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Saturday, October 6, 2012

NAVAIR Clips: RQ-21A Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System


Thursday, October 4, 2012

U.S. District Court Orders Community Notice to Corpus Christi, Texas, Residents Who May Be Victims of Environmental Crimes by Citgo Refinery

WASHINGTON – Persons living around the CITGO refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas, who suffered immediate negative health effects from emissions from two large tanks at the facility that were operated between January 1994 and May 2003 in violation of the federal Clean Air Act, may be crime victims in United States v. CITGO Petroleum Corporation et al.

U.S. District Judge John D. Rainey has ordered the government to make this announcement so that any member of the community at large who believes they may be a crime victim and wishes to participate in the proceeding is made aware of their potential rights. To be able to participate, members of the community must submit by Nov. 4, 2012, (40 days from the order) a victim impact statement consistent with the Sept. 14, 2012, order, which is attached to this release. Under the Crime Victim’s Rights Act, persons who are directly and proximately harmed by the commission of a crime are crime victims and have certain, enumerated rights under the law. In this instance, community members may be considered crime victims based on the immediate negative health effects they suffered from breathing noxious fumes from Tanks 116 and 117 during the 1994 – 2003 time frame.

In June 2007, a jury convicted CITGO Petroleum Corporation and CITGO Refining and Chemicals Company L.P. for illegally operating two massive tanks at their Corpus Christi East Plant Refinery between January 1994 and March 2002. The tanks were the source of emissions including benzene, a known carcinogen, that may have affected persons in the surrounding communities of Hillcrest and Oak Park. Witnesses at the trial testified that emissions from the tanks could be detected in Oak Park and Hillcrest in the form of strong gaseous type odors.

On Sept. 25 and 26, 2007, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency held community meetings at the Oveale Williams Senior Center in Corpus Christi during which more than 300 persons submitted victim impact statements. The current order is to identify any additional persons who may qualify as crime victims.


Remarks at the World Food Program - USA Awards Ceremony

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State

Ben Franklin Room
Washington, DC
October 3, 2012

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you so much. Halima, please tell all of the women in the valley how proud I am of them and what they are doing, and thank them for taking such good care of that sweet pepper plant – (laughter) – so it would have a good yield. And thank you for coming to be with us for this event today, because really what you represent and what you just said is so important to us to know that our efforts are helping you make a difference.

And let me welcome all of you here to the State Department, to the Benjamin Franklin Room. I think Mr. Franklin would be very happy we’re having this event here. There are so many champions in the fight against hunger and food insecurity who are here with us today. I thank Frank Sesno for once again lending his experience and expertise to this important mission that we share. I thank Hunter Biden for, as was said, continuing his extraordinary family’s record of service and stewardship. Thank you so much, Hunter. And Rick Leach, who provides essential leadership for World Food Program USA.

And I also want to pay tribute to Dr. Raj Shah, who is here in his capacity as the Administrator of USAID, but the real story behind his becoming Administrator of USAID is that I stole him from USDA, where he was working on these issues and was one of our absolutely indispensible partners in conceiving and putting together Feed the Future. And under Raj’s leadership, USAID is doing an amazing job of implementing the vision that we had at the beginning of this Administration.

I also want to thank David Lane, Ambassador Lane, who is our Ambassador to the World Food Program. And it’s good to see you here and thank you for your leadership. I also want to acknowledge a dear friend, a Congressman who, upon hearing that I would be nominated to be Secretary of State, set up an appointment to talk to me about hunger. Jim McGovern, thank you for your years of commitment on these issues that affect people’s lives and futures. (Applause.)

Dan Glickman, a former Secretary at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and one of the real brains behind the Chicago Council Report on Food Security and Ending Hunger, and so many others who are here who have been involved in this struggle. And of course, we wouldn’t be here were it not for the man who inspired this award, Senator George McGovern, who his entire 90 years has been at the forefront of our nation’s fight against hunger. And I was thrilled to receive this award from him two years ago because I admire and respect the work that he’s done over a lifetime.

And then finally, the two people that we are here to honor today. You’ll hear more about David and Christina, but I am personally delighted that they would come from the world of business and entertainment and, with such passion and commitment, really give of themselves to this global issue. And we are so grateful to you both. If I could sing, Christina, I would – (laughter) – want to be on your team. (Laughter and applause.) But since I can’t, I’m glad you’re on this team. (Laughter.)

Before we hear from David and Christina, I want to take just a moment to look at how far we have come since starting this journey together four years ago. We had studied the historic trends and saw that while the Green Revolution had lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, it had largely bypassed many others, especially in Africa. At the same time, if you remember back to the global economic crisis of 2008, one of the impacts was skyrocketing food prices combined with climate problems that really conspired to put so many people into hunger and malnutrition. There were, for the first time in history, more than one billion hungry people in the world.

And so the Obama Administration and partners around the world looked at how both the trend lines and the headlines were talking to us, and said: Look, we can’t wait; we have to act now. And we called on G-8 donor partners, and at the G-8 Summit in L’Aquila, they came up with the Food Security Initiative, which was an unprecedented $22 billion commitment. And the United States did our part with President Obama’s announcement of a $3.5 billion pledge, which led to our Feed the Future program.

As you saw on the video, our efforts are starting to pay off. Feed the Future has helped 9 million children get the nutrition they need to thrive, especially in those first 1,000 days from pregnancy through a child’s second birthday. We’re working with the private sector to help farmers connect with markets where they get better prices for their products. Nearly 2 million more farmers are producing the high-quality, sustainably grown products – like rice, coffee, and cacao – that businesses and customers are demanding. Now, we have an ambitious research agenda, collaborating with the private sector, on the next generation of tools that will accelerate our progress. And we will soon launch an action plan to deepen our work with civil society groups.

So we have a full agenda and we’re moving ahead. But I think it’s fair to say that we’re quite humble about the challenges ahead of us. We are racing to stay ahead of climate change, of droughts, in our country and around the world. We’re racing to stay ahead of conflict that disrupts markets and terrorizes smallholder farmers, particularly women. We’re racing to stay ahead of corruption that stands in the way of farmers getting a decent price for their products or even getting their harvest to market unspoiled.

So we know we face a lot of very big obstacles. But what I’m encouraged by, and excited even, is how far we have come and the fact that we have a vision and a plan about how we’re going to get the rest of the way, because we cannot accept a world where children go hungry simply because of where they are born.

So I often say we need everyone who cares about this issue to stand up and use their voice. And well, with Christina, that is literally true. (Laughter.) Now, although she is best known for her chart-topping hits and her top-rated television show, she’s also a mom and a concerned citizen. And as a World Food Program Ambassador Against Hunger, she has traveled to Latin America and seen firsthand the devastation that malnutrition, especially early in life, can cause. And of all the videos that Christina has made over the years, to me the most heartwarming may be the one where she sits with a group of kids in Haiti and sings "Itsy Bitsy Spider." I even know that song, Christina. (Laughter.)

But I am so appreciative of what you’re giving to the cause. I mean, it’s easy when you’re a big star, as you rightly are, to just stay focused on what you’re doing and producing. But you’ve used your talent to help others, and that is a great gift.

