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Distrito Federal 21830, México
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          Histotechnician I - CBLPath, Inc. - Rye Brook, NY   
Compliance with all Federal and State regulations pertaining to histology. Assist supervisor with day to day administration of Histology Laboratory....
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          Re: Reforms Cut Average Patent Opposition Delays by Two Years, But They Still Take Too Long    

Hi Fran,

Thank you for your comment. I really appreciate the willingness of IP Australia to engage with these articles!

I understand your desire to be consultative and cooperative with the parties in setting a hearing date, but I honestly wonder if you are not too lenient in this? Non-availability of attorneys, counsel and experts is no longer a basis for an extension of time to file evidence - even though it is quite likely that at least one of the many people who may be involved may have leave planned, or some other commitments, during any given three-month period. However, when it comes to setting a hearing date, my experience has been that the parties can effectively set the timetable to suit themselves and the Office will be at pains to accommodate. If Federal Court judges showed a similar level of flexibility in setting dates, I suspect that most patent cases would never get to trial!

In my opinion, the balance is currently not quite right. In many cases, the availability of an additional month to prepare evidence, with a bit more leniency with regard to the causes of delay, could reduce time-pressure on attorneys and experts in particular, and result in better quality outcomes. Average evidence periods could still be kept to around 300 days.

On the other hand, preparation for a hearing is generally a 'last minute' activity, in view of the need to have everything freshly in-mind, and is mostly undertaken within the month prior to the hearing date. There should be no reason, in most cases, for an extended delay once the evidence is complete. If the Office were to move immediately to set a date, it is hard to see why the goal should not be for a hearing to take place within three months, with a decision issued within six months of the close of evidence.

If resourcing is an issue, then I am pleased to know that this is something you are actively working on.


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          Background Investigator - KeyPoint Government Solutions - College Park, MD   
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          Reading the Office of Legal Counsel on Emoluments: Do Super-Rich Presidents Get a Pass?    


I wrote last November that the Foreign Emoluments Clause “is on its face a national security provision designed to the protect the country from officers too enmeshed with foreign interests.” If the Justice Department’s recent court filing is to be believed, that protection is exceedingly limited. This new position marks a decisive break from the more conscientious approach long espoused by both the Comptroller General and the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC).

At the heart of the emoluments controversy is President Trump’s refusal to liquidate his business holdings. He has instead maintained ownership of the Trump Organization, a multibillion-dollar umbrella company with thousands of domestic and international investments, and placed the assets in a revocable trust managed by his sons Donald Trump, Jr. and Eric Trump. Trump now faces three lawsuits alleging that he is profiting from his business empire in violation of the Constitution. Three days after his inauguration, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a government accountability watchdog group, filed the first suit in the Southern District of New York. This month, two more complaints were filed by the attorneys general of Washington D.C. and Maryland and 196 congressional Democrats, in federal district courts in Maryland and the District of Columbia, respectively.

All three suits center on the meaning and scope of the Foreign Emoluments Clause, which provides that “no person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept any present, Emolument, Office or Title of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign state” (U.S. Const. art. I, § 9, cl. 8). Citing Trump's business dealings with state governments and federal agencies, such as its lease on the Old Post Office Building that now houses the Trump International Hotel, two of the suits also allege violations of the Domestic Emoluments Clause. This provision applies specifically to the president and provides that he shall receive “for his Services” a fixed compensation during his tenure and not “any other Emolument from the United States, or any of [the states]” (U.S. Const. art. II, § 1, cl. 7).

Serious procedural challenges like standing notwithstanding, given the House and Senate’s failure to address head-on the risks posed by Trump’s financial conflicts pose, the lawsuits could prove important in forcing a much-needed conversation: Is Trump taking in profits in violation of the Constitution? And just as critically, are future presidents entitled to pull a Trump—or does the Constitution dictate that they, like Jimmy Carter, must sell their family peanut farms as a condition of taking office?

No Article III court has ever rendered an opinion on how either Emoluments Clause should be interpreted, though the Supreme Court has offered interpretations of the term “emoluments” as it appears in Foreign Emoluments Clause-related statutes periodically enacted by Congress since 1881. Because of the limited judicial precedent, the internal memoranda from the Comptroller General and the Office of Legal Counsel that have been made public over the years are among the most important sources of guidance we have on emoluments issues. And though these memoranda do not directly address the question posed by the Trump business empire, making some amount of inference and legwork necessary, in critical respects they quite clearly contradict the sweeping defense that the Justice Department put forward this month in its 70-page motion to dismiss the CREW case against Trump.

The key issue in these suits—once you get behind a set of justiciability questions that may prove dispositive—is what constitutes an emolument (though with respect to the Foreign Emoluments Clause there’s also some disagreement about what kind of entity constitutes a “foreign state”). In plain English, we are looking at an exotic presidential twist on the biggest and oldest challenge to enforcing any anticorruption law: What counts? Do the forbidden “emoluments” cover only goodie boxes, blatant quid pro quo arrangements, and employment-related compensation? Or are the profits that Trump enjoys by way of his business transactions also prohibited when they come from foreign states and domestic government entities? And if the latter, more expansive definition is the appropriate one, are the profits prohibited only when the take is in excess of  “fair-market-value”—and if so, does that definition serve as a meaningful limitation when at issue are luxury goods whose value or sales may be inflated by the fact that Trump is president and the products are prominently branded with his name?

Predictably, the dispute has taken the form of a battle for the original meaning of “emoluments.” An array of historical materials support both a limited and broad definition. The two possible interpretations are well summed up by the Oxford English Dictionary, which provides two definitions dating back to the Founding: “1. Profit or gain arising from station, office, or employment . . . . 2. Advantage, benefit, comfort.”

The Justice Department, like Trump’s lawyers at Morgan Lewis, latches onto the first definition  to argue that “the Emoluments Clauses apply only to the receipt of compensation for personal services and to the receipt of honors and gifts based on official position.” That is, President Trump is precluded only from receiving benefits in exchange for services provided to a foreign state in his official capacity as president, or—and this is crucial, given the subject matter of the OLC opinions—services provided “in a capacity akin to an employee of a foreign state.”

The plaintiffs in the three suits, on the other hand, argue for the much more expansive definition. Marshaling its own set of historical evidence, CREW asserts that emoluments are "anything of value, including money, permits, approvals, tax benefits, any other benefits, and anything else monetary or nonmonetary, regardless of whether it is given in exchange for goods or services, and regardless of whether it is part of a transaction at, above, or below market rates."

A close examination of the relevant Comptroller and OLC opinions reveals that the current Justice Department is reading the Emoluments Clauses too narrowly, while CREW and the other plaintiffs are reading them too broadly. None of the opinions approves the receipt of benefits that can even arguably be attributed to the prestige or influence conferred by an office, and together they do not support the Justice Department’s claim that presidents may, as a categorical matter, collect profits from business transactions with foreign entities and domestic government entities as long as fair value is extracted on both sides. But notwithstanding the plaintiffs’ hard pull in the other direction, the opinions also suggest that presidents may in limited cases accept certain fixed benefits—as I will explain, these might be pensions from the U.S. state that used to employ them or money damages from a foreign country against which, in a past life, they successfully won a judgment. The key is that those benefits cannot be subject to foreign or domestic government manipulation or adjustment in connection with the presidential office.

This happens to be a sensible position that accords with what the opinions repeatedly underscore as the purpose of the Emoluments Clauses and the ultimate touchstone for interpreting their meaning: “to prevent corruption and foreign influence” and to bar “payments which have a potential of influencing or corrupting the integrity of the recipient.”


Why Language About Emoluments Is Easily Misused

A threshold issue before turning to the OLC literature is the confusion created by cherry-picking historical materials without consideration of their factual context. For example, in its motion to dismiss, the Justice Department followed the lead of some scholars in pulling some Supreme Court language that suggests the term “emoluments” applies only to salary and other duty-related benefits. Most notably, in Hoyt v. United States, 51 U.S. 109 (1850), the Court defines emoluments as “every species of compensation or pecuniary profit derived for a discharge of the duties of office” (emphasis added).

But in Hoyt, the Supreme Court was specifically asked to decide what constitutes an “emolument of office” per a statute governing Treasury Department collectors in their official capacity; the case did not require the Court to consider or rule on the existence of emoluments of other kinds. This is a key point for purposes of properly construing any Comptroller or OLC opinion that cites Hoyt and regurgitates its definition of “emoluments.” These opinions, like Hoyt, have to be read with an eye to their facts: they do not assert that “emoluments” must derive directly from discharge of duty; rather, the kind of emoluments at issue in those opinions was the kind derived for discharge of duty. As a consequence, the reliance on Hoyt in these opinions does not serve as evidence of a limiting principle for emoluments in general.

In short, as pointed out by the plaintiffs and by assorted scholars, the proper question for purposes of discerning the historical scope of “emoluments” is not whether the term could be interpreted in a restricted way, to refer only to benefits derived from discharging the duties of an office, but whether it was necessarily so interpreted at the time the Emoluments Clauses were drafted. As John Mikhail has painstakingly documented, the answer is no—and we don’t have to look at secondary sources, however authoritative (e.g., Black’s Dictionary) to draw that conclusion. Consider, for example, some of the constitutions ratified during the first of two major waves of state constitution-making in the Founding decade. Several included “common benefits clauses” that used the word “emoluments” in a way that simply defies narrow interpretation. The Pennsylvania Constitution (1776) provides: “That government is, or ought to be, instituted for the common benefit, protection and security of the people, nation or community; and not for the particular emolument of advantage of any single man, family or sett [sic] of men, who are a part only of that community[.]” Very similar language appears in the Virginia (1776), Vermont (1777), and New Hampshire (1784) constitutions. Far more elaborate historical arguments demonstrating the broad uses of the term have been presented elsewhere: see here, here and here. The bottom line is that there is an abundance of primary Founding-era material making use of the broad definition of emoluments, so it is wrong to use language from fact-bound case law to assert that the term is an inherently limited one.


The Plaintiffs Define “Emoluments” Too Broadly

Does that mean, as plaintiffs assert, that all types of benefits conferred on the president by foreign countries and U.S. states are prohibited emoluments? According to the Comptroller and OLC opinions, clearly not.

A number of opinions explain that officers do not need to forego fixed benefits to which they are entitled for reasons manifestly unrelated to and uninfluenced by their office. This is a common-sense interpretation of the Clauses that avoids rigidity for rigidity’s sake, where denial of benefits would do nothing to serve the Clauses’ anti-corruption, anti-influence purpose.

For instance, the Comptroller and the OLC each independently concluded that President Ronald Reagan could collect ordinary retirement benefits from California, where he had served as the state governor, without violating the Domestic Emoluments Clause’s prohibition against the receipt of “emoluments” from a State. In its 1983 opinion, the Comptroller determined that President Reagan’s pension from California “cannot be construed as being in any manner received in consequence of his possession of the Presidency.” Coming to the same conclusion in its earlier 1981 opinion, the OLC also noted that “those [retirement] benefits are not emoluments in the constitutional sense” and their receipt does not “violate the spirit of the Constitution.” To support its reasoning, the OLC in turn relied on a 1964 opinion (not published) where it similarly decided the estate of President Kennedy was entitled to the naval retirement pay that had accrued during his presidency. Interpreting the Foreign Emoluments Clause “in the light of its basic purposes and principles,” it concluded he could receive payments to which he was entitled as a matter of law “prior to his taking office.”

The same principles support allowing officers to collect on certain kinds of money judgments, even from foreign powers. In a 1955 opinion, the Comptroller decided that an attorney in the Justice Department could receive a lump sum payment and lifetime annuity from the German government for his wrongful removal from the judgeship he held before he emigrated to the United States, as provided by German indemnification legislation. The Comptroller reasoned that those payments did not constitute emoluments from his former office, but rather “represent damages payable as a direct result of a moral and legal wrong.” Turning to its “spirit of the Constitution” analysis, the Comptroller had no trouble determining the payments were not problematic: they were “obviously . . . not intended to influence him as an officer of the United States,” were made under laws not specific to him, and were not payments voluntarily made by the German government but rather mandatory indemnification required by the Allied powers. In a 1954 opinion on the same matter, the OLC came to a slightly different place—the payments were not permitted to the extent they amounted to German retiree benefits—but like the Comptroller, it found that damages intended to redress injury were not prohibited emoluments.

Note what these opinions have in common: they generally allow the officer in question to collect payments or benefits that, patently, have nothing to do with and cannot possibly have been affected by his U.S. office. That 1983 Comptroller opinion put it best, and contains a line worth repeating: President Reagan was entitled to his pension because it “c[ouldn’t] be construed as being in any manner received in consequence of his possession of the Presidency.”

Applying this general rule, it makes sense that presidents are permitted to invest in U.S. Treasury bonds; and the rule also explains why wealth management solutions like blind trusts have long been accepted as workable resolutions to problems of conflict of interest. But it certainly doesn’t provide clearance for all profits derived from discretionary, “fair-market-value” transactions where the president is obviously and individually on one end of the sale.


The Justice Department Defines “Emoluments” Too Narrowly

A key move in the Justice Department’s brief is to rely heavily on a point of dubious significance: it asserts that “in every published OLC or Comptroller General opinion in which proposed conduct was determined to involve prohibited emoluments, the determination involved an employment relationship (or a relationship akin to an employment relationship) with the foreign government.”

If you think about it, there’s at least one common-sense explanation for the limited precedent: In general, the government employees on whose behalf these opinions were sought probably didn’t own hotel chains, lucrative licensing agreements, or hundreds of trademarks from which they derived significant foreign-based or domestic government-based income. Their thing of value, as civil servants, was their skill set, and thus the relevant question was whether they were constitutionally permitted to lend out that skill set to foreign governments or organizations with foreign state ties for payment.

A 1986 OLC opinion written by then-Deputy Assistant Attorney General Samuel Alito cuts against the assertion that whether the profit in question is derived from employment or personal services should be, by itself, dispositive. There, Alito determined that a NASA employee could indeed accept a fee for reviewing a PhD candidate's thesis for an Australian university. To get to this conclusion, Alito made two significant moves. First, uncertain as to whether a public university should be regarded a "foreign state," Alito instead decided to turn to the features of the proposed consultancy and consider whether they "raise[d] the kind of concern . . . that motivated" the prohibition’s enactment. This marks a functional, purpose-driven approach to the question of permissible benefits. Second, he suggested the following facts weigh against finding the fee a prohibited emolument: (1) the NASA scientist was not selected because of his position with the U.S. government, (2) the fee was an ordinary amount given the service to be rendered, (3) there was no reason for the officer to have "direct contact" with the university officials, and (4) the consultancy was "limited both in time and in substantive scope," and no "continuing relationship" was anticipated.

Note that the fact the scientist would be acting in an employment or personal services capacity did not automatically render the payment an emolument. This is the key takeaway from this opinion, and it is at odds with the Justice Department’s claim that employment is the make-or-break issue when it comes to determining whether a benefit or payment is an emolument. Second, consider the implications of the first and fourth points Alito highlighted. The scientist’s selection for the job and associated payment had nothing to do with his U.S. office, which is not a conclusion that can be readily drawn about the services purchased by foreign and state government employees newly flocking to Trump International Hotel. It may suggest the permissibility of accepting profits from truly routine transactions by truly routine hotel customers, including some government diplomats—but this possibility is undercut by Alito’s reference to the extremely limited nature of the permitted relationship and transaction in question.

The Justice Department is understandably leaning hard on the idea that an emolument must be received specifically as a function of office or employment. After all, without this very specific qualification, its argument for the permissibility of accepting profits from ordinary transactions falls apart. Two OLC opinions make this clear.

A 1982 OLC opinion determined that the Foreign Emoluments Clause barred an employee of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission from working on his leave time for an American firm contracted by a Mexican government agency to review the design of a government-owned nuclear power plant. And a 1993 OLC opinion concluded that law firm partners serving as non-government advisors on the Administrative Conference of the United States could not accept partnership earnings “where some portion of that share is derived from the partnership’s representation of a foreign government” without triggering the constitutional prohibition. In the 1993 opinion, the OLC actually dismissed the argument that the conference member was not subject to the foreign government's “control” as “not decisive.” Instead, the OLC concluded that the portion of partnership profits the conference member would receive "would be a function of the amount paid to the firm by the foreign government," such that "the partnership would in effect be a conduit for that government." Acceptance of that portion of income was therefore a prohibited emolument (OLC reconsidered this opinion in 2010, but only with respect to whether the members held an “Office of . . . Trust” for purposes of the Foreign Emoluments Clause).

In these opinions, the OLC simply did not care that there was nothing out of the ordinary about the payments in these cases from a transactional or fair-market perspective. This runs contrary to the crux of the Justice Department’s argument for the innocuousness of Trump’s business-related foreign and domestic government income.

The textual kicker in all this is that even accepting the Justice Department’s insistence that “emolument” is best read to mean “profit arising from an office or employ” (Barclay’s A Complete and Universal English Dictionary on a New Plan (1774)), it doesn’t follow that all ordinary business transactions are okay: What if those transactions are, in number or value, enhanced by the prestige of the president’s office? Couldn’t the profit thereby derived then constitute “profit arising from an office or employ”? [Update, 5:17 pm: This is a line of argument that Marty Lederman compellingly and more thoroughly details here.]

It is to prevent this reading that the Justice Department argues that prohibited benefits must arise not just from the office but from the provision of services pursuant to that office. But this argument relies on a stunted conception of the power that an "Office of Profit or Trust" confers. To lift an example wholesale from Ben Wittes: If Trump owned a nondescript hotdog truck outside the White House that charged the same price for hotdogs as any other foodtruck and sold them to some incidental foreign customers, that would not be problematic under this definition of emoluments. If the truck were Trump-branded and either charged inflated prices or enjoyed inflated sales because Trump is president, and Saudi potentates lined up to put cash in his register, that would seem to constitute impermissible “profit arising from an office,” as a textual matter and in view of the historic Comptroller and OLC perspective.

At base, this is what plaintiffs are claiming—that the profits Trump is enjoying “aris[es] from” his office—so “aris[e] from” may be a definitional phrase the Justice Department is interpreting too narrowly. Trump’s status as the most powerful man in the world affects his business transactions, which are self-branded to boot. Not only is he enjoying booming business at his exclusive properties, in part thanks to foreign guests reportedly seeking to get in the president’s good graces, but he has also won Chinese trademark protection that, according to plaintiffs, he would not have received had he not become president.

Finally, on a practical note, notice the perverse upshot of the Justice Department’s fixation on employment and personal services as the place where the river divides. This assertion that payment for goods and business-related services is permissible but payment for employment and “personal services” is not means that a president can’t profit off his brain or body when it comes to cash from foreign sources or U.S. government entities, but can, without limitation, profit off the brains and bodies of those he can afford to employ in his private capacity. It’s what you might call a constitutional free pass for super-rich presidents.

The Comptroller and OLC opinions do not support such a result. They repudiate it.


Ultimately, the Justice Department’s view of emoluments marks a departure from the public Comptroller and OLC opinions in at least two critical respects. First, the new position is a clear abrogation of the practical “spirit of the Constitution” analysis on which the Comptroller and OLC have consistently relied to ensure a stringent rather than forgiving interpretation of what constitutes an impermissible benefit or undue influence (see, e.g., 1955 Comptroller Opinion, 1981 OLC Opinion, 1983 Comptroller Opinion; see also OLC 1962, noting “the sweeping nature of the constitutional prohibition”; OLC 1980, citing 1902 Attorney General Opinion stating the Foreign Emoluments Clause is “directed against every kind of influence by foreign governments upon officers of the United States” and the “prohibition should be given the broadest possible scope and application”). Second, the Justice Department’s quite specific argument that the president can profit from employing people to do business with foreign countries and government entities in the United States amounts to a strange carve-out, one that allows extremely wealthy officers with people in their employ to cash out as they wish on the advantages that the prestige of their office confers, without any consideration whatsoever of the sources of that cash. This interpretation is flatly at odds with executive branch tradition: I have yet to see a single opinion that has permitted an officer to collect profits even arguably enhanced by the power of his office, much less categorically benefit from discretionary, price-indeterminant transactions that foreign governments and U.S. government entities may enter into at will.

Note the issues I did not address here. What is not (yet) a point of debate in these particular lawsuits is whether these constitutional provisions apply to the president at all. The Domestic Emoluments Clause applies to the president by its express terms, and in its recent motion, the Justice Department doesn’t dispute CREW's claim, or the OLC’s preexisting determination, that the more obliquely phrased Foreign Emoluments Clause applies to the president as well (and notwithstanding the occasional argument to the contrary).

In addition, as the suits proceed in federal court, we can expect much of the legal discussion to focus on jurisdictional hurdles. There’s a strong argument that the courts don’t have a role to play, and that presidential corruption rising to the level of an emoluments violation is a political question whose resolution properly lies with Congress. Though the congressional suit spearheaded by Senator Richard Blumenthal and Representative John Conyers, Jr. alleges that Trump has failed to come to Congress for requisite permission in accepting foreign emoluments, Congress’s best recourse be impeachment proceedings. (Or if it so chose, Congress could avail itself of a lot of options short of impeachment, but in the words of Charles Black, Jr., circa 1974, “what an enormous if.” Recall that the House of Representatives has the power to demand Trump’s tax returns but has not exercised it.)

But as for the substantive question of whether the Comptroller and OLC of yore would have signed off on the Justice Department’s blessing of all monies flowing in by way of business transactions, the answer is “no.”

          Re: A plan for retirement withdrawal--opinions, please   
jimb_fromATL wrote:
whyme wrote:

Does this seem a sensible plan?

I kind of doubt it, but we'd need to know a lot more more about the taxes to be sure.

What are your top tax brackets for federal (and state) while you're working?
Does your state have an income tax, or do they give any exemptions or breaks on retirement income?

Thanks for the reply. What about the plan seems off?

My portfolio will be divided between trad IRA, Roth IRA (smaller) and taxable accounts. I understand that tax planning is crucial, but I was hoping to get opinions on the variable withdrawal/income smoothing idea without getting into the weeds on taxes. (I am in a high-tax state, California.)

Assuming that, in my scenario above, $70,000 in before-tax income would meet my basic needs, do you see a problem with this plan?
          Document Specialist - ASRC Federal - Moorestown, NJ   
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          Configuration Management Specialist - ASRC Federal - Moorestown, NJ   
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          Configuration Management Sr - ASRC Federal - Moorestown, NJ   
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          Software Developer I - Federal Home Loan Bank of NY - Jersey City, NJ   
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          What Time Of Day Is Best To Take L-carnetine   
"They make magic with the money ..."

I found the following comment, signed Corto , in an article Francis Velen (Blog from the rostrum of Geneva), about the volatile situation in Libya:

What Europeans do not see is that what happens in the 'nations' Arab is one thousandth of what the West will will take on the donut!

The Arab world and the West are just two sides of the same coin, you do not see that one side, some produce and other cars, they have oil!

You do not see that at the time the two would finally agree with a U.S. president pro-Arab, or rather pro-Iranian, is busting his nose while on the asphalt still warm in history.

You are all blind and you will see that this is just the beginning and it is not always the one who put the first goal wins the match. Frankly blindness among Arab and Western cowardice is white-hat-white hat and that he will happen if the Arabs come in a huge and incomprehensible civil war, millions of refugees in a Europe brink of bankruptcy. Here is the menu of this new century, a huge confusion in which, not only policies have no solution but did not see it coming so they anchored in corruption. Reread the comments Corto 2 years and you'll see that everything is there!

Personally when I see the UN, the European military powers did not intervene in Libya, so that everything passes was more than likely, I is not nothing wrong with Arab, on the contrary, they had the courage to confront their kleptomaniac monsters, bloodthirsty soulless and supported by the Swiss banks, but I see the sky of the Mediterranean does not planes Italian, French (Land of Human Rights) Domestic ( for once they have been used), or any civilized nation known as the Libyan civilians are being slaughtered, I even shame not to be an Arab!

Is Israel going to do the job? Ban ki Moon has 10,000 soldiers in an attempt to declare a civil war in Côte d'Ivoire, can not, this dog, sending its planes to Libya to calm things down?

We are in Geneva, a city where all the money from Qaddafi sleeps badly bloodied and where the UN welcomes daily catering trucks from Richmond, and nobody has exploded this puppet theater on a budget of tens of billion per year!

This world is screwed up, they screwed up is because you're not even fucking show your frustration on the net! it is fucked because tonight there is not much fats 10'000 Geneva outside the gates of the UN that trap these pests from reality!

A Federal Councillor who wore the headscarf of shame and not even his friend Gaddafi condemned the massacres of civilians, while she wept for not seeing the funds placed Gaddafi in Geneva migrate other paradise!

He would do what the Libyans are in Geneva and all the dictatorships in the world are buried! All the dirty money that junk sleep in Geneva!

Another little surprise, a film sponsored by Polanski on Switzerland, 23 minutes of normal madness! Here, the cultural genius is not subsidized.

A month ago wikileaks should publish documents involving Swiss banks in the dirty business, no one knows why nothing came officially break the web, but copies exist! Revenge is a dish best eaten warm.

Friends Libyan, Egyptian and Tunisian peoples all future free from the grip of dirty money and looted, remember the pressure on the Swiss political, they make magic with the money, they transform the billions millions when it comes to make the people!

Example; marcos would leave 70 million in Swiss banks, the reality was quite different, marcos left several billion! but they are gone as soon as they were to return to the Filipino people!



          How Long Is Lauren Londons Weave   
16-John Manuel Traimond the Guest of December 23, 2010

JM Traimond
This guest on Thursday December 23, 2010, Jean Manuel Traimond. He had already come on RL in our show, a few years ago, to discuss his book entitled "Treasure of wickedness. "Anthology of humor to the use of anarchists.
As there are only a few hours before Christmas, we hope to receive from him a new gift. Hopefully it considers that we have put into practice his treatise useful humor to Anar. In case of disappointment, does he not leave with our new date?

This curious traveler (it seems that according to him, the anarchists are champions of curiosity ... still a compliment ...), would the United Arab Emirates with a lot of "Suras"! We do not know what it is, but surely it's worth its weight in oil.

And we'll ask him about his plans, his informative walks on "Water Thieves," the crimes of capitalism whose victims have only increased in number since the "untouchables" Japan, Pakistanis in Dubai and many more.

During his travels and translations of "anarchists", he met a character who died in February 2010, a writer, English architect, editor of "Anarchy", Colin Ward. And new access to "curiosity" is going to lend an ear if John Manuel willing to talk about that English anarchist who had devised a new form of rudder for a mutual company, federalist-based anarchist organization in which units organizing are small, temporary and limited powers, free and voluntary action. And he described, very in tune with the new technologies of networks, the organization of "cyber-anarchy", as opposed to capitalism, "mechanical" and disposer of the individual.
Colin Ward

And John Traimond manual, a book mentions of Colin Ward in which the "anarchism is compared to the seeds under the snow." The snow is here, in December, up to us to grow this "seed" of Anarchy.

So, dear listeners Chronicle Weekly ... Listen ...

          Federal government releases long-awaited recovery plan for endangered Mexican wolf   
U.S. wildlife officials have finally drafted a recovery plan for endangered wolves that once roamed parts of the Southwest and northern Mexico.

          The State of American Federalism 2016–2017: Policy Reversals and Partisan Perspectives on Intergovernmental Relations   
Unified Republican Party control of the federal government after the 2016 election brought a reversal of several Obama administration policies, especially those adopted via executive and administrative action in areas such as immigration, energy, the environment, and LGBT rights. The 2016 election also prompted a reversal of partisan perspectives with respect to federal-state relations, as Republicans in Washington moved to preempt state discretion in various areas, whereas Democrats in state capitols challenged the legality of presidential actions and resisted federal efforts to constrain state and local discretion. In this essay, we discuss these themes through an analysis of developments in 2016 and early 2017 regarding health care, immigration, education, marijuana, and energy and environmental policy. We also consider key U.S. Supreme Court decisions affecting the contours of state policymaking.

