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EU — Radio Spectrum: A Key Resource For The Digital Single Market

April 20, 2015 Comments off

Radio Spectrum: A Key Resource For The Digital Single Market
Source: European Parliamentary Research Service

Radio spectrum refers to a specific range of frequencies of electromagnetic energy that is used to communicate information. Applications important for society such as radio and television broadcasting, civil aviation, satellites, defence and emergency services depend on specific allocations of radio frequency. Recently the demand for spectrum has increased dramatically, driven by growing quantities of data transmitted over the internet and rapidly increasing numbers of wireless devices, including smartphones and tablets, Wi-Fi networks and everyday objects connected to the internet.

Radio spectrum is a finite natural resource that needs to be managed to realise the maximum economic and social benefits. Countries have traditionally regulated radio spectrum within their territories. However despite the increasing involvement of the European Union (EU) in radio spectrum policy over the past 10 to 15 years, many observers feel that the management of radio spectrum in the EU is fragmented in ways which makes the internal market inefficient, restrains economic development, and hinders the achievement of certain goals of the Digital Agenda for Europe.

In 2013, the European Commission proposed legislation on electronic communications that among other measures, provided for greater coordination in spectrum management in the EU, but this has stalled in the face of opposition within the Council. In setting out his political priorities, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has indicated that ambitious telecommunication reforms, to break down national silos in the management of radio spectrum, are an important step in the creation of a Digital Single Market. The Commission plans to propose a Digital Single Market package in May 2015, which may again address this issue.

The Hong Kong Policy Report

April 17, 2015 Comments off

The Hong Kong Policy Report
Source: U.S. Department of State, Office of Inspector General

The United States has considerable and longstanding interests in Hong Kong. Cooperation between the United States Government and the Hong Kong Government (HKG) remains broad, highly effective, and mutually beneficial. Our relationship with Hong Kong is based on the framework of “one country, two systems,” enshrined in Hong Hong’s Basic Law, which serves as a virtual (or de facto) constitution. Under this system, Hong Kong exercises autonomy in all areas except foreign policy and defense affairs. Hong Kong participates actively and independently in a range of multilateral organizations and agreements such as Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the World Trade Organization (WTO), with trade policy objectives that generally align with our own, and is recognized as a separate customs territory by the United States.

There are more than a dozen U.S.-Hong Kong agreements currently in force. Our day-to-day bilateral law enforcement cooperation is on par with many of our closest allies. Hong Kong’s strong traditions of rule of law, low levels of corruption, and high levels of public safety make it a preferred choice for American businesses in the region. The United States enjoys diverse cultural, educational, scientific, and academic exchanges with the people and Government of Hong Kong.

Single European Sky

April 16, 2015 Comments off

Single European Sky
Source: European Parliamentary Research Service

uilding on the achievements of the internal market and the need to cope with growth in air transport and congestion, the European Commission launched the Single European Sky (SES) initiative in 1999. Its core objective is to reform the architecture of air traffic control in the EU in order to meet future capacity and safety needs, through improving the overall performance of air traffic management and air navigation services.

Two SES packages have been adopted: SES I, which set the principal legal framework, and SES II, which aimed at tackling substantial air traffic growth, increasing safety, reducing costs and delays and the impact of air traffic on the environment. Nonetheless, European airspace remains heavily fragmented and SES is experiencing significant delays, in particular in terms of achievement of its performance goals and deployment of its basic elements such as ‘functional airspace blocks’.

In order to speed up its implementation, the Commission undertook a review of the SES legal framework, and in June 2013 presented an SES2+ package. While airline associations welcomed the initiative, trade unions have been much more critical on certain provisions. The European Parliament, which has underlined the need to push ahead with SES implementation, adopted its first reading position on the SES2+ package in March 2014. In December 2014, the outcome of the Transport Council somewhat reduced the ambitions of the Commission’s initial objectives. However, progress on SES2+ remains blocked over the disputed question of its application to Gibraltar airport. The adoption of the package still requires the approval of both the Council and the European Parliament.

