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Emerging Arctic Explored in New CFR InfoGuide

April 14, 2014 Comments off

Emerging Arctic Explored in New CFR InfoGuide
Source: Council on Foreign Relations

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) has released a new interactive guide examining the economic opportunities and environmental risks emerging in the Arctic. Climate change, technological advances, and a growing demand for natural resources are driving a new era of development in the Arctic region. Many experts assert that Arctic summers could be free of sea ice in a matter of decades, opening the region up to hundreds of billions of dollars in investment, most notably in energy production and shipping.

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Preliminary Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor — Privacy and competitiveness in the age of big data: The interplay between data protection, competition law and consumer protection in the Digital Economy

April 14, 2014 Comments off

Privacy and competitiveness in the age of big data: The interplay between data protection, competition law and consumer protection in the Digital Economy (PDF)
Source: European Data Protection Supervisor

EU approaches to data protection, competition and consumer protection share common goals, including the promotion of growth, innovation and the welfare of individual consumers. In practice, however, collaboration between policy-makers in these respective fields is limited.

Online services are driving the huge growth in the digital economy. Many of those services are marketed as ‘free’ but in effect require payment in the form of personal information from customers. An investigation into the costs and benefits of these exchanges for both consumers and businesses is now overdue.

Closer dialogue between regulators and experts across policy boundaries can not only aid enforcement of rules on competition and consumer protection, but also stimulate the market for privacy-enhancing services.

2013 Open Doors Report

April 14, 2014 Comments off

2013 Open Doors Report
Source: Institute of International Education
From press release:

The 2013 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, released today, finds the number of international students at colleges and universities in the United States increased by seven percent to a record high of 819,644 students in the 2012/13 academic year, while U.S. students studying abroad increased by three percent to an all-time high of more than 283,000.

In 2012/13, 55,000 more international students enrolled in U.S. higher education compared to 2011/12, with most of the growth driven by China and Saudi Arabia. This marks the seventh consecutive year that Open Doors reported expansion in the total number of international students in U.S. higher education. There are now 40 percent more international students studying at U.S. colleges and universities than a decade ago, and the rate of increase has risen steadily for the past three years. International students make up slightly under four percent of total student enrollment at the graduate and undergraduate level combined. International students’ spending in all 50 states contributed approximately $24 billion to the U.S. economy.

The number of U.S. students who studied abroad for academic credit increased by three percent to 283,332 students in 2011/12, a higher rate of growth than the one percent increase the previous year. More U.S. students went to Latin America and China, and there was a rebound in those going to Japan as programs reopened in Fall 2011 after the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011. Study abroad by American students has more than tripled over the past two decades, from approximately 71,000 students in 1991/92 to the record number in 2011/12. Despite these increases, fewer than 10 percent of all U.S. college students study abroad at some point during their undergraduate years.

IMF Global Financial Stability Report: Moving from Liquidity- to Growth-Driven Markets

April 14, 2014 Comments off

Global Financial Stability Report: Moving from Liquidity- to Growth-Driven Markets
Source: International Monetary Fund

The April 2014 Global Financial Stability Report (GFSR) assesses the challenging transitions that the global financial system is currently undergoing on the path to greater stability. Chapter 1 finds that these transitions are far from complete, and stability conditions are far from normal. For advanced and emerging market economies alike, a successful shift from liquidity-driven to growth-driven markets requires a number of elements. The report discusses these elements, including: a normalization of U.S. monetary policy that avoids financial stability risks; financial rebalancing in emerging market economies amid tighter external financial conditions and higher corporate debt levels; further progress in the euro area’s transition from fragmentation to robust integration; and the successful implementation of Abenomics in Japan to deliver sustained growth and stable inflation. Chapter 2 examines the role of the composition of the investor base and local financial systems for the stability of emerging market portfolio flows and asset prices. Chapter 3 looks at the issue of too-important-to-fail and provides new estimates of the implicit funding subsidy received by systemically important banks.

New From the GAO

April 11, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Report
Source: Government Accountability Office
1. Ballistic Missile Defense: Actions Needed to Address Implementation Issues and Estimate Long-Term Costs for European Capabilities. GAO-14-314, April 11.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-314
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/662493.pdf

CRS — Latin America and the Caribbean: Fact Sheet on Leaders and Elections (updated)

April 11, 2014 Comments off

Latin America and the Caribbean: Fact Sheet on Leaders and Elections (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

This report provides the results of recent elections in Latin America and the Caribbean. Below are three tables organized by region, including the date of each country’s independence, the name of the newly elected president or prime minister, and the projected date of the next election. Information in this report was gathered from numerous sources, including the U.S. State Department, the CIA’s Open Source, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), and other news sources.

UK — Beyond the adoption order: challenges, intervention, disruption

April 11, 2014 Comments off

Beyond the adoption order: challenges, intervention, disruption
Source: Department for Education

Research looking at adoption disruptions and how the adoption system can be improved.