Now, if there is a rock star of the food industry, that is David, the man who oversees some of the best-known brands in the world, and now he is turning his relentless drive and enthusiasm to Yum! Brands’ World Hunger Relief initiative.

With Christina as its global spokesperson, this program has become one of the largest private sector hunger relief efforts in the world, raising $115 million for the World Food Program and other organizations, and providing 460 million meals to hungry children around the globe. That’s the kind of commitment that Rick and the World Food Program here in the United States and around the world are really grateful for. So thank you for taking your business success and just matching those up with values and compassion and doing so much for others.

Now as we look ahead, we are hoping to keep expanding the circle of partners. We want to bring in more private sector partners, more civil society groups, more faith communities, and we want to bring in people who are on the front lines, women who themselves know what we’re talking about. And we need to measure progress not just by what individuals can do, but by what we all together can achieve.

So it’s been my great privilege to work with all of you, and we’re going to make sure that this commitment stays institutionalized at USAID and the State Department for the foreseeable future, because we have a lot to do before we can rest easy.

But it’s been a great honor for me, and now I think we’re going to give out some awards, right? Oh, we’re going to do another video, Frank. Okay. So we’re going to do another video – (laughter) – and pay attention to the video and then we’ll hear from our two honorees. (Applause.)



SEC Brings Charges in $42 Million Offering Fraud Targeting Seniors

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced charges against Bradley A. Holcom, of Welches, Oregon, and Jose L. Pinedo, of San Diego, California, in connection with a fraudulent scheme that sold $42 million of promissory notes to more than 150 investors located across the United States, many of whom are senior citizens.

According to the complaint against Holcom, he lured investors by offering them guaranteed monthly interest payments on purportedly safe deals. He promised that their funds would be used to finance the development of specific pieces of real estate, and that each investment would be fully secured. In reality, the investments were unsecured, and the same piece of underlying property was often pledged as purported collateral on numerous investors’ promissory notes.

In addition to his misrepresentations, the complaint alleges that Holcom was also running a classic Ponzi scheme. While Holcom used some of the investors’ money to develop real estate, he also relied on those funds to make interest and principal payments on promissory notes as they came due. Holcom also used investor funds for personal use and on unrelated business ventures. By 2008, as the real estate market declined, Holcom’s scheme collapsed. Investors lost principal in excess of $25 million.

The Commission also alleges that Pinedo, who served as Holcom’s bookkeeper and as an officer or manager of Holcom’s numerous corporate entities, routinely signed promissory notes and other false and misleading documents that were sent to investors.

The Commission alleges that Holcom violated Sections 5(a), 5(c), and 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 ("Securities Act"), Sections 10(b) and 15(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. The Commission is seeking a permanent injunction, disgorgement plus pre- and post-judgment interest, and civil penalties against Holcom. Without admitting or denying the allegations in the Commission’s complaint against him, Pinedo has agreed to settle the matter, and consented to a final judgment enjoining him from violations of Sections 5(a), 5(c), 17(a)(2) and 17(a)(3) of the Securities Act.


People line up to take a tour of a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft, Sept. 29, 2012 at Christchurch International Airport, New Zealand. The plane, deployed from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, accomodated more than 10,000 visitors from the Christchurch area as part of the city's IceFest event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Sean Tobin)

Airmen showcase C-17 to New Zealanders

by Staff Sgt. Sean J. Tobin
62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

10/3/2012 - CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AFNS) -- Thousands of New Zealanders visited the Christchurch International Airport for a chance to get a glimpse inside the cockpit of a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft, which deployed to Christchurch from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Sep. 29 in support of Operation Deep Freeze 2012.

Airmen from the 62nd and 446th Airlift Wings guided visitors onto the aircraft and answered questions about the plane's capabilities. The tour was one of the many attractions arranged for the city's first ever New Zealand IceFest, an event with Antarctic-themed attractions throughout the city.

The event, which started Sept. 14 and is scheduled to last until Oct. 14, is a celebration of New Zealand's long history with Antarctica.

Upon arrival into Christchurch, the aircraft made a grand entrance performing a low-altitude flyover of various parts of the city. This included a flyover of Hagley Park, in the city center, where hundreds of school children gathered in a large formation to spell the word "IceFest" as a gesture to welcome the jet and its occupants to Christchurch.

The following day, people waited in line for as long as three hours for their chance to tour the jet that will soon be transporting cargo and National Science Foundation personnel to McMurdo Station, Antarctica.

"Christchurch is celebrating a century of being the gateway to Antarctica," said Jo Blair, the IceFest event director. "The goal of this event is to showcase our heritage with Antarctica and to help get kids interested in science, as well."

Getting a chance to tour the C-17 that will be transporting hundreds of NSF personnel is great for the kids in that respect, she said.

Also in attendance was the United States ambassador to New Zealand, David Huebner.

"This tour helps put a human face on U.S. military personnel," said Huebner. "Often, people tend to form their opinions from what they see on TV, and this tour is a great way to interact with U.S. Airmen and meet them face to face."

Christchurch got hit hard by the earthquakes in the past couple years and it hurt the city's morale and the people's confidence in the city's future, he said.

"This tour is a very tangible sign of the relationship the U.S. has with Christchurch," said Huebner. "It's great for the city to have friends demonstrate that they care."

Edwina Cordwell, a resident of Christchurch and one of the local attendees on the C-17 tour, described her amazement at seeing the large aircraft maneuver so effortlessly over her home.

"It gives you goose bumps," she said. "Seeing how nimble that huge plane can be. It's almost acrobatic."

Cordwell got choked up describing how she felt seeing the U.S. Air Force visiting Christchurch, especially in light of the devastation the city has suffered over recent years.

"It's quite emotional knowing someone cares," said Cordwell. "Seeing all this is just magical."

According to a representative of the event, more than 10,000 people showed up to tour the aircraft.

The first of 52 main season ODF missions departed Christchurch International Airport, en route to McMurdo Station, Antarctica, Oct. 1.


Friday, October 5, 2012


Army Sgt. 1st Class Oscar Ayala does situps during a physical fitness test for the Sullivan Cup at Fort Benning, Ga, May 7, 2012. In the past two years, Ayala has had two hip surgeries, but has not let it affect his physical condition. "It's all in how you maintain yourself," he explained. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Bailey Kramer
Face of Defense: Soldier Uses Obstacles as Motivation
By Army Spc. Bailey Kramer
1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division

FORT HOOD, Texas, Oct. 3, 2012 - Growing up, his dream was to be a United States soldier. So even after two hip surgeries only months apart, Army Sgt. 1st Class Oscar Ayala, a platoon sergeant assigned to 1st Cavalry Division's Company D, 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, "Ironhorse," 1st Brigade Combat Team, still manages to outperform his soldiers.

"I always wanted to be a soldier," Ayala said. "When I was in high school, I told my recruiter I wanted to join the Army. I didn't ask for anything. I just joined."

Ayala, a native of Kearny, N.J., enlisted as a tanker in the National Guard in 1999. After a year and a half, he switched to active duty.

Serving as a platoon sergeant is special to Ayala.

