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Saturday, November 2, 2013

PRESIDENT OBAMA'S WEEKLY ADDRESS FOR NOVEMBER 2, 2013

FROM:  THE WHITE HOUSE 
Weekly Address: Passing a Budget that Reflects Our Priorities

WASHINGTON, DC— In this week’s address, President Obama said that in order to keep growing the economy and creating good jobs, Washington must end its cycle of manufactured crises and self-inflicted wounds.  It’s time for both parties to work together to pass a budget that reflects our priorities – making smart cuts in things we don’t need and closing wasteful tax loopholes, while investing in areas that create opportunities for the middle class and our future generations.

The audio of the address and video of the address will be available online at www.whitehouse.gov at 6:00 a.m. ET, November 2, 2013.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
November 2, 2013

Hi, everybody.  On Thursday, I addressed a conference for business leaders from around the world.  And my pitch was simple:  Choose America.  Invest in America.  Create jobs in America.

It speaks to my top priority as President: growing our economy, creating good jobs, strengthening security and opportunity for the middle class.

Over the past three and a half years, our businesses have created over seven and a half million new jobs.  And this week, the Treasury confirmed that since I took office, we’ve cut our deficits by more than half.

But we have more work to do.  We need to grow and create more good jobs faster.  That’s my driving focus.  And I’ll go anywhere and do anything to make it happen.

That has to be Washington’s driving focus as well.  But I know that what you often hear out of Washington can sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher – a jumble of unfocused noise that’s out of touch with the things you care about.

So today, I want to cut through that noise and talk plainly about what we should do right now to keep growing this economy and creating new jobs.

It begins by ending what has done more than anything else to undermine our economy over the past few years – and that’s the constant cycle of manufactured crises and self-inflicted wounds.

I was glad to hear the Republican leader in the Senate say this week that they won’t pursue another government shutdown or threaten another default on our debt.  Because we shouldn’t be injuring ourselves every few months – we should be investing in ourselves.

And one way to do that is through the budget that Congress started working on this week.

Now, budgets can be a boring topic – especially on the weekend.  But they can also be revealing.  Because they expose what our priorities are as a country for all to see.

Think about it.  We can keep wasteful corporate tax giveaways that working folks don’t get – or we could close those loopholes and use that money to pay for things that actually create jobs.

We can keep harmful cuts to education programs – or we could give more kids a head start, hire more teachers in math and science, and help more kids afford a college education.

We can keep doling out corporate welfare to big oil companies – or we could keep investing in the renewable energy that creates jobs and lowers our carbon pollution.

Priorities. Choices.  That’s what this is about.  And the stakes for the middle class couldn’t be higher.  If we don’t pick the right priorities now, make the right choices now, we could hinder growth and opportunity for decades, and leave our children with something less.

That includes the obsession with cutting just for the sake of cutting.  That hasn’t helped our economy grow; it’s held it back.

Remember, our deficits are getting smaller – not bigger.  On my watch, they’re falling at the fastest pace in 60 years.  So that gives us room to fix our long-term debt problems without sticking it to young people, or undermining our bedrock retirement and health security programs, or ending basic research that helps the economy grow.

Here’s the bottom line.  Congress should pass a budget that cuts things we don’t need, and closes wasteful tax loopholes that don’t help create jobs, so that we can free up resources for the things that actually do create jobs and growth.

Building new roads, and bridges, and schools, and airports – that creates jobs.

Educating our kids and our workers for a global economy – that helps us grow.

Investing in science, technology, and research – that keeps our businesses and our military on the cutting edge.  It’s vital for our economic future.

So the question isn’t between growth and fiscal responsibility.  We need both.  The question can’t be how much more we can cut; it’s got to be how many more jobs we can create, how many more kids we can educate, and how much more shared prosperity we can generate.

Because in America, our economy doesn’t grow from the top-down.  It grows from the middle-class out.  And as long as I am President, our national mission will remain building an America where everyone belongs, and everyone who works hard has a chance to get ahead.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.

20 ENTITIES AND ONE INDIVIDUAL DESIGNATED BY TREASURY FOR NARCOTICS TRAFFICKING

FROM:  TREASURY DEPARTMENT 
First Designation Targeting Caro Quintero’s Network since his Release from Prison

 WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury today designated 20 entities and one individual linked to Rafael Caro Quintero, a major Mexican narcotics trafficker and fugitive from U.S. justice for his role in the murder of an agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).  Caro Quintero was identified as a significant foreign narcotics trafficker pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act) in 2000.  Each entity designated today is owned or controlled by one or more individuals previously designated because they act on behalf of Caro Quintero.

“Today’s designation demonstrates the enormous extent to which Rafael Caro Quintero and his family members have infiltrated the economy in Guadalajara, Mexico, including the real estate and gasoline retail sectors,” said Treasury’s Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Adam J. Szubin.  “With Caro Quintero on the run, OFAC will continue to work with the DEA and our Mexican counterparts to expand the sanctions against any person or entity that acts on behalf of this murderous criminal.”  

Caro Quintero began his criminal career in the late 1970s when he co-founded the Guadalajara drug cartel and amassed an illicit fortune.  Caro Quintero was the mastermind behind the kidnapping and murder of DEA Special Agent (SA) Enrique Camarena in 1985.  Following his capture in the same year, Caro Quintero was convicted in Mexico for his involvement in SA Camarena’s murder and received a 40-year prison sentence.  However, on August 9, 2013, Caro Quintero was released from a Mexican prison with 12 years remaining on his sentence.

“We are reminded every day of the ultimate sacrifice paid by Special Agent Enrique Camarena and DEA will vigorously continue its efforts to ensure Caro Quintero faces justice in the United States for the crimes he committed,” said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart.  “Caro Quintero and his organization can no longer hide behind front companies with their drug trafficking profits.  These illegal enterprises fuel the drug trade and its violence and corruption.  DEA and our partners at Treasury and elsewhere in government will pursue any and all means available to ensure that Caro Quintero is brought to justice and his criminal network is destroyed.”

While in prison, Caro Quintero continued his alliance with Mexican drug trafficking organizations and used a network of family members and front persons to invest his illicit fortune into ostensibly legitimate companies and real estate projects in the Mexican city of Guadalajara.  OFAC designated 18 of these individuals, including six of Caro Quintero’s family members, and 15 entities on June 12, 2013.

Caro Quintero is wanted in the Central District of California on criminal charges related to the kidnapping and murder of SA Camarena as well as drug trafficking.  The U.S. government, led by DEA, is seeking Caro Quintero’s capture and extradition to face these charges.  

Today’s action, which designated 20 entities and one individual linked to Rafael Caro Quintero pursuant to the Kingpin Act, generally prohibits U.S. persons from conducting financial or commercial transactions with these designees, and also freezes any assets they may have under U.S. jurisdiction.

This action targeted 20 companies primarily located in or near Guadalajara.  Several of these companies are engaged in real estate activities, including Arrendadora Turin, Barsat, and Villas del Colli.  Others are gasoline retailers or engaged in agricultural activities, including Petro London, Servicio y Operadora Santa Ana, and Minerales Nueva Era, which produces and sells an organic fertilizer known as Diatomag as well as an organic pesticide known as Diatomkill.

Also designated today is Juan Carlos Soto Ruiz, a Guadalajaran native who plays a key management role in six of the companies designated today, including Arrendadora Turin and Servicio y Operadora Santa Ana, as well as three of the companies designated on June 12, 2013, including Pronto Shoes (a.k.a. CX-Shoes).

Since June 2000, the President has identified 103 drug kingpins, and OFAC has designated more than 1,300 businesses and individuals, pursuant to the Kingpin Act.  Penalties for violations of the Kingpin Act range from civil penalties of up to $1.075 million per violation, to more severe criminal penalties.  Criminal penalties for corporate officers may include up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $5 million.  Criminal fines for corporations may reach $10 million.  Other individuals could face up to 10 years in prison and fines pursuant to Title 18 of the United States Code for criminal violations of the Kingpin Act.

OWNER OF AMBULANCE SERVICE CONVICTED FOR PART IN HEALTH CARE FRAUD

FROM:  U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT 
Thursday, October 31, 2013

Owner of Texas-based Ambulance Service Convicted of Health Care Fraud
A federal jury in Houston has convicted Gwendolyn Climmons-Johnson, 53, of multiple counts of health care fraud for submitting false and fraudulent claims to Medicare for ambulance services.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas made the announcement.

After a three-day trial, the jury convicted Climmons-Johnson on Oct. 30, 2013, of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and four counts of health care fraud.  She faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for each count when she is sentenced on Feb. 7, 2014.

According to evidence presented at trial, Climmons-Johnson was the owner and operator of Urgent Response EMS (Urgent Response), a Texas-based entity that purportedly provided non-emergency ambulance services to Medicare beneficiaries in the Houston area.  The evidence showed that from January 2010 through December 2011, Climmons-Johnson and others conspired to unlawfully enrich themselves by submitting false and fraudulent claims to Medicare for ambulance services that were medically unnecessary and/or not provided.  Climmons-Johnson, who controlled the day-to-day operations of Urgent Response, submitted, and caused to be submitted, approximately $2.4 million in fraudulent ambulance service claims to Medicare.

At trial, the evidence showed that patient records had been falsified and the Medicare beneficiaries for whom Climmons-Johnson had billed ambulance services did not need ambulance services and were not in the condition stated in the records.

The case was investigated by the FBI, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), and the Texas Attorney General Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.  The case was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas and the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

The case was tried by Assistant Chief Laura M.K. Cordova and Trial Attorney Christopher Cestaro of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, with assistance from former Special Assistant U.S. Attorney James S. Seaman.

Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged more than 1,500 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $5 billion.  In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

FTC CHARGES MARKETER WITH DECEPTIVE ADVERTISING OF RAPID WEIGHT LOSS PRODUCT

FROM:  FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION 
FTC Charges HCG Marketer with Deceptive Advertising

Defendants Promised Dietary Supplement Would Cause Substantial Weight Loss
The Federal Trade Commission has sued an Arizona man who markets HCG Platinum diet products by falsely claiming the products will cause consumers to lose substantial amounts of weight. Kevin Wright and his companies must respond to the complaint in federal court.
HCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin, is a hormone produced by the human placenta that, for decades, has been falsely promoted by various marketers for weight loss. In November 2011, Wright and six other HCG marketers received warning letters issued jointly by FDA and FTC staff, advising them that their HCG products are mislabeled drugs under the FDA Act, and warning that it is unlawful under the FTC Act to make weight-loss claims that are not supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence.