AON 2014 Political Risk Map

April 11, 2014 Comments off

AON 2014 Political Risk Map
Source: AON

Political strains and focus on geopolitical issues have exacerbated an already weak operating environment for business and exchange transfer risks have increased following the risk of new capital controls. Russia’s economy continues to be dominated by the government, so economic policy deadlock has brought growth to a standstill and with it an increase in the risk of political violence.”

Taking on the Rising Death Toll from Traffic & Pollution

April 11, 2014 Comments off

Taking on the Rising Death Toll from Traffic & Pollution
Source: World Bank

+ The annual death toll linked to road transportation is higher than many policy makers realize, reaching at least 1.5 million people worldwide and rising, according to a new analysis.

+ The report, Transport for Health, counts the number of lives lost to road crashes and, for the first time, also quantifies deaths related to vehicle pollution.

+ It offers practical actions countries can take now to improve transportation, air quality, and road safety data.

Monetary Policy in the New Normal

April 11, 2014 Comments off

Monetary Policy in the New Normal
Source: International Monetary Fund

The proposed SDN would take stock of the current debate on the shape that monetary policy should take after the crisis. It revisits the pros and cons of expanding the objectives of monetary policy, the merits of turning unconventional policies into conventional ones, how to make monetary policy frameworks more resilient to the risk of being constrained by the zero-lower bound going forward, and the institutional challenges to preserve central bank independence with regards to monetary policy, while allowing adequate government oversight over central banks’ new responsibilities. It will draw policy conclusions where consensus has been reached, and highlight the areas where more work is needed to get more granular policy advice.

UK — Policy Paper: International classified information

April 10, 2014 Comments off

Policy Paper: International classified information
Source: Cabinet Office

This document sets out:

  • how the UK protects international classified information provided to government
  • how the government can exchange UK classified information with international partners
  • the various roles and responsibilities of UK government departments, agencies and contractors

Current Issues in Mental Health in Canada

April 10, 2014 Comments off

Current Issues in Mental Health in Canada
Source: Library of Parliament

Mental health problems and mental illness exact a huge human, social and economic toll.

In Canada, roughly one in every five people will experience a mental illness in his or her lifetime. Individuals with mental health problems or mental illness may suffer from such consequences as stigmatization, discrimination, lost income, homelessness and substance abuse, among others. Left untreated, some mental health disorders may even lead to suicide.

The Library of Parliament recently published a series of papers on mental health in Canada and the involvement of the federal government in this area; this HillNote introduces the series and highlights some of the issues addressed in the papers.

2013 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report

April 10, 2014 Comments off

2013 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report
Source: Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (University of Pennsylvania)

The Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) at the University of Pennsylvania released its seventh annual 2013 Global Go To Think Tanks Report on Wednesday January 22, 2014, at a morning press conference in Washington DC, hosted by the World Bank. The 2013 Global Go To Think Tank Index (GGTTI) marks the seventh year of continued efforts by the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program at the University of Pennsylvania (TTCSP) to acknowledge the important contributions and emerging global trends of think tanks worldwide. Our initial effort to generate a ranking of the world’s leading think tanks in 2006 was a response to a series of requests from donors, government officials, journalists, and scholars, to produce regional and international rankings of the world’s preeminent think tanks. Since its inception, our ongoing objective for the GGTTI report is to gain understanding of the role think tanks play in governments and civil societies. Using this knowledge, we hope to assist in improving the capacity and performance of think tanks around the world.

Police resources in Canada, 2013

April 10, 2014 Comments off

Police resources in Canada, 2013
Source: Statistics Canada

In a period of fiscal pressures coupled with growing policing responsibilities, discussions regarding the economics of policing are taking place. Contributing to these discussions are police services, the public sector, academics, the private sector, as well as the general public. The discussions seek to identify the nature of and reasons for police expenditures, as well as ways to reduce costs while continuing to meet police responsibilities regarding public safety (Public Safety Canada 2013).

Using data from the Police Administration Survey (see the “Survey descriptions” section for details), this Juristat article will focus on the most recent findings regarding the rate of police strength and police expenditures. The Police Administration Survey captures police-reported data on the number of police officers in Canada by rank and sex, as well as civilian employees, based on a snapshot date (which is May 15, 2013 for the most recent data). Data on hiring, departures, and eligibility to retire in this report are based on either the 2012 calendar year or the 2012/2013 fiscal year, depending on the police service.

Information from this survey is provided for Canada, the provinces and territories and census metropolitan areas (CMAs). In addition, this article provides information on workplace mobility within police services, including the hiring of and departures by police, and eligibility to retire. Finally, it summarizes data on the characteristics of police officers, including gender, age group, and Aboriginal and visible minority status. To provide a more complete picture of the state of policing in Canada, the following contextual information are included: policing responsibilities and strategies within the economics of policing discussions; international data on police personnel and gender from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC); and wage information from Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey (LFS).

