Saturday, May 30, 2015

Weekly Address: Pass the USA Freedom Act

In this week's address, the President addressed critical pieces of national security business that remained unfinished when the Senate left town. This Sunday at midnight, key tools used to protect against terrorist threats are set to expire.

Friday, May 29, 2015

White House Press Briefing

The President Meets with Attorney General Lynch

West Wing Week: 05/29/15

Catching Up with The Curator: The Presidential Portrait of John F. Kennedy

Go Inside the White House with Curator, Bill Allman, as he discusses the inspiration behind the presidential portrait of the 35th President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Lawsuit Heating Up Over Hologram Technology

Hologram USA is suing a company called Pulse that claims the basis for hologram technology is in the public domain.

Roundtable on Food Safety

Richard Williams with the Mercatus Center and former FDA Director Michael Jacobson discuss the Obama administration’s move to ban trans fats in foods, recent foodborne illness outbreaks, and food labeling standards for GMOs.

Source: C-Span

Broadband Internet Access

National Journal Technology Correspondent Brendan Sasso talked about FCC Chair Tom Wheeler’s proposal to expand broadband internet access through the FCC’s Lifeline program, which provides telephone service to low-income Americans.

Source: C-Span

Saudi Arabia's New Leadership

Middle East scholars and energy experts talked about the implications of recent changes in Saudi Arabia’s leadership on the global energy market and regional stability.

Source: C-Span

Reporter Charnice Milton Mourned in Southeast D.C.

By Derrick Ward and Andrea Swalec

From The G-Man offers its condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Charnice Milton. May she forever rest in peace. 

Hundreds Expected at 'Draw Muhammad' Cartoon Contest in Phoenix

U.S. Officially Removes Cuba From State Sponsors of Terrorism List

The U.S. has formally dropped Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

"The rescission of Cuba's designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism reflects our assessment that Cuba meets the statutory criteria for rescission," State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said in a statement.

"While the United States has significant concerns and disagreements with a wide range of Cuba's policies and actions, these fall outside the criteria relevant to the rescission of a State Sponsor of Terrorism designation."

Now that Cuba is off the list there are only three countries remaining: Iran, Sudan and Syria. 

Source: NBC News

Indictment Taints Former Speaker Dennis Hastert's 'Clean as a Whistle' Reputation

Today in History: May 29

Second Estimate of GDP for the First Quarter of 2015

Statement on the Second Estimate of GDP for the First Quarter of 2015

WASHINGTON, DC – Jason Furman, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, issued the following statement today on the second estimate of GDP for the first quarter of 2015. You can view the statement HERE.

Posted by Jason Furman on May 29, 2015 at 9:30 AM EST

Today’s downward revision to GDP growth was entirely accounted for by revisions to inventory investment and net exports, with other changes being small and neutral on balance. The first-quarter slowdown was the result of harsh winter weather, tepid foreign demand, and consumers saving the windfall from lower oil prices. The combination of personal consumption and fixed investment, the most stable components of GDP, has grown 3.4 percent over the past four quarters. This solid long-term economic trend complements the robust pace of job growth and unemployment reduction over the last year. The President is committed to further strengthening these positive trends by opening our exports to new markets with new high-standards free trade agreements that create opportunities for the middle class, expanding investments in infrastructure, and ensuring the sequester does not return in the next fiscal year as outlined in the President’s FY2016 Budget.


  1. Real gross domestic product (GDP) fell 0.7 percent at an annual rate in the first quarter of 2015, according to the second estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The decline follows an increase of 3.6 percent at an annual rate during the second half of 2014. First-quarter growth was likely affected by a number of factors including especially harsh winter weather in the first quarter (see point 3) and a spike in personal saving (see point 4). A decline in the trade balance was another major contributor, partially reflecting the continued drag on U.S. exports from the slowdown in foreign growth. Indeed, net exports subtracted nearly 2 full percentage points from quarterly GDP growth. Structures investment subtracted about 0.7 percentage point from GDP, likely reflecting reduced oil mining in the wake of last year’s decline in oil prices. 
Click on the images to enlarge them.