Marketing through retail outlets such as GNC, Rite Aid, and Walgreens, and through their own websites, Wright and his companies, HCG Platinum and Right Way Nutrition, LLC, promise consumers that HCG Platinum liquid drops will cause rapid and substantial weight loss, and they claim consumers will likely lose as much weight as the endorsers in their advertisements.

The defendants, who also make claims on Facebook, on product packaging, and in Internet pop-up ads and magazines, direct consumers to place the HCG concoctions under their tongues before meals and stick to a very low calorie diet of 500 to 800 calories per day. They typically charge between $60 and $149 for a thirty-day supply of one of their three HCG Platinum formulations.

The defendants market two of their three formulations as “homeopathic,” which means the listed ingredients are diluted to the point they are undetectable. On product packaging and in other advertising, they claim that the products cause consumers to lose a pound a day, are safe to use, and are clinically proven to burn fat, reduce weight, and lower cholesterol.

The defendants have sold more than $13 million of HCG Platinum since 2010. The FTC has asked the court to order the defendants to surrender the ill-gotten gains they received from their deceptive marketing of HCG Platinum products.

Consumers should be skeptical of advertisements that tout HCG as a weight-loss treatment.

For more information see the FDA video, Being Fooled by Empty Diet Promises.

The complaint also named seven relief defendants, who received money from sales of the HCG product, but had no active role in the alleged efforts to deceive consumers: Weekes Holdings, LLC; Primary Colors, LLC; KMATT Holdings, LLC; Nutrisport Holdings, LLC; Ty D. Mattingly; Julie Mattingly; and Annette Wright.

The Commission vote authorizing the staff to file the complaint was 4-0. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona on October 30, 2013.

NOTE: The Commission files a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The case will be decided by the court.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

FORMER VA PSYCHIATRIST PLEADS GUILTY IN MEDICARE FRAUD CASE

FROM:  U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT 
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Former Veterans Affairs Psychiatrist Pleads Guilty to Medicare Fraud

Dr. Mikhail L. Presman, a licensed psychiatrist employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), pleaded guilty today to health care fraud for falsely billing Medicare for home medical treatment to Medicare beneficiaries and agreed to forfeit more than $1.2 million in illegal profits.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch of the Eastern District of New York, and Special Agent in Charge Thomas O’Donnell of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) made the announcement.

According to court documents, from Jan. 1, 2006, through May 10, 2013, Presman submitted approximately $4 million in Medicare claims for home treatment of Medicare beneficiaries notwithstanding his full-time, salaried position as a psychiatrist at the VA hospital in Brooklyn.  Contrary to his representations, Presman did not provide any treatment to a substantial number of the beneficiaries he claimed to have treated.  For example, Presman submitted claims to Medicare for home medical visits at locations within New York City even though he was physically located in China at the time of these purported home visits.  Additionally, Presman submitted claims to Medicare for 55 home medical visits to beneficiaries who were hospitalized on the date of the purported visits.

Presman is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge I. Leo Glasser of the Eastern District of New York on Feb. 13, 2014, and faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

The case was investigated by the HHS-OIG, with assistance from the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General, and brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.  The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Bryan D. Fields of the Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Patricia E. Notopoulos of the Eastern District of New York.

Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged more than 1,500 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $5 billion.  In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, is taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

Friday, November 1, 2013

NASA SHOWS FALL COLORS IN PENNSYLVANIA

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=82249&src=eoa-iotd

U.S. DOD CONTRACTS FOR NOVEMBER 1, 2013

FROM:  U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT 
WASHINGTON HEADQUARTERS SERVICES

Institute for Defense Analysis, Alexandria, Va., is being awarded a maximum $888,757,811 five year indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for research and analysis to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the joint staff, combatant commands, defense agencies, joint program offices, and other users as specified in the sponsoring agreement between OSD and IDA under the Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) contract. Work will be performed primarily in Alexandria, Va. This contract was not competitively processed because it was obtained under the FFRDC program. The estimated completion date is Sept. 30, 2018. Washington Headquarters Services, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (HQ0034-14-D-0001).


U.S. TRANSPORTATION COMMAND

AAR Airlift Group Inc., Palm Bay, Fla., is being awarded modification 32 to task order 0001, and modification 23 to task order 0002 totaling $151,582,265 to previously awarded contract HTC711-10-D-R026 to exercise option year four for rotary wing aircraft, personnel, equipment, tools, material, maintenance and supervision necessary to perform passenger and cargo air transportation services. Work will be performed in Afghanistan, and is expected to be completed by Oct. 31, 2014. Funds are being obligated on monthly task order modifications. The U.S. Transportation Command Directorate of Acquisition, Scott Air Force Base, Ill., is the contracting activity.

Columbia Helicopters Inc., Aurora, Ore., is being awarded modification 23 to task order 0002, and modification 18 to task order 0003 totaling $87,697,701 to previously awarded contract HTC711-11-D-R021 to exercise option year three for rotary wing aircraft, personnel, equipment, tools, material, maintenance and supervision necessary to perform passenger and cargo air transportation services. Work will be performed in Afghanistan, and is expected to be completed by Oct. 31, 2014. Funds are being obligated on monthly task order modifications. The U.S. Transportation Command Directorate of Acquisition, Scott Air Force Base, Ill., is the contracting activity.

Construction Helicopters Inc., Howell, Mich., is being awarded a $33,602,864 modification 18 to previously awarded task order 0002 under contract HTC711-11-D-R022 to exercise option year three for rotary wing aircraft, personnel, equipment, tools, material, maintenance and supervision necessary to perform passenger and cargo air transportation services. Work will be performed in Afghanistan, andis expected to be completed by Oct. 31, 2014. Funds are being obligated on monthly task order modifications. The U.S. Transportation Command Directorate of Acquisition, Scott Air Force Base, Ill., is the contracting activity.

AIR FORCE

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., Poway, Calif., has been awarded a not-to-exceed $27,607,349 undefinitized contract action delivery order (0113) for an existing basic ordering agreement (FA8620-10-G-3038) for France’s MQ-9 UAS Contractor Logistics Support Phase I program. Work will be performed in Poway, Calif., and is expected to be completed by Oct. 31, 2014. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. This requirement is 100 percent foreign military sales for the Government of France. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center/WIIK, Medium Altitude Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity.

Cubic Defense Applications Inc., San Diego, Calif., has been awarded a 24,999,949 firm-fixed-price contract for foreign military sales P5Combat Training System (P5CTS), combined hardware buy. Contractor will provide (P5CTS) hardware to provide an instrumented training capability that increases, maintains, and assesses combat proficiency in the following mission areas: counter air, close air support, strategic attack, air interdiction, and electronic combat. Work will be performed at San Diego, Calif., and Fort Walton Beach, Fla., and is expected to be complete by July 20, 2015. This award is a result of a sole-source acquisition. This award is for the governments of Singapore, Morocco, Oman and Saudi Arabia under the FMS program. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center/EBYK, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity (FA8678-14-C-0046).

L3 Communications Corp., Systems Field Support, Madison Miss., has been awarded an estimated $22,049,546 modification (P00025) to exercise option year three of the firm-fixed-price and cost-reimbursement contract (FA8106-11-D-0002) for C-12 contractor logistics support. Work will be performed worldwide at 19 sites to support C-12 aircraft for Pacific Air Forces, Air Force Material Command, Defense Intelligence Agency and Defense Security Cooperation Agency, consisting of maintenance, repair and support functions. The work is expected to be performed for one year, until Oct. 31, 2014. Funding is 85% fiscal 2014 operations and maintenance, aircraft procurement and research and development funds, and 15% foreign military sales funds. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center/WLKLC, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., is the contracting activity.

ARMY

Truetech, Inc., Riverhead, N.Y., was awarded a $17,912,955 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, multi-year contract for the procurement of M8 chemical paper and M9 chemical paper. The M8 chemical paper is used to detect the presence of liquid chemical agents while M9 chemical paper is used by ground forces and is placed on personnel and equipment to identify the presence of liquid chemical agent aerosols. Work location and funding will be determined by each order, with an estimated completion date of Nov. 1, 2018. Bids were solicited via the Internet with one received. Army Contracting Command, Warren, Mich., is the contracting agency (W56HZV-14-D-0011).

Nauset Construction Corp., Needham, Mass., was awarded a $20,521,858 firm-fixed-price contract to construct a new Unit Training Equipment Site and demolish the old facility and controlled humidity shelter in two separate phases for the Massachusetts National Guard. Work location is Buzzards’ Bay, Mass., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 17, 2015. Fiscal 2013 military construction funds in the amount of $20,521,858 are being obligated on award. Bids were solicited via the Internet with seven received. The National Guard Bureau Milford, Mass., is the contracting agency (W912SV-13-C-0007).

Leo Daly, Atlanta, Ga., (W912DY-14-D-0009); HDR, Charlotte, N.C., (W912DY-14-D-0010); and Ewing Cole, Philadelphia, Pa., (W912DY-14-D-0011) were awarded a $25,000,000 firm-fixed-price, multiple-award contract to provide continued architect-engineer design services in support of the Medical Repair and Renewal program. Work location and funding will be determined by each order, with an estimated completion date of Oct. 31, 2014. Bids were solicited via the Internet, with 36 received. Army Corps of Engineers, Huntsville, Ala. is the contracting agency.

NAVY

PAE Applied Technologies LLC, Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $23,246,532 modification to previously awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee level of effort contract (N00421-13-C-0007) to exercise an option for range engineering, operations and maintenance services in support of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Divisions’ Atlantic Test Range and Atlantic Targets and Marine Operations Division. The estimated level of effort is 270,215 man-hours. Work will be performed in Patuxent River, Md., and is expected to be completed in February 2014. Navy working capital funds in the amount of $5,984,310 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Labatt Food Service, San Antonio, Texas, has been awarded a maximum $18,000,000 fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment, indefinite-quantity contract for prime vendor full line food distribution. This is a one-year base contract. This contract is a sole-source acquisition. Location of performance is Texas with a Nov. 8, 2014 performance completion date. Using military services are Army, Air Force, and federal civilian agencies. Type of appropriation is fiscal year 2014 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM300-14-D-3715).