"I never pictured myself being in the position I am in now," he said. "I mean, I am just one of many at my position, but going back to my childhood, I never thought I would have this impact on other soldiers, or even [noncommissioned officers]."

After converting to active duty, Ayala was stationed at Fort Lewis, Wash., where he stayed for two years before moving to here. Since then, he has been deployed four times in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn and, in his most recent deployment in Kuwait, Operation Spartan Shield.

Although he has deployed numerous times, Ayala said, he has not let it affect his attitude toward the Army.

"I know I have younger soldiers looking up to me," he said. "I have to show my soldiers that even though we go through tough times, we are still soldiers, and that's what we get paid to do. We have to get the mission accomplished whether we are going through good or bad times."

One of Ayala's soldiers, Army Spc. Sam Garcia, said he can look to Ayala for guidance and leadership.

"[Ayala] has always been approachable," Garcia said about his respected mentor. "He's [seasoned], and I know I can count on him to help me when I need him most."

Ayala sustained a hip injury during his 2006-2008 Iraq deployment. During his check-up, problems were found in both hips, resulting in a dual surgery -- the first in April 2011 and the second following less than two months later.

Even with the surgeries and the pain, Ayala said, his motivation hasn't wavered.

"I am still motivated, probably a little more," he said. "I learned to ignore the majority of the pain. Whether I am injured or not, I still go up there and lead my guys."

Ayala still receives a perfect score of 300 on his physical fitness test, consisting of pushups, situps and a two-mile run.

"I feel as though I set the bar for my platoon," he said. "If I can do it, they can, too. A lot of my guys see me trying and they get behind me. It keeps me and them motivated."

Ayala was the tank commander of the Ironhorse tank team that participated in the prestigious Sullivan Cup, a competition testing tankers' skills across the Army. He was one of only two competitors to earn a perfect score of 300 in the fitness test portion of the competition.

"It made me feel that although I am on the older side of the competitors, that age is just a number," Ayala said. "It's all in how you maintain yourself."

His wife of 25 years, Katherine, also is aware of his self-motivation, he said.

"[She] keeps telling me to slow down on the physical side of work, exercising and such," Ayala said with a chuckle. "But I remind her I am a leader, and I can't lead my soldiers from the rear. She understands and is very supportive of my choices."

With everything that has happened, Ayala said, having a supportive wife has helped him push through his obstacles.

"It's a little bit hard," he said. "But like I tell my guys, even though we go through tough times, I am a soldier."


September 24, 2012

The Deep Convective Clouds & Chemistry (DC3) Experiment, which began in mid-May, explores the influence of thunderstorms on air just beneath the stratosphere, a region that influences Earth's climate and weather patterns. Scientists used three research aircraft, mobile radars, lightning mapping arrays and other tools to pull together a comprehensive picture. Credit: NOAA

Dropsondes--Work Horses in Hurricane Forecasting
Small cylinders dropped from airplanes gather atmospheric data on their way down

Inside a cylinder that is about the size of a roll of paper towels lives a circuit board filled with sensors. It's called a dropsonde, or "sonde" for short. It's a work horse of hurricane forecasting, dropping out of "Hurricane Hunter" airplanes right into raging storms. As the sonde falls through the air, its sensors gather data about the atmosphere to help us better understand climate and other atmospheric conditions.

"Dropsondes have a huge impact on our understanding of hurricanes and our ability to predict hurricanes," explains electrical engineer Terry Hock at the Earth Observing Laboratory in the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), located in Boulder, Colo.

With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Hock and his colleagues at NCAR have been designing, building and improving dropsonde technology for more than 30 years. "Our most current development is a fully automated dropsonde system for NASA's unmanned Global Hawk aircraft," says Hock.

Compared to earlier models, today's sondes are lighter weight, relatively inexpensive and loaded with sensors.

"We have a lot of electronics and, on the back side, a battery pack to operate the sonde. We have a temperature and two humidity sensors, and we have a GPS receiver," explains Hock, as he points out the different circuit board components. "As the sonde moves, we're using that GPS receiver to track the sonde's movements very precisely, which is then telling us the wind speed and wind direction. At the top of the sonde is a parachute which slows down the descent."

Electrical engineer Dean Lauritsen, a member of Hock's team, developed the system software on the aircraft, which controls the aircraft data system and process, and also displays dropsonde data during the sondes free fall to earth. There's such a system on the HIAPER, the NSF/NCAR Gulfstream V Research Aircraft, which uses sondes for scientific research, and a similar system used by the U.S. Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters in Biloxi, Miss., and the NOAA Hurricane Hunters in Tampa, Fla. On board each aircraft are a computer and a rack of electronic equipment to monitor and receive information from sondes. "The system is capable of tracking as many as eight dropsondes in the air at the same time. Each one of them is transmitting data on a separate frequency as it falls." says Lauritsen.

From the time the sonde leaves the aircraft, it is checking surroundings two times a second and sending information back to the aircraft, including pressure, temperature, humidity, wind speed, and wind direction. Future developments are expected to include sensors for chemicals such as ozone.

"We're taking vertical slices of the atmosphere constantly as the sonde falls," says Hock. "We're seeing very precise single measurements show up immediately on the computer screen."

Researchers process the information using NCAR-developed custom software, and then send it to weather forecasters and researchers around the world. In the case of the Hurricane Hunters, the information goes to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

NCAR software engineer Charlie Martin develops custom software called ASPEN, which stands for Atmospheric Sounding Processing Environment. ASPEN helps make sense of all the dropsonde data. "Once the dropsonde has fallen through the atmosphere and the data has come back to the aircraft, that raw data needs a little more treatment before we send it to weather services around the world," explains Martin.

Martin points to a map showing a compilation of dropsonde wind data collected in August 2011, as Hurricane Irene was churning its way toward the Florida coast. "The winds are in a circular pattern," says Martin, as he identifies small triangles on the map that represent the wind and wind direction. "The center of the hurricane is clearly depicted in the center of the circular pattern. The National Hurricane Center uses this data along with other data to classify the hurricane and assign a category to it."

Hock and his team also custom fit aircraft with launchers to deploy the sondes, including one system for helium-filled balloons. In 2010, American and French researchers deployed balloons over Antarctica that dropped 600 sondes over a four-month period to study atmospheric conditions and the shifting ozone layer. "There is now a very dense set of measurements that came out of this project that has mapped the Antarctic atmosphere like it has never been done before," notes Martin.

"Atmospheric conditions above the Antarctic continent are hard to study since only a handful of sounding stations are regularly maintained there," says Peter Milne, program manager for ocean and atmospheric sciences within NSF's Office of Polar Programs. "Fortunately, the Antarctic polar vortex, a huge cyclone that sets up above the entire continent, is like the NASCAR of long distance ballooning, with balloons sweeping around the continent for as long as they stay aloft. Using these drifting platforms provided a unique data set."

Such "inside information" is helping scientists learn more about climate and hurricanes. Data from dropsondes is also giving scientists a better understanding about atmospheric conditions that spawn any number of weather conditions. Hock expects this will help forecasters make earlier and more precise hurricane predictions, giving people in the path of a killer storm more time to get out of harm's way.