          Subsidiarity: More than a Principle of Decentralization—a View from Local Government   
A common interpretation of the principle of subsidiarity in the federalism literature is that decentralized government, which is closer to the people, is better able to respond to the preferences of its citizens. However, when the principle is denuded of its moral foundations in this fashion it not only fails to provide the grounding for achieving human dignity and the common good, but may also become the harbinger of fiscal crises and social dysfunction. We provide a more comprehensive account of the principle of subsidiarity and contrast this with various conceptions prominently presented in the federalism literature. We then explore how this more comprehensive view of subsidiarity would look in practice. In short, we argue that mere decentralization of government fails to capture the ontology and desirable outcomes of the principle of subsidiarity.
          Member Service Representative/Teller - HFS Federal Credit Union - Kailua-Kona, HI   
Branch is located in the heart of Kailua Kona. Member Service Representative/Teller*....
From Indeed - Sat, 01 Jul 2017 02:13:01 GMT - View all Kailua-Kona, HI jobs
          Juiz acata denúncia contra Henrique, Cunha e mais quatro   
O Juiz Federal Francisco Eduardo Guimarães Farias, titular da 14ª Vara Federal no Rio Grande do Norte, nessa sexta-feira (30/06/2017), recebeu integralmente a denúncia protocolada pelo Ministério Público Federal (MPF) contra Eduardo Cosentino da Cunha (PMDB-RJ), Henrique Eduardo Lyra Alves (PMDB), José Adelmário Pinheiro Filho, Fernando Luiz Ayres da Cunha Santos Reis, Carlos Frederico Queiroz Batista da [...]
          Em Brasília, Ricardo Teobaldo tem encontro com Antônio Campos, Álvaro Dias e Renata Abreu   

O deputado Ricardo Teobaldo (Podemos) esteve reunido ontem (30), em Brasília, com o senador Álvaro Dias, a deputada federal, e presidente nacional do Podemos, Renata Abreu e o advogado e ex-candidato a prefeito de Olinda, Antônio Campos. Durante o encontro foram discutidos os detalhes da filiação de Campos, que acontece neste sábado em Brasília durante o lançamento nacional do partido. Na ocasião também será realizada a filiação dos senadores Álvaro Dias e Romário. O Podemos, que sucede o Partido Trabalhista Nacional (PTN), teve a troca de estatuto e de nome homologada pelo Tribunal Superior Eleitoral (TSE) no dia 16 de maio.
“A chegada de Antônio marca o novo momento para o Podemos. Estamos ampliando o partido no estado com a chegada de novos prefeitos, vereadores e lideranças, a exemplo de Antônio. Tudo isso concatenado com a nova cara do partido”, frisou o deputado federal, e presidente do Podemos em Pernambuco, Ricardo Teobaldo.
Outro ponto destacado por Teobaldo foi o novo momento para a legenda. “O Podemos surge num momento de grande dificuldade política onde é fundamental aproximar o estado, o poder público, das pessoas. Hoje, diante da crise de representatividade que assola o país, o Podemos surge com um DNA de coletividade, transparência, participação e democracia”, destacou Teobaldo.
O lançamento do Podemos acontece hoje (1), no Centro de Convenções Ulysses Guimarães, em Brasília. O Podemos, que sucede o Partido Trabalhista Nacional (PTN), teve a troca de estatuto e de nome homologada pelo Tribunal Superior Eleitoral (TSE) no dia 16 de maio.

Fonte Blog Ponto de Vista

          Despite Decades-Old Law, Funeral Prices Are Still Unclear   
This story is part two of a two-part investigation. Read part one here . Shortly after Ed Howard's father was diagnosed with an advanced form of cancer and given six months to live, Howard and his sister Kathy Howard-Almagor sat down and talked about what to do. One worry was their dad's funeral arrangements. They decided Kathy would call around to some funeral homes to figure out how much their father's arrangements would cost. "I'd say, about three weeks later over the weekend I got a call from her nearly in tears," Howard recalls. "And she said that she had spent pretty much all day on the phone and on the Internet, simply trying to price funeral services, and she couldn't do it. She actually just couldn't get a straight answer about what products and services were being offered and how much they cost." That's not supposed to happen. A federal regulation called the Funeral Rule is supposed to protect consumers who have lost loved ones. Among other things, it requires funeral
          University Would Study Health Issues In Polluted New York Town   
Residents of an upstate New York town who've long associated their illnesses with the air they breathe may finally get some answers about the health effects of living next to a toxic polluter. The town of Tonawanda lies in the shadow of Tonawanda Coke Corp., whose ovens heat coal into material used for the iron and steel industries, and release toxic chemicals into the air. The residents' long fight to definitively link the pollution with their illnesses, and to hold Tonawanda Coke accountable, were profiled in NPR's 2011 investigation "Poisoned Places." The University at Buffalo said Monday that it's planning an $11 million study on the health of the town's residents. After convicting Tonawanda Coke of violating environmental laws, a federal court ordered the company to fund the study as part of a criminal sentence. But the work remains on hold pending the company's appeal of its 2013 conviction and sentence. Shortly after Tonawanda Coke and its environmental manager, Mark L. Kamholz,
          Banks Come Under Fire For Filling In The Payday Loan Gap   
A payday loan is a costly form of credit operating on the fringes of the economy. That's why the target of a new crackdown by federal regulators may surprise you: Instead of a forlorn-looking storefront with a garish neon sign, it's your familiar neighborhood bank. A small but growing number of banks, including some major players, have been offering the equivalent of payday loans, calling them "deposit advances." That is, at least, until bank regulators stepped in Nov. 21 and put new restrictions on the loans. "Many of these loans are taken on a nearly continuous basis," Consumer Financial Protection Bureau representative David Silberman told a Senate panel in July. He and other regulators worry that deposit advances can lead consumers into a cycle of debt. "For far too many consumers, payday and deposit advance loans are traps," Silberman said. "Returning every two weeks to re-borrow the same dollar amounts at a high cost becomes a drag on the financial well-being of consumers already
          New Accessible Playground Rules May Not Go Far Enough   
Last year, the federal government made accessibility standards at playgrounds mandatory under the Americans with Disabilities Act so that children with disabilities can more easily play alongside typical kids. But whether children with disabilities are able to enjoy their new civil rights to play may depend on where they live, and the design decisions their cities and towns made when they built local playgrounds. For 3-year-old Emmanuel Soto, who has spina bifida and uses a wheelchair, the local playground's design doesn't work. On a recent afternoon, his parents, Teresa and Juan Soto, walk with Emmanuel to a play area near their home in Richmond, Calif. As they arrive, the boy is excited to get there. But the wheelchair he uses gets stuck on the playground's floor. The surface is made of a type of loose wood fill that is in compliance with the new laws. Emmanuel, however, really can't move. So, his father lifts him out of his wheelchair and places him on a slide. It's a scene the
          For Kids With Special Needs, More Places To Play   
Remember running around the playground when you were a kid? Maybe hanging from the monkey bars or seeing who could swing the highest? It wasn't just a mindless energy burn. Many have called play the work of childhood. Play teaches children how to make friends, make rules and navigate relationships. But for kids whose disabilities keep them from using playgrounds, those opportunities can be lost. New federal requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act are changing the landscape for public playgrounds, requiring them to include equipment, materials and designs that provide children with disabilities the same play opportunities as typical children. But as NPR sought to explore the effects of the new rules, it found that parents and advocates are making the real difference — not the federal government. The higher cost of "inclusive" playgrounds means many local governments can't afford them. And in places that do offer the kind of shared playing experience contemplated by the
          White House Kills Dollar Coin Program   
The federal government will stop minting unwanted $1 coins, the White House said Tuesday. The move will save an estimated $50 million a year. Earlier this year, we reported on the mountain of $1 coins sitting unused in government vaults. The pile-up — an estimated 1.4 billion coins — was caused by a 2005 law that ordered the minting of coins honoring each U.S. president. We calculated that the unwanted coins had cost taxpayers some $300 million dollars to make. There were so many coins piling up that the Federal Reserve was redesigning a vault in Texas to help hold them all. We got to see a vault in Baltimore. It was the size of a soccer field, filled with bags of dollar coins. You can see the presidents' faces on the coins. Andrew Jackson, John Adams, James Buchanan. The mint is only about half way through the presidents. And the pile of coins has been growing. The mint makes enough of each new coin to meet initial demand. But about 40% of those coins get returned to the Fed, where
          Autoridad sanitaria decomisa 71 mil piezas de suplemento alimenticio QUIXOM   
En su portal electrónico, la Comisión Federal para la Protección contra Riesgos Sanitarios (Cofepris) emitió una alerta sanitaria para informar que dicho producto que se comercializa en diversas farmacias dentro del territorio nacional ostentándose como un suplemento alimenticio con intención ilegal de uso curativo, no tiene registro sanitario.
          24 demócratas les votaron a favor de leyes antiinmigrantes en EEUU   
Esta semana la Cámara de Representantes aprobó dos medidas antiinmigrantes: una de ellas elimina fondos federales para las llamadas ciudades santuario y la otra criminaliza a la comunidad inmigrante. Estas leyes fueron propuestas por la bancada republicana en el Congreso, pero esta vez, por desgracia, recibieron el apoyo de ciertos demócratas, quienes en cada elección pretenden ser el partido que mejor representa a la comunidad latina. Las leyes, No Santuario para Criminales y la Ley de Kate ...
          Advierten nueva línea dura contra inmigrantes en EEUU   
La presentación masiva de 20 indocumentados la mañana del jueves en una cárcel de Las Cruces pone en evidencia una nueva directiva de la Casa Blanca que se ejecuta desde mayo, informó una funcionaria. “Hasta hace un mes no se estaba arrestando a la gente sólo por entrar de forma ilegal a los Estados Unidos, pero con la nueva directiva de Washington se está arrestando a todas las personas que llegaron ilegalmente y se están llevando a la Corte federal. Esa es la nueva política en el Distrito de ...
          Governador anuncia reforma e ampliação de escola na comunidade Maisa, em Mossoró   
A ação beneficiará cerca de 1500 alunos (Foto: Caio Vale/Mossoró Notícias)

Há quarenta anos responsável pela educação de crianças e jovens da Maisa, em Mossoró, a Escola Estadual Gilberto Rola passará por importante obra de reforma e ampliação estimada em R$ 3,6 milhões. A ação beneficiará cerca de 1500 alunos que são atendidos atualmente pela unidade instalada na maior comunidade rural do estado.

“Nós entendemos a importância que a Educação tem em mudar vidas, e não hesitamos em investir no desenvolvimento do povo potiguar” destacou Robinson, que comemorou a união de esforços entre as gestões municipais, estadual e o legislativo. “A palavra mais bonita da política hoje é parceria. O povo quer saber de trabalho, das ações que estamos realizando”, assinalou.

A agente comunitária da Saúde, Edilza Silva, 44 anos, conhece bem o poder transformador da educação. Filha de agricultores, estudou desde a pré-escola na Gilberto Rola, de onde saiu para cursar Pedagogia na Universidade Estadual do Rio Grande do Norte. Ela comemorou a reforma, que acontecerá com recursos oriundos do Programa Governo Cidadão, por meio de empréstimo com o Banco Mundial.

“Esta escola é muito importante para toda a região. Ela atende não só a comunidade Maisa, mas também sete agrovilas da região. Daqui, como eu, já saíram pedagogos, técnicos agrícolas, e pessoas de várias outras formações que têm todo interesse em continuar atuando na própria comunidade. Estou muito feliz”.

A Maisa tem cerca de 15 mil habitantes e uma vida econômica praticamente independente, a partir da alta produção de frutos. A prefeita de Mossoró, Rosalba Ciarlini, parabenizou ao governador pela altivez. “Tem coisa mais importante para a comunidade que uma escola para atender as crianças e oferecer novas perspectivas? Este é o resultado de um intenso trabalho, trabalho de mãos dadas, sozinhos não conseguiríamos”.

“Só através da educação é que se consegue mudar a própria vida. Podem contar conosco. Seguiremos essa caminhada de mãos dadas”, afirmou a deputada estadual Larissa Rosado. Ainda estavam presentes, o deputado federal Betinho Rosado, a presidente da Câmara Legislativa de Mossoró, Isabel Montenegro, além de todos os vereadores de Mossoró, secretários de Estado e representantes das associações de agricultores.


No mesmo encontro, foram conversadas outras demandas com os representantes da região, referentes à segurança, saúde e recursos hídricos. Na ocasião, Robinson anunciou a construção de um reservatório de água, que garantirá o abastecimento frequente de água na comunidade.


O governador ainda foi homenageado pelo apoio à primeira Feira Cultural do Campo, que vai acontecer no próximo fim de semana na comunidade Maisa. Além dos produtos da agricultura, serão comercializado artigos de artesanato.

“Está feira tem o apoio do nosso governo, através da Sethas”,lembrou Robinson, que em seguida falou do trabalho da gestão estadual para fortalecer o artesanato no Rio Grande do Norte. “Com a Lei do Artesanato, ficou definido que ao menos 60% de todos os produtos comercializados em pontos de venda têm que ser feitos no estado”, explicou
          Exclusive– Seniors Group Files FCC Complaint Against Very Fake News CNN   

The Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC), the leading conservative seniors' organization in the country, filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Thursday over CNN's reporting on Russian hacking.
          ‘Sanctuary City’ San Francisco Pays Illegal Alien $190k for Reporting Him to ICE   
Protesters sit in the international terminal at San Francisco International Airport in California on January 29, 2017
San Francisco has agreed to a $190,000 payout in a lawsuit brought by an illegal alien alleging they violated their own “sanctuary city” policies and reported him to federal immigration authorities.
          Fedex/UPS Clerk - Humanscale - Fresno, CA   
Identifique los problemas como ellos surgen y comunican para dirigir inmediatamente persona y a supervisor. Federal Express/UPS Clerk....
From Humanscale - Sun, 18 Jun 2017 08:58:11 GMT - View all Fresno, CA jobs
          Senior Data Architect - ASRC Federal - Moorestown, NJ   
Senior Data Architect. ASRC Federal Mission Solutions (AFMS) is seeking a Senior Data Scientist/ Architect to join its professional engineering team developing...
From ASRC Federal - Sat, 03 Jun 2017 01:36:31 GMT - View all Moorestown, NJ jobs
          Senior Engineers - Atlantic Marine - Canada   
Refrigeration, Machinist, Pipe-fitter, and Electronics. Marine Atlantic is a federal Crown corporation that provides a vital ferry service....
From Atlantic Marine - Wed, 14 Jun 2017 13:14:56 GMT - View all Canada jobs
          Ecclesia College - Legislators OK request from state bureau to hire counsel to handle requests from U.S. investigators   

Legislators OK request from state bureau to hire counsel to handle requests from U.S. investigators:

"“Unpublished memoranda, working papers, and correspondence” of lawmakers are exempt under the state Freedom of Information Act, according to the law.

The request comes after federal indictments of two former lawmakers — Sen. Jon Woods, R-Springdale, and Rep. Micah Neal, R-Springdale.

Ecclesia College President Oren Paris III of Springdale is accused of paying kickbacks to Woods while Woods was a legislator. Woods, in turn, paid then-Rep. Micah Neal in some cases, according to the indictment. Neal pleaded guilty to public corruption charges Jan. 4.

Paris passed the kickback payments through Randell Shelton Jr., a consultant from Alma, a business partner Paris hired on behalf of the college, according to the indictment. The college is not named in the indictment, but it says Paris is the president of a nonprofit operating a college in Springdale.

Attorneys for Woods, Paris and Shelton have entered not-guilty pleas on behalf of their clients."

'via Blog this'
          Fire Engulfs Federal Secretariat Abuja   

Fire is reported to have engulf federal secretariat, the block ablaze is said to be housing the Ministry of Health in Abuja. Witness say the fire started early this morning and believe the flame is coming from the Ministry of Health within the secretariat. Firefighters are said to be on ground to quench the flames. […]

The post Fire Engulfs Federal Secretariat Abuja appeared first on NG Trends.

          Now in Effect: Retail Sales of Recreational Marijuana in Nevada Starts Today   
CARSON CITY, Nev. (July 1, 2017) – Retail sales of recreation marijuana kicked off in Nevada today. This represents a another big step toward nullifying the unconstitutional federal prohibition of cannabis in effect. Nevada voters approved Question 2 by a 54.5 to 45.5 percent margin last November. With passage of the “Initiative to Regulate and…
          LA QUINTA DEL ÑATO    

Quedó definido el escenario electoral provincial y ya están todos (o casi todos) los candidatos que se anotaron para ocupar alguna de las bancas que se ponen en juego en la Legislatura bonaerense: 46 en Diputados y 23 en Senadores.
Cambiemos postuló al periodista Franco Bagnatto, actualmente Director de Radio Provincia y oriundo de la ciudad de Mar del Plata, como cabeza de la lista de senadores de la Quinta sección. El segundo casillero será para la concejal radical de La Costa, Flavia Del Monte, quien fue designada por Maximiliano Abad.
En esta sección se produjo uno de los cambios rotundos en el rompecabezas del armado. El actual senador Carlos Fernández, que aparecía como número puesto, fue catapultado a la lista de diputados nacionales. El tercer lugar de la lista seccional es para Lucas Fiorini, concejal marplatense que responde al ministro de Gobierno, Joaquín De la Torre.
Por Unidad Ciudadana, se anotó al senador Gervasio Bozzano (oriundo de Maipú). El segundo lugar quedó para Gabriela Demaría, Secretaria de Protección Ciudadana de La Costa. Y el tercero será para el mandamás de Tordillo, Héctor Olivera.
Un par de escalones más abajo llegaría el ex jefe comunal de Mar Chiquita, Jorge “Pitingo” Paredi. Y en el cuarto una mujer de Mar del Plata.
El Frente Justicialista, por su parte, llevará a Inés Arrondo, ex jugadora de hockey de Las Leonas.
En 1 País, quien será el 1 de Senadores es el marplatense Juan Curutchet. Segunda irá Jimena López, hermana del intendente de Necochea, Facundo López, y en tercer lugar, J Goldman, del GEN de San Miguel del Monte.

Vamos a ver.
La quinta seccion electoral aporta algo asi como un millón setecientos mil y algo de electores.
El grueso los aporta Mar del Plata ,seguida por la creciente Tandil,la decaída Necochea,las ciudades de la Costa encabezadas por Gessell y mas al norte Chascomús y Las Flores.
Si analizamos la composición de la lista de Garquemos nos encontramos con una figura conocida por su trayectoria en los medios como Franco Bagnato,en el massismo al ciclista Curutchet que cambio las ruedas por la garrocha ya que era sciolista.
Otra vez,todos mis respetos a los compañeros, en especial a Paredi,
Pero me pregunto....cuantos votos puede aportar Tordillo,digo es un decir.
Vamos que en esta ocasión concurre  Compromiso Federal el partido de Rodriguez Saa en la Unión Ciudadana...al menos podrían haber aportado la famosa mesa de Quequen

Otra vez.  Nos salva la figura de Cristina y los diputados nacionales....parece que la lista la hubiese  armado el defenestrado Ottavis luego de una noche orgiástica

          OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST - Inpatient Occupational Therapy - Casual - Day   
Posted on: 2017-07-01

The Occupational Therapist provides evaluation, assessment, prognosis, treatment and education to patients and clients through a continuum of care according to the therapist's respective licensure/registration/certification, Code of Ethics, Federal/State regulations, JCAHO/UMQC and Care Center policies and procedures. Performs competencies as outlined in Rehabilitation Services Competency Assessment tools. Demonstrates age specific care as established for area and job title. Experience/Specialized Skills:Must have variety of problem solving skills. Excellent communications skills with internal and external customers.

Required Certification/Registration:Current occupational therapy license in State of California. Current BLS

Required Education/Course(s)/Training: Graduate of accredited school of occupational therapy (BS or MS degree)

Scripps Health is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, sex, age, status as a protected veteran, among other things, or status as a qualified individual with disability.

Job: Rehabilitation


Organization : 354 SANTA FE DRIVE

Job Posting :

Benefit status :

          SOCIAL WORKER CLINICAL - Case Management - Full-Time - Day   
Posted on: 2017-07-01

Assists patient and families with personal and environmental problems which predispose illness or which interfere with their obtaining maximum benefits from medical care. Provides peer supervision for other staff, education for social work interns and/or assists with program planning and organization of services. Demonstrates ability to perform competencies as outlined in unit specific competency assessment tools. Demonstrates age specific care as established for a Clinical Social Worker in assigned area.

Required Experience/Specialized Skills: An ability to speak another language is desirable. Must be able to display good working relationships with patients, families, medical and nursing personnel, and all others employed at the hospital. Working knowledge of the laws, regulations, policies and appeal procedures as relative to the Federal, State and other reimbursement programs.

Required Certification/Registration: Licensed by the State of California Behavioral Science Examiners Board as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) preferred. BLS for Health Care Provider required.

Required Education/Course(s)/Training: Masters degree in Social Work from an accredited university or college (MSW).


Preferred Skills: Experience in the hospital setting.

Scripps Health is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, sex, age, status as a protected veteran, among other things, or status as a qualified individual with disability.

Job: Behavioral / Social Services

Primary Location : Central San Diego County-SAN DIEGO-SCRIPPS MERCY HOSPITAL SAN DIEGO

Organization : 4077 FIFTH AVENUE

Job Posting :

Benefit status :

          California Drought: Strengthening El Niño Could Mean Wet Winter   

Direct link to article... [littlegreenfootballs.com]

The chances that California will begin clawing its way out of the drought with a wet winter got a bump Thursday with a federal report showing an El Niño weather pattern continuing to strengthen in the Pacific.

The U.S. Climate Prediction Center reported that telltale signs of El Niño -- which include warming sea surface temperatures and emerging equatorial winds -- bore close resemblance to conditions preceding some of the strongest El Niños in recent history.

El Niños carry no assurances for forecasters, but big ones have correlated with increased rainfall across much of California, such as in the winters of 1982-83 and 1997-98, which were among the state's wettest years.

More: California Drought: Strengthening El Niño Could Mean Wet Winter - SFGate

          FBI probes Tallahassee real estate projects   
The FBI has started an investigation into real estate redevelopment projects in Tallahassee that could affect the 2018 race for governor. Federal grand jury subpoenas were issued to obtain records from Tallahassee’s municipal government and the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency, or CRA. Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, a candidate for governor, is not named in the subpoenas, which seek records from the city and the CRA on high-profile developments in the city and the individuals and ... [more]
          Vytautas Radžvilas. Katalikybė ir politinė laisvė   
Skelbiame prof.  Vytauto Radžvilo pranešimą „Katalikybė ir politinė laisvė“, skaitytą Adolfo Damušio politinių studijų dienų konferencijoje „Mūsų šimtmetis: tauta demokratinės valstybės kūrybos ir griovimo kryžkelėse“, vykusioje birželio 16–17 dienomis Vilniuje, Lietuvos nacionalinėje Martyno Mažvydo bibliotekoje. Taip pat skelbiame ir po pranešimo sekusią diskusiją.


Šio pasisakymo temą įkvėpė kai kurių visuotinai žinomų faktų apmąstymas. Visi gerai žinome, kad kovoje už Lietuvos laisvę dalyvavo įvairių politinių pažiūrų žmonės, tačiau nepaneigiama yra tai, kad lemtingiausiais momentais, tokiais kaip 1941 m. birželio sukilimo atveju, pagrindinė jėga buvo katalikai. O šiandien, kaip žinome, milžiniškos politinės kovos Europoje epicentru tapo Lenkija, kuri yra vertinama labai kritiškai ir puolama. Bet jei atsiribojame nuo viso šio puolimo ir išsikeliame principinį klausimą, kas yra Lenkijos „maištininkai“, atsakymas yra akivaizdus: tai prieš komunizmą kovojusio Lenkijos „Solidarumo“ branduolys ir smogiamoji jėga. Ir vėl keistas sutapimas, tas branduolys daugiausia yra katalikai. Šis faktas nėra atsitiktinis. Matyt, jis liudija, kad katalikai turi ypatingą jautrumą tam, ką pavadinčiau pavojumi laisvei.

Kitas dalykas, kuris paskatino prabilti šia tema, yra nuolatinė kontroversija dėl 1941 m. sukilimo. Visi jaučiame, kad už visos šitos polemikos ir nuolatinio sukilimo juodinimo turi slypėti kažkokia fundamentalesnė priežastis nei oficialiai įvardinama. Vėl gi šitas sukilimas nuolatos svarstomas iš esmės tarptautiniame kontekste, o ką tai reiškia? Kad galbūt dėl jo atminties kova vyksta todėl, kad šis sukilimas gali priminti kažką nepaprastai svarbaus ne tik Lietuvai, bet ir visai Europai. Galbūt net pasauliui.

Kad tai suprastume, pirmiausia turime pasiaiškinti: o kas apskritai yra politika? Šiame pranešime politiką apibrėžiu kaip praktinį žmogiškumo įtvirtinimo būdą, t.y. kaip įrankį, kurio pagalba žmogus apsibrėžia tai, kas jis yra. Ši apibrėžtis atsiskleidžia per konkrečiai įkūnijamą ir sukuriamą politinėmis priemonėmis žmogiškų santykių lauką. Visi politiniai klausimai, jeigu mes juos apmątome ne paviršutiniškai, galiausiai yra klausimas, kas yra žmogus ir ką reiškia būti žmogumi. Jeigu mes ginčijamės, kokie turi būti valstybėje mokesčiai, atrodo, jog tai klausimas, neturintis net menkiausių sąsajų su žmogaus esme, bet iš tikrųjų aiškėja, kad ta sąsaja yra. Nes šio klausimo tikroji potekstė yra: kas yra teisingumas? Visi šiuo požiūriu politiškai svarstomi tarsi labai konkretūs klausimai galiausiai reikalauja kiekvieną akimirką apsibrėžti, kas yra žmogiška ir kas nežmogiška. Ir būtent dėl tos priežasties esminis dalykas čia tampa tiesa, kurią nuostabiai išsakė dar Aristotelis. Jis pasakė, kad jeigu žmogui nereikia filosofijos, jis yra gyvulys arba Dievas. Ir labai keistas, nors natūralus sutapimas, kad pagalvojus atidžiau, jeigu žmogui nereikia politikos ir polio, jis yra gyvulys arba Dievas.

Mes, būdami žmonės, esame be galo įvairūs ir skirtingi. Maža to, mes iš tikrųjų galime norėti begalės dalykų, todėl politikos klausimas yra toks: kaip sukurti žmogišką tvarką sąlygomis, kai iš principo galime norėti ir siekti bet ko. Taigi tam, kad tvarka būtų teisinga, reikia sampratos, kas yra žmogus. Išankstinės sampratos, kuri dvasiškai įsteigia politinių diskusijų lauką. Graikai savo filosofija mėgino šitą lauką įsteigti. Ką davė Vakarų politikai katalikybė? Ji davė žmogaus viziją arba sampratą, kuri privalo galioti universaliai. Ką tai reiškia politikai? Kuomet vyksta konkretūs politiniai ginčai, ką daryti ar nedaryti vienoje ar kitoje situacijoje, visus šiuos ginčus grindžiantis pamatas yra tas nebyliai jų fone esantis tikrojo arba tobulojo žmogaus vaizdinys arba idealas.

Šiam vaizdiniui yra būdingi du klodai. Pirmiausia, jis galioja kiekvienam iš mūsų, nes pretenduoja į universalumą. Antras lemiamai svarbus dalykas yra, kad norint apsispręsti politiškai net pačiu konkrečiausiu klausimu, pirmiausia reikia padaryti išankstinį judesį – apsispręsti to vaizdinio atžvilgiu. O apsispręsti vaizdinio atžvilgiu yra be galo sunku. Kaip jau Platonas intuityviai suprato, norint apsispręsti reikia, kad tavo aukštesnė sielos dalis priverstų klausyti žemesnę, kuri tave skatina, net stumia apsispręsti taip, kaip tau patogiau, kaip tau patinka, naudinga, bet ne pagal visuotinę normą. Būtent šia giliausia prasme katalikiška politika buvo iš tiesų politinės laisvės erdvė, nes tai, kas vyko tarsi žemiškame politikos pasaulyje, buvo grindžiama nematoma dvasine erdve, kuri suteikia politiniams veiksmams reikalingus orientyrus ir gaires. Baigiant šitą istorijos atkarpą galima pasakyti, kad modernusis pasaulis, kai jis pradėjo pakeisti katalikybę, neišvengiamai turėjo sugriauti būtent šitą nematomą dvasinių orientyrų erdvę. Sugriauti tobulo žmogaus etaloną arba viziją.

