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Saturday, November 23, 2013


Statement on the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone
Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
November 23, 2013

The United States is deeply concerned about China's announcement that they've established an "East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone." This unilateral action constitutes an attempt to change the status quo in the East China Sea. Escalatory action will only increase tensions in the region and create risks of an incident.

Freedom of overflight and other internationally lawful uses of sea and airspace are essential to prosperity, stability, and security in the Pacific. We don't support efforts by any State to apply its ADIZ procedures to foreign aircraft not intending to enter its national airspace. The United States does not apply its ADIZ procedures to foreign aircraft not intending to enter U.S. national airspace. We urge China not to implement its threat to take action against aircraft that do not identify themselves or obey orders from Beijing.

We have urged China to exercise caution and restraint, and we are consulting with Japan and other affected parties, throughout the region. We remain steadfastly committed to our allies and partners, and hope to see a more collaborative and less confrontational future in the Pacific.


November 21, 2013 Eastern District of Virginia 

U.S. Marshals Task Force Arrests Suspect in Connection with a Bomb Threat
Alexandria, VA – U.S. Marshal Robert Mathieson announces the capture of William Wyatt Raum. Raum was wanted by the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) in connection with a bomb threat communicated earlier this month.
On Oct. 29, the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center received a bomb threat from an unknown suspect. On Nov. 4, the FCSO requested their deputy sheriff assigned to the U.S. Marshals Service’s fugitive task force to investigate the threat. The investigation determined Raum as the alleged offender.

The case was adopted by the U.S. Marshals task force located within the federal Eastern District of Virginia. At approximately 6:00 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 18, task force officers and Deputy U.S. Marshals located and apprehended Raum in an apartment complex located on Marlboro Pike in Capitol Heights, MD. Raum was transported to the Prince George’s County Police Department and is awaiting extradition to Fairfax County.

The U.S. Marshals-led fugitive task force within E/VA is made possible by the collaboration of the U.S. Marshals Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Secret Service, Alexandria Police Department, Virginia State Police, Fairfax County Police Department, Fairfax County Sheriff's Department, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Diplomatic Security Service.

The task force within the Metropolitan D.C. area was founded in 2004 and, to date, has arrested tens of thousands of fugitives. The success of the task force directly correlates to it being a truly joint endeavor. Each agency brings its unique skills and expertise toward the common goal of pursuing and arresting the worst of the worst.

The U.S. Marshals Service arrested more than 36,000 federal fugitives, 86,700 state and local fugitives, and 11,800 sex offenders in fiscal year 2013. Our investigative network and capabilities allow for the unique ability to track and apprehend any fugitive who attempts to evade police capture, anywhere in the country.


From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Even a smoker who looks healthy – and whose doctor might even find no sign of health damage from smoking – might already be sick. Researcher Ronald Crystal of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City saw it when he compared airway cells from nonsmokers and from smokers who had no sign of lung disease, based on standard clinical tests.

Crystal says some hypothetical man smoking outside a building might think he’s OK, but he’s not:

“When you look at the cells lining his airways, the biology of those cells are markedly different, and they are clearly abnormal.”

Crystal says quitting can let lungs heal from smoke damage, but some cells never fully recover – so it’s best never to start.

The study in the journal Stem Cell was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Learn more at

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: November 21, 2013


Right:  An Artist’s concept of NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft in orbit above the moon as dust scatters light during the lunar sunset.  Image Credit-NASA AMES- Dana Berry

NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) is ready to begin collecting science data about the moon.

On Nov. 20, the spacecraft successfully entered its planned orbit around the moon's equator -- a unique position allowing the small probe to make frequent passes from lunar day to lunar night. This will provide a full scope of the changes and processes occurring within the moon's tenuous atmosphere.
LADEE now orbits the moon about every two hours at an altitude of eight to 37 miles (12-60 kilometers) above the moon's surface. For about 100 days, the spacecraft will gather detailed information about the structure and composition of the thin lunar atmosphere and determine whether dust is being lofted into the lunar sky.

"A thorough understanding of the characteristics of our lunar neighbor will help researchers understand other small bodies in the solar system, such as asteroids, Mercury, and the moons of outer planets," said Sarah Noble, LADEE program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

Scientists also will be able to study the conditions in the atmosphere during lunar sunrise and sunset, where previous crewed and robotic missions detected a mysterious glow of rays and streamers reaching high into the lunar sky.
“This is what we’ve been waiting for – we are already seeing the shape of things to come,” said Rick Elphic, LADEE project scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.

On Nov. 20, flight controllers in the LADEE Mission Operations Center at Ames confirmed LADEE performed a crucial burn of its orbit control system to lower the spacecraft into its optimal position to enable science collection. Mission managers will continuously monitor the spacecraft's altitude and make adjustments as necessary.

"Due to the lumpiness of the moon's gravitational field, LADEE's orbit requires significant maintenance activity with maneuvers taking place as often as every three to five days, or as infrequently as once every two weeks," said Butler Hine, LADEE project manager at Ames. "LADEE will perform regular orbital maintenance maneuvers to keep the spacecraft’s altitude within a safe range above the surface that maximizes the science return."

In addition to science instruments, the spacecraft carried the Lunar Laser Communications Demonstration, NASA's first high-data-rate laser communication system. It is designed to enable satellite communication at rates similar to those of high-speed fiber optic networks on Earth. The system was tested successfully during the commissioning phase of the mission, while LADEE was still at a higher altitude.

LADEE was launched Sept. 6 on a U.S. Air Force Minotaur V, an excess ballistic missile converted into a space launch vehicle and operated by Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va. LADEE is the first spacecraft designed, developed, built, integrated and tested at Ames. It also was the first probe launched beyond Earth orbit from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on the Virginia coast.
NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington funds the LADEE mission. Ames manages the overall mission and serves as a base for mission operations and real-time control of the probe. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., manages the science instruments and technology demonstration payload, the science operations center and overall mission support. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages LADEE within the Lunar Quest Program Office.


From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

A study indicates that young people who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of high blood pressure, or hypertension, when they grow up.

At Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health, researcher Sara Watson saw this in 27 years of data on more than 1,100 teenagers:

“Children and adolescents who were overweight had double the risk of having hypertension as young adults. Those who were obese had quadruple the risk.”

Put another way, 6 percent of normal weight youth grew up to have hypertension, but 14 percent of overweight children and 26 percent of obese children did.

Watson says it looks increasingly like heart disease starts young.

The study presented at an American Heart Association meeting was supported by the National Institutes of Health.


ADHD Estimates Rise
Continued Increases in ADHD Diagnoses and Treatment with Medication among U.S. Children

Two million more children in the United States have been diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and one million more U.S. children were taking medication for ADHD over an 8 year period (2003-2004 to 2011-2012), according to a new study Adobe PDF file [1.81 MB]External Web Site Icon led by CDC. According to CDC scientists, children are commonly being diagnosed at a young age. Half of children diagnosed with ADHD are diagnosed by 6 years of age.  Children with more severe ADHD tend to be diagnosed earlier, about half of them by the age of 4, based on reports by parents.

ADHD is one of the most common chronic conditions of childhood. It often persists into adulthood. Children with ADHD may have trouble paying attention and/or controlling impulsive behaviors. Effective treatments for ADHD include medication, mental health treatment, or a combination of the two.  When children diagnosed with ADHD receive proper treatment, they have the best chance of thriving at home, doing well at school, and making and keeping friends.
In 2011-2012, 11 percent of U.S. children 4-17 years of age had been diagnosed with ADHD and 6.1 percent of U.S. children 4-17 years of age were taking medication for ADHD. Of the children with current ADHD, 69 percent were taking medication for ADHD treatment.

States vary widely in terms of the percentage of their child population diagnosed and treated with medication for ADHD. The percentage of children with a history of an ADHD diagnosis ranges from 15 percent in Arkansas and Kentucky to 4 percent in Nevada.

Medication treatment for ADHD is most common among children reported by their parents as having more severe ADHD.

Nearly one in five high school boys and one in 11 high school girls in the United States were reported by their parents as having been diagnosed with ADHD by a healthcare provider.

Note to parents: If you have concerns about your child’s behavior, complete the ADHD checklist, visit CDC's ADHD website and discuss your concerns with your child’s healthcare provider.



