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Daily Archives: June 16, 2013

CRS – Syria’s Chemical Weapons: Issues for Congress

Syria’s Chemical Weapons: Issues for Congress, May 31, 2013: “The use or loss of control of chemical weapons stocks in Syria could have unpredictable consequences for the Syrian population and neighboring countries as well as U.S. allies and forces in the region. Congress may wish to assess the Administration’s plans to respond to possible scenarios involving the use, change of hands, or loss of control of Syrian chemical weapons. Syria has produced, stored, and weaponized chemical weapons, but it remains dependent on foreign suppliers for chemical precursors. The regime of President Bashar al Asad reportedly has stocks of nerve (sarin, VX) and blister (mustard gas) agents, possibly weaponized into bombs, shells, and missiles, and associated production facilities. Chemical weapons and their agents can deteriorate depending on age and quality. Little is known from open sources about the current size and condition of the stockpile. Syria continues to attempt to procure new supplies of chemical weapons precursors, which are dual-use, through front companies in third countries. Most countries that have had chemical weapons arsenals in the past have destroyed these weapons under the Chemical Weapons Convention, or are in the process of destroying them. The U.S. intelligence community cites Iran, North Korea, and Syria as having active chemical weapons programs.”

New on LLRX – On the Legal Importance of Viewing Genes as Code

Via – On the Legal Importance of Viewing Genes as Code – On June 13, 2013 the Supreme Court issued its opinion in the much–awaited Myriad case, which challenged the validity of patents on isolated human genes. The Court held that the isolated genetic sequences claimed in Myriad’s patents did not satisfy the inventive… Continue Reading

Army Releases Cybersecurity Handbook to Public

News release: “The Army published a new handbook this month to provide leaders of all levels with the information and tools needed to address today’s cybersecurity challenges, and to ensure organizations adopt the necessary practices to protect their information and the Army network. ..Currently, all Army commands are developing Information Assurance/Cybersecurity awareness training to address… Continue Reading

USDA – Farmers Markets Search

“The USDA National Farmers Market Directory, maintained by AMS Marketing Services, is designed to provide members of the public with convenient access to information about U.S. farmers market locations, directions, operating times, product offerings, and accepted forms of payment. Market information included in the Directory is voluntary and self-reported to AMS by market managers, representatives… Continue Reading

Bipartisan Group of Senators Introduce Bill to Declassify FISA Court Opinions

Follow up to previous postings – this June 11, 2013 news release: “Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), accompanied by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Dean Heller (R-NV), Mark Begich (D-AK), Al Franken (D-MN), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Ron Wyden (D-OR), introduced a bill that would put an end to the “secret law”… Continue Reading

Facebook Releases Data, Including All National Security Requests

Follow up to previous postings via Facebook Newsroom: “For the six months ending December 31, 2012, the total number of user-data requests Facebook received from any and all government entities in the U.S. (including local, state, and federal, and including criminal and national security-related requests) – was between 9,000 and 10,000. These requests run the… Continue Reading

CRS – Budget Issues Shaping a Farm Bill in 2013

Budget Issues Shaping a Farm Bill in 2013, Jim Monke – Specialist in Agricultural Policy. June 3, 2013:  “The desire by many to redesign farm policy and reallocate the remaining farm bill baseline—in asequestration and deficit reduction environment—is driving much of the farm bill debate this year. Several high-profile congressional and Administration proposals for deficit… Continue Reading