Šitą žmogų pakeitė vadinamasis modernus individas, kurio esminis skirtumas nuo tradicinio kataliko yra labai paprastas, bet kartu lemtingai svarbus – jis tiesiog nebežino, ką reiškia būti žmogumi. Net nesuvokia, kas tai yra, nors save ir toliau iš inercijos šitaip vadina. Vadinasi, tokioje situacijoje iš esmės keičiasi pati politinė erdvė ir joje galiojančios žaidimo taisyklės. Jeigu neturiu mato, kuriuo matuoju savo dalyvavimą politiniame gyvenime, ginčuose, net ir kovose, tokiu atveju aš tampu laisvas visiškai nauju ir anksčiau neregėtu būdu. Laisvė tokiu atveju yra beatodairiškai siekti, ko noriu arba ko trokštu. Ir tokiu atveju kliūtis mano laisvei jau nebegali būti žmogaus viduje keliamos normos ir reikalavimai. Ta kliūtis, kaip jau aiškiai suprato moderno politinės filosofijos pradininkas Hobsas, iš esmės yra išorės kliūtys. Kitaip tariant, tokią laisvę gali riboti tik išorinė fizinė prievarta arba, kalbant paprasčiau, galios stoka. Tokiu būdu, praradus katalikybės laiduotą dvasinės tvarkos viziją, politika iš esmės tampa grynu galios santykių lauku. Čia nėra bendro pagrindo, kuriuo žmonės galėtų susitarti ir bendrauti. Kitaip tariant, apeliuojama ne į universalią žmogišką tvarką, bet priešingai, nauja žmogiška tvarka yra kuriama prievartos aktais. Ir žmogus tampa tuo, ką jis šitais aktais sugeba įtvirtinti. Bet kuris žmogaus troškimais, jeigu tik turi galios pakankamai įtvirtinti, tampa oficialiai pripažinta vadinamąja žmogiška savybe. Tokiu režimu funkcionuoja vadinamosios žmogaus teisės.

Iš to galima suprasti, kad tokioje politikoje negali būti politinės laisvės. Ta laisvė, kuri vadinama laisve, iš tikrųjų reiškia, kad žmonių santykis grindžiamas gryna galia ir kiekvieną akimirką funkcionuoji politikos lauke, kaip sakytų Hėgelis, arba pono, arba vergo režimu. Šis naujas politikos bruožas būdingas visai moderniai politikai ir visoms ideologijoms: marksizmui, nacionalsocializmui, fašizmui ir galiausiai grynai sekuliaristiniam nacionalizmui. Tokiais atvejais tai, kas yra žmogiškumas, apibrėžia partija, valstybė ir pan. Kiekvienu atveju tai yra galios agentūra. Taip reliatyviu tampa pats supratimas, kas yra žmogus. Tai paaiškina, kodėl tik katalikai – kurie jaučia, kad politiką turi grįsti tam tikra objektyvi dvasinė tvarka - gali taip jautriai pajusti ateinančią prievartą. Jeigu žmogaus vaizdinys yra sureliatyvinamas, jeigu viskas remiasi galia, tai tokiu atveju atsiranda galimybė žmogų apakinti ir užhipnotizuoti, pažadant, kad jo troškimai bus išpildyti nepriklausomai nuo jų teisingumo.

Čia glūdi priežastis, kodėl didelė dalis Lietuvos visuomenės 1940 m. nepajėgė susiorientuoti iš karto, kol nepatyrė prievartos savo kailiu. Tai politikos sampratai ji buvo visiškai neparuošta. Ji nebuvo parengta susidurti su tokio tipo politika. Ir visiškai nuoseklu bei logiška, kad būtent katalikiški sluoksniai pirmieji pajuto ir suprato, kas iš tiesų vyksta, kad vyksta pirmiausiai žmogaus sielos naikinimas. Štai kodėl sukilimas neišvengiamai turėjo būti pirmiausia jų pastangų rezultatas.

O kokia yra šios katalikiškos laisvės sampratos ir sukilimo pamoka Europai? Lietuvoje katalikai vadovavo tiek antisovietinei, tiek antinacistinei rezistencijai. Kitaip tariant, jie reprezentuoja visą kovos prieš tai, ką sąlygiškai pavadinsiu moderniuoju totalitarizmu, lauką. Tuo tarpu Europoje šito niekur neįvyko dėl paprastos priežasties. Didžioji Europos tragedija buvo Hitlerio pergalės, kurios parklupdė Europą. Savaime tai buvo milžiniškas blogis, bet yra nesuvokiama, kokia prasme Hitlerio pergalės buvo paslėptas blogis. Mes užmirštame, kad 4 dešimtmetyje dėl viešpatavimo Europoje kovojo nacionalsocializmas ir komunizmas. Hitlerio pergalė Europoje lėmė, kad komunizmas niekur, išskyrus trumpai vadinamąją respublikinę Ispaniją, neparodė savo veido. Nes jis negavo progos. Štai kodėl kai visoje Europoje buvo kalbama apie nacistinę rezistenciją, buvo labai patogu nutylėti, kad antinacistinės rezistencijos branduolys tokiose šalyse kaip Prancūzija taip pat milžinišku mastu buvo katalikai. Bet joje dėl visai kitų motyvų ir priežasčių dalyvavo ir komunistai. Todėl neatsitiktinai 6 dešimtmečio viduryje buvo nepastebimai perrašyta antinacistinės rezistencijos istorija, visiškai sureikšminant dviejų totalitarinių ideologijų kovą – tarp nacionalsocializmo ir bolševizmo – kuri paradoksaliai buvo giminingų mentalinių ir politinių dalinių kova. Ir sureikšminus šitą kovą buvo užgožtas ir paslėptas tikrasis katalikų vaidmuo, kad katalikiška dvasinės erdvės ir žmogaus samprata grindžiama politinė laisvė yra vienintelė įmanoma autentiška laisvė ir dabar.


Simonas Jazavita: Užsiminėte, kad Birželio sukilimas gali būti svarbus Europai ir pasauliui. Man atrodo, kad tie žmonės, kurie ėmėsi to darbo, matė grėsmes nevienareikšmiškai. Aišku, didžiausia grėsmė matyta iš bolševikų pusės. Kita vertus, net Kazys Škirpa, paklaustas savo šalininkų, sako: tai negi jūs taip pasitikit vokiečiais? Jie mums klūdys. Gal tai ir yra tas nepatogusis klausimas? Visada yra patogiau parodyti žmones, kurie vienai santvarkai labai palankūs buvo, o priešinosi tik kažkuriai vienai.

Vytautas Radžvilas: Jūsų įžvalga tiksli, bet sakyčiau, kad ji nevisiškai išsami. Jeigu kalbame apie Europą, tai reikia turėti galvoje, kad 8 dešimtmečio viduryje, apie 1975 metus, lyg mostelėjus burtų lazdele visos Europos sovietinio tipo kompartijos staigiai pradėjo demokratizuotis, liberalizuotis ir atsirado vadinamasis eurokomunizmas. Jeigu šiandien kalbame apie dabartinę Europos Sąjungos struktūrą ir net jos pareigūnus, kodėl jiems svarbu ištrinti sukilimo atminimą? Todėl, kad šitaip galima būtų ištrinti suvokimą, kad komunizmo šmėkla ir šiandien kybo virš Europos. Kad komunizmas įgijo tik naują pavidalą. Šie klausimai nekeliami, nes ta atmintis yra gana sėkmingai ištrinta. Pavyzdžiui, visai neseniai Europos Komisijos pirmininku buvo Barroso, o juk jis yra buvęs vienas iš Portugalijos komunistų partijos lyderių. Maža to, net ne sovietinio tipo, o iš esmės maoistinės partijos, taigi dar radikalesnės. Kol šito nesuvokiame, klykiame apie Gorbačiovą ir komunistus Rytuose ir nematome, kas dedasi. Yra dar akivaizdesnių pavyzdžių. Tarkime, dabartinė Europos Sąjungos užsienio reikalų ministrė (taip vadinu dėl patogumo) F. Mogherini buvo Italijos komunistinio jaunimo lygos lyderė. Kitaip tariant, pirmoji komjaunuolė. Laisvos, demokratiškos, antikomunistinės ir taip toliau Lietuvos Respublikos užsienio reikalų ministras yra buvęs Visasąjunginės Lenino komunistinės jaunimo sąjungos centro komiteto darbuotojas. Niekam neužkliūna ir tai, kad šalių prezidentais tampa iki pat galo ištikimi anai imperijai buvę žmonės. Sužaidus su vadinamąja jaunojo Markso tematika, įtikinėjama, jog buvo kažkoks labai keistas komunizmo nukrypimas, kuris pasireiškė Rusijoje žiauriais nusikaltimais, bet tai esą buvo ne komunizmo nusikaltimai, ne jo prigimtyje slypinčios galimybės, o viso labo kažkokio žmogėdros Stalino reikalas. Šitaip buvo meistriškai reabilituota komunistų valdžia dabartinėje Vakarų Europoje ir Europos Sąjungoje. Todėl jau pats Sukilimo faktas yra gyvas įrodymas, kad tai buvo lygiaverčiai dalykai. Štai kodėl jį norima priversti pamiršti. 

Boguslavas Gruževskis: O gal čia ne komunizmo problema? Gal tai, kas dabar randama Barroso ir kitų nuostatose, nieko bendro neturi su komunizmo sistema? Gal čia yra kažkas giliau, ko jūs nei vienas neįvardinot? Galbūt čia žmogiškos prigimties, žmogiškumo, jo esmės, kuriuos prof. Radžvilas paminėjo ir savo pranešime, problema? O kaip mes jį pavadinsim, tai jau kitas klausimas. Yra kažkas, kas stumia tą kažką, ko tik šiandien nemokame įvardinti.

Vytautas Radžvilas: Tai tik rodo, kad nebūdamas politologas turite puikią nuojautą, kurios šaltinis yra bendras išsilavinimas. Be jokios abejonės, mano kalboje tai numanoma, bet turėjau 20 minučių ir todėl nemačiau galimybės ir prasmės šnekėti negalėdamas to aptarti išsamiau. Nėra joks atsitiktinumas, kad vykstant diskusijoms dėl Lisabonos sutarties, pirmuose jos variantuose, kuriuos pats mačiau, dar figūravo teiginys, kad krikščionybė yra Europos ištakos. Galutiniam variante tai išnyko. Ką tai reiškia? Katalikybė įkūnija Vakarų krikščionijos žmogaus idealų tipą, jeigu atsiribosime nuo religinių dimensijų. O kas prasideda nuo Renesanso? Vadinamoji Revoliucija, kurios esmė – šitą tipą visiškai likviduoti. Todėl nuo XV a. vyksta permanentinė revoliucija, kuri realizuojama per skirtingus utopinius projektus. Kitaip tariant, tradicinį katalikišką žmogaus tipą norėjo likviduoti visi: komunistai, liberalai ir t.t. Europoje šitas projektas yra tęsiamas toliau. Čia jau yra antropologinės inžinerijos reikalai. Vadinamoji „ortodoksinė“ rusiškoji komunizmo versija buvo pakeista kita, vadinamojo vokiškojo kritinio komunizmo versija, kurią įkūnija Frankfurto mokykla. Įdomiausia tai, kad šita versija yra radikalesnė už sovietinę, bet įgyvendinama jau be prievartos. Rusiškoji komunizmo versija iš dalies žlugo todėl, kad pradėję 1917 m. nuo nepaprastai radikalių dalykų, pvz., seksualinės revoliucijos, jie vėliau pasidavė kultūrinės krikščioniškos tradicijos spaudimui ir šia prasme buvo nepakankamai revoliucingi. Todėl garsioji 1968 m. revoliucija pasakė: Marksas senukas, jį reikia išmesti į istorijos šiukšlyną, jis buvo nepakankamai revoliucingas. Ir todėl Revoliucija dabar tęsiasi dar radikaliau. Todėl tokių sukilimų prisiminimas šiai Revoliucijai yra lyg nuodai.

Laurynas Kasčiūnas: Kodėl krikščioniškoji tradicija yra tai, ką siekiama eliminuoti iš Europos gyvenimo ir nustumti į paraštes? Kai eliminuoji Europos sielą, jos tapatybę, po to gali tą tokią neaiškią mūsų socialinę masę naudoti įvairiems socialinės inžinerijos projektams. Tam pirmiausia reikia eliminuoti nacionalinę valstybę, krikščionybę, o tada jau gali pradėti įgyvendinti savo projektus. Visada gerai tokius sudėtingus intelektualinius dalykus išvesti į palyginimus. Dabar Kaczynskis daromas antieuropietiškumo simboliu ir grėsme. O koks nors Cohn-Benditas – žaliasis, kuris dar prieš 30 metų kalbėjo, kaip reikia pedofiliją įteisinti - šiandien vertinamas kaip vienas iš jų žaliosios tradicijos ideologų. Taip yra perkainojamos vertybės. Žmogus, buvęs „Solidarumo“ branduolyje, Lenkijos tėvas, dabar yra stumiamas į tokią poziciją. Arba pažiūrėkime, kaip Europos Parlamente yra vertinama istorija. Šarlis de Golis nėra Europos tėvas tik dėl to, kad kažkada kalbėjo apie nacionalinį interesą, nacionalines valstybes, o įvairūs federalistai, Spinelli ir panašūs komunistai yra laikomi Europos tėvais įkūrėjais. Buvusiems komunistams labai lengva dabar kalbėti, jie neturi nacionalinių valstybių suvokimo ir labai lengvai tampa federacinės Europos šalininkais. Tai gerai parodo, kaip čia susijungia ideologijos. 

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          This bill proposal seeks to send doxxers and swatters to prison   
A new bill proposal seeks to make the act of doxxing someone — that is, finding and then publishing their personal information on the Internet — a federal offense. Called the Online Safety Modernization Act, the bipartisan proposal seeks to stop individuals from using the Internet as a personal weapon, whether that involves releasing their enemy’s address to online mobs, … Continue reading
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The Baker-Polito Administration has announced $1.352.250 in state and federal grant funds for five river restoration projects within the City of Taunton, and the Towns of East Bridgewater, Falmouth and Plymouth through the Department of Fish and Game’s DER Priority Projects Program. The program provides projects with grant funding, project management, and contracted technical services […]

No Brasil, para adequar a Contabilidade aos padrões internacionais, conforme se observa na Resolução nº 1.282/10 do Conselho Federal de Contabilidade, ocorreram algumas alterações nos princípios Contábeis. Entretanto, a maioria desses critérios, na prática, já eram aplicados.

Os  artigos 5º, 6º, 7º, 9º e o parágrafo 1º do artigo 10, da Resolução CFC nº 750/93, passaram a vigorar com novas redações, conforme artigo 3º da Resolução 1.282/10.

Nosso objetivo é auxiliar o empresário e o estudante a entender o sistema contábil, que registra e controla o patrimônio da pessoa jurídica, de forma simples e sem complicação, observando conceitos e critérios contábeis mais usados nas empresas.

O patrimônio representa os bens, direitos e obrigações da pessoa jurídica, que no balanço patrimonial é representado pelo Ativo e Passivo, que o Pronunciamento Técnico  do Comitê de Pronunciamentos Contábeis, em observação às Normas Internacionais de Contabilidade, assim define:

"Ativo é um recurso controlado pela entidade como resultado de eventos passados e dos quais se espera que benefícios econômicos futuros fluam para a entidade."

"Passivo é uma obrigação atual da entidade como resultado de eventos já ocorridos, cuja liquidação se espera resulte na saída de recursos econômicos."

Para melhor entendimento, apresentamos, a seguir, um quadro ilustrativo da representação do patrimônio:


Contabilidade é a ciência que estuda o patrimônio das entidades, suas variações, tanto no aspecto quantitativo quanto qualitativo, registrando os fatos e atos de natureza econômico-financeira que o afetam e estudando suas consequências.

A escrituração contábil corresponde aos registros contábeis, conhecidos como lançamentos  contábeis, os quais são realizados pelo método de Partidas Dobradas, no qual os débitos correspondem aos créditos, em valor. Por exemplo, o débito de R$100,00 de uma, ou mais, contas, corresponde ao crédito de R$100,00 em uma, ou mais, contas.


É  bom que se esclareça que os lançamentos de débito e crédito, adotados na Contabilidade, nada tem haver com o conceito de devedor e  credor que  adotamos em nosso dia a dia.

Para que os lançamentos sejam realizados de forma correta é importante observar a natureza das contas: 

As contas do Ativo têm natureza devedora, ou seja, as contas do Ativo aumentam pelos lançamentos de DÉBITO.

As contas do Passivo têm natureza credora, isto é, as contas do Passivo aumentam pelos lançamentos a CRÉDITO.

Existem, ainda, contas subtrativas, que têm por objetivo diminuir o valor do Ativo, que, embora sejam apresentadas no ativo, são de natureza credora. Por exemplo: Provisão Para Devedores Duvidosos,  Depreciação de Imobilizado, Exaustão de Minas.

Os lançamentos contábeis são constituídos de: conta(s) devedora (s) e conta(s) credora(s) e histórico.

O histórico é o resumo, conforme se pode observar no exemplo a seguir.

Compra de mercadorias a prazo de 90 dias, no valor de R$100,00, é registrada da seguinte forma:

No caso, as mercadorias representam um bem adquirido pela Empresa, logo, é conta do Ativo que está sendo aumentada pelo registro de débito na conta Mercadorias, face à natureza devedora do Ativo.

Em contra partida, ocorreu aumento da dívida com o fornecedor, ou seja, aumento das obrigações, representando um passivo. Em face disso, ocorre o lançamento a crédito da conta Fornecedores, observando a natureza credora do Passivo.

O método de partidas dobradas é um sistema que dá à Contabilidade confiabilidade, ou seja, não permite erros, sendo a soma dos débitos igual à soma dos créditos.

Na escrituração manual, o Diário é escriturado identificando os lançamentos de débito e a crédito pela utilização de duas letras: "d", significando lançamento de débito, e "a", significando lançamento a crédito. Tomando-se o exemplo acima, assim é registrada a compra no Diário manuscrito:


a Fornecedores
Pela compra de mercadorias a prazo, n.fiscal nº ...     100,00

Na prática, não é comum o uso da letra "d" para identificar a conta devedora.

Na escrituração informatizada os registros no Livro Diário são realizados com os mesmos lançamentos do Razão, em duas colunas: "DÉBITO" e "CRÉDITO".

Outro exemplo:

O pagamento da mercadoria, no valor de R$100,00, comprada a prazo, retro mencionada, é assim contabilizado.  

Além das contas do Ativo e Passivo, retro comentadas, o sistema contábil é composto ainda por outras contas, chamadas de contas redituais ou de resultado, correspondentes às  Despesas e Receitas, as quais podem ser representadas pelo quadro a seguir:

As contas de despesas são de natureza devedora, ou seja, os registros das despesas são por  lançamentos de débito.

As contas das receitas são de natureza credora, isto é,  os registros das receitas são por lançamentos a crédito.


A venda de mercadorias à vista, no valor de R$200,00, e  o pagamento de aluguel no valor R$100,00  são assim registrados:

Como pode ser observado, os dois primeiros lançamentos são referentes à venda de mercadorias, ou seja, receita, logo, crédito na conta de Venda de Mercadorias (receita) R$200,00, natureza credora, e débito de Caixa, pois entrou R$200,00 no caixa, conta do Ativo, natureza devedora.

O pagamento de aluguel é despesa, logo, lançamento de débito  na conta Aluguel, no valor de R$100,00, natureza devedora, e crédito da conta Caixa, pois saiu R$100,00, conta do Ativo, natureza devedora, o crédito diminuiu o valor existente no caixa.

Caros amigos leitores até a próxima postagem, com Balanço Patrimonial e Demonstrações de Resultados, na forma da Lei 6404 atualizada.

Caso a postagem tenha te ajudado de alguma forma recomende-a, no Google.


Simples Nacional, Lucro Presumido e Lucro Real são formas de tributação do Imposto de Renda da Pessoa Jurídica, cuja opção deve ser exercida no inicio de cada ano, ou no início das atividades da empresa. 

A Contribuição Social Sobre o Lucro Líquido – CSLL foi instituída para o financiamento da seguridade social.

A opção certa resulta em benefícios e menor tributação.

Para se saber qual a forma mais benéfica deve ser elaborado o orçamento da empresa que permita obter informações para simulações do Imposto de Renda, observando a legislação tributária. 

Recomendamos cautela na observação dos tetos de receita bruta, mês a mês, durante o ano fiscal, com alteração obrigatória da forma de tributação, no caso de tributação pelo SIMPLES ou Lucro Presumido, conforme pode ser observado a seguir:

Neste post vamos apresentar as três formas de tributação, com base nas informações transcritas do site da Receita Federal, cujo objetivo é permitir que o estudante e o empresário possam ter uma visão sobre a tributação do Imposto de Renda da Pessoa Jurídica, evitando, que, por desconhecimento, tomem decisões que se transformem em grandes problemas.


O SIMPLES NACIONAL é um regime de tratamento tributário diferenciado favorecido, que, regra geral, tem como base de tributação a receita bruta, com pagamentos mensais de impostos de forma simplificada, em um único DARF, observando alíquotas por faixa de faturamento, conforme estabelece a Lei Complementar nº 123 de 14.12.2006 e seus anexos.

No SIMPLES as alíquotas são progressivas, proporcionais à receita bruta.

O Simples é forma de tributação das ME - Microempresas, EPP- Empresas de Pequeno Porte inscritas no Simples Nacional, com simplificação de apuração e pagamento mensal de impostos, com base na receita bruta e tabelas de alíquotas progressivas de acordo com a atividade desenvolvida e a receita bruta, bem como outras vantagens, das quais destacamos as seguintes:

1) Instalação da empresa com alvará concedido pelos Municípios, para atividades que não sejam de alto risco, em áreas desprovidas de regulação fundiária legal ou com regulamentação precária; ou, na residência do microempreendor individual, titular ou sócio da micro empresa ou empresa da pequeno porte, na forma do Parágrafo Único do Art. 7º da Lei 123;

2) A inscrição no Simples Nacional com recolhimento mensal em documento único de arrecadação dos seguintes impostos e contribuições:

I - Imposto sobre a Renda da Pessoa Jurídica - IRPJ;

II - Imposto sobre Produtos Industrializados - IPI;

III - Contribuição Social sobre o Lucro Líquido - CSLL;

IV - Contribuição para o Financiamento da Seguridade Social - COFINS;

V - Contribuição para o PIS/PASEP;

VI - Contribuição Patronal Previdenciária - CPP;

VII - Imposto sobre Operações Relativas à Circulação de Mercadorias e Sobre
       Prestações de Serviços de Transporte Interestadual e Intermunicipal e de
       Comunicação - ICMS;

                   VIII - Imposto sobre Serviços de Qualquer Natureza - ISS.

2 - As ME - Microempresas, EPP- Empresas de Pequeno Porte e MEI-Micro Empreendedor Individual estão dispensadas de apresentar a Declaração de Débitos e Créditos Tributários Federais (DCTF),  na forma do art. 3º da Instrução Normativa RFB nº 1.110,  de 24 de dezembro de 2010;

3 - Na forma do inciso I, do art. 5 º da I.N. RFB nº 1252, de 01.03.2012, as Micro Empresas e Empresas de Pequeno Porte estão dispensadas de apresentar a Escrituração Fiscal Digital da Contribuição para o PIS/Pasep, da Contribuição para o Financiamento da Seguridade Social (Cofins) e da Contribuição Previdenciária sobre a Receita (EFD-Contribuições);

4-Também estão dispensadas da apresentação do DACON - Demonstrativo de Apuração de Contribuições Sociais.

Vale ressaltar, as empresas inscritas no Simples, devem apurar e recolher, a aparte, os impostos não inclusos nos incisos de I a VIII, acima, conforme previsto no Parágrafo 1º do Art. 13 da referida Lei, dos quais destacamos:

I - Imposto sobre Operações de Crédito, Câmbio e Seguro, ou Relativas a Títulos
    ou Valores Mobiliários - IOF;

II - Imposto sobre a Importação de Produtos Estrangeiros;

III - Imposto sobre a Exportação, para o Exterior, de Produtos Nacionais ou
     Nacionalizados -IE;

IV - Imposto sobre a Propriedade Territorial Rural - ITR;

V - Imposto de Renda, relativo aos rendimentos ou ganhos líquidos auferidos em
     aplicações de renda fixa ou variável;

VI - Imposto de Renda relativo aos ganhos de capital auferidos na alienação de
       bens do ativo permanente;

VII - Contribuição Provisória sobre Movimentação ou Transmissão de Valores e de
        Créditos e Direitos de Natureza Financeira - CPMF;

 VIII - Contribuição para o Fundo de Garantia do Tempo de Serviço - FGTS;

 IX - Contribuição para manutenção da Seguridade Social, relativa ao trabalhador;

 X -  Contribuição para a Seguridade Social, relativa à pessoa do empresário, na
        qualidade de contribuinte individual;

XI - Imposto de Renda relativo aos pagamentos ou créditos efetuados pela pessoa
       jurídica a pessoas físicas;

XII - Contribuição para o PIS/PASEP, COFINS e IPI incidentes na importação de
       bens e serviços;

XIII - ICMS devido:
         a) nas operações ou prestações sujeitas ao regime de substituição tributária;
         b) por terceiro, a que o contribuinte se ache obrigado, por força da legislação
            estadual ou distrital vigente; 

        c) na entrada, no território do Estado ou do Distrito Federal, de petróleo,
            inclusive lubrificantes e combustíveis líquidos e gasosos dele derivados, 
            bem como energia elétrica, quando não destinados à comercialização ou 

         d) por ocasião do desembaraço aduaneiro; 

         e) na aquisição ou manutenção em estoque de mercadoria desacobertada de
             documento fiscal; 

          f) na operação ou prestação desacobertada de documento fiscal;

         g) nas operações com bens ou mercadorias sujeitas ao regime de
             antecipação do recolhimento do imposto, nas aquisições em outros
             Estados e Distrito Federal:

                               1. com encerramento da tributação, observado o disposto no inciso IV do
               § 4º do  art. 18 desta Lei Complementar;

           2. sem encerramento da tributação, hipótese em que será cobrada a
               diferença entre a alíquota interna e a interestadual, sendo vedada
               a agregação de qualquer valor; 

        h) nas aquisições em outros Estados e no Distrito Federal de bens ou
            mercadorias, não sujeitas ao regime de antecipação do recolhimento do
            imposto, relativo à diferença entre a alíquota interna e a interestadual; 

XIV - ISS devido:

          a) em relação aos serviços sujeitos à substituição tributária ou retenção na

          b) na importação de serviços; 

XV - demais tributos de competência da União, dos Estados, do Distrito Federal
        ou dos Municípios, não relacionados nos incisos anteriores.

§ 2º Observada a legislação aplicável, a incidência do imposto de renda na fonte, na hipótese do inciso V do § 1º deste artigo, será definitiva.

§ 3º As microempresas e empresas de pequeno porte optantes pelo Simples Nacional ficam dispensadas do pagamento das demais contribuições instituídas pela União, inclusive as contribuições para as entidades privadas de serviço social e de formação profissional vinculadas ao sistema sindical, de que trata o art. 240 da Constituição Federal, e demais entidades de serviço social autônomo.

§ 5º A diferença entre a alíquota interna e a interestadual de que tratam as alíneas g e h do inciso XIII do § 1º deste artigo será calculada tomando-se por base as alíquotas aplicáveis às pessoas jurídicas não optantes pelo Simples Nacional.

Para melhor entendimento, sugerimos a leitura do post "MICRO EMPRESA - ME E EMPRESA DE PEQUENO PORTE - EPP", neste blog, que apresenta, inclusive, uma tabela para atividade comercial. 


O imposto de renda com base no lucro presumido é determinado por períodos de apuração trimestrais, encerrados em 31 de março, 30 de junho, 30 de setembro e 31 de dezembro de cada ano-calendário (Lei n º 9.430, de 1996, arts. 1 º e 25; RIR/1999, art. 516, § 5 º )

Do site da Receita Federal transcrevemos: 

Via de regra, a opção é manifestada com o pagamento da primeira quota ou quota única do imposto devido correspondente ao primeiro período de apuração, sendo considerada definitiva para todo o ano-calendário (RIR/1999, art. 516, §§ 1 e 4 ).

As pessoas jurídicas que tenham iniciado suas atividades ou que resultarem de incorporação, fusão ou cisão, ocorrida a partir do segundo trimestre do ano-calendário, poderão manifestar a sua opção por meio do pagamento da primeira ou única quota relativa ao trimestre de apuração correspondente ao início de atividade (RIR/1999, art. 517).

Podem optar as pessoas jurídicas:

a) cuja receita bruta total tenha sido igual ou inferior a R$48.000.000,00 (quarenta e oito milhões de reais), no ano-calendário anterior, ou a R$4.000.000,00 (quatro milhões de reais) multiplicado pelo número de meses em atividade no ano-calendário anterior (Lei n º 10.637, de 2002, art. 46); e

              b) que não estejam obrigadas à tributação pelo lucro real em função da atividade exercida ou da sua constituição societária ou natureza jurídica.


