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Category Archives: Education

Engel, Smith Offer Bill to Improve Culture Preservation, Curb ISIL Funding

“Representative Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), the leading Democrat on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ), chair of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations today announced that they have introduced legislation to improve American efforts to preserve cultural property around the world and cut off one source of funding to ISIL.  The Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act (H.R. 5703) would take steps to coordinate efforts across government to preserve cultural artifacts where they may be threatened by conflict, instability, or natural disaster.

“Whether art or architecture or archived materials, cultural property plays a vital role in the heritage of peoples all around the world.  When these materials are lost because of war or natural disasters, they can never be replaced and parts of those cultures are lost forever,” said Rep. Engel.  “Since World War II, the United States has been a leader in protecting cultural property. Today, ISIL and other terrorist organizations have found a lucrative source of revenue in artifacts they traffic out of areas of conflict. America must respond by denying terrorists and criminals the ability to profit from instability by looting the world of its greatest treasures.”

Representative Smith underscored that too many times in world history aggressors have tried to erase the memory and identity of oppressed peoples.

“Our global cultural patrimony has all too often been targeted by extremists who want to wipe out the collective memories of ethnic and religious minorities from lands they seek to control and conquer,” said Rep. Smith. “Just this past July, ISIL destroyed the Tomb of Jonah in Iraq, which was a living link to the biblical prophet Jonah, on the site of the ancient Assyrian capital of Nineveh. The fight to preserve our common cultural heritage, as well as to deny extremists such as ISIL resources from the sale of blood antiquities, is yet another front on the global war against terror.”

The Engel-Smith legislation would create a White House Coordinator for International Cultural Property Protection to coordinate and promote efforts by multiple federal agencies, including diplomatic activities, military activities, law enforcement activities, and the work of the Cultural Antiquities Task Force.  It would also impose import restrictions on cultural property unlawfully removed from Syria, protecting the property at risk of loss or destruction at the hands of ISIS/ISIL and other international criminal and terrorist organizations. The U.S. Armed Forces have long played important roles in protecting cultural property, including through Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFAA) teams, known in the past as the “Monuments Men,” who were the subject of a recent film. The U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield supports implementation of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. Cultural property has recently been lost in Egypt due to political instability, in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein, in Syria during the civil war, in Iraq and Syria due to ISIS/ISIL, in Mali and Afghanistan from radical Islamist activity, in Haiti from the 2010 earthquake, and as a result of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.”

Tuition and Fees, 1998-99 Through 2014-15

Chronicle of Higher Education: “This table shows the “sticker prices”—published tuition and required fees—at more than 3,100 colleges and universities for the 2014-15 academic year. Click the institutions’ names to see historical data back to 1998. Related Article: “Forget the Rise in Tuition and Fees, What About Living Expenses?”

The Employment Status and Occupations of Gulf War-Era Veterans

“A new report, “The Employment Status and Occupations of Gulf War-Era Veterans,” looks at those Gulf War veterans who began service on or after August 1990, the official start of the first Gulf War. It differentiates between “Gulf War I” veterans — those who served only during the August 1990 to August 2001 period —Continue Reading

Employment-Based Retirement Plan Participation

Employment-Based Retirement Plan Participation: Geographic Differences and Trends, 2013. October 2014 . Issue Brief #405 Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2014 “The percentage of workers participating in an employment-based retirement plan rose in 2013, increasing for the first time since 2010 among all workers and private-sector workers. The retirement plan participation level depends on the type of worker beingContinue Reading

U.S. Chamber Foundation Report Focuses on Benefits of Data-Driven Innovation

“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation…released a report which, through the insights of several notable industry experts, offers a look at current data-related issues and innovations and the ways in which they will shape the future of data-driven innovation and the economy. The report, The Future of Data-Driven Innovation, includes contributions from some of the topContinue Reading

Oxfam’s new report on global inequalty

“From Ghana to Germany, South Africa to Spain, the gap between rich and poor is rapidly increasing, and economic inequality has reached extreme levels. In South Africa, inequality is greater today than at the end of Apartheid.The consequences are corrosive for everyone. Extreme inequality corrupts politics, hinders economic growth and stifles social mobility. It fuels crimeContinue Reading

Tools You Can Use: Personal Finance

White House: “Here to help you make smart personal financial decisions and protect your hard-earned income. Including: College Scorecard; Savings Planner; Sales Tax Deduction Calculator; Free File; College Budget Calculator; Mortgage Payment Reduction Estimator; Finding a Housing Counselor; Student Loan Repayment Calculator.

Why Libraries [Still] Matter

Why Libraries [Still] Matter – Jonathan Zittrain…”To this day, the Harvard Law School Library, which I direct, claims distinction as the largest academic law library in the world. Volume of volumes was never the whole story, though. Libraries have, over time, inhabited the roles not only of guardians of knowledge, but of curators, and not merely forContinue Reading

Labor Department’s Office Web portal on accessible workplace technology

“The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy today announced the launch of — a comprehensive Web portal spearheaded by ODEP’s Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology. From educational articles to interactive tools, the website’s content aims to help employers and the technology industry adopt accessible technology as part of everyday business practiceContinue Reading

Tuition costs of colleges and universities

National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Fast Facts: “What are the trends in the cost of college education? Response: For the 2011–12 academic year, annual current dollar prices for undergraduate tuition, room, and board were estimated to be $14,300 at public institutions, $37,800 at private nonprofit institutions, and $23,300 at private for-profit institutions. Between 2001–02 and 2011–12, pricesContinue Reading

Struggling private student loan borrowers are still searching for help

CFPB: “In the years leading up to the financial crisis, many of the same subprime lending practices that led to troubles in the mortgage market also existed in the private student loan market. Like the homeowners who turned to their mortgage servicer to modify their loans but ran into customer service dead ends, lost paperworkContinue Reading

Preparing Our Communities for Climate Impacts: Recommendations for Federal Action

“The Georgetown Climate Center released 100 recommendations … to improve federal programs that could be used to prepare for climate change. The new report will inform the White House State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. The report, Preparing Our Communities for Climate Impacts: Recommendations for Federal Action, draws from a seriesContinue Reading