Pedro Loureiro, left, archivist at the Defense Imagery Management Operations Center, and Jeff Sotzing, CEO at Carson Entertainment Group, review a 1963 film of "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" once thought to be lost, that was found at DIMOC's facility in Riverside, Calif. DIMOC turned over the film to Sotzing to be added to the Carson archives. DOD photo by Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Will Gaskill
'Tonight' Episodes Believed Lost Turn Up at DOD Facility
By Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Will Gaskill
American Forces Network Broadcast Center

RIVERSIDE, Calif., Oct. 3, 2012 - Once thought to be lost, a film reel containing clips of "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" was discovered in a military visual information storage facility here and was turned over Oct. 1 to Jeff Sotzing, nephew of Johnny Carson.

The clips, dating back to 1963, were found on an archived 16 mm film reel stored at the Defense Imagery Management Operations Center, known as DIMOC, just outside of March Air Reserve Base.

In the 1960s, the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service received film reels from the production studios and distributed the programming to its stations for service members around the world. After the footage was shown and no longer needed, it was returned to the studios, destroyed, or sometimes kept on site at the AFRTS facility, now called the American Forces Network Broadcast Center.

"Somebody had the brains or historical foresight to save this reel," said Pedro Loureiro, archivist at DIMOC.

The television industry used to reuse tapes, Loureiro said. Newer episodes were recorded over the older material without much thought of archiving what is now thought of as part of the "golden age" of television.

"Everything from the 1960s is considered lost," he said. "That's what they did with everybody's show," said Sotzing, CEO of the Carson Entertainment Group, the owners of Carson's archive. Besides being related to the late entertainer, Sotzing worked on the show from 1977 to 1992, working his way up from being a runner to producing the show.

"I'm really looking forward to adding this film to the collection. Almost everything from 1962 to 1973 is gone," Sotzing said.

Mary Carnes, a retired program support manager at the broadcast center, discovered the reel as she was sorting through a box of old items that had been overlooked for years.

"As soon as I saw it, I knew it was a gem," Carnes said. "Giving it back to the family and the Carson archives will be like a birthday or Christmas for them.

"This is one of the great parts of the job here," she continued. We can do the work we do to entertain our troops, and document history at the same time. It's really great."

In all, "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" highlighted nearly 23,000 stars in 4,351 episodes over a 30-year span. Carson won six Emmy Awards, the Peabody Award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and Kennedy Center Honors, and is enshrined in the Television Academy Hall of Fame.

"Johnny would make an on-air plea [for lost footage]," Sotzing said. "He would be thrilled to get this. A lot of young people don't know who Johnny Carson is. This helps show them."

The newly discovered footage will be digitally recorded, transcribed and then made available for users of the Carson Entertainment Group's searchable online archives. The physical film will be stored at a former salt mine in Hutchinson, Kan., which currently houses the Carson archives as well as many other Hollywood film archives, Sotzing said.


121001-G-TG089-038 NEW YORK (Oct. 1, 2012) The guided-missile destroyer Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Michael Murphy (DDG 112) makes its way through New York Harbor in preparation for its commissioning Oct. 6. The new destroyer honors the late Lt. (SEAL) Michael P. Murphy, a New York native, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in combat as leader of a four-man reconnaissance team in Afghanistan. Murphy was the first person to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan, and the first member of the U.S. Navy to receive the award since the Vietnam War. #murph (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Erik Swanson/Released)

NEW YORK (NNS) -- The Navy will commission the newest guided-missile destroyer, Michael Murphy (DDG 112), Oct. 6, during a 10 a.m. EDT ceremony at Pier 88 in Manhattan, N.Y.

The newest destroyer honors Navy SEAL (Sea, Air, Land) Lt. Michael P. Murphy, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during Operation Red Wings in Afghanistan June 28, 2005.

Murphy led a four-man team tasked with finding a key Taliban leader in the mountainous terrain near Asadabad, Afghanistan, when they came under fire from a much larger enemy force with superior tactical position.

Mortally wounded while exposing himself to enemy fire, Murphy knowingly left his position of cover to get a clear signal in order to communicate with his headquarters. While being shot at repeatedly, Murphy calmly provided his unit's location and requested immediate support for his element. He returned to his cover position to continue the fight until finally succumbing to wounds.

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Maureen Murphy will serve as sponsor of the ship named for her late son. The ceremony will be highlighted by a time-honored Navy tradition when she gives the first order to "man our ship and bring her to life!"

"This ship honors the courage, service and sacrifice of Lt. Michael Murphy, his Red Wings brothers, fellow SEALs, special operators and service members around the world who answer the call of duty every day," said Mabus. "It is absolutely fitting that the USS Michael Murphy bears a SEAL trident on her crest because, much like Michael and every Navy SEAL who has earned the honor of wearing the trident, this ship is designed to counter threats from above and below the surface of the oceans, in the air and on land."

Designated DDG 112, Michael Murphy is the 62nd Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, capable of conducting operations from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection. Michael Murphy is capable of fighting air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously and will contain a myriad of offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime warfare.

"USS Michael Murphy, the most flexible, lethal and multi-mission capable ship of its kind, represents the backbone of our surface combatant fleet," said Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations. "It is one of the best destroyers in the world. This ship will operate forward around the globe, assuring allies, projecting power and defending our nation. And, like its namesake Lt. Michael Murphy, this ship will serve to protect, influence and win in an era of uncertainty."

Cmdr. Thomas E. Shultz, a native of El Cajon, Calif., is the commanding officer of the ship and will lead the crew of 279 officers and enlisted personnel. The 9,200-ton Michael Murphy was built by General Dynamics Bath Iron Works. The ship is 509 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 59 feet, and has a navigational draft of 31 feet. Four gas turbine engines will power the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.


Thursday, October 4, 2012


Washington, D.C., Oct. 3, 2012 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Boston-based dark pool operator eBX LLC with failing to protect the confidential trading information of its subscribers and failing to disclose to all subscribers that it allowed an outside firm to use their confidential trading information.

According to the SEC’s order instituting a settled administrative proceeding, eBX operates the alternative trading system LeveL ATS, which it calls a "dark pool" trading program. Dark pools do not display quotations to the public, meaning that investors who subscribe to a dark pool have access to potential trade opportunities that other investors using public markets do not. eBX inaccurately informed its subscribers that their flow of orders to buy or sell securities would be kept confidential and not shared outside of LeveL. eBX instead allowed an outside technology firm to use information about LeveL subscribers’ unexecuted orders for its own business purposes. The outside firm’s separate order routing business therefore received an information advantage over other LeveL subscribers because it was able to use its knowledge of their orders to make routing decisions for its own customers’ orders and increase its execution rate. eBX had insufficient safeguards and procedures to protect subscribers’ confidential trading information.

eBX agreed to pay an $800,000 penalty to settle the charges.

"Dark pools are dark for a reason: buyers and sellers expect confidentiality of their trading information," said Robert Khuzami, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. "Many eBX subscribers didn’t get the benefit of that bargain – they were unaware that another order routing system was given exclusive access to trading information that it used for its own benefit."