Weekly Address: Working with Both Parties to Keep the Economy Moving Forward

WASHINGTON, DC— In his weekly address, President Obama said our economy is moving in the right direction. We have cut our deficits by more than half, businesses have created millions of new jobs, and we have taken significant steps to reverse our addiction to foreign oil and fix our broken health care system.
The audio of the address and video of the address will be available online at 6:00 a.m. ET, November 23, 2013.
Remarks for President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
November 23, 2013
Hi, everybody.  Over the past couple months, most of the political headlines you’ve read have probably been about the government shutdown and the launch of the Affordable Care Act.  And I know that many of you have rightly never been more frustrated with Washington.
But if you look beyond those headlines, there are some good things happening in our economy.  And that’s been my top priority since the day I walked into the Oval Office.
After decades in which the middle class was working harder and harder just to keep up, and a punishing recession that made it worse, we made the tough choices required not just to recover from crisis, but to rebuild on a new foundation for stronger, more durable economic growth.
Five years later, we have fought our way back.  Our businesses have created 7.8 million new jobs in the past 44 months.  Another 200,000 Americans went back to work last month.
The American auto industry has come roaring back with more than 350,000 new jobs – jobs churning out and selling the high-tech, fuel-efficient cars the world wants to buy.  And they’re leading the charge in a manufacturing sector that has added jobs for the first time since the 1990s – a big reason why our businesses sell more goods and services “Made in America” than ever before.
We decided to reverse our addiction to foreign oil.  And today, we generate more renewable energy than ever, more natural gas than anybody, and for the first time in nearly 20 years, America now produces more oil than we buy from other countries.
We decided to fix a broken health care system.  And even though the rollout of the marketplace where you can buy affordable plans has been rough, so far, about 500,000 Americans are poised to gain health coverage starting January 1st.  And by the way, health care costs are growing at the slowest rate in 50 years.
And one more thing: since I took office, we’ve cut our deficits by more than half.  And that makes it easier to invest in the things that create jobs – education, research, and infrastructure.
Imagine how much farther along we could be if both parties were working together.  Think about what we could do if a reckless few didn’t hold the economy hostage every few months, or waste time on dozens of votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act rather than try to help us fix it. 
In the weeks ahead, I’ll keep talking about my plan to build a better bargain for the middle class.  Good jobs.  A good education.  A chance to buy a home, save, and retire.  And yes, the financial security of affordable health care.  And I’ll look for any willing partners who want to help.
Because of your hard work and tough sacrifices over the past five years, we’re pointed in the right direction.  But we’ve got more work to do to keep moving that way.  And as long as I’m President, I’ll keep doing everything I can to create jobs, grow the economy, and make sure that everyone who works hard has a chance to get ahead.  Thanks, and have a great weekend.


Remarks at the Closing Session of the 2013 U.S.-China High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong
Ben Franklin Room
Washington, DC
November 21, 2013

SECRETARY KERRY: What a pleasure to be here. Vice Premier Liu, we are really honored to have you here, and it’s a pleasure to see all of you here. I thank you so much for coming to join us for this consultation on people-to-people exchanges. This really is where the action is, and I am excited by the energy and I’m excited by the discussion. Madame Liu and I spent a little extra time talking – and I hope you’ll forgive us – but we really were excited about the panoply of possibilities, the ways in which we can expand these exchanges which make all the difference in the world, I cannot tell you.

As I am privileged to travel as Secretary and go to so many different countries, and I meet finance ministers, environment ministers, prime ministers, foreign ministers who proudly say, “I was educated at Princeton,” or “I was educated at University of California,” or “I was educated,” somewhere in the United States, or in Great Britain, in Europe, or somewhere, but the pride that all of them have for that experience and the connection that they feel is absolutely invaluable in terms of breaking down barriers, building understanding, bringing countries together, avoiding conflicts, uniting our peoples, and doing all of the things that diplomacy is about.

So I am really pleased to welcome Vice Premier Liu here to continue this, and Vice Minister Hao, thank you very much for your leadership. And I’m delighted with our new and energetic addition to our team here at the State Department with Assistant Secretary Evan Ryan and Assistant Secretary Danny Russell, sitting here in the front seat. We have a great team, all of whom care enormously about this particular program, but more importantly, about the region and about our ability to be able to connect.

I’ve been to Asia many, many times throughout my life, and three times since I became Secretary of State. And every time that I visit the region, I really come home with a much deeper understanding of the people, the challenges that they face, and especially the issues that matter to people individually. And as you saw in the video there, they really are the same; they’re not that different – people aspiring to jobs, to education, to opportunity, to family, to absence of conflict and presence of security, stability, all of these things.

Since Vice Premier Liu and Secretary Clinton launched this initiative in 2010, we have really worked hard, and we’re going to continue to work hard, in order to give more people the opportunity to be able to build their own understanding through people-to-people exchanges. There just isn’t anything more valuable. And we got excited over lunch talking about the possibilities of kids from high schools in the middle part of America and farm country going and meeting farm folks in China, the middle part or the western part of China and so forth, and building these linkages. That’s how we’re going to solve problems, I guarantee you, in the short run and the long run.

And this annual forum has served as a powerful way to address challenges and to identify new ways for us to be able to enhance our engagement. For example, thanks to the Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant Program, which came out of last year’s CPE, students in the United States have been able to benefit from the skilled Chinese instructors like Chen Shengu or – well, Chen really normally teaches at Hainan University – the Normal University in China, but he’s currently serving as FLTA in my hometown of Boston, teaching Mandarin to students of Boston University. And Chen’s here today, and if you ask him, he’ll tell you how gratifying it is to teach American students not only his language, but just about life in China, and about what they’re thinking, and he and his contemporaries, and what they want out of life.

He’ll also tell you how much he is learning himself by being there. They say it takes an outsider to fully understand and comprehend the culture of a nation. Well, Chen has a master’s degree now, I want you to know, in American studies. But if, as a result of being in Boston over this last period of time, he can now provide an explanation for the mania that is part of Red Sox Nation – (laughter) – then someone should give him a Ph.D. immediately, folks – (laughter) – which he will have earned.

The fact is that thanks to the CPE, American and Chinese citizens are learning from one another every single day. And astronomy students are coming together to discover new challenges and developments in both Western and Chinese space exploration. Playwrights are connecting virtually in order to stage theater performances, and live-stream them to cities in China and the United States simultaneously.

American organizations like the Thomas Jefferson Foundation are planning exhibits in China. And world-class athletes are acting as sports envoys to promote athletic inclusion and adaptation for young people with disabilities. Just this morning, I was on the Hill testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the Disabilities Treaty, which can help raise global standards of dealing with disabilities to the ADA standards that we have here in America. And it’s a wonderful way to include people who might otherwise be discriminated against or left on the sidelines of life.

Our educational exchanges are truly more widespread than ever before. And if I’m able to encourage that, as I hope to, they will be even more widespread over the course of these next years. Thousands – hundreds of thousands of Chinese students and teachers like Chen are coming to American colleges and universities. And later today, Vice Premier Liu and I will speak about President Obama’s 100,000 Strong Initiative and the foundation of the same name which is aimed at sending 100,000 American students to study in China by the end of next year.

President Obama sent over a letter to express his support for the CPE, and in that letter he wrote: “The Chinese and American peoples want a strong, cooperative relationship. And it is in our interest to work together to meet the global challenges that we face.” Both President Obama, President Xi share a deep commitment to expanding the people-to-people exchanges between our countries. And that is because these exchanges give folks a chance to be able to have a deeper understanding of each other’s way of life, and eventually that understanding can grow into trust. And trust, as we all know, grows into partnership and into a whole lot of benefits in the long run.

Forty-two years ago, nine ping pong players, four officials, and two family members became the first Americans to set foot in China since the Cultural Revolution of 1949. Time Magazine called the visit “the ping heard around the world.” (Laughter.) But the truth is that Americans did a lot more than play ping pong when they were there. They spent time with Chinese students, with factory workers. They visited treasured Chinese sites like the Great Wall and the Summer Palace. And they went to see the Canton Ballet. Their visit literally opened a new chapter in the history of United States and China relations. And it wasn’t only because they played ping pong. It was through their visit to China that it became clear that despite the many differences between our peoples – differences that often politics and ideologues, and sometimes even demagogues, get in the way of – that there are also always a huge number of similarities and ways that we can bind people together.

Ultimately, these exchanges can do a lot more than just bridge gaps between two different people. They can bring together the two largest polluters on earth to help combat the serious challenge of climate change. They can bring together the two largest economies on earth to help drive the shared prosperity that we want for all people. They can bring together two of the most powerful nations on earth to promote peace, security, and stability in every corner of the globe.