Real private domestic final purchases (PDFP) — the sum of consumption and fixed investment — rose 1.2 percent at an annual rate in the first quarter, a faster pace than overall GDP. Real PDFP growth is generally a more stable and forward-looking indicator than real GDP, as it excludes volatile components like inventories, net exports, and government spending. PDFP is a better predictor of next-quarter GDP than GDP itself. The year-over-year growth rate of PDFP rose this quarter to 3.4 percent.

The entire downward revision to first-quarter GDP can be accounted for by downward revisions to two especially volatile components of economic output: inventory investment and net exports. Inventories and net exports subtracted a combined 1.1 percentage points from annualized GDP growth relative to the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ first estimate. At the same time, business investment added 0.2 percentage point more than originally estimated. Other small revisions to the contributions of personal consumption expenditures and residential investment offset one another.

  1. Over the past decade, first-quarter GDP growth has averaged a considerably slower pace than the other three quarters. Economists have debated whether this gap reflects a problem with the algorithms used to seasonally adjust GDP data (“residual seasonality”), especially harsh winter weather in recent years, or noise. The seasonal adjustment process should remove the growth effects of “normal” winter weather, but particularly harsh winters will still reduce seasonally adjusted output. And weather in the first quarter was especially harsh: Q1 was only the fourth quarter in 60 years on record with three or more snowstorms sufficiently severe to be rated by the National Climatic Data Center’s Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale (NESIS). The historical relationship between weather and first-quarter growth suggests that weather may have reduced annualized growth by about a full percentage point this quarter, and by about 0.6 percentage point on average over the past decade. That effect accounts for much, but not all, of first-quarter underperformance since 2005.

The debate so far over the cause of first-quarter underperformance has tended to treat residual seasonality and weather effects as analytically distinct explanations. However, to the extent that worsening winter weather is part of a long-term trend rather than a random occurrence, changing weather patterns may be related to residual seasonality. A seasonal adjustment algorithm should adjust for effects of normal weather within a particular quarter—and to the extent that global climate change leads to a new “normal” for weather, seasonal adjustments will eventually catch up. Indeed, first-quarter underperformance (defined as the difference between GDP growth in the first-quarter and the rest of the year) has tended to increase over the past ten years, in parallel with intensifying winter weather.

  1. Consumers have so far saved most of their windfall gains from last year’s energy price decline. Since June, national average gasoline prices have fallen more than $1 per gallon, providing the equivalent of about a $700 tax cut per household. Looking over the past year, energy consumption as a share of disposable personal income has declined by 1.1 percentage points, leaving more space in consumer checkbooks to save and spend. To date, however, households appear to have put most of those gains in the bank, as the personal saving rate has risen by 0.6 percentage point over the past four quarters. Just over the last quarter, the personal saving rate rose 0.8 percentage point—an unusually large increase that is at the 88th percentile of historic increases. 

Historically the personal saving rate has tended to revert to its short-term mean; temporary spikes like this one do not usually persist. If the saving rate returns to normal levels with continued growth in real disposable personal income and no major resurgence in gasoline prices, personal consumption growth is likely to increase. If the saving rate returns to its previous level by the end of 2015, consumer spending would grow at a nearly 4 percent annual rate for the final three quarters of the year. If the saving rate remains constant at the new higher level, consumer spending growth would also pick up somewhat to a 2.5 percent annual rate for the final three quarters of the year. Given the current forecasts for growth in disposable personal income, the saving rate would have to rise by another 0.4 percentage point by the end of the year to continue the 1.8 percentage point annualized growth rate in Q1.  All told, the difference between a mean reverting saving rate and a rising saving rate is about 0.8 percentage point for GDP growth for the four quarters of 2015.

