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Daily Archives: January 11, 2016

CRS – Armed Conflict in Syria: Overview and U.S. Response

Armed Conflict in Syria: Overview and U.S. Response. Christopher M. Blanchard, Coordinator Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs; Carla E. Humud, Analyst in Middle Eastern and African Affairs; Mary Beth D. Nikitin, Specialist in Nonproliferation. October 9, 2015.
“The rise of the insurgent terrorist group known as the Islamic State (IS, aka the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or ISIL/ISIS) and Russia’s military intervention on behalf of the Syrian government have reshaped debates over U.S. policy toward the ongoing civil conflict in Syria, now in its fifth year. The Islamic State controls large areas of northeastern and central Syria, from which it continues to launch assaults on forces opposed to and aligned with the government of President Bashar al Asad. Meanwhile, fighting elsewhere pits government forces and their foreign allies against a range of anti-government insurgents, some of whom have received limited U.S. assistance. Russian military intervention in support of Asad poses a direct challenge to U.S. goals in Syria, and is raising new questions about the future of the conflict and U.S. strategy. Since March 2011, the conflict has driven more than 4.1 million Syrians into neighboring countries as refugees (out of a total population of more than 22 million). More than 7.5 million other Syrians are internally displaced and are among more than 12 million Syrians in need of humanitarian assistance. T he United States remains the largest bilateral provider of such assistance, with more than $4.5 billion in U.S. funding identified to date. The United States also has allocated more than $440 million to date for nonlethal assistance to select opposition groups, and President Obama requested $385 million in FY2015 and FY2016 Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding for such assistance. The $600 million FY2016 defense request for the Syria Train and Equip program may support a planned shift in the program toward equipping vetted units in Syria. The Administration also seeks more than $1.6 billion in Syria-related FY2016 humanitarian aid and refugee response funds…”

Federal Reserve Board announces Reserve Bank income, expense data and transfers to Treasury for 2015

“The Federal Reserve Board on Monday announced preliminary results indicating that the Reserve Banks provided for payments of approximately $97.7 billion of their estimated 2015 net income to the U.S. Treasury.  In addition, the Federal Reserve transferred to the Treasury $19.3 billion from Reserve Bank capital surplus on December 28, 2015, which was the amount… Continue Reading

SEC Issues Annual Staff Reports on Credit Rating Agencies

“The Securities and Exchange Commission issued its two annual staff reports [December 28, 2015] on credit rating agencies registered as nationally recognized statistical rating organizations (NRSROs).  The reports show that NRSROs have made operational improvements and have enhanced process accountability, controls and governance, and that smaller NRSROs have made competitive inroads in certain rating categories…The… Continue Reading

Gender Differences in Recognition for Group Work

Sarsons H. Gender Differences in Recognition for Group Work. Harvard University. Working Paper. December 3, 2015. “Within academia, men are tenured at higher rates than women are in most quantitative fields, including economics. Researchers have attempted to identify the source of this disparity but find that nearly 30% of the gap remains unexplained even after… Continue Reading

FTC Report Provides Recommendations to Business on Growing Use of Big Data

“A new report from the Federal Trade Commission outlines a number of questions for businesses to consider to help ensure that their use of big data analytics, while producing many benefits for consumers, avoids outcomes that may be exclusionary or discriminatory. “Big data’s role is growing in nearly every area of business, affecting millions of… Continue Reading

Trends in College Pricing

“Trends in College Pricing 2015 provides information on changes over time in undergraduate tuition and fees, room and board, and other estimated expenses related to attending colleges and universities. The report, which includes data through 2015-16 from the College Board’s Annual Survey of Colleges, reveals the wide variation in prices charged by institutions of different… Continue Reading

The rise and proliferation of political science blogging in America

How the Monkey Cage Went Ape by Alexander C. Kafka January 10, 2016 – The Chronicle of Higher Education “”The rise of political-science public engagement has been so massive and rapid that it is paradoxically easy to miss,” writes Marc Lynch, a Middle East specialist at George Washington University and a regular blogger for the… Continue Reading

Consumers Expect Lower Household Income, Earnings and Spending Growth

NY Fed – “The December 2015 Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE) results indicate that median expected growth in household income, earnings and especially household spending all declined. Labor market expectations are mixed compared to last month: Perceived layoff risk declined, but the perceived likelihood of finding a new job (if one were to lose their… Continue Reading

Census Bureau Releases New Tool for Regional Business and Demographic Research

‘A new Web application, Census Business Builder: Regional Analyst Edition now available in beta, allows users to easily explore data from Census Bureau economic programs and the American Community Survey for a user-defined economic region built from one or more counties. This second edition of Census Business Builder follows the successful launch of Census Business… Continue Reading

GAO Reports – Firearms Trafficking, Health Care Workforce, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, U.S. Coins

Firearms Trafficking: U.S. Efforts to Combat Firearms Trafficking to Mexico Have Improved, but Some Collaboration Challenges Remain, GAO-16-223: Published: Jan 11, 2016. Publicly Released: Jan 11, 2016. Health Care Workforce: Comprehensive Planning by HHS Needed to Meet National Needs, GAO-16-17: Published: Dec 11, 2015. Publicly Released: Jan 11, 2016. Overseas Private Investment Corporation: Additional Actions… Continue Reading