As President Obama put it in his letter, the world is looking to the United States and China to work together to solve pressing challenges. And there is great potential for athlete, cultural, and scientific exchanges to help solve problems for the benefit of all. By improving and expanding the ties between the people of our two countries, the CPE is providing critical gateways to important solutions. Well, the President and I and our counterparts in China know that enabling people in countries to come together in pursuit of those goals will lead not only to greater understanding, but eventually to an even stronger partnership between our two countries.

The many collaborative people-to-people initiatives that come out of the CPE are a critical part of that process. They’re as good as anything else that we do in form of diplomacy. And I look forward to building on that progress, on all of the progress that we’ve made on using your ideas, your energy, your enthusiasm, your creativity. And together, if we continue to do this, this relationship will become one of the great relationships of all time, and a game-changer for the planet.

That’s our hope. Now it’s my pleasure to introduce a woman who, as I learned at lunch, probably holds more portfolios in China than any other single person – in charge of health, education, media – what did I – of sports – (laughter) – I mean, you run the list – culture – it’s quite extraordinary, and I’m really delighted to introduce her to you, the Vice Premier of China, Madame Liu. (Applause.)

VICE PREMIER LIU: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY KERRY: I told you she was powerful. (Laughter.)

VICE PREMIER LIU: (Via interpreter) (Inaudible) that the Chinese President, Mr. Xi Jinping, attaches great importance to this consultation, and he has sent to us a message of congratulation, and I would like to read to you now:

“On the occasion of the conclusion of the first round of China-U.S. High Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange, I would like to extend my warm congratulations. The China-U.S. relationship is one of the most important bilateral relations in this world. China is the world’s biggest developing country and the U.S. the biggest developed one. China and the U.S. are both permanent members of the UN Security Council. Our two countries face common challenges and shoulder important responsibilities in addressing a number of issues concerning world peace and development.

“To build between China and the United States a new model of major country relationship that features no conflict or confrontation, mutual respect, and win-win cooperation calls for active support and broad participation by the public and various social sectors in both countries. Over the years, the people-to-people exchange has played a positive role in enhancing China-U.S. relations and become an important pillar for the growth of the relations between our two countries.

“During the past three years in particular, nearly 100 outcomes under the CPE framework have been implemented, and this has enhanced the level of people-to-people exchange between our two countries and provided new impetus to the growth of China-U.S. relations. I hope the CPE mechanism will build on the past achievements and open up new prospects, expand areas of communication, deepen cooperation, and make new contribution to building the bridge of heart-to-heart communication between the Chinese and American peoples, and the development of the new model of major country relationship between China and the United States.”

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, the messages of congratulations from President Xi Jinping and President Obama reflect the important agreement between our two presidents on deepening people-to-people exchange between our two countries. This will surely lend an important impetus to the building of the new model of major country relationship between China and the United States. The Secretary and I have just assigned a Memorandum of Understanding on High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange. Our coordinators have briefed us on the outcomes of consultations in each field, and we have heard excellent ideas from youth representatives on how to build the new model of major country relationship and increase youth exchanges. I’m sure encouraged by what I’ve heard. I wish to congratulate you on the success of this round of consultation. And I thank both teams for their hard work and Secretary Kerry and our American colleagues for their gracious hospitality and thoughtful arrangements. (Applause.)

People-to-people exchange between China and America has a time-honored history. As early as over 200 years ago, the merchant ship Empress of China left New York harbor for China, marking the beginning of China-U.S. friendly exchange. More than 70 years ago, the people of China and America fought shoulder to shoulder in the antifascist war and forged profound friendship. And about 1,500 American (inaudible) the Flying Tigers have contributed their lives to this endeavor. Forty-two years ago, the ping pong diplomacy, which attracted worldwide attention, reopened the once-closed gate of China-U.S. exchange.

In early 1979, Mr. Deng Xiaoping paid a visit to the United States. The moment when Deng tried on the cowboy hat at a rodeo in Simonton became a classic snapshot in history of China-U.S. exchange. And 28 years ago, a party secretary from a Chinese county who is now the President of China, Mr. Xi Jinping, visited the United States. And during his visit, he stayed with a local family for two nights in a small town in Iowa where he developed a friendship with local residents. During his visit to the United States last February, President Xi revisited the small town and had a get-together with his old friends by the fireplace, which is yet another wonderful story of the friendship between the Chinese leader and ordinary Americans. Just as small streams were joined together to become a large river, the heartfelt mutual affection and the growing friendly exchange between the Chinese and American peoples will push China-U.S. relations to break waves and surge ahead.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, the establishment and development of the CPE is a major event in our people-to-people exchange and the history of our bilateral relations. Over the past three years and more, the CPE has made continued progress and implemented over 100 important outcomes in the six areas of education, science and technology, culture, sports, women, and youth. The 100,000 Strong Initiative of the U.S. side has enabled 6- to 8,000 American students to study in China, and the (inaudible) 10,000 projects of the Chinese side has in total sent nearly 10,000 people to the United States for Ph.D. studies or joint Ph.D. programs, and invited over 10,000 Americans to China for visits or studies.

The China-U.S. Cultural Forum and the China-U.S. High-Level Women Leaders Dialogue have all become famous events. The Chinese cultural series were very well received in the United States. Traditional Chinese poets such as Oh Zhu and Hauz Shigone have gradually entered local U.S. communities. The two sides have also made positive progress in breast cancer cooperation and promotion of clean cookstoves. It’s fair to say that China-U.S. people-to-people exchange now enjoys a stronger foundation, greater substance, wider coverage, more diverse participation, and stronger, far-reaching influence.

China-U.S. relations now stand at a new historic starting point, and they face new opportunities of growth. After their two meetings held in Annenberg estate and in St. Petersburg, President Xi and President Obama reached important agreement on building a new model of major country relationship between China and the United States. People-to-people exchange as one of the three pillars supporting the growth of China-U.S. relations plays an indispensible role and a strategic role in the building of this new model of major country relationship. Continued progress in people-to-people exchange can enable us to more effectively increase mutual understanding and trust and uphold mutual interests. In so doing we will enable our public to better appreciate the spirit of mutual respect and win-win cooperation that’s laying a solid, popular basis for the new model of major country relations between our two countries. We hope to work with the U.S. side to make the best use of this pioneering row of people-to-people exchange mechanism and comprehensively deepen and broaden such exchange.

With this in mind, I wish to make three proposals. First, we need to seek common ground while reserving differences and further capitalize the bridge-building role of mutual learning among various civilizations. Our world, rich and colorful as it is, has different civilizations. It is the beautiful leaves of different colors that make Washington, D.C. in autumn so beautiful. There are no two identical leaves in the world. It’s only natural that China and the United States, two major countries with different national conditions, histories, cultures, and systems have differences with each other. The American people have the American dream while the Chinese people have the Chinese dream.

Despite our different choice of development paths, we have a lot in common as we all endeavor to pursue people’s happiness, social harmony, economic prosperity, and world peace. People-to-people exchange is a solid bridge connecting China and the United States, and they will lead us to our common bright future. We need to further increase interactions between cultural institutions, organizations and industries; learn from each other and draw upon each other’s strength to seek commonality and harmony from diversity and difference; and pursue development through interactions in a joint effort to promote progress of human civilizations.

Second, we need to build trust, dispel misgivings, and further strengthen the catalytic effect of mutual trust between us. Former U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt has a famous saying that the only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Some of the differences and problems between China and the United States are, to a large extent, the result of lack of mutual understanding and trust. People-to-people exchange could gradually yet steadily bring the two peoples closer, increase their mutual trust, and remove prejudices and differences between them so that bilateral relations between us will become more resilient and dynamic.

To this end, we need to further encourage all forms of exchanges between people from all sectors and at all ages, and ensure the success of the exchange between young political leaders, scientists, engineers, and artists, and the Youth RME Partnership program with a view to improving understanding of each other’s national and social conditions. Third, we need to keep abreast of the times and open up new prospects of China-U.S. people-to-people exchange.

I am delighted to see that this meeting of the CPE is marked by three highlights. First, the theme activities of years and innovation have been launched. The hope of sustainable development of China-U.S. relations lies in the youth. Youth is the fresh force of the two countries and represents the bright future. I hope they will work together and enhance cooperation to cope with the common challenges facing us and make fresh contribution to world peace and progress.