According to the SEC’s order, eBX and the outside firm it hired to run LeveL signed a subscription agreement in February 2008, after which the outside firm’s separate order routing business began to use certain LeveL subscribers’ confidential trading data. In November 2008, eBX signed a new agreement with the outside firm that allowed its order routing business to remember and use all LeveL subscribers’ unexecuted order information. As a result of the agreements, the outside firm’s order routing business began to fill far more of its orders than other LeveL users did. Its order router also knew how other eBX subscribers’ orders in LeveL were priced and could use that information to determine whether to route orders to LeveL or another venue based on where it knew it might get a better price for its own customers’ orders.

According to the SEC’s order, eBX failed to disclose in required SEC filings that it allowed LeveL subscribers’ unexecuted order information to be shared outside of LeveL.

In addition to the $800,000 penalty, eBX was censured and ordered to cease and desist from committing or causing further violations of certain provisions of the federal securities laws regulating alternative trading systems.

The SEC’s investigation was conducted by Mark Gera, James Goldman, Kathleen Shields, and Dawn Edick in the SEC’s Boston Regional Office. Mr. Gera led the related examination with assistance from Paul D’Amico and Rhonda Wilson under the supervision of Associate Regional Director Lucile Corkery.


Credit:  U.S. Marshals Service 
Investor Bulletin: Top Tips for Selecting a Financial Professional

Choosing a financial professional-whether a stockbroker, a financial planner, or an investment adviser-is an important decision. Consider the tips below as you make your choice. Also the third page of this document has a list of questions you can ask a financial professional whose services you are considering.

Tip 1. Do your homework and ask questions.

A lot of the information you’ll need to make a choice will be in the documents the financial professional can provide you about opening an account or starting a relationship. You should read them carefully. If you don’t understand something, ask questions until you do. It’s your money and you should feel comfortable asking about it.

Tip 2. Find out whether the products and services available are right for you.

Financial professionals offer a range of financial and investment services such as:
Financial planning
Ongoing money management
Advice on choosing securities
Tax and retirement planning
Insurance advice

Just like a grocery store offers more products than a convenience store, some financial professionals offer a wide range of products or services, while others offer a more limited selection. Think about what you might need, and ask about what would be available to you. For example, do you want or need:

Access to a broad range of securities, such as stocks, options and bonds, or will you mostly want a few types such as mutual funds, exchange traded funds, or insurance products?
A one-time review or financial plan?
To do your own research, but use the financial professional to make your trades or to provide a second opinion occasionally?
A recommendation each time you think about changing or making an investment?
Ongoing investment management, with the financial professional getting your permission before any purchase or sale is made?
Ongoing investment management, where the financial professional decides what purchases or sales are made, and you are told about it afterwards?

Tip 3. Understand how you’ll pay for services and products, and how your financial professional gets paid as well.

Many firms offer more than one type of account. You may be able to pay for services differently depending on the type of account you choose. For example, you might pay:
An hourly fee for advisory services;
A flat fee, such as $500 per year, for an annual portfolio review or $2,000 for a financial plan;
A commission on the securities bought or sold, such as $12 per trade;
A fee (sometimes called a "load") based on the amount you invest in a mutual fund or variable annuity
A "mark-up" when you buy "house" products (such as bonds that the broker holds in inventory), or a "mark-down" when you sell them
Depending on what services you want, one type of account may cost you less than another. Ask about what alternatives make sense for you.

And remember: even if you don’t pay the financial professional directly, such as through an annual fee, that person is still getting paid. For example, someone else may be paying the financial professional for selling specific products. However, those payments may be built into the costs you ultimately pay, such as the expenses associated with buying or holding a financial product.

While some of these fees may seem small, it is important to keep in mind that they can add up, and in the end take away from the profits you otherwise could be making from your investments.

Tip 4. Ask about the financial professional’s experience and credentials.

Financial professionals hold different licenses. For example, financial professionals who are broker-dealers must take an exam to hold a license, while state regulators often require investment advisers to hold certain licenses. Financial professionals also have a wide range of educational and professional backgrounds. They may also have certain designations after their names, which are titles given by industry groups that themselves are not regulated or subject to standards other than their own. If a financial professional has an industry designation, like "CFA," you can look up what it stands for at the "Understanding Investment Professional Designations" page on FINRA’s website at Don’t accept a professional designation as a badge of knowledge without knowing what it means.

Tip 5. Ask the financial professional if he or she has had a disciplinary history with a government regulator or had customer complaints.
Even if a close friend or relative has recommended a financial professional, you should check the person’s background for signs of any potential problems, such as a disciplinary history by a regulator or customer complaints. The SEC, FINRA, and state securities regulators keep records on the disciplinary history of many of the financial professionals they regulate.
Check the background of your financial professional to learn more or to help confirm what he or she has told you:
For financial professionals who are brokers: you can find background information on the person and his/her firm at
FINRA’s BrokerCheck website.
For financial professionals who are investment advisers registered with the SEC: you can find background information on the person and his/her firm at the SEC’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure database.
State securities regulators also have background information on brokers as well as certain investment advisers. You can find your state regulator at

Investor Checklist
Some Key Questions for Hiring a Financial Professional

Expectations of the Relationship
How often should I expect to hear from you?
How often will you review my account or make recommendations to me?
If my investments aren’t doing well, will you call me and recommend something else?
If I invest with you, how can I keep track of how well my investments are doing?

Experience and BackgroundWhat experience do you have, especially with people like me? What percentage of your time would you estimate that you spend on people with situations and goals that are similar to mine?
What education have you had that relates to your work?
What professional licenses do you hold?
Are you registered with the SEC, a state securities regulator, or FINRA?
How long have you done this type of work?
Have you ever been disciplined by a regulator? If yes, what was the problem and how was it resolved?
Have you had customer complaints? If yes, how many, what were they about, and how were they resolved?

ProductsWhat type of products do you offer?
How many different products do you offer?
Do you offer "house" products? If so, what types of products are they, and do you receive any incentives for selling these products, or for maintaining them in a customer’s account? What kind of incentives are they?

Payments and FeesGiven my situation and what I’m looking for, what is the [best / most cost effective] way for me to pay for financial services? Why?
What are the fees that I will pay for products and services?
How and when will I see the fees I pay?
Which of those fees will I pay directly (such as a commission on a stock trade) and which are taken directly from the products I own (such as some mutual fund expenses)
How do you get paid?
If I invested $1000 with you today, approximately how much would you get paid during the following year, based on my investment?
Does someone else (such as a fund company) pay you for offering or selling these products or services?


Credit:  Wikimedia.
The percentage of teens in high school who drink and drive has decreased by more than half since 1991,* but more can be done. Nearly one million high school teens drank alcohol and got behind the wheel in 2011. Teen drivers are 3 times more likely than more experienced drivers to be in a fatal crash. Drinking any alcohol greatly increases this risk for teens.

Research has shown that factors that help to keep teens safe include parental involvement, minimum legal drinking age and zero tolerance laws, and graduated driver licensing systems. These proven steps can protect the lives of more young drivers and everyone who shares the road with them.

*High school students aged 16 years and older who, when surveyed, said they had driven a vehicle one or more times during the past 30 days when they had been drinking alcohol.