West Wing Week 11/01/13 or, "Never Lose That Sense of Wonder" | The White House

West Wing Week 11/01/13 or, "Never Lose That Sense of Wonder" | The White House

HHS SAYS HALF OF ELIGIBLE ADULTS COULD GET HEALTH INSURANCE FOR $50 OR LESS

FROM:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES 
Half of single young adults eligible for the Health Insurance Marketplace could get coverage for $50 or less

A new report released today by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) shows that nearly half (46 percent) of single young adults who are uninsured and may be eligible for coverage in the Health Insurance Marketplace could get coverage for $50 or less per month.

“The health care law is making health insurance more affordable for young adults,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.  “With nearly half of single, Marketplace-eligible uninsured young adults able to get coverage at $50 or less per month, the health care law is delivering the quality, affordable coverage people are looking for.”

Young adults are the age group most likely to be without health insurance.  But through the Health Insurance Marketplace, young adults can purchase quality, affordable coverage and get lower costs on monthly premiums through tax credits.  Young adults may also be eligible for Medicaid.  The amount an individual can save depends on his or her family income and size.

Today’s report examines data from the 34 Federally-facilitated and State Partnership Marketplaces and finds that out of 2.9 million single young adults ages 18 to 34 who may be eligible for coverage in the Marketplace, 1.3 million (46 percent) could purchase a bronze plan for $50 per month or less after tax credits.   In the 34 states, a total of 1.9 million young adults, representing nearly 7 in 10 (66 percent) of the potentially Marketplace-eligible uninsured ages 18 to 34, may be able to pay $100 or less for coverage in 2014.

According to the report, an additional 1 million eligible uninsured single young adults may qualify for Medicaid in the states that have opted to expand the program in 2014. Today’s report also shows that if each of the 34 states expanded its Medicaid program, the proportion of young adults who could obtain low-cost coverage would be even greater.  If each of the 34 states expanded its Medicaid program, 4.9 million uninsured single young adults would be eligible for Medicaid.

While some states are expanding their Medicaid programs in 2014, other states are not doing so.  Under the health care law, states can receive 100 percent federal funding in 2014 to expand their Medicaid programs to cover people with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level.  That’s about $15,800 a year for an individual, or about $32,500 for a family of four.

SECRETARY KERRY'S REMARKS AT NATIONAL WORK AND FAMILY MONTH EVENT

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 
Opening Remarks at National Work and Family Month Event
Remarks
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Marshall Center East Auditorium
Washington, DC
October 30, 2013

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you, thank you. Marcia, thank you very, very much. Thanks for your generous introduction and thanks for your leadership and everything that you’re doing around here. We appreciate it enormously. And I’m very, very grateful to you and to Judy, Judy Ikels, and to the Work Life Division team for the terrific work that everybody is doing. And a big thank you to the Balancing Act Employee Organization and the senior advocates therein for helping us to advance this issue and get it on the front burner.

I’m looking out, and I see a few empty seats here, and I’m thinking we’re not – got some people here who aren’t getting the balance right. (Laughter.) We’re going to have to work on that. Or maybe a few managers who aren’t getting the balance right. But my sense is that we’re going to find a way to practice what we preach here, and it’s really, really important. And I’m not here to give it lip service. I am not here to check a box today, because they asked me to come here and do this.

I really believe this is important. It’s important not only to the functioning of this great behemoth institution, the State Department – and I say that writ large in all of the places that it is – but it’s important to our productivity. It’s important to the quality of life. It’s important to the type of people we can attract. It’s important to our longevity and our loyalty to the Department and to the happiness and good feelings that people have about being here.

So I want to personally congratulate the winner of this year’s Balancing Act Reward for Excellence in the Work-Life Leadership, Laura Dogu. Where is Laura? Is she here somewhere? Laura?

PARTICIPANT: Mexico City.

SECRETARY KERRY: She’s still in Mexico City. All right. (Laughter.) Well, a huge – if you’re watching through the net, a huge congratulations to you. And I want to recognize Ambassador Blake and Ambassador Pyatt and Michelle Bernier-Toth, and Diane Crow for their exceptional leadership. Thank you, very, very much for what you’ve been doing to advance this.

And you’ll be hearing a little more from the balancing act group shortly in the course of this. And I’m particularly grateful to Stew Friedman for coming down from Wharton to be here with us today. He just gave me a book. I will not be able to stay here to hear his presentation, but I now have a book, and I have a little time on an airplane occasionally. (Laughter.) So I’ll put it to good use, I promise you.

But let me just share with you. I’ve – in the 29 years I was in the United States Senate, I prided myself in running an office that was always ahead of the curve and always thoughtful about flexible hours and generous maternity leave and paternity leave and generous opportunity for people to try to have flextime, work their schedules. And it’s far more productive and it created a huge amount, I think, more loyalty and ultimately, productivity. And there’s no reason that we can’t do that.

I also watch a younger generation coming up, particularly talking about two daughters that I have and three stepsons. And I see them very conscious about and thinking about how do you balance these things more effectively. I think parenting today is different than it was in my early years of parenting, and vastly, night and day, different from my parents’ days of parenting. And so we think about these things differently, which is good, and we also think about ourselves differently.

All of this really started, I think, probably in the 1970s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, so forth. And there’s a growing awareness in people about health issues, the balance of health and life and all these kinds of things. I don’t take any of them for granted. I really believe in them, and my wife who believes in them very deeply.

And so I see this tension all the time. I have a young daughter who is a doctor in Boston at Mass General Hospital, whose husband is also a doctor at Mass General Hospital. He’s a brain surgeon and she’s in critical care. And they’re raising a child, and she’s pregnant now with her second child to come. And so she’s probably doing three jobs, if not four at the same time. And it’s hard, tough.

So how the workplace responds to this makes all the difference in the world as to whether or not people are driven to the brink. It has a profound impact on home life and attitudes and so forth. And if you come to work with a really tough situation going on at home, it’s hard to be as productive and as friendly and as collegiate and efficient as we would like people to be.

So this is not just a building. And I want to make sure that we’re investing in the efforts to guarantee that those of you who are on the frontlines of diplomacy here – we have a tough job here, everybody. This is 24/7/365. Crises don’t stop for anybody here. And I’m amazed by how hard people work around here – late hours, long hours, crisis hours, weekends, whenever it is, we have to respond because there are a lot of people out there in the world depending on us, so it’s even more important for us to try to find the ways to get it right.

So job shares program, alternative work schedules, getting the ability to be able to spend more time with family, these are really important things. And to prove to you how important they are, I am leaving this afternoon at 5:30 to go watch the Red Sox beat the Cardinals this evening. (Laughter.) That’s how important it is. (Applause.)

So let me just make it clear to everybody here that whether you’re a single officer or one with a family, whether you’re caring for aging parents or a newborn child, whether you’re a tandem couple or you’re serving on an unaccompanied tour, the Department is committed to making sure that this concept of balance is something that enters into everybody’s consciousness around here.

Now, I want to just quickly mention several new projects – four new projects that we are engaged in here to try to put this into practice. The first is a pilot project on backup care. It’s common sense, not groundbreaking or – but it’s not there, and it’s going to be there. And that’s contracting with an online service that will allow you to access quality backup care from a vetted pool of candidates so that if your babysitter is sick or if the person caring for an elderly parent or somebody in your household is not available suddenly and you have an emergency, you want to get to work, we have an ability to be able to get you connected quickly to find someone to fill in on a moment’s notice.

We’re also going to do more to support job shares. Until about a month ago, a full-time position was – when it was converted to two people to share, our bureau had to carry the cost of that on a direct basis. And today, I’m pleased to say that we’re able to support job shares from the central personnel funds. That may not sound like the biggest thing in the world to you, but – (applause) – okay, I’m wrong. It’s one of the biggest things in the world to you. (Laughter.) But that obviously means it’s going to be a lot easier for bureaus to be able to create job share opportunities, and that gives you a lot more flexibility in what you’re doing.

I also know that this is critical to being able to attract talent as well, as we try to recruit and build this place. So here’s my message today, which will be reinforced, because a lot of you think, “Uh-oh, my supervisor isn’t empowered to do this,” or “My supervisor won’t be creative enough and feel free enough to go do this,” wrong. And my message to assistant secretaries and senior leaders today is: Make it happen. We all have a stake in creating more flexible work arrangements. They can work for us. Every survey shows how important this is in order to keep talent and attract the next generation of talent, so I want to make this workplace a model in the United States Government for success. (Applause.)

Another way that we can help to do this, obviously, is with our third initiative, which is a new childcare initiative. And it’ll be right next door in the Consular Affairs building, and we already have the one childcare center, as you know, in Columbia Plaza and another at the Foreign Service Institute. But this center will be the third available to State Department employees and it’ll add an additional capacity for easy, accessible childcare in the new year, and I know how important that is.

Now, I know that nobody here joined the Foreign Service in order to get rich. If you did, the new IG is going to catch you fast. (Laughter.) As I’ve said before though, we have to make certain that as we go forward, even if we don’t make people rich here financially, the rewarding experience can be about as rich as it gets, and that’s because we have a climate, an environment, a workplace within which everybody really feels comfortable, that it’s serving their needs, it’s a good place to work, it’s a fun place to work, even if you’re working your tails off, and that I want you to do.

So we’re going to stay at this. I look forward to hearing from all of you sort of what comes out of this. We’ll continue to find creative ways that will make this place both stronger and more effective. The old adage – and I used to talk a lot, particularly when I was running nationally – that you can’t be strong abroad if you’re not strong at home. Well, that works right down into the family-work relationship between the Department and everybody’s personal lives.

So I think you get a sense this is for real. I hope you do. We’re going to stay at it. Keep your suggestions coming. Help us to understand the things we can do more effectively, better to do this. And I hope this will sink in deep into the ethics of the Department in a broad-based way in everybody’s relationship, wherever you work.

Thank you all. Good to be with you. Thank you. Thanks

JOHN KERRY'S STATEMENT ON CHEMICAL WEAPONS ELIMINATION PROGRESS IN SYRIA

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 
Progress Eliminating Syria's Chemical Weapons Program
Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
October 31, 2013

International inspectors have worked with unprecedented speed to accomplish the first milestone in eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons and reducing the possibility that they will ever be used again. Now we must make sure the job is finished and that every one of these banned weapons is removed and destroyed. This is meaningful progress which many believed would be impossible. The progress must continue.

