Who Are the Customers for Intelligence?
Source: Association of Former Intelligence Officers
Who uses intelligence and why? The short answer is almost everyone and to gain an advantage. While nation-states are most closely identified with intelligence, private corporations and criminal entities also invest in gathering and analyzing information to advance their goals.
There are four communities that use intelligence: the national security community, the homeland security community, the law enforcement community, and the private sector.
A Global Evaluation of Biodiversity Literacy in Zoo and Aquarium Visitors
Source: World Association of Zoos and Aquariums
From press release:
On the occasion of World Wildlife Day, the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), in association with Chester Zoo and a researcher at the University of Warwick, publishes a report of its global survey evaluating educational impacts on zoo and aquarium visitors (“A Global Evaluation of Biodiversity Literacy in Zoo and Aquarium Visitors”).
As a result, visits to zoos and aquariums clearly showed a positive impact. Dr Eric Jensen (Associate Professor, University of Warwick) said: “This study offers the first large-scale international evidence that zoos and aquariums can effectively engage their visitors with biodiversity. This question of educational impact has loomed over zoos and aquariums for decades. Our findings indicate that zoos and aquariums are right to tout their potential as sites for engagement with wildlife, although some of these attractions are clearly more effective than others.”
2013-2014 Winter Heating Costs for Older and Low-Income Households
Source: AARP Public Policy Institute
Record breaking cold weather this heating season will leave many older American households facing higher heating costs than last year. While heating costs continue to be higher for households heating with fuel oil than those heating with natural gas or electricity, costs to heat with natural gas, electricity, and propane have risen for many households across the United States.
This report analyzes data from the 2009 Residential Energy Consumption Surveys and the February 2014 Short-Term Energy Outlook. It examines heating-related energy consumption and expenditures among consumers age 65 and older based on income, heating fuel used, and geographic location. Winter heating costs are likely to be a greater burden on older low-income households than on similarly aged higher-income households, even though low-income households tend to use less heating fuel than other groups. This report will be updated monthly through March 2014 as new data are released.
Subsidizing the Corporate One Percent: Subsidy Tracker 2.0 Reveals Big-Business Dominance of State and Local Development Incentives
As a result of substantial enhancements Good Jobs First has made to our Subsidy Tracker database, it is possible for the first time to estimate the share of total state and local economic development awards going to big business. The data show a very high degree of concentration: we estimate that at least 75 percent of cumulative disclosed subsidy dollars have gone to just 965 large corporations, even though these companies account for only about 10 percent of the number of announced awards.
ERC Documents Discrimination against Older Same-Sex Couples
Source: Equal Rights Center
Today the Equal Rights Center (ERC) —a national non-profit civil rights organization headquartered in Washington, D.C.— published the results of a 10-state testing-based investigation documenting adverse differential treatment against older same-sex couples seeking housing in senior living facilities.
The report, titled “Opening Doors: An Investigation of Barriers to Senior Housing for Same-Sex Couples,” documents the results of 200 matched-pair telephone tests conducted by the ERC in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington. In 96 of the 200 tests (48 percent), a tester inquiring about housing in a senior living facility for a same-sex couple experienced at least one form of adverse differential treatment, as compared to a counterpart tester inquiring about housing for a heterosexual couple.
New CFIB report sheds light on real revenues collected by cities
Source: Canadian Federation of Independent Business
While the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) claims that cities receive just eight cents out of every tax dollar collected in Canada, the actual number is nearly double that: 15 cents. The FCM leaves out major sources of revenue, including transfers from provincial and federal governments, from its calculations.
According to the report’s findings, while transfer payments from senior levels of government did decrease in the 1990s, overall municipal revenue increased thereafter as municipal taxes and fees more than made up the difference.
Harmonizing Nutrition Monitoring and Evaluation Across U.S. Government Agencies (PDF)
Source: Bread for the World Institute
• Significant resources and political will are being mobilized for global nutrition. The new whole of U.S. government Nutrition Strategy being developed is an opportunity to unite departments and agencies behind a common nutrition goal.
• Under Feed the Future (FTF), the U.S. government is working to strengthen how evidence-based nutrition interventions are integrated into development projects working across sectors. Results and lessons learned from the first two years of FTF implementation need to be gathered, shared and applied across all relevant U.S. government funded programs.
• A monitoring and evaluation framework, operational and technical guidance as well as program tools for nutrition have been developed under FTF and the Global Health Initiative (GHI). These materials need to be harmonized and adapted for routine use by relevant departments and agencies.
• Sustained senior-level government commitment and increased in-house nutrition technical capacity in headquarters offices and the field will be key for the U.S. government to achieve its global nutrition objectives working across departments, agencies and initiatives.
Higher-Income Individuals Pay More for Medicare
Source: AARP Public Policy Institute
The Medicare program requires higher-income individuals to contribute more toward the cost of the program than the general population. Read the fact sheet to learn the proportion of people with Medicare who are paying higher Part B and Part D premiums, how much this proportion is projected to grow over the next five years, and how much more these higher-income individuals are paying. Also, learn about the Medicare tax rate for higher-income workers.
The Rise of Superweeds—and What to Do About It
Source: Union of Concerned Scientists
It sounds like a sci-fi movie: American farmers fighting desperately to hold back an onslaught of herbicide-defying “superweeds.”
