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Saturday, May 24, 2014

U.S. CONGRATULATES PEOPLE OF GEORGIA ON THEIR INDEPENDENCE DAY

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT 

Statement on the Occasion of Georgia's National Day

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
May 24, 2014




On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of Georgia on the anniversary of Georgia’s Independence on May 26.

The United States and Georgia have built a deep and vibrant partnership based on a shared commitment to democratic values. We commend Georgia on its progress towards Euro-Atlantic integration. In the face of challenging developments in the region, the United States will continue to support the development of Georgia’s democracy and uphold its commitment to Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.
Our security partnership is especially strong. We honor the commitment of your troops who serve in Afghanistan and in other missions that build a more peaceful and prosperous world.
I congratulate all the people of Georgia and look forward to strengthening our partnership in the years to come.

DOD SAYS PRESIDENT "VOWS VETS WILL GET CARE THEY NEED"

FROM:  THE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT 
Obama Vows Vets Will Get Care They Earned
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 24, 2014 – The United States will ensure that veterans will get the care they earned while in service to the nation, President Barack Obama said during his weekly address today.

The president also asked Americans to remember the service and sacrifice of their fellow citizens.

The nation’s history “shines with patriots who answered the call to serve, Obama said. “They put their lives on the line to defend the country they loved. And in the end, many gave that ‘last full measure of devotion’ so that our nation would endure.”

Every time an American casts a vote or speaks without fear, they should remember those who died to ensure those rights, the president said.

“Every chance we get to make a better life for ourselves and our families is possible because generations of patriots fought to keep America a land of opportunity, where anyone -- of any race, any religion, from any background -- can make it if they try,” he said.

The United States began with a desire for freedom, and American service members have protected that freedom since the Revolutionary War, Obama said.
“I hope all Americans will take a moment this weekend to think of those who have died in service to our nation,” the president said.

“Say a prayer in their memories and for their families,” he continued. “Lay a flower where they’ve come to rest. Reach out to service members, military families or veterans in your community, or families who have lost loved ones, and let them know that their service and sacrifice will never be forgotten.”
But beyond Memorial Day, America must honor and uphold the sacred trust it has with veterans, the president said.

“In recent weeks, we’ve seen again how much more our nation has to do to make sure all our veterans get the care they deserve,” he said. “As commander in chief, I believe that taking care of our veterans and their families is a sacred obligation. It’s been one of the causes of my presidency.”

With the war in Iraq behind America and actions in Afghanistan winding down, “we have to work even harder as a nation to make sure all our veterans get the benefits and opportunities they’ve earned,” Obama said. “They’ve done their duty, and they ask nothing more than that this country does ours -- now and for decades to come.”

PRESIDENT OBAMA'S WEEKLY ADDRESS FOR MAY 24, 2014

FROM:  THE WHITE HOUSE 

Weekly Address: Paying Tribute to our Fallen Heroes this Memorial Day

WASHINGTON, DC— In this week’s address, President Obama commemorated Memorial Day by honoring the brave men and women in uniform who have given their lives in service to our country. As we stand with our veterans and military families this weekend, the President underscored our commitment to uphold our nation’s sacred trust with our veterans and ensure they get the benefits and opportunities they deserve and have earned.
Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
May 24, 2014
Hi, everybody.  It’s Memorial Day weekend – a chance for Americans to get together with family and friends, break out the grill, and kick off the unofficial start of summer.  More importantly, it’s a time to remember the heroes whose sacrifices made these moments possible – our men and women in uniform who gave their lives to keep our nation safe and free.  
From those shots fired at Lexington and Concord more than two centuries ago to our newest generation of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, our history shines with patriots who answered the call to serve.  They put their lives on the line to defend the country they loved.  And in the end, many gave that “last full measure of devotion” so that our nation would endure. 
Every single one of us owes our fallen heroes a profound debt of gratitude.  Because every time we cast our votes or speak our minds without fear, it’s because they fought for our right to do that.  Every chance we get to make a better life for ourselves and our families is possible because generations of patriots fought to keep America a land of opportunity, where anyone – of any race, any religion, from any background – can make it if they try.  Our country was born out of a desire to be free, and every day since, it’s been protected by our men and women in uniform – people who believed so deeply in America, they were willing to give their lives for it. 
We owe them so much.   So this Memorial Day, we’ll gather together, as Americans, to honor the fallen, with both public ceremonies and private remembrances.  And I hope all Americans will take a moment this weekend to think of those who have died in service to our nation.  Say a prayer in their memories and for their families.  Lay a flower where they’ve come to rest.  Reach out to service members, military families or veterans in your community, or families who have lost loved ones, and let them know that their service and sacrifice will never be forgotten.
Most of all, let’s keep working to make sure that our country upholds our sacred trust to all who’ve served.  In recent weeks, we’ve seen again how much more our nation has to do to make sure all our veterans get the care they deserve.  As Commander in Chief, I believe that taking care of our veterans and their families is a sacred obligation.  It’s been one of the causes of my presidency.  And now that we’ve ended the war in Iraq, and as our war in Afghanistan ends as well, we have to work even harder as a nation to make sure all our veterans get the benefits and opportunities they’ve earned.  They’ve done their duty, and they ask nothing more than that this country does ours – now and for decades to come. 
Happy Memorial Day, everybody.  May God watch over our fallen heroes.  And may He continue to bless the United States of America.

DEFENSE ADVANCED RESEARCH PROJECTS AGENCY HOSTS DARPA DEMO DAY 2014

FROM:  U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT 

Right:  The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Big Mechanism program aims to leapfrog state-of-the-art big data analytics by developing automated technologies -- illustrated by this information flow chart -- to help explain the causes and effects that drive complicated systems such as diseases like cancer. DARPA graphic.


DARPA Innovations Advance National Security
By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 21, 2014 – The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Information Innovation Office, or I2O, is hosting DARPA Demo Day 2014 in the Pentagon’s courtyard today to highlight the agency’s ongoing contributions to preserving and expanding the Defense Department’s information technology superiority.

The Pentagon event has a focus on information technology and it showcases more than 100 projects that push for game-changing improvements to national security. IT, according to DARPA, is a key enabler for DOD and has been a focus area for DARPA since its establishment in 1958.

“The information revolution has been a huge boon to society,” I2O Director Daniel Kaufman said, adding, “but our growing dependence on information networks also means that information is today’s tactical and strategic high ground, increasingly targeted by adversaries from everyday criminals to networked terrorists who would do our nation mortal harm.”

Kaufman said I2O’s mission is to ensure the safety and reliability of essential information technologies against challenges the nation faces today and those in the future.

DARPA contributions include its development and prototyping of technology for what is now the Internet.

The DOD currently enjoys IT superiority, according to a DARPA press statement, but that superiority can’t be taken for granted.

The Pentagon event showcases an array of DARPA projects designed, as DARPA officials describe it, to quickly and profoundly change the way the nation addresses growing national security challenges posed by the information revolution and by the increasing global availability of sophisticated information technologies.

DOD officials, defense contractors and invited public-sector innovators heard DARPA program managers and project principals describe their progress toward game-changing advances in areas such as cybersecurity, networked warfighter systems, language translation and decision support.

Together, according to the DARPA statement, the displays pointed to a future in which networks will be increasingly resilient to natural and human-launched threats. And in that future, lightning-fast detection of emergent, information-related irregularities, including potential threats, will inform equally fast correctives and countermeasures.

Advanced data analysis, automation and fusion technologies will enable the timely extraction of actionable, previously inaccessible insights from mountains of raw information, DARPA says, and enable sharing those insights through cutting-edge collaboration, data visualization and user-interface technologies.
The event highlighted 29 programs in four categories. Cyber includes approaches to maintaining IT systems safety and security. Big Data includes tools to facilitate the use of information at scale.

Language includes translation technologies to help warfighters communicate more effectively in foreign-language environments. And warfighter apps, which include other initiatives of great interest to DOD, such as the Revolutionizing Prosthetics program in DARPA’s new Biological Technologies Office.

Among the I2O programs on display were the following:
-- DARPA Cyber Grand Challenge, CGC: To be launched this summer, CGC will be the first-ever tournament for testing fully automatic network defense systems. The competition’s goal is to vastly improve the speed, scale and effectiveness of IT security against escalating cyber threats.

-- High-Assurance Cyber Military Systems, HACMS: Seeks to protect networked, embedded IT systems from cyberattack by creating semi-automated systems that build software according to formal methods and check that the created code is secure and works as intended.