NZ — Suicide Reporting

April 10, 2014 Comments off

Suicide Reporting
Source: Law Commission

The Report recommends that sections 71 to 73 of the Coroners Act 2006 that restrict the reporting of suicide be repealed and replaced by new provisions. Those provisions should only prohibit the reporting of the method of suicide and the fact that a death is a suicide. A person should be able to apply to the Chief Coroner for an exemption from those prohibitions. It also recommends that the Coroners Act requires the Minister of Health to prepare, in consultation with media and mental health experts, a new set of standards for reporting suicide, and to implement an ongoing programme to disseminate, promote, support and evaluate the implementation of those standards.

EU — The future of public health: A horizon scan

April 10, 2014 Comments off

The future of public health: A horizon scan
Source: RAND Corporation

Public Health England (PHE) commissioned RAND Europe to undertake a horizon scanning study exploring the future of public health and related scientific services. This work was intended to help inform thinking at the strategic level within PHE, firstly in relation to the wider vision of the Agency (which was only established in April 2013) and, secondly, in relation to the proposals for the creation of an integrated public health science hub.

The report is based on a literature review, a brief Delphi exercise using the ExpertLens platform and key informant interviews with a range of PHE staff and external experts. It focuses on the different future public health science needs and the extent to which an integrated science hub could serve PHE as it evolves over the next twenty years. Thus, the report considers PHE’s future remit and objectives in order that decisions about an integrated and co-located science hub be made in context and with reference to expert perceptions about the future.

Global Religious Diversity: Half of the Most Religiously Diverse Countries are in Asia-Pacific Region

April 9, 2014 Comments off

Global Religious Diversity: Half of the Most Religiously Diverse Countries are in Asia-Pacific Region
Source: Pew Research Religion & Public Life Project

Several years ago, the Pew Research Center produced estimates of the religious makeup of more than 200 countries and territories, which it published in the 2012 report “The Global Religious Landscape.” The effort was part of the Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures project, which analyzes religious change and its impact on societies around the world. As part of the next phase of this project, Pew Research has produced an index that ranks each country by its level of religious diversity.

Comparing religious diversity across countries presents many challenges, starting with the definition of diversity. Social scientists have conceived of diversity in a variety of ways, including the degree to which a society is split into distinct groups; minority group size (in share and/or absolute number); minority group influence (the degree to which multiple groups are visible and influential in civil society); and group dominance (the degree to which one or more groups dominate society). Each of these approaches can be applied to the study of religious diversity.1

This study, however, takes a relatively straightforward approach to religious diversity. It looks at the percentage of each country’s population that belongs to eight major religious groups, as of 2010.2 The closer a country comes to having equal shares of the eight groups, the higher its score on a 10-point Religious Diversity Index.

Preventing a Nuclear-Armed Iran: Requirements for a Comprehensive Nuclear Agreement

April 9, 2014 Comments off

Preventing a Nuclear-Armed Iran: Requirements for a Comprehensive Nuclear Agreement
Source: Brookings Institution

After a dozen-year standoff between Iran and the international community over the Iranian nuclear program, negotiations are underway between representatives of Iran, on the one hand, and the P5+1 countries (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China) and the European Union, on the other, on a comprehensive agreement aimed at ensuring that an Iranian nuclear program declared to be devoted to peaceful purposes will not be turned into a program for producing nuclear weapons.

However, key differences exist on the requirements of an acceptable deal, not just among negotiators at the table but also among key players outside the negotiations. Israeli officials and a number of members of Congress are demanding the elimination of key elements of Iran’s nuclear program, and the Obama administration and its supporters counter that several of those demands are neither achievable nor necessary for a sound agreement.

Recovery Strengthening, but Requires Stronger Policy Effort

April 9, 2014 Comments off

Recovery Strengthening, but Requires Stronger Policy Effort
Source: International Monetary Fund

The global recovery is becoming broader, but the changing external environment poses new challenges to emerging market and developing economies, says the IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook (WEO).

The IMF forecasts global growth to average 3.6 percent in 2014―up from 3 percent in 2013―and to rise to 3.9 percent in 2015.

The strengthening of the recovery from the Great Recession in the advanced economies is a welcome development, according to IMF staff. But the latest WEO also emphasizes that growth remains subpar and uneven across the globe.

Competitive Alternatives: KPMG’s Guide to International Business Location Costs

April 9, 2014 Comments off

Competitive Alternatives: KPMG’s Guide to International Business Location Costs
Source: KPMG

Competitive Alternatives is a biennial KPMG study that focuses on business locations in the NAFTA marketplace, as well as leading mature market countries in Europe and Asia Pacific. This study contains valuable information for any company considering international business location options.

Competitive Alternatives 2014 compares business costs and other competitiveness factors in more than 100 cities, in 10 countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States. For 2014, Competitive Alternatives further expands its coverage in the US, and for the first time includes every US metro area with a population of two million or more.

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