Drinking and driving can be deadly, especially for teens
Fewer teens are drinking and driving, but this risky behavior is still a major threat.
Drinking and driving among teens in high school has gone down by 54% since 1991. Still, high school teens drive after drinking about 2.4 million times a month.
85% of teens in high school who report drinking and driving in the past month also say they binge drank. In the survey, binge drinking was defined as having 5 or more alcoholic drinks within a couple of hours.
1 in 5 teen drivers involved in fatal crashes had some alcohol in their system in 2010. Most of these drivers (81%) had BACs* higher than the legal limit for adults.

*Blood alcohol concentration. It is illegal for adults to drive with a BAC of .08% or higher. It is illegal for anyone under age 21 to drive after drinking any alcohol in all US states.


NATO Extends Rasmussen's Term as Secretary General

By Cheryl Pellerin

WASHINGTON, Oct. 3, 2012 - The North Atlantic Council has extended Anders Fogh Rasmussen's four-year term as NATO secretary general for another year, until July 31, 2014, the council announced today.

"Allies will support Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in his dedicated work to carry forward NATO's tasks, missions and objectives, based on consensual allied decisions," a written statement from the council read.

In a short briefing from NATO headquarters in Brussels this morning, Rasmussen said he is honored by the trust and support of allied governments.

"My first years in office presented many challenges," Rasmussen said. "We developed and agreed to a new strategic concept for the alliance. We took crucial decisions to develop a NATO missile defense system to protect our people and territory against a grave and growing threat."

NATO also has reached out to Russia and the alliance's partners around the world, and successfully enforced the historic resolution of the U.N. Security Council to protect civilians in Libya, he said.

"But we still face other pressing tasks: completing the process of transition in Afghanistan within the timeline we have set, strengthening our unique network of partners and keeping our Alliance fit for the future," the secretary general added.

"I have dedicated myself to these issues since I took office," Rasmussen said. "I am privileged to have had the chance to lead this Alliance through these testing times."

American Forces Press Service


Monday, October 1, 2012

Two Miami-Area Doctors Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Participating in $205 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme

WASHINGTON – Miami-area residents Dr. Mark Willner and Dr. Alberto Ayala, former medical directors at the mental health care company American Therapeutic Corporation (ATC), were each sentenced today to 10 years in prison for participating in a $205 million Medicare fraud scheme, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida; Special Agent-in-Charge Michael B. Steinbach of the FBI’s Miami Field Office; and Special Agent-in-Charge Christopher Dennis of the HHS Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Office of Investigations Miami office.

Willner, 56, and Ayala, 68, were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Patricia A. Seitz in the Southern District of Florida. Judge Seitz ordered Willner to pay more than $57 million in restitution and Ayala to pay more than $87 million in restitution, both jointly and severally with their co-defendants. Willner and Ayala were also both sentenced to three years of supervised release following their prison terms.

On June 1, 2012, after a seven week trial, a federal jury in the Southern District of Florida found Willner and Ayala each guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

Evidence at trial demonstrated that the defendants and their co-conspirators caused the submission of false and fraudulent claims to Medicare through ATC, a Florida corporation headquartered in Miami that operated purported partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) in seven different locations throughout South Florida and Orlando. A PHP is a form of intensive treatment for severe mental illness. The defendants and their co-conspirators also used a related company, American Sleep Institute (ASI), to submit fraudulent Medicare claims.

Evidence at trial revealed that ATC secured patients by paying kickbacks to assisted living facility owners and halfway house owners who would then steer patients to ATC. These patients attended ATC, where they were ineligible for the treatment ATC billed to Medicare and where they did not receive the treatment that was billed to Medicare. After Medicare paid the claims, some of the co-conspirators then laundered the Medicare money in order to create cash to pay the patient kickbacks.

The defendants were charged in an indictment returned on Feb. 8, 2011. ATC, the management company associated with ATC, and 20 individuals, including the ATC owners, have all previously pleaded guilty or have been convicted at trial.

Evidence at trial revealed that doctors at ATC, including Willner and Ayala, signed patient files without reading them or seeing the patients. Evidence further revealed that ATC then billed Medicare for more than $100 million in PHP treatment for these patients under the names of Willner and Ayala. Included in these false and fraudulent submissions to Medicare were claims for patients in neuro-vegetative states, along with patients who were in the late stages of diseases causing permanent cognitive memory loss, and patients who had substance abuse issues and were living in halfway houses. These patients were ineligible for PHP treatment, and because they were forced by their assisted living facility owners and halfway house owners to attend ATC, they were not receiving treatment for the diseases they actually had.

Willner and Ayala have been in federal custody since their convictions.

ATC executives Lawrence Duran, Marianella Valera, Judith Negron and Margarita Acevedo were sentenced to 50 years, 35 years, 35 years and 91 months in prison, respectively, for their roles in the fraud scheme. The 50- and 35-year sentences represent the longest sentences for health care fraud ordered to date. Acevedo, who pleaded guilty early on and has been cooperating with the government since November 2010, testified at the doctors’ trial.

ATC and Medlink pleaded guilty in May 2011 to conspiracy to commit health care fraud. ATC also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States and to pay and receive illegal health care kickbacks. On Sept. 16, 2011, the two corporations were sentenced to five years of probation per count and ordered to pay restitution of $87 million. Both corporations have been defunct since their owners were arrested in October 2010.

The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Jennifer L. Saulino, Robert A. Zink and James V. Hayes of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. The case was investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG, and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.

Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged more than 1,330 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $4 billion. In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, is taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.


An LC-130 Hercules waits on the ice at McMurdo Station, Antarctica Nov. 21, 2011, after returning from a scheduled Operation Deep Freeze re-supply mission to Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. Operation Deep Freeze provides airlift support to the National Science Foundation, which manages the United States Antarctic Program. (U.S. Air Force photo)


10/2/2012 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii (AFNS) -- The U.S. military recently kicked off the 2012-2013 season of Operation Deep Freeze, the Department of Defense's support of the U.S. Antarctic Program and the National Science Foundation.

The operation began with C-17 Globemaster III operations Sept. 29 and will continue with LC-130 Hercules operations beginning Oct. 18.

Operation Deep Freeze involves U.S. Air Force, Navy, Army and Coast Guard forces providing operational and logistical support of the NSF's scientific research activities in Antarctica.

This support is provided by the Joint Task Force-Support Forces Antarctica, led by Pacific Air Forces at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. JTF-SFA coordinates strategic inter-theater airlift, tactical deep field support, aeromedical evacuation support, search and rescue response, sealift, seaport access, bulk fuel supply, port cargo handling and transportation requirements.

Christchurch International Airport, New Zealand, is the staging point for deployments to McMurdo Station, Antarctica, a key research and operations facility for the USAP.

Operation Deep Freeze is unlike any other U.S. military operation, according to officials. It is one of the military's most difficult peacetime missions due to the harsh Antarctic environment. The U.S. military is uniquely equipped and trained to operate in such an austere environment and has therefore provided support to the USAP since 1955.

Active duty, National Guard and Reserve personnel from the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Army and Coast Guard work together as part of the joint task force. This team continues the tradition of U.S. military support to the USAP and demonstrates the United States' commitment to a stable Pacific region, officials said.