-- Big Mechanism: Aims to leapfrog state-of-the-art big-data analytics by developing automated technologies to help explain causes and effects that drive complicated systems. Initial efforts will focus on research relating to cancer pathways.

-- Memex: Seeks to develop next-generation search technologies and revolutionize the discovery, organization and presentation of public-domain search results. Initially, DARPA intends to develop Memex to address fighting human trafficking.
-- Broad Operational Language Translation, BOLT: Seeks to create new techniques for automated translation and linguistic analysis that can be applied to informal text and speech common in online and in-person communication.
At DARPA, Kaufman said, “we help make the tools of the information revolution more powerful and useful, not just for those who ensure our security but also for the people and nations they protect.”

AUTO PARTS PRICE FIXING CONSPIRACY RESULTS IN EXECUTIVE INDICTMENT

FROM:  U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT 
JAPANESE AUTOMOTIVE PARTS MANUFACTURER EXECUTIVE INDICTED FOR
ROLE IN CONSPIRACY TO FIX PRICES AND FOR OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE

WASHINGTON — A Detroit federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment against an executive of a Japanese manufacturer of automotive parts for his participation in a conspiracy to fix prices of heater control panels and for obstruction of justice for ordering the destruction of evidence related to the conspiracy, the Department of Justice announced today.

The indictment, filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, charges Hitoshi Hirano with participating in a conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition in the automotive parts industry by agreeing to rig bids for, and to fix, stabilize and maintain the prices of heater control panels sold to Toyota Motor Corp. and Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America Inc. (collectively, Toyota) for installation in vehicles manufactured and sold in the United States and elsewhere.  Hirano, who served as an executive managing director at Tokai Rika Co. Ltd., was also charged with knowingly and corruptly persuading, and attempting to persuade, employees of Tokai Rika to destroy documents and delete electronic data that may contain evidence of antitrust crimes in the United States and elsewhere.

“The Antitrust Division will not tolerate executives directing their subordinates to engage in illegal cartels and conspiracies,” said Brent Snyder, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division’s criminal enforcement program.  “Attempts to then obstruct justice and destroy evidence will give rise to additional charges.”

The indictment alleges, among other things, that from at least as early as October 2003 and continuing until at least February 2010, Hirano and others attended conspiratorial meetings with co-conspirators and reached collusive agreements to rig bids, allocate the supply and fix the prices for heater control panels sold to Toyota.  According to the indictment, Hirano participated directly in the conspiratorial conduct, and directed, authorized and consented to his subordinates’ participation.  In addition, the indictment charges that in February 2010, after Hirano learned that the FBI had searched Tokai Rika’s U.S. subsidiary, he knowingly and corruptly persuaded employees at Tokai Rika to destroy paper documents and delete electronic data intending to prevent the grand jury from obtaining evidence of antitrust crimes.

Tokai Rika is a manufacturer of automotive parts, including heater control panels, based in Nagoya, Japan.  Tokai Rika pleaded guilty on Dec. 12, 2012, for its role in the conspiracy and to obstruction of justice, and was sentenced to pay a $17.7 million criminal fine.

Heater control panels are located in the center console of an automobile and control the temperature of the passenger compartment of a vehicle.  Heater control panels differ by function and design for a particular vehicle model.  Examples include automatic heater control panels, which maintain the temperature within the vehicle to a designated temperature point, and manual heater control panels, which regulate the temperature through manual controls operated by vehicle occupants.

Including Hirano, 34 individuals have been charged in the government’s ongoing investigation into price fixing and bid rigging in the auto parts industry, 24 of whom have pleaded guilty or agreed to plead guilty.  Of those, 22 have been sentenced to serve prison terms ranging from a year and one day to two years. Additionally, 27 companies have pleaded guilty or agreed to plead guilty and have agreed to pay a total of more than $2.3 billion in fines.

Hirano 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 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.  The maximum penalty for obstruction of justice is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 criminal fine for individuals.

This indictment is the result of an ongoing federal antitrust investigation into price fixing, bid rigging and other anticompetitive conduct in the automotive parts industry, which is being conducted by four of the Antitrust Division’s criminal enforcement sections and the FBI.  Today’s charges were brought by the Antitrust Division’s Washington Criminal I Section and the FBI’s Detroit Field Office, with the assistance of the FBI headquarters’ International Corruption Unit.

U.S. MARSHALS ANNOUNCE RETURN OF CHILDREN TO MOTHER

FROM:  U.S. MARSHALS SERVICE 
Contact:  DUSM Ben Segotta, District of New Mexico 
May 19, 2014
Family Reunited

Albuquerque, NM - The United States Marshal Service Deputies in New Mexico and Montana helped reunite a mother with her children. Crystal Jackson, a San Juan County Detention Officer, has been unable to see or speak with her two young children since January of 2014. Jackson says her former boyfriend moved to Montana and took her two children with him. Since then she has tried to locate them without any success, until she solicited the help of the United States Marshals Service.

Jackson and her attorney were able to get a Judge in New Mexico to grant custody to Jackson and order the children returned to NM. After receiving the order Jackson asked the United States Marshals Service in NM for assistance in locating the children. Deputies in NM contacted the United States Marshals Service in Montana who worked with the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office and Jackson’s former boyfriend was located. The Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office obtained a felony arrest warrant for the arrest of the children’s father charging him with kidnapping and custodial interference. Once the father was detained he told authorities where the children were. On May 15, 2014 Jackson and her children were reunited in Hardin, Montana. Investigators also believe that Jackson’s former boyfriend allegedly has failed to pay a woman in the State of Washington approximately $92,000.00 dollars in unpaid child support by moving states and changing his name. State charges for the boyfriend are also pending in NM.

FTC TESTIFIES BEFORE SENATE HOMELAND SECURITY SUBCOMMITTEE REGARDING ONLINE ADVERTISING

FROM:  FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION 
FTC Outlines Recommendations for Online Advertising In Testimony Before Senate Homeland Security Subcommittee

The Federal Trade Commission testified before Congress today on the agency’s ongoing efforts to protect consumers from emerging threats related to online advertising, as well as the Commission’s recommendations in this area.

Testifying on behalf of the Commission before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs’ Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Maneesha Mithal, Associate Director of the FTC’s Division of Privacy and Identity Protection, outlined steps the agency is taking to address concerns related to online advertising through enforcement and consumer education.

The testimony highlights work by the Commission on three consumer protection issues affecting the online advertising industry: privacy, spyware and other malware, and data security.

In the area of privacy, the testimony notes the recommendations put forth in the Commission’s 2012 privacy report, which encourages businesses to provide consumers with simpler and more streamlined privacy choices about their data, through a robust universal choice mechanism for online behavioral advertising.

The testimony also addresses a number of privacy cases brought by the FTC against companies in the online advertising industry.  For example, the testimony describes the FTC’s 2012 settlement with Google, in which the company agreed to pay a $22.5 million civil penalty to resolve charges that it misrepresented to some consumers that it would not place tracking cookies or serve targeted ads to them.

The testimony also describes the FTC’s cases to combat spyware and other malware. These cases support three core principles: first, that a consumer’s computer belongs to him or her, and it must be the consumer’s choice whether to install software; second, that buried disclosures about material information necessary to correct an otherwise misleading impression are not sufficient in connection with software downloads; and third, that a consumer should be able to disable or uninstall any software they do not want on their computer.

The testimony also highlights the FTC’s extensive consumer education work aimed at helping consumers avoid and detect spyware and other malware, including its sponsorship of OnGuardOnline.gov.

On the topic of data security, the testimony underscores the Commission’s enforcement actions, noting that the agency has obtained settlements in 53 data security cases, including recent cases against the mobile app company Snapchat, as well as with Credit Karma, Fandango and home security camera maker TRENDnet.

The testimony recommends expanding efforts to educate both consumers and businesses, and also encourages industry self-regulation efforts aimed at protecting consumers from malicious online advertisements.

In addition, the testimony renews the Commission’s call for the enactment of a strong federal data security and breach notification law, noting that a national law would simplify compliance for businesses while ensuring that all consumers are protected. The testimony also notes that supplementing the Commission’s existing data security authority with the ability to seek civil penalties in appropriate circumstances would provide a deterrent to those engaging in unlawful conduct that puts consumers’ personal data at risk.

The Commission vote approving the testimony and its inclusion in the formal record was 5-0.    