Considera-se receita bruta total a receita bruta de vendas somada aos ganhos de capital e às demais receitas e resultados positivos decorrentes de receitas não compreendidas na atividade.
Durante o período em que estiverem submetidas ao Programa de Recuperação Fiscal (Refis), as pessoas jurídicas obrigadas ao lucro real, exceto Instituições Financeiras (inclusive as equiparadas e as factoring ), poderão optar pelo lucro presumido (Lei n o 9.718, de 1998, art. 14, inciso II; e Lei n o 9.964, de 2000, art. 4 o ).
A partir de 01/01/2001, as sociedades em conta de participação (SCP) ficaram autorizadas a optar pelo lucro presumido, exceto aquelas com atividades imobiliárias, enquanto mantiverem registro de custo orçado (IN SRF nº 31, de 2001).

A opção pelo lucro presumido deverá ter sido informada na DCTF.
Para efeito da verificação do limite, considera-se como receita bruta total o produto da venda de bens nas operações de conta própria, o preço dos serviços prestados e o resultado auferido nas operações de conta alheia, acrescidos das demais receitas, tais como, rendimentos de aplicações financeiras (renda fixa e variável), receita de locação de imóveis, descontos ativos, variações monetárias ativas, juros recebidos como remuneração do capital próprio etc. e dos ganhos de capital (RIR/1999, arts. 518, 519 e 521).

                 Na receita bruta se inclui o ICMS e deverão ser excluídas as vendas canceladas, os descontos incondicionais concedidos e os impostos não cumulativos cobrados destacadamente do comprador, dos quais o vendedor ou prestador é mero depositário (exemplo: IPI) (RIR/1999, art. 224, parágrafo único, e o art. 519).

               Tendo em vista que o limite para opção pelo lucro presumido verificado em relação à receita bruta total do ano-calendário anterior. Quando a pessoa jurídica ultrapassar o limite legal em algum período de apuração dentro do próprio ano-calendário, tal fato não implica necessariamente mudança do regime de tributação, podendo continuar sendo tributada com base no lucro presumido dentro deste mesmo ano. Contudo, automaticamente, estará obrigada à apuração do lucro real no ano-calendário subsequente, independentemente do valor da receita bruta que for auferida naquele ano. Daí por diante, para que a pessoa jurídica possa retornar à opção pelo lucro presumido deverá observar as regras gerais aplicáveis à espécie.

             As pessoas jurídicas que, por determinação legal (Lei n º 9.718, de 1998, art. 14; e RIR/1999, art. 246), estão obrigadas à apuração do lucro real, são:

            a) Pessoas jurídicas cujas atividades sejam de bancos comerciais, bancos de investimentos, bancos de desenvolvimento, caixas econômicas, sociedades de crédito, financiamento e investimento, sociedades de crédito imobiliário, sociedades corretoras de títulos e valores mobiliários, empresas de arrendamento mercantil, cooperativas de crédito, empresas de seguro privado e de capitalização e entidades de previdência privada aberta;
b) Pessoas jurídicas que tiverem lucros, rendimentos ou ganhos de capital oriundos do exterior;
c) Pessoas jurídicas que, autorizadas pela legislação tributária, queiram usufruir de benefícios fiscais relativos à isenção ou redução do imposto de renda;
d)  Pessoas jurídicas que, no decorrer do ano-calendário, tenham efetuado o recolhimento mensal com base em estimativa; 
e) pessoas jurídicas que explorem as atividades de prestação cumulativa e contínua de serviços de assessoria creditícia, mercadológica, gestão de crédito, seleção e riscos, administração de contas a pagar e a receber, compras de direitos creditórios resultantes de vendas mercantis a prazo ou de prestação de serviços ( factoring ).
Observação: o recolhimento mensal com base em estimativa é pagamento mensal da tributação pelo Lucro Real, não se confundido com a tributação pelo lucro Presumido.

1) A obrigatoriedade a que se refere o item "b" acima não se aplica à pessoa jurídica que auferir receita de exportação de mercadorias e da prestação direta de serviços no exterior. Não se considera direta a prestação de serviços realizada no exterior por intermédio de filiais, sucursais, agências, representações, coligadas, controladas e outras unidades descentralizadas da pessoa jurídica que lhes sejam assemelhadas (ADI SRF n º 5, de 2001).
2) A pessoa jurídica que houver pago o imposto com base no lucro presumido e que, em relação ao mesmo ano-calendário, incorrer em situação de obrigatoriedade de apuração pelo lucro real por ter auferido lucros, rendimentos ou ganhos de capital oriundos do exterior, deverá apurar o IRPJ e a CSLL sob o regime de apuração pelo lucro real trimestral a partir, inclusive, do trimestre da ocorrência do fato (ADI SRF n º 5, de 2001).
3)Os percentuais a serem aplicados na apuração do lucro presumido, conforme  site da Receita Federal, são:


As pessoas jurídicas e as pessoas físicas a elas equiparadas, domiciliadas no País, devem apurar o IRPJ com base no lucro, que pode ser real, presumido ou arbitrado. A alíquota do IRPJ é de 15% (quinze por cento) sobre o lucro apurado, com adicional de 10% sobre a parcela do lucro que exceder R$ 20.000,00 / mês.

A parcela do lucro real que exceder ao resultado da multiplicação de R$20.000,00 (vinte mil reais) pelo número dos meses do respectivo período de apuração sujeita-se à incidência do adicional, à alíquota de 10% (dez por cento). Também se encontra sujeita ao adicional a parcela da base de cálculo estimada mensal, no caso das pessoas jurídicas que optaram pela apuração do imposto de renda sobre o lucro real anual, presumido ou arbitrado, que exceder a R$ 20.000,00 (vinte mil reais).
Em relação às pessoas jurídicas que optarem pela apuração do lucro presumido ou arbitrado, o adicional incide sobre a parcela que exceder o valor resultante da multiplicação de R$ 20.000,00 (vinte mil reais) pelo número de meses do respectivo período de apuração.
A alíquota do adicional é única para todas as pessoas jurídicas, inclusive instituições financeiras, sociedades seguradoras e assemelhadas.
O adicional incide, inclusive, sobre os resultados tributáveis de pessoa jurídica que explore atividade rural (Lei nº 9.249, de 1995, art. 3º, § 3º). No caso de atividades mistas, a base de cálculo do adicional será a soma do lucro real apurado nas atividades em geral com o lucro real apurado na atividade rural.


A pessoa jurídica sujeita à tributação com base no Lucro Real  ANUAL poderá optar pelo pagamento do imposto e adicional, em cada mês, determinados sobre base de cálculo estimada (Lei 9.430/1996, artigo 2o).
 A opção por esse tipo de recolhimento deve ser manifestada com o pagamento do imposto de renda correspondente ao mês de janeiro ou de início de atividade e será considerada irretratável para todo o ano-calendário (RIR/1999, art. 222).
A base de cálculo estimada  pode ser determinada das seguintes formas (facultado ao contribuinte a qual for mais vantajosa):
a) Com base na Receita Bruta auferida mensalmente: sobre a receita bruta mensal aplica-se percentuais constantes no artigo 15, § lº, da Lei 9.249/1995, acrescidos das demais receitas (ganho de capital, juros, variação monetária ativa, etc.).
b) Com base em balancetes mensais de suspensão ou redução:
b1) SUSPENSÃO - através do balancete mensal acumulado, demonstra-se que o imposto pago até a data do balancete é maior que o devido. Exemplo: em 30 de abril, pelo balancete acumulado de janeiro a abril do respectivo ano, apurou-se um imposto devido de R$ 10.000,00 e até essa data já foi recolhido R$ 12.000,00 - portanto, inexiste a obrigação de recolhimento do IRPJ. Essa opção, também, pode ser utilizada  nos meses em que houver prejuízo fiscal.
b2) REDUÇÃO - através do balancete mensal acumulado demonstra-se que o imposto devido, com base no lucro real, é inferior ao apurado com base na receita bruta mensal da empresa, conforme citado no item "a", podendo haver a redução do recolhimento mensal.
Os percentuais a serem aplicados sobre a receita bruta, para fins de determinação da base de cálculo estimada são: (RIR/1999,art.223)


Nota 1:  Se a receita bruta ultrapassar R$ 120.000/ano, ficará sujeita ao percentual de 32%, retroativamente ao mês de janeiro. Neste caso, deve-se efetuar o recolhimento das diferenças do IRPJ apurado, até o último dia útil do mês subsequente àquele que ocorrer o excesso, sem nenhum acréscimo.
Nota 2: As pessoas jurídicas exclusivamente prestadoras de
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          My Ideal Stock Report   
So, if I was going to create my own stock report and put what I wanted in it, this is what it would look like right here:

May 10, 2009 - Sunday Evening

The market had a big turnaround Friday to a higher high for the Dow30 and the SP-500 and clears the path for a continued uptrend. The Nasdaq Composite looks like it is taking a rest as technology stocks have been far ahead of the other indices these past weeks. The financials catapulted the Dow and S&P and these two charts look very strong for more likely gains.

At the same time we have euphoria with bullish market conditions that easily gives profits to the lazy investor we cannot ignore the technical indicators that are giving overbought conditions on a short term basis. The VIX-X, Chicago Board of Options Market Volatility Index is a measure of “fear” and this looks like we should have a short term correction that may start this week. Sentimentrader’s Smart money/dumb money index and Telechart’s T2108 chart shows strong overbought conditions and S&P Oscillator shows mild overbought, Investor’s Intelligence is a slower indicator to develop but confirming other indicators. Remember these are short term indicators and will “reset” themselves once we have a short term correction.

We then would look to see if the market is going to have higher highs to resume this uptrend we have been on since March 10th.

REPEAT FROM Thursday Night: This may be a good time to close long positions on this temporary “pop” as we are seeing many stocks showing topping patterns that were once momentum stocks. We use these “early scouts” as indicators that people are starting to take profits on the high fliers.

As you have been reading in this report the last few days that many stocks are getting dangerous to buy long, remain nimble and set tighter trailing stop losses because it would only take 1-2 days of sharp corrections to give up all the long profits we have made recently. Most long positions in the stock list below are now closed as we move mostly to intraday trading (scalping) tomorrow.

The stocks that have been the hottest runs or what could be called momentum stocks, ASH, CIEN, ARO, BIDU, CLF, MEE (and many others we don’t have listed) are going to correct hardest and it is likely that we see some rebound attempt next week but my hunch is that the market will start breaking down and short opportunities with short swings will be very profitable.

So in technical analysis terms, it is possible that today was a key reversal indicator (short term) and that is my personal hunch. We are going into a transitional period where we have few positions and most will likely be now short. You could play part of your opening short positions tomorrow early and add to them as any bounce in the market occurs.

Note the life insurance stocks had a big move up today against the tide because some insurance companies were listed by the Federal Reserve as passing the stress test and not needing additional funding. The whole sector moved up, PRU, MET, HIG, PFG.

The Oil index moved up 4% today to close at $58.67 and is still shadowing the direction of the indices. Moving averages, MACD, OBV, stochastics and price charges are all starting to turn up on this sector, use XOIL as index.

Intermediate Trade Positions: NGS, Natural Gas Services is showing a nice uptrend along with the natural gas ETF, UNG. For 10 ½ months natural gas has experienced a steep drop and this recent rise in the last 8 days is the most significant of all. It is likely to see a little selling in this sector first before higher advances are made. So the best process is to let it run its current run and then pullback before opening a position.

It is good to see the companion sector of oil moving up as well so monitoring XOIL and other oil and gas stocks like XTO, EOG, COG, GMXR, APA, ATPG, CNQ, and SNP would be good to get a feel of the oil and gas sector.

Swing Trades: CMG, Chipotle Mexican Grill has more downside but let it rebound up to $80+ before considering opening a small short position.

MEE rebounded Friday but monitor this as a potential swing short trade assuming it does not make a higher high over last Thursday’s high. It looks a little on the weak side so be prepared to open a small short if it doesn’t move above $23.50 tomorrow.

Potential short swings:

ABG, Asburn Automotive is starting to turn over but still needs another spike down tomorrow to confirm a short candidates. This needs a little more time to convince us that it does to go higher highs before shorting.

ADCT, ADC Telecomm looks like a very good short idea that was opened today and is likely going to break down over the next two weeks. Worth a short position tomorrow.

REPEAT: For aggressive traders or very small position: In the next 4 to 6 weeks, look for GM, General Motors to do a reverse split and watch for opportunity to sell short or work with long put options or selling calls short. This won’t happen for some time. They plan to do a 1 for 100 shares reverse split. That will put the stock at $185 at current pricing and reverse splits are desperation attempts to stay listed on the exchange, usually done by deeply troubled companies financially. This last gasp for air strategy rarely works.

Day Traders/Intraday stock ideas: CMG, Chipotle Mexican Grill swing trade short was covered Friday morning and may give another short opportunity (2nd helping).

MEE, Massey Energy and PCX, Patriot Coal both had excellent scalps, 8.5% for MEE and 11.8% for PCX. Look for a slight pop and a drop but don’t expect for the same big profits as on Friday. These could give both long and short scalps. Intraday trading is pumping out strong profits most every day now and I see that pattern continuing. As usual, look for good intraday trades in GMXR, FSLR, ICE, BLK, CME, BIDU, AMZN, WHR, IPI, POT, MON, MOS, COG, EOG, XTO, AAPL, WFC, JPM, BAC, WFC, JPM, C, and USB or any high volume, high volatility stocks. CSIQ and STP had big short scalps, 9.3% for CSIQ and 10.8% for STP.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: You are currently paying $59 a month for The Daily Stock Report to be delivered to you via email and full access to all reports and videos in the Members Area at www.TradeStocksAmerica.com. Your fee will never go up as long as you remain a member. The website has been updated to reflect the new rate for FUTURE Daily Stock Report subscribers at $97 a month. Existing subscribers will not be charged higher costs.

Progress Report: We have had numerous requests for the real-time the Trading Room and we will be more aggressive with the programming of this software. Our first programming attempt last summer was abandoned and more capable programmers are on the task now. We will keep you posted but our estimate is mid June if all goes well. The delivery of information and quality of ideas will be very unique-there won’t be anything like this!

Thoughts: Keep steady, calm, decisive, aggressive. Have no fear and no greed. Keep looking at what to be doing next in a calm manner. Don’t focus on the past or beat yourself up what you did or didn’t do or what you should have done. Just keep playing the next shot, which in this business your next shot could be just sitting on the sideline.

If you have been uncomfortable shorting stocks, which most people are, try to learn this technique, it will be a useful tool in the coming years.

When I list several stocks from the same sector, like the housing industry for example, don’t short all of them unless you are well diversified and it represents a small percentage of your total stock account (in that same account).

Ticker Symbol Type
Notes Target
Open Price Target
GE, General Electric LONG-INT Still acting strong, didn’t turn over; hold if long.
BAC, Bank of Amer NEUTRAL Banks hot on stress test news.
ASH, Ashland LONG-INT Excellent intraday scalp Friday; may give us short soon?
CIEN, Cienna LONG-INT Breaking down; swing trade idea long next week
RS, Reliance Steel LONG-INT No trade idea; DELETE
ARO, Aropostale LONG-INT Could give us long swing trade opp next few days
SWKS, Skyworks LONG-INT No trade idea; DELETE.
RADS, Radiant Sys LONG-SWI Watch & wait, may present short possibility?
AMZN, Amazon LONG-INT No trade idea; stopped Thursday.
BIDU, Baidu LONG-INT Still in uptrend but sold “just in case”
UTX, United Tech LONG-INT Still going up; too dangerous to buy now
AAPL, Apple Cmptr LONG-INT Sell signal Friday.
DIOD, Diodes LONG-INT 2 big down days; watch and wait, possible Swing long.
CMG, Chipotle SHORT-INT Covered short position Friday, might get 2nd helping soon 84 75.50
SMH, Semi ETF LONG-INT Turning over; Nasdaq taking a rest
STP, Suntech SHORT-SWI No trade idea; DELETE
CSIQ, Canadian Sol SHORT-SWI Short swing idea near $10? Very small short position
BCRX, Biocryst SHORT-SWI No trade idea although still breaking down
JPM, JP Morgan LONG-SWI 10.5% move up today, higher high on bank news
RST, Rosetta Stone LONG-INT Look for rebound started Friday.
QCOM, Qualcomm LONG-INT Sell Friday if still long; may present long entry next week
GS, Goldman Sachs LONG-INT Resurged up, resuming uptrend.
GMXR, GMX Res LONG-INT On sidelines, looking for short entry?
CLF, Cliffs Nat’l LONG-INT No position.
MEE, Massey Energy SHORT-SWI Short position opened; hold into next week 23.25 17
RIMM, Research LONG-INT No postion.
IBM, Int’l Bus. Mach LONG-INT Worth small long position 100.500
RTN, Raytheon LONG-INT Bad sell
ADCT, ADC Comm SHORT-SWI Mistyped last report; hold short position 8 6.50

SWI (SWING): 2-7 days INT: Intermediate term position 8 days to several months. Open Price: price paid on opening long position or price sold on short position. Bold notes on table above represent changes from previous day.
Current positions are highlighted in yellow. Green colored lines are next probable positions to consider. Red, take action or watch closely.
IMPORTANT: The notes in this stock list is how I have been writing notes to myself about stocks for 16 years. They are general guidelines as to how I am approaching a particular stock and conditions may change during the next trading day that may cause a change in opinion before the next evening report is written.
Thoughts: Best odds only, be decisive, aggressive, mentally flexible, stay in position size, don’t overtrade and wait a little longer to buy and wait a little longer to sell. You will find that will make you more money on your trades. Trade what you see, not what you hope for. Intermediate and swing trades are really important to have trailing stop losses set.
Don’t trade unless the setup is there for you, then use the charts to tell you when the odds are heavily in your favor. Don’t force anything to work for you, let the setups develop and then take advantage of that. Be patient. Stay in position sizes without letting any intraday trade represent no more than 10-15% of your total account value. As you build your account, your position size percentage should get smaller and smaller to lower your risk.

Have a great day and I’ll talk to you this tomorrow.
Mitch King
Contents: online stock trading, trading strategies, stock picks, stock market education, stock market investing course and educational stock trading videos.
Mitch King is the founder of TradeStocksAmerica.com. All material presented herein is believed to be reliable but we cannot attest to its accuracy. All material represents the opinions of Mitch King. Investment recommendations may change without notice and readers are urged to check with their investment counselors before making any investment decisions. Opinions expressed in these reports may change without prior notice. Mitch King and/or the staff at TradeStocksAmerica.com may or may not have investments in any stocks cited above before or after this newsletter is prepared. Opinions expressed in these reports may change without prior notice. Disclaimer - Stock investing or stock trading has large potential rewards, but also large potential risk. There is risk of loss as well as the opportunity for gain when buying or selling stocks, bonds, option contracts or engaging in any strategy listed in the Daily Stock Report, The Wizard Training Course, The Trading Room and our seminar or workshops. You must be aware of the risks and be willing to accept the risks when investing or trading in any financial markets. Don't trade with money you can't afford to lose. This website is neither a solicitation nor an offer to Buy/Sell stocks. No representation is being made that any account will or is likely to achieve profits or losses similar to those discussed on this website. The past performance of any trading system or methodology is not necessarily indicative of future results.
Bill Smith, Vaunted Stock enthusiast, who has found a great stock report, by Mitch King at www.tradestocksamerica.com.
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          Excessive force lawsuit against deputy, county dismissed   
TACOMA, Wash. (AP) -- A federal judge has dismissed an excessive force lawsuit brought by the family of a man fatally shot by police during a February 2014 traffic stop....
          Boucher, Dingell in House Energy Committee Call for Cap-and-Trade   

As he previously announced he would, Energy and Commerce’s Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee chair Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) released the first of a series of white papers on climate legislation today, Scope of a Cap-and-Trade Program.

Based on the hearings earlier this year, the Committee and Subcommittee Chairmen have reached the following conclusions: The United States should reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by between 60 and 80 percent by 2050 to contribute to global efforts to address climate change. To do so, the United States should adopt an economy-wide, mandatory greenhouse gas reduction program. The central component of this program should be a cap-and-trade program. Given the breadth of the economy that will be affected by a national climate change program and the significant environmental consequences at stake, it is important to design a fair program that obtains the maximum emission reductions at the lowest cost and with the least economic disruption. The Subcommittee and full Committee will draft legislation to establish such a program.

Oddly, the white paper fails to mention a baseline for emissions reductions; the scientific consensus for the 80 percent reduction is from 1990 emissions levels.

The white paper makes no recommendations on how credits should be allocated, though Boucher has stated his resistance to auctions in the past. Nor does it discuss interaction with foreign carbon markets or how to deal with imports from unregulated entities.

The white paper argues that complementary measures are necessary:
“Even with a broad-based cap-and-trade program, complementary measures (such as a carbon tax or other tax-based incentives, efficiency or other performance standards, or research and development programs) will also be needed. For example, funding for research, development, and deployment of new technologies would assist industries that will need to adopt new technologies. In addition, efficiency or other performance standards might be appropriate for some economic actors that would be inappropriate to include directly in a cap-and-trade program, but that should contribute to an economy-wide reduction program in some other way.

Proposed measures range from Dingell’s carbon tax, increased CAFE standards, appliance and lighting efficiency standards, a federal renewable energy standard, to carbon sequestration funding.

Further notes are below.

Interestingly, the report draws extensively from the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions September report, Size Thresholds for Greenhouse Gas Regulation: Who Would be Affected by a 10,000-ton CO2 Emissions Rule? The Nicholas Institute is run by Sen. Lieberman’s former environmental counsel, Nick Profeta.

A later white paper will discuss carbon offsets in the agricultural and industrial sector.

Greenhouse gas emissions from other sources in [the industrial] sector (such as landfills) generally may not lend themselves to regulation under a cap-and-trade program if there is difficulty in measuring the emissions accurately. For example, EPA currently operates methane programs that encourages landfills and other soruces to capture gas and use it for electricity generation. . . . The agricultural sector, however, does have significant opportunities to reduce emissions that may lend themselves to measurement, which could make them appropriate as a source of credits or offsets in a cap-and-trade program…. [manure methane capture, cropland biological sinks]... A later White Paper will discuss the potential for using such reductions as offsets or credits as part of the cap-and-trade program.

          Too Close For Comfort: Insiders Worry About DOJ Lawyers Speaking At White House   
John Huber is a career prosecutor in Utah who's served in both Democratic and Republican administrations. This month, the Trump White House nominated him to serve as a U.S. attorney in that state. But it came as something of a surprise to current and former Justice Department veterans Wednesday when Huber appeared for a news conference in Washington: not in the halls of Justice, but at the White House podium. Huber and the director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement used the platform to advocate for the passage of House bills that increase penalties for undocumented immigrants who break the law and jurisdictions that refuse to share information with federal immigration authorities. "Kate's Law enhances our ability to stem the tide of criminals who seem to almost always return to victimize us," Huber told the reporters assembled in the briefing room. He added: "Forty percent of my felony caseload in Utah are criminal alien prosecutions. If it's a problem in Utah, it's a problem for
          Rosenstein Says Most Important Part Of The Job Is To Maintain Public Confidence   
Running the Justice Department presents a challenge in any administration. But the Trump era is different. In just five months, Justice leaders have been under heavy pressure, on everything from the travel ban to the Russia investigation. And one man, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, is bearing the weight. Here's something you need to know about Rosenstein: He's worked at the Justice Department for his entire career, nearly 27 years. Last year, Rosenstein told NPR the advice he gives younger lawyers. "That the most important part of their job is to protect the brand," he said. "You know, it's important to win cases, it's important to solve crimes, but it's more important that we maintain public confidence in the Department of Justice." Protecting the brand has gotten a lot more difficult. The Trump administration has shaken the foundations of federal law enforcement. First, the attorney general recused himself from the investigation into Russian influence in last year's
          Justice Department Narrows Scope Of 'Sanctuary Cities' Executive Order   
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is narrowing the scope of an executive order on so-called sanctuary cities. A federal judge in California last month blocked a key part of that order, reasoning that the Trump administration had overstepped by threatening to yank federal money from those places. In the new memo, the attorney general defines the cities narrowly — as places that "willfully refuse to comply" with federal law. Sessions also made clear the threats apply only to a modest pool of grants administered by the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security, not the entire stream of U.S. funding for states and localities. That point figured prominently in the recent ruling by federal Judge William Orrick, who wrote: "Federal funding that bears no meaningful relationship to immigration enforcement cannot be threatened merely because a jurisdiction chooses an immigration-enforcement strategy of which the president disapproves." Sessions recently notified several
          Trump Travel Ban Returned To Court, With President's Words At The Center   
Updated at 7 p.m. ET A 13-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit heard arguments on Monday over President Trump's revised travel ban, with judges repeatedly questioning the government's lawyer in the case about Trump's campaign call "for a complete and total shutdown" of Muslims entering the country. The president's first executive order restricting visitors from a handful of majority-Muslim countries provoked chaos at airports across the country in January. Federal judges stepped in to block the order, partly because it included legal permanent residents, who have rights under the U.S. Constitution. Weeks later, the White House issued a new order, dropping Iraq from the list of countries whose travelers faced restrictions and making clear green-card holders would not be covered. Judges on the court based in Richmond, Va., on Monday returned over and over to remarks made by Trump during the campaign. Judge Henry Floyd questioned Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey
          DEA Seeks Prosecutors To Fight Opioid Crisis; Critics Fear Return To War On Drugs   
The Drug Enforcement Administration has proposed hiring its own prosecutor corps to bring cases related to drug trafficking, money laundering and asset forfeiture — a move that advocacy groups warn could exceed the DEA's legal authority and reinvigorate the 1980s-era war on drugs. Citing the epidemic in opioid-related overdoses, the DEA said it wants to hire as many as 20 prosecutors to enhance its resources and target the biggest offenders. The DEA said the new force of lawyers "would be permitted to represent the United States in criminal and civil proceedings before the courts and apply for various legal orders." The agency would use money it gets from companies that manufacture and dispense certain kinds of prescription drugs under the federal Controlled Substances Act. The agency's proposal, published in the federal register in March , received little if any public attention. But it would represent the first time the DEA had its own, dedicated prosecutors to go after drug-related
          Judge OKs Auction Of Whitey Bulger’s Assets For Victims’ Families   
A federal judge has approved the sale of dozens of items belonging to Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger.
          Feds Warn Bidders Of Possible Land Mines On NH Property Ahead Of Auction   
Federal officials preparing to sell the New Hampshire compound will openly warn bidders that land mines might be planted throughout the 103-acre property.
          Brandon Smith: “Next Phase of Collapse Will Include the End of the Dollar as We Know It”   
Brandon Smith: “Next Phase of Collapse Will Include the End of the Dollar as We Know It”

The Federal Reserve Is A Saboteur – And The “Experts” Are Oblivious
I have written on the subject of the Federal Reserve’s deliberate sabotage of the U.S. economy many times in the past. In fact, I even once referred to the Fed as an “economic suicide bomber.” I still believe the label fits perfectly, and the Fed’s recent actions I think directly confirm my accusations.
Back in 2015, when I predicted that the central bankers would shift gears dramatically into a program of consistent interest rate hikes and that they would begin cutting off stimulus to the U.S. financial sector and more specifically stock markets, almost no one wanted to hear it. The crowd-think at that time was that the Fed would inevitably move to negative interest rates, and that raising rates was simply “impossible.”