Second, think tank exchanges have been introduced. This afternoon, I will engage in interactions with American scholars from think tanks at the United States Institute of Peace. I hope Chinese and American scholars will carry out more joint research programs on such topics as how to build the new model of major country relationship and strengthen people-to-people exchange, providing intellectual support, policy recommendations, and a theoretical basis for China-U.S. people-to-people exchange.

Third, provincial state people-to-people exchange under the framework of the CPE have expanded in depth and breadth. We need to bring the priority of our work down to lower levels and fully leverage the role of the mechanism of sister provinces, states, and cities so as to make people-to-people exchange closer to the society and people, and ensure that people are truly involved and benefit from it in this way. More and more people of our two countries will participate in and contribute to the exchange and share in its fruits. I believe the seeds of friendship, trust, and cooperation that we saw today will surely grow into a towering tree and yield bumper harvest.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, I am convinced that with the platform of the CPE, mutual understanding, trust, and friendship between the two peoples will further build up, and the giant ship of China-U.S. relations will sail more steadily toward its great goal. I look forward to working with Secretary Kerry and everyone here to create an even brighter future for China-U.S. people-to-people exchange, and make our due contribution to the growth of China-U.S. relations, to the well-being of the two peoples and world peace. Thank you. (Applause.)


Thursday, November 21, 2013
Three Takata Corp. Executives Agree to Plead Guilty to Participating in Global Seatbelt Price Fixing Conspiracy
All Agree to Serve Prison Time in the United States

Three high-level executives of Tokyo-based Takata Corp. have agreed to plead guilty for their participation in a conspiracy to fix prices of seatbelts installed in cars sold in the United States, the Department of Justice announced today.  The executives have also agreed to serve time in a U.S. prison.

According to the one-count felony charges filed separately against each of the executives today in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit, Yasuhiko Ueno, Saborou Imamiya and Yoshinobu Fujino participated in a conspiracy to rig bids for, and to fix, stabilize and maintain the prices of seatbelts sold to Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. Ltd., Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., Fuji Heavy Industries Inc. – more commonly known by its brand name, Subaru – and Mazda Motor Corp. in the United States and elsewhere.  The three executives have agreed to serve prison sentences ranging from 14 to 19 months, and to cooperate with the department’s ongoing investigation.

Ueno was employed by Takata’s Auburn Hills, Mich.-based U.S. subsidiary, TK Holdings Inc., in the United States as senior vice president for sales for Japanese manufacturers from at least January 2006 through December 2007.  From early 2008 through June 2009, Ueno was employed by Takata in Japan as deputy division director of the customer relations division, and as director of the customer relations division from June 2009 through at least February 2011.  According to the charge, Ueno’s involvement in the conspiracy lasted from at least as early as January 2006 until at least February 2011.  Ueno has agreed to serve 19 months in prison and to pay a $20,000 criminal fine.

Imamiya was employed by Takata in Japan as general manager for Toyota sales from at least January 2008 to July 2009, and as director of the customer relations division from July 2009 through at least February 2011.  According to the charge, Imamiya’s involvement in the conspiracy lasted from at least as early as January 2008 until at least February 2011.  Imamiya has agreed to serve 16 months in prison and to pay a $20,000 criminal fine.

Fujino was employed by Takata in Japan as the manager of the Toyota group within the customer relations division from at least January 2004 through June 2005, and as the manager of the Mazda group within the customer relations division from June 2005 through the end of 2007.  From the beginning of 2008 through at least February 2011, Fujino was employed by TK Holdings in the United States as assistant vice president for sales for Japanese manufacturers.  According to the charge, Fujino’s involvement in the conspiracy lasted from at least as early as January 2004 until at least February 2011.  Fujino has agreed to serve 14 months in prison and to pay a $20,000 criminal fine.

Takata Corp. is a manufacturer of automotive occupant safety systems, including seatbelts.  Seatbelts are safety strap restraints designed to secure an occupant in position in a vehicle in the event of an accident, and may be sold bundled with related parts according to the needs of the automobile manufacturer.  According to the charges, the Takata executives and their co-conspirators carried out the conspiracy by, among other things, agreeing during meetings and communications to coordinate bids submitted to the automobile manufacturers.

On Sept. 26, 2013, Gary Walker, an executive of TK Holdings Inc., agreed to plead guilty and serve a sentence of 14 months in prison for his involvement in the same conspiracy.  On Oct. 9, 2013, Takata Corp. agreed to plead guilty for its involvement in the conspiracy and to pay a criminal fine of $71.3 million.

Each of the executives is charged with price fixing in violation of the Sherman Act, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million criminal fine for individuals.  The maximum fine for an individual may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime, if either of those amounts is greater than the statutory maximum fine.

Including today’s charges, 24 individuals have been charged in the department’s investigation into price fixing and bid rigging in the auto parts industry.  Additionally, 21 corporations have been charged.

The current prosecution arose from an ongoing federal antitrust investigation into price fixing, bid rigging and other anticompetitive conduct in the automotive parts industry, which is being conducted by each of the Antitrust Division’s criminal enforcement sections and the FBI.  Today’s charges were brought by the National Criminal Enforcement Section, with the assistance of the Detroit, Michigan, Field Office of the FBI.


A Celebration of Mexico: Honoring a “Living Legend”
November 21, 2013 by Erin Allen

Mexican anthropologist and historian Miguel León-Portilla is the newest recipient of the Library of Congress Living Legend Award for his work in studying the Náhuatl language and literature – the ancient, still-spoken tongue of the Aztecs. The award will be conferred upon León-Portill at the Library’s “Celebration of Mexico”on Dec. 12.

The Living Legend Award honors those who have made significant contributions to America’s diverse cultural, scientific and social heritage. León-Portilla is the world’s foremost authority on Náhuatl philology and philosophy. He has spearheaded an entire scholarly discipline to evaluate and understand Náhuatl literature and thought, extending from pre-Columbian times to the 1.5 million speakers of Náhuatl today. The language of the Aztecs, Náhuatl has been spoken in Central Mexico since at least the 7th century AD.


Remarks by the President at Champions of Change ConnectED Event

South Court Auditorium
November 21, 2013

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, hello, everybody.  Have a seat, have a seat.  And thank you, Misa, for the introduction and, more importantly, what you are doing in the classroom every single day, which is making such a big difference.  And I want to welcome all of you who are here.  This is one of my favorite events we do periodically.  It gives me an opportunity to say thanks and recognize people who are making extraordinary contributions in their local communities.  And we’re learning from you, seeing what works, seeing what has an impact.

We call them Champions of Change:  people who have done some innovative work that hopefully can be replicated in other parts of the country once they have good models that are having success.  And today, we are honoring 10 educators who use technology to support one of our country’s top priorities, and that’s preparing our kids and our workers for the competition that they’re going to face in a 21st century global economy.

In an age when the world’s information is just a click away, we’ve got to bring our schools and our libraries into the 21st century.  That’s why five months ago I launched an initiative that we’re calling ConnectED to bring high-speed Internet to 99 percent of American students over the next five years.  And this is going to be a top priority for me.  It’s going to take some hard work across my administration, but I’m committed to getting it done.

Because this is not just about wiring schools; it’s about changing students’ lives.  It’s about using technology to give students a chance to learn at their own pace, whether they’re catching up on a subject or moving ahead to the next level.  It’s about giving teachers a better data set so they can see exactly what’s working and what isn’t for particular students.  It’s about unleashing a new market for educational devices and apps that will create jobs and spur innovation.

And it’s about supporting outstanding, innovative educators like our Champions for Change.  Because of their work in North Dakota, young people with autism are using educational apps to discover abilities that they didn’t even know that they had.  In Colorado, preschoolers have now obtained access to a digital discovery center that helps them to get a great education from the earliest age.  In Georgia, students at an after-school technology club are learning skills that are going to help them succeed in college and throughout their careers.  And today’s Champions of Change are helping to give our students what every parent wants for their child -- the chance to go as far as their talents and hard work will take them.

So to all of our Champions for Change, we want to thank you for your extraordinary efforts.  As long as I’m President, I’m going to keep working not only to support the great work that educators and librarians are doing across the country but more fundamentally to make sure that young people are getting every opportunity that they deserve to thrive and succeed in this modern economy.  And I see some young people here and they look like they’re doing pretty good.  (Laughter.)  Although they may be bored by me making too long a speech.  (Laughter.)

Thank you very much, everybody.


Scientists brave Old Man Winter to dig out secrets of lake-effect snows
'Tis the season...for snow.