Friday, May 23, 2014

PRESIDENT OBAMA'S MEMORIAL DAY PROCLAMATION

President Barack Obama and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg tour Memorial Hall at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum prior to the 9/11 Museum dedication in New York, N.Y., May 15, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
FROM:  THE WHITE HOUSE 
President Obama Issues Memorial Day Proclamation
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 23, 2014 – President Barack Obama today proclaimed Memorial Day, May 26, 2014, as a day for all Americans to “never forget” the service and sacrifices of U.S. military members in defense of the nation and to “pray for and hold close the families of the fallen.”

The president’s proclamation reads as follows:

Constant in the American narrative is the story of men and women who loved our country so deeply they were willing to give their all to keep it safe and free. When a revolution needed to be won and our Union needed to be preserved, brave patriots stepped forward. When our harbor was bombed and our country was attacked on a clear September morning, courageous warriors raised their hands and said, "send me." On the last Monday of each May, our Nation comes together to honor the selfless heroes who have defended the land we love and in so doing gave their last full measure of devotion.

Today, we pause to remember our fallen troops, to mourn their loss, and to pray for their loved ones. Though our hearts ache, we find a measure of solace in knowing their legacy lives on in the families our heroes left behind -- the proud parents who instilled in their sons and daughters the values that led them to serve; the remarkable spouses who gave our Nation the person they cherished most in the world; and the beautiful children who will grow up with the knowledge that their mother or father embodied the true meaning of patriotism. To those we lost, we owe a profound debt that can never be fully repaid. But we can honor the fallen by caring for their loved ones and keeping faith with our veterans and their fellow brothers and sisters in arms.

The security that lets us live in peace, the prosperity that allows us to pursue our dreams, the freedom that we cherish -- these were earned by the blood and the sacrifices of patriots who went before. This Memorial Day, as we near the end of more than a decade of war, let us never forget their service and always be worthy of the sacrifices made in our name. And today and every day, let us pray for and hold close the families of the fallen.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Memorial Day, May 26, 2014, as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning in each locality at 11:00 a.m. of that day as a time to unite in prayer. I also ask all Americans to observe the National Moment of Remembrance beginning at 3:00 p.m. local time on Memorial Day.

I request the Governors of the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, officials of the other territories subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, and appropriate officials of all units of government, to direct that the flag be flown at half-staff until noon on this Memorial Day on all buildings, grounds, and naval vessels throughout the United States and in all areas under its jurisdiction and control. I also request the people of the United States to display the flag at half-staff from their homes for the customary forenoon period.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-third day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.

BARACK OBAMA

U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT CONTRACTS FOR MAY 23, 2014

FROM:  U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENTS
CONTRACTS

ARMY

Lockheed Martin Corp., Orlando, Florida, was awarded a $14,220,326 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to operate and sustain the National Cyber Range capability which is designed to allow potentially virulent code to be introduced and studied on the range without compromising the range itself. Work will be performed in Orlando, Florida, with an estimated completion date of May 25, 2019. Fiscal 2014 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $5,555,539 are being obligated at award. This was a sole-source acquisition. U.S. Army Program Executive Office Simulation, Training and Instrumentation, Orlando, Florida, is the contracting activity (W900KK-14-C-0020).

NAVY

Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems, Bethesda, Maryland, is being awarded a $23,649,192 modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-06-C-6272) for systems engineering and integration in support of Submarine Warfare Federated Tactical Systems. These services include requirements synthesis, technical performance parameter derivation, test and validation, and configuration management and control of the submarine fleet electronic interface database. Work will be performed in Manassas, Virginia (44 percent); Middletown, Rhode Island (12 percent); San Antonio, Texas (8 percent); Groton, Connecticut (7 percent); Newport, Rhode Island (7 percent); Woodbridge, Virginia (7 percent); Riverdale, Maryland (5 percent); Canton, Illinois (3 percent); Greensboro, North Carolina (3 percent); Bethesda, Maryland (2 percent); Mystic, Connecticut (1 percent); and North Waterford, Connecticut (1 percent); it is expected to be completed by January 2015. Fiscal 2013 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy); fiscal 2014 research, development, test and evaluation; and fiscal 2014 other procurement (Navy), contract funds in the amount of $5,383,387 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, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity.

CHAIRMAN JOINT CHIEFS BELIEVES AFGHAN ELECTIONS SHOW WEAKENING TALIBAN

FROM:  U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT 

U.S. Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, left, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe and commander of U.S. European Command, before NATO Chiefs of Defense meetings in Brussels, May 21, 2014. DOD photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Sean K. Harp.   

Success of Elections Shows Taliban Losing the Afghan People
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT, May 22, 2014 – The Afghan Taliban’s ability to reach a peace agreement with the government in Kabul will continue to erode over time, especially after April’s elections in which Afghans demonstrated they were not going to be intimidated by threats from the militants to boycott the vote, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said today.

“I don’t give military advice to the Taliban, but if I were giving them advice, I’d tell them their negotiating position is not going to improve, it’s going to erode,” Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey said as he flew back to Washington from NATO meetings in Brussels.

The chairman discussed Afghanistan and the way ahead there with NATO and partner-country chiefs of defense today, and he was pleased with what he has heard.

The Taliban issued their now yearly fighting season threat earlier this month after the Afghan people voted in large number in provincial and presidential elections April 5, in what Dempsey called a clear rejection of the group.
Despite threats to Afghans who took part in the election, “Seven million people chose to ignore the Taliban and that’s a huge statement on the part of the Afghan people to the Taliban,” the chairman said in an interview.

“If [the Taliban] are not experiencing a crisis of purpose, they should be, because they haven’t been able to convince the people of Afghanistan that their future should be with the Taliban and not with an elected government,” he said.
The election was just the latest in a string of Afghan successes by the country’s security forces. Afghan forces protected the loya jirga last November where more than 2,500 local tribal and community leaders again decried the Taliban, saying Afghans’ future is with democratic principles.

A run-off election will be held June 14 between the two top candidates who emerged from the April viote. Both former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah and former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani have promised to sign the bilateral security agreement with the United States and the Status of Forces agreement with NATO, which would allow for a continued U.S. and coalition military presence in the country after the current NATO mission ends in December.

Once that happens, Dempsey said, “I would think the Taliban would realize their opportunity to reconcile or reintegrate is a wasting opportunity.” If they don’t take advantage of it now they will be in a weaker position later.”

Dempsey described the Afghan security forces as emerging as a capable force. “They can defend their centers of population, they can protect their lines of communication,” he said. “In order to be completely capable there are some things that had to continue to develop: their logistics system and their ability to pay and house and feed and equip their force.”

That’s what U.S. and NATO advisors are working on now, developing the capabilities at these higher levels like building campaign plans, leader development and fusing intelligence and operations.

Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the NATO commander in Afghanistan, briefed the chiefs of defense, and his principle point was as the NATO footprint gets smaller in Afghanistan and the organization focuses on building the institutions.

“So whether we end up with 10,000 or 15,000 or 5,000 [forces] it’s got to be the right kind of people,” Dempsey said. “If he needs somebody to teach the Afghans how to do a defense budget, you don’t need an infantryman, he needs someone to put a budget together.”

SECRETARY KERRY'S REMARKS AT 90TH ANNIVERSARY OF U.S. FOREIGN SERVICE

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT

Remarks at the 90th Anniversary of the United States Foreign Service

Remarks
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Benjamin Franklin Room
Washington, DC
May 22, 2014





SECRETARY KERRY: Well, Bob, thank you very, very much. Thank you and your team at AFSA for everything that you do for all of the men and women of the Foreign Service. Welcome to this magnificent Ben Franklin Room. I’ve been fond of reminding people that in this day and age Ben Franklin would have never been confirmed for anything. (Laughter.) And not just because of the gridlock.

I thought that was a very private moment out there on the tarmac. (Laughter.) I didn’t know somebody was (inaudible). I was taking out my frustration on the ball. I will not tell you who I was on the phone with. (Laughter.) That’s diplomacy. (Laughter.)

It’s really special for me to be able to be here with all of you, from our 90-year-olds who are older than the service itself, ambassadors, thank you for gracing us with your presence here; to our youngest, where everything is in the future, as she gets out her cell phone and does what everybody does, which is Instagram, tweet. What’s the --

PARTICIPANT: (Off-mike.)

SECRETARY KERRY: Whatever works. (Laughter.) I’m sure there’ll be a selfie before the night is over. (Laughter.)

I had a spectacular dinner last night in Mexico City, at which we were serenaded by some mariachi band. And it was great. I had a great time. But it’s my understanding Senator Lugar used to play the cello. So Dick, there’s pressure on you here tonight. You need to perform, absolutely. (Laughter.)

