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CRS — U.S. Foreign Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean: Recent Trends and FY2015 Appropriations (September 10, 2014)

October 21, 2014 Comments off

U.S. Foreign Assistance to Latin America and the Caribbean: Recent Trends and FY2015 Appropriations (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Geographic proximity has forged strong linkages between the United States and the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean, with critical U.S. interests encompassing economic, political, and security concerns. U.S. policy makers have emphasized different strategic interests in the region at different times, from combating Soviet influence during the Cold War to advancing democracy and open markets since the 1990s. Current U.S. policy is designed to promote economic and social opportunity, ensure citizen security, strengthen effective democratic institutions, and secure a clean energy future. As part of broader efforts to advance these priorities, the United States provides Latin American and Caribbean nations with substantial amounts of foreign assistance.

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Laws on Children Residing with Parents in Prison

October 21, 2014 Comments off

Laws on Children Residing with Parents in Prison
Source: Law Library of Congress

This report provides information on select international and regional measures and the laws of 97 jurisdictions from around the world that relate to allowing children to reside in prison with an incarcerated parent. Most of the countries surveyed impose specific age limits for a child’s admission into and length of stay in prison. Additionally, most of jurisdictions surveyed require that prisons that admit children meet certain standards.

CRS — Conflict Minerals and Resource Extraction: Dodd-Frank, SEC Regulations, and Legal Challenges (October 15, 2014)

October 20, 2014 Comments off

Conflict Minerals and Resource Extraction: Dodd-Frank, SEC Regulations, and Legal Challenges (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Two sections of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) require that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC or Commission) issue regulations to make public the involvement of U.S. companies in conflict minerals and in resource extraction payments. Supporters of the Dodd-Frank conflict minerals statute and the SEC implementing rule believe that such disclosures could have an impact on the amount of violence involved with the mining of conflict minerals. Opponents of the statute and rule argue that they require disclosures that are arbitrary and capricious and that some of the required disclosures violate the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech. Supporters of the resource extraction statute and the SEC implementing rule believe that they are needed to achieve the goal of the transparency of payments made by resource extraction issuers to governments in order to foster reform and anticorruption and to improve the tax collection process. Opponents believe that they are arbitrary and capricious and violate the First Amendment. Legal challenges to the statutes and regulations have occurred, based primarily on administrative law and First Amendment grounds.

Eleventh Circuit Provides Guidance for the Definition of “Foreign Official” under the FCPA, CRS Legal Sidebar (October 15, 2014)

October 20, 2014 Comments off

Eleventh Circuit Provides Guidance for the Definition of “Foreign Official” under the FCPA, CRS Legal Sidebar (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

On May 16, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (Eleventh Circuit) issued its opinion in United States v. Esquenazi , a case important for being the first federal appellate court decision to provide guidance for and flesh out the definition of the term “foreign official” under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA or Act). The FCPA, first enacted in 1977 and significantly amended in 1988 (with an additional amendment in 1998 to implement the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions), was enacted principally to prevent the bribery of foreign officials. It has three major parts: 1. Requires corporations to keep accurate books, records, and accounts; 2. Requires issuers registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission to maintain a responsible internal accounting control system; and 3. Prohibits bribery by American corporations of foreign officials. (For additional information on the FCPA, see CRS Report R41466: The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA): Congressional Interest and Executive Enforcement.)

CRS — Nuclear Energy Policy (October 15, 2014)

October 20, 2014 Comments off

Nuclear Energy Policy (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Nuclear energy issues facing Congress include reactor safety and regulation, radioactive waste management, research and development priorities, federal incentives for new commercial reactors, nuclear weapons proliferation, and security against terrorist attacks.

CRS — Cybersecurity: Authoritative Reports and Resources, by Topic (October 14, 2014)

October 20, 2014 Comments off

Cybersecurity: Authoritative Reports and Resources, by Topic (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

This report provides references to analytical reports on cybersecurity from CRS, other government agencies, trade associations, and interest groups. The reports and related websites are grouped under the following cybersecurity topics:
• policy overview
• National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC)
• cloud computing and FedRAMP
• critical infrastructure
• cybercrime, data breaches, and data security
• national security, cyber espionage, and cyberwar (including Stuxnet)
• international efforts
• education/training/workforce
• research and development (R&D)

In addition, the report lists selected cybersecurity-related websites for congressional and government agencies, news, international organizations, and organizations or institutions.

CRS — Hydraulic Fracturing: Selected Legal Issues (September 26, 2014)

October 20, 2014 Comments off

Hydraulic Fracturing: Selected Legal Issues (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Hydraulic fracturing is a technique used to recover oil and natural gas from underground low permeability rock formations. Its use along with horizontal drilling has been responsible for an increase in estimated U.S. oil and natural gas reserves. Hydraulic fracturing and related oil and gas production activities have been controversial because of their potential effects on public health and the environment. Several environmental statutes have implications for the regulation of hydraulic fracturing by the federal government and states.

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