Rare anywhere, thundersnow is sometimes heard during the lake-effect snowstorms of the Great Lakes. The interaction of clouds and ice pellets inside these storms generates a charge, with lightning and thunder the result.

How to catch thundersnow in action? This winter, stalwart veterans of tornadoes, hurricanes and other severe storms will be watching.

One is known as the Doppler-on-Wheels (DOW), a National Science Foundation (NSF) national facility used by NSF-supported and other researchers. Joining it is a University of Wyoming instrumented aircraft, the King Air, also an NSF-funded national facility.

In rain, sleet or snow, like the postman, they always deliver...storm data.

Using the DOW, the King Air and other equipment, scientists from across the country will converge on the shores of Lake Ontario from Dec. 5-21, 2013, and Jan. 4-29, 2014.

They will work to better understand the atmospheric conditions and mechanisms that lead to the deep snows that accumulate across the region each winter.

The project is called OWLeS (Ontario Winter Lake-effect Systems). OWLeS is funded by NSF and is a collaborative effort of nine universities.

Participating institutions are the University of Wyoming, University of Illinois, University of Utah, State University of New York (SUNY) Oswego, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Millersville University, Penn State University, University of Alabama in Huntsville, SUNY Albany and the Center for Severe Weather Research (CSWR) in Boulder, Colo.

Although lake-effect snowstorms happen near all the Great Lakes, the New York area along Lake Ontario has some of the deepest snowfalls. Average annual snow reaches more than 100 inches. Nearby locations, such as the Tug Hill Plateau, may be blanketed with more than 250 inches each year.

But lake-effect snows aren't limited to the shores of Lake Ontario.

New York's Finger Lakes region also bears the brunt of lake-enhanced snowstorms. Complex interactions between the local environment and the far-reaching influence of Lake Ontario can significantly affect the location of lake-effect snowbands, says scientist Scott Steiger of SUNY Oswego.

"Even winter-hardened Great Lakes residents and infrastructure can be severely affected by heavy lake-effect snows," says Brad Smull, program director in NSF's Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences, which funded the research.

"OWLeS' unique suite of modern mobile observing equipment and computer-based storm models will help us understand the processes that control the timing and location of these zones of heavy snow."

OWLeS scientists will use a network of specialized weather instrumentation--including three DOWs, the King Air, several weather balloon sounding systems, and a vertically-pointing radar wind profiler---to study the inner workings of lake-effect snowstorms.

The DOW and the King Air will intercept the lake-effect snowbands that cause the heavy snowfalls of the Lake Ontario region.

The King Air will fly over Lake Ontario, collecting data on snow and ice pellets, temperatures and other properties inside lake-effect snowbands.

The DOW looks more like the dish of a radio telescope than a sophisticated weather instrument. It's mounted on the back of a flat-bed truck. DOW-on-board, the truck becomes an odd configuration of generator, equipment and operator cabin.

Ungainly as it may appear, it's ideally suited to providing detailed information on the inner workings of snowstorms, says Josh Wurman, CSWR director.

The DOW uses Doppler radar to produce velocity data about objects--such as severe storms--at a distance.

"The King Air also carries Doppler radar that will transect the snowbands and a lidar that will show how the bands first form near the upwind side of the lake," says Bart Geerts of the University of Wyoming, co-lead scientist on the project with David Kristovich of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Lakes upwind of Lake Ontario can have a big influence on how heavily, and where, lake-effect snows fall.

"Air that has been moistened and mixed by moving over Lake Huron, Lake Michigan and even Lake Superior can play a major role in the large amount of snow that falls in the Lake Ontario snowbelt," says Kristovich.

Some of the questions scientists will investigate during OWLeS include:

What environmental factors have the greatest influence on the amount of snowfall and location of snowbands over and near Lake Ontario?

How do other Great Lakes affect the amount of snow that falls near Lake Ontario?

How does the interplay between winds and clouds produce long-lived snowbands far downstream of open water?

How does the local terrain influence the strength and longevity of these systems?

As snows begin to fall, the researchers will head out to collect data. The results will lead to increased predictability of, and preparedness for, Old Man Winter.


Friday, November 22, 2013




BAE Systems Aerospace, Phoenix, Ariz., has been awarded a maximum $11,093,991 modification (P00102) exercising the first one-year option period on a one-year base contract (SPM8EH-13-D-0002) with four one-year option periods for life preservers and component parts.  This is a firm-fixed-price with economic-price contract.  Location of performance is Arizona with a Dec. 5, 2014 performance completion date.  Using military service is Air Force.  Type of appropriation is fiscal 2014 defense working capital funds.  The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pa.

Patriot Industries Inc.*, Monticello, Ky., has been awarded a maximum $9,262,151 firm-fixed-price contract for modular lightweight load carrying equipment.  This contract is a competitive acquisition and ten offers were received.  Location of performance is Kentucky with a Nov. 30, 2014 performance completion date.  This is a one-year base contract with two one-year option periods.  Using military services are Army and Air Force.  Type of appropriation is fiscal 2014 defense working capital funds.  The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, Philadelphia, Pa., (SPM1C1-14-D-1002).


Lockheed Martin Corp., Sunnyvale, Calif., has been awarded a $105,083,207 modification (P00057) to an existing cost-plus-award-fee contract (FA8808-10-C-0002) to provide MILSATCOM Orbital Operations and Logistics Sustainment Support functions to support the operations and sustainment of Milstar and the Defense Satellite Communications System.  This modification exercises the fourth option year.  Work will be performed in Sunnyvale,
Calif., and is expected to be completed by Nov. 30, 2014.  Fiscal 2014 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $17,500,000 are being obligated at time of award.  Space and Missile Systems Center/PKJ, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado Springs, Colo., is the contracting activity.

Jacobs Technology Inc., Lincoln, Mass., has been awarded a $12,800,149 cost-plus-fixed-fee modification (P00013) on an existing contract (FA8721-13-C-00008) to continue providing disciplined systems/specialty engineering and technical/Information Assurance services, support, and products using established government, contractor, and industry processes. This contract provides a broad array of classified cryptographic and information assurance (IA) systems, equipment, services and support across different DoD agencies, U.S. military departments and various foreign military sales customers.  A good portion of the contract supports developing, acquiring, modernizing, testing, fielding, sustaining and disposing of COMSEC systems, sustaining SIGINT equipment, providing key management, providing information assurance services, and providing cryptographic/IA logistical and field support services.  In addition, the contract also supports the Defense Enterprise Accounting and Management System program.  Work will be performed at Lincoln, Mass., and is expected to be completed by May 19, 2014.  Fiscal 2013 research and development and procurement funds and fiscal 2014 research and development, procurement and operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $2,342,754 will be obligated at time of award.  Air Force Life Cycle Management Center/PZM, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., is the contracting activity.


Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., Stratford, Conn., was awarded a $46,867,800 firm-fixed-price contract to convert 26 UH-60M Black Hawk aircraft to Taiwan Army and Taiwan National Airborne Service Corps configurations.  Estimated completion date is Aug. 30, 2016.  Fiscal 2014 other procurement funds were obligated at the time of the award.  One bid was solicited and one received.  Work location is Stratford, Conn.  Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal (Aviation), Ala., is the contracting activity (W58RGZ-12-C-0008).

Weeks Marine Inc., Covington, La., was awarded a $21,253,000 firm-fixed-price contract for pipeline dredging of the Bayport Flare and Houston Ship Channel, Redfish to Beacon 78, Chambers County, Texas.  Dredging consists of 742,000 cubic yards for Bayport Flare Sections 1 and 2; and 3,989,000 cubic yards for Houston Ship Channel Sections 4 through 14.  Fiscal 2014 operations and maintenance, Army funds in the amount of $17,306,000 were obligated at the time of the award.  Estimated completion date is Dec. 3, 2014.  Bids were solicited via the Internet with two received.  Work location will be Anahuac, Texas.  Army Corps of Engineers, Galveston, Texas, is the contracting activity (W9126G-14-C-0001).

Hamp’s Construction LLC, New Orleans, La. was awarded an $11,658,930 firm-fixed-price contract for clearing and grubbing the existing levee, including debris disposal, demolition of the flood wall and cutting sheet piles.  Hamp’s will also remove abandoned pipelines, remove and replace existing riprap armament, furnish borrow pit preparation, construct a levee enlargement, and surface same, realign and surface access ramps, install deep soil mixing material for ground improvement including soil and excavation disposal, and seeding, fertilizing and mulching, and other related work.  Estimated completion date is Aug. 29, 2014.  Fiscal 2014 other procurement funds were obligated at the time of the award.  Bids were solicited via the Internet with six received.  Work location is Buras, La.  Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans, La., is the contracting activity (W912P8-14-C-0009).