Before I went to Mexico this week, I had the great honor of delivering the commencement addresses at both Boston College and at Yale University, my alma mater. And I want you all to know they were both very different experiences. It’s nice to be in front of a diplomatic audience. (Laughter.)

But it was really interesting. At Yale, when my – when it was announced that I was going to speak, in the Yale Daily News a number of people quickly contacted Yale Daily News to comment, and I went online and checked the comments section. And one of the first comments I read was: “Make sure you drink a 5-hour ENERGY to keep you awake.” (Laughter.) And I promised them all I wouldn’t speak one minute more than four hours, and I didn’t. (Laughter.)
Then another one said, “Well, he hasn’t screwed up as Secretary of State badly – yet.” I told them, “Stay tuned.” (Laughter.)

And finally – this was the best of all – somebody said, “I’m really proud that a Yalie is Secretary of State.” And then I thought I should have stopped reading there. I didn’t. I read on. It said, “But he is butt ugly.” (Laughter.) So this is a relief being here tonight, no comments section. (Laughter.)

At any rate, if those two public addresses were intimidating, I have to tell you this one is even more so in many ways because it’s like going to the dean’s office. (Laughter.) I’ve got the dean emeritus of the United States Senate and foreign policy in Dick Lugar. We have the dean of Washington media and foreign policy Andrea Mitchell. I’ve got the dean of the in-house judges of what we do in Bill Burns here. And when he gets here – Colin Powell is on a flight from New York, I am told, but just knowing Colin Powell was going to be here, he’s the dean of things that are great and good and American about America, and I think everybody would agree with that.
So I thank Andrea for hosting. I think Andrea and I have known each other for about 25 or 30 years or something.

MS. MITCHELL: Since I was a baby. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY KERRY: See, that’s why she does so well here. (Applause.) The art of diplomacy.

I first got to know her when I was a freshman senator. And one of the things that I really grew to respect and appreciate about her was yes, she’d chase the story and yes, she wanted to get the truth. But you know what? She always wanted to tell the story the way it really was. And as a reporter, it wasn’t just a question of breaking the story; it was getting the story right. That is cherished in anybody today, and I think that’s exactly what journalism should bring to covering the world today, a very complicated world. She’s traveled with me on a number of trips. She is a pioneer among women in journalism. And she’s so invested in helping to tell the story of American diplomacy that she has agreed to be here with us tonight. And Andrea, we’re very grateful to you. We’re privileged. Thank you. (Applause.)

I also want to thank Bob Silverman. He’s the one who asked me to join you, and I’m very privileged to be here to celebrate 90 extraordinary years. He works very, very closely with all of us on the 7th floor and throughout the Department, and his advocacy and his partnership have really made an enormous difference in very recently breaking the gridlock with the United States Senate in helping to get a whole bunch of our folks confirmed. And the truth is that we now have thousands of Foreign Service officers who are commissioned, tenured, and promoted – and Bob is a guy who was really central in helping to bring it home to our senators to make it happen. So thank you, Bob, for your leadership. (Applause.)

I also want to thank Hans Klemm. Hans has served the State Department extremely well as Acting Director General of the Foreign Service. He’s a great manager, he’s a great recruiter, and he listens carefully, which is a key to being, I think, a great Director General. And I want to thank him for the job that he has done in the DG’s office.

I’m also pleased that Colin accepted to be here. And I know that it’s never easy flying – there he is. Colin Powell, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome, Secretary of State. (Applause.) Come on up, Colin. Come here. (Applause.) Come here, sit down. (Applause.) Obviously not just a great diplomat but a great politician – he times his arrival really brilliantly. (Laughter.)

When I – I’ve had the pleasure of working with Colin Powell when I was a Senator through those many years in his many different jobs. I always think about him as a guy who served two tours of duty in Vietnam, but I also think about how he rose up through the ranks to become the youngest and the first African American Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. And I think of his leadership during that critical period of time under President George Herbert Walker Bush when we rolled back what Saddam Hussein thought he could get away with. And Colin, we are forever indebted and grateful for your leadership. But especially I thank you because I really try to emulate you with respect to the personal role you played here in the Department in making sure that the troops have a sense of direction and that you’re connected to them, and I appreciate that, as everybody here does. Thank you. (Applause.)

I want to say a couple of words if I can about a fellow who’s been around here for a while, 32 years in the Foreign Service. He has worked for 10 Secretaries of State. If there’s anybody today in the ranks of professional diplomacy who epitomizes the qualities that you look for – the leadership, the steady hand, the quiet diplomacy, the ability to work through difficult issues calmly, and who leads by example and by a sort of quiet steadiness, if you will – it is Bill Burns. Bill, we are so grateful for your leadership. Thank you. (Applause.) He doesn’t just understand where policy ought to go, but he understands the politics of it all and how to work through it. And it’s really exemplary.

I’m also really proud of the team that we have assembled here at the State Department for the second term of the Obama Administration. I’m grateful to the President for his willingness to bring onboard a lot of the folks that we thought could really help make a difference as we go forward in the foreign policy of our country. Tom Shannon has gratefully agreed to serve as the Counselor of the Department, and I’m very proud of the fact that Tom is just the seventh Foreign Service officer to hold that post, including legends like Chip Bohlen and George Kennan, and the first one to do so in 32 years. So I’m glad he is doing that. We have leaders like Anne Patterson and Victoria Nuland, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who left a post she loved to take on a post that I asked her to take on – difficult – and who is now serving as Assistant Secretary for Africa and African Affairs. And I also think we’ve built a team that is capable of advancing American foreign policy effectively.

I’m also happy to see my former Chairman occasionally – thank God it was only occasionally because that gave us a chance – and Ranking Member – he was Ranking Member in my last year as his Chairman, Dick Lugar, who, whether it was nuclear weapons reduction, proliferation, treaty after treaty, energy policy, food security, the linkage of agriculture to American foreign policy, Dick was always there and always, importantly, looking for a way to try to find a bipartisan approach, a nonpartisan apolitical way of solving problems. And Dick, every single one of us are grateful that you have been a terrific statesman for years. Thank you very, very much for that. (Applause.)

We have with us also a friend of mine from the United States Congress. We worked very hard together on the special committee to try to deal with the budget. He knows the budget as well as anybody, but he also knows foreign policy as well as anybody. It’s fitting that someone who was born in Karachi and grew up in Sri Lanka now represents so many people who are part of the Foreign Service family. And on issues that matter to all Americans, whether it’s climate change or the minimum wage or immigration, Chris Van Hollen is front and center in making sure that America stays true to our values and to our responsibilities in the world. And we’re grateful to Chris for that. (Applause.)

I just looked down. I see my good friend Tom, Mary Beth, and Regina Smedinghoff here tonight. There are two families here tonight who understand the risks of service within the ranks of the Foreign Service better than anybody. And I am very grateful that Tom, Mary Beth, and Regina Smedinghoff and Adam Tomasek are here. I’ve gotten to know Tom and Mary Beth and their daughter Regina in the last year. I was able to stop off and visit with them very briefly after we all heard the terrible news of the loss of Anne. We met in Chicago at the airport. They were very kind to come briefly and we did a quick stop-off, and I was blessed to have them console me more than I consoled them.
But we’re very, very proud of what Regina is doing carrying on for Anne in the State Department, and we thank them profoundly for being here. And the work that Toni Tomasek was doing for USAID in Haiti – equally exemplary, extraordinary, totally in keeping with the spirit of both adventure but most importantly that special thing that brings people here to try to make the world safer and make the world better and make a difference and help other people by bringing our values and our beliefs to them in the best of ways. And so we thank you for precisely the gift that we celebrate in the Foreign Service. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
Now I’ve almost overstayed my welcome. I’m not going to do the 5-hour ENERGY thing on you. But I want to say a few words more generally about who were are and where we’re going here, and then turn it over to Andrea and we can eat.

Ninety years ago the Foreign Service was just absolutely unrecognizable compared to what it is today. Back then we had fewer than 700 Foreign Service officers and now we have more than 13,000. Back then we had no female chiefs of mission – none. Now we have more than 40. And I’m proud to tell you that right now in this Department five out of six of our regional Assistant Secretaries are women; four out of six of our Under Secretaries are women; and we are joined tonight – since we have two Deputy Secretaries of State, 50 percent are women, and one of them is here. Heather Higginbottom, sitting right over here. So I think that’s a great record. (Applause.)