We must also be crystal clear that eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons is not a substitute for ending the civil war nor does it end the humanitarian catastrophe that continues to unfold. If weapons inspectors can carry out their critical mission, then I refuse to believe we can’t find a way for aid workers to carry out their equally critical mission delivering food and medical treatment to Syrians in need.

But where chemical weapons are concerned, we cannot lose sight of what has been accomplished thus far and what continues every day. Backed by the full weight of the United Nations and the international community, OPCW inspectors have responded to an unspeakable atrocity with unparalleled action. Nothing less would be acceptable after events that shocked the conscience of the world and left 1,400 innocent Syrians dead. Under the U.S.-Russia Framework, Syria must provide all UN and OPCW personnel unfettered access to any and all sites in order to fulfill their critical mission of verifying the full extent, and the eventual elimination, of Syria’s chemical weapons program. Syria’s obligations are clear, and it will need to fully comply with the requirements established by UNSCR 2118 and the OPCW Executive Council’s decision. To borrow from President Reagan’s maxim, where the Assad regime is concerned, there is no ‘trust,’ only ‘verify.’

To date, the United States has provided approximately $6 million in financial and in-kind assistance to support the efforts of the OPCW-UN Joint Mission to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons program, including armored vehicles, training, protective equipment, and medical CW countermeasures for the inspection team. We intend to continue to provide available assistance to help the Joint Mission fulfill its mandate.

COURT ORDERS CALIFORNIA MAN TO PAY MORE THAN $1.6 MILLION IN COMMODITY POOL FRAUD CASE

FROM:  COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION 

Federal Court Orders California Man Jeffrey Gustaveson to Pay over $1.6 Million for Fraud, Misappropriation, and False Account Statements in Commodity Pool Scheme

Washington, DC –The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) obtained a federal court Order awarding restitution for defrauded commodity customers and a civil monetary penalty against Defendant Jeffrey Gustaveson of Morgan Hill, California, in connection with a commodity pool investment scheme. The Order requires Gustaveson to pay a civil monetary penalty of $1,230,000 and $410,000 in restitution. The Order also imposes permanent trading and registration bans against Gustaveson and prohibits him from violating the Commodity Exchange Act, as charged.

The Order resolves the CFTC’s Complaint, filed on August 29, 2012, charging Gustaveson with fraud, misappropriation, and issuing false account statements in a multi-million dollar commodity pool scheme (see CFTC Press Release 6341-12).

Magistrate Judge Howard Lloyd of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued a Report and Recommendation for default judgment and permanent injunction on August 19, 2013, and District Judge Lucy Koh entered an Order adopting Judge Lloyd’s Report and Recommendation on October 23, 2013.

The Order finds that Gustaveson received $2,495,000 from customers to trade commodity futures in a pool. But, rather than trade the pool participants’ funds as promised, Gustaveson used only approximately $400,000 of the funds to trade commodity futures, and he kept at least $400,000 the remaining funds to pay his personal expenses, the Order finds. To conceal his misappropriation, Gustaveson distributed false trading account statements to the pool participants that misrepresented the value of the pool, reported false profits, and failed to disclose his misappropriation of pool participants’ funds. When his fraud was exposed, Gustaveson returned a significant portion of the pool participants’ funds, leaving $410,000 of the customers’ funds unpaid, the Order finds. As to the amount still owed, Gustaveson admitted that he spent the money on personal expenses, past-due taxes, and repaying a previous investor, according to the Order.

CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this case are Lindsey Evans, Mary Beth Spear, Diane Romaniuk, Ava M. Gould, Scott R. Williamson, Rosemary Hollinger, and Richard B. Wagner

CDC SAYS MALARIA CASES REACH 40-YEAR HIGH IN U.S.

FROM:  CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL 
Press Release Malaria cases in U.S. reach 40-year high
Increase underscores importance of taking recommended medicines to prevent malaria when traveling

In 2011, 1,925 malaria cases were reported in the United States, according to data published in a supplement of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This number is the highest since 1971, more than 40 years ago, and represents a 14% increase since 2010. Five people in the U.S. died from malaria or associated complications.

Almost all of the malaria cases reported in the U.S. were acquired overseas. More than two-thirds (69%) of the cases were imported from Africa, and nearly two-thirds (63%) of those were acquired in West Africa. For the first time, India was the country from which the most cases were imported. Cases showed seasonal peaks in January and August.

“Malaria isn’t something many doctors see frequently in the United States thanks to successful malaria elimination efforts in the 1940s,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D, M.P.H. “The increase in malaria cases reminds us that Americans remain vulnerable and must be vigilant against diseases like malaria because our world is so interconnected by travel.”

Malaria is caused by a parasite transmitted by the bite of an infective female Anopheles mosquito. In 2010, it caused an estimated 660,000 deaths and 219 million cases globally. The signs and symptoms of malaria illness are varied, but the majority of patients have fever. Other common symptoms include headache, back pain, chills, increased sweating, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and cough. Untreated infections can rapidly progress to coma, kidney failure, respiratory distress, and death.

“Malaria is preventable. In most cases, these illnesses and deaths could have been avoided by taking recommended precautions,” said Laurence Slutsker, M.D., M.P.H., director of CDC’s Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria. “We have made great strides in preventing and controlling malaria around the world. However, malaria persists in many areas and the use of appropriate prevention measures by travelers is still very important.”

SEC ANNOUNCES 96 MONTH IMPRISONMENT OF PERPETRATOR OF AN INVESTMENT FRAUD

FROM:  U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION 

The Commission announced that on October 9, 2013, the Honorable John W. Darrah sentenced Steven W. Salutric to 96 months imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release, as well as $3.89 million in criminal restitution. U.S. v. Steven Salutric, Criminal Action No. 1:11-cr-00916 (N.D. Ill.). On August 16, 2012, Salutric pled guilty to one count of wire fraud (18 USC §1343).

Previously, in January 2010 the SEC filed an action against Salutric in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. SEC v. Steven W. Salutric, Civil Action No. 1:10-cv-00115 (N.D. Ill). The SEC’s complaint alleged that Salutric misappropriated over $2 million from at least 17 clients to support businesses and entities linked to him and to make Ponzi-like payments to other clients. In a particularly egregious example, the SEC complaint alleged that Salutric misappropriated over $400,000 from a 96-year-old client who resided in a nursing home and suffered from dementia. According to the SEC complaint, Salutric violated Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act (“Exchange Act”) of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and Sections 206(1) and 206(2) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (“Advisers Act”).

Pursuant to the SEC's request for emergency relief, the emergency judge, the Honorable William J. Hibbler issued a temporary restraining order against Salutric freezing all assets under his control in addition to other emergency relief. Pursuant to the SEC’s request, on February 8, 2010, a receiver was appointed to marshal all existing assets of Salutric. On July 14, 2010, pursuant to Salutric’s consent, the Honorable Robert M. Dow, Jr. entered an order of permanent injunction against further violations of Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 thereunder and Sections 206(1) and (2) of the Advisers Act. Finally, on September 10, 2010, Salutric was barred from association with any investment adviser.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE CONTRACTS FOR OCTOBER 31, 2013

FROM:  U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT 
CONTRACTS
DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY

Atlantic Diving Supply Inc.*, Virginia Beach, Va., (SPM8EH-14-D-0001); W.S. Darley Inc.*, Itasca, Ill., (SPM8EH-14-D-0002); Unifire*, Spokane, Wash., (SPM8EH-14-D-0003); The Mallory Co.*, Longview, Wash., (SPM8EH-14-D-0004); Federal Resources*, Stevensville, Md., (SPM8EH-14-D-0005); and L.N. Curtis & Sons*, Oakland, Calif., (SPM8EH-14-D-0006) have been awarded a maximum $872,000,000 firm-fixed-price, tailored logistics support program contract for fire and emergency services equipment. This is a two-year base contract with three one-year option periods. This contract is a competitive acquisition, and eight offers were received. Locations of performance are Virginia, Illinois, Washington, Maryland, and California with an Oct. 30, 2015, performance completion date. Using military services are Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2014 defense capital revolving funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pa.

Valero Marketing and Supply Co., San Antonio, Texas, has been awarded a maximum $330,851,251 fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, foreign military sales contract for aviation turbine fuel. This is a one-year base contract plus a thirty-day carryover. This contract is a competitive acquisition, and four offers were received. Location of performance is Texas with a Nov. 30, 2014 performance completion date. Using military service is Israel. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2014 foreign military sales funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Energy, Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-14-D-0452).

Petromax LLC*, Bay City, Texas, has been awarded a maximum $42,782,189 fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for automotive gasoline. This a one-year base contract plus a thirty-day carryover. This contract is a competitive acquisition and four offers were received. Location of performance is Texas with a Nov. 30, 2014 performance completion date. Using military service is Israel. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2014 foreign military sales funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Energy, Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-14-D-0451).

Chevron Americas Product, Houston, Texas, has been awarded a maximum $29,754,648 fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for aviation turbine fuel. This is a two-month base contract plus a thirty-day carryover. This contract is a competitive acquisition and twenty-seven offers were received. Locations of performance are Texas and Mississippi with a Dec. 31, 2013 performance completion date. Using military service is DLA Energy. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2014 defense working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Energy, Fort Belvoir, Va., (SP0600-14-D-0450).

Pall Aeropower, New Port Richey, Fla., has been awarded a maximum $16,904,640 firm-fixed-price contract for particle separators. This contract is a sole source acquisition. Location of performance is Florida with an Oct. 31, 2017 performance completion date. Using military service is Army. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2013 Army working capital funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Aviation, Redstone Arsenal, Ala. (SPRRA1-14-D-0003/0001).

X-Gen Pharmaceuticals*, Horseheads, N.Y., has been awarded a maximum $9,520,795 modification (P00024) exercising the fourth one-year option period on a one-year base contract (SPM2D0-09-D-0010) with seven one-year option periods for various pharmaceutical products. This is a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract. Location of performance is New York with a Nov. 2, 2014 performance completion date. Using military services are Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. Type of appropriation is fiscal 2013 warstopper funds. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pa.