Many analysts, even in the liberty movement, quickly adopted this theory without question. Why? Because of a core assumption that is simply false; the assumption that the Federal Reserve’s goal is to maintain the U.S. economy at all costs or at least maintain the illusion that the economy is stable. They assume that the U.S. economy is indispensable to the globalists and that the U.S. dollar is an unassailable tool in their arsenal. Therefore, the Fed would never deliberately undermine the American fiscal structure because without it “they lose their golden goose.”
This is, of course, foolish nonsense.
Since its initial inception from 1913-1916, the Federal Reserve has been responsible for the loss of 98% of the dollar’s buying power. Idiot analysts in the mainstream argue that this statistic is not as bad as it seems because “people have been collecting interest” on their cash while the dollar’s value has been dropping, and this somehow negates or outweighs any losses in purchasing power. These guys are so dumb they don’t even realize the underlying black hole in their own argument.
IF someone put their savings into an account or into treasury bonds and earned interest from the moment the Fed began quickly undermining dollar value way back in 1959, then yes, they MIGHT have offset the loss by collecting interest. However, this argument, insanely, forgets to take into account the many millions of people who were born long after the Fed began its devaluation program. What about the “savers” born in 1980, or 1990? They didn’t have the opportunity to collect interest to offset the losses already created by the Fed. They were born into an economy where saving is inherently more difficult because a person must work much harder to save the same amount of capital that their parents saved, not to mention purchase the same items their parents enjoyed, such as a home or a car.
Over the decades, the Fed has made it nearly impossible for households with one wage earner to support a family. Today, men and women who should be in the prime of their careers and starting families are for the first time in 130 years more likely to be living at home with their parents than any other living arrangement.
People are more likely to be living with their parents now than back during time periods in which young people actually wanted to stay close to their parents to take care of them. That is to say, most young people are stuck at home because they can’t afford to do anything else, not because they necessarily want to be there.
This is almost entirely a symptom of central bank devaluation of the currency and its purchasing potential. The degradation of the American wage earner since the Fed fiat machine began killing the greenback is clear as day.
The Fed is also responsible for almost every single major economic downturn since it was established. As I have noted in the past, Ben Bernanke openly admitted that the Fed was the root cause of the prolonged economic carnage during the Great Depression on Nov. 8, 2002, in a speech given at “A Conference to Honor Milton Friedman … On the Occasion of His 90th Birthday:”
“In short, according to Friedman and Schwartz, because of institutional changes and misguided doctrines, the banking panics of the Great Contraction were much more severe and widespread than would have normally occurred during a downturn.
Let me end my talk by abusing slightly my status as an official representative of the Federal Reserve. I would like to say to Milton and Anna: Regarding the Great Depression. You’re right, we did it. We’re very sorry. But thanks to you, we won’t do it again.”
Bernanke is referring in part to the Fed’s program of raising interest rates into an economic downturn, exacerbating the situation in the early 1930’s and making the system highly unstable. He lies and says the Fed “won’t do it again;” they are doing it RIGHT NOW.
The Fed was the core instigator behind the credit and derivatives bubble that led to the crash in 2008, a crash that has caused depression-like conditions in America that we are still to this day dealing with. Through artificially low interest rates and in partnership with sectors of government, poor lending standards were highly incentivised and a massive debt trap was created. Former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan publicly admitted in an interview that the central bank KNEW an irrational bubble had formed, but claims they assumed the negative factors would “wash out.”
Yet again, a Fed chairman admits that they either knew about or caused a major financial crisis. So we are left two possible conclusions — they were too stupid to speak up and intervene, or, they wanted these disasters to occur.
Today, we are faced with two more brewing bubble catastrophes engineered by the Fed: The stock market bubble and the dollar/treasury bond bubble.
The stock market bubble is rather obvious and openly admitted at this point. As the former head of the Federal Reserve Dallas branch, Richard Fisher, admitted in an interview with CNBC, the U.S. central bank in particular has made its business the manipulation of the stock market to the upside since 2009:
“What the Fed did — and I was part of that group — is we front-loaded a tremendous market rally, starting in 2009.
It’s sort of what I call the “reverse Whimpy factor” — give me two hamburgers today for one tomorrow.”
Fisher went on to hint at his very reserved view of the impending danger:
“I was warning my colleagues, Don’t go wobbly if we have a 10 to 20 percent correction at some point… Everybody you talk to… has been warning that these markets are heavily priced.” [In reference to interest rate hikes]
The Fed “front-loaded” the incredible bull market rally through various methods, but one of the key tools was the use of near-zero interest rate overnight loans from the central bank, which corporations around the world have been exploiting since the 2008 crash to fund stock buybacks and pump up the value of stock markets. As noted by Edward Swanson, author of a study from Texas A&M on stock buybacks used to offset poor fundamentals:
“We can’t say for sure what would have happened without the repurchase, but it really looks like the stock would have kept going down because of the decline in fundamentals… these repurchases seem to hold up the stock price.”
In the initial TARP audit, an audit that was limited and never again duplicated, it was revealed that corporations had absorbed trillions in overnight loans from the Fed. It was at this time that stock buybacks became the go-to method to artificially prop up equities values.
The problem is, just like they did at the start of the Great Depression, the central bank is once again raising interest rates into a declining economy. This means that all those no-cost loans used by corporations to buy back their own stocks are now going to have a price tag attached. An interest rate of 1% might not seem like much to someone who borrows $1000, but what about for someone who borrows $1 Trillion? Yes, borrowing at ANY interest rate becomes impossible when you need that much capital to prop up your stock. The loans have to be free, otherwise, there will be no loans.
Thus, we have to ask ourselves another question; is the Fed really ignorant enough to NOT know that raising rates will kill stock markets? They openly admit that they knew what they were doing when they inflated stock markets, so it seems to me that they would know how to deflate stock markets. Therefore, if they deliberately engineered the market rally with low interest rates, it follows that they are deliberately engineering a crash in markets using higher interest rates.
Mainstream economists and investment “experts” appear rather bewildered by the Federal Reserve’s exuberance on rate hikes. Many assumed that Janet Yellen would hint at a pullback from the hike schedule due to the considerable level of negative data on our fiscal structure released over the past six months. Yellen has done the opposite. In fact, Fed officials are now stating that equities and other assets appear to be “overvalued” and that markets have become complacent. This is a major reversal from the central bank’s attitude just two years ago. The fundamental data has always been negative ever since the credit crisis began. So what has really changed?
Well, Donald Trump, the sacrificial scapegoat, is now in the White House, and, central bank stimulus has a shelf life.  They can’t prop up equities for much longer even if they wanted to. The fundamentals will always catch up with the fiat illusion. No nation in history has ever been able to print its way to prosperity or even recovery. The time is now for the Fed to pull the plug and lay blame in the lap of their mortal enemy – conservatives and sovereignty champions. They will ignore all financial reality and continue to hike. This is a guarantee.
In the Liberty Movement the major misconception is that the Fed is attempting to “catch up” to the next crash by raising interest rates so that they will be ready to stimulate again. There is no catching up to this situation. The Fed has no interest in saving stock markets or the economy. Again, the fed has raised rates before into fiscal decline (during the Great Depression), and the result was a prolonged crisis. They know exactly what they are doing.
What does the Fed gain from this sabotage? Total centralization. For example, before the Great Depression there used to be thousands of smaller private and localized banks in America. After the Great Depression most of those banks were either destroyed or absorbed by elite banking conglomerates. Banking in the U.S. immediately became a fully centralized monopoly by the majors. In a decade, they were able to remove all local competition and redundancy, making communities utterly beholden to their credit system.
The 2008 crash allowed the banking elites to introduce vast stimulus measures requiring unaccountable fiat money creation. Rather than saving America from crisis, they have expanded the crisis to the point that it will soon threaten the world reserve status of our currency. The Fed in particular has set the U.S. up not just for a financial depression, but for a full spectrum calamity which will include a considerable devaluation (yet again) of our currency’s value and resulting in extreme price inflation in necessities.
The next phase of this collapse will include the end of the dollar as we know it, making way for a new global currency system that uses the IMF’s SDR basket as a foundation. This plan is openly admitted in the elitist run magazine ‘The Economist’ in an article entitled “Get Ready For A Global Currency By 2018.
It is important to understand what the Fed actually is — the Fed is a weapon. It is a weapon used by globalists to destroy the American system at a given point in time in order to clear the way for a new single world economy controlled by a single managerial entity (most likely the IMF or BIS). This is the Fed’s purpose. The central bank is not here to save the U.S. from harm, it is here to make sure the U.S. falls in a particular manner — a controlled demolition of our fiscal structure.

The US Is Becoming A 3rd World Nation As The Economy Breaks Down: Paul Craig Roberts


          Federal A: Salvador Mónaco es el nuevo DT de Deportivo Madryn   
El experimentado entrenador jugó instancias finales de los torneos federales con Unión Aconquija, además de dirigir a Mitre de Santiago del Estero y conformar con Ricardo Salomón una dupla técnica al frente de Atlético Tucumán, entre otros equipos. Hoy en horas de la mañana la dirigencia encabezada por el Presidente Gustavo Sastre confirmó la noticia, […]
Crewman who are injured or who become ill while working aboard Alaska fishing vessels are protected by Federal Maritime Law. Being seriously injured causes emotional and economic stress on an injured fisherman and his family. Experienced maritime injury lawyers understand that an important part of any legal case for an injured fisherman is recovering compensation […]
          India launches new single nationwide tax amid confusion   
Shops and businesses have reopened in India amid confusion following the introduction of a new nationwide tax that will change the cost of nearly everything people buy, replacing a complicated mix of state and federal taxes.
          Se vende - casa nueva en chachapa - $ 720 000   

Puebla 72595, México
Casa nueva en San Lorenzo Chachapa, a dos calles de la carretera federal a Tehuacan. Sala, comedor, cocina integral, tres habitaciones, tres baños completos, estacionami...

          Feds will now target relatives who smuggled in children   
The new "surge initiative" by Immigration and Customs Enforcement marks the latest get-tough approach to immigration by the federal governme…
          Comentario en Estados deben justificar 25,894 millones de recursos federales que recibieron en 2016: ASF por Flor   
Deberían verificar las solapadas que realizan con fotomontajes falsos en sucesos exagerados como lo que sucedió en Inundación ingresaron paquetes de fotos falsas como enviando mensaje de: Se requieren más recursos para su aprobación ó se gastó el recurso en las inundaciones falsas que se publicaron.
          Restorative Aide - Weslaco Nursing & Rehabilitation Center - Weslaco, TX   
Maintain all documentation as required by Federal, State and Company regulations. Must be a Certified Nurse Aide....
From Regency Post-Acute Healthcare System - Sat, 17 Jun 2017 10:38:31 GMT - View all Weslaco, TX jobs
          Apartamento à venda - em Xangri-Lá   
2 dormitórios 1 banheiros 48 m2 3.500 R$/m²
Sat, 01 Jul 2017 22:33:03 +0200
           Fyre Festival founder leaves court with wire fraud charge    
Fyre Festival founder William McFarland, 25, was pictured leaving Federal Court in New York City on Saturday following his presentment over wire fraud charges
          Computer Technician - The Sage Colleges - Albany, NY   
No phone calls please. The College is also subject to state and federal laws, supports efforts to attract and retain fully qualified women and other minority...
From The Sage Colleges - Wed, 24 May 2017 22:24:15 GMT - View all Albany, NY jobs
          WWD Law Review: O’Neil v. O’Neill and Trump v. Aquazurra   
New York-based men’s wear brand Thaddeus O’Neil is the latest brand to face off against a larger, older one with a similar name, highlighting a consistent concern in the fashion industry. In political fashion, a New York federal court judge has ordered Ivanka Trump to testify under oath in the latest development in the closely watched copying lawsuit filed against her by Aquazzura. And in China, authorities have taken to lashing out against reports that it is the source of the majority of fake goods in the European Union and a threat to U.S. intellectual property. The Name Game A battle between New York-based men’s wear brand Thaddeus O’Neil and Southern California-based surfwear company O’Neill is shedding light on the ever-present legal issues surrounding brand names. According to O’Neill’s opposition to Thaddeus O’Neil’s pending trademark application for the Thaddeus O’Neil name, the men’s wear designer’s mark “is likely to cause confusion with [O’Neill’s own] registered marks.” The surf brand has also alleged that it “believes it will be damaged by registration of the [Thaddeus O’Neil] mark,” especially given the surf-inspired nature of his brand. The matter is an apt reminder that designers are not legally entitled to use their own names in a commercial […]
           Brazil top prosecutor says more proof to come against president Temer    
By Lisandra ParaguassuSAO PAULO, July 1 (Reuters) - Brazil's top federal prosecutor said on Saturday that he took no pleasure in charging President Michel...
          Excessive force lawsuit against deputy, county dismissed   
TACOMA, Wash. (AP) -- A federal judge has dismissed an excessive force lawsuit brought by the family of a man fatally shot by police during a February 2014 traffic stop....
          The get-up-to-speed-guide on the school voucher debate   

With a choice-friendly President and Secretary of Education now in office, private school choice programs have been cast into the national spotlight. This week has been no different: On Monday, researchers released two major studies on vouchers—one on Indiana’s program, the other on Louisiana’s—and the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a decision that may have implications for choice programs across this nation.

Among other things, this means that the debate on private school choice has moved from the periphery of the education policy conversation to center stage. As a result, some of you may be joining the conversation for the first time. As a long-time participant in the voucher wars, we at the Fordham Institute thought it might be helpful to offer a get-up-to-speed guide featuring some of our “greatest hits” on the topic.

We’ve arranged it around four questions:

  1. What does the research tell us about the impact of school vouchers on participants and on traditional public schools?
  2. What is smart policy regarding results-based accountability in the context of private school choice?
  3. How can we encourage private schools to participate in choice programs, and get high-quality schools to grow or replicate?
  4. What are the pros and cons of a big new federal initiative on private school choice?

What does the research tell us about the impact of school vouchers on participants and on traditional public schools?

Boosting student outcomes remains a key goal of private-school choice. While Fordham isn’t a program evaluator per se, we’ve been proud to assist and support several important empirical analyses on the impacts of vouchers on both participants and pupils in public schools. Back in the early 2000s, we helped support an experimental study of a privately funded scholarship program in Dayton. The analysis found that African American participants made significant progress (more so in reading). Fast forward almost a decade: Ohio lawmakers had enacted a statewide voucher program known as EdChoice. In 2008, Fordham and a number other groups released an early study offering evidence that vouchers may have improved public schools as competition increased. Eight years later, we released a rigorous analysis of EdChoice by David Figlio. His study would corroborate the “competitive effects” finding, though he also found that voucher students themselves lost ground on state tests. As we’ve discussed, however, the participant analysis has several limitations that should be kept in mind. For an accessible overview of this study, see Dr. Figlio’s slide deck presented at our February event on voucher research.

What is smart policy regarding results-based accountability in the context of private school choice?

One of the central, thorniest policy questions of private-school choice programs is whether and how to hold them accountable for results. In 2009, we interviewed twenty top thinkers on choice and accountability. They offered a variety of perspectives on matters such as testing and transparency around those results; financial disclosures; and whether low-performing private schools should be stripped of their ability to enroll scholarship students. In the end, we suggested a “sliding scale” approach—private schools with more voucher students would face closer scrutiny than those with just a handful. Five years later, we released a policy toolkit aimed at state legislators wrestling with accountability in voucher or scholarship programs. Our recommendations insisted on protecting private schools’ freedoms, while holding them accountable for student outcomes (again on a sliding scale). In a couple follow-up blog posts, we continued to make the case that choice, done well, requires accountability for student learning. We noted earlier this year that as scholarship programs have expanded, states have indeed put into place reasonable accountability provisions, debunking one of critics’ favorite claims—that voucher-accepting schools are “unaccountable.”

How can we encourage private schools to participate in choice programs, and get high-quality schools to grow or replicate?

Not every private school decides to admit scholarship students when given the opportunity. Why do some schools participate, while others decline? In Red Tape or Red Herring, we surveyed private-school leaders to find out which policies weigh most heavily on this decision. Most respondents cite regulations that restrict admissions or religious practices as deterrents, while just a minority felt that testing discourages participation. The overwhelming majority said they were motivated by the opportunity to “expand their mission to their community.” Our case study of five Ohio private schools also reveals that vouchers are seen as a way to reach more families. Yet the school leaders also are candid about the challenges of maintaining a culture of high expectations, while working on shoestring budgets. Similar themes are echoed in a Fordham report that looked inside Catholic voucher-accepting schools in Milwaukee.

What are the pros and cons of a big new federal initiative on private school choice?

This all brings us to the burning question of the day, at least for Beltway policy wonks: Should there be a federal private-school choice initiative—and what should it look like? On these questions, we’ve got you covered. Just two days before President Trump’s inauguration, we co-hosted an event that debated three options for a federal private-school choice program. Throughout February, we published the views of a dozen top-notch experts in our fourth annual “Wonkathon.” We crowned a quartet from the Foundation for Excellence in Education as our “wisest wonks” in this competition, having won a popular vote for the most persuasive proposal. In February and April, we at Fordham co-hosted events that continued to explore issues in a potential federal choice program, from both research and policy angles. After weighing the competing arguments, Mike expressed his skepticism about the wisdom of a big new federal tax credit scholarship program.


Needless to say, we at the Education Gadfly have logged countless hours and spilled much ink wrestling with the issues around private school choice. We’ve done everything from commenting on presidential candidate Al Gore’s position on vouchers to penning editorials in newspapers to testifying before legislators in our home state of Ohio. We’ll continue to be relentless in advocating for thriving private schools that are accessible to families of all backgrounds. We certainly don’t have all the answers to get us there, but we hope you’ll consider joining us in this effort.


Fordham reports

Marshall Allen, “Public Support for Catholic Schools” in Scott Hamilton (ed.) Who Will Save America’s Urban Public Schools (2008); Chester E. Finn, Jr., et al, When Private Schools Take Public Dollars: What’s the Place of Accountability in School Voucher Programs? (2009); David Stuit and Sy Doan, School Choice Regulations: Red Tape or Red Herring? (2012); Ellen Belcher, Pluck and Tenacity: How Five Private Schools in Ohio Have Adapted to Vouchers (2014); Fordham Institute, Public Accountability and Private-School Choice: A Policy Toolkit (2014); David Figlio and Krzysztof Karbownik, Evaluation of Ohio’s EdChoice Scholarship Program: Selection, Competition, and Performance Effects (2016).

Fordham commentary

Michael Petrilli, “The problem with ‘bad voucher schools aren’t a problem,’” (2014); Michael Petrilli and Chester E. Finn, Jr., “The two tracks of school reform,” (2014); Michael Petrilli, “Vouchers have changed. Maybe your position should change, too” (2017); Michael Petrilli and Richard Kahlenberg, “Two experts debate whether public funds should be used to support private school vouchers” (2017); Aaron Churchill, “Don’t neglect vouchers’ competitive effects” (2017); Michael Petrilli, “The Fordham Institute’s 2017 Wonkathon: The $20 billion school choice edition” (2017); Fordham Institute, “A new federal push on private school choice?” (2017); Fordham Institute, “A $20 billion school choice tax credit program: Yes, maybe, how so?” (2017); Chad L. Aldis, “Testimony before the Ohio House Finance Committee” (2017); Michael Petrilli, “The three miracles required for Donald Trump to become the patron saint of school choice” (2017).

          Making good on the apprenticeship promise will require major investment in states   

Apprenticeships are all the rage. President Trump recently announced a doubling of federal funding for apprenticeship programs to $200 million in his next budget. This follows an investment by President Obama of $50 million in the outgoing months of his administration. In fact, this follows a major rewrite of the federal legislation governing job training in 2014. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA) calls for a much greater level of coordination among workforce programs.

President Trump correctly noted that the organizational framework surrounding workforce development still needs some work, but this criticism is too simplistic. States have made major strides in recent years to improve the coordination of workforce development, and some have promoted apprenticeships as a part of the effort. The WIOA legislation made a requirement for workforce plans at the state level and some states have plans to expand apprenticeships. Many states have invested state tax revenue in apprenticeships and other mechanisms to strengthen training for youth.

Ohio, for instance, has recently taken critical steps to link apprenticeship programs to young people’s educational experiences. These include: 1) expanding linkages between high schools and state-recognized pre-apprenticeship programs through the College Credit Plus program, 2) developing an optional state recognized pre-apprenticeship pathway for students in regular career and technical programs, and, 3) expanding registered apprenticeships utilizing the state community college system, particularly for non-traditional apprentice occupations and under-represented populations.[1]

The point here is that apprenticeship programs are—not to mince words—boutique programs. A program that trains roughly 3,000 new apprentices a year in 2010 in Ohio cannot make a major dent in the labor demands for the state as a whole. In a study of ten states, only 35,000 students annually start apprenticeship programs. Ohio has over 5.8 million people working and has an unemployment rate of below 5 percent. There is great need for new entrants into the skilled trades. There are currently 7,500 jobs for “construction” alone and 700 for “welders” on OhioMeansJobs, the state online job posting system. In 2015, the combined output for all Ohio schools on an annual basis was only 654 welders. While it is projected to increase over time, the Ohio Education Research Center’s research shows that it can be very hard to meet the labor supply needs of growing firms with educational institutions.[2] All the more reason for the apprenticeship system to be improved.

Registered apprenticeship programs can be high quality. The best evidence indicates that the median annual earnings of completers of apprenticeships are over $60,000/year in the State of Washington, which works out to a median hourly wage of $37. In the ten-state study from 2012, the average difference in annual earnings for those in skilled professions was over $6,000 between those that did an apprenticeship and those that did not.  

Dr. Eric Hanushek recently suggested in an opinion piece that apprenticeships might not be the ideal education program for youth, and that young people need better general education. However, since the average age of apprentices is about 30 years old, apprenticeships are clearly serving a clientele that has tried other programs and had work experience and is looking for something new. An apprenticeship is still a great option for an adult seeking to support a family. And programs have gotten much better at linkages with community and technical colleges. In the future, they very well may be a real alternative for youth as well as 30-year-olds. But what I worry about in response to Dr. Hanushek’s work is that we throw out a good training system just because it doesn’t teach general skills as well as a good suburban high school.  

In addition to being small in comparison to the demand, apprenticeships are devilishly hard to scale up. An apprenticeship is a complex system of industrial relations, including an educational component (often at a community college), a trade union supervising the curriculum and training, and employers working on the practicum part of apprenticeships. The reason they thrive historically in Germany has a lot to do with the interdependence between firms, unions, and educational institutions and the “Lander” or regional government. We should be very skeptical that we can transplant the form to the United States without major effort at research and development. 

Doing this right at the national level is not going to cost $200 million. If we take the estimates on the government costs from the 2012 study, it might be on average $1,000 per apprentice. For an apprenticeship system as big as, say, the community college system, we would need $170 million dollars just for Ohio. What happens if we really want to take on the problem and we give $1,000 per apprentice to a state the size of Texas or even California? Costs will vary among programs, so the real costs will be much greater. Clearly, President Trump will need to increase the overall budget for apprenticeships, as will states, if we really want to make a dent in the demand for skilled trades in the nation.

The nation would do well to take education for careers more seriously than it has in the past. The apprenticeship system is a major part of this potential source of training. However, taking it seriously requires dealing with a whole host of fiscal, educational, and social issues. I hope the states, including Ohio, are up for it.

Joshua D. Hawley is Associate Professor in the Glenn College and an Associate Professor in the College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University.

[1] The State of Ohio has a new apprenticeship website: http://apprentice.ohio.gov/index.stm.

[2] We have built two tools for state government in Ohio to examine workforce supply. They are available at https://workforcesupply.chrr.ohio-state.edu/ and http://www.measures.workforce.ohio.gov/.


          Three ways to improve Ohio’s ESSA Plan   

In early June, the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) released an updated draft of its ESSA plan for public comment. The department had initially intended to submit its plan earlier this spring, but after heavy pressure, state officials decided to delay submission until September. The most important part of the document is its description of the state’s proposed school accountability and intervention policies. We believe that Ohio’s plan does a good job meeting both federal and state requirements.

Still, Ohio should aim for excellence, if not perfection. Allow me to identify three improvements worthy of consideration before ODE submits its plan to the U.S. Department of Education. These are sections that ODE could likely tweak without running afoul of federal or state law.

Eliminate the Chronic Absenteeism indicator (Title I, Part A: Improving Basic Programs Operated by LEAs—Indicators; lines 428-512)

ODE proposes using Chronic Absenteeism as a new report-card measure to comply with ESSA’s requirement for an indicator of School Quality or Student Success. This is a mistake. While related to student learning, absenteeism is not itself an outcome measure, which should form the basis of school accountability. Attendance should be viewed more akin to an “input” measure, like student demographics; as the Ohio Auditor of State writes, “attendance is merely an input over which schools have minimal control.” In addition, to maintain the integrity of the indicator, a robust process may need to be in place to verify schools’ attendance data. Audits of attendance data have revealed unintentional errors or intentional manipulation of records under what the Auditor has called an “honor system” of district attendance reporting. A recent Plain Dealer article notes that the district with Ohio’s highest chronic absenteeism rate claims an error was likely made in the data. For these reasons, ODE might consider other options to comply with ESSA’s School Quality indicator, such as using only its Prepared for Success component (for high schools) or perhaps data from its Achievement component (such as “indicators met” which would cover almost all schools).

Identify the bottom 5 percent of schools for “comprehensive support”—and no more (Title I, Part A: Improving Basic Programs Operated by LEAs, Subpart 4; lines 224-233).

ESSA requires states to identify a minimum of 5 percent of schools as low-performing and in need of comprehensive support—i.e., some form of state intervention. Ohio should affirm that it will identify, per the federal minimum requirement, the bottom 5 percent of schools. But ODE should also make clearer how it plans to identify comprehensive schools—the draft only refers to the use of the summative rating system. It does not indicate whether the total number of points earned by a school, or whether the overall A-F letter grades themselves will lead to identification of comprehensive schools. ODE should use the point system that drives the A-F ratings, not the summative ratings. That’s because the number of F-rated schools may exceed the 5 percent target. Using the points system, however, would allow ODE to identify just the bottom 5 percent. By limiting the number of comprehensive-support schools, the state could better focus its resources on the organizational changes necessary to improve Ohio’s lowest performing schools. It may also discourage state policymakers from lowering the bar just to have fewer schools assigned F’s and placed under state oversight.

Eliminate the Watch category of schools from the ESSA Plan (Title I, Part A: Improving Basic Programs Operated by LEAs, Subpart 4; lines 319-337).

Under ESSA, Ohio must identify two groups of schools as in need of improvement (“comprehensive” and “targeted” support schools). But ODE’s plan goes beyond these categories and identifies a third group of low-performing schools called “watch” schools. The basis for this identification is found in state, not federal, law, and ODE may not need to include Watch schools in its plan to comply with ESSA. In the coming days, Ohio lawmakers should consider eliminating or modifying the state law that allows ODE and the State Board to identify Watch schools and subject them to school improvement plans. Under federal law, Ohio must already intervene in schools with low-performing subgroups, i.e., “targeted” support schools. The Watch category goes further—perhaps a step too far—by identifying even more schools for intervention based on subgroup performance. It’s unlikely that ODE has the capacity to support in a meaningful way so many schools for improvement.


ODE’s ESSA plan should simply describe how it intends to meet federal requirements within the state accountability framework. In the areas noted above, ODE could dial back or clarify its compliance with ESSA before submitting the plan to federal officials. Each of these suggestions has the potential to reduce the administrative burdens—while maintaining accountability for outcomes—and free Buckeye educators to focus on students. 

          Production Supervisor -Sheet Metal Fabrication (CNC) - Innovated Machine & Tool Co., Inc. - Newport News, VA   
Reporting personnel issues and counseling to HR. In compliance with federal law, all persons hired will be required to verify identity and eligibility to work... $60,000 - $75,000 a year
From Indeed - Mon, 27 Mar 2017 12:13:18 GMT - View all Newport News, VA jobs
          Fourth of July closures   
ELKO – Federal, county and city offices will close Tuesday in observance of Independence Day, yet remain open Monday during regular business hours.
          Rocha Loures deixa carceragem da superintendência da PF   
O ex-deputado Rodrigo Rocha Loures deixou a carceragem da Polícia Federal em Brasília na manhã de hoje (1º). Loures estava detido na unidade há mais de um mês. A informação foi confirmada pela assessoria de imprensa do ex-parlamentar. Ontem (30), o ministro do Supremo Tribunal Federal (STF) Edson Fachin, relator das ações da Lava Jato […]
          Manager-Community Outreach - Methodist Hospital - Indianapolis, IN   
Ability to manage and supervise teams with multiple projects, understanding of federal and state community benefit/nonprofit status requirements....
From Indiana University Health - Sun, 07 May 2017 06:34:01 GMT - View all Indianapolis, IN jobs
          Medical Esthetician - Franciscan Health - Indianapolis, IN   
Franciscan Alliance reserves a Right of Conscience objection in the event local, state or Federal ordinances that violate its values and the free exercise of...
From Franciscan Health - Mon, 26 Jun 2017 03:38:12 GMT - View all Indianapolis, IN jobs
          Maryland First To Mitigate Any Planned Parenthood Cuts   
Maryland has become the first state to enact legislation to mitigate any federal cuts to Planned Parenthood.
          SOS Mata Atlântica divulga estudo de qualidade em mananciais brasileiros.   
Segundo estudo realizado pela Fundação SOS Mata Atlântica, com  medição da qualidade da água em 111 rios, córregos e lagos de 5 estados brasileiros e o Distrito Federal – o mais amplo até hoje coordenado pela Fundação SOS Mata Atlântica – revela que 23,3% dos mananciais apresentam qualidade ruim ou péssima. 
Os dados foram divulgados na semana em que se celebrou o Dia da Água (22 de março), as coletas foram realizadas entre março de 2014 e fevereiro de 2015, em 301 pontos de coleta distribuídos em 45 municípios.  A análise inclui o monitoramento realizado em 25 rios da cidade de São Paulo e 12 da cidade do Rio de Janeiro.
Diante dos estudos estudiosos concluiram que a situação é preocupante, visto que a poluição diminui ainda mais a oferta de água para consumo da população.