Back then, when it started, we had only one African American Foreign Service officer. One. A man named Clifton Wharton. I happened to know of him way back when because my dad actually worked for him way back in those early days. Now we have nearly a thousand African American Foreign Service officers following in his footsteps.

It all started, as Bob reminded us, with a Congressman by the name of John Rogers, who I’m proud to say hailed from Massachusetts. And what he had seen in war as a Private in the Army seared in him the price that we pay when we don’t solve conflicts peacefully. So he set out to build a modern Foreign Service precisely to try to prevent wars and to try to provide a Foreign Service that was as strong in diplomacy as our military is in its capacity to wage a war.
It wasn’t easy. He proposed bill after bill. He summoned testimony. He drafted literally dozens of op-eds. And it took seven years to pass the Rogers Act. Isolationism and austerity ran deep. Then as now, the temptation to sort of turn inwards and to retreat from the world was gaining ground.

But he got it done. And he kept pushing. And in 1924, House Resolution 6357 passed Congress and it gave birth to the modern Foreign Service. Now to quote Rogers: “The promise of good diplomacy is the greatest protector of peace.” And our hope is that people will recognize that 90 years from that moment, that is exactly what the Foreign Service has done.
One of the greatest rewards of being Secretary of State, I will tell you and I’m sure Colin would agree, is because of our travel and because we interact with all of you and with people around the world, we get to see this every single day. We get to see people going out and making a difference. I said yesterday in Mexico City when I met with all of the embassy that they really are the envy of other people because they get to wake up every single morning believing and loving what they do when they go to work because they know they’re going to make a difference. Not everybody gets to do that.

And so it is really a special thing to be part of this family. And if you just look at last year, I ask you to measure what our diplomacy is doing. I know I listen to the sort of political currents that people who try to drag you down by asserting that you’re not doing enough or you didn’t go to war where you should have or whatever it is, but we’re getting things done. And we’re getting them done in the best traditions of what diplomacy is supposed to do. People are angry because we didn’t strike Syria at one instant. But guess what? Today, 92 percent of all the chemical weapons in Syria are out and being destroyed, and the other 8 percent will get out. That never would have occurred otherwise. (Applause.)

Likewise in Africa, we are on the brink of – we have negotiated an agreement with M23 that will – one of the factions in the Democratic Republic of Congo which is disarming, and we have agreement from all the parties to move forward and build a political future and now to sort of end these years of war. In South Sudan, once again a struggle that Colin and others have been part of for a long time, we’ve moved the parties, we’re starting to separate them, begin to build possibility, bringing the UN and other troops to the table, and trying to make peace. Same thing in Mali. Same thing in other parts of the world.

In Afghanistan, we just had an extraordinary election result. Not crowing yet; it’s not over yet, but that’s how you do this, step by step, by building things and keeping faith with the sacrifices people make to help get you there. So we have another election that hopefully will mark a real transition and an opportunity for Afghans to determine their future.

In Iran we are, contrary to the naysayers who said you don’t negotiate and can’t negotiate, we are. Now it doesn’t mean we’re going to get a result. It doesn’t mean we’re going to get where we want to go. But if and when we have to do something to assert our interests properly for the world, it will be only after we have exhausted all of the possibilities of diplomacy and all of the remedies available to us. That’s what diplomacy is supposed to do.

And I could run to many other parts of the world where America and Americans are making a difference. As I said to the graduates over the weekend, I don’t think a lot of people are really lying awake at night hoping that America will leave where we are. Most of them are worried about whether or not we might. They’re asking us to be there. And Boko Haram, Nigeria, only the United States is there offering the assistance to help find those young women. Other countries not only aren’t there invited, but they didn’t even offer. That’s a difference, and I think it’s a difference worth dwelling on.

We were the first people on the ground in the Philippines ahead of countries that lived right in the neighborhood. We were there with our Armed Forces’ ability to move goods and helping people to be able to restore their community. We are about to see the first AIDS-free generation in Africa. Colin Powell helped begin that journey, and I remember back in the ‘90s when Bill Frist and I worked with him in order to try to do that. Now we’re on the brink of something that we never would have imagined back then. It was a death sentence. Now it’s a possibility for life and a whole new generation that will be free from that scourge.
So everywhere I travel, my friends, from Bogota to Baghdad to Beijing to Boston (laughter) – I just stole that one (laughter). When I’m here at home, I really feel the importance of what we are doing and the difference that we can make. I’ve seen us create diplomatic opportunity in so many countries. I’ve seen us make a difference on the ground with education exchanges, education programs, medical assistance help, engagement, development, USAID. You name it, and we are trying to show people the story of American diplomacy.

Harry Truman, George Marshall led America’s efforts to rebuild Europe against the will of many people in the country. It wasn’t popular. It wasn’t popular in Congress. But think today how many people would say that is something that we shouldn’t have done, building the unbelievable alliances and the strength of the democracies as a result.

So I’d just close by saying to you that there’s something special about being America. It really is different. You think about almost any other country in the world, and almost all of them are defined by bloodline or defined by ethnicity or defined by lines that were drawn in a peace agreement or in the end of colonialism or by leaders like Winston Churchill and others sitting in a room and this will be this and this will be that. Not America. We must never forget that what makes America different from other nations is not a common bloodline. It’s not a common religion or a common ideology or a common heritage. It’s actually what makes us different is actually an uncommon idea that all men are created equal and that everybody has these unalienable rights. We are an idea. Unlike other countries, we are an idea. And in our idea, every American gets to fill it out and define it over time.

So that’s what the calling of good diplomacy is. It’s filling out the idea and exporting it to other people in the world. And we are working – all of us together – to try to create order where there is none, to bring stability out of chaos, to fix what is broken, and to make this complicated world just a little bit less complicated and a lot more free. And that’s really worth the effort. Thank you all for being part of it. Thank you. (Applause.)

CEO OF HIGHER EDUCATION SOFTWARE PROVIDER PLEADS GUILTY IN HACKING CONSPIRACY

FROM:  U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT 
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
President of Higher Education Software Provider Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Hack into Competitors’ Computer Systems

The president and chief executive officer of Virginia-based Symplicity Corporation pleaded guilty today to conspiring to hack into the computer systems of two competitors to improve his company’s software development and sales strategy.

Acting Assistant Attorney General David A. O’Neil of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente of the Eastern District of Virginia and Special Agent in Charge Adam S. Lee of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office made the announcement after the plea was accepted by U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton in the Eastern District of Virginia.

Ariel Manuel Friedler, 36, of Arlington, Virginia, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to access a protected computer without authorization.   Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 1, 2014 before U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga in the Eastern District of Virginia.

“The Department of Justice is committed to protecting the intellectual property and private information of our citizens and businesses from economic espionage,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General O’Neil.   “Hackers who think they can anonymously steal confidential information from competitors’ computer systems should take note: we will investigate you, and we will prosecute you.”

“We are committed to working with our law enforcement partners to protect American businesses from intellectual property theft, whether the threat comes from an international or domestic source,” said U.S. Attorney Boente.  “This case should send a clear message:  We will aggressively prosecute criminals who attempt to steal confidential business information while hiding behind a cloak of anonymity.”

“This was a complex investigation involving senior executive management of the Symplicity Corporation who used sensitive customer login credentials to gain unauthorized access to their competitor’s computer networks” said Special Agent in Charge Lee.  “These actions caused significant harm to their competitors and ultimately gave Symplicity an unfair business advantage.  Although many victim businesses seek civil remedies in situations like this, reporting breaches of business computer networks to law enforcement is crucial towards combating these types of crimes.”

According to court records filed with the plea agreement, Symplicity provides student disciplinary records management services to colleges and universities.   Friedler conspired with two other Symplicity employees between 2007 and 2011 to hack into the computer systems of two companies that competed with Symplicity’s business.  Friedler and others decrypted account passwords of former customers, and Friedler hid his IP address using TOR, a network of computers used to encrypt and anonymize online communications.   Friedler then accessed customer contacts and viewed the proprietary and confidential software design and features of competitors Maxient LLC and a second company, identified in court documents as “Company A,” to inform Symplicity’s software development and sales strategy.

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Richmond Field Office.   Trial Attorney Peter V. Roman of the Criminal Division ’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander T.H. Nguyen of the Eastern District of Virginia are prosecuting the case.

NSF: TICKS AND LYME DISEASE

FROM:  NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION 
Lyme Disease: Ten things you always wanted to know about ticks...
...but maybe were afraid to ask...
May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month.