ARMY

Xerox Corp., Lewisville, Texas; Canon USA Inc., Arlington, Va.; Cartridge Technologies Inc., Rockville, Md.; Ricoh USA Inc., Malvern, Pa.; Konica Minolta Business Solutions Inc., Vienna, Va.; Lexmark International Inc.; Lexington, Ky.; KST Data Inc.; Los Angeles, Calif., were awarded a $498,000,000 firm-fixed-price, multiple award task order contract to provide the Army with commercial-off-the-shelf multi-functional devices, and related services that will integrate, modernize and refresh the Army’s base architecture while providing standardized interfaces. Equipment under this program will be available for lease or purchase, and shall be compliant with current Army security standards. This acquisition includes accessories, associated consumable supplies, maintenance, and repair services. Work location and funding will be determined by each order. Bids were solicited via the Internet with seven received. Army Contracting Command, Fort Huachuca, Ariz., is the contracting activity (W9124A-14-D-0001-0006).

General Dynamics C4 Systems Inc., Taunton, Mass., was awarded a $475,000,000 cost-plus-incentive-fee contract for research and development requirements to support the Warfighter Information Network- Tactical Increment 3. Requirements include the fabrication, assembly, and coding of the configuration items necessary to complete the research and development phase for transition to the production and deployment phase. Support includes evolutionary product integration, testing, and evaluation. Work location and funding will be determined by each order. One offer was solicited and one bid received. Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., is the contracting activity (W15P7T-14-D-0002).

Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Comapny LLC, Oak Brook, Ill., was awarded a maximum $30,700,221 firm-fixed-price contract for folly beach shore protection for dredging beach fill from borrow areas and placing material on the beach. Work will be performed at Folly Beach, S.C. Funding will be determined with each order. The bid was solicited through the Internet, with two bids received. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston, S.C, is the contracting activity (W912HP-14-C-0002).

Honeywell International Inc., Tempe, Ariz., was awarded a $19,100,000 fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment contract for technical, engineering, logistical support services and 100 percent materials in support of the overhaul and repair of the T-55 family of engines at Corpus Christi Army Depot. Work will be performed in Corpus Christi, Texas. One bid was solicited and one received. Army Contracting Command Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-11-C-0039).

Medico Industries Inc., Wilkes-Barre, Pa., was awarded a maximum $19,100,000 fixed-price with economic-price-adjustment contract for Projectile Gun Unit (PGU)-45/B metal parts. Work location and funding will be determined by each order. Bids were solicited via the Internet with three received. Army Contracting Command, Rock Island Arsenal, Rock Island Ill., is the contracting activity (W52P1J-14-D-0007).

Secure Communication Systems Inc., Santa Ana, Calif., was awarded a $17,434,072 firm-fixed-price contract for integrated soldier power and data systems and defense advanced global positioning system adapters. Work location and funding will be determined by each order. Bids were solicited via the Internet with eight received. Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., is the contracting activity (W91CRB-14-D-0002).

MARSTEL-DAY LLC, Fredericksburg, Va., was awarded a maximum $10,000,000 firm-fixed-price contract for architect and engineering services for the Mobile District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide environmental, planning and encroachment management support to the U.S. Air Force, Office of the Civil Engineer Headquarters. Work location and funding will be determined by each order. Bids were solicited via the Internet with five received. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile, Ala., is the contracting activity (W91278-14-D-0002).

W. M. Schlosser Company Inc., Hyattsville, Md., was awarded a $8,933,000 firm-fixed-price contract for first high reservoir improvements, Washington Aqueduct Division, Washington D.C. Bids were solicited via the Internet with five received. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore, Md., is the contracting activity (W912DR-14-C-0002).

Navistar Defense, Lisle, Ill., was awarded a maximum $7,260,077 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for program and logistics support management for the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) MaxxPro M1235A3 Dash with MaxxPro Survivability Upgrade (MSU). The contractor shall include MSU content as well as variation in vehicle content for both the objective gunner protection kit and Common Remotely Operated Weapon System. Work will be performed in Lisle, Ill. One bid was solicited and one received. Army Contracting Command (Tank and Automotive) Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-10-C-0011).

NAVY

Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded a $422,063,723 modification with cost-plus-incentive-fee line items to a previously awarded advance acquisition contract (N00019-12-C-0004) for recurring sustainment support for F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft. Sustainment support to be provided includes ground maintenance activities, action request resolution, depot activation activities, Automatic Logistics Information System operations and maintenance, reliability, maintainability, and health management implementation and support, supply chain management, and activities to provide and support pilot and maintainer initial training. Work will be performed in Ft. Worth, Texas (35 percent); El Segundo, Calif. (25 percent); Warton, United Kingdom (20 percent); Orlando, Fla. (10 percent); Nashua, N.H. (5 percent); and Baltimore, Md. (5 percent), and is expected to be completed in October 2014. Fiscal 2012 operations and maintenance, Navy; fiscal 2013 operations and maintenance, Air Force; fiscal 2013 aircraft procurement, Navy; fiscal 2013 aircraft procurement, Air Force; and international partner funds in the amount of $369,304,921 are being obligated on this award, $22,055,168 of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Air Force ($188,287,831; 44.6 percent), U.S. Marine Corps ($125,641,895; 29.7 percent), the U.S. Navy ($66,558,160; 15.8 percent); and the governments of the United Kingdom ($18,291,583; 4.3 percent); the Netherlands ($8,392,726; 2 percent); Australia ($4,856,254; 1.2 percent); Turkey ($2,975,016; .7 percent); Italy ($2,676,868; .6 percent); Canada ($1,933,807; .5 percent); Norway ($1,556,986; .4 percent); and Denmark ($892,597; .2 percent). The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Sauer Inc., Jacksonville, Fla., is being awarded $27,406,000 for firm-fixed-price task order 0005 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N40085-09-D-5026) for the design and construction of an A School Barracks at Naval Air Station Oceana, Dam Neck Annex. The task order also contains three planned modifications, which if exercised would increase cumulative task order value to $31,910,953. Work will be performed in Virginia Beach, Va., and is expected to be completed by December 2015. Fiscal 2014 military construction, Navy contract funds in the amount of $27,406,000 are being obligated on this award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Six proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity.

I.E.-Pacific Inc.*, San Diego, Calif., is being awarded $12,612,000 for firm-fixed-price task order 0007 under a previously awarded multiple award construction contract (N62473-09-D-1657) for design and construction of a security operations complex and military working dog facility at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma. The task order also contains a planned modification and one unexercised option item, which if issued would increase the cumulative task order value to $12,797,000. Work will be performed in Yuma, Ariz., and is expected to be completed by July 2015. Fiscal 2013 military construction, Navy contract funds in the amount of $12,612,000 are being obligated on this award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Four proposals were received for this task order. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, San Diego, Calif., is the contracting activity.

AIR FORCE

The DynCorp International LLC, Fort Worth, Texas, has been awarded a $76,577,468 modification (P00016) on an existing firm-fixed-price contract (FA8617-12-C-6208) for contractor operated and maintained base supply (COMBS) non-personnell services for the Joint Primary Aircraft Training System T-6A/B Texan II aircraft. The contract modification exercises an option for fiscal 2014 COMBS services being procured under the basic contract. Work will be performed at Fort Worth, Texas, and is expected to be completed by Oct. 31, 2014. This is not a multiyear contract. Fiscal 2014 Air Force operations and maintenance funds and fiscal 2014 Navy operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $8,028,671 are being obligated at time of award. The Joint Primary Aircraft Training System, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center/WLZJC, Training Aircraft Division, Mobility Directorate, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity.

Exelis Systems Corp., Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., has been awarded a $23,275,661 modification (P00900) on an existing cost-plus-award-fee contract (F04701-01-C-0001) for Launch and Test Range System support functions to the Eastern and Western Range: range sustainment, external user support, projects and engineering services, systems engineering and interim supply support spares for the sustainment period. This modification extends the basic contract with a maximum period of performance of three months. Work will be performed at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., and will be completed by Jan. 31, 2014. Fiscal 2014 procurement, operations and maintenance ($21,369,330), research and development ($1,157,438) and other procurement funds ($748,893) in the amount of $23,275,661 are being obligated at time of award. Space and Missile Systems Center/PKL, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., is the contracting activity.

U.S. SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND

United States Marine Inc., Gulfport, Miss., is being awarded a $15,827,132 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for post-production and contractor logistical support services for the combatant craft assault. The work will be performed in Gulfport, Miss., and is expected to be completed by November 2017. Fiscal 2012 procurement funds in the amount of $3,017,352 are being obligated at time of award. This award is the result of a sole source acquisition. U.S. Special Operations Command, Tampa, Fla., is the contracting activity (H92222-14-D-0001).

UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE WEEKLY CLAIMS REPORT FOR WEEK ENDING OCTOBER 26, 2013

          SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending October 26, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 340,000, a decrease of 10,000 from the previous week's unrevised figure of 350,000. The 4-week moving average was 356,250, an increase of 8,000 from the previous week's unrevised average of 348,250.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.2 percent for the week ending October 19, unchanged from the prior week's unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending October 19 was 2,881,000, an increase of 31,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 2,850,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,878,750, a decrease of 10,000 from the preceding week's revised average of 2,888,750.

UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 317,580 in the week ending October 26, an increase of 6,064 from the previous week. There were 339,917 initial claims in the comparable week in 2012.

The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.9 percent during the week ending October 19, unchanged from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,523,509, an increase of 72,113 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 2.2 percent and the volume was 2,837,543.

The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending October 12 was 3,896,214, an increase of 39,532 from the previous week. There were 5,035,367 persons claiming benefits in all programs in the comparable week in 2012.

No state was triggered "on" the Extended Benefits program during the week ending October 12.

Initial claims for UI benefits filed by former Federal civilian employees totaled 14,423 in the week ending October 19, a decrease of 29,713 from the prior week. There were 2,154 initial claims filed by newly discharged veterans, a decrease of 837 from the preceding week.

There were 77,551 former Federal civilian employees claiming UI benefits for the week ending October 12, an increase of 32,741 from the previous week. Newly discharged veterans claiming benefits totaled 32,106, an increase of 959 from the prior week.

States reported 1,318,237 persons claiming Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) benefits for the week ending October 12, a decrease of 6,730 from the prior week. There were 2,098,646 persons claiming EUC in the comparable week in 2012. EUC weekly claims include first, second, third, and fourth tier activity.

