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Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction 26th Quarterly Report to Congress

Neil Gordon – Investigator, POGO: “This week, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) released its 26th Quarterly Report to Congress. The last quarter saw great accomplishments in Afghanistan, as well as a disturbing reminder of our government’s obsession with secrecy. The final three months of 2014 marked a milestone in Afghanistan, with NATO formally ending its 13-year combat mission. Combat forces were replaced by the Resolute Support Mission (RSM), a much smaller, U.S.-led NATO force that will train and advise the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), in which the U.S. has invested $65 billion. Congress has appropriated $107.5 billion for Afghanistan’s reconstruction since 2001, more than $15 billion of which has yet to be spent. The quarter also marked a more troubling milestone. For many years, SIGAR kept Congress and the public informed about our $65-billion investment in the ANSF by regularly reporting on the effectiveness of the Afghan military and police. That all changed this month when the RSM began to retroactively classify most ANSF data, including information about troop strength, salaries, training, equipment, and infrastructure projects. SIGAR will now publish this data in a classified appendix that only those with a high-level security clearance can read. RSM commander U.S. Army General John F. Campbell’s claim that releasing such information could endanger American and Afghan lives is ludicrous: this data, which is not considered a secret by the Afghans, has been included in every SIGAR quarterly report for the past six years. (We would be remiss if we didn’t point out the equally ludicrous practice by the Department of Defense Inspector General of keeping its assessments of the ANSF classified.)”

Public and Scientists’ Views on Science and Society

January 29, 2015 Public and Scientists’ Views on Science and Society By Cary Funk and Lee Rainie “Scientific innovations are deeply embedded in national life — in the economy, in core policy choices about how people care for themselves and use the resources around them, and in the topmost reaches of Americans’ imaginations. New PewContinue Reading

Privacy Board Renews Call for President Obama to End Bulk Collection

EPIC – “The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board released a report on prior recommendations regarding the NSA’s domestic and global surveillance programs. The Board stated that the Obama Administration has failed to end the domestic telephone collection program. The Board stated, “the Administration can end the bulk telephone records program at any time, withoutContinue Reading

Banking Business Models and the Extent of Financial Crisis

Hryckiewicz, Aneta and Kozlowski, Lukasz, Banking Business Models and the Extent of Financial Crisis (January 28, 2015). Available for download at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2557097 “This study applies the k-medoids methodology and identifies various banking business models according to asset combinations and funding sources. The study determines the effects of these models on bank risk-return profiles. WeContinue Reading

White House releases new flood risk management standard

FACT SHEET: Taking Action to Protect Communities and Reduce the Cost of Future Flood Disasters “Across the country, extreme weather and other impacts of climate change are threatening the health, safety, and prosperity of our communities. This month, NOAA and NASA announced that 2014 was the hottest global year on record.  And as the planetContinue Reading

Range of practice in regulation and supervision of institutions relevant to financial inclusion

“The fast pace of change in the financial inclusion landscape is presenting supervisors with new issues and challenges. Developments in digital financial inclusion, in particular, are posing new challenges for how authorities define their regulatory scope and allocate supervisory resources. This Basel Committee report reveals the extent to which supervisory and regulatory practices are evolvingContinue Reading

Interplay of accounting and regulation and its impact on bank behaviour: Literature review

Basel Committee on Banking Supervision Working Papers No 28 January 2015 “Regulatory and accounting rules are important determinants of bank behaviour; however, the interaction of the two is often not well understood and their intended outcomes do not always align. This Basel Committee working paper reviews academic literature on the interplay of accounting and regulatoryContinue Reading

Nomination of 10 Buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright to the World Heritage List

“Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today announced that the United States is nominating a group of 10 buildings in seven states designed by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright for inclusion on the World Heritage List, which recognizes the most significant cultural and natural sites on the planet. “Through its World Heritage Sites the UnitedContinue Reading

Hearing Before the Senate On Protecting America from Cyber Attacks: The Importance of Information Sharing

CDT – “Greg Nojeim’s testimony for the January 28th hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee on Protecting America from Cyber Attacks. He will explain how Congress can embrace cybersecurity information sharing policies with appropriate authorities and safeguards that enhance both privacy and security, first describing the cybersecurity threat then identifying different approachesContinue Reading

Never trust a corporation to do a library’s job

Andy Baio, The Medium:  “Two months ago, Larry Page said the company’s outgrown its 14-year-old mission statement. Its ambitions have grown, and its priorities have shifted. Google in 2015 is focused on the present and future. Its social and mobile efforts, experiments with robotics and artificial intelligence, self-driving vehicles and fiberoptics. As it turns out,Continue Reading

Do We Know Why Earnings Fall with Job Displacement?

By William J. Carrington (CBO) and Bruce C. Fallick (Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland). CBO Working Paper: 2015-01. “After being displaced from their jobs, workers experience reduced earnings for many years and are at greater risks of other problems as well. The ills suffered by displaced workers motivated several recent expansions of government programs, includingContinue Reading

Revised Pillar 3 disclosure requirements

“The revisions to the disclosure requirements address shortcomings in Pillar 3 of the Basel framework. The revised disclosure requirements will enable market participants to better compare banks’ disclosures of risk-weighted assets. They form part of the Committee’s broader agenda to reform regulatory standards for banks in response to the global financial crisis. The revisions notablyContinue Reading