But there’s nothing imaginary—or entertaining—about this scenario. Superweeds are all too real, and they have now spread to over 60 million acres of our farmland, wreaking environmental and economic havoc wherever they go.
How did we get into this mess, and how do we fix it? A 2013 UCS briefing paper, The Rise of Superweeds—and What to Do About It, answers these questions.
Ethnic Cleansing and Sectarian Killings in the Central African Republic
Source: Amnesty International
“Ethnic cleansing” of Muslims has been carried out in the western part of the Central African Republic, the most populous part of the country, since early January 2014. Entire Muslim communities have been forced to flee, and hundreds of Muslim civilians who have not managed to escape have been killed by the loosely organised militias known as anti-balaka.
“They killed my children heartlessly,” said Oure, a Muslim woman whose four sons were killed by anti-balaka fighters on 26 January. She, her two sisters, their 75-year-old mother, and seven of the family’s children had gone out early in the morning, trying to reach a church in the northwest town of Baoro, when they were caught by an anti-balaka militia unit. “The children were slaughtered in front of our eyes,” Oure continued, sobbing: “both my children and my sisters’ children.” One of Oure’s sisters, Aishatu, was wounded on her hand when she tried to protect the children, who were boys ranging in age from 8 to 17 years old.
Amnesty International has documented large-scale and repeated anti-balaka attacks on Muslim civilian populations in Bouali, Boyali, Bossembélé, Bossemptélé, Baoro, Bawi, and the capital, Bangui, in January, and has received credible information regarding additional attacks in Yaloke, Boda, and Bocaranga. Some of these attacks were carried out in revenge for the previous killing of Christian civilians by Seleka forces and armed Muslims.
AARP Attitudes of Aging Study
A two-part study commissioned by AARP the Magazine. Part one was comprised of a Research Day with two three hour sessions consisting of six simultaneous focus groups. The Research Day’s intent was to help direct the quantitative portion of the research by better understanding:
- How adults age 45+ feel about aging
- What defines age. Is it the way one looks or the way one feels
- The impact of the prejudices of aging (ageism)
- The influence of society’s opinions on their perception of aging
- The impact of life events on their perception of aging
- How social connectedness and technology impact their perceptions of aging
Part two was an online survey of 1800 respondents consisting of attitudinal questions to answer the question, ‘What aging attitudes drive the overall satisfaction with life’? Attitudinal questions centered around the following items that were uncovered in part one of the research:
- Psychological growth and loss
- Health and physical changes
- Discrimination and prejudices
- Physical appearance
- Traditional and online social networks
Fit for the road: Older drivers’ crash rates continue to drop
Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Today’s older drivers are not only less likely to be involved in crashes than prior generations, they are less likely to be killed or seriously injured if they do crash, a new Institute study shows. That’s likely because vehicles are safer and seniors are generally healthier. It’s a marked shift that began to take hold in the mid-1990s and indicates that the growing ranks of aging drivers aren’t making U.S. roads deadlier.
Improving Mobile Device Privacy Disclosures (PDF)
Source: AARP Public Policy Institute
There is increasing concern about the amount of personal information that mobile device users may be revealing without their knowledge. Studies show that older consumers are one of the fastest-growing groups of mobile device users, and they express high levels of concern about the privacy of their information. For that reason, legislators, regulators, and consumer advocates are seeking to increase the transparency of mobile data collection and sharing.
Canadians stressed out by government paperwork: Poll
Source: Canadian Federation of Independent Business
As the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) launches its fifth annual Red Tape Awareness Week™, a new report links red tape to added stress and estimates the cost of some of the most common regulatory headaches for Canadians to be at least $10 billion per year or $730 for the average Canadian household.
This includes fees and time spent to comply with personal income tax obligations ($6.7 billion, excluding actual taxes paid); fees associated with applying for and renewing passports ($645 million); and fees associated with applying for and renewing driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations ($1.7 billion). Excluding personal income taxes, the value of time spent complying with these and other regulatory obligations is nearly $1.1 billion annually.
A slow yet stable national economic recovery gave rise to many new initiatives across states and regions with a shift toward targeted and refined investments in the high-tech economy for quicker returns – a continued trend from 2012.
While median income has risen slightly over the last two years, it is still 6 percent below pace from the start of the recession in 2007. Stagnant wages and income disparity characterize some of the hurdles to recovery. For low- and middle-income families, the data indicates wage growth is continuing to slow and is likely to decelerate long after the unemployment rate has returned to more normal levels. While unemployment continues to fall, job losses are disproportionately concentrated in rural areas. Although metro counties are nearly back to pre-recession levels in terms of job creation, non-metro counties have 5.9 million fewer jobs today than before the recession.
The outlook for state budgets has improved with a recent report indicating 14 consecutive quarters of growth in tax revenues after five quarters of decline in 2008- 2009. Enacted budget cuts and budget gaps have substantially decreased and overall revenue collections have outpaced projections, all of which points to a more stabilized state budget environment. Analysts warn a slowdown is on the horizon, however. Legislative fiscal officers are projecting a growth rate in general revenue funds of only 0.8 percent in FY14, much slower than the 5.7 percent growth seen in FY13.
Despite this volatility, some states made significant investments in research and capital initiatives to spur job creation and support entrepreneurial endeavors.