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Aerospace Systems, Redondo Beach, Calif., was awarded an $8,192,012 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for a protected Military Satellite Communications design for affordability risk reduction demonstration.  This is proposed against Army Research Laboratory broad agency announcement.  Estimated completion date is Jan. 21, 2015.  Fiscal 2014 research, development, test and evaluation funds were obligated at the time of the award.  Bids were sent out via the Internet with an indeterminate number received.  Work location is Redondo Beach, Calif.  Army Contracting Command, Adelphi, Md., is the contracting activity (W911QX-14-C-0004).

Shavers-Whittle Construction LLC, Mandeville, La., was awarded an $8,112,606 firm-fixed-price contract for the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, Soniat Canal, Jefferson Parish, La.  Estimated completion date is Aug. 5, 2015.  Fiscal 2014 other procurement funds were obligated at the time of the award.  Bids were solicited via the Internet with eight received.  Work location will be New Orleans, La.  Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans, La., is the contracting activity (W912P8-14-C-0010).

SOS International, Reston, Va. was awarded a $7,299,684 modification (P00009) to firm-fixed-price contract W52P1J-11-C-0058 which will execute option year two for public affairs operations in support of U.S. Forces - Afghanistan.  Estimated completion date is Nov. 26, 2014.  Fiscal 2014 operations and maintenance, Army funds were obligated at the time of the award.  Bids were solicited via the Internet with four received.  Work location will be Afghanistan.  Army Contracting Command, Rock Island, Ill., is the contracting activity (52P1J-11-C-0058).

Black River Constructors Joint Venture, La Crosse, Wis., was awarded a $7,299,000 firm-fixed-price contract for The Grand Encampment Island Unloading Project to remove dredged and other materials from the Mississippi River’s Grand Encampment Island, Pool 4, Buffalo County, Wis.  Estimated completion date is Nov. 15, 2015.  Fiscal 2014 other procurement funds were obligated at the time of the award.  Bids were solicited via the Internet with two received. Work location will be Alma, Wis. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul, Minn., is the contracting activity (W912ES-14-C-0002)


Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office, Amarillo, Texas, is being awarded a $33,023,240 cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to delivery order 0044 previously issued against a basic ordering agreement (N00019-12-G-0006) in support of the V-22.  This modified order provides for engineering and technical support for the V-22 flight control system and on-aircraft avionics software; flight test planning and coordination of changed avionics and flight control configuration; upgrade planning of avionics and flight controls, including performance of qualification testing and integration testing on software products.  Work will be performed at Ridley Park, Pa. (90 percent) and Fort Worth, Texas (10 percent), and is expected to be completed in December 2015.  Fiscal 2013 aircraft procurement, Navy; fiscal 2013 aircraft procurement, Air Force; fiscal 2014 operations and maintenance, Air Force; and fiscal 2014 operations and maintenance, Navy contract funds in the amount of $33,023,240 will be obligated at time of award, of which $7,907,796 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

Raytheon Co., Integrated Defense Systems, Tewksbury, Mass., is being awarded a $17,000,000 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-10-C-5126) to exercise fiscal 2014 options for deferred mission systems equipment for DDG 1001.  Work will be performed in Portsmouth, R.I. (48 percent), Minneapolis, Minn. (41 percent), and Moorestown, N.J. (11 percent), and is expected to be completed by April 2017.  Fiscal 2014 shipbuilding and conversion, Navy funds in the amount of $17,000,000 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Lockheed Martin Corp., Missiles and Fire Control, Orlando, Fla., is being awarded $13,297,674 for cost-plus-fixed-fee order 0015 under a previously awarded basic ordering agreement (N00164-11-G-JQ97) for the procurement of eight redesigned Turret Electronic Unit prototypes and related data items for the Target Sight Systems AN/AAQ-30(A).  This acquisition is for the AN/AAQ-30 Target Sight Systems (TSS) that is to be integrated into the AH-1Z Cobra Attack Helicopter.  This integration is part of the U.S. Marine Corps H-1 Upgrades Program for the remanufacture of legacy aircraft with state of the art designs incorporated into the existing fleet of AH-1W’s, converting them to AH-1Z.  The TSS provides target identification and tracking, passive targeting for integrated weapons, including Hellfire missiles, and a laser designation capability supporting friendly laser-guided weapons.  Work will be performed in Orlando, Fla., and is expected to be completed by April 2016.  Fiscal 2013 aircraft procurement Navy contract funds in the amount of $13,297,674 will be obligated at time of award, and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  This contract was not competitively procured in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(1), as set forth in FAR 6.203-1(b)(1)(ii) - only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements.  The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane, Ind., is the contracting activity.


Kearfott Corp., Little Falls, N.J., is being awarded an $18,700,000 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to design, develop, assemble and test high fidelity inertial measurement units (IMU) that meet or exceed the requirements of MDA-STD-005 for the Missile Defense Agency Advanced Technology Risk Reduction.  Options work will also include qualification testing, highly accelerated life test/high accelerated stress screening and service life tests, and delivery of one set of IMU test station equipment.  The work will be performed in Little Falls, N.J.  The performance period is from November 2013 through September 2018.  This contract was competitively procured via publication on the Federal Business Opportunities website with 112 proposals received.  Fiscal 2014 research, development, test, and evaluation funds in the amount of $700,000 are being obligated on this award.  The Missile Defense Agency, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is the contracting activity (HQ0147-14-C-0002).

*Small Business


Attorney General Eric Holder Delivers Remarks at the Fourth Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Public Security in the Americas
Medillin, Colombia ~ Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thank you, Associate Deputy Minister [John] Ossowski.  I appreciate your kind words – and I thank you for serving as moderator for today’s first session.  I would also like to thank the Government of Colombia for hosting this important gathering of friends, colleagues, and leaders.  And I applaud the Organization of American States for having the vision to focus on regional cooperation as an effective conduit for increasing public safety – and reinforcing our mutual security.

 It’s an honor to bring greetings from President [Barack] Obama.  And it’s a pleasure to be in this beautiful city today.
 As Minister Pinzon suggested this morning, there could be no more powerful symbol than that we are holding our OAS meeting today in Medellin – a city that has been transformed. And I would like to take a moment to pay tribute to the courage of the Colombian judges, prosecutors, police officers and citizens who made this transformation possible – sometimes at the cost of their lives. Their courage is an inspiration to us today.

 Indeed, each of our nations has displayed a shared commitment – and dedication – to building on the progress that our respective countries have made possible in recent years, particularly when it comes to protecting our citizens from violence and harm and combating transnational organized crime.  And I appreciate the chance to discuss this commitment with you today.

 As the title of this session suggests, the cornerstone of any effective law enforcement strategy rests upon the notion that our actions must be undertaken in concert with others – whether within individual neighborhoods, states, countries, or continents.  We must cooperate if we are to protect our respective citizens from the criminal enterprises that threaten our national and international interests.  And we must acknowledge that none among us can fight this battle on our own, or by implementing a “one-size-fits all” approach.  On the contrary: we must take advantage of opportunities like this one to review and analyze cutting-edge strategies that can work for all of us, while at the same time seeking ways to adapt, to fine-tune, and to closely tailor our individual crime-fighting modalities to the specific security threats our people face.

      In the United States, shifting crime trends over the last four decades have made it abundantly clear that new strategies must be brought to bear.  It’s become self-evident that 20th-century solutions are simply not adequate to address the 21st-century challenges we face.  And that’s why my colleagues and I have undertaken a series of fundamental policy changes – within the American criminal justice system, at the federal level – to invest in innovative models for reform; to explore new ways to ensure public safety and bring about just outcomes; to target precious law enforcement resources to the areas where they’re most needed; and to become smarter as well as tougher on crime.  I hope that what we’ve chosen to do at the Justice  Department will prove of value to you.  And I look forward to your feedback, as well as the chance to learn how your countries have dealt with some of the same issues.

 The approach we have undertaken in the United States requires policymakers and law enforcement leaders to be frank about which policies have proven effective – and which have not.  It demands that we embrace data-driven solutions, reject the tired assumptions of the past, and consider crime in its appropriate context – not just by reacting to criminal acts themselves, but by improving the government’s ability to enhance public safety through proactive policing – and empowering those who are released from prison to rejoin their communities in a productive and meaningful way.