  1. Gross domestic income (GDI)—an alternate indicator of economic output that would equal GDP absent measurement error—grew an estimated 1.4 percent at an annual rate in the first quarter, faster than estimated GDP. Over the last four quarters, real GDI grew 3.6 percent, as compared with the 2.7 percent growth in real GDP over that period. GDP gauges overall activity by measuring the final expenditures of households, businesses, governments, and trading partners in a given time period, while GDI measures the incomes generated during that production process. If we hadperfect information, the two measures would equal one another: they are conceptually identical as a measure of economic activity. But because the data underlying each are gathered from different sources, they often differ substantially in practice due to measurement error. This quarter, although GDP fell at a 0.7 percent annualized rate, GDI rose at a 1.4 percent annualized rate. This 2.1 percentage point gap reflects the inherent uncertainty underlying measures of aggregate output, and underscores the importance of focusing on multiple data sources and longer term trends. Some economists track the average of the two measures as a more stable gauge of activity, a measure BEA will start reporting in July. The average of GDP and GDI rose 0.3 percent at an annual rate in the first quarter. While combining information from GDP and GDI can help reduce measurement error about what actually happened in the current period, PDFP (see point 1) may provide a better indication of growth in future periods because it omits noisy economic developments.

    As the Administration stresses every quarter, GDP figures can be volatile and are subject to substantial revision. Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one single report, and it is informative to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available.

Saudi Arabia Says Four Killed in Foiled Mosque Attack

Source: Euronews

India’s Soaring Temperatures Leave 1,800 People Dead

Source: Euronews

Angola: Suspended Sentence for ‘Blood Diamonds’ Writer

Source: Euronews

Russia ‘Amassing Artillery’ Near Border with Eastern Ukraine, Reports Suggest

Source: Euronews

Greece Designs New Two-Euro Coin Amid Fears of Grexit

Source: Euronews

Sepp Blatter Shrugs Off Scandal Ahead of FIFA Presidential Vote

Source: Euronews

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The President is Briefed on Hurricane Season Outlook and Preparedness

New York State Gun Violence Awareness Month Begins June 1

Elected Officials, Clergy, Activists and Community Leaders Converge to Address Increase in Violence

New York, NY – (May 26, 2015) –For the third year Gun Violence Awareness Month (GVAM) will take place across New York during the month of June, highlighted by anti-violence events and advocacy efforts, and by proclamations from Mayors and County Executives, community leaders, clergy and activists, who will mark GVAM in their respective communities with heightened awareness and activities.

On June 10, 2015, thousands of New Yorkers across the state will wear orange, the universal theme color of peace that has been adopted to remember the lives lost and to amplify the clarion call for gun violence prevention as New York heads into the summer months. Elected officials, businesses, unions, student organizations and community groups will wear orange, and there will be events across the city and state.

Other highlights for GVAM will include PSA’s from city and state leaders, a social media campaign, endorsement from Mayors at their annual June conference in San Francisco, “Sermon Sundays” where ecumenical religious leaders, including preachers, rabbis and Imams across New York State have signed on to devote one Saturday or Sunday in their House of Worship to anti-violence, and proclamations, resolutions and letters of support from a range of elected officials.

State Co-Chair of GVAM is Byron Brown the Mayor of Buffalo. Also uniting around the effort are US Congressional leaders Hakeem Jeffries, Charles B. Rangel, Carolyn Maloney; Members of the NYS Black Puerto Rican Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus; NYS Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, Co-Chair of NYLGVP and Chair of ASLGVP; NYS Assemblywoman Michelle Shimel, Co-Chair of NYLGVP; Byron Brown, Mayor of Buffalo, Stephanie Miner, Mayor of Syracuse; Lovely Warren, Mayor of Rochester; Kathy Sheehan, Mayor of Albany; Mike Spano, Mayor of Yonkers; Noam Bramson, Mayor of New Rochelle; Earnest Davis, Mayor of Mount Vernon; Scott Stringer, NYC Comptroller; Letitia James, NYC Public Advocate; Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President; Eric Adams, Brooklyn Borough President; Melinda Katz, Queens Borough President; Ruben Diaz Jr, Bronx Borough President; Jumaane Williams, NYC Councilmember; Robert Cornegy, NYC Councilmember; Ydanis Rodriguez, NYC Councilmember; Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone; Tamika D. Mallory, Chair of the New York Justice League, Erica Ford, LifeCamp Inc./I love My Life.