Airlift for Operation Deep Freeze involves active duty and Reserve C-17 support from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.; LC-130 support from the New York Air National Guard; sealift support from the U.S. Coast Guard and Military Sealift Command; engineering and aviation services from U.S. Navy Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command; and cargo handling from the U.S. Navy.

(Courtesy of Joint Task Force Support Forces Antarctica.)



Pentagon Press Secretary George Little.

Military Stands Ready to Help African Partners, Little Says
By Nick Simeone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 2, 2012 - The Defense Department continues to assess the security needs of its African partners, some of which face a growing terrorist presence, but is not planning for unilateral military intervention, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said today.

In a conference call with reporters yesterday, Johnnie Carson, assistant secretary of state for African Affairs, raised the possibly of the need for outside military help to push Islamic militias believed to have links to al-Qaida out of a vast area of Mali.
At a Pentagon news conference today, Little told reporters the military is paying close attention to the situation, but has no plans to intervene unilaterally in Mali or in the region.

"The United States military works very closely with a number of countries in the region to address counterterrorism," Little said. With regard to specific requests for U.S. assistance, Little said "I'm not prepared to make any announcements today, but we continue to assess their needs and, where possible and appropriate, will work closely with our partners in the region."

The French government last week joined the governments of Mali and other West African nations in calling for the creation of an African-led international force to help secure Mali's ungoverned territory. Mali's government also has asked for military intervention from the 16-nation Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, which has intervened in other African conflicts.

Little said the United States would consider requests for help from the group, but the U.S. focus remains on helping the region meet its security challenges on its own. "We're paying very close attention to the situation in the region and stand ready should our partners in the region and regional actors such as ECOWAS request our assistance," he said.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Monday, October 1, 2012
Grants Support Improved Probation, Parole and Reentry Programs

Attorney General Eric Holder today announced $58 million in Second Chance Act grant funding to reduce recidivism, provide reentry services, conduct research and evaluate the impact of reentry programs. Attorney General Holder also highlighted the department’s efforts to support research and evidence-based practices and its work with state departments of correction to set recidivism reduction goals .

"Thanks to the collaborative efforts of law enforcement leaders, community-based organizations, and departments of corrections – as well as a variety of groundbreaking projects that have been funded through Second Chance Act grant awards – a number of states have shown significant reductions in the three-year recidivism rate," said Attorney General Holder.

The Second Chance Act (SCA) programs, administered through the department’s Office of Justice Programs, are designed to help communities develop and implement comprehensive strategies to address the challenges faced by incarcerated adults and youth when they return to their communities following release from confinement.

"Reentry efforts can result in less crime, lower recidivism, fewer victims and improved public safety," said Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Mary Lou Leary. "These are critical goals of the criminal justice field, and we are working to give communities the tools, support and guidance to achieve these goals."

Of the $58.5 million (98 awards) announced, more than $47 million (94 awards) are for family-based substance abuse treatment; treatment of returning prisoners with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders; adult and juvenile reentry demonstration projects; state, local, and tribal reentry courts; adult mentoring programs; and technology career training projects for incarcerated adults and juveniles. The remaining $10.5 million support evaluation, training and technical assistance for grantees and the reentry field at large.

OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) awards support jurisdictions which propose to plan or implement a "Pay for Success" model into their reentry initiative. Pay for Success represents a new way to achieve positive outcomes for the criminal justice population with external financing and at a lower risk and cost to governments. BJA is making two Pay for Success awards: an implementation award to Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and a planning award to Lowell, Mass., and is funding the Urban Institute’s efforts to develop a blueprint for municipal, state and federal governments to use to pay for evidence-based anti-crime programs. BJA is also funding three new programs this year:

· The Adult Offender Comprehensive Statewide Recidivism Reduction Demonstration Program awards $6.1 million to seven states for programs aimed at achieving reductions in baseline recidivism rates through planning, capacity-building, and implementing effective and evidence-based interventions.

· Smart Probation: Reducing Prison Populations, Saving Money and Creating Safer Communities includes nine awards totaling $3.7 million to states and local communities to develop and implement evidenced-based probation practices aimed at improving probationer outcomes and specifically reducing recidivism rates.

"Second Chance Act funding enables states, localities and tribes to identify, target and serve moderate and high risk individuals reentering communities." said BJA Director Denise E. O’Donnell. "The reentry process begins when an individual enters incarceration and ends upon successful reintegration in the community. Using these evidence –based interventions results in safer and healthier communities."

OJP’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention announced nearly $1.8 million to support four new juvenile reentry demonstration projects and more than $3.4 million to continue to fund six existing juvenile reentry programs across the country. With approximately 100,000 youth released from confinement each year, these programs aim to promote public safety by helping youth successfully transition from juvenile residential facilities to their communities.

OJP’s National Institute of Justice (NIJ) will fund evaluations of the SCA Adult Offender Reentry Demonstration projects and the SCA Juvenile Reentry Demonstration Projects. In addition, NIJ will seek to expand knowledge about reentry and recidivism through a number of research projects, including the following:

· Desistence from Crime over the Life Course ($998,221), Research Triangle Institute.

· Executive Session on Community Corrections ($993,386), President and Fellows of Harvard College.

· State-Mandated Criminal Background Employment Screening: A High Stakes Window into the Desistance Process ($706,943), State University of New York, Albany, N.Y.

· "The Impact of Video Visitation on Corrections Staff, Inmates and their Families" ($355,296), Vera Institute of Justice.

· Ph.D. Graduate Research Fellowship, "The Effect of Collateral Consequence Laws on State Rates of Returns to Prison" ($25,000), University of Maryland, College Park, Md.

Through a cooperative agreement to the Council of State Governments Justice Center OJP operates the National Reentry Resource Center (NRRC). The NRRC offers training and technical assistance for Second Chance Act grantees, provides distance learning and other reentry resources to the field, and administers the "What Works in Reentry Clearinghouse." NRRC collaborates with other federal agencies focused on reentry activities and with the Attorney General’s Federal Interagency Reentry Council and its staff working group.


Photo Credit:  Wikimedia.

Monday, October 1, 2012
Settlement with Suiza Dairy Corporation for Violations at Facilities in Puerto Rico Will Make Facilities Safer, Benefit Nearby Communities

WASHINGTON – Suiza Dairy has agreed to pay a penalty and make significant upgrades to settle Clean Air Act violations, the Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today. The case stems from violations at two Suiza Dairy Corporation dairies located in Rio Piedras and Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, including two major releases of anhydrous ammonia from the Rio Piedras facility.

The Clean Air Act violations stem from Suiza’s failure of its general duty of care to identify hazards and to maintain safe facilities and its failure to comply with regulatory requirements for process safety management under the Clean Air Act, as well as Suiza’s failure to comply with administrative orders at both facilities.

"This settlement penalizes Suiza for violations of the Clean Air Act that resulted in two illegal releases of poisonous gas that put the community at risk, including one release that caused the hospitalization of several residents," said Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General of the Environment and Natural Resources Division at the Department of Justice. "Today’s agreement will prevent future violations of the Clean Air Act safety standards by requiring Suiza to upgrade its refrigeration technology and emergency notification system."