A lista completa de rios e pontos avaliados está disponível no link http://bit.ly/Agua2015. Dos resultados medidos, 186 pontos (61,8%) apresentaram qualidade da água considerada regular, 65 (21,6%) foram classificados como ruins e 5 (1,7%) apresentaram situação péssima. Apenas 45 (15%) dos rios e mananciais mostraram boa qualidade – aqueles localizados em áreas protegidas e que contam com matas ciliares preservadas. Nenhum dos pontos analisados foi avaliado como ótimo.
No Estado de São Paulo, dos 117 pontos monitorados, 5 (4,3%) registraram qualidade de água boa; 61 (52,1%) foram avaliados com qualidade regular, enquanto que 46 (39,3%) estão em situação ruim e 5 (4,3%) péssima. Já entre os 175 pontos analisados nos municípios do Rio de Janeiro, 39 apresentaram água boa (22,3%), a maioria (120 pontos) está em situação regular (68,6%), e 16 tiveram índice ruim (9,1%).
Na cidade do Rio de Janeiro, os indicadores aferidos revelam uma piora na qualidade da água. Dos 15 pontos em que a coleta foi realizada na área urbana, somente 5 (33,3%) apresentaram qualidade regular e os outros 10 pontos (66,7%) registraram qualidade ruim. Em 2014, 9 pontos tinham qualidade regular (60%) e 6 ruim (40%). Nenhum dos pontos analisados apresentou qualidade boa ou ótima.
“Esses indicadores revelam a precária condição ambiental dos rios urbanos monitorados e, somados aos impactos da seca, reforçam a necessidade urgente de investimentos em saneamento básico. A falta da água na região sudeste é agravada pela indisponibilidade decorrente da poluição e não apenas da falta de chuvas. Rios enquadrados nos índices ruim e péssimo não podem ser utilizados para abastecimento humano e produção de alimentos, diminuindo bastante a oferta de água”, alerta Malu Ribeiro, coordenadora da Rede das Águas da Fundação SOS Mata Atlântica.

          Licença de resíduos perigosos é emitida por órgão federal   
Licença de resíduos perigosos será emitida por órgão federal

Da Reportagem

Desde maio deste ano a Secretaria de Estado do Meio Ambiente (Sema) deixou de emitir a Autorização de Transporte Interestadual de Resíduos Perigosos. A partir dessa data, o documento passou a ser emitido pelo Instituto Brasileiro de Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis (Ibama). A Instrução Normativa do Ibama (I.N.) nº 05/2012, de 09 de maio, publicada no Diário Oficial da União no dia 10 de maio, dispõe sobre o procedimento transitório de autorização ambiental para o exercício da atividade.

A gerente de Resíduos Urbanos e Hospitalares, da Coordenadoria de Gestão de Resíduos Sólidos da Sema, Helen Farias Ferreira explicou que podem solicitar o documento, pessoas jurídicas e físicas que preencham os requisitos para emissão do Certificado de Regularidade Ambiental, de acordo com as regras estabelecidas do Cadastro Técnico Federal de Atividades Potencialmente Poluidoras ou Utilizadoras de Recursos Ambientais.

A I.N. 05/2012 estabelece em seu art 5º, que todas as empresas que realizem o transporte desses produtos são obrigadas a possuir a cópia da Autorização Ambiental, ou seja, a empresa transportadora, seja ela matriz ou filial, para cada veículo ou composição veicular utilizado no transporte.

De acordo com Helen Farias, a classificação dos Resíduos para preenchimento da Autorização é regulamentada pela Resolução nº 420, de 12 de fevereiro de 2004, da Agencia Nacional de Transportes Terrestres. Segundo essa Resolução, resíduos para efeito de transporte, são substancias, soluções, misturas ou artigos que contém ou estejam contaminados por um ou mais produtos para os quais não seja prevista utilização direta, e que estejam sendo transportados para fins de despejo, incineração, ou qualquer outro processo de disposição final.

“A Sema não é mais o órgão responsável pelo controle de Resíduos Transportados entre estados porém, os resíduos movimentados somente dentro do território mato-grossense estão sujeitos a regulamentação específica por este órgão”, alertou.

Helen Farias esclareceu ainda que a Autorização não exclui as empresas do licenciamento ambiental exigido por lei. “Esse documento apenas autoriza a movimentação de resíduos perigosos entre os estados”.

Tanto a Instrução Normativa do Ibama como o Ofício Circular n° 038/2012/CGRS/SUIMIS/SEMA-MT, estão disponíveis no portal da secretaria, no endereço eletrônico:


Outras informações podem ser obtidas na Coordenadoria de Gestão de Resíduos Sólidos (CGRS) da Superintendência de Infra-Estrutura, Mineração, Indústria e Serviços (Suimis), da Sema, pelo telefone (65) 3613-7302 ou pelo e-mail, cgrs@sema.mt.gov.br. (Maria Barbant/Sema-MT)


          Google Apologizes For Federal Trade Commission Act Violations   
Google apologizes for Buzz, and the Federal Trade Commission issues a stern warning message on privacy protections.
          Fyre Festival organizer Billy McFarland faces wire fraud charge   

The collapse of the Fyre Festival is one of the year’s most dramatic music stories, and the saga continued Friday with the arrest of the failed event’s organizer, Billy McFarland.

McFarland, the 25-year-old entrepreneur who co-founded the festival with rapper Ja Rule, was arrested by federal agents...

          Sanders investigation: A look Bernie's wife, Jane, who's subject of FBI probe   

Sen. Bernie Sanders' wife is under federal investigation for allegedly making fraudulent claims and promises while trying to secure financing for the now-defunct college she led. From marrying the Vermont senator to heading Burlington College, here's a look at who Jane O'Meara Sanders is.

          "California: Senate Passes Package To Offset Trump On Environment"   

"California's Senate yesterday stepped up promised efforts to push back against the Trump administration, passing a package of bills to protect federal standards in the Golden State, even if rules are repealed or softened nationally."

Source: ,

          Cisl, Carro nel consiglio generale confederale   
Antonio Carro, segretario provinciale della Cisl è stato eletto nel Consiglio Generale Confederale Nazionale della Cisl. Lo ha deciso il Congresso nazionale tenuto nel corso di questa settimana al Palacongressi dell’Eur a Roma. Carro entra insieme al segretario provinciale di Genova Luca Maestripieri e al segretario generale regionale Antonio Graniero. «Si tratta di una grande soddisfazione…
          Organizer Of Failed Bahamas Musical Festival Arrested For Fraud   
The man who was the main organizer of the failed Fyre Festival in the Bahamas earlier this year has been arrested by authorities and charged with wire fraud for allegedly bilking investors in his company, Fyre Media, which promoted the event. Billy McFarland was arrested by federal agents at his Manhattan home on Friday. The New York Times writes: "A criminal complaint unsealed on Friday detailed the case, which relies heavily on misrepresentations of financial information to people who invested in Fyre Media — whose main business was a website that let people book celebrities for special events — and a subsidiary, Fyre Festival LLC. "According to the complaint, sworn to by Brandon Racz, a special agent with the F.B.I., at least two people invested about $1.2 million in the two companies, and in communications with these investors in 2016 and 2017, Mr. McFarland repeatedly overstated Fyre Media's revenue from bookings and his own wealth." In a statement released by the U.S. Attorney's
          Encryption - Why It Matters to You   
Five words or less(NewsUSA) - Sponsored News - Much ado has been made about encryption lately. And on some level, you probably understand it. Sort of. You might know, for instance, that the FBI and Apple have tangled over it. (Apple won.) Most large companies like Google and Facebook support Apple's position. And that encryption keeps your "stuff" safe from prying eyes. The problem is that the idea of privacy is just that these days -- an idea. "The way technology is woven into our daily lives, you can't do without it," Amy Danker, an employee at Epic Wines and Spirits, told the Oakland Tribune in a recent interview. "So what's your other option? Are you gonna go back to a pager? I just assume that all my private information is already available through my IP ad-dress. You don't even think privacy exists, because it doesn't anymore, right?" Natalie Plotnikova agrees, saying the arm of the law is getting too long. "I don't really like it," Plotnikova told the Oakland Tribune as she waited to be cleared through security at the Federal Building in San Jose. "I don't want the government to be able to use my phone to see my information." This, say experts, is why encryption is necessary and important -- especially in our current mobile, on-the-go environment, where everything you do is done on smartphones. By having your information scrambled so that only the person you are sending it to can see it, your privacy is maintained and your information remains secure. To that end, technology from a company called VirnetX -- which created an app called Gabriel, that uses encryption technology derived from a CIA national security program -- may be the answer. The Gabriel app, available at the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store, was designed and built with personal privacy and security as a foundational principle. For just $10 to $15 per year, users can take advantage of the Gabriel app and benefit from uncompromising encryption security when they talk, video chat, text, email or share photographs or documents. No one will be able to see, hear or intercept your communications except for the party you're in contact with because Gabriel does not transmit or store data with any third party. It's person-to-person, end-to-end encryption that all but eliminates hacking possibilities. Other benefits include: * Making free voice or video calls or sending instant messages to other Gabriel members. * Receiving spamless email. * Sharing pictures or files that can't be intercepted. For more information, or to download Gabriel, please visit www.gabrielsecure.com.
          El mal nunca descansa.   
¿Por qué hemos de ceder todos los españoles para contentar a los secesionistas catalanes? ¿Por qué hemos de aceptar que deben existir españoles de primera clase y de segunda clase con derechos diferentes por razones de falsas reivindicaciones y deudas históricas? Solo porque unos sediciosos anti sistema, ultra comunistas apátridas y nacionalistas oportunistas hayan conseguido una mayoría parlamentaria en escaños, que no en votos de los ciudadanos, no les legitima para poner a toda una nación, España, en la tesitura de tener que reaccionar ante un desafío inaceptable como es el de robar a todos los españoles nada menos que su soberanía nacional. Porque el solo anuncio de la realización de un referéndum sobre la independencia de un territorio de España y de millones de españoles, en este caso de la comunidad autónoma de Cataluña, con carácter vinculante y que, en caso de resultar favorable a la secesión, se proclame de forma unilateral la independencia, es algo que no se puede consentir. Y el Gobierno de España esquíen tiene el poder y la responsabilidad para evitarlo. Muchos miserables demagogos y populistas hablan de diálogo, de ofertas al “pueblo de Cataluña” y demás sandeces por el estilo, en un intento de hacer creer que se trata de problema de sentimientos, cuando precisamente lo que se ha estado inculcando en la sociedad catalana en sus nuevas generaciones desde la transición, ha sido el odio a lo español, a todo lo que sea la cultura española excluyéndola y despreciándola, empezando por la persecución de nuestra lengua común, el español. Muchos demagogos apátridas como Pablo Iglesias, se alinean con las posturas secesionistas propalando las mentiras de la realidad de un inexistente “pueblo catalán” y el “derecho a decidir su futuro” de los pueblos. Otros nuevos demagogos y populistas como Pedro Sánchez, se apuntan a la teoría de la “cuadratura del círculo”, con su oferta de un Estado Federal asimétrico, al afirmar que España es una “nación de naciones” y que deben ser satisfechas las reivindicaciones de lo que llaman “naciones culturales” y cambiar la Constitución de España en ese sentido. Y aquí no se trata ni de sentimientos, ni de atrevidas ocurrencias de un modelo de Estado imposible, sino simple y llanamente de apostar por una nación que lleva más de 500 años de Historia y que en 1978 se dio una oportunidad para apostar por incorporarse al carro del progreso tras décadas de dictadura y aislamiento. Porque los que ayudaron a la transición y a la redacción de la Constitución, lo hicieron aparcando sus diferencias y aspiraciones, incluso cediendo en el reconocimiento de las llamadas “singularidades culturales” como nacionalidades, y permitiendo una asimetría anti democrática con la aceptación de prebendas como son el Concierto económico Vasco y los Fueros de Navarra. Unas singularidades que hoy por hoy no son admisibles en una sociedad democrática con igualdad de derechos y de deberes de todos los españoles con independencia de su origen de nacimiento o residencia. Los secesionistas pueden seguir “mareando la perdiz” y amenazar, como hacen los Alcaldes y concejales de ayuntamientos de Cataluña, con ceder ilegalmente dependencias municipales para la realización del referéndum ilegal. Podrá el Gobierno de la Generalidad y el Parlamento de Cataluña, dominado por las fuerzas secesionistas, desobedecer la Ley, declararse en franca rebeldía institucional, convocar a todos los catalanes e incluso malversar fondos públicos de todos los españoles para intentar llevar a cabo su amenaza y colocar las urnas para justificar posteriormente su delictiva declaración unilateral. Podrán intentarlo, pero deben ser conscientes de que el Gobierno de España tiene el deber de impedirlo con todos los medios que le otorga la ley, comenzando por la ley de leyes, la Constitución de España. La misma que los apátridas y antisistema desprecian. Desde luego que cabe aun la duda de si el Gobierno de España liderado por un nada fiable Mariano Rajoy, cumplirá esta vez con su deber y no rehuirá su responsabilidad como ya hizo en la vergonzosa jornada del 9 de noviembre del 2014, donde su inacción ante el desafío secesionista, permitiendo la realización de una farsa de consulta ilegal, se llevase a término sin tomar medidas para impedirlo. En esa ocasión votaron casi dos millones de ciudadanos de la comunidad autónoma y aún hoy en día, los responsables de esa iniquidad siguen libres gracias a unas condenas igualmente vergonzosas en el mínimo legal previsto para los delitos cometidos, donde se excluyó el delito de malversación de fondos públicos para evitar penas de prisión. Cabe una duda razonable de que el Gobierno de España, se deje vencer por el “qué dirán” y su anuncio de “proporcionalidad” en las medidas, no se traduzca en otro ridículo mayúsculo que ponga en cuestión su capacidad de gobierno y su determinación para sofocar lo que no es sino una rebelión y una sedición. Espero equivocarme y que esta vez, Mariano Rajoy tenga la valentía para no dejarse influenciar por quienes pretenden destruir España, bien por acción directa como los nacionalistas, antisistema y ultra izquierdistas radicales, como por una izquierda demagoga y populista liderada por un sector radical con ideas peregrinas y lesivas para la Unidad de España. ¡Que pasen un buen día! Y que disfruten de unas merecidas vacaciones, desconectando si pueden de los graves problemas que afectan a España y a todos los españoles. Otros como los secesionistas y demás enemigos de España no descansan ni se toman vacaciones.
          Dem Party Posts Worst Fundraising Numbers in Month of May Since 2003   

The Democratic National Committee raised only $4.29 million in May, the organization’s worst fundraising performance in that month since 2003, according to data from the Federal Election Commission.

In May 2003, the DNC raised $2.7 million, but since that time, the party’s worst totals in May had previously been $4.5 million in both 2005 and 2015. It is common for fundraising totals to dip in the year following a presidential election race.

This comes one month after the DNC posted its worst April in terms of fundraising since 2009, hauling in just $4.7 million.

more here...

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          DJ PARA RESTAURANTE - LA FEDERAL - Cuauhtémoc, D. F.   
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          Cruising the Web   
For all those people who think that Trump's tweets are brilliant at reaching the public and throwing his opponents off balance or whatever other bit of analysis used to show that somehow he's playing three-dimensional chess while the rest of the world can't even set up the checker board, is this really a set of tweets that makes you proud that he's your president?

These morning tweets follow other tweets touting ones supporting policy actions by his administration and the GOP. Does he think anyone will pay attention to any of that when he's tweeting comments on a morning show's appearance and the show's ratings? It's as if he's taken a master a class on self-sabotage.

Isn't he supposed to be in the middle of trying to help a GOP repeal of Obamacare?

Remember when conservatives ridiculed Obama interview talking to GloZell, the woman who is mainly known for eating cereal while sitting in a bathub of milk or going on Between Two Ferns? Well, was any of that less respectful of the office of the presidency than such tweets? I have come to regard Trump's tweets as a verbal expression of his id. That is the level he operates at and we get a glimpse at what impulses control him through Twitter. All his advisers urging him to focus on policy and presenting an image of gravitas are the ego trying to mediate between those impulses and reality. They might win out for hours, even days sometimes, but the id is there ready to take over.

There used to be a time when Republicans claimed that character mattered in the presidency. Today...not so much.

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Canada thinks it can control the Internet.
The Supreme Court of Canada ruled against Google on Wednesday in a closely-watched intellectual property case over whether judges can apply their own country's laws to all of the Internet.

In a 7-2 decision, the court agreed a British Columbia judge had the power to issue an injunction forcing Google to scrub search results about pirated products not just in Canada, but everywhere else in the world too.

Those siding with Google, including civil liberties groups, had warned that allowing the injunction would harm free speech, setting a precedent to let any judge anywhere order a global ban on what appears on search engines. The Canadian Supreme Court, however, downplayed this objection and called Google's fears "theoretical."
Charles C. W. Cooke comments,
That amusing episode of The I.T. Crowd notwithstanding, “the Internet” is not a single black box somewhere in London, but a massively decentralized network of networks that, while conforming to a few agreed-upon technical specifications, gives new meaning to the word “diffuse.” Or, put another way, “the Internet” is a patchwork quilt of cables, satellites, switches, service providers, cell phones, desktops, laptops, web-servers, and protocols that, taken together, forms the sprawling web to which we are all so accustomed. The beauty of this arrangement is that anybody can participate. Want to be the next Facebook? To start with, at least, all you’ll need is a domain name, an internet connection, and a computer, and . . . that’s it. Though there are certain breakpoints (IP allocation, root DNS, etc.), there is no central permission structure that newcomers have to navigate. It’s open. It’s wild. It’s wonderful.

Now, this is not to say that censorship is impossible. It’s not. If a government wishes to block access to a particular site within the physical borders over which it has jurisdiction, it can do so. Likewise, websites and services that contradict local law can be legally removed, and, if it so wishes, a government can demand that any organization operating on a network within its borders must conform to its rules. What it can’t do, however, is export those judgments abroad.

Suppose that I, a permanent resident of the United States, were to host a website that contained speech that was banned in, say, Germany. Certainly, the German authorities could prevent Germans from seeing my site. And, if anyone chose to mirror my site on server inside Germany, they could shut that person down quite quickly. But they couldn’t have me shut down in America, and they couldn’t prevent people in other countries from accessing my site over the web. My server would be in America, connected to a network in America, subject to the law in America, and guaranteed the protections to which Americans are entitled. The German government, annoyed as it might be, would have to accept that....

And that, ultimately, is why the Canadian Court’s decision is so hilarious. I understand why people are worried about the idea — if taken seriously, it would give any less-free-than-America country an effective veto over the First Amendment. But they shouldn’t fret too much: The judges can say what they like, but their edict is simply unenforceable. If it wishes to do so, the government of Canada can prevail upon Google to abide by its rules within Canada. In addition, it can regulate the web in Canada to prevent access to sites it dislike. But it can’t force Google in America or France or Australia or Singapore to do a single goddamned thing. And thank goodness for that, eh?
I hope that he is correct, but we've seen the EU slapping a $2.7 billion fine on Google because the EU thinks it violates antitrust for Google to promote Google Shopping sites over other shopping sites. I'm not sure what there is about a FREE service like Google that the Europeans don't understand. Are European citizens actually hurt by Google giving them a free shopping search engine and then putting their items at the top? Would they prefer to pay for their search engines? Please, just keep your hands off Google. As more countries try and figure out ways to make money off of fining Google, they should consider the unintended consequences.
“The EU has effectively decided that some companies have become too big to innovate,” Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a Washington-based think tank, said in a statement following the Google Shopping decision. “The EU’s actions have created a cloud of uncertainty that will make large tech companies overly cautious about making changes to the user experience and service offerings that would benefit consumers.”

Jonathan Tobin applies Occam's Razor
to explain why Obama didn't do more about Russia's attempts to interfere in our election last year.
But the real problem here is not so much Barack Obama’s failure to act as the most plausible reason for his inaction: Vladimir Putin’s capers didn’t impact the election results.
Despite the efforts by Democrats to blame Russia for Hillary Clinton's loss and their frustration that Obama didn't do more about it, there really is no evidence that the WikiLeaks revelations from John Podesta's emails had any effect on the course of the election.
But there’s a simpler, even more plausible explanation for Obama’s inaction: The president saw that the hacking was having almost no impact on the course of the campaign and thus wasn’t going to mess with the results. Far from the crime of the century, it was, at worst, a minor annoyance to Clinton that Obama obviously felt didn’t warrant a major dustup with Putin.

It’s true that Russia’s actions were outrageous and deserved a strong US response, both then and now. It can also be argued that the public had a right to know about it. But it was only after Clinton lost and she and her supporters began searching for excuses that Russia’s actions were considered an important factor in the outcome.

While Putin was way out of line, the impact of the WikiLeaks document dumps on Clinton’s candidacy was marginal at best.

The contents of the Democratic National Committee e-mails were embarrassing to Podesta and then-DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who wound up losing her job after proof of DNC collusion with Clinton against Bernie Sanders was produced. But there was almost nothing in those documents that related directly to Clinton, let alone being enough to influence voters.

Every WikiLeaks story was also almost immediately overshadowed by other, more damaging gaffes or revelations about Trump, such as his attack on a Gold Star family or the release of the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape. Nothing the Russians did matched the damage done by either of those Trump disasters.
Instead of looking for some external events or action, just admit that Hillary was a lousy candidate. That should actually be comforting to the Democrats. With such a compromised candidate whom so many Americans just never liked, they still won the popular vote and came really close to winning the states that put Trump over the top. If they can pick a better candidate in 2020, and can make an appeal for the voters they lost in the Rust Belt, chances are pretty strong that they'll win that year. They should be more concerned about forging a message that doesn't repel independents and those voters they lost in 2016. That's their real challenge and focusing all the time on Russia, Russia, Russia won't help them achieve that goal.

Good to know.
Tell your friendly environmentalist activist. But they're not really interested.
The benefits of fracking far outweigh its costs not only economically, but environmentally, a Stanford University geophysicist said Friday.

After teaching geophysics at Stanford for 30 years Mark Zoback took the helm of Stanford's new Natural Gas Initiative three years ago, he said, because of gas's environmental benefits.

"We did it because there were so many important and obvious environmental benefits to the utilization of natural gas," Zoback said. "So it’s somewhat ironic to be asked to argue for the notion that these benefits outweigh the environmental costs, when it’s the environmental benefits that got me into this business in the first place."

Zoback's remarks opened the annual debate at Stanford's Silicon Valley Energy Summit, and were swiftly challenged by representatives of the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Counci
Zoback argued that natural gas can replace coal and "dirty diesel" at significant scale throughout the world, supporting economic growth while slashing carbon emissions. (When burned, natural gas emits about half the CO2 that coal does).

The Senate has some really dumb rules. And the minority party can use them to slow everything down to a standstill. Chuck Schumer is taking advantage of every tool that the rules provide.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer used an upper chamber procedure Wednesday to block a national security briefing hosted by the Senate Judiciary Committee, irritating Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley.

The rule that Schumer had invoked, which he has been exercising the use of over the past two weeks, blocks Senate committee business from happening two hours after the Senate convenes session for the day. Schumer has consistently used the procedure as a way to delay business in Senate to make demands on Republicans on the health care bill.

The rarely-used tactic has cut short a committee hearing on free speech, stopped a hearing on Russian meddling in the U.S. elections and blocked a mark-up to advance bipartisan anti-human trafficking legislation....

Grassley had sent a joint letter with subcommittee judiciary chairman Lindsey Graham to the FBI Tuesday requesting all documents related to the FBI FISA surveillance requests on the Russia investigation.

“Today, the Judiciary Committee was set to hear from senior intelligence officials about highly sensitive intelligence gathering authorities that will soon require action from Congress. It’s disturbing and reckless for the Minority Leader to block the briefing. We’ve seen too many recent reminders of how unsafe the world is today. This is no time to play politics with our national security,” he said.
If they could use the nuclear option to get rid of a much more prominent rule concerning filibusters of Supreme Court nominees, why not use it to get rid of this stupid rule. If it's a "rarely-used tactic," no one except the angry members of the minority party will miss it.

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I had so much fun last night. I'm visiting my daughters in D.C. and we went to the Nats-Cubs game. I haven't seen a live baseball game in about 50 years since I was a kid and we'd go to the Cubs games. So I scheduled my trip to catch the game. After falling behind in the seventh inning, I thought it was pretty hopeless for the Cubs based on the way they've been playing this year. But they rallied in the ninth inning to go ahead on a triple by Jon Jay. It was so exciting and I could celebrate with all the other Cubs fans in the stadium including a cute little girl, about 10 years old, sitting with her family of Cubs fans in front of me who told her parents that John Jay had written five of the Federalist Papers. Exactly right and the Cubs' Jon Jay was a hero tonight. Go Federalists!

What a blast! And then as walked out of the stadium and came back on the Metro and hear all the Nationals fans complaining about the Nationals' bullpen. Eh, they're still doing well. I'm just hoping that the Cubs are recovering their mojo. At least their closer, Wade Davis, another historically relevant name on the Cubs roster

          United States: U.S. Department Of Education Pauses Borrower Defense To Repayment (BDR) Regulation And Announces Negotiated Rulemaking Committees To Revise BDR And Gainful Employment Regulations - Duane Morris LLP   
In parallel notices that will formally be published in the Federal Register on June 16, 2017, the U.S. Department of Education will make two major announcements.
          Trump budget timeline mixes deadlines, uncertainty   
Trump's budget will set in motion a debate that holds the potential for gridlock and maybe a government shutdown. Here are some key dates in the federal budget process
          Promoter in failed Bahamas music festival arrested in NYC   
The promoter behind a failed music festival in the Bahamas has been arrested in New York. He's been charged with wire fraud. On Friday federal prosecutors say Billy McFarland was arrested and is charged with scheming to defraud investors in his company, Fyre Media. With headliners including ...
          Donald Trump may face new legal action over university   
Donald Trump could face new legal action over his controversial Trump University venture, after a new suit was filed in federal court, reports Adam Gabbatt for the Guardian ...
          Eight universities to receive uninterrupted power   
The Rural Electrification Agency has signed a memorandum of understanding with eight federal universities and one teaching hospital for the first phase of the federal government's Energizing Educa ...
          Trump Administration to Teachers: You Must Use a Transgender Student’s “Preferred Pronouns”   
The Story: The Trump administration recently issued a letter stating that teachers and students could be investigated for a civil rights violation if they refuse to use the “preferred pronouns” of transgender students. The Background: In February the Department of Justice and the Department of Education issued a notice withdrawing the statements of policy and guidance issued last year by the Obama administration that affected public schools. In May 2016, the Obama administration sent a letter to all public schools in America notifying teachers and administrators of a new regulation for treating “gender identity.” The letter stated that, to comply with federal law,...
          Normalization Ideas Weigh on Greenback   

A virus has spread across the markets as the first half drew to a close.  Many investors have become giddy.   The low vol environment was punctuated by ideas that peak in monetary accommodation is past and that the gradual process of normalization is beginning.   Some investors may be exaggerating how soon the Bank of England and the European Central Bank will raise interest rates, but there seems to be little doubt about the direction of policy going forward.  

It is not just the ECB and BOE.  The Bank of Canada meets on July 12, and the market is pricing in around a 75% chance of a hike.  The Reserve Bank of Australia and Sweden's Riksbank meets in the week ahead, and they too will likely embrace the prospects of normalization.    Ironically, it is only the US, which has seen core CPI and core PCE move lower for four consecutive months that the market doubts.   Using either the Fed funds futures or the OIS market, it appears that less than a 50% chance of hike before the end of the year is discounted

The BOJ is the other exception.  It has refrained from discussing an exit strategy.  Its core inflation rose 0.4% in May.  The target is 2%.  The core rate includes energy.  If energy is excluded as well, prices in Japan are flat year-over-year, while overall household spending contracted for 15-months year-over-year throughMay.   With the collective wisdom of the markets judging the Fed and BOJ will lag behind the other central banks in the period ahead, the dollar and yen were the poorest performing major currencies last week and for the month of June.  