To find out how to steer clear of Lyme disease during "picnic season" - a time when people are more likely to pick up ticks - the National Science Foundation spoke with NSF-funded disease ecologist Rick Ostfeld of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y., and program director Sam Scheiner of NSF's Division of Environmental Biology.

Ostfeld's research is funded by the joint NSF-NIH Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases Program and NSF's Long-Term Research in Environmental Biology Program.

1) What have we learned about how Lyme disease is transmitted?

Lyme disease can develop when someone is bitten by a blacklegged tick infected with a virulent strain of the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. At least 15 strains of the bacterium are found in ticks, but only a few turn up in Lyme disease patients, says Ostfeld.

Newly hatched larval ticks are born without the Lyme bacterium. They may acquire it, however, if they feast on a blood meal from an infected host. Scientists have learned that white-footed mice, eastern chipmunks and short-tailed shrews can transfer the Lyme bacterium to larval ticks.

Tick nymphs infected with Lyme bacteria pose the biggest threat to humans; their numbers are linked with the size of mouse populations.

2) The list of illnesses spread by blacklegged ticks seems to increase each year. What's going on?

People in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest have experienced waves of "new" tick-borne diseases. It started in the 1980s with Lyme disease. Then in the 1990s it was anaplasmosis, followed in the early 2000s by babesiosis. Now we may be seeing the emergence of Borrelia miyamotoi, says Ostfeld.

The pathogens are transmitted by blacklegged ticks. "We suspect that they were present for decades in isolated geographic areas, but we're working to understand what's triggering their spread," says Ostfeld. For example, while Lyme disease bacteria can be carried long distances by birds, Anaplasma and Babesia don't fare well in birds.

3) How do small mammals play a part?

Mice, chipmunks and shrews play a major role in infecting blacklegged ticks with the pathogens that cause Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and babesiosis. Ticks feeding on these animals can acquire two or even all three pathogens from a single bloodmeal, says Ostfeld.

Health care providers need to be aware, he says, "that patients with Lyme disease may be co-infected with anaplasmosis and babesiosis, which will affect symptoms, treatments, and possibly outcomes. The good news is that by regulating these small mammals, we can reduce our risk of exposure to all three illnesses."

4) How are predators like foxes protecting us against diseases such as Lyme?

Some predators appear to be protecting our health by regulating small mammals, Ostfeld says. Research suggests that where red foxes are abundant, there is a lower incidence of Lyme disease in the human population.

"We're investigating whether foxes and other predators reduce our risk by preying on the small mammals responsible for transmitting Lyme disease to ticks," says Ostfeld. "We don't yet know whether predators like owls and hawks behave similarly."

5) How is climate change influencing the spread of tick-borne illnesses?

The northward and westward spread of blacklegged ticks and Lyme disease in recent decades is caused in part by climate warming, says Ostfeld. However, Lyme disease has also been spreading south, which is unlikely to be caused by climate change, scientists believe.

Models predict that Lyme disease will continue to move to higher latitudes and elevations over coming decades, a result of milder winters and longer growing seasons. "We're currently exploring how climate warming affects the seasonal timing of host-seeking and biting behavior of ticks," says Ostfeld.

6) Why are we more likely to contract Lyme disease in fragmented forests?

"When humans fragment forests, often through urbanization, we create conditions that favor the small mammals that amplify Lyme disease," Ostfeld says.

The species consistently found in forest sites, no matter how small or isolated, is the white-footed mouse. And lyme-infected ticks are often most abundant in the smallest forest patches, leading to a high risk of human exposure.

"To combat Lyme disease, one of the fastest growing threats to human health in the U.S., we need to know where it is, how it's transmitted, and how it can be controlled," says Scheiner.

"Long-term studies, such as work by Ostfeld and colleagues, show that the abundance of the disease-causing bacteria is determined by the number and variety of small mammals in a community. The research also demonstrates the value of conserving biodiversity as a way of limiting the spread of disease."

7) Aren't mice affected by ticks?

Long-term monitoring of mice and ticks in upstate New York shows that mice survive just as well when they're infested with hundreds of ticks as when they have few or no ticks. In fact, male mice survive longer when they have more ticks, Ostfeld says.

"This is bad news, as it means that heavy tick loads won't bring down mouse numbers, which would have helped reduce the human risk of tick-borne diseases."

8) Why are ecological studies essential to understanding emerging infectious diseases?

Tick-borne disease takes a huge toll on public health and on the economy, says Ostfeld. "Take the case of Lyme disease, where diagnosis and treatment remain controversial. One thing that everyone can agree on is the importance of preventing exposure. Doing this requires understanding the ecology of ticks, pathogens and hosts."

The more we know about where and when the risk is high, he says, the better we'll be able to protect ourselves and respond appropriately when we're exposed.

9) What precautions might be wise for people wishing to spend time outside?

"I'd recommend the use of tick repellents on skin or clothes, paying special attention to shoes and socks," Ostfeld says. "Tick nymphs seek hosts on or just above the ground, so shoes and socks are the first line of defense." Some studies show that daily tick checks during late spring and early summer can be protective.

Knowing the early symptoms of Lyme disease - fever, chills, muscle aches, often a large rash - is important. "People who live in the heaviest Lyme disease zones of the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Upper Midwest," says Ostfeld, "and who start feeling flu-like symptoms, especially from May through July, should ask their doctors to consider Lyme disease."

10) Does this mean that we should stay inside so we don't risk becoming infected?

The likelihood of contracting Lyme disease is very low overall, says Scheiner, "and is even lower if you take reasonable precautions. Don't let the threat of Lyme disease keep you from enjoying the best part of spring and summer: the great outdoors."

-- Cheryl Dybas, NSF

ASSISTANT SECRETARY BROWNFIELD'S CONGRESSIONAL TESTIMONY ON NARCOTICS AND U.S.-MEXICO RELATIONS

FROM:  THE STATE DEPARTMENT 

The Future of U.S.-Mexico Relations

Testimony
William R. Brownfield
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
Statement Before the House Foreign Affairs Committee
Washington, DC
May 20, 2014


Chairman Royce, Ranking Member Engel, and Members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to be here today to discuss our important partnership with the Government of Mexico. Through this unprecedented partnership forged between our two governments over the past seven years, great progress has been made in strengthening the capacity of Mexico’s justice sector to counter organized crime and protect our shared border. And working in partnership with the Peña Nieto administration, we are continuing our strong collaborative efforts with the Government of Mexico to advance our shared citizen security objectives.
In 2008, at the start of the Merida Initiative, drug cartel-related violence in Mexico had been increasing dramatically, corruption was a threat to rule of law, and Mexican institutions were not able to deal effectively with the impunity of these powerful criminal networks. The people of Mexico had little confidence in their institutions, and the unmitigated flow of illicit money and narcotics clouded the prospects of Mexico’s licit economy. In 2008, Mexico took the important first step of passing constitutional reforms to overhaul its entire justice sector including the police, judicial system, and corrections at the federal, state and local levels. Mexico’s institutional reforms and its objective of building strong institutions that its citizens can depend on to deliver justice provided a foundation for U.S. cooperation.

Since 2008, our assistance under the Merida Initiative has helped advance Mexico’s implementation of these reforms. To date, the U.S. government has delivered approximately $1.2 billion worth of training, capacity building, and equipment. By no means do we go it alone: the Government of Mexico has contributed billions of its own resources, outpacing our own, to our shared security goals. And because our assistance is designed jointly with the Government of Mexico, many programs form integral parts of Mexico’s justice sector reforms and enjoy a high level of sustainability.

Our partnership with Mexico has demonstrated results, through it we have: helped advance the transition to the accusatory justice system through the training of over 8,500 federal justice sector personnel; augmented the professionalization of police units by providing training to more than 22,000 federal and state police officers, 4,000 of which are federal investigators; improved the capacity and security of its federal prisons, supporting the expansion of secure federal facilities from five with a capacity of 3,500 to 14 with a capacity of 20,000; provided civic education and ethics training to more than 700,000 Mexican students; and improved the detection of narcotics, arms, and money at the border, reaching nearly $3.8 billion in illicit goods seized. In addition, since 2009, Mexico has apprehended more than 70 senior and mid-level drug trafficking organization (DTO) leaders, notably Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera, significantly disrupting all major Mexican DTOs. These are noteworthy outputs that, with continued collaboration and political commitment, will help enhance security for citizens on both sides of the border.

