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China’s Dirty Pollution Secret: The Boom Poisoned Its Soil and Crops

He Guangwei is a staff writer and investigative reporter with The Times Weekly, a national Chinese newspaper based in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province. Via Yale environment 360: “There are now signs that gravity of the soil pollution problem is belatedly forcing the Chinese government to begin to deal with a problem that has accumulated over many decades, and to reconsider its policy of pursuing economic growth at the expense of the environment. In July 2007, the Ministry of Land and the National Bureau of Statistics launched a nationwide soil survey. It was completed in 2009, but partial results were not published until December 2013. In April 2014, the government released partial results of a second soil pollution survey, conducted from April 2005 to December 2013, and covering 243 square miles of farmland. The survey reported that about 16.1 percent of China’s soil and about 19.4 percent of farmland were contaminated. [A recent survey reported that 19 percent of China’s farmland was contaminated.]

The Declining U.S. Reliance on Foreign Investors

Federal Reserve Bank of New York: Thomas Klitgaard and Preston Mui, August 20, 2014 “The United States has been borrowing from the rest of the world since the mid-1980s. From 2000 to 2008, this borrowing averaged over $600 billion per year, which translates into U.S. spending exceeding income by almost 5.0 percent of GDP. Borrowing fell during theContinue Reading

Preliminary Draft of Proposed Amendments Federal Rules of Appellate, Bankruptcy, Civil, and Criminal Procedure

“On August 15, 2014, the public comment period opens for proposed amendments to: Appellate Rules 4, 5, 21, 25, 26, 27, 28.1, 29, 32, 35, and 40, and Forms 1, 5, 6, and New Form 7; Bankruptcy Rules 1010, 1011, 2002, 3002, 3002.1, 3007, 3012, 3015, 4003, 5009, 7001, 9006, and 9009, and New RuleContinue Reading

Criminal Justice Act: At 50 Years, a Landmark in the Right to Counsel

US Courts news release: “August 20, 1964—the President signed into law the Criminal Justice Act (CJA), which for the first time assured professional legal counsel in federal courts by paying an hourly fee for court appointed lawyers. Six years later, Congress established a full-time federal defender service within the judicial branch. Together, the measures created theContinue Reading

Parents Projected to Spend $245,340 to Raise a Child Born in 2013

News release: ‘Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its annual report, Expenditures on Children by Families, also known as the Cost of Raising a Child. The report shows that a middle-income family with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend about $245,340 ($304,480 adjusted for projected inflation*) for food, housing, childcare andContinue Reading

Delaware first state to legislate issue of digital assets of the deceased

FindLaw: “Delaware has moved into the digital rights vanguard by passing a law granting families the right to control a loved one’s digital assets after his or her death. According to Ars Technica, Delaware is the first U.S. state to accomplish this kind of legislation, although some states (like Idaho and Nevada) have more limited versions of digitalContinue Reading

DOT Launches Free, Online Search Tool for Recalls Using Vehicle Identification Number

“Every year, millions of vehicles are recalled in the United States due to safety defects or noncompliance with federal safety standards. To help car buyers, owners and renters know that their vehicles are safe and their safety defects have been address, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today unveiled aContinue Reading

Comparing Google Consumer Surveys to Existing Probability and Non-Probability Based Internet Surveys

“This study compares the responses of a probability based Internet panel, a non-probability based Internet panel and Google Consumer Surveys against several media consumption and health benchmarks. The Consumer Surveys results were found to be more accurate than both the probability and non-probability based Internet panels in three separate measures: average absolute error (distance fromContinue Reading

Newly Declassified Documents Regarding Now-Discontinued NSA Bulk Electronic Communications Metadata

ODNI: “Following a declassification review by the Executive Branch, the Department of Justice released on August 6, 2014, in redacted form, 38 documents relating to the now-discontinued NSA program [scroll down the page to locate the links] to collect bulk electronic communications metadata pursuant to Section 402 of the FISA (“PRTT provision”).  These documents are also responsiveContinue Reading

CRS – Telemarketing Regulation: National and State Do Not Call Registries

Telemarketing Regulation: National and State Do Not Call Registries. Kathleen Ann Ruane, Legislative Attorney. August 14, 2014 “Today, it is axiomatic that telemarketers in the United States generally are not permitted to place outgoing telemarketing calls to phone numbers on the national do not call list, unless an exception applies. This was not always the case, however. TheContinue Reading

RegData is an innovative new way of measuring the size and scope of US federal regulation

“RegData [beta], developed by Patrick A. McLaughlin, Omar Al-Ubaydli, and the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, improves dramatically on the existing methods used to quantify regulations. Previous efforts to assess the extent of regulation in the United States have used imprecise variables such as the number of pages published in the Federal Register orContinue Reading

Plan and protect your finances with a my Social Security account

CFPB – “Whether you’re one of the millions of workers who pay Social Security taxes or the 50 million retired Americans and dependents who receive benefits, it’s good to keep track of your Social Security benefits. National My Social Security Week takes place August 17 to 23 — the perfect time to take a step toward creatingContinue Reading