The Dollar Index slumped 1.6% in the last week of June. This offsets the minor gains it had recorded earlier in the month.  The 1..3% decline for the month is the fourth consecutive losing month since the December 2010-April 2011 period.  The 4.7% loss in Q2 is the largest since Q3 10.  Although it is below its lower Bollinger Band (95.73), the other technical indicators are not over-extended, nor showing divergences.  The next target is near 94.30.  Below there, chart support ahead of last year's low a little below 92.00 is sparse.  

The euro broke out of the $1.11-$1.13 range, which we suggested, points to a test on $1.15 and then last year's high near $1.1615.  The 2015 high was recordednear $1.1715.   We note that the $1.1735 area also corresponds to a 38.2% retracement of the euro's decline from May 2014 (~$1.40) to the low at the start of the year  (~$1.0340).

The dollar stalled against the yen after approaching JPY113.00.  A small shelf has been built around JPY111.80, which is also where the 200-day moving average is found.    Technical indicators warn that the dollar's upside may become more difficult.   The 100-day moving average (~JPY111.20) is an obvious target, below which lies a band of support in the JPY110.40-JPY110.80.  

The prospects of the BOE removing accommodation, which it began with the raising the capital buffer, sent sterling for seven consecutive sessions through June 20 before profit-taking was seen after sterlingapproached the high for the year above $1.30.    Technical indicators are still supportive.  The $1.3055 area represents the 38.2% retracement of sterling fall from the referendum high of $1.50.  If this area is convincingly taken out, there is not much on the charts before $1.3400.  

Of the various central banks that investors are thinking are preparing to normalize policy, the Bank of Canada strikes us as the most credible.  The Bank of Canada has prepared the markets.  The recovery of the Senior Loan Officer survey after a couple of quarters of weakness seems to be the last key piece to fall into place.  On July 7, Canada reports its June jobs data.  Given the recent strength of the labor market, including rising wages, it will take a significant downside shock to deter the rate hike.  

The technical indicators are getting stretched, but there is no divergence at hand.  As the US dollar has fallen to new nine-month lows, it has built a head of steam.  It fell every session in the last week of June for more than a 2% decline and a nearly 4% decline for the month.  The next major support area is seen in the CAD1.2760 area.   A move above CAD1.3050 would be the first sign of consolidative/corrective phase.  

The Australian dollar culminated its recent rally by poking through $0.7700 briefly before the weekend.  It reached its best level in three months.    The Reserve Bank of Australia meets in early July, and although it is unlikely to change rates,  it is likely to dampen lingering ideas that a rate cut may still be delivered.  The central bank may not like the currency appreciation, but on a trade-weighted basis, it is several percentage points lower than it was the last time it was around $0.7700.    Also with iron ore prices rallying 20% over the past couple of weeks, the terms of trade have improved.  Initial support is seen in the $0.7620-$0.7640 area.  

The taper tantrum sparked in Europe managed to do for US yields what economic data and the Federal Reserve were unable to do--steepen the yield curve.  The two-year yield rose three basis points in the last week of June, while the 10-year yield rose 17 bp.  The backing up of the long-end was the most in a week since the first week in March.  The yield has entered the  2.30%-2.35% band that may take some time to work through the supply.  The September note futures peaked on June 14 and spent the second half of the month moving lower, effectively unwinding what it had gained in the first couple of weeks of June.  The 125-08-125-15 area houses retracement objectives and other chart points.   Bearish divergences in the technical indicators and the extreme market positioning provides scope for additional declines in prices (higher yields).  

Oil prices rose every day last week, extending its advance to seven consecutive sessions,  the longest such streak since last September-October.   The rally has approached the 38.2% retracement of the sharp decline (~$46 basis the August futures contract).  The technical tone looks constructive and there is near-term potential into the $47-$48 band.  Support now is seen near $44.50.

Although the S&P 500 had a difficult week, having to cope with the rise in yields and the failure of the Senate to pass healthcare reform, which raises questions about the broader economic agenda, it managed to close higher on the month.  It is the seventh monthly gain over the past eight months.    It is the seventh consecutive quarterly advance.  In fact, since the beginning of 2013, there have only been two quarterly declines in the S&P 500 (Q2-Q3 15).    Many investors still seem inclined to buy pullbacks.  A break of 2400, though, would be a test of this sentiment.  Over the past week, the Russell 1000 Growth Index (RLG) fell 1.5%, while the Russell 1000 Value Index (RLV) rose 0.35%.  On the month, RLG fell 0.4%, snapping a seven-month advance, while the RLV rose 1.5%, breaking a three-month down draft. 



          Organization: Administration for Community Living   
Federal agency responsible for increasing access to community supports to meet the unique needs of older Americans and people with disabilities across the lifespan Part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
          Cine documental: nueva familia de billetes   
En el día de ayer, Martes 27 de Junio, el director y productor Juan María Raggio, presentó en el Village Cine Recoleta, el documental “Nueva Familia de Billetes. Animales autóctonos de la Argentina”, realizado por su productora Jumara Films para el Banco Central de la República Argentina. Estuvieron presentes el director del documental Marcelo Viñas y autoridades del Banco.

 “Nueva Familia de Billetes. Animales autóctonos de la Argentina” es de un documental que plasma a través de imágenes de gran calidad, distintos aspectos sobre cada una de las 6 especies seleccionadas para formar parte de los nuevos billetes: sus características, su hábitat y sus costumbres, y también las historias de aquellas personas que trabajan ayudando a desafiar las problemáticas que se plantean por la intervención humana y los cambios en sus ecosistemas.

Yaguareté, Ballena Franca Austral, Cóndor Andino, Hornero, Guanaco y Taruca son las estrellas de este documental, seleccionadas cuidadosamente por su relevancia y para ofrecer una mirada federal sobre la vida silvestre, recorriendo distintas regiones de nuestro país. 

El público podrá ver los 6 episodios que conforman este documental a través del canal de YouTube del Banco:


Además, los 6 cortos estarán disponibles en las netbooks de estudiantes y docentes de escuelas secundarias de gestión pública, escuelas de educación especial e insitutos de formación docente de todo el país. 

“Nueva Familia de Billetes” nos posibilita ver la Argentina con otra mirada. La mirada animal y la mirada de quienes, con infinita dedicación, intentan revertir destinos de extinción a los que muchas especies parecen condenadas. Una apuesta al futuro, al cambio y a la concientización sobre la importancia de la vida.

Jumara Films es una productora especializada en la captura de imágenes de la vida salvaje. Comprometida con el cuidado del medio ambiente, su trabajo está orientado a la educación y divulgación de las problemáticas de conservación de distintas especies y sitios críticos. En palabras de su creador, Juan María Raggio, "el acercamiento al entorno natural, la observación y el conocimiento del medio que nos rodea, nos cambia y nos motiva a seguir aprendiendo. En mi caso personal, esa creciente pasión por la naturaleza siempre estuvo íntimamente ligada al interés temprano de trabajar en pos de su conservación". 

PRESSBOOK DOCUMENTAL: https://we.tl/p2hiAHU8ez

          Organizer Of Failed Bahamas Musical Festival Arrested, Charged With Fraud   
The man who was the main organizer of the failed Fyre Festival in the Bahamas earlier this year has been arrested by authorities and charged with wire fraud for allegedly bilking investors in his company, Fyre Media, which promoted the event. Billy McFarland was arrested by federal agents at his Manhattan home on Friday. The New York Times writes: "A criminal complaint unsealed on Friday detailed the case, which relies heavily on misrepresentations of financial information to people who invested in Fyre Media — whose main business was a website that let people book celebrities for special events — and a subsidiary, Fyre Festival LLC. "According to the complaint, sworn to by Brandon Racz, a special agent with the F.B.I., at least two people invested about $1.2 million in the two companies, and in communications with these investors in 2016 and 2017, Mr. McFarland repeatedly overstated Fyre Media's revenue from bookings and his own wealth." In a statement released by the U.S. Attorney's
          Strike Force Is Created To Combat Chicago Gun Violence    
Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit SCOTT SIMON, HOST: More than 1,700 people have been shot in Chicago or harmed in acts of violence there this year. More than 300 people have died. The city's homicide crisis continues. And President Trump tweeted that, quote, "killings in Chicago have reached such epidemic proportions that I am sending in federal help." The attorney general announced a Chicago gun strike force of more than 20 Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents will be sent to the city, where they'll prosecute gun crimes and work with local police and prosecutors. We're joined now by Carol Marin, political editor at NBC5 in Chicago. She's also on WTTW. Carol, thanks so much for being with us. CAROL MARIN: My pleasure, Scott. SIMON: Are Chicago officials eager to see this strike force? MARIN: They're willing to see the strike force. Nobody objects to having more manpower. But I hasten to say 20 ATF agents does not an army make. And therein is part of the problem. SIMON
          Feds Consider Removing Manatees From ‘Endangered’ List   
The public will get to have their say as the federal government considers dropping manatees from the endangered species list.
          Plan Would Limit Swimming With Manatees At Florida Refuge   
Federal wildlife officials want the public to voice their opinion on plans that would limit people from swimming among manatees at a Florida wildlife refuge.
          Warren Buffett is now the largest owner of 2 of the world's biggest banks (BAC, JPM, WFC, GS)   

warren buffett

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway is now the biggest owner of two of the world's largest banks: Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve cleared the way for Buffett to become Bank of America's largest shareholder.

It passed all the big banks on their so-called stress tests, giving them permission to use their capital for things beyond buffering against disaster, including share buybacks and dividend payments.

Bank of America raised its dividend to $0.12 a common share.

That made it compelling for Berkshire to convert its preferred shares into common stock, giving it shareholder ownership, and earning as much as $12 billion in profit. Berkshire announced on Friday that it would exercise its warrants to buy 700 million common shares of Bank of America, the third-largest US bank by market cap, instead of waiting until just before their expiry in 2021.

In a statement, the bank said it welcomed Buffett's decision.

With $2.19 trillion in assets, Bank of America ranked ninth in the world, according to an S&P Global Market Intelligence ranking released in April.

Buffett's initial investment in the bank dating back to 2011 was a thumbs-up of sorts to CEO Brian Moynihan, who had recently taken the helm. It was also a bet that the bank would recover from the fallout of toxic mortgage securities.

He acquired $5 billion of Bank of America preferred stock with a 6% dividend, or $300 million annually, in August 2011, at a time when investors worried about the bank's capital needs, Reuters reported.

The conglomerate said last July that it owned more than 10% of Wells Fargo, which on Friday amounted to nearly 537 million shares, according to Bloomberg. It's the second-largest bank in the US by market capitalization and was the 10th largest in the world by assets, according to S&P.

Berkshire Hathaway also owns smaller stakes in Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan.

SEE ALSO: Japan can help us better understand one of the biggest puzzles facing the US economy

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: An economist explains what could happen if Trump pulls the US out of NAFTA

          Deutsche Bank is reportedly staring down a $60 million trading loss (DB)   

Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank could be staring down a $60 million loss after a bad bet on inflation, Bloomberg reported Tuesday

The German lender's supervisory board is reportedly investigating whether traders flouted risk limits on derivatives trades tied to US inflation, generating concerns over the strength of the company's risk controls.

Bloomberg reported that the bank does not expect the bad bet to turn around. 

This is the latest in a spate of bad news that has called into question oversight procedures at Deutsche Bank, which was fined nearly $160 million by the Federal Reserve in April after traders violated foreign exchange rules. 

Regulators also hit the company with more than $650 million in fines earlier this year for anti-money laundering failures connected to wealthy Russian clients. 

It's also another blow to Deutsche Bank's fixed-income trading operation. Business Insider reported last week that the bank had unexpectedly pulled an offer to hire a top executive at the last minute. Meanwhile, a number of senior executives have left the business in recent months. 

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Harvard Business School professor explains the most important problem we have in finance today and how to fix it

          How to move to Canada and become a Canadian citizen   

justin trudeau

July 1 is Canada Day, a federal holiday celebrating the unification of Canada's three colonies 150 years ago.

For many people, it may also be a reminder that Canada is a land where healthcare is free, people are friendly, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau explains quantum computing just for laughs.

If all that has Canadian citizenship looking pretty tempting, you'll first need to go through several steps, like living in the country for at least six years, staying on your best behavior, and knowing a thing or two about the country you'll soon call home.

For those who actually want to head up north, here's how you move to Canada.

SEE ALSO: How to move to Sweden and live in the future

Preface: Make sure you're not already a Canadian citizen.

Before you go through the hassle of applying for citizenship, take a short quiz to see if you may already be Canadian.

The government outlines several caveats for being a citizen even if you weren't born there, many of which depend on your parents' citizenship. Maybe you secretly inherited their status at some point along the way.

Be at least 18 years old.

If you're not a legal adult, you've got an uphill climb ahead of you.

Minors need their parent or legal guardian to fill out the application for them; they need to be permanent residents in Canada (more on that later); and the parent must either be a citizen or applying to become one at the same time.

Or enter the pool for skilled immigrants.

Canada has a fast-track system for immigration called Express Entry. It's how skilled workers transition into a role in the country.

All applicants into Express Entry are given specific scores based on their specific talents and job prospects and then ranked with other applicants. Those at the top of the rankings are invited to become permanent residents.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

          FBI ondervraagt medewerkers Russisch softwarebedrijf Kaspersky   
NieuwsReporter.nl - Rechercheurs van de Amerikaanse federale politiedienst FBI hebben deze week gesproken met medewerkers van de cyberbeveiliger Kaspersky Lab. De ...
          Dan a conocer resultados de revisión de cuenta pública    
En la revisión parcial de la cuenta pública 2016 correspondiente al gasto federalizado ejercido por las 32 entidades, la Auditoría Superior de la  Federación (ASF) detectó que las entidades con mayor nivel de recursos bajo observaciones y presunto daño patrimonial corresponden al estado de México, con 3 mil 499 millones de pesos; Michoacán y Veracruz, con  3 mil 482 millones de pesos, así como Michoacán, con 3 mil 13 millones de pesos.
          Reforzarán medidas de seguridad en Veracruz    
El comisionado general de la Policía Federal (PF), Manelich Castilla Craviotto, informó que en los próximos días se anunciará una acción importante en materia de seguridad para el estado de Veracruz. Durante una entrevista radiofónica, confirmó que la División de Investigación de la PF encabezó el operativo en Puebla, donde se detuvo a 10 presuntos integrantes de un grupo delictivo, de los cuales cuatro están plenamente identificados como los homicidas del coordinador estatal y otro elemento, en hechos ocurridos el pasado fin de semana en Veracruz. El funcionario adelantó que en los días siguientes se darán a conocer medidas a instrumentar en la entidad e indicó que el titular de la División de Seguridad Regional “directamente estará trabajando por algunas semanas allá, analizando a profundidad el estado. Haremos un anuncio en los próximos días”. Reiteró que a pesar de que había dolor y consternación por la pérdida de compañeros, como el comisario Camilo Castagné, durante su presencia en Veracruz pudo constatar que la moral del personal nunca ha estado abajo. “Tratamos de hacer la mejor tarea posible, estar cerca de la gente, estar en el lugar de los hechos y llevar el mensaje de que el mejor homenaje a nuestros compañeros caídos es trabajar para hacerles justicia”.
          Irregularidades por $4,866 millones en el último año del gobierno de Javier Duarte    
Como parte del primer informe parcial de la revisión de la Cuenta Pública 2016, la Auditoría Superior de la Federación (ASF) detectó irregularidades en el ejercicio del gasto del gobierno de Veracruz en el último año de la administración de Javier Duarte de Ochoa, por un monto de 4 mil 866 millones de pesos del gasto federal programado, principalmente en rubros como el Seguro Popular y el Fondo de Fortalecimiento de la Infraestructura Municipal y Estatal.
          José Samuel Porrás Rugerio: El asesinato como argumento político   
En la Puebla de los Ángeles los demonios andan sueltos y el México bárbaro está de regreso. La resistencia de dos años y medio que sostiene la Unión Popular de Vendedores y Ambulantes 28 de Octubre frente a la embestida gubernamental se tiñó de rojo este jueves con el asesinato de Meztli Sarabia Reyna, hija del líder histórico de la organización, a manos de un comando armado. El pasado dos de abril, Rubén Sarabia Sánchez Simitrio reveló lo que, a su juicio, constituye el origen de los ataques hacia él, su familia y la 28 de Octubre: “Todos estos, y otros, ataques derivan del hecho de que en febrero de 2014 el entonces secretario General de Gobierno, ahora diputado federal, Luis Maldonado Venegas, me pidió que le entregara la organización porque –según él– ya es tiempo de un cambio en la dirección” y “el gobernador no quiere sumisión ciega, pero sí subordinación total”, y procedió a amenazar con cosas como que “en el [Mercado] Hidalgo se vende más de 80 por ciento de toda la droga que circula en Puebla”, que “uno de tus hijos está involucrado en la venta de protección a los narcotraficantes”, etcétera. No acepté entregarle la organización y mucho menos trabajar para Rafael Moreno Valle, y ya saben las consecuencias, que empezaron con los despojos de las zonas [de trabajo de los ambulantes] de “Los Fuertes” y “Parque Ecológico”, siguió con el cateo ilegal a la casa de mis hijos el 28 de noviembre y continuó, primero, encarcelándome el 19 de diciembre de 2014 acusándome de violar las condiciones preliberacionales que me fueron impuestas en abril de 2001, dentro del proceso penal 113/1989 del juzgado quinto penal; luego, ante la posibilidad real de que en enero de 2015 tuviera que ponerme en libertad por compurgar completamente la sentencia por la que se me impusieron las condiciones preliberacionales, la entonces Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado, ahora Fiscalía General, encabezada por Víctor Carrancá Bourguet, me imputó falsamente el delito de narcomenudeo para justificar mantenerme preso”.
          Vas a viajar en avión, enterarte de la nueva ley   
Viajes, vacaciones

Solicitar indemnización por demora o la devolución del importe del boleto en casó de decidir no viajar, son algunas de las nuevas reglas de acuerdo a la reforma realizada a las leyes.

A partir del 26 de junio 2017 entró en vigor las nuevas reglas para las aerolíneas en cuánto a viajes nacionales.

1.- Podrán solicitar una indemnización mínima del 7.5% del valor del boleto en su próximo viaje, cuando su vuelo registre una demora superior a dos horas e inferior a cuatro.

2.- Cuando la demora sea mayor a cuatro horas, serán compensados con la devolución del monto total del boleto (tarifa completa) y una indemnización equivalente al 25% del valor del boleto.

3.- El pasajero podrá solicitar la devolución del importe de su boleto sin cargo alguno, en caso de decidir no efectuar el viaje, siempre y cuando lo comunique dentro de las 24 horas contadas a partir de haberlo comprado.

4.- Si la demora del vuelo es superior a una hora e inferior a dos, se aplicarán las políticas de compensación de cada permisionario o concesionario.

5.- Se exenta de un pago adicional a las personas con discapacidad por el traslado de instrumentos inherentes a su condición, ni a los menores de dos años por la expedición de su boleto o la impresión de su pase de abordar.

6.- El usuario podrá trasladar en el avión hasta 25 kilogramos de equipaje documentado y hasta 10 kilogramos de equipaje de mano, sin costo alguno.

7.- La publicación a través de medios electrónicos o físicos en el área de abordaje y en los módulos de atención al pasajero, las causas o razones por la que los vuelos se vean demorados, además de facilitar a los consumidores toda la información para la presentación de sus quejas o denuncias.

8.- Conocer al momento de la compra del boleto y en los módulos de atención al pasajero los términos y condiciones del servicio contratado, las políticas de compensación, el listado de los derechos de los pasajeros en los mostradores, en las centrales de reserva, así como también al abordar las aeronaves.

9.- Las aerolíneas deberán publicar los derechos de los pasajeros de forma constante en medios electrónicos y a través de las agencias de viajes.

10.- La Procuraduría Federal del Consumidor (Profeco) deberá establecer mecanismos para regular los módulos de atención al pasajero, a fin de garantizar que sus procedimientos se hagan de forma sencilla y expedita.

Lo anterior de acuerdo a la reforma realizada a las Leyes Federal de Protección al Consumidor y de Aviación Civil, las cuales fueron publicadas en el Diario Oficial de la Federación (DOF), este lunes.


          Choca pipa de agua contra poste en Metepec   
Noticias de Metepec

Al perder el control de su unidad, un hombre se impactó contra un poste de luz eléctrica sobre el libramiento José María Morelos, en el cruce con el Circuito Metropolitano Exterior, dejando daños materiales, aunque no hubo personas heridas.

El conductor de una pipa con capacidad para 15 mil litros de agua, resultó ileso tras el choque frontal con la estructura de concreto registrado la mañana de este jueves, a la altura de la comunidad de San Lorenzo Coacalco, de acuerdo con los primeros reportes de fuentes locales.
De acuerdo con las versiones, el hombre, quien no fue identificado en el lugar, manejaba una pesada unidad cuando por causas que no han sido precisadas salió de la cinta asfáltica hasta estrellarse al subir la banqueta, sin que hubiera más vehículos afectados ni domicilios o negocios.

Automovilistas que circulaban por la zona alertaron a los cuerpos de emergencia sobre los hechos, aunque cuando elementos policiacos y bomberos arribaron el operador estaba sin lesiones de consideración, mientras que el vehículo de carga sufrió afectaciones en la parte delantera.

El percance ocasionó tráfico vehicular por unos minutos, mientras con ayuda de una grúa el camión fue retirado para ser llevado hasta un corralón, personal de la Comisión Federal de Electricidad fueron notificados para realizar labores ante las afectaciones que sufrió el poste.


          Clasificación pasada por agua en Alemania en la que Franco Morbidelli se hace con su quinta pole del año   

Moto2 Gp Alemania 2017002

Clasificación de Moto2 pasada por agua en el Gran Premio de Alemania. Franco Morbidelli ha conseguido su quinta pole de la temporada tras arrebatársela a su compañero de equipo en el último segundo. Con un tiempo de 1'32.159, el italiano defenderá mañana su liderato desde la primera posición.

Álex Márquez ha tenido que conformarse con la segunda posición tras liderar durante la última parte de la sesión. El piloto local Sandro Cortese ha sido el encargado de completar la primera línea. El alemán consigue bajo la mirada de su público entrar por primera vez esta temporada en el corralillo cerrado de los sábados. El piloto debutante y sustituto del lesionado Xavi Vierge, Héctor Garzo ha terminado quinto.

La lluvia, protagonista y determinante en moto2

Moto2 Gp Alemania 2017003

La bandera de agua tardó poco en salir en la clasificación de Moto2. Los pilotos salieron a pista en busca de acumular kilómetros y hacerse con el mejor tiempo posible, pero a los pocos minutos del inicio, una tormenta de verano descargaba encima del circuito provocado la retirada de los pilotos y dejando la pista prácticamente desértica.

Pocos se atrevieron a rodar bajo la lluvia y no fue hasta los últimos 20 minutos cuando la actividad volvió a Sachsenring. Miguel Oliveira y su KTM fueron los encargados de marcar el tiempo de referencia hasta que el resto de compañeros se animaran a la lucha.

Moto2 Gp Alemania 2017004

Sandro Cortese, Franco Morbidelli, Thomas Luthi o Álex Márquez fueron algunos de los que pelearon por la primera posición en los últimos cinco minutos. Finalmente, fue una pelea interna dentro del box de Estrella Galiciab con Morbidelli y Márquez arrebatándose los tiempos en las últimas vueltas.

El desenlace se desencadenó a favor de Franco Morbidelli que se hacía con su quinta pole de la temporada tras batirle el tiempo a su compañero de equipo. Morbidelli defenderá mañana el liderato desde la primera posición seguido de Álex Márquez y el piloto local Sandro Cortese. El alemán consigue así entrar por primera vez esta temporada en la primera fila de parrilla.

Moto2 Gp Alemania 2017001

Mattia Pasini se ha quedado a las puertas de entrar al corralito cerrado con una cuarta posición y muy destacable también la actuación de Héctor Garzo que se ha hecho con una quinta posición en su debut en el Campeonato del Mundo de Motociclismo. El piloto del Fim Cev Repsol y del Campeonato de España está en Alemania sustituyendo al lesionado Xavi Vierge.

Miguel Oliveira ha completado la segunda fila con la sexta posición. Thomas Luthi, Simone Corsi, Fabio Quartararo y Francesco Bagnaia han sido los pilotos que han terminado dentro del top ten. El resto de los nuestros, Axel Pons ha terminado décimo segundo, Jorge Navarro y Augusto Fernández décimo octavo y décimo noveno respectivamente. Edgar Pons vigésimo segundo, Isaac Viñales vigésimo noveno e Iker Lecuona trigésimo.

Moto2 Gp Alemania 2017005

Resultados QP Moto2 Alemania

Posición Dorsal Piloto País Equipo Moto Km/h Tiempo
1 21 Franco MORBIDELLI ITA EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex 245.1 1'32.159
2 73 Alex MARQUEZ SPA EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex 240.9 0.253 / 0.253
3 11 Sandro CORTESE GER Dynavolt Intact GP Suter 243.3 0.377 / 0.124
4 54 Mattia PASINI ITA Italtrans Racing Team Kalex 244.6 0.519 / 0.142
5 14 Hector GARZO SPA Tech 3 Racing Tech 3 240.5 0.588 / 0.069
6 44 Miguel OLIVEIRA POR Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM 242.5 0.642 / 0.054
7 12 Thomas LUTHI SWI CarXpert Interwetten Kalex 244.7 0.672 / 0.030
8 24 Simone CORSI ITA Speed Up Racing Speed Up 240.2 0.915 / 0.243
9 40 Fabio QUARTARARO FRA Pons HP40 Kalex 242.8 1.035 / 0.120
10 42 Francesco BAGNAIA ITA SKY Racing Team VR46 Kalex 242.2 1.154 / 0.119
11 55 Hafizh SYAHRIN MAL Petronas Raceline Malaysia Kalex 239.2 1.163 / 0.009
12 49 Axel PONS SPA RW Racing GP Kalex 239.7 1.393 / 0.230
13 23 Marcel SCHROTTER GER Dynavolt Intact GP Suter 242.4 1.497 / 0.104
14 87 Remy GARDNER AUS Tech 3 Racing Tech 3 243.1 1.565 / 0.068
15 10 Luca MARINI ITA Forward Racing Team Kalex 241.5 1.698 / 0.133
16 45 Tetsuta NAGASHIMA JPN Teluru SAG Team Kalex 241.9 1.748 / 0.050
17 77 Dominique AEGERTER SWI Kiefer Racing Suter 240.6 1.749 / 0.001
18 9 Jorge NAVARRO SPA Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex 241.9 1.820 / 0.071
19 37 Augusto FERNANDEZ SPA Speed Up Racing Speed Up 239.0 1.946 / 0.126
20 19 Xavier SIMEON BEL Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2 Kalex 241.1 1.971 / 0.025
21 41 Brad BINDER RSA Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM 244.4 2.031 / 0.060
22 57 Edgar PONS SPA Pons HP40 Kalex 241.6 2.126 / 0.095
23 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL AGR Team Kalex 240.1 2.233 / 0.107
24 5 Andrea LOCATELLI ITA Italtrans Racing Team Kalex 242.2 2.409 / 0.176
25 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI JPN IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex 239.1 2.629 / 0.220
26 2 Jesko RAFFIN SWI Garage Plus Interwetten Kalex 239.4 2.869 / 0.240
27 62 Stefano MANZI ITA SKY Racing Team VR46 Kalex 240.4 3.032 / 0.163
28 6 Tarran MACKENZIE GBR Kiefer Racing Suter 239.0 3.475 / 0.443
29 32 Isaac VIÑALES SPA BE-A-VIP SAG Team Kalex 239.5 3.862 / 0.387
30 27 Iker LECUONA SPA Garage Plus Interwetten Kalex 241.5 4.611 / 0.749
31 22 Federico FULIGNI ITA Forward Racing Team Kalex 240.2 5.574 / 0.963
89 Khairul Idham PAWI MAL IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex 239.7 9.491 / 3.917

Fotos | Marc VDS, Dynavolt Intact GP
Más información | MotoGP
En Motorpasión Moto | GP de Alemania

          Smoking Legal Weed in Vegas? Know the Risks at WSOP   

Recreational marijuana became legal in Nevada today but smoking pot at the World Series of Poker can still have serious consequences.

Weed's always been pretty common at the WSOP. Whether it's outside, in the hallways or at the tables, it's unusual to go a full day at the Rio Hotel and Casino without smelling it somewhere.

Now with marijuana available in Las Vegas for anyone of legal age, odds are we'll be smelling it even more.

But smoking and vaping weed at the World Series isn't the safest activity if you value being allowed on the Rio property.