The Initiative continues to be structured around the four pillar framework: 1) Disrupting the operational capacity of organized crime; 2) Institutionalizing Mexico’s capacity to sustain the rule of law and protect human rights; 3) Creating a 21st century border; and 4) Building strong and resilient communities. This framework, combined with the shift toward training and an emphasis on building capacity at the state and local level, is the basis for our security cooperation with the Peña Nieto Administration going forward.

When President Peña Nieto took office in December 2012, he and his Administration took a close and deliberate look at the U.S.-Mexico bilateral relationship, including our security cooperation. After a careful review, the Government of Mexico has committed to continuing our collaboration on security issues under the four-pillar Merida framework, with a sharper focus on crime prevention and rule of law. The Peña Nieto Administration has laid out its long-term plans for improving citizen security through its ten-point security strategy that includes crime prevention and effective criminal justice, police professionalization, transforming the prison system, promoting citizen participation and international coordination on security, transparent statistics on crime rates, coordination among government authorities and regionalization to focus efforts, and strengthening of intelligence to combat crime. These elements track well with the planning and direction of the work that I manage, International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement (INCLE) programming, which aims to help build professionalized and credible civilian security.

In recent months, we have reached agreement with the Government of Mexico on areas of programmatic focus for our security cooperation under Merida. We have launched a robust process for getting security assistance programs green lighted that consists of joint executive level meetings between INL Mexico and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE) and the Ministry of Government (SEGOB). Since November 2013, 78 projects, totaling more than $430 million have been approved through this process. These projects span all four pillars of Merida with a focus on bilateral priority areas – assistance to the states in law enforcement capacity building, support to the Government of Mexico’s efforts on its southern border strategy, and justice sector reform.

In seeking to further justice sector reform, the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) has demonstrated commitment to advancing the transition to the accusatory justice system and recently agreed to several programs supporting this transition at the federal and state level. We will continue building the skills of prosecutors, investigators, and experts, enhancing the technical capacity of courtrooms throughout the country to handle oral trials, and helping to train law school students in crucial oral trial skills. Additionally we are working with the PGR’s criminal investigation arm, akin to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, to enhance its human and technological capacity to pursue complex investigations.

To help Mexico build policing capacity for its communities, we are putting in place the building blocks to expand police training to the state and municipal level. We have strengthened police academies in the states of Chihuahua, Sonora, Nuevo Leon, and Puebla, enabling them to serve as the backbone for training programs and to conduct regional training. We are building our joint state training program around this regional structure but expanding it to reach all of Mexico’s 31 states and the Federal District. Some programs will be regional in their application, enhancing cooperation between law enforcement officials in neighboring states as they implement reforms. Contending with transnational crime and violence against communities takes collaboration and partnerships. And that is why, in addition to regional training academies, we are supporting task forces at the state level to better develop and share police intelligence, augmenting local capacity to combat criminal organizations.

Building on the Peña Nieto Administration’s agenda for police professionalization, we will work with the Government of Mexico to enhance and professionalize existing law enforcement institutions to develop federal standards for Mexican officials in the areas of recruitment, training, discipline and promotion. Drawing upon expertise here at home, U.S. Federal, state, and local partners will help to advise their Mexican counterparts on policing standards and best practices, and facilitate regional working groups that integrate state, local, and federal entities. Police professionalization, greater observance of civil and human rights, and greater trust among the Mexican public in its police will result.

Greater border security capacity, along Mexico’s northern and southern borders is also a significant bilateral priority. Our governments have committed to further enhancing the Government of Mexico’s ability to interdict illicit narcotics, arms, and money as well as strengthen control of porous border areas. Using the train the trainer method to multiply the impact of our assistance, we have already provided specialized training for police, military, and Mexican Customs officials that address advanced border security and import/export processing techniques and methodologies. On Mexico’s southern border, we expect that our assistance programs will help to improve communications among Mexican law enforcement, immigration, and community officials, increasing their interoperability and capacity to share information to adapt to evolving criminal tactics. This is important to Mexico’s national security and it is to ours as well. It goes without saying that strengthening Mexico’s capacity to control its border with Belize and Guatemala, which Mexico is already taking steps to do, will improve security on our own southern border.

In addition to new programs that we expect to have underway in the year ahead, we continue to build on the success of several ongoing programs. For example, Mexico’s federal corrections system continues to be a recognized international leader in corrections reform, with eight federal facilities already certified by the independent American Correctional Association. The reforms already underway, including the creation of an objective prisoner classification system and the construction of new facilities, are making great strides. Mexico’s success in reforming the corrections systems at the federal level can serve as the launching point for supporting similar reforms at the state level, where significant challenges remain. We will support Mexico in assessing state facilities and in its efforts to undertake similar reforms at the state level.
We will also continue supporting Mexico’s efforts to improve information sharing among its agencies involved in the fight against money laundering and illicit finance, a priority area for the Peña Nieto administration. Enhanced Mexican interagency coordination will lead to more prosecutions and cash seized. We have already provided funding for the training of the Financial Intelligence Unit’s (FIU) personnel, sophisticated financial analysis software, and the accompanying computer hardware. Given the expanded responsibilities of the FIU under the new anti-money laundering legislation passed in late 2012, we are providing additional support for upgrades and expanding their data center.

Complementary to our assistance at the institutional level, we will also continue to support local communities by promoting behavioral changes for improving rule of law from the ground up, such as through our Culture of Lawfulness program. This program offers a civic education curriculum to schools throughout Mexico, professional ethics education for the federal and state police as well other public officials, and informs citizens on the process for reporting crime and collects feedback on their experience of reporting crime through on-site monitors at local public prosecutors’ offices in Mexico City.

These examples of past, current, and future security collaboration with Mexico are just that, examples. Building strong and able justice sector institutions capable of dealing with organized crime and the accompanying violence and corruption is a difficult and long-term endeavor. It takes years of dedicated and sustained work across numerous institutions and sectors, the political will to affect change, and the resources and stamina to see it through. This is the path toward secure and safe communities and secure and safe economies. Our work with Mexico over the past seven years has achieved far reaching results and I am confident that our collaborative efforts will continue.

Thank you, Chairman Royce, Ranking Member Engel and other distinguished Members for your time. I look forward to answering any questions you might have.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

CHIEF RISK OFFICER OF AUDIT COMPANY CHARGED WITH VIOLATING AUDITOR INDEPENDENCE RULES

FROM:  U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION 

The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged the former chief risk officer at Deloitte LLP for causing violations of the auditor independence rules that ensure audit firms maintain their objectivity and impartiality with respect to their clients.

An SEC order finds that certified public accountant James T. Adams repeatedly accepted tens of thousands of dollars in casino markers while he was the advisory partner on subsidiary Deloitte & Touche’s audit of a casino gaming corporation.  A marker is an instrument utilized by a casino customer to receive gaming chips drawn against the customer’s line of credit at the casino.  Adams opened a line of credit with a casino run by the gaming corporation client and used the casino markers to draw on that line of credit.  Adams concealed his casino markers from Deloitte & Touche and lied to another partner when asked if he had casino markers from audit clients of the firm.

Adams, who lives in California, agreed to settle the SEC’s charges by being suspended for at least two years from practicing as an accountant on behalf of any publicly traded company or other entity regulated by the SEC.

“The transactions by which Adams accepted the casino markers were loans from an audit client that are prohibited by the auditor independence rules,” said Scott W. Friestad, associate director in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.  “Auditor independence is critical to the integrity of the financial reporting process.  Through his extensive use of casino markers, Adams clearly violated the rules and put his own desires ahead of his client’s interests.”

According to the SEC’s order instituting a settled administrative proceeding, Adams drew $85,000 worth of markers in July 2009 that remained outstanding for 43 days.  In September, he drew $3,000 in markers that were outstanding for 13 days and $70,000 in markers that were outstanding for 27 days.  In October, he drew $110,000 in markers that were outstanding for 38 days.  In December, he drew $100,000 in markers that were outstanding for seven days, and later drew $110,000 in markers that remained outstanding when he retired from the firm in May 2010.

The SEC’s order requires Adams to cease-and-desist from causing violations of Rule 2-02(b)(1) of Regulation S-X, Section 13(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Exchange Act Rule 13a-1.  Adams consented to the order without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings.

The SEC’s investigation was conducted by Steve Varholik, Kam Lee, Robert Peak, and Jeffrey Infelise.  The case was supervised by David Frohlich.

