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Daily Archives: May 13, 2014

CRS – Ukraine: Current Issues and U.S. Policy

Ukraine: Current Issues and U.S. Policy, Steven Woehrel, Specialist in European Affairs. May 8, 2014

“After a failed effort to violently disperse pro-European Union protests, the government of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych collapsed on February 21, 2014. The Ukrainian parliament approved a new pro-reform, pro-Western government on February 27. New presidential elections arescheduled for May 25. Russia has condemned the new government in Kyiv as illegitimate and responded by sending troops to seize Ukraine’s Crimea region. Ignoring international condemnation, Russian annexed Crimea on March 18. In April and May 2014, armed men seized government buildings in several cities in eastern Ukraine, mainly in the Donbas region. U.S. and Ukrainian officials charge that Russian intelligence officers in Ukraine are coordinating the unrest. U.S. officials have expressed concern that Russia’s efforts to destabilize eastern Ukraine may be the prelude to an invasion by an estimated 40,000 Russian troops on Ukraine’s borders. Ukraine’s new government faces serious economic problems. Ukraine has long-standing problems in attracting foreign investment, in part due to rampant corruption and other shortcomings in the rule of law. In the near term, the government’s dwindling foreign exchange reserves raised the prospect of a default on sovereign debt later this year. The United States is working with the EU, the IMF, and other international financial organizations to support a new Ukrainian government committed to reforms. In May 2014, the Ukrainian government received the first installment of a $17 billion IMF loan. The European Union has unveiled an 11.175 billion Euro (about $15.5 billion) aid package for Ukraine. The EU has also imposed sanctions on 48 persons from Ukraine and Russia held responsible for undermining Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Machines vs. Machines: High Frequency Trading and Hard Information

Huh, Yesol, Machines vs. Machines: High Frequency Trading and Hard Information (March 4, 2014). FEDS Working Paper No. 2014-33. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2436048 “In today’s markets where high frequency traders (HFTs) both provide and take liquidity, what influences HFTs’ liquidity provision? I argue that information asymmetry induced by liquidity-taking HFTs’ use of machine-readable information is important.Continue Reading

Social Safety Nets Expand but Can Do Better at Reaching the Poorest

“Social safety net programs have grown exponentially around the world in recent years, but more than two-thirds of the world’s 1.2 billion poorest people –those living on less than US$1.25 per day—are still not covered, says a new World Bank report. According to The State of Social Safety Nets 2014, more than 1 billion people in 146Continue Reading

Household Debt Grows for the Third Consecutive Quarter

“The New York Fed released its Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit for the first quarter of 2014, which shows a $129 billion increase in overall household debt from the previous period. Delinquency rates continued to improve, with the overall ninety-plus day delinquency rate falling to 4.8 percent, the lowest it has been since mid-2008. The FederalContinue Reading

EPIC Obtains Letter Concerning DOJ Non-Investigation of Google Street View

“Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, EPIC has obtained the closing letter from the Department of Justice to Google attorneys in the Street View matter. The letter briefly mentions Google’s interception and collection of private Wi-Fi communications across the United States over several years. The disclosure of the activity occurred after a European data protection authority discovered thatContinue Reading

Arizona Driving Changes in Criminal Immigration Re-entry Prosecutions

“The latest available data from the Justice Department covering the first six months of FY 2014 indicate that substantial changes are occurring in the criminal enforcement of the immigration laws, particularly among those districts along the border with Mexico. Overall, the new data document a drop in the number of criminal prosecutions for illegal entryContinue Reading

At the Nexus of Cybersecurity and Public Policy

“We depend on information and information technology (IT) to make many of our day-to-day tasks easier and more convenient. Computers play key roles in transportation, health care, banking, and energy. Businesses use IT for payroll and accounting, inventory and sales, and research and development. Modern military forces use weapons that are increasingly coordinated through computer-basedContinue Reading

EU Court of Justice – Google Must Remove Links Upon Request

Court of Justice of the European Union, News Release No 70/14 Luxembourg, 13 May 2014. Judgment in Case C-131/12 Google Spain SL, Google Inc. v Agencia Española de Protección de Datos, Mario Costeja González. “An internet search engine operator is responsible for the processing that it carries out of personal data which appear on web pagesContinue Reading

The exit from non-conventional monetary policy: what challenges?

Working Papers No 448 May 2014. The exit from non-conventional monetary policy: what challenges? by Philip Turner “Monetary policies pursued in response to the financial crisis have shown that changes in central bank balance sheets have major macroeconomic consequences. The New Classical Macroeconomics, which gained increasing sway from the late-1980s, had led to an exclusive focus on the policyContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – DOD Financial Management, VA Education Benefits

DOD FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT: Actions Under Way Need to Be Successfully Completed to Address Long-standing Funds Control Weaknesses, GAO-14-94: Published: Apr 29, 2014. Publicly Released: May 13, 2014. DOD FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT: Effect of Continuing Weaknesses on Management and Operations and Status of Key Challenges, GAO-14-576T: Published: May 13, 2014. Publicly Released: May 13, 2014. VA EDUCATION BENEFITS: VA Should Strengthen Its Efforts toContinue Reading