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Erasmus Impact Study confirms EU student exchange scheme boosts employability and job mobility

October 15, 2014 Comments off

Erasmus Impact Study confirms EU student exchange scheme boosts employability and job mobility
Source: European Commission

Young people who study or train abroad not only gain knowledge in specific disciplines, but also strengthen key transversal skills which are highly valued by employers. A new study on the impact of the European Union’s Erasmus student exchange programme shows that graduates with international experience fare much better on the job market. They are half as likely to experience long-term unemployment compared with those who have not studied or trained abroad and, five years after graduation, their unemployment rate is 23% lower. The study, compiled by independent experts, is the largest of its kind and received feedback from nearly 80 000 respondents including students and businesses.

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Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

October 13, 2014 Comments off

Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor
Source: U.S. Department of Labor

The Department of Labor’s annual Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor focuses on the efforts of certain U.S. trade beneficiary countries and territories to eliminate the worst forms of child labor through legislation, enforcement mechanisms, policies and social programs.

Interim Report of the U.S.-Japan Guidelines for Defense Cooperation Released

October 10, 2014 Comments off

Interim Report of the U.S.-Japan Guidelines for Defense Cooperation Released
Source: U.S. Department of Defense

The United States and Japan today jointly released the interim report of the ongoing review of the U.S.-Japan Guidelines for Defense Cooperation. A full copy of the report can be found here http://www.defense.gov/pubs/20141003_INTERIM_REPORT.pdf.

Israel’s Iron Dome Anti-Rocket System: U.S. Assistance and Coproduction, CRS Insights (September 30, 2014)

October 8, 2014 Comments off

Israel’s Iron Dome Anti-Rocket System: U.S. Assistance and Coproduction, CRS Insights (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Israel’s Iron Dome anti-rocket system—along with other Israeli measures such as an early-warning and sheltering system—has been widely credited with protecting the country’s civilian population from projectiles fired by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip. During the summer 2014 conflict between Israel and Hamas and other Gaza-based militants (which Israel refers to as Operation Protective Edge), many lawmakers praised the performance of Iron Dome. On August 1, Congress passed H.J.Res. 76, the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Resolution, 2014 (P.L. 113-145), which appropriated an additional $225 million in FY2014 funds for Iron Dome. This brings total U.S. defense appropriations for Iron Dome since FY2011 to $929.3 million. For more information on Iron Dome, see CRS Report RL33222, U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel; and CRS Report RL33476, Israel: Background and U.S. Relations.

CRS — Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses (October 1, 2014)

October 8, 2014 Comments off

Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Since the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, a priority of U.S. policy has been to reduce the perceived threat posed by Iran to a broad range of U.S. interests. However, a common enemy has emerged in the form of the Islamic State organization, reducing gaps in U.S. and Iranian interests somewhat.

During the 1980s and 1990s, U.S. officials identified Iran’s support for militant Middle East groups as a significant threat to U.S. interests and allies. A perceived potential threat from Iran’s nuclear program came to the fore in 2002, and the United States orchestrated broad international economic pressure on Iran to try to compel it to verifiably confine that program to purely peaceful purposes. The pressure has harmed Iran’s economy and might have contributed to the June 2013 election as president of Iran of the relatively moderate Hassan Rouhani, who campaigned as an advocate of ending Iran’s international isolation. Subsequent multilateral talks with Iran produced an interim agreement (“Joint Plan of Action,” JPA) that halted the expansion of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for modest sanctions relief. In advance of a November 24, 2014 deadline for the JPA to expire, the search for a “comprehensive solution” on the nuclear issue remains impeded by substantial differences over Iran’s long-term capacity to enrich uranium Talks to try to finalize a comprehensive deal began September 18 and will continue until that deadline.

EU ‘single market for research’ now depends on national reforms, study finds

October 8, 2014 Comments off

EU ‘single market for research’ now depends on national reforms, study finds
Source: European Commission

The ERA partnership between Member States, research stakeholders and the Commission has made good progress in delivering ERA. The conditions for achieving a European Research Area (ERA), where researchers and scientific knowledge can circulate freely, are in place at the European level. Reforms must now be implemented at the Member State level to make ERA work.

This is the main conclusion of the latest ERA progress report, presented today by the European Commission. The report updates last year’s overview (IP/13/851), and presents individual country reports that give a snapshot of implementation on the ground, notably at the level of research organisations.

European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: “We have made good progress on the European Research Area in recent years. It is now up to Member States and research organisations to make good on their commitments and put in place the necessary reforms. The Commission will help where it can, including with the €80 billion investment from our new research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020. In particular, national and EU research efforts need to be much more closely aligned if we are to increase impact at EU level.”

Brookings Doha Energy Forum Report 2014

October 7, 2014 Comments off

Brookings Doha Energy Forum Report 2014
Source: Brookings Institution

Major changes in geopolitics, political economy, and energy markets are altering the global energy landscape. A potential nuclear deal with Iran has raised the possibility of new supplies coming online, and ongoing political gridlock in Iraq has hampered the country’s ability to expand supply. The U.S. energy boom is increasingly viewed as a long-term phenomenon, while a prolonged crisis in Ukraine threatens to impact Russian gas supplies to Europe.

How will the political developments in Iraq and Iran affect oil supply? What will be the impact of the Ukraine crisis on Europe, Russia, and China? How will these shifts help shape the energy markets of tomorrow?

The 2014 Doha Energy Forum convened prominent industry experts and policymakers from Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the United States for an in-depth dialogue on the rapidly changing global energy landscape. Based on the Forum’s plenary and roundtable sessions, this paper from the Brookings’ Doha Center and Energy Security Initiative reflects much of the discussion and debate around these changes. It also outlines the complexity of today’s energy markets and the geopolitical factors that set them in motion.

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