SECRETARY KERRY MEETS WITH EMBASSY STAFF IN MEXICO CITY

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT

Meeting With Embassy Mexico City Staff

Remarks
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Mexico City, Mexico
May 21, 2014




AMBASSADOR WAYNE: Okay. Good afternoon, everybody. It’s a great honor for me to have the pleasure of introducing Secretary of State John Kerry. Mr. Secretary, thanks for carving out this time on your first official visit as Secretary of State to Mexico City. As you can see, we have a great, dedicated team here of Mexicans and Americans who work together on all sorts of issues to make our relationship better and to promote our interests. But we’re really pleased that you’re with us and we very much appreciate all the hard work and dedication that you have been showing in the service of our country as Secretary of State, and helping give us guidance and the other embassies around the world.

So thanks very much for being with us, and I give you the Secretary of State. (Applause.)

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. Muchas gracias. Thank you very, very much, Tony. Muy buenas tardes. How are you? Everybody good? Como les va?(Laughter.) Okay. You got some energy in here. Thank you. Thank you, (inaudible). That is the best welcome I’ve had anywhere in the world. Thank you. (Applause.) I love it. Somebody said somebody up there had something to do with the Navy? Is that true? Are you guys a Navy mariachi band? (Laughter.) I was in the Navy; I never knew we could do that. (Laughter.) That’s outstanding. Thank you guys very, very much. Really appreciate it. I’d love to hear more. We can dance and whatever into the night.

I am really, really happy to be here, very privileged to be here with Tony, who is really an outstanding ambassador. He’s had extraordinary experience. Been here since 2011 I guess, and is doing an amazing job of not just marshaling this very, very important relationship, but also managing the extraordinary transition that is taking place here. We just keep getting bigger and bigger. I think we’ve got 2,700 people, 1,700 of whom are local employees. And I want to say a huge, huge thank you –muchas gracias – to those of you who work here, giving of yourselves to the effort of the United States to help build our relationship with Mexico. Everyone here is really grateful to you for what you do, so thank you very, very, very much. Thank you. (Applause.)

I know a lot of you are very nervous about what’s going to happen with this transition to the new embassy compound. I promise you I will exert all the power of the Secretary of State to make absolutely certain that when you move into the new compound, the jugo verdes will flow. (Laughter.) Does that matter to you or not? I don’t know. I was told it’s a big deal around here. Is that true? No. Only with some of you. How many people love it? Jugo verdes, right? That’s all. I’ve been misinformed. What’s the matter with the rest of you? What’s the matter with jugo verdes? (Laughter.)

Let me just say to everybody here, President Obama has now been out here five times, and Vice President Biden was obviously here last September. The President was here most recently, and now I’m here on my first trip as Secretary of State – and I promise you not my last trip. And I want to just emphasize how really both exciting and critical this relationship is. I just looked over here and I see Laura Dogu, our DCM, who is also the winner of the Baker-Wilkins Award for best DCM around. So congratulations to you. (Applause.) And her husband, Aydin , who I just met. Thank you both very much, and thank you very much, Laura, for that extraordinary leadership.

I just came from a really, really unbelievably friendly, open, constructive meeting with President Pena Nieto. And I tell you, it’s interesting to listen to him talk about the possibilities of this relationship and what we’ve achieved and what we want to achieve. Obviously, we have challenges. That’s why you’re here in these numbers. This is a critical relationship. It’s our hemisphere; it’s our neighbor; it’s an historic, long cultural attachment with enormous possibilities and potential to still develop and define. And when I think of the journey – I spent 29 years in the United States Senate – when I think of the journey from the early days of that incredibly divisive and difficult fight over NAFTA, and now you look at this journey and what has been accomplished. Our economy has grown, our jobs have grown, our jobs have gone through an incredibly sort of revolutionary kind of transition as we’ve modernized and moved into the technology era, the management of data and information, new kinds of jobs. And Mexico is doing exactly the same thing. And now we’re working on this absolutely critical relationship, the T – actually two relationships, but the TPP, which is going to be critical to all of us with respect to Asia Pacific, the Asia – and the future of the relationship in terms of both jobs and security. There are masses of young people all around the world looking for opportunity and for jobs.
The challenge to governance is really greater than it’s ever been. We have to deliver, and it requires a kind of cooperative effort that is different from anything we’ve ever known. We have this extraordinary amount of money – a billion dollars a day, unbelievable economic relationship that is moving one way and the other way between our nations. We have a million people a day crossing the border legally one way or the other. It’s an astounding relationship in that regard. And we’re only tapping into it because there’s still too many people yet to fully reach their economic potential in our country and in Mexico. So that’s the challenge, together with the challenge, obviously, of people who don’t like anything to do with modernity or who want to fight back against law and rule of law and structure. So Mexico is fighting some of that battle, and we’re trying to help them do that.

We have a whole bunch of unaccompanied children crossing over the border. It’s an enormous challenge, and we need to meet the challenge even as we are trying to fix our immigration laws, which I hope we could do this year. We passed that bill in the Senate. We now need to and want to pass it in the House of Representatives. I still have hopes that might be possible this year, and that would revolutionize the relationship between us.

But we have to make certain that we don’t let people exploit that issue or create problems with it, so we need to get ahead of it. We have too many guns coming from the United States of America into Mexico. We need to do our fair share of making certain that that’s not disrupting their capacity to fully develop and reach their potential, and to control the communities and the streets and not have chaos in certain places, or challenges by criminal enterprises.
So this is hard stuff. Building community is hard work, but it works. You can see it. You can measure the difference that we are making together every day in our countries, and particularly nearer the borders and in the communities that feel the greatest impact of the flow of those people.

So I just want to say thank you to you for what you’re doing. It’s a big embassy; it’s one of our biggest in the world, and it probably is going to grow, because the population’s going to grow and the challenges are going to grow. And when you add all the consulates and the 20 – I think it’s 26 agencies that – 29 agencies – 29 agencies that are all working together in a coordinated way, that’s more agencies by far than almost every other embassy in the country – in the world has.

So this is a big deal, and I am very, very happy to finally be able to get here and begin a series of engagements which we think are going to mature over the next year on the innovation, research, education front. The bilateral discussion that we had today where we’re actually pinning down real steps that we can take to guarantee that we’re going to expand the opportunities of Fulbright English language, of students moving across both borders both ways and learning in each other’s countries – that’s how you build relationships. I’ve seen that all over the world. I can’t tell you how many foreign ministers, finance ministers, environment ministers, prime ministers, presidents I meet somewhere in the world who brag to me privately how pleased and excited and incredibly affected they were by their relationship to the American university that they went to in their youth. And it builds a foundation of understanding, a relationship on which we have an ability to get through, sometimes, the toughest times.
So a profound thank you to every single one of you. You – I say this everywhere I go because I believe it: We, all of us – me, you, everybody involved in this – gets to wake up every morning – a lot of people who go to work don’t – liking what you do, loving the fact that you get to make a difference in the lives of other people and in the life and definition of your country. If you’re a local employee, Mexican working to help Americans do that, you’re still – you’re making a difference for Mexico and for the United States. And if you’re American, you’re making a difference for both, and that’s the way you build community, that’s the way you build stability, that’s the way you provide opportunity to young people, that’s the way you build the future. How many people get to get up and not punch the clock or go in or do something where they don’t feel that way? So it’s a blessing. And I hope we all work very, very hard as part of a family, which is what we are in the State Department, to keep it that way.

So thank you all. God bless you for what you do, and keep on doing, all the way (inaudible). (Applause.)

PARTICIPANT: (Off-mike.)

SECRETARY KERRY: Oh, my gosh. Yeah. Let me – I actually wrote a note down on that. I want to call everybody’s attention to two very, very special people: Arturo Montaño Robles – (applause) – and Ana Elena Tappan Alvarado. (Applause.) I can’t believe either of them, they look so young. I can’t believe either of them have worked here in Mexico City at this embassy for 42 years. That is amazing – amazing. (Applause.) Thank you.

And I want to – no, no, don’t go away. Don’t go away. Don’t go away. Stay here. No, no. (Laughter.) I want you to say thank you also, because everybody here knows that you don’t just serve alone; your families serve when you come home late at night, and you’re traveling, you’re doing whatever or you’ve had to leave them for a while. The families also contribute. And I particularly want to call attention – Arturo’s wife, Lucinda, and his daughter, Lucy, are here. You guys stand up and let everybody say thank you to you too, okay? Thank you, Lucy. (Applause.)
And Ana Elena has brought her brother and her sister, Ricardo and Silvia. Ricardo, Silvia, thank you very, very much. (Applause.) No, don’t get up. That’s okay. Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you for the reminder.