 As President Obama and I have discussed many times over the years – and as I have repeatedly made clear – the path we are currently on is far from sustainable.  As we speak, roughly one out of every 100 American adults is behind bars.  Although the United States comprises just five percent of the world’s population, we incarcerate almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners.  While few would dispute the fact that incarceration has a role to play in any comprehensive public safety strategy, it’s become evident that such widespread incarceration is both inadvisable and unsustainable.  It requires that we routinely spend billions of dollars on prison construction – and tens of billions more, on an annual basis, to house those who are convicted of crimes.  It carries both human and moral costs that are too much to bear.  And it results in far too many Americans serving too much time in too many prisons – and beyond the point of serving any good law enforcement reason.

 Clearly, it is time – in fact, it’s well past time – that federal leaders consider a fundamentally new approach.  As a prosecutor, a former judge, an attorney in private practice – and now as my nation’s top law enforcement official – I’ve seen the federal criminal justice system firsthand, from nearly every angle.  And although I have the utmost faith – and confidence – in America’s legal system, and especially in the dedicated men and women who serve it, I also recognize that we can and must do much better.
 This is why, early this year – at my direction – the Department of Justice launched a targeted review of the federal criminal justice system in order to identify reforms that will enable us to better protect the American people from crime; to increase support for those who become crime victims; and to bolster public safety by improving the criminal justice system as a whole.  In August, I announced the results of this review – which include a series of significant actions that the Department of Justice has undertaken to ensure just outcomes, to promote fair law enforcement, to improve diversion and reentry policies, and to strengthen protections for the most vulnerable members of our society.

 These reforms – which are currently being implemented across the United States – will help to bring our criminal justice system in line with our most treasured values: of equality, opportunity, and justice under law.  Particularly in this time of growing demands and limited budgets, they also will help our federal system operate more efficiently by improving coordination between agencies at every level.

 These efforts must begin with law enforcement.  That’s why I issued guidance to ensure that every case brought by federal authorities serves a substantial federal interest – and complements the work of our law enforcement counterparts at the state, local, and tribal levels.  I have also directed our United States Attorneys, who lead federal prosecutions across the country, to develop specific, locally-tailored guidelines for determining when charges should be filed, and when they should not.  This will enable us to focus our efforts on the most serious cases – those that implicate clear and substantial public security threats, including national security, protecting Americans from violent crime and financial fraud, and safeguarding our most vulnerable citizens.

 In addition, I took action this summer to bring about a significant change in the Justice Department’s charging policies with regard to mandatory minimum sentences for drug related crimes – so that certain people who have committed low-level, nonviolent drug offenses, and who have no ties to large-scale organizations, gangs, or cartels – will no longer be charged with offenses that impose draconian mandatory minimum sentences.  Instead, they will be charged with offenses for which the accompanying sentences are more appropriate for their specific conduct, reserving the most severe penalties for violent criminals or drug kingpins.

 This shift will enable the Justice Department to better promote public safety, deterrence, and rehabilitation, while making our expenditures smarter and more productive.  As it stands, roughly 219,000 federal inmates are currently behind bars in the United States.  Almost half of them are serving time for drug-related crimes, and many have substance abuse problems.  Statistics show that many are likely to reoffend after they are released from prison – cycling through our federal and state criminal justice systems at great cost to American taxpayers – and without real benefit to public safety.

 This vicious cycle – of poverty, criminality, and incarceration – traps too many Americans and weakens too many communities.  And many aspects of our criminal justice system may actually exacerbate these problems, rather than alleviate them.  This is why the Justice Department is also placing a renewed emphasis on the use of what we refer to as diversion programs – such as drug courts, treatment programs for those who have committed low-level drug crimes, and dual-track programs that differentiate between those with a low risk of recidivism and those with more serious criminal histories.  By examining cases individually, identifying effective alternatives to incarceration under certain circumstances, and providing the resources necessary for those currently in the criminal justice system – and those who are released from prison – to become productive, law-abiding members of society, we can break this cycle.  And we can improve public safety, forge safer neighborhoods, begin to address the root causes of criminality – and make smarter decisions on how to prevent it.

 With these goals in mind, I have directed federal prosecutors around the country to designate prevention and reentry coordinators within each U.S. Attorney’s office – so we can ensure that these efforts are prioritized in every district.  The Justice Department is taking steps to highlight promising initiatives – many pioneered by individual states – that can serve as models for success, allowing policymakers to direct funding away from prison construction and toward strategies that are proven to reduce recidivism and improve public safety.  And my colleagues and I are moving in a variety of ways to identify and share best practices on reentry programs focused on specific needs related to employment, housing, and family support, among other key priorities.

 Ultimately, however, this comprehensive “Smart on Crime” approach is about far more than fairness for those who are released from prisons.  It makes plain economic sense.  And it is a matter of both public safety and public good.  While my colleagues and I recognize that the aggressive enforcement of federal criminal statutes will always be necessary, the reality is that we will never prosecute or incarcerate our way to becoming a safer nation.  No country can succeed with such an approach.  Instead, we must focus on prevention and reentry.  We must be smart as well as efficient when battling criminal acts – and the conditions, and individual choices, that breed them.  Most importantly, we must embrace reforms and innovations that can bring our law enforcement policies and practices in line with the values we share with all of the nations represented here – and which all of you have been working hard to translate into principled action, especially in recent years.

 Each of the leaders in this room has the privilege of serving his or her respective country – and its citizens – in a time of common challenges and uncommon threats, when our ability to ensure peace, security, and justice depends more than ever on our willingness to work together – meeting national challenges with regional, and even global, solutions.  There’s no question – as we come together today – that we have an unprecedented opportunity to share critical information, instructive experiences, and best practices.  And that’s why I firmly believe that each of us must resolve – here and now – to seize this chance to collaborate, and to work together, in order to make our communities and our nations not only safer, but stronger.

 Together, we can grow smarter on crime by implementing reforms and enacting legislation that ensures fairness in sentencing; by focusing scarce resources on incarcerating only those who pose the greatest threats; and by providing safe and productive paths forward for those who have paid their debts to society.  We can grow smarter on crime by directing assistance and resources to “hot spots” of criminality; by recognizing that vulnerable populations deserve extra care and protection; and by acting on the realization that we are uniquely positioned – and empowered – to make the positive difference that our citizens need and deserve.

 On behalf of President Obama – and the Department of Justice I am privileged to lead – let me say, once again, how pleased and honored I am to stand with you, and to work with you, to improve the safety and security of our fellow citizens.  Despite the obstacles that undoubtedly lie ahead, as I look around this room, I cannot help but feel confident in our collective ability to do just that.  I look forward to all that we will accomplish in the months and years ahead.  And I thank you, once again, for the opportunity to be here today.

West Wing Week 11/22/13 or, "A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Panama!" | The White House

West Wing Week 11/22/13 or, "A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Panama!" | The White House


Thursday, November 21, 2013
Owner of Home Health Companies Sentenced for Role in $20 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme

The owner and operator of several Miami health care agencies was sentenced today to serve 120 months in prison for his role in a health care fraud scheme involving defunct home health care company Trust Care Health Services Inc.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida; Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Steinbach of the FBI’s Miami Field Office; Special Agent in Charge Christopher B. Dennis of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Office of Investigations Miami Office; and Acting Special Agent in Charge Michael J. DePalma of the Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation’s (IRS-CI) Miami Field Office made the announcement.

Roberto Marrero, 60, of Miami, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore in the Southern District of Florida.   In September 2013, Marrero pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and conspiracy to receive and pay health care kickbacks.

Marrero was an owner and operator of Trust Care, a Miami home health care agency that purported to provide home health and physical therapy services to Medicare beneficiaries.

Co-conspirators Sandra Fernandez Viera, 49, Patricia Morcate, 34, and Enrique Rodriguez, 59, all of Miami, have also pleaded guilty to related charges, including conspiracy to commit health care fraud and conspiracy to receive and pay health care kickbacks.   On Nov. 13, 2013, Fernandez Viera was sentenced to serve 120 months in prison; Morcate was sentenced to serve 60 months; and Rodriguez was sentenced to serve 57 months.

Together with Marrero, Fernandez Viera was an owner and operator of Trust Care.   Morcate worked at and was an investor in Trust Care.  Rodriguez served as a patient recruiter on behalf of Trust Care.  