U.S. Department of State — Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs Release of Newly Digitized Foreign Relations Volume on the Assassination of President Abraham Lincoln

April 15, 2015 Comments off

Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs Release of Newly Digitized Foreign Relations Volume on the Assassination of President Abraham Lincoln
Source: U.S. Department of State

The Appendix to Diplomatic Correspondence of 1865 is a unique volume in the Foreign Relations series. Unlike the rest of the series, this volume was not produced to tell the story of U.S. foreign policy. Instead, it embodied the grief and shattered hopes expressed by foreign governments, civic groups, opinion leaders, religious organizations, professional societies, and ordinary laborers, both at home and abroad, upon learning of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination on the evening of April 14, 1865. In doing so, the volume recorded a remarkable global wave of admiration for one of the United States’ greatest leaders. On multiple continents, governments declared periods of mourning for the slain U.S. President and non-governmental associations commemorated Lincoln as a champion of liberty and spokesperson for the aspirations of common people.

The volume also served more subtle contemporary purposes. In showing foreign officials the orderly transition of power from Lincoln to Vice President Andrew Johnson, the volume testified to the durability of the U.S. Government, even amidst unprecedented strain. In some ways, the Appendix to Diplomatic Correspondence of 1865 volume was an early and widely-circulated Lincoln memorial, one that still reflects the hopes and values that Lincoln’s contemporaries ascribed to him, as well as the enduring faith that Americans place in the constitutional system that he fought to preserve.

This release is part of the Office of the Historian’s ongoing project, in partnership with the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections Center, to digitize the entire Foreign Relations series. The University graciously provided high quality scanned images of each printed book, which the Office further digitized to create a full text searchable edition. This volume is available online and as a free ebook on the Office of the Historian’s website.

New Administration Report: Exports Helping to Support Jobs, Grow Small Businesses Across America

April 14, 2015 Comments off

New Administration Report: Exports Helping to Support Jobs, Grow Small Businesses Across America
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce

U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and United States Trade Representative Michael Froman today released a new report that shows that the number of jobs supported by goods exports continues to rise in states across the country. The report also includes individual success stories, in all 50 states, of small and medium sized businesses that are using exports to expand their businesses and support well-paying American jobs.

The Ukrainian Crisis and European Security: Implications for the United States and U.S. Army

April 13, 2015 Comments off

The Ukrainian Crisis and European Security: Implications for the United States and U.S. Army
Source: RAND Corporation

Vladimir Putin’s decision to annex Crimea and attempt to destabilize eastern Ukraine have sparked widespread concern among Western policymakers that Russia has embarked on a confrontational national security policy that could have far-reaching implications for Russia’s relations with the United States and for European stability. The annexation of Crimea challenges two basic assumptions underlying U.S. policy toward Europe in the post–Cold War era: (1) that Europe is essentially stable and secure, thereby freeing the United States to focus greater attention on other areas, particularly Asia and the Middle East, and (2) that Russia had become more of a partner than an adversary. The annexation of Crimea and attempt to destabilize eastern Ukraine suggests that both these assumptions need to be revisited because Russia can hardly be viewed as a partner. The requirement that NATO may now have to build a much more robust deterrence and defense posture in Eastern Europe would require the Army and the Air Force to revisit their planning assumptions that have minimized U.S. military commitments to the region since the end of the Cold War.

FY 2014 Annual Report on Intercountry Adoption

April 10, 2015 Comments off

FY 2014 Annual Report on Intercountry Adoption (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of State

Tables 1 and 2 report the number of intercountry adoptions in FY 2014 involving immigration to the United States, regardless of whether the adoption occurred under the Hague Adoption Convention.

Table 3 reports the number of intercountry adoptions in FY 2014 involving emigration from the United States, regardless of whether the adoption occurred under the Hague Adoption Convention.

In FY 2014, adoption service providers (ASPs) reported 3 disrupted placements in Convention adoptions, i.e., cases in which there was an interruption of a placement for adoption during the post-placement (but pre-adoption) period. Table 6 summarizes this information.

In addition, information received from the Department of Health and Human Services pursuant to §422(b)(12) of the Social Security Act indicated 79 cases of disruptions and dissolutions involving 91 children who were adopted from foreign countries and entered state custody as a result.

Table 4 reports the average time required for completion of a Convention adoption.

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