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Archive for the ‘Gov – US’ Category

Climate Change, Heat Stress, and U.S. Dairy Production

October 30, 2014 Comments off

Climate Change, Heat Stress, and U.S. Dairy Production
Source: USDA Economic Research Service

In the United States, climate change is likely to increase average daily temperatures and the frequency of heat waves. Dairy cows are particularly sensitive to heat stress, and the dairy sector has been estimated to bear over half of the costs of current heat stress to the livestock industry. Greater heat stress may lower U.S. milk production 0.6-1.3 percent by 2030.

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New From the GAO

October 29, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Chemical Assessments: Agencies Coordinate Activities, but Additional Action Could Enhance Efforts. GAO-14-763, September 29.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-763
Highlights –  http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666205.pdf

2. USDA Contracting: Further Actions Needed to Strengthen Oversight of Contractors for Professional Services. GAO-14-819, September 29.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-819
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666217.pdf

HHS OIG — Penetration Test of the Food and Drug Administration’s Computer Network

October 29, 2014 Comments off

Penetration Test of the Food and Drug Administration’s Computer Network
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General

We conducted an external penetration test of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) network and information systems. Although we did not obtain unauthorized access to the FDA network, we identified the following issues: Web page input validation was inadequate, external systems did not enforce account lockout procedures, security assessments were not performed on all external servers, error messages revealed sensitive system information, and demonstration programs revealed sensitive information. These could have led to (1) the unauthorized disclosure or modification of FDA data or (2) FDA mission critical systems being made unavailable. We recommended that FDA implement necessary corrective actions to address the specific cybersecurity vulnerabilities that we identified during this audit.

Recommended Practices, Protecting Temporary Workers

October 29, 2014 Comments off

Recommended Practices, Protecting Temporary Workers
Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

OSHA and NIOSH recommend the following practices to staffing agencies and host employers so that they may better protect temporary workers through mutual cooperation and collaboration.

CRS — Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2014 (September 15, 2014)

October 29, 2014 Comments off

Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2014 (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. State Department Foreign Press Center)

This report lists hundreds of instances in which the United States has used its Armed Forces abroad in situations of military conflict or potential conflict or for other than normal peacetime purposes. It was compiled in part from various older lists and is intended primarily to provide a rough survey of past U.S. military ventures abroad, without reference to the magnitude of the given instance noted. The listing often contains references, especially from 1980 forward, to continuing military deployments, especially U.S. military participation in multinational operations associated with NATO or the United Nations. Most of these post-1980 instances are summaries based on presidential reports to Congress related to the War Powers Resolution. A comprehensive commentary regarding any of the instances listed is not undertaken here.

FTC sues AT&T for limiting “unlimited data”

October 28, 2014 Comments off

FTC sues AT&T for limiting “unlimited data”
Source: Federal Trade Commission

“Unlimited data” sounds great, right? Browse the Internet, stream videos, use GPS, even make video calls – all to your heart’s content. But what if you bought an unlimited data plan and then weren’t able to do all those things? That’s what happened to some AT&T customers.

From 2007 until 2010, AT&T offered unlimited data plans for smartphones. Even after it stopped offering unlimited data, AT&T allowed customers who already had unlimited plans to renew them.

But here’s the catch: AT&T then began slowing the data speed for “unlimited” customers who used large amounts of data. As a result, those customers with “unlimited” plans no longer had the bandwidth to do everything they wanted to do on their phones. That’s called data throttling.

Data throttling isn’t always illegal, but when it’s done in a way that’s deceptive or unfair, it most certainly is.

CRS — The U.S. Wine Industry and Selected Trade Issues with the European Union (July 24, 2014)

October 28, 2014 Comments off

The U.S. Wine Industry and Selected Trade Issues with the European Union (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via National Agricultural Law Center)

Global wine production totaled roughly 27 billion liters in 2012. The European Union (EU) dominates world production, accounting for nearly 60% of all wine produced each year. France, Italy, and Spain are among the principal EU wine-producing countries. The United States is the world’s second-largest wine-producing region, accounting for 10% of global production. The value of world trade in wine totaled more than $21 billion in 2013. The EU accounted for nearly 60% of the world’s export market for wine, valued at $12 billion in 2013. Other exporting nations include Australia, Chile, the United States, New Zealand, Argentina, and South Africa.

The United States is a major exporter of wine with about 7% of global exports in 2013. The U.S. wine industry has identified a range of international barriers to trade that may be limiting U.S. wine exports abroad. These include import tariffs; foreign wine producer subsidies and support; preferential market access, such as free trade agreements between the EU and other countries; incompatible foreign wine composition standards; and a range of miscellaneous non-tariff barriers, such as state or provincial government monopolies, import licensing and customs clearance requirements, and wine labeling regulations. An annual report compiled by the U.S. wine industry also highlights a range of concerns in several countries, including concerns regarding trade with several EU countries and other countries worldwide.

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