The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending October 19 were in Puerto Rico (4.4), Alaska (3.9), Virgin Islands (3.4), New Jersey (2.9), California (2.7), Connecticut (2.7), District of Columbia (2.6), Pennsylvania (2.5), Nevada (2.4), Illinois (2.3), New York (2.3), and Oregon (2.3).

The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending October 19 were in Kentucky (+96), Maine (+49), Delaware (+45), Minnesota (+39), and North Dakota (+32), while the largest decreases were in California (-13,033), Pennsylvania (-3,240), Maryland (-3,222), Illinois (-2,897), and New York (-2,810).


U.S. OFFICIAL'S REMARKS ON TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION IN CONTEXT OF INTERNATIONAL SECURITY

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 
Sixty-Eighth UNGA First Committee Thematic Discussion on Other Disarmament Measures and International Security
Remarks
Michele G. Markoff, Delegation of the United States
Washington, DC
October 30, 2013

Mr. Chairman,

My remarks today will address United States views relating to developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security.

This June, the UN Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on “Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security” achieved an historic consensus. In the GGE’s report, the United States sees reflected a growing global consensus on core ideas, namely that the international community seeks a path towards a peaceful and stable environment that allows all states to take advantage of the positive benefits of cyberspace. Further, the international community seeks to create incentives for cooperation on shared threats and to avoid conflict, and to create disincentives for states to disrupt one another’s networks or infrastructure. The United States has long been a leader and strong proponent of this effort. We believe, and the GGE report affirmed, that to be successful, this effort must be based on a foundation of international law and practical confidence building measures (CBMs) that, taken together, give us the essential tools with which to build peaceful intergovernmental relations in cyberspace.

Mr. Chairman,

As a participant in the GGE, the United States sought to enhance common understanding on cyber issues of critical national and international significance, particularly: that there is a need to promote international stability, transparency, and confidence in cyberspace; that existing international law should guide state behavior with regard to the use of cyberspace; that practical CBMs are needed to build transparency and confidence; that cooperation with the private sector and civil society is essential; and that the international community should help build the cybersecurity capacity of less-developed states to help them participate in this process. We believe that the Experts made a substantial contribution on all of these issues.

From the United States perspective, the most significant achievement in this consensus was the Group’s affirmation that international law is applicable and essential to maintaining peace and stability in cyberspace. That affirmation was coupled with consensus that states must meet their international obligations regarding internationally wrongful acts attributable to them; states must not use proxies to commit internationally wrongful acts; and states should seek to ensure that their territories are not used by non-state actors for unlawful use of information and communication technologies (ICTs). The experts also affirmed that state efforts to address the security of ICTs must go hand-in-hand with respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international instruments.

Together with the application of these rules, the United States believes that practical cooperative CBMs are needed to enhance predictability and reduce the prospect that misattribution or misperception might lead mistakenly to conflict. In order to develop a stable international framework for a technology which cannot be seen or counted, and where state capabilities cannot be easily assessed, states need to develop some confidence that behavior by states is predictable and understandable. The GGE agreed that practical transparency and CBMs, such as high-level communication and timely information sharing, can enhance trust and assurance among states and help reduce the risk of conflict by increasing predictability and reducing misperception. The Group agreed on the vital importance of capacity-building to enhance global cooperation in securing cyberspace. The Group reaffirmed the importance of an open and accessible cyberspace, as it enables economic and social development. And, the Group agreed that the combination of all these efforts support a more secure cyberspace.

These measures will help make conflict in cyberspace less likely. They can also play important roles should conflict occur. The application of international law to actions in cyberspace includes rules governing the use of force by states and the law of armed conflict. These rules regulate the use of ICTs in armed conflicts of all kinds, whether or not the conflicts began in cyberspace. The application of these rules in cyberspace is fully consistent with the desire of all states for peace and stability in cyberspace. Just as we are all parties to the UN Charter which seeks to prevent war of all kinds, we also all subscribe to the Geneva Conventions, and recognize the central role they play in minimizing civilian suffering when armed conflict occurs.

The United States was pleased to join consensus to affirm the applicability of international law to cyberspace. With that clear affirmation, this consensus sends a strong signal: States must act in cyberspace under the established international rules and principles that have guided their actions for decades – in peacetime and during conflict.

Mr. Chairman,

The United States looks forward to future dialogue on these issues with the international community. It is our expectation that future GGEs on the subject will use the results of this report as the foundation for discussion on how international law applies in cyberspace, how the international community can work with developing states to improve their own capacity, and what specific practical measures can be undertaken to achieve these goals.

States must unite in the common goal of preserving and enhancing the benefits of information technologies by assuring their security and integrity, while also maintaining an environment that promotes efficiency, innovation, economic prosperity, free trade, and respect for human rights.

To this end, let me reiterate the United States unwavering commitment to an Internet governance model that is people-centered, bottom-up, multi-stakeholder, and transparent. To build global knowledge societies, we must work to promote the free exchange of information and ideas among people. At the same time, we must resist efforts to erect new barriers and restrict the dynamic potential of the free flow of information.

The United States favors international engagement to develop a consensus on appropriate state behavior in cyberspace, based on existing principles of international law, and we cannot support other approaches that would only serve to legitimize repressive state practices.

In closing, Mr. Chairman, I would like to emphasize that our delegation looks forward to collaborating successfully with other delegations on these important issues, as well as on the remaining work of this session.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

AG HOLDER ANNOUNCES $6.7 MILLION IN GRANTS TO IMPROVE LEGAL DEFENSE SERVICES FOR THE POOR

FROM:  U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Attorney General Holder Announces $6.7 Million to Improve Legal Defense Services for the Poor

Attorney General Eric Holder today announced a total of $6.7 million in grants to state and local criminal and civil legal services organizations across the country that provide legal defense services for the poor.  These grants from the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) are part of the Justice Department’s continuing efforts to improve indigent defense, which is often underfunded and understaffed, and to support training, mentoring, technical assistance, leadership development and research to enhance the effectiveness of adult, juvenile and tribal indigent defense practices.

 “Everyone accused of a serious crime has the right to legal representation – even if she or he cannot afford it,” said Attorney General Holder.  “In recent years, the Department of Justice has made a commitment to improving the delivery, quality and availability of legal services for everyone in our country, including the very poor.  Today's significant grant awards will help ensure America’s criminal justice system is fair for every defendant, regardless of wealth.”

 “These awards, in conjunction with other efforts we’re making to strengthen indigent defense, will fortify our public defender system and help us to meet our constitutional and moral obligation to administer a justice system that matches its demands for accountability with a commitment to fair, due process for poor defendants,” said Associate Attorney General Tony West.

 The FY 2013 grants, which promote cost-effective innovations to improve indigent defense, are administered by OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).

 In FY 2013, BJA awarded a total of $5.4 million.  Of this amount, $1 million was awarded to Gideon’s Promise, a nonprofit organization that partners with public defender offices to build a community of attorneys committed to indigent defense reform.  The funds will provide 25 new attorneys, including criminal defense lawyers working on tribal lands; establish training and leadership development for public defender trainers and supervisors and a semi-annual leadership summit for chief defenders; and create an advisory council to test measures and indicators showing the outcomes of providing effective counsel for all individuals.

 Another $90,000 was awarded to the states of Mississippi, Tennessee and Utah through BJA’s National Training and Technical Assistance Center (NTTAC).  Through NTTAC, BJA assists jurisdictions with meeting their constitutional obligation to provide adequate representation to indigent defendants.  Services include assessing the effectiveness of indigent defense systems, developing recommendations to ensure adequate and appropriate services are provided consistently throughout the state and determining appropriate measures for evaluating a defender services program.

 The Measures for Justice (MFJ) initiative, which will provide a framework for using indicator metrics to evaluate local criminal justice systems against a national standard of excellence, received $50,000.  MFJ is conducting a pilot study in Milwaukee to examine the capacity and availability of resources at the local level and to determine where additional resources are needed within the criminal justice system.

Answering Gideon’s Call, a national assistance program to improve the effectiveness of right to counsel services, received $1.8 million of the $5.4 million awarded by BJA.  Of the $1.8 million, Seattle University received $450,000 to, in partnership with the Sixth Amendment Center (6AC), provide training and technical assistance to educate policymakers and aid the unfunded, legislatively established Office of the Public Defender in Mississippi and work with the Utah Judicial Council to develop standards assessing indigent defense services to help state legislatures meet their constitutional obligations.  Another $891,854 was awarded to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) to train public defenders and assigned counsel by regions to meet specific jurisdictional needs, such as helping them to better manage workloads.  The remaining $450,000 went to American University in partnership with the National Legal Aid and Defender Association to conduct a nationwide self-assessment evaluating whether state and local indigent defense providers comply with standards incorporated into the American Bar Association’s Ten Principles, producing the first national empirical assessment of quality of indigent defense services.

Through its Encouraging Innovation:  Field Initiated Programs, BJA awarded a total of $619,700 to the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office ($395,231) to create the first local and nationally applicable checklist system to better guide attorneys through key moments in cases, ensuring competent representation and avoiding costly errors, and to NACDL ($224,469) to develop pretrial release manuals for the defense bar and to provide onsite training and distance learning to give attorneys the necessary tools to engage in effective bail advocacy.

The remaining $1.9 million of BJA’s awarded $5.4 million was provided through the Tribal Civil and Criminal Legal Assistance Initiative, designed to improve access to tribal justice systems and strengthen representation of indigent defendants in civil causes of action and in criminal cases under Indian tribes’ jurisdiction.  Of the $1.9 million, the Tulalip Foundation received $262,943 to provide regional, direct legal services to tribal members and $121,779 to create a Criminal Conflict Counsel Program to train defense counsel and provide services to resolve cases.  The Native American Rights Fund received $715,944 to continue its partnership with the National American Indian Legal Association and its 25 Indian Legal Services organizations providing civil legal representation to tribes and tribal members, and a second award of $515,940 to provide indigent defense services to tribes and tribal members.  The William Mitchell College of Law received $283,394 to provide direct criminal defense services and legal assistance to up to seven tribes.

