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Category Archives: Government Documents

USDA Announces Additional Efforts to Make School Environments Healthier

USDA news release: “Today, the Obama Administration is announcing four final rules that implement important provisions of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) building on the progress schools across the country have already made in the improved nutritional quality of meals served in schools. As a key component of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative to raise a healthier generation, the rules will ensure that children have access to healthy snacks and that nutrition standards for the foods marketed and served in schools are consistent. The rules will also promote integrity across the school meals programs…The Smart Snacks in School final rule aligns the nutritional quality of snacks sold to children during the school day with the science-based improvements made to school lunches and breakfasts over the last five years. These include using practical, science-based nutrition standards that ensure children are offered more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. States have the flexibility to allow limited exemptions to school-sponsored fundraisers during the school day. The Smart Snacks standards were implemented in the 2014 – 2015 school year in accordance with the interim final rule. This final rule makes modest improvements to those standards based on public comments and lessons learned from implementation. The Local School Wellness Policy final rule ensures that any food or beverage that is marketed on school campuses during the school day meets the Smart Snacks standards. According to a study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 70 percent of elementary and middle school students are exposed to some kind of food/beverage marketing through school. Many of the foods and beverages that are heavily marketed to children contribute to poor diet quality, high calorie intake, and excess weight gain. However, the majority of schools do not have policies restricting food and beverage marketing to children. This rule makes sure foods offered and marketed to students during the school day have consistent nutrition standards. The Local School Wellness Policy final rule also empowers communities to take an active role in the health of their children. It requires schools to engage parents, students and community members in the annual development and assessment of local school wellness policies. These policies guide a school district’s efforts to establish school environments that support healthy eating and physical activity. States and local communities will have flexibility in developing a policy that works best for them. Also posted today were the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) final rule and the Administrative Review final rule. Under HHFKA, CEP allows schools and local educational agencies with high poverty rates to provide free breakfast and lunch to all students to promote access to healthy food and reduce administrative burdens on schools and families. The final rule streamlines administrative processes, making it easier to participate in the meal programs. More than 18,000 schools in high poverty areas currently participate in CEP, which is now in its second year of nationwide implementation offering nutritious meals at no cost to 8.5 million students…”

Global watchdog report – anonymous company owners and government contracting

Via POGO:  “In a new report, London-based watchdog Global Witness sheds light on the dangers of anonymously-owned companies in government contracting. The recent Panama Papers scandal has raised concerns of how money stashed in anonymous shell companies is used to evade taxes and fund international crime. In a similar vein, a Global Witness report titled… Continue Reading

Oppressive summer heat grips large portions of U.S.

NOAA – High temperatures and extreme humidity will extend into week of July 25, 2016: “A widespread heatwave is parked over the central United States, causing heat index values to reach 110 degrees F, with some areas reaching 115 degrees by Sunday as the high pressure ridge spreads to the East. As of Friday, July… Continue Reading

2016 Climate Trends Continue to Break Records

Via NASA -“Two key climate change indicators — global surface temperatures and Arctic sea ice extent — have broken numerous records through the first half of 2016, according to NASA analyses of ground-based observations and satellite data. Each of the first six months of 2016 set a record as the warmest respective month globally in… Continue Reading

St. Louis Fed releases beta forecasting game

“The St. Louis Fed has developed a forecasting game to go with FRED, called FREDcast https://research.stlouisfed.org/useraccount/fredcast (still in beta).  There is a link to a training webinar:  https://www.stlouisfed.org/events/2016/09/ee-fredcast.” [via Katrina Stierholz, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis] Continue Reading

New Statistical Testing Spreadsheet Tool- American Community Survey

“The Statistical Testing Tool is a spreadsheet that tests whether American Community Survey (ACS) estimates are statistically different from one another. Simply copy or download ACS estimates and their margins of error (MOE) into the tool to get instant results of statistical tests. Tool Features: Compares up to 3,230 pairs of estimates at once Compares… Continue Reading

Criminal Prosecutions for Illegal Entry Up, Re-Entry Down

“The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during the first eight months of FY 2016 the government reported 25,680 new criminal prosecutions for illegal entry, and 20,628 new criminal prosecutions for illegal re-entry. If trends continue, illegal re-entry charges, which are a felony under Title 8 Section 1326 of the United States… Continue Reading

Annual Update for HIV/AIDS Surveillance Data Base in Its 30th Year

“This annual update of the interactive global resource on the prevalence of HIV infection and AIDS cases and deaths coincides with the 21st International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa. First developed in 1987, this marks 30 years of database releases. The HIV/AIDS Surveillance Data Base is a compilation of information from widely scattered small-scale… Continue Reading

GAO – DHS Management, Federal Travel, IRS 2017 Budget, Oil and Gas

DHS Management: Enhanced Oversight Could Better Ensure Programs Receiving Fees and Other Collections Use Funds Efficiently, GAO-16-443: Published: Jul 21, 2016. Publicly Released: Jul 21, 2016. Federal Travel: Opportunities Exist to Improve Data and Information Sharing, GAO-16-657: Published: Jul 21, 2016. Publicly Released: Jul 21, 2016. IRS 2017 Budget: IRS Could Improve Presentation of Budget… Continue Reading

EPA Research – Corrosion in Majority of Diesel Fuel Underground Storage Tank Systems Studied

News release: “In a report released today on corrosion inside diesel fuel underground storage tanks (USTs), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found moderate or severe corrosion that could affect metal components inside both steel and fiberglass underground tank systems. Corrosion inside USTs can cause equipment failure by preventing proper operation of release detection and… Continue Reading

McCaul – Warner Commission on Digital Security

“Chairman Michael McCaul and Senator Mark Warner introduced the Digital Security Commission Act on February, 29, 2016. The purpose of this Commission is to collectively address the larger issue of protecting national security and digital security, without letting encrypted communications become a safe haven for terrorists. This Commission brings together the most capable experts and stakeholders from… Continue Reading

WHO Report – Seven strategies for Ending Violence Against Children

World Health Organization (WHO) – “Globally, hundreds of millions of children — up to one billion — have experienced physical, sexual or psychological violence in the past year. INSPIRE: seven strategies for ending violence against children identifies a select group of strategies that have shown success in reducing violence against children. They are: implementation and… Continue Reading