New York State is the only state in the nation to dedicate and entire month to the issue of gun violence prevention and awareness. In 2013 the first resolution unanimously passed the New York State Legislature naming June Gun Violence Awareness Month as part of a five year push to reduce gun violence across the State. The resolution was sponsored in the Assembly by former State Assemblyman Karim Camara and in the Senate by State Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson. Similar resolutions and proclamations were issued in every major city in New York State, including New York City. Highlights from last year’s GVAM included, a public service announcement done by New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray and New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams, Co-Chair of the New York City Council Gun Violence Task Force.

Events in June will include: Everytown for Gun Safety June 2nd #WearingOrange; Mother’s in Charge, Inc. June 6th National Rally; National ASK Day on June 21st; and many other marches, town hall meetings, youth engagement activities, gun buy backs, public service announcements and social media campaigns. For more information on the month’s activities or to get involved, please visit:

Long Term Care and the Nursing Home Industry

Advocate Says a ‘Dangerous Trend’ Will Force Alzheimer’s and Dementia Residents into Life-Threatening Situations 

Jack Halpern is the CEO of the New York City-based "My Elder Advocate, LLC". The organization provides advocacy services and helps seniors with issues such as eviction prevention, nursing home or assisted living placement and long term care planning.

In March, Mr. Halpern was showcased in the episode "Home Health Aides from Hell", which will be the focus of discussion for members of the New York State Standing Committee on Aging during its next legislative session, as confirmed by Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr., who serves on the committee.

Mr. Halpern recently asked The G-Man Interviews to meet with him to discuss what he described as a dangerous trend – in New York nursing homes and those in other states – that will lead to the evictions or deaths of Alzheimer’s and dementia residents who need and rely on long term care.

The interview was conducted on May 22nd at My Elder Advocate’s Brooklyn office.
Information pertaining to this episode is available through the following links:

My Elder Advocate, LLC.

CBS News report

New York Times report

New York Times article on Excellent Home Care and Extended Home Care

Village Voice article on Howard Fensterman and Excellent Home Care

Today in History: May 28th

Washington Journal: U.S. Strategy Against ISIS

John Bradshaw and Michael Doran talked about the current U.S. strategy in the fight against ISIS* in Syria and Iraq.

* The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), is a militant group that has called itself the Islamic State.

George Pataki Presidential Campaign Announcement


Source: C-Span

Rick Santorum Presidential Campaign Announcement

Former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) announced his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. He talked about his agenda for jobs, the economy, fighting terrorism, and veterans. After his speech he was heard mingling with the crowd at Penn United Technologies in Cabot, Pennsylvania. 

EU, Burundi’s Catholic Church Pull Out from Observing Elections


By Clement Manirabarusha

BUJUMBURA (Reuters) – The European Union and Burundi’s influential Roman Catholic Church on Thursday pulled out from observing elections in the African country, saying that next month’s vote cannot be fair because of daily unrest and a crackdown on media.

More than a month of demonstrations against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third term in office has sparked the biggest political crisis since an ethnically-charged civil war ended in Burundi in 2005.

Source: Euronews

Eastern Ukraine: Separatists ‘Will Not Push for Independence,’ Says Spokesperson

Source: Euronews

Tony Blair to Step Down as Middle East Representative

Source: Euronews

Jack Warner Turns Himself in After Being Accused of Corruption in FIFA Scandal

Source: Euronews

Reviving Global Growth Tops Agenda at G7 Talks in Dresden

Source: Euronews

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

State Department Daily Briefing

Jeff Rathke responded to reporters' questions on a variety of foreign affairs topics, including the Middle East peace process and the closed-door espionage trial of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian.

Military Response to Ebola

 The highlighted area represents West Africa.

Officials from four Defense Department organizations talked about the U.S. military response to the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, and the research it has conducted on the deadly disease. They focused on their behind-the-scenes work and how those actions halted further spread of the disease.

Source: C-Span

U.S. Incarceration Rates


Panelists talked about a National Academy of Sciences report on the origins and effects of growing incarceration rates in the U.S.

Source: C-Span

Today in History: May 27th

International Hotspot: Fighting ISIS in Iraq

Iraqi soldiers launch offensive and Shia militia trains volunteers to fight militants.