OJJDP made two FY 2013 awards, totaling more than $1 million, to the National Juvenile Defender Center in the District of Columbia in order to improve juvenile indigent defense across the nation.  The first award, in the amount of $400,000, will provide juvenile defense counsel with customized technical assistance, training, and resources for policy development and reform.  The second award, in the amount of $695,000, will support the Juvenile Indigent Defense Special Initiative to reduce the overrepresentation of minority youth in the juvenile justice system and to improve access to counsel and quality of representation for youth with unique needs, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth and those with disabilities, substance abuse behaviors and language access needs.

In FY 2013, NIJ awarded $334,000 to the RAND Corp. in Pittsburgh, Pa., for an empirical evaluation of the holistic approach to individual defense, which includes the defense attorney as one member of an interdisciplinary team providing comprehensive services to address defendants’ legal and social needs.  The study will examine the effect of holistic defense on case outcomes such as plea status, verdict and sentence and disposition length and estimate the effectiveness of the holistic approach for subgroups of offenses or defendants.

LANL SAYS HIV VACCINE SHOWS PROMISE IN MONKEYS

FROM:  LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL LABORATORY 
New Global HIV Vaccine Design Shows Promise in Monkeys
Preclinical study provides strong rationale for clinical trials

LOS ALAMOS, N.M., October 30, 2013—The considerable diversity of HIV worldwide represents a critical challenge for designing an effective HIV vaccine. Now, it appears that that a vaccine bioinformatically optimized for immunologic coverage of global HIV diversity, called a mosaic vaccine and designed by Bette Korber and her team at Los Alamos National Laboratory, may confer protection from infection.

“This is the first time the mosaic antigen inserts were used in a challenge study. In a challenge study, vaccine-elicited protection from infection is tested, versus testing a vaccine for its ability to stimulate good immune responses,” says Bette Korber of Los Alamos.

These vaccines are specifically designed to present the most common forms of parts of the virus that can be recognized by the immune system. This new insight regarding a mosaic vaccine’s ability to protect from infection is the result of work by a scientific team led by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), and including Los Alamos researchers. The study, which was conducted in monkeys, is newly published in the journal Cell.

“To our knowledge, this study represents the first evaluation of the protective efficacy of a candidate global HIV antigen strategy in nonhuman primates,” says lead author Dan H. Barouch, MD, PhD, the director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at BIDMC and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “In this study, we show for the first time that bioinformatically optimized HIV vaccine antigens can afford partial protection in rhesus monkeys against challenges with a stringent simian-human immunodeficiency virus.”

Key defense against HIV infection studied

Barouch and his team studied the immunogenicity of HIV mosaic Env/Gag/Pol antigens administered to monkeys using viral vectors. (Env, Gag, and Pol are three major HIV proteins that help viruses “bind to” or enter host cells and infect them.) Mosaic proteins resemble these natural proteins, therefore increasing efficacy against the HIV diversity. After immunization, the monkeys were repetitively exposed to a simian-human immunodeficiency virus that carried the human Env (envelope, or binding) protein, and the investigators evaluated the ability of the vaccines to block infection by repeatedly exposing the vaccinated animals to the virus.

Although most animals immunized with the mosaic HIV vaccine became infected by the end of the study, the researchers observed an 87 to 90 percent reduction in monkeys’ probability of becoming infected each time they were exposed to the virus. In contrast, monkeys that received sham vaccines became infected quickly.

“These findings indicate that these optimized vaccine antigens can afford partial protection in a stringent animal model,” says Barouch.

The investigators found that the immunized monkeys mounted antibody responses against diverse strains of HIV noting, “Protection was dependent on several different types of antibody responses, suggesting that the coordinated activity of multiple antibody functions may contribute to protection against difficult-to-neutralize viruses.” The monkeys also mounted cellular immune responses to multiple regions of the virus.

Highly infective virus presents challenge

The researchers note that most previous HIV vaccine candidates have typically only been tested for protection against easy-to-neutralize viruses rather than against a difficult-to-neutralize virus like the one used in this study. Also, the viral challenge in the study was approximately 100-fold more infectious than typical sexual HIV exposures in humans.

“These data suggest a path forward for the development of a global HIV vaccine and give us hope that such a vaccine might indeed be possible,” said Barouch. “We are planning to advance this HIV vaccine candidate into clinical trials next year,” he adds.

The research team

Study coauthors include BIDMC investigators Kathryn E. Stephenson, Erica N. Borducchi, Kaitlin Smith, Kelly Stanley, Anna G. McNally, Jinyan Liu, Peter Abbink, Lori F. Maxfield and Michael S. Seaman. Other team members include Anne-Sophie Dugast, Galit Alter, Melissa Ferguson, Wenjun Li, Patricia L. Earl, Bernard Moss, Elena E. Giorgi, James J. Szinger, Leigh Anne Eller, Erik A. Billings, Mangala Rao, Sodsai Tovanabutra, Eric Sanders-Buell, Mo Weijtens, Maria G. Pau, Hanneke Schuitemaker, Merlin L. Robb, Jerome H. Kim, Bette T. Korber and Nelson L. Michael.

This work was supported by the U.S. Military Research and Material Command and the U.S. Military HIV Research Program; the National Institutes of Health; the NIAID Division of Intramural Research; the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard; and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

About Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School and currently ranks third in National Institutes of Health funding among independent hospitals nationwide. BIDMC is clinically affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center and is a research partner of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox.

SOLDIER, CIVILIAN SENTENCED FOR ROLES IN FUEL THEFTS IN AFGHANISTAN

FROM:  U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT 
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Army Soldier and Civilian Sentenced on Bribery Charges for Facilitating Thefts of Fuel in Afghanistan

A former U.S. Army Sergeant and a co-conspirator have been sentenced in the District of Colorado for their roles in stealing fuel at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Fenty, Afghanistan, Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division announced.

U.S. Army Sergeant Christopher Weaver, 30, of Fort Carson, Colo., was sentenced on Oct. 28, 2013, to serve 37 months in prison.  Weaver pleaded guilty Oct. 20, 2012, and was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Marcia S. Krieger.                    

Jonathan Hightower, 31, of Houston, Texas, who worked at FOB Fenty as a civilian employee of a contractor and who had conspired with Weaver, was also sentenced on Oct. 28, 2013, to serve 27 months in prison. He pleaded guilty Aug. 3, 2012, and was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge William J. Martinez.

A third conspirator, former soldier Stephanie Charboneau, pleaded guilty on Sept. 5, 2013, before U.S. District Court Judge Philip A. Brimmer.  Her sentencing is set for Dec. 9, 2013.

Weaver and Hightower were also ordered to pay $1,225,000 in restitution, jointly with Charboneau.  Hightower was also ordered to pay $400,000 in restitution for a related fuel theft scheme that was the subject of the prosecution.

According to court documents, from in or about January 2010 through June 2010, Weaver, Hightower and Charboneau were involved in handling the uploading and transportation of fuel from FOB Fenty, near Jalalabad, Afghanistan, to nearby military bases.  Weaver and Charboneau created false and fraudulent documents purporting to authorize the transport of fuel from FOB Fenty to other military bases, even though no legitimate fuel transportation was required.  Hightower was a civilian who worked at the base’s “fuel point” uploading fuel trucks, occasionally filling the trucks with fuel to be stolen and taking other steps to assist the conspiracy.  At the direction of Weaver and Charboneau, fuel truck drivers used the fraudulent documents to justify the filled trucks’ departures from FOB Fenty.  In truth, after the filled fuel truck left the base, the fuel was simply stolen, and Weaver and Charboneau would receive cash from the representative of the trucking company that supplied the fuel trucks.  The cash would be split among the three conspirators.    

All three conspirators pleaded guilty to receiving payments from a representative of the trucking company in exchange for facilitating the theft of approximately 70 5,000-gallon truckloads of fuel.  Each of the three acknowledged that the loss to the United States was in excess of $1 million.

The cases were investigated by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, the Department of the Army, Criminal Investigations Division (CID); the Defense Criminal Investigative Service; and the FBI.

These cases were handled by Special Trial Attorney Mark H. Dubester of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, who is on detail from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).

SECRETARY OF STATE KERRY'S REMARKS TO GREENING EMBASSIES FORUM

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 
Remarks to the D.C. Greening Embassies Forum
Remarks
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
October 29, 2013

Thank you. Thank you very, very much. Thank you. I apologize. Thank you. I apologize for running a little bit late, and I was catching up on old times outside there with Denis Hayes and Jeanne Shaheen and a few people. Forgive me for that, but I’m glad to be here. Alaina, thank you – there you are – for the incredible work that you’ve been doing as the Director of the Department’s Office of Policy, Rightsizing, and Innovation. And I want to thank all of you for taking time to come here and be part of our Earth Day Network/Embassy/State Department effort here. And I’m particularly happy that you all had a chance to hear from Denis Hayes to start with.
Denis and I go back – he just reminded me – 43 years, to 1971, 1970 and the first Earth Day. First thing I did, sort of, politically when I came back from Vietnam back in 1969, then going into 1970, was help organize Earth Day in Massachusetts. And I think one of the first speeches I ever gave anywhere – I was terrified in some school somewhere – was about the environment and Earth Day way back then. And since then, I was New England chairman of Earth Day 20-year anniversary in 1990, and we had a million people come out along the Esplanade in Boston and we literally painted Star Drive green – literally – with an obviously environmentally friendly, erasable paint. (Laughter.) But it was fun and we had this incredible Earth Day show on the Esplanade and it was very, very exciting for everybody who took part in it.

And then of course, those of us who took part in Earth Day are fond of reminding people that the result of that event – where 20 million people came out of their homes to speak to the country, and particularly their elected representatives – the result of that was that we created a political movement that actually held people accountable. The first thing that political movement did was not just end on the one-day event and coming out, but became part of campaigns across the country and targeted the so-called “dirty dozen,” the 12 worst environmental votes in the United States Congress.

And I am happy to tell you that seven of the 12 were defeated in that 1972 election, the result of which was that immediately, Congress took about – responding to the fact – whoops, looks like the environment has electoral power; we’d better do something. And therefore, the Clean Air Act was passed, the Clean Water Act was passed, the Safe Drinking Water Act was passed, Marine Mammal Protection was passed, Coastal Zone Management was passed, and we actually created the Environmental Protection Agency that we didn’t even have in America until Earth Day sparked that sense of conscience.

So people being involved makes just an enormous difference. And I regret to say that a lot of people then went home thinking, “Oh, my God, we’ve done it. It’s worked.” And of course, we haven’t done it. It hasn’t yet worked. We face this enormous challenge still in front of us with climate change and energy and energy policy and energy uses. And that’s what brings us here today.