"Reducing toxics in the air is a priority for the EPA. These facilities were very poorly run and the communities around them suffered as a result, with some people being sickened by a major release of ammonia into the air," said Judith A. Enck, EPA Regional Administrator. "This settlement requires the company to comply with the law and not jeopardize people’s health."

As part of the consent decree announced today, Suiza will pay a penalty of $275,000. Suiza will also spend approximately $3.75 million on projects that will significantly improve the refrigeration systems at both facilities, considerably reduce the amount of anhydrous ammonia in the systems at both facilities, improve alarm and ammonia release notification procedures, and provide medical training and/or equipment to medical personnel to treat persons affected by exposure to anhydrous ammonia. Suiza will also conduct community emergency drills in the communities located adjacent to the facilities, to train community members on what to do in the event of an accidental release of anhydrous ammonia.

Suiza’s first accidental ammonia release from the Rio Piedras facility was in July 2005. Then in May 2007, approximately 1,146 pounds of anhydrous ammonia was released into the atmosphere causing at least 14 residents from the community located near the Rio Piedras Facility to require medical attention. At least nine of the people requiring medical attention also required an overnight stay in the local hospital.

Following these releases, and complaints from residents near the Aguadilla facility, EPA submitted information requests to Suiza and conducted multiple inspections at both facilities. In September 2007, EPA issued Suiza administrative orders for both facilities, ordering Suiza to bring the facilities into compliance. Suiza failed to comply with both orders.

As a result of Suiza’s failure to comply with the orders and the substantive violations at both facilities, EPA reinspected both facilities in May and October 2009. Over 40 violations were identified at each facility; violations included, for example: corrosion to anhydrous ammonia transfer lines, failure to implement an adequate alarm system, improper labeling of valves and equipment, and improper ventilation.

The settlement requires Suiza to implement over 40 compliance measures at each facility to address the violations. In addition, the company has agreed to spend at least $3 million to reduce the amount of anhydrous ammonia used in the refrigeration process at the facilities, from approximately 18,000 pounds to less than 8,400 pounds at the Rio Piedras facility (54 percent reduction) and from 4,700 pounds to less than 3,300 pounds at the Aguadilla facility (30 percent reduction). Suiza will also install an enhanced alarm system at the Aguadilla facility that will continuously monitor anhydrous ammonia operating pressures, temperatures and levels, as well as automatically alert operators to conditions not within normal operational ranges for these parameters.

Justice Department and the EPA conducted community meetings near both facilities in August 2011. Partly as a result of that outreach, and the suggestions made by community members at those meetings, Suiza has agreed to conduct community emergency drills in the communities located adjacent to the facilities. Suiza will coordinate with first responders and EPA to simulate an accidental anhydrous ammonia release and train community members on what to do in the event of such a release.


UN  Credit:  Wikimedia
Adoption of Human Rights Council Resolution on Freedom of Association and of Assembly
Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State

Washington, DC

October 1, 2012

On Thursday, the UN Human Rights Council recognized the critical importance of the freedom of peaceful assembly and association. This U.S. sponsored resolution reaffirms a basic truth: civil society plays a central role in promoting and protecting the enjoyment of human rights, but civil society can only serve the common good when the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association are protected.

Progress in the 21st century depends on the ability of individuals and organizations to come together around shared goals; harness the power of their convictions; and make societies more productive, transparent and accountable. Over the last 18 months, however, we have seen governments constrict civil society activism and increase their attacks against civic-minded organizations and individuals. These crackdowns mark a disturbing trend that requires global leadership.

The United States was proud to work with fellow Core Group members – the Czech Republic, Indonesia, Lithuania, the Maldives, Mexico, and Nigeria – to advance this important and timely resolution, and we thank them for their leadership and unflagging effort.

In New York last week, the United States was also proud to stand with 15 countries and two foundations that have joined us in supporting Lifeline, a rapid-response assistance mechanism for embattled NGOs that puts the principles endorsed by the resolution into action.

This resolution, and the Lifeline fund, shows that we have many partners around the world alarmed by these recent trends who are willing to support peaceful assembly and association. This is a critical moment to redouble our efforts to stand with civil society in the pursuit of democratic progress.


The National Labor Relations Board
has found that the firing of a BMW salesman for photos and comments posted to his Facebook page did not violate federal labor law, because the activity was not concerted or protected.
The question came down to whether the salesman was fired exclusively for posting photos of an embarrassing and potentially dangerous accident at an adjacent Land Rover dealership, or for posting mocking comments and photos with co-workers about serving hot dogs at a luxury BMW car event. Both sets of photos were posted to Facebook on the same day; a week later, the salesman was fired from Knauz BMW in Lake Bluff, IL.

The Board agreed with Administrative Law Judge Joel P. Biblowitz, who found after a trial that the salesman was fired solely for the photos he posted of a Land Rover that was accidently driven over a wall and into a pond at the adjacent dealership after a test drive. Both dealerships are owned by the same employer.

In a charge filed with the NLRB, the salesman maintained that he was principally fired for posting photos and sarcastic comments about his dealer serving hot dogs, chips and bottled water at a sales event announcing a new BMW model. "No, that’s not champagne or wine, it’s 8 oz. water," the salesman commented under the photos. Following an investigation,
the regional office issued a complaint. Judge Biblowitz found that this activity might have been protected under the National Labor Relations Act because it involved co-workers who were concerned about the effect of the low-cost food on the image of the dealership and, ultimately, their sales and commissions.

The Land Rover accident was another matter. A salesperson there had allowed a customer’s 13-year-old son to sit behind the wheel following a test drive, and the boy apparently hit the gas, ran over his parent’s foot, jumped the wall and drove into a pond. The salesman posted photos of the accident with sarcastic commentary, including: "OOPS".

The National Labor Relations Act protects the group actions of employees who are discussing or trying to improve their terms and conditions of employment. An individual’s actions can be protected if they are undertaken on behalf of a group, but the judge found, and the Board agreed, that was not the case here.

As Judge Biblowitz wrote, "It was posted solely by [the employee], apparently as a lark, without any discussion with any other employee of the Respondent, and had no connection to any of the employees’ terms and conditions of employment. It is so obviously unprotected that it is unnecessary to discuss whether the mocking tone of the posting further affects the nature of the posting." Because the posts about the marketing event did not cause the discharge, the Board found it unnecessary to pass on whether they were protected.

However, the three-member panel differed in its opinions of a "Courtesy" rule maintained by the employer regarding employee communications. Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce and Member Sharon Block found the language of the rule to be unlawful because employees would reasonably believe that it prohibits any statements of protest or criticism, even those protected by the National Labor Relations Act.

Dissenting, Member Brian E. Hayes found that the employer’s rule was "nothing more than a common-sense behavioral guideline for employees" and that "nothing in the rule suggests a restriction on the content of conversations (such as a prohibition against discussion of wages)".

The Board ordered Knauz BMW to remove the unlawful rules from the employee handbook and furnish employees with inserts or new handbooks. The decision, dated Sept. 28 but made public today, was the Board’s first involving a discharge for Facebook postings; other such cases are pending before the Board.