Arrested Execs Turned FIFA Into 'Criminal Enterprise,' AG Says

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch discusses criminal probe of the world soccer organization.

Mom Recalls Pain of Bullied Transgender Teen Who Committed Suicide

Katharine Prescott's 14-year-old child Kyler, who was born female but identified as male, committed suicide after online bullying.

‘Deadliest Day’: Reports of 80 Killed in Saudi-Led Strikes Across Yemen

By Sarah Joanne Taylor | With UNITED NATIONS, OXFAM, REUTERS

Source: Euronews

EU Boosts CAR Aid


The EU is to increase financial aid to the Central African Republic, officials said on Tuesday.

The European Commission announced an extra 72 million euros in fresh funding during a donor conference in the Belgian capital of Brussels.

Source: Euronews

Full article and accompanying video available here:

Madagascar Lawmakers Vote to Remove President

Madagascar’s parliament has voted to remove President Hery Rajaonarimanpianina from office.

It’s thought 121 of 125 lawmakers backed the move alleging constitutional violations and incompetence. His critics say he’s failed to deliver promised reforms.

Source: Euronews

Israel Strikes Gaza After Alleged Militant Rocket Attack

Israeli aircraft have struck a number of sites in Gaza. It comes after Palestinian militants allegedly fired a rocket, which landed near the Israeli port city of Ashdod.

The Israeli military says it struck four “terror infrastructures” in Gaza after the rocket attack.

Source: Euronews

Russia Is Boosting Air Defenses Inside Eastern Ukraine: State Department


Russia is building up its air defenses inside of eastern Ukraine and bolstering forces along the border in violation of a recent truce, the State Department said on Wednesday.

"The Russian military has deployed additional air defense systems into eastern Ukraine and moved several of these nearer the front lines," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement. 

Source: NBC News

Texas Officials: 44 Foot Wall of Water 'Destroyed Everything in its Path'

Officials from Hays County, Texas, discuss the 'tsunami' of water which came down the Blanco river destroying 70 homes, and damaged 1400 more.

IRS Breach Puts Spotlight on the Internet's 'Costco of Cybercrime'

The Internal Revenue Service revealed Tuesday that criminals accessed tax information for more than 100,000 taxpayers via an online system -- and they bypassed security screens using personal information like Social Security numbers and addresses, which experts say are routinely sold online between criminals for just a few dollars.

The IRS said that 200,000 taxpayers' accounts received suspicious login attempts, and half of those accounts were accessed. The attackers were able to look at taxpayers' filings because they "confirmed" their identities by entering personal data like Social Security numbers, dates of birth and street addresses.

Source: NBC News

Horace Mann Sex Abuse Probe Blasts School, Finds Dozens of Victims

 Horace Mann School

By Tracy Connor

A probe commissioned by a group of alumni at New York's elite Horace Mann School has found that more than 64 students were sexually abused by nearly two dozen faculty and staff between the 1960s and the 1990s — far more than an investigation by the district attorney identified. 

Source: NBC News 

The Clean Water Rule: A Statement by President Obama

For more than 40 years, American families and businesses across the country have counted on the Clean Water Act to protect the streams and wetlands we rely on for our way of life – from recreation to public health to a growing economy. In recent years, however, court decisions have led to uncertainty and a need for clarification.  One in three Americans now gets drinking water from streams lacking clear protection, and businesses and industries that depend on clean water face uncertainty and delay, which costs our economy every day.  Too many of our waters have been left vulnerable to pollution. That’s why I called on the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to clear up the confusion and uphold our basic duty to protect these vital resources.

Today, after extensive input from the American public, they’re doing just that – finalizing the Clean Water Rule to restore protection for the streams and wetlands that form the foundation of our nation’s water resources, without getting in the way of farming, ranching, or forestry. This rule will provide the clarity and certainty businesses and industry need about which waters are protected by the Clean Water Act, and it will ensure polluters who knowingly threaten our waters can be held accountable.  My Administration has made historic commitments to clean water, from restoring iconic watersheds like the Chesapeake Bay and the Great Lakes to preserving more than a thousand miles of rivers and other waters for future generations.  With today’s rule, we take another step towards protecting the waters that belong to all of us.

