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Daily Archives: August 10, 2014

Gangs raking in thousands from the rising tide of wildlife crime – Guardian

Tracy McVeigh: “Poaching, poisoning and the theft of animals may sound like activities from Britain’s past, but modern gangs are muscling in on the act. A new report claims the scale of the problem is being hidden and that gangs are making large sums of money from illegal activities such as hare-coursing, raking in up to £10,000 a month in one case, while poaching of fish and deer is common and as likely to happen in urban parks as in the countryside. In the report published this week – the first such work to look at the broad range of wildlife crime in the UK – the charity World Animal Protection (WAP) says it presents a worrying picture of how the problem is affecting not only the individual animals and fish but also our biodiversity. The fact that statistics on wildlife crime, from badger-baiting to disruption of habitats, are not being collated by police forces is a major stumbling block to tackling the crimes, says the charity. While people will pay high prices for creatures and wildlife products smuggled in from abroad – powdered rhino horn is worth more than cocaine or gold at £40,000 a kilo – a large live carp can fetch £12,000 for a poacher and a deer £200, and the government is being urged to get its own house in order and look after British wildlife. Alyx Elliott, campaigns manager at WAP (formerly the World Society for the Protection of Animals), said polling by the charity on public awareness of the issue had been startling. “It really brought to life for us how low awareness is in the UK; 86% of the public didn’t know that the police had wildlife crime officers. If they don’t know that – if they don’t know that this is a crime – then the big worry is that they won’t be reporting it.” Currently, police forces are not required to keep separate statistics on such incidents. The poisoning of animals such as foxes and rabbits or birds of prey is also a public health issue, with substances potentially lethal to humans being used. “There is a big question about carbofuran [a pesticide which has been linked to poisonings], which is turning up in a few cases. This is a deadly substance banned right across Europe that can kill a human being, let alone a dog or other animal which happens to come across it,” Elliott said. “There are questions to be asked about where this is coming from. Is it imported illegally or are there stockpiles?” The charity is calling for a more consistent approach to wildlife crime across the UK and for tougher sanctions. While most police forces have a wildlife crime officer, often it is someone who does most of that work in his or her spare time. “A significant percentage of police intelligence reports relate to poaching of UK species – which includes hare-coursing, fish and deer poaching. All of these result in terrible suffering for the animals, as well as often being linked to other criminality, such as antisocial behaviour and organised crime,” said Elliott.”

Visualizing language usage in New York Times news coverage throughout its history

Chronicle – Tracking New York Times Language Usage Over Time, Alexis Lloyd:  “News publishing is an inherently ephemeral act. A big story will consume public attention for a day, or a month or a year only to fade from memory as quickly as it erupted. But news coverage, aggregated over time, can provide a fascinating “firstContinue Reading

A Real Fix for Credit Ratings – Brookings

Ann Rutledge and Robert E. Litan: “The failure of credit ratings agencies to do their job – warn investors of the true risks entailed by the subprime mortgage securities they rated – was at the heart of the financial crisis. Policy makers since have wrestled with how to “fix” the ratings process going forward. Although the SecuritiesContinue Reading

Fiscal Policy to Address Energy’s Environmental Impacts – IMF

IMF Survey Magazine: “Fiscal policies should be center stage in getting energy prices to reflect the harmful and environmental side effects associated with energy use, according to a new report released by the IMF. Energy prices in many countries are wrong because they are set at levels that do not reflect environmental damage, notably climate change,Continue Reading

Administrative Justice, Better Decisions, and Organisational Learning

Thomas, Robert, Administrative Justice, Better Decisions, and Organisational Learning (August 8, 2014). Public Law, 2015, Forthcoming. Available for download at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2477969 “Every year, government takes millions of decisions on matters such as individuals’ entitlement to social security, their immigration status, and tax liability. There are significant and pervasive concerns about the quality of these decisions.Continue Reading

Deconstructing and Reconstructing Rights for Immigrant Children

Corcoran, Erin B., Deconstructing and Reconstructing Rights for Immigrant Children (August 8, 2014). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2477955 “Children rights advocates and scholars alike continue to call for the development of innovative and alternative rights models, which specifically provide for an expansive conceptualization of children’s rights. Central to their calls for reform is a simultaneous recognition thatContinue Reading

Failing Expectations: Fourth Amendment Doctrine in the Era of Total Surveillance

Sylvain, Olivier, Failing Expectations: Fourth Amendment Doctrine in the Era of Total Surveillance (July 28, 2014). 49 Wake Forest Law Review 485. Available for download at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2473101 “Today’s reasonable expectation test and the third-party doctrine have little to nothing to offer by way of privacy protection if users today are at least conflicted about whetherContinue Reading

Uniform Fiduciary Access To Digital Assets Act – Draft

National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, June 14, 2014 [snipped from Draft]: “The purpose of this act is to vest fiduciaries with the authority to access, control, or copy digital assets and accounts. It is important to understand that the goal of the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (UFADAA) is to removeContinue Reading