: Department of Homeland Security’s Review of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Use and Compliance with Privacy and Civil Liberty Laws and Standards. GAO-14-849R, September 30.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-849R

4. Elections: Observations on Wait Times for Voters on Election Day 2012. GAO-14-850, September 30.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-850
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666251.pdf

Press Release

1. GAO Makes Appointment to PCORI Governing Board. September 30.
http://www.gao.gov/press/pcori_governing_board_2014sep30.htm

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China’s Leaders Quash Hong Kong’s Hopes for Democratic Election Reforms – CRS Insights (September 5, 2014)

September 29, 2014 Comments off

China’s Leaders Quash Hong Kong’s Hopes for Democratic Election Reforms – CRS Insights (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. Department of State Foreign Press Center)

An August 31 decision by China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) placed strict conditions on any possible electoral reforms in Hong Kong—setting the stage for a contentious and difficult process as the city’s political bodies begin work on possible legislation to alter the rules for selecting Hong Kong’s Chief Executive.

Reactions to the NPCSC’s decision varied widely. While Hong Kong’s current Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying welcomed the “precious offer” from the NPCSC, pro-democracy advocates expressed a mixture of disappointment and outrage at the decision. While all concerned, including the NPCSC, accept that the Chief Executive may be elected in 2017 by universal suffrage for all eligible Hong Kong voters, there is sharp disagreement over procedures for the nomination of candidates.

India-U.S. Relations in 14 Charts and Graphics

September 29, 2014 Comments off

India-U.S. Relations in 14 Charts and Graphics
Source: Brookings Institution

As Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits the United States, it’s worth putting the India-U.S. relationship in perspective and considering how far it has come in recent years. Fifteen years ago, there were U.S. sanctions on India. More recently, the Obama administration has said the U.S. relationship with India “will be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century.” These 14 charts and graphics show that the relationship has changed in other ways as well, including the areas of high-level India-U.S. engagement, economic and defense ties, people-to-people connections amongst Indians and Americans and future opportunities to increase bilateral cooperation.

Technology-enabled Public Libraries Can Help Improve the Quality of Life of the Rural Elderly

September 29, 2014 Comments off

Technology-enabled Public Libraries Can Help Improve the Quality of Life of the Rural Elderly
Source: World Bank

Over the past 40 years, China’s population has been aging at a rate that took more than 100 years in developed countries. In 2010, the number of people over 60 years old reached 178 million in China, accounting for almost a quarter of the world’s total. Many older citizens in China’s rural areas have found themselves increasingly isolated as their younger relatives migrated to the cities. Few older citizens in rural areas use the Internet. But advances in connectivity, including rapidly improving Internet services in rural areas, offer opportunities for greater development and participation in society of the rural elderly.

The World Bank in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been supporting Chinese government’s efforts to improve access to information and communication technologies (ICT) and related services for enhancing the lives of rural residents. As a part of the initiative, a study was recently undertaken to assess the potential of enhancing ICT usage among older people in China and examine the feasibility of leveraging public libraries and library-like institutions to serve as venues to foster digital and social inclusion of senior citizens and improve their well-being. Findings from the report were compiled into a report entitled Fostering a digitally inclusive aging society in China: the potential of public libraries.

The U.S. Army in Asia, 2030-2040

September 29, 2014 Comments off

The U.S. Army in Asia, 2030-2040
Source: RAND Corporation

For the next 20 or more years, the U.S. relationship with China will be the fulcrum on which the East Asian security order balances. As a result, U.S. policy should seek to prevent the emergence of an overtly hostile U.S.-China relationship while hedging against the possibility that one could nonetheless emerge. Such a strategy must balance between protecting U.S. interests in East Asia, where clashes with China’s preferences are most likely, and cooperating with Beijing globally where the two sides have common objectives. Crafting and sustaining such a strategy will be a major challenge. It must have clear and realistic goals flowing from larger U.S. interests and strategy in the region, take into account the need for U.S.-China cooperation on a host of global security and economic matters, be flexible and responsive to Chinese moves, seek to channel Chinese conduct in favorable directions, and reflect the new realities of Asia resulting from China’s increased military and economic power. The U.S. Army will have an important role to play in supporting U.S. strategy in the Asia-Pacific, primarily by providing training and support to allies and partners; helping to defend key facilities from enemy ground, air, and missile attack; providing key enabling support to the joint force; projecting expeditionary combat forces into the theater; contributing to new conventional deterrent options; and helping to encourage China’s participation in cooperative military-to-military engagements.

Violence against Women and Girls : Lessons from South Asia

September 23, 2014 Comments off

Violence against Women and Girls : Lessons from South Asia
Source: World Bank

This report documents the dynamics of violence against women in South Asia across the life cycle, from early childhood to old age. It explores the different types of violence that women may face throughout their lives, as well as the associated perpetrators (male and female), risk and protective factors for both victims and perpetrators, and interventions to address violence across all life cycle stages.

The report also analyzes the societal factors that drive the primarily male — but also female — perpetrators to commit violence against women in the region. For each stage and type of violence, the report critically reviews existing research from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, supplemented by original analysis and select literature from outside the region. Policies and programs that address violence against women and girls are analyzed in order to highlight key actors and promising interventions.

Finally, the report identifies critical gaps in research, program evaluations, and interventions in order to provide strategic recommendations for policy makers, civil society, and other stakeholders working to mitigate violence against women in South Asia.

Vietnamese Immigrants in the United States

September 22, 2014 Comments off

Vietnamese Immigrants in the United States
Source: Migration Policy Institute

The once-tiny population of Vietnamese immigrants in the United States has grown to become the country’s sixth largest foreign-born group in the span of several decades, with the first wave beginning at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. This data profile examines the Vietnamese immigrant population by size, recency of arrival, top states and cities of settlement, college education, sending of remittances, and much more.

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