Archive for April, 2010
New Government Report: Combating Gangs: Federal Agencies Have Implemented a Central American Gang Strategy, but Could Strengthen Oversight and Measurement of Efforts
Combating Gangs: Federal Agencies Have Implemented a Central American Gang Strategy, but Could Strengthen Oversight and Measurement of Efforts
by Eileen R. Larence (Paperback, 74 pages, 2010, $25)
Thousands of gang members in the U.S. belong to gangs such as MS-13 and 18th Street that are also active in Central American countries. Federal entities with responsibilities for addressing Central American gangs include the National Security Council (NSC); Depts. of Homeland Security (DHS), Justice (DOJ), and State; and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
This report reviewed federal efforts to combat transnational gangs. It addresses (1) the extent to which the federal government has developed a strategy to combat these gangs, and (2) how federal agencies have implemented the strategy and other programs to combat these gangs, coordinated their actions, and assessed their results.
The report examined federal agencies’ antigang plans, resources, and measures; interviewed federal, state, and local officials in seven localities representing varying population sizes and geographic regions; and interviewed U.S. and foreign officials in El Salvador and Guatemala where U.S. agencies have implemented antigang programs. The results of these interviews are not generalizable. Includes recommendations. Figures.
New Government Report: Firms Reported in Open Sources as Having Commercial Activity in Iran’s Oil, Gas, and Petrochemical Sectors
Firms Reported in Open Sources as Having Commercial Activity in Iran’s Oil, Gas, and Petrochemical Sectors
by Joseph A. Christoff (Paperback, 25 pages, 2010, $20)
Iran’s oil export revenues have accounted for more than 24% of Iran’s GDP and 50%-76% of the Iranian government’s revenues in recent years. Iran has the world’s third largest oil reserves and second largest gas reserves, and is the world’s fourth largest producer of crude oil.
IHS Global Insight reports that Iran’s priorities for the next five years are to (1) raise oil production and exports as much as possible, (2) increase natural gas production for domestic use, and (3) expand refining capacity if financially and technically possible.
Iran prohibits non-Iranian firms from obtaining an ownership interest by investing in oil and gas fields, but allows them to enter into “buy-back” arrangements in which the foreign firms may receive entitlements to oil or gas for a limited time in exchange for the funds they expend on the project.
U.S. law restricts U.S. firms from investing in Iran’s energy sector through a variety of sanctions administered by the Dept. of the Treasury to discourage Iran from supporting terrorism and developing nuclear weapons.
In addition, the Iran Sanctions Act, as amended, provides for sanctions against persons, including foreign firms, who invest more than $20 million in Iran’s energy sector in any 12-month period.
This correspondence (1) provides a list of foreign firms reported in open sources as engaging in commercial activity in Iran’s oil, gas, or petrochemical sectors from 2005 to 2009 and (2) provides information about these sectors. Tables.
New Government Report: Estimated Financial Effects of the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” as Passed by the U.S. Senate on December 24, 2009
Estimated Financial Effects of the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” as Passed by the U.S. Senate on December 24, 2009
by Richard S. Foster (Paperback, 37 pages, 2010, $20)
This memorandum summarizes the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid’s (CMS) Office of the Actuary’s estimates of the financial and coverage effects through FY 2019 of selected provisions of the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (PPACA) on December 24, 2009 (HR3590, as amended).
Included are the estimated net Federal expenditures in support of expanded health insurance coverage, the associated numbers of people by insured status, the changes in Medicare and Medicaid expenditures and revenues, and the overall impact on total national health expenditures. Charts and tables.
Mother’s Day Book Special: I’ve Always Meant to Tell You: Letters to Our Mothers: An Anthology of Contemporary Women Writers
Weekly Book Special: April 27th-May 3rd
Mother’s Day is fast approaching — May 2nd is a day to cherish time spent with your mother, grandmother or daughter. This week’s special is:
I’ve Always Meant to Tell You:
Letters to Our Mothers:
An Anthology of Contemporary Women Writers
Edited by Constance Warloe (Hardcover, 504 pages, 1997, $22.00)
In this collection of original letters, more than 75 daughters, including Joyce Carol Oates, Barbara Kingsolver, Ntozake Shange, and Hilma Wolitzer, speak to their mothers, both living and deceased, with messages that come straight from the heart.
These are novelists, poets, essayists, humorists, cartoonists and journalists of different ages and cultures. Together they share thoughtful, provocative, funny, and sometimes painful revelations — memories, confessions, poems, fables and tales — at once personal and universal. Illustrations.
Our favorite letter is from Barbara Kingslover to her mother (click to enlarge):
Library Journal “highly recommends” this book for women’s studies, literature, and general collections. “The letters are addictive,” writes Kirkus Reviews. “Like listening to a top-40 station, you hang on to hear what’s next.”
New Government Report: Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)’s Office of Collections and Distribution and Fair Funds
Securities and Exchange Commission: Information on Fair Fund Collections and Distributions
by A. Nicole Clowers (Paperback, 34 pages, 2010, $20)
The Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) primary mission is to protect investors and maintain the integrity of securities markets.
As a part of its responsibility to protect investors, SEC seeks to ensure that individuals who violate federal securities laws and regulations take responsibility for their misdeeds. Specifically, when individuals or firms are found to have violated securities laws, SEC may order civil monetary penalties and seek ill-gotten financial gains, or disgorgement, from the violators.
For its enforcement actions to be successful, SEC must have a collection and distribution program for both civil monetary penalties and disgorgement that functions effectively. In 2002, Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which established numerous reforms to increase investor protection, including Section 308(a), the Federal Account for Investor Restitution provision, commonly known as the Fair Fund provision.
This provision allows SEC to combine civil monetary penalties and other donations to disgorgement funds for the benefit of investors who suffer losses resulting from fraud or other securities violations.
In 2007, SEC created the Office of Collections and Distribution (OCD) to manage the collection of penalties and disgorgement, including Fair Funds, and speed the process of returning funds back to harmed investors.
This report examines (1) the status of Fair Fund collections and distributions and (2) the actions that SEC has taken to address GAO’s previous recommendations regarding SEC’s OCD. Figures.