Kinship Caregiver Programs Awarded $1.34 Million

Money Will Support 13 Programs Serving Children and Families Across New York State

Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced that New York State has awarded $1.34 million to 13 programs to provide Kinship Caregiver services, an important permanency option for children in foster care and others who cannot safely live with their parents. The funding will be administered by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services.

“All children deserve a safe and secure place to live, and today we are taking a major step forward in giving them a place to call home,” Governor Cuomo said. “This funding will provide caregivers with the tools to build a brighter future for thousands of New York children and place them on a path towards growth and success.”

Kinship care is a living arrangement in which children who cannot safely live with their parents live full-time with a relative or close non-relative. Research shows that children who reside with relatives achieve better outcomes than those in non-relative foster care.

The funding was awarded through a competitive Request for Proposals process. Programs will provide an array of services to kinship caregivers, including crisis intervention, family assessments, linkage to community resources, parenting education and training, support groups, and trauma screenings.

Sheila J. Poole, Acting Commissioner of OCFS said, “Every child needs a loving, nurturing, safe place to call home. By funding these programs, we are helping to connect grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other relatives to the resources they need to provide that environment.”

From 2006 through 2010, there were 131,108 grandparents and 87,405 non-grandparent caregivers raising relative children in New York, according to the American Community Survey. It is estimated that one quarter of children in foster care statewide are in a formal kinship placement.

The programs that were awarded and approved for funding are:

Approved Funding
Population Served
Berkshire Farm Center and Services for Youth
Erie County
Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Rochester / Catholic Family Center
Monroe County
Child Care Coordinating Council of the North Country, Inc.
Clinton County
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Orange County
Orange County
Family and Children’s Services of Ithaca
Tompkins County
Family Enrichment Network, Inc.
Broome County, Tioga County
Family Service Society of Yonkers
Westchester County
Gateway-Longview, Inc.
Erie County
Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services, Inc.
Leadership Training, Inc.
Nassau County, Suffolk County
New Alternatives for Children, Inc.
New York City
New York Council on Adoptable Children, Inc.
New York City
The Neighborhood Center, Inc.*
Oneida County
    * Also provides information and referral services to Chenango, Herkimer, Lewis, Madison, and Oswego counties

Governor Cuomo proclaimed May as Foster Care Awareness Month to recognize that every child has the right to grow up in a safe, healthy and stable home environment. Foster parents play an essential role in providing temporary, safe, and nurturing homes to children when their parents are unable to care for them.

From 1995 to 2012, the number of children in New York State's foster care system has decreased from approximately 54,000 to fewer than 19,000.

About OCFS

OCFS serves New York by promoting the safety, permanency, and well-being of children, families, and communities. For more information about kinship caregiver services in your area, and to find out how to become a foster parent, visit

OCFS maintains an active social media presence. “Like” the
New York State Office of Children and Family Services Facebook page and follow @NYSOCFS on Twitter in English or the Spanish-language Twitter account, @NYSOCFS espanol.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The President Meets with the Secretary General of NATO

President Obama delivers remarks after meeting with NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. May 26, 2015.

Today in History: May 26th

Beijing Boosts South China Sea Naval Defense

is increasing naval operations in the disputed waters of the South China Sea. Beijing has plans to build two lighthouses there, a move widely expected to escalate tensions in a region already on edge about China’s controversial island reclamation project. It compares that to construction in other parts of the country like building homes or roads.

China, Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei claim all or parts of the South China Sea.

Source: Euronews

President Obama Delivers Remarks at Arlington National Cemetery

President Obama Lays Wreath at Arlington National Cemetery

Iran Nuclear Negotiations

Ambassadors Gérard Araud, Sir Peter Westmacott, and Peter Wittig talked about the impact of the Iran nuclear deal on European interests. Ambassador Araud spoke about how the talks began in 2003, Ambassador Westmacott spoke about how the Iranians got to this point in the negotiations, and Ambassador Wittig spoke about the impact of European sanctions and his expectations for economic ties between Europe and Iran.

Source: C-Span

2016 Republican Presidential Field

Washington Post National Politics Reporter Robert Costa joined by phone to discuss the Republican field in the 2016 presidential election.