I’m also glad to know that Jon Powers was here and I gather you already heard from him. Jon Powers and I met about maybe close to 10 years ago now right after he came back from a lengthy tour of duty in Iraq, and he has been significantly engaged in public life and public endeavor, and I’m delighted that he is now our Federal Environmental Executive and working on these issues.

And of course, my great, great friend and colleague Jeanne Shaheen from New Hampshire, my neighbor as well as my friend, who is one of the leading voices in the Congress on the subject of energy and has done a terrific job of helping to push that agenda, was one of my real collaborators in our efforts to try to pass a climate piece of legislation.

So this forum, if I can just say to everybody, on greening embassies is a part of the continuum that I’ve – of the effort that I’ve just described to you, and it’s the perfect way to really mark World Energy Day. And it’s also the second birthday of the State Department’s own Bureau of Energy Resources. So we think this is a good moment to be here to talk about this particular subject. And it is clear that if you’re serious about talking about energy policy and serious about doing something about climate change, one of the first places that you start is in dealing with buildings.

Why? Because amazingly, the energy used to power buildings accounts for about one third of all global energy demand and regrettably almost 40 percent of all of our associated CO2 emissions. So buildings contribute to global climate change and buildings are a huge source of pollution as a consequence of that. The fact is that they emit more carbon and more pollution than all of the cars, trucks, planes, and – cars, trucks, trains, and airplanes. That’s it. (Laughter.) What more do you want? (Laughter.) So by greening our embassies, we are really taking one other important step in the effort to try to contribute to a larger effort with buildings around the world.

So let me just quickly remind you why this is so important. I am amazed after all these years that we’re still struggling here in a very educated country to get a lot of people to embrace and understand why this is not a matter of theory, a matter of mere policy, but a matter of urgency for life itself on the planet as we know it. And the IPCC report that was recently released that assessed where we are in climate change now and what science continues to tell us about climate change is underscored by saying to you that it is documenting that everything that scientists predicted 20 and 30 years ago is now coming true at a faster rate and to a greater degree than was predicted.

Now if people can’t draw a sort of reality curve out of that, we’re in serious trouble. Because everywhere you see these consequences. You see it in less winter in places that used to have winter. You see it in millions of acres of forest that is destroyed in Canada and Colorado, Montana, various places because a pine bark beetle now lives that didn’t use to live as long because it doesn’t get cold and wipe it out when it used to. You can see it in all kinds of ways, in the migration of certain kinds of plants and species that are now migrating further north where it’s colder. You see it in our fisheries, where certain fish have migrated to different places and stocks have changed. You see it in the Arctic with the melting of the ice.

You see it in the Himalayas with the continuing diminution of glacier, the critical glaciers that not – that feed a mere 2.5 to 3 billion people on both sides of the Himalayas and are essential to some of the greatest rivers in the world. But as those begin to dry up and change, you have to ask yourself: What’s life going to look like with the numbers of refugees or the food dislocation and the question of food security and all the things that are linked to it?

So heat waves are becoming more prevalent. We’ve only had the 10 hottest recorded years in the last decade in all of our recorded weather history and the warmest of the 10 in the last two years. And yet, people sort of want to be oblivious to this fact, despite the fact that scientists are telling us in 6,000 peer-reviewed reports that we are responsible for what is happening, we are contributing to it very significantly through human choices.

Now, 6,000 peer-reviewed reports say yes. Zero – zero – peer-reviewed reports say no or contribute to the theory of denial. And yet, we have people, even in the United States Senate, who stand up and deny. So we have work to do and we have to undertake to try to do whatever we can – without legislation, if that’s what it takes, through executive authority, through our own decisions – to try to make the choices that will make a difference in this.

And so I don’t think it’s ever been more important to talk about our energy future than it is right now, for a lot of different reasons.

And incidentally, one of those reasons is that at a time of enormous costs, when legislators are looking for savings, what greater savings could there be than to transition to cleaner energy and alternative energy uses that wind up saving you money in the long term?. I know of companies in the United States – a friend of mine happens to run one of them – who will go to a business and say to the business, “I’m going to save you money and it’s not going to cost you anything until you start to pay me from the savings that I give you.” So they finance the entire retrofit of a particular building. It doesn’t cost the company or a government agency anything to do it. And indeed, they’re making millions of dollars by virtue of the savings and the percentage they get of the savings while the rest of the savings go to the company or the government agency. It’s such common sense, it really defies imagination that people aren’t able to say, “Why aren’t we doing that everywhere?” Think how many people you could put to work in the doing of this, not to mention how fast you would move towards energy independence or towards the reduction curve that we’re supposed to be on with respect to climate change.

So energy policy is not just about energy policy. It’s about climate. It’s about the environment. It’s about economic policy. Energy policy is the biggest single market we have ever looked at. The market that made America rich, and a lot of Americans rich, and saw every single quintile of American income earner go up in the 1990s, that market was a $1 trillion market and it had 1 billion users. It was called the tech market – computers and so forth. The market we’re looking at today for energy is a $6 to $9 trillion market with 4 to 5 billion users today, and it will go up to some 9 trillion – 9 billion as the population grows in the next 20, 30, 40 years. That’s the biggest market we’ve ever seen.

Now, a lot of competitors of the United States understand this. You see the Chinese racing towards certain technologies and implementation. You see Europe, India, others, but we’re still dawdling because we have this political-ideological divide that is unwilling to embrace the realities of what needs to be done. Investment in this energy sector is expected to reach nearly $17 trillion between now and 2035, and that is more than the entire GDP of India and China combined.

So I think energy is at the heart of any of the choices that we face going forward, and adopting cleaner and more efficient practices is critical to empowering us to be able to make the right choices to deal with this challenge. But it’s also a huge opportunity for us to get it right with respect to how we behave with our buildings. And so we need to make a whole set of choices. We need to do things like make the most of programs like the U.S. Low Emissions Development Strategies, known as the LEDS program. We need to pursue development around the world in a way that is sustainable, environmentally sound. The World Bank is here and represented. The World Bank is increasingly making specific choices about energy as a critical decider in their decision as to where and how they will invest in various parts of the world.

We also need to make much more progress through the Clean Energy Ministerial. We need to take advantage of initiatives like the Connecting the Americas 2022 initiative or the Power Africa initiative, and develop critical energy infrastructure linkages in regions that have been unconnected for far too long. But we also have to make sure that as a lot of countries struggle to become part of the global affluence that they see in many parts of the world and the growth that they see in many parts of the world that the only choice in front of them is not the choice of making the same mistake that we made that we’re now trying to undo. It is 20 countries that have made the fundamental difference with respect to what is happening in climate change today, 20 countries. The United States and China represent slightly shy of 50 percent of all emissions that are harming us. And when you add India and Indonesia and another group of countries, you very quickly get to a percentage with a small number of countries that could have a profound impact if we were making a different set of choices.

So the idea behind the State Department’s Greening Diplomacy initiative is pretty straightforward. And I’m proud to report that the Department today operates more than 35 LEED-certified buildings globally and we have another 30 buildings in the works. So we are putting our choices where my mouth and other people’s mouths are these days. And I’m happy to say that our embassies overseas obviously are some of our most important facilities, and I don’t want anybody to think other than the first priority for us is, needless to say, the safety and the efficiency and security for our personnel. But our embassies ought to also reflect the very best of American design architecture, and they ought to reflect our commitment to sustainability and to technology. They are the model of American innovation in this field and they reflect our deep commitment to responsible environmental stewardship. So through the use of new and efficient technologies, they not only send a message about our commitment, but they also save the American taxpayer a lot of money if it’s done properly.

Today, more than 100 American embassies are finding new ways to power their facilities, reduce carbon pollution, reduce energy costs through the League of Green Embassies. And in Sri Lanka, for example, we’re using solar panels to power the residences for Embassy personnel. In Oman, we have replaced mechanical cooling towers with new ones that use less energy and less water. In Helsinki, we are working towards renovations that would enable us to light the Embassy exclusively with LED bulbs, and that, coupled with strategies to dim electric lights when there’s enough light outdoors – enough daylight available, which that part of the world is significant for about six months – that will save the Embassy an estimated 50 percent in current costs.

Now we’re not alone in doing these things. Last year, more than – there’s some representatives here from other embassies – I thank you for coming – more than 75 foreign missions here in Washington signed an agreement to find ways to incorporate clean energy technologies and energy efficient services into their day-to-day operation. And these important upgrades represent more than the energy that each individual building uses. This I call the ripple effect. It’s part of what I talked about when I opened up my comments to you about Earth Day 1970.

And I’ll just leave you with this homegrown example of what can be done. I’m very proud of the work that my wife Teresa has done in Pittsburgh. That’s her hometown, Pennsylvania. And the industrial boom of the 20th century literally was choking that city in the 1960s, ‘70s, and turning it black. Buildings were just covered in soot from the industrial power that Pittsburgh represented. And coal-fired power plants and steel mills and so forth were all costing people quality of life in that city. And so at some point, the local philanthropists, the business leaders, the public health groups, and government organizations said we got to change this, we got to take matters into our own hands.

And so they launched what is now known as the Pittsburgh renaissance, homegrown. And the first green office design project in the city, I’m pleased to say, was the redesign of the Heinz family offices, done completely with all sustainable goods and supplies. And the result of that initiative and that leadership now sees Pittsburgh home to more than 70 green buildings, an award-winning convention center that is completely self-sustainable, likewise, off the snow and rain water, so – waste water, et cetera. And so it sets an example for what is possible.

As the world now contemplates the UN Climate Conference in Warsaw next month, and then leading up to the 2015 conference in Paris, we, all of us – and I can assure you this Department will be and I will be – laser-focused on how we are going to step up our response to the reality of the threat that climate change poses to all of us. We don’t need to wait till Paris. We can take immediate complementary actions in all of our nations, and those actions will send a ripple through the cities of the world from Pittsburgh to Paris to Penang. And all of it, in the end, will not only contribute to a healthier, greener, more sustainable planet; it will contribute to a more vibrant and employable and prosperous planet. And it will most significantly contribute to our efforts to live up to our obligations to future generations and to all of us individually as stewards of this planet.

So thank you very much for being part of this. Appreciate it. (Applause.)