According to court documents, Marrero and his co-conspirators operated Trust Care for the purpose of billing the Medicare Program for, among other things, expensive physical therapy and home health care services that were not medically necessary and/or were not provided.

Marrero primarily controlled Trust Care and, in light of that role, oversaw the schemes operating out of the company.  Marrero was also responsible for negotiating and paying kickbacks and bribes, interacting with patient recruiters, and coordinating and overseeing the submission of fraudulent claims to the Medicare program.

Marrero and his co-conspirators paid kickbacks and bribes to patient recruiters in return for the recruiters providing patients to Trust Care for home health and therapy services that were medically unnecessary and/or not provided.  Marrero and his co-conspirators at Trust Care also paid kickbacks and bribes to co-conspirators in doctors’ offices and clinics in exchange for home health and therapy prescriptions, medical certifications and other documentation.  Marrero and his co-conspirators used these prescriptions, medical certifications and other documentation to fraudulently bill the Medicare program for home health care services, which Marrero knew was in violation of federal criminal laws.

From approximately March 2007 through at least October 2010, Trust Care submitted more than $20 million in claims for home health services.  Medicare paid Trust Care more than $15 million for these fraudulent claims.

Marrero and his co-conspirators have also acknowledged their involvement in similar fraudulent schemes at several other Miami health care agencies in addition to Trust Care with estimated total losses of approximately $50 million.   Those agencies include A&B Health Services Inc. , Centrum Home Health Care Inc., Global Nursing Home Health Inc., Lovable Home Health Services Corp., New Concepts In Health Inc., Nursemed Home Care Corp., R&M Health Care Inc., Ubieta Health System Inc., and Vital Care Home Health Services Inc.

The case was investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG, with the assistance of IRS-CI, and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force initiative, under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida. This case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney A. Brendan Stewart of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged more than 1,700 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $5.5 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.


Pakistan and United States Discuss Security, Strategic Stability, and Nonproliferation Issues
Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
November 21, 2013

Acting Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller and Additional Secretary for United Nations and Economic Coordination Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry co-chaired the sixth round of the Pakistan–U.S. Security, Strategic Stability, and Nonproliferation (SSS&NP) Working Group in Islamabad on November 21.

The delegations had a productive exchange of views on issues of mutual importance, including international efforts to enhance nuclear security and peaceful applications of nuclear energy. The participants also shared views on nonproliferation challenges as well as on the multilateral regimes on chemical and biological weapons, export controls, and the importance of regional stability and security.

The delegations reaffirmed that the Working Group remains an invaluable forum for discussing issues of critical mutual importance and stated that they looked forward to future sessions.

The SSS&NP Working Group is part of the U.S.–Pakistan Strategic Dialogue, re-energized during the visit of Secretary of State John Kerry to Pakistan in August and reaffirmed by Prime Minister Sharif and President Obama in October. It follows a meeting of the Energy Working Group in Washington, D.C. on November 12. The Defense Consultative Group, a third bilateral forum within the Strategic Dialogue, also met on November 21 in Washington.


Image Credit: NASA
Celebrating Fifteen Years of the International Space Station

Astronaut James H. Newman waves during a spacewalk preparing for release of the first combined elements of the International Space Station. The Russian-built Zarya module, with its solar array panel visible here, was launched into orbit fifteen years ago on Nov. 20, 1998. Two weeks later, on Dec. 4, 1998, NASA's space shuttle Endeavour launched Unity, the first U.S. piece of the complex. Endeavour's forward section is reflected in Newman's helmet visor in this image. During three spacewalks on the STS-88 mission, the two space modules built on opposite sides of the planet were joined together in space, making the space station truly international.

Since that first meeting of Zarya and Unity, the space station grew piece by piece with additions from each of the international partners built across three continents and leading to the largest and most complex spacecraft ever constructed. The space station, now four times larger than Mir and five times larger than Skylab, represents a collaboration between NASA, Roscosmos, the European Space Agency, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency and the Canadian Space Agency, representing 15 countries in all.

In support of station assembly and maintenance, station and shuttle crews have conducted 174 spacewalks totaling almost 1,100 hours – the equivalent to nearly 46 days of spacewalks to build and maintain the complex. The station, with a mass of almost a million pounds and the size of a football field, is second only to the moon as the brightest object in the night sky.

Over the years, a great deal of research has been done on the space laboratory, which has already yielded tremendous results toward various fields. The science of the space station has provided benefits to humankind in areas such as human health, Earth observation and education. Many more results and benefits for both space exploration and life on Earth are expected in the coming years.
> Celebrating 15 Years Since the Sunrise


Monday, November 18, 2013
High-Ranking Bank Official at Venezuelan State Development Bank Pleads Guilty to Participating in Bribery Scheme

A senior official in Venezuela’s state economic development bank has pleaded guilty in New York federal court to accepting bribes from agents and employees of a New York-based broker-dealer (Broker-Dealer) in exchange for directing her bank’s security-trading business to the Broker-Dealer.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara of the Southern District of New York, and Assistant Director in Charge George Venizelos of the New York Office of the FBI made the announcement.

Maria De Los Angeles Gonzalez De Hernandez, 55, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer in the Southern District of New York to conspiring to violate the Travel Act and to commit money laundering, as well as substantive counts of these offenses.  Sentencing for Gonzalez is scheduled for Aug. 15, 2014, before Judge Engelmayer.
At all times relevant to the charges, Banco de Desarrollo Económico y Social de Venezuela (BANDES) was a state-run economic development bank in Venezuela.  The Venezuelan government had a majority ownership interest in BANDES and provided it with substantial funding.

According to court records, Gonzalez was an official at BANDES and oversaw the development bank’s overseas trading activity.  At her direction, BANDES conducted substantial trading through the Broker-Dealer.  Most of the trades executed by the Broker-Dealer on behalf of BANDES involved fixed income investments for which the Broker-Dealer charged the bank a mark-up on purchases and a mark-down on sales.

From early 2009 through 2012, Gonzalez participated in a bribery scheme in which she directed trading business she controlled at BANDES to the Broker-Dealer and, in return, agents and employees of the Broker-Dealer shared the revenue the Broker-Dealer generated from this trading business with Gonzalez.  During this time period, the Broker-Dealer generated over $60 million in mark-ups and mark-downs from trades with BANDES.  Agents and employees of the Broker-Dealer devised a split with Gonzalez of the commissions paid by BANDES to the Broker-Dealer.  Emails, account records, and other documents collected from the Broker-Dealer and other sources reveal that Gonzalez received a substantial share of the revenue generated by the Broker-Dealer for BANDES-related trades.  Specifically, Gonzalez received millions in bribe payments from Broker-Dealer agents and employees.

Additionally, Gonzalez paid a portion of the bribe payments she received to another BANDES employee who was also involved in the scheme.

To further conceal the scheme, the kickbacks to Gonzalez were often paid using intermediary corporations and offshore accounts that Gonzalez and others held in Switzerland, among other places.

Previously, three former employees of the Broker-Dealer – Ernesto Lujan, Jose Alejandro Hurtado, and Tomas Alberto Clarke Bethancourt – each pleaded guilty in New York federal court to conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), to violate the Travel Act and to commit money laundering, as well as substantive counts of these offenses, relating, among other things, to the scheme involving bribe payments to Gonzalez.  Sentencing for Lujan and Clarke is scheduled for Feb. 11, 2014, before U.S. District Judge Paul G. Gardephe.  Hurtado is scheduled for sentencing before U.S. District Judge Harold Baer Jr. on March 6, 2014.

This ongoing investigation is being conducted by the FBI, with assistance from the SEC and the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs. Assistant Chief James Koukios and Trial Attorneys Maria Gonzalez Calvet and Aisling O’Shea of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant United States Attorneys Harry A. Chernoff and Jason H. Cowley of the Southern District of New York’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force are in charge of the prosecution.  Assistant United States Attorney Carolina Fornos is also responsible for the forfeiture aspects of the case


From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

This isn’t about who wins the argument – but a study of hot marital fights indicates that when the wife calms down, the couples are more happy. Researcher Lian Bloch of the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology in Palo Alto found that in a study she did at the University of California, Berkeley. She looked at data that included recorded arguments by long-time husbands and wives.

“The marriages that were the happiest were the ones in which the wives were able to calm down quickly during marital conflict.”

Bloch says calm wives were able to look constructively for ways to deal with the emotions and talk about ways to solve the problems. Happiness didn’t change if the husband calmed down quickly.

The study in the journal Emotion was supported by the National Institutes of Health.