NYS Law Enforcement Agencies to Receive $13.3 Millon to Fight Gun Violence


Cuomo: “Through the GIVE initiative, we are giving law enforcement agencies more resources..."

Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced that law enforcement agencies in 17 counties participating in the state’s Gun Involved Violence Elimination initiative will receive $13.3 million to target gun violence and save lives. 

Now entering its second year, the initiative requires the use of proven strategies to reduce shootings and firearm-related homicides in communities served by 20 police departments in those counties.

“This administration has worked tirelessly to combat gun violence in New York and prevent the needless tragedy that comes with it,” Governor Cuomo said. 

“Through the GIVE initiative, we are giving law enforcement agencies more resources necessary to fight gun violence in our streets in order to save lives and make communities across this state safer.”

GIVE funding targets communities served by the Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Hempstead, Jamestown, Kingston, Middletown, Mount Vernon, Nassau County, Newburgh, Niagara Falls, Poughkeepsie, Rochester, Schenectady, Spring Valley, Suffolk County, Syracuse, Troy, Utica and Yonkers police departments. District attorneys’ offices, probation departments and sheriffs’ offices in the 17 counties, which report 87 percent of the violent crime outside of New York City, also receive funding through the initiative.

New York State created GIVE a year ago, revamping a decade-old program that provided funding to the same agencies and counties to foster the use of data analysis, intelligence and partnerships to fight crime. Under GIVE, participating agencies must build upon that framework and implement evidence-based strategies proven to reduce gun violence. Administered by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services, the initiative also provides agencies with extensive training from national experts to help them effectively implement those strategies.

Michael C. Green, executive deputy commissioner of the Division of Criminal Justice Services, said, “New York State stands alone in our commitment to funding evidence-based efforts to combat gun violence and our corresponding commitment to providing comprehensive, hands-on training from nationally recognized experts. Funding is critical, but it is equally important to provide agencies with information and resources so they can implement proven strategies as intended. We remain committed to working with our GIVE partners to help save lives and look forward to providing additional training as we move ahead with the second year of GIVE.”

This second round of funding, coupled with free and ongoing technical assistance, will allow agencies to further integrate the following strategies into their daily operations:

    · Hot-spots policing, which uses data such as incident reports, calls for service and other information about areas of persistent criminal activity, allowing agencies to focus their resources in areas where crime is more likely to occur in order to target, reduce and prevent it.· Focused deterrence, in which law enforcement identifies chronic offenders and targets them for enhanced attention, enforcement and prosecution. Also key to the approach is a partnership among law enforcement agencies, community groups and social services organizations, which join together to communicate directly with offenders, outlining clear consequences for continued criminal behavior.

    Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED), which identifies how buildings, vacant lots, traffic patterns and other environmental factors in a neighborhood may influence criminal activity; and

    Street outreach workers, who work in specific communities to interrupt cycles of violence or prevent retaliation. The strategy also includes case managers, whose role is to connect individuals involved in violence with resources to help them change their behavior.

The GIVE funding cycle begins July 1, 2015, and ends June 30, 2016, with agencies eligible for one, one-year extension. The grants fund personnel, such as prosecutors and crime analysts, as well as overtime and equipment.

In addition to monitoring crime trends and grant funding and evaluating agencies’ progress, the Division of Criminal Justice Services will continue its comprehensive technical assistance program, coordinating regional workshops and networking opportunities as well as county- and/or agency- specific training.

The following agencies will share a total of $13,330,467 to implement the following evidence-based strategies:

    Erie County: The Buffalo Police Department and District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Office, Probation Department and Central Police Services will share $1,750,734.

      · Hot-spots policing, focused deterrence and CPTED

    · Monroe County: The Rochester Police Department and District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Office and Probation Department will share $1,716,578.

      · Hot-spots policing, focused deterrence and CPTED

    · Westchester County: The Yonkers and Mount Vernon police departments and District Attorney’s Office, Department of Public Safety and Probation Department will share $1,253,049.

      · Hot-spots policing, focused deterrence, CPTED and street outreach workers

    · Onondaga County: The Syracuse Police Department and District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Office and Probation Department will share $1,150,520.

      · Hot-spots policing, focused deterrence and CPTED

    · Suffolk County: The Suffolk County Police Department and District Attorney’s Office, Probation Department and Crime Laboratory will share $1,068,093.

      · Hot-spots policing, focused deterrence, CPTED and street outreach workers

    · Nassau County: The Nassau County and Hempstead police departments and District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Office and Probation Department will share $1,026,707.

      · Hot-spots policing, focused deterrence, CPTED and street outreach workers

    · Schenectady County: The Schenectady Police Department and District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Office and Probation Department will share $818,654.

      · Hot-spots policing, focused deterrence, CPTED and street outreach workers

    · Albany County: The Albany Police Department and District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Office and Probation Department will share $801,213.

      · Hot-spots policing, focused deterrence, CPTED and street outreach workers

    · Orange County: The Newburgh (city) and Middletown police departments and District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Office and Probation Department will share $753,379.

      · Newburgh: hot-spots policing, focused deterrence and CPTED· Middletown: hot-spots policing and CPTED

    · Niagara County: The Niagara Falls Police Department and District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Office and Probation Department will share $696,367.

      · Hot-spots policing, focused deterrence and CPTED

    · Oneida County: The Utica Police Department and District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Office and Probation Department will share $591,598.

      · Hot-spots policing, focused deterrence and CPTED

    · Rensselaer County: The Troy Police Department and District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Office and Probation Department will share $559,750.

      · Hot-spots policing, focused deterrence and street outreach workers

    · Broome County: The Binghamton Police Department and District Attorney’s Office and Sheriff’s Office will share $393,944.

      · Hot-spots policing, focused deterrence and CPTED

    · Dutchess County: The Poughkeepsie (city) Police Department and District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Office and Probation Department will share $341,211.

      · Hot-spots policing, focused deterrence and CPTED

The following agencies will focus on reducing aggravated assaults, as those incidents drive violent crime in these communities. Kingston and Jamestown police also will focus on targeting domestic violence, as those incidents contribute to the aggravated assaults reported in those cities.

    Ulster County: The Kingston Police Department and District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Office and Probation Department will share $179,175.

      · Hot-spots policing and CPTED

    · Chautauqua County: The Jamestown Police Department and District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Office and Probation Department will share $152,495.

      · Hot-spots policing, focused deterrence and CPTED

    · Rockland County: The Spring Valley Police Department and the Sheriff’s Office and Intelligence Center and Probation Department will share $77,000.

      · Hot-spots policing and focused deterrence

The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services
( is a multi-function criminal justice support agency with a variety of responsibilities, including law enforcement training; collection and analysis of statewide crime data; maintenance of criminal history information and fingerprint files; administrative oversight of the states DNA databank, in partnership with the New York State Police; funding and oversight of probation and community correction programs; administration of federal and state criminal justice funds; support of criminal justice-related agencies across the state; and administration of the state’s Sex Offender Registry.

Washington Journal: Pending Supreme Court Cases


Kimberly Robinson, Bloomberg BNA Supreme Court reporter, talked about pending Supreme Court rulings on issues including same-sex marriage, health care subsidies, threats made on social media, and lethal injection drugs.

Source: C-Span

Egypt Seeks Allies Among Libya’s Tribal Leaders

Hundreds of Libyan tribal leaders have begun a four day conference in Cairo at the invitation of the Egyptian government to seek ways of preventing Islamist violence from spilling over their shared border.

Source: Euronews

Burundi Protests Resume After Murdered Opposition Leader’s Funeral

Source: Euronews

Thomas Sankara Remains: Burkina Faso Begins Exhumation

The exhumation of what are believed to be the remains of Burkina Faso's former President Thomas Sankara has begun.

Once exhumed they can be formally identified - a long-standing demand of Mr Sankara's family and supporters.

Seen as Africa's Che Guevara, the anti-imperialist revolutionary was hastily buried with 12 others in a 1987 coup.

Permission for an exhumation was denied during the rule of his successor, Blaise Compaore, who left office last October amid street protests.

Source: BBC Africa

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