Officially they have a zero-tolerance policy that involves having anyone using drugs on the premises arrested by the police and possibly banned from not just this property, but all Caesars properties.

It's happened before but considering the number of people discreetly partaking, it's not really that common.

Shane Schleger is a poker pro whose first WSOP cash was in 2005, a $131k score for making a final table in a $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em event.

Schleger says he's been smoking weed in varying amounts the entire time he's played at the WSOP.

“I've run the gamut of styles,” said Schleger.

“I’ve definitely done my normal wake-and-bake and play WSOP events over the years but that's not necessarily how I am geared right now.

Shane Schleger
Shane Schleger

“This current trip I've played four prelims and abstained until dinner break.”

Schleger's never had a problem with security but he said he has a friend that was caught with a vape pen at another Caesars property and banned from the World Series of Poker altogether.

Over the last 15 years there have been many stories of players getting kicked off properties all over the US for smoking pot, some while still playing in a tournament.

Schleger's position is that while it is clear the WSOP's parent company Caesars must have rules like a no-drugs policy, potentially being banned from setting foot inside the World Series of Poker is disproportionate to the offense.

Many poker players are earning a living at the WSOP, some people have medical marijuana prescriptions and others have traveled from around the world to play here.

The unspoken consensus, though, is that if you're discreet and respectful when you're smoking weed, chances are you'll be okay.

“I don’t look at the problem in terms of Smokers vs Caesars,” he explained.

“I'm not under any reasonable expectation that a huge corporation will condone drug use on its property. That's why I find the unspoken accommodation of this popular activity to be a reasonable middle ground.

“I think more people get barred from these properties for being drunk or unruly or challenging the authority of a security guard, which usually happens when someone is drunk.

“So on the spectrum of things you can do to piss off the guards, discreetly smoking some cannabis in a wide open desert seems less foolhardy than, say, walking around the Linq drunk and acting like an asshole.”

Don't Expect Weed in Casinos Anytime Soon

The current guidelines around marijuana being sold and consumed in casinos was outlined in a 2014 memo to gaming licensees written by Gaming Control Board member Terry Johnson and the board decided there would be no changes to those guidelines as a result of weed's eventual legalization by the State of Nevada.

Police at WSOP
A police vehicle parked outside the entrance to the WSOP.

The memo essentially said that since the possession and sale of marijuana are federal crimes, casinos wouldn't be allowed to invest or operate marijuana facilities regardless of changing state laws.

The same concept applies to smoking weed at the WSOP now that the state says it's legal for recreational use.

“We have local law enforcement on property, in our parking lots, and people get arrested with regularity if they're caught smoking on Rio grounds,” said WSOP Vice President of Corporate Communication Seth Palansky.

"Look, we don't have a special task force set up to go after these people or anything but if there's illegal activity happening on property we'll do what we have to do make this a safe and comfortable environment for people.

“It's like if I decide to drive 35 in a 25 zone, I'm risking getting a ticket so you have to know the risks before you make a decision.”

But if you're deep in a WSOP event with serious money on the line, the potential risk of smoking a joint in the parking lot is much higher than a speeding ticket.

When it comes to lifetime or long-term bans, however, Palansky explained that those are much more commonly given for offenses like unruly or violent behavior and security risks compared to getting caught smoking pot.

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          The Hill   
The Hill is a non-partisan American political newspaper published in Washington, D.C. since 1994. It is owned by News Communications, Inc., which is owned by Capitol Hill Publishing, Chairman James A. Finkelstein. Focusing on the intersection of politics, policy, business and international relations, The Hill coverage includes Congress, the White House and federal campaigns. It has policy verticals on Cybersecurity, Defense, Energy & Environment, Finance, Healthcare, National Security, Technology, and Transportation.
          Plano prevê 37 ações para desenvolver o turismo em Curitiba   
A versão final do Plano de Desenvolvimento Integrado do Turismo Sustentável (PDITS) de Curitiba foi aprovada na tarde desta terça-feira (29) durante audiência pública, realizada no Salão Nobre da Prefeitura Municipal.
O plano tem 37 ações para serem implantadas com o objetivo de impulsionar o turismo no município, que abrangem temas ligados também a cultura e ao meio-ambiente, tais como investimentos em nove parques da cidade, requalificação da paisagem urbana na região central da cidade e centro histórico, desenvolvimento de sistema de armazenamento provisório e coleta de lixo nesta região, ordenamento da Feira do largo da Ordem entre outras.
Essas ações estimam investimento de R$ 236 milhões, sendo que até R$ 216 milhões podem ser captados por linhas de crédito junto ao Banco Interamericano de Desenvolvimento (BID), a partir do Prodetur.  A liberação deste valor, entretanto, depende da apresentação de projetos e aprovação destes.
Representantes da Ambiens Sociedade Cooperativa, empresa responsável pelo estudo para formação do plano, apresentaram os dados obtidos durante quase dois anos de levantamento e interpretação de informações.
O PDITS de Curitiba é o instrumento técnico para planejamento e gestão da política pública municipal na área de turismo e tem como objetivo orientar o crescimento do setor em bases sustentáveis, em curto, médio e longo prazo, estabelecendo a definição de ações, as prioridades, e a tomada de decisão. O plano da capital paranaense ainda será submetido à aprovação do Ministério do Turismo e, assim que isso ocorra, a cidade estará inserida no Prodetur  - ­ Programas Regionais de Desenvolvimento do Turismo, do governo federal – e apta a receber recursos para o desenvolvimento de projetos na área.
A importância de integrar o Prodetur é a possibilidade que Curitiba ganha para a captação de recursos na área de turismo. “A partir da apresentação do PDITS, projetos poderão ser detalhados e poderemos captar recursos junto ao governo federal e BID, que são atualmente os grandes investidores na área do turismo, e que irão apoiar a Prefeitura neste planejamento estratégico a médio prazo”, disse a presidente da Agência Curitiba, Gina Paldino.
“Incluída no PDITS, Curitiba ganha mais uma alternativa para obtenção de linhas de crédito para o desenvolvimento do turismo local, geração de empregos e divisas. O PDITS será uma importante ferramenta que norteará o planejamento do CTur”, diz o presidente do Instituto Municipal de Turismo (CTur),  Paulo Colnaghi.
Participaram também da audiência diretores do CTur, a presidente da Agência Curitiba, Gina Paladino, membros do Conselho Municipal do Turismo (Comtur) e do Ministério do Turismo (MTur).
Iniciado em setembro de 2012 o PDITS Curitiba foi desenvolvido em seis etapas: plano de trabalho e formulação dos objetivos, diagnóstico estratégico, validação e estratégias, Plano de ação e feedback, versão preliminar e versão final. Cada uma destas etapas foi apresentada e debatida durante reuniões do Comtur.
A participação conjunta do poder público e da iniciativa privada na constituição do PDITS é na posterior implementação das ações é o que pode alavancar o setor do turismo na capital, segundo o professor da UFPR, doutor José Manoel Gândara. “O PDITS foi construído em conjunto entre poder público e iniciativa privada e isso gera comprometimento e também um direcionamento de ações em comum. O que é muito importante”, afirmou.


          Parques estaduais do Paraná são opções para passeios durante o feriado prolongado   
Com o feriado prolongado – Sexta-feira da Paixão e Tiradentes - uma boa alternativa de viagem é conhecer os Parques Estaduais do Paraná. O Estado possui 68 Unidades de Conservação, gerenciadas pelo Instituto Ambiental do Paraná (IAP). Dessas, 29 são abertas para visitação com infraestrutura para receber e atender o público. 

“Além das belezas naturais, passeios de aventura e vídeos explicativos sobre a fauna e flora local, os parques estaduais são uma forma de conhecer também a história do Paraná. São uma boa alternativa para famílias, jovens e turistas que procuram opções de lazer aliadas ao contato com a natureza”, diz a presidente da Paraná Turismo, Juliana Vosnika. 

De acordo com o presidente do Instituto Ambiental do Paraná (IAP), Luiz Tarcísio Mossato Pinto, manter as Unidades de Conservação abertas para visitação é uma maneira de promover a educação ambiental da população. 

“A gente só preserva aquilo que a gente conhece. Incentivar o lazer em locais onde a estrutura e o ambiente permitem é uma maneira de proporcionar esse conhecimento”, disse. Ele explica que cada Unidade de Conservação oferece um passeio diferenciado, que atende diversos gostos e estilos. Em algumas as trilhas são mais extensas, com obstáculos que exigem mais preparo físico. Outras oferecem infraestrutura e conforto e a opção de uma leve caminhada”. 

É importante lembrar que os visitantes devem tomar alguns cuidados durante os passeios pelos parques, para garantir a preservação dos locais. As medidas incluem o descarte correto do lixo, não pisar na vegetação e não utilizar churrasqueiras. Os cuidados servem para evitar impactos ambientais em função do aumento do número de visitantes durante o feriado. 

Os parques do Estado oferecem diferentes atrações e são procurados de acordo com o perfil dos visitantes. Confira os atrativos de algumas Unidades de Conservação:

GRANDE CURITIBA - O Parque Estadual de Campinhos, em Tunas do Paraná, na Região Metropolitana de Curitiba, é uma boa opção de lazer. Sua principal atração é a Gruta dos Jesuítas, a 5ª maior do Estado, com salões de aproximadamente 550 metros de extensão, estalagmites e estalactites. No local também é possível fazer caminhadas pela Trilha da Floresta, de mata nativa, onde os visitantes podem conhecer diversas espécies de plantas da região.

O parque recebe o público de quarta-feira a domingo e também nos feriados, das 9h às 16h. A visitação à gruta termina às 15h30 (somente para grupos pré-agendados). Para agendar visitas e obter mais informações, o telefone de contato é (41) 3659-1428. 

LITORAL - O Parque Florestal Rio das Onças possui trilhas em que os visitantes podem descobrir mais sobre as espécies presentes no Litoral do Estado. No município de Matinhos o local está aberto à visitação, de terça-feira a domingo, e nos feriados, das 8h às 11h30 e das 13h30 às 17h30. O telefone de contato é o (41) 3453-2472. Na segunda-feira (21) o local fecha para manutenção e trabalhos internos. 

O Caminho do Itupava também é uma boa opção para aqueles que querem fazer trilhas em mata fechada em plena Serra do Mar e aprender um pouco sobre a história do Paraná. É um trajeto histórico e de grande importância ecológica que liga o Parque Estadual da Serra da Baitaca e o Parque Estadual do Marumbi. O Caminho foi, por muitos séculos, a principal ligação entre a planície litorânea e o primeiro planalto paranaense. 

 – O Parque Estadual de Vila Velha é o mais antigo dos parques estaduais e um dos mais visitados do Paraná. Os arenitos são a principal atração da unidade, que conta com toda estrutura necessária para atendimento aos visitantes sem causar impactos negativos a um importante patrimônio geológico. 

A Lagoa Dourada é outro atrativo da área pela cristalinidade de suas águas e seus inúmeros cardumes. As Furnas também merecem destaque em função da peculiaridade dessa formação, além de serem locais propícios para a prática de atividades integradas à natureza. 

O Parque Vila Velha está localizado no município de Ponta Grossa e fica aberto de quarta à segunda-feira e, nos feriados, das 8h30 às 15h30. O telefone é (42) 3228-1539. 

NORTE – O Parque Estadual Mata São Francisco, em Cornélio Procópio, possui uma trilha de 1,6 mil metros e duas pontes de onde é possível observar a paisagem formada pela vegetação característica do bioma da Mata Atlântica. O local abre para visitação de quarta-feira a domingo, das 8h às 17h. As visitas devem ser agendadas previamente pelo telefone (43) 3523-2659. 

Outra opção é o Parque Estadual Mata dos Godoy, que fica em Londrina e tem área de 690,1 hectares. Foi criado para proteger um dos últimos remanescentes de Floresta Subtropical. Existem 3 trilhas abertas à visitação - Trilha do Projeto Madeira, Trilha Interpretativa ou das Perobas e Figueiras e a Trilha Álvaro Godoy ou dos Catetos. Além do lazer em contato com a natureza, as trilhas são utilizadas pesquisa e educação ambiental. O parque funciona de terça a sexta-feira, das 08h30 às 17h30, e aos domingos e feriados, das 13h30 às 17h. Agendamentos pelo telefone (43) 3373-8700 

NOROESTE - O Parque Estadual Lago Azul fica em Campo Mourão e é aberto à visitação de terça a sexta-feira, das 9h às 17 horas, e aos sábados, domingos e feriados, das 14h às 17 h. O telefone de contato é (44) 3523-1185. Além da paisagem, o Parque Lago Azul possui trilhas exclusivas para apreciação da fauna e flora local. Na segunda-feira (21) o local fecha para manutenção e trabalhos internos. 

REGIÃO OESTE – O Parque Cabeça do Cachorro fica no município de São Pedro do Iguaçu e está aberto à visitação de terça-feira a domingo e também nos feriados, das 8 às 18h. O telefone de contato é (45) 3255-1007. Na segunda-feira (21) o local fecha para manutenção e trabalhos internos. 

Normas dos Parques Estaduais 

- Não usar fogo, o que inclui não armar fogueiras, não utilizar churrasqueiras, não soltar fogos de artifício e não queimar lixo, inclusive, na área do entorno dos parques.
- Não entrar com animais domésticos, exceto cães-guias (Lei Federal nº 11.126 de 2005). Eles podem transmitir ou contrair doenças, introduzir espécies que não são da região, caçar animais silvestres ou oferecer riscos aos visitantes.
- Não utilizar equipamentos sonoros ou qualquer outro que possa produzir ruído para não estressar os animais, que pode provocar agitação ou a dispersão deles da região.
- Descartar o lixo de forma correta. Os resíduos gerados devem ser colocados nas lixeiras disponíveis ou recolhidos em sacolas para posterior destinação adequada.
- Não utilizar barcos a motor ou pescar no interior das unidades.

Fonte: Paraná Turismo
          Janot diz que saída para crise está na política, e não no Judiciário   
O procurador-geral da República, Rodrigo Janot, afirmou neste sábado (1º/7) que as recentes investigações e denúncias contra políticos não devem ser encaradas como ataques do Ministério Público Federal à atividade política do país. A uma plateia de jornalistas, ele afirmou que “sem a política não...
          Cunha e ex-ministro viram réus sob acusação de desvios em obras do RN   
O juiz federal Francisco Eduardo Guimarães Farias, da 14ª Vara Federal de Natal, aceitou denúncia contra o ex-presidente da Câmara Eduardo Cunha, o ex-ministro do Turismo Henrique Alves e mais quatro pessoas. Eles são acusados de liderar um esquema de lavagem de dinheiro e corrupção ativa e passi...
          Estudante cotista suspeita de mentir tem direito a rematrícula   
A dúvida sobre a autodeclaração de uma estudante que entrou pelo regime de cotas não impede a presença dela na sala de aula, pois não prejudica de forma grave a instituição de ensino. Com esse entendimento, o Tribunal Regional Federal da 4ª Região concedeu liminar que garante rematrícula a uma un...
          Por interesse local, município pode legislar sobre o meio ambiente   
Na defesa de interesses locais, cabe ao município legislar sobre a proteção ao meio ambiente e o combate à poluição. Assim entendeu o Supremo Tribunal Federal ao concluir julgamento iniciado há 13 anos e negar recurso de empresas de transporte coletivo em Belo Horizonte contra normas da capital m...
          STF julgará se Estado responde por atos com imunidade parlamentar   
O Supremo Tribunal Federal irá decidir se o Poder Público pode ser responsabilizado civilmente por eventuais danos causados por atos protegidos por imunidade parlamentar. O Plenário Virtual da corte reconheceu a repercussão geral de recurso movido pelo estado do Ceará, condenado a indenizar um ju...
          Turismo apoia segmento de trens turísticos   

O Ministério do Turismo (MTur) já investiu, desde 2004, cerca de R$ 20 milhões na recuperação de estações, implantação de trens turísticos e recuperação de trechos ferroviários, um segmento que ajuda a preservar o patrimônio histórico ferroviário e movimenta o turismo brasileiro. Dos 54 contratos de obras de infraestrutura, 29 já foram concluídas e o restante está em andamento.

O Brasil tem hoje 18 ferrovias regionais que somam 22 mil quilômetros em 19 estados. O uso da malha ferroviária ajuda a gerar emprego e renda, promove a integração regional e diminui a ociosidade de trechos ferroviários. Segundo o inventário da Rede Ferroviária Federal, são 115 locomotivas e 222 carros transportando passageiros pelo país.

São 33 trens turísticos em operação, todos na região Sul e Sudeste do país. Para o secretário nacional de Políticas de Turismo, Vinicius Lummertz, o uso de trens para o turismo “abre portas para novos investimentos e permite a criação e o fortalecimento de novos destinos e centros históricos”, afirma.

Em atividade, o trem turístico de São José do Rio Preto, conhecido como Trem Caipira, que passou a operar este ano. A compra da locomotiva foi feita pela prefeitura da cidade, com investimentos de R$ 731 mil do MTur. Já a estação ferroviária de Ceará-Mirim, que transporta trabalhadores e estudantes entre Ceará-Mirim a Natal, no Rio Grande do Norte, recebeu R$ 188 mil do MTur.

Mesmo desativadas, algumas estações ferroviárias atraem turistas e funcionam como polos culturais. A estação ferroviária de Joinville, em Santa Catarina, é hoje patrimônio histórico do estado e atrativo turístico da cidade. Ela recebeu R$ 220 mil do MTur para reforma e está aberta para visitações, com entrada gratuita.

O mesmo aconteceu com a estação ferroviária da cidade de Rio das Flores (RJ) e com a antiga estação ferroviária de Passo Fundo (RS), ambas recuperadas com o apoio do MTur. O parque da Gare, onde fica a estação de Passo Fundo, é um atrativo turístico usado para a prática esportiva, exposições culturais e artísticas.

Fonte: www.turismo.gov.br
          Court fixes date for judgment on Shiites, soldiers clash in Zaria   
A Federal High Court, Kaduna, yesterday reserved judgment in the case of the December 2015 Zaria bloody clashes between the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Shiites and the Nigerian Army for Wednesday, July 6, 2017. [...]
          Broad Swath of S. Africans Meets on Nation's Future    

THE broadest spectrum of parties ever to come together for political talks in South Africa gathers here today to plan a resumption of negotiations on the country's transition to democracy.

Ten months after multiparty talks broke down, the groups are returning to the table with a new sense of urgency. Three months of bilateral talks between the ruling National Party and the African National Congress (ANC) have cleared the way for a resumption of full negotiations.

"They're back at the table at last and this time there are more of them and the chemistry is looking good," says a Western diplomat monitoring the negotiation process.

Today's meeting, which will set a date for the resumption of full-blown multiparty talks, for the first time will include white right-wing parties and radical black rivals to the left of the ANC.

Participants are expected to include 23 delegations from 21 political groups - four more than the 19 delegations that attended the Convention for a Democratic South Africa, which deadlocked last May after five months of deliberations. Wide spectrum of parties

Among the attendees will be the militant Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC), which failed to reach agreement with the government in talks this week about the suspension of the armed struggle being waged by its radical military wing, the Azanian Peoples Liberation Army.

The right-wing Afrikaner Volks Unie, which broke away from the more hard-line Conservative Party last year, will take part in a six-party committee chairing the meeting. This marks the first direct involvement of a right-wing party in steering multiparty talks.

There is also cautious optimism that Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), is preparing to put his full weight behind multiparty talks.

Today's meeting will be attended by chief negotiators rather than political leaders. A delegation from the semi-autonomous KwaZulu homeland could provide the mechanism for the Zulu king, Goodwill Zwelithini, to attend the next round of talks.

There is still disagreement over the boundaries, powers, and functions of South Africa's regions and whether they should be bound in a federation or a looser arrangement. But consensus is growing among the parties that the new constitution will need to provide for a high degree of autonomy for regional governments to prevent secessions that could fragment the country.

In the past three months, the ANC has made major concessions in the direction of a federal-type system and ANC leader Nelson Mandela has gone out of his way to recognize the principle of self-determination in talks with white right-wing leaders.

Multiparty talks, which could be held this month, must reach agreement on the powers and functions of a Transitional Executive Committee (TEC), an independent Electoral Commission, and an independent Media Commission that will have the task of leveling the political playing field.

The TEC, a multiracial super-advisory body, will function with sub-councils that will establish multiparty management of the security forces during the run-up to the elections. The three commissions should be established by June, by which time the multiparty forum is expected to have agreed on an election date.

"I think by the time we get to July it will be all systems go for the election," says ANC Electoral Commission head Popo Molefe.

The talks take place in the wake of the March 2 massacre of six school pupils in the violence-racked hills around Pietermaritzburg, which has served as a grim reminder of the bitter war still raging between supporters of the ANC and the IFP in that province.

The killing of the pupils has evoked national outrage across the political spectrum and Law and Order Minister Hernus Kriel has offered an $80,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible.

Nobel peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu visited the bereaved community with other church leaders yesterday in a bid to calm political passions and prevent revenge killings.

Figures published Wednesday by the Human Rights Commission, a civil rights group that monitors political violence, indicate that deaths this year from political violence have dropped to levels well below the 300-a-month average for 1992. Coalition government

Today's talks will take place against the backdrop of an understanding reached last month between the government and the ANC that the drafting of a democratic constitution after the first democratic ballot will be followed by a period of coalition rule lasting up to five years.

The coalition government will include all parties that win at least 5 percent of the vote. According to recent polls this is sure to include the ANC and the National Party and is likely to include the PAC, the IFP, and possibly the right-wing Conservative Party.

"One could say that the real challenge of the ballot will be about whether South Africa can hold a peaceful election rather than who will win the election," says Larry Garber, an official of the National Democratic Institute in Washington, which helps run a South African voter education program.

The major challenge prior to the election will be to educate an estimated electorate of 21 million - about 16 million of whom are blacks who have never voted before - in the basics of democracy and electoral procedures.

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          Full-time Licensed Psychologist in Integrated Primary Care - The Wright Institute - Integrated Health Psychology Training Program, Partnership with Contra Costa Health Services - Martinez, CA   
IHPTP is currently expanding its licensed workforce with positions in the family practice department of our partnering federally qualified health center in...
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          Cooling Assistance Available for Seniors, People with Medical Conditions   
By The Jamestown Sun
The North Dakota Department of Human Services and the North Dakota Department of Commerce’s Division of Community Service are reminding North Dakotans that cooling assistance is available for seniors and people with certain medical conditions who qualify for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

“The summer months can bring extreme heat and humidity that can create challenges for seniors and people with health issues,” said Carol Cartledge, director of the Department of Human Services’ Economic Assistance Division. “The cooling assistance program provides help to eligible low-income households and our most vulnerable citizens to help prevent heat-related illnesses.”

Cartledge said program funds can be used to help qualifying households purchase and install a window air conditioning unit, repair an air conditioning unit or purchase oscillating or window fans. Work is completed by a Community Action agency located in the state’s eight largest cities.

To qualify, current energy assistance clients under 60 years old need a signed statement from a physician, physician assistant, nurse practitioner or public health nurse verifying their medical condition and the need for a cooled living space. They must provide that information to a county social service office. Clients age 60 and over are not required to get documentation of a medical need.

People who are not currently energy assistance program clients may also qualify. A three-person household earning up to $44,665 per year may qualify if their assets meet program limits. For information on qualifying incomes, visit http://bit.ly/1kVqakw.

Individuals should contact their county social service office to apply for the program before Sept.29. Contact information is online at http://bit.ly/2cuxown.

The Department of Human Services and the North Dakota Department of Commerce work together with county social service offices to address the heating and cooling needs of low-income individuals.   

LIHEAP is a federally-funded program that primarily helps qualifying households meet the cost of home heating. This past heating season, the program served about 12,100 households statewide. Last summer, 186 households participated in the cooling assistance program.

Cooling Assistance Available for Seniors, People with Medical Conditions - The Jamestown Sun

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          North Dakota Accepting Applications for Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership   
By ND Commerce
The North Dakota Department of Commerce announced today it is accepting applications for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership through October 2017.
The program offers grants from the USDA to state-led efforts to test and evaluate innovative and comprehensive approaches to marketing higher biofuel blends, such as E15 and E85.
“North Dakota is a leader in the availability of blended fuels,” North Dakota Commerce Commissioner Jay Schuler said. “The award from the USDA helps North Dakota build on the successful efforts that began years ago in our state to encourage greater access to biofuels at the pump.”
The USDA effort is intended to drive innovative public-private partnerships to have more comprehensive approaches to marketing higher ethanol blends, with the federal funds used to support the infrastructure and state/private resources used for other elements.
In 2009, North Dakota initiated a statewide blended-fuel pump program that led to the installation of more than 200 pumps at 66 retail locations across the state. Over the life of the state’s program, the sale of ethanol-blended fuels increased 56 percent in North Dakota.
Additional information and details on the Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership Program is available at: http://www.communityservices.nd.gov/renewableenergyprograms/.
The North Dakota Department of Commerce works to improve the quality of life for North Dakota citizens by leading efforts to attract, retain and expand wealth. Commerce serves businesses and communities statewide through committed people and partners who offer valuable programs and dynamic services.
For more North Dakota news and information go to www.NDCommerce.com.

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          North Dakota State Energy Program Accepting Applications   
By ND Commerce
The North Dakota State Energy Program's (SEP) is currently accepting applications through March 1. SEP’s mission is to promote energy conservation and efficiency, and reduce the rate of growth of energy demand by developing and implementing a comprehensive state energy plan supported by Federal financial and technical assistance.  

The SEP provides a range of energy conservation and renewable energy related areas, including energy education, buildings, commercial/industrial, energy codes, and transportation. The SEP program receives formula funds from the Department of Energy. 

For more information on this program, contact Andrea Pfennig at 701-426-5295. 

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          Back to Rockin' the Bakken: Jobs Returning to America's Oil Patch   
By Fox Business
With oil prices on the mend, and an incoming president who is no enemy to drilling, energy companies in the U.S. are hiring again.

In Williston, the North Dakota town that sits at the epicenter of the American shale boom, hiring activity has picked up in the first weeks of 2017. Shawn Wenko, executive director of Williston Economic Development, said oil companies operating in the oil-rich Bakken Formation are hosting two or three job fairs each week. Four companies are expected to add a combined 300 jobs in the first quarter, partly driven by oilfield services.

The number of active rigs in the U.S. surged by 35 to a total of 694 this week, Baker Hughes (BHI) said in its latest report. The U.S. rig count is now up 57 versus the same day in 2015. Schlumberger (SLB), the world’s largest oilfield services provider, said Friday during its fourth quarter earnings release that business was lifted during a period that saw oil companies drilling more wells.

The turnaround fueled an increase of 3,300 jobs in oil and gas extraction and support services in November, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It was the first increase since September 2014. Over the previous two years, the industry lost over 155,000 jobs.

The uptick in drilling comes as President Donald Trump takes office. Trump and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the President’s pick to lead the Energy Department, are proponents of new U.S. drilling. Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT), Trump’s pick for secretary of the Interior Department, has pledged to explore an expansion of drilling on federal land.

“America’s incredible energy potential remains untapped. It is a totally self-inflicted wound,” Trump said in a May campaign speech detailing his energy plans.

Citing Trump’s proposals to soften regulations, outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said the energy sector, specifically oil-rig operators and pipeline builders, will regain its status as one of the hottest industries for new hires in 2017.

As drillers and job seekers flocked to the Bakken Formation, Williston’s population nearly doubled from 2010 to 2015. Officials don’t expect the same type of surge they saw at the height of the boom, but the rebound in oil prices should fuel a “significant” boost in 2017.

“This play really shows some long-term potential for us,” Wenko told FOXBusiness.com, referring to the Bakken. “It’s a good indicator for us, as far as what the industry is doing. They’re investing in the billions and putting up long-term facilities.”

Williston, the country’s fastest-growing small city five years in a row, used the oil slump to catch up on infrastructure projects, including a new $240 million airport under construction.

“One of the big misconceptions is people want to say Williston went bust,” Wenko said. “The slowdown helped us catch our breath.”

The industry is also pouring money into the Permian Basin of Texas. Exxon Mobil (XOM) acquired 250,000 acres of land in the Permian this week, paying up to $6.6 billion to nearly double the company’s footprint in the lucrative shale play.

U.S. oil prices climbed 2.2% to $52.51 a barrel on Friday, well above the sub-$40 prices seen last summer. Prices have continued to recover after OPEC’s deal to coordinate production cuts, a move that further eased concerns over swelling global supplies.

Back to Rockin' the Bakken: Jobs Returning to America's Oil Patch - Fox Business


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          Northern Plains UAