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The Economic Benefits from Air Transport in the UK

December 16, 2014 Comments off

The Economic Benefits from Air Transport in the UK
Source: Oxford Economics

This study, commissioned by leading players from the aviation and tourism sectors and published at the Annual Conference & Exhibition of the Airport Operators Association (AOA), the trade body for UK airports, on 10 November, shows that all three elements of the sector made a significant contribution to the UK economy.

It brings together data for airlines, airports and other ground-based infrastructure and aerospace manufacturing. It shows that aviation provides substantial economic benefits to the UK economy and its citizens, some of which are unique and essential to the operation of a modern economy.

Free registration required.

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New From the GAO

December 12, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Health Care: Information on Coverage Choices for Servicemembers, Former Servicemembers, and Dependents. GAO-15-4, December 12.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-4
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667487.pdf

2. Hurricane Sandy: FEMA Has Improved Disaster Aid Verification but Could Act to Further Limit Improper Assistance. GAO-15-15, December 12.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-15
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667470.pdf

3. VA Health Care: Improvements Needed in Monitoring Antidepressant Use for Major Depressive Disorder and in Increasing Accuracy of Suicide Data. GAO-15-55, November 12.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-55
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666841.pdf

4. College-and-Career Readiness: States Have Made Progress in Implementing New Standards and Assessments, but Challenges Remain. GAO-15-104R, December 12.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-104R

5. Grants Management: Programs at HHS and HUD Collect Administrative Cost Information but Differences in Cost Caps and Definitions Create Challenges. GAO-15-118, December 12.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-118
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667506.pdf

6. Grant Program Consolidations: Lessons Learned and Implications for Congressional Oversight. GAO-15-125, December 12.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-125
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667482.pdf

7. Aviation Security: Rapid Growth in Expedited Passenger Screening Highlights Need to Plan Effective Security Assessments. GAO-15-150, December 12.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-150
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667464.pdf
Podcast – http://www.gao.gov/multimedia/podcasts/667489

8. Medicaid: Federal Funds Aid Eligibility IT System Changes, but Implementation Challenges Persist. GAO-15-169, December 12.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-169
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667485.pdf

9. Missile Defense: Cost Estimating Practices Have Improved, and Continued Evaluation Will Determine Effectiveness. GAO-15-210R, December 12.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-210R

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Legitimate Weapon Systems or Unlawful Angels of Death?

December 11, 2014 Comments off

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Legitimate Weapon Systems or Unlawful Angels of Death?
Source: Pace International Law Review

Since the invasion of Afghanistan, the United States has utilized Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to locate, surveil and kill members of the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and its associated forces. Such killings have decimated the leadership of these groups and disrupted their operations. However, there are collateral effects from UAV killings including civilian deaths. These deaths increase resentment and hatred toward the US, which is channeled by terrorist groups to recruit new members and for local support. Moreover, targeted killings outside a combat zone have political and diplomatic consequences. This paper argues that the current uses of UAV are legal under international and domestic law. However, it proposes amended targeting criteria, greater transparency and increased checks on the executive branch for future use of UAVs.

New From the GAO

December 11, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports and Testimonies
Source: Government Accountability Office

Reports

1. Immigration Benefits: Improvements Needed to Fully Implement the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act. GAO-15-3, December 10.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-3
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667396.pdf

2. SSA Disability Benefits: Enhanced Policies and Management Focus Needed to Address Potential Physician-Assisted Fraud. GAO-15-19, November 10.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-19
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666831.pdf

3. Information Technology: HUD Can Take Additional Actions to Improve Its Governance. GAO-15-56, December 10.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-56
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667359.pdf

4. Transportation for Older Adults: Measuring Results Could Help Determine If Coordination Efforts Improve Mobility. GAO-15-158, December 10.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-158
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667376.pdf

5. Public Transit: Federal and Transit Agencies Taking Steps to Build Transit Systems’ Resilience but Face Challenges. GAO-15-159, December 10.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-159
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667394.pdf

Testimonies

1. NASA: Human Space Exploration Programs Face Challenges, by Cristina T. Chaplain, director, acquisition and sourcing management, before the Subcommittee on Space, House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. GAO-15-248T, December 10.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-248T
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667351.pdf

2. Unmanned Aerial Systems: Efforts Made toward Integration into the National Airspace Continue, but Many Actions Still Required, by Gerald L. Dillingham, Ph.D., director, physical infrastructure issues, before the Subcommittee on Aviation, House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. GAO-15-254T, December 10.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-254T
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667398.pdf

3. Federal Retirement Processing: Applying Information Technology Acquisition Best Practices Could Help OPM Overcome a Long History of Unsuccessful Modernization Efforts, by Valerie C. Melvin, director, information management and technology resources issues, before the Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service, and the Census, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. GAO-15-277T, December 10.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-277T
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667372.pdf

Seventy-Five Percent of Airport Restaurants Offer Healthful Meals, According to 2014 Airport Food Review

December 9, 2014 Comments off

Seventy-Five Percent of Airport Restaurants Offer Healthful Meals, According to 2014 Airport Food Review
Source: Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

Here’s a helpful tip for holiday travelers: 75 percent of restaurants at 23 of the nation’s busiest airports offer at least one cholesterol-free, plant-based, fiber-packed meal, according to a new report from registered dietitians at the nonprofit Physicians Committee.

Baltimore/Washington Airport ties with Newark Liberty for the most improved airport this year and takes the lead with 92 percent of its restaurants offering nutritious fare. Seattle-Tacoma International and Los Angeles International follow close behind with a score of 90 and 88 percent, respectively. Even though Atlanta comes in last, roughly half of its airport eateries are moving vegetables, whole grains, and legumes to the center of the plate.

11 No-Fly Zones in the United States

November 26, 2014 Comments off

11 No-Fly Zones in the United States
Source: AllGov.com

For every sensible decision the government makes, there are others that cause plenty of head scratching.

Look at the number—and selections—of no-fly zones in place around the United States. Eleven of them discussed at the website Mental Floss represent a mix of locations, some of which make complete sense.

Planes flying over Washington, D.C., are limited to certain commercial and other pre-approved flights up to an altitude of 18,000 feet. These restrictions came after the 9/11 attacks in the run-up to the Iraq war and are aimed at protecting federal government installations.

The same logic can be applied to the Pantex nuclear facility outside Amarillo, Texas. The Cold War-era facility handles all kinds of nuclear warheads, so it requires special protection from above. Likewise, the Naval Submarine Base in Kings Bay, Georgia that serves as the home port of the U.S. Atlantic fleet of Trident nuclear subs has a no-fly zone above it.

Other government installations covered by overflight restrictions are the Kennedy Space Center and the famed Area 51 in Nevada, which has long been a classified government facility for, well, no one truly knows what.

The sky over Camp David is also off-limits to aircraft. Again, makes sense considering it is a popular getaway and meeting place for the president and special guests, including foreign leaders. Another presidential-related area that has been declared off limits to air traffic below 1,000 feet is the Bush family compound near Kennebunkport, Maine.

But then there’s restricted airspace over Disneyland and Disney World. The restrictions below 3,000 feet were slipped into a 2003 spending bill. Disney has fought off previous attempts to remove them because it doesn’t want banner planes flying over its parks.

Drones and Aerial Surveillance: Considerations for Lawmakers

November 18, 2014 Comments off

Drones and Aerial Surveillance: Considerations for Lawmakers
Source: Brookings Institution

The looming prospect of expanded use of unmanned aerial vehicles, colloquially known as drones, has raised understandable concerns for lawmakers.[1] Those concerns have led some to call for legislation mandating that nearly all uses of drones be prohibited unless the government has first obtained a warrant. Privacy advocates have mounted a lobbying campaign that has succeeded in convincing thirteen states to enact laws regulating the use of drones by law enforcement, with eleven of those thirteen states requiring a warrant before the government may use a drone.[2] The campaigns mounted by privacy advocates oftentimes make a compelling case about the threat of pervasive surveillance, but the legislation is rarely tailored in such a way to prevent the harm that advocates fear. In fact, in every state where legislation was passed, the new laws are focused on the technology (drones) not the harm (pervasive surveillance). In many cases, this technology centric approach creates perverse results, allowing the use of extremely sophisticated pervasive surveillance technologies from manned aircraft, while disallowing benign uses of drones for mundane tasks like accident and crime scene documentation, or monitoring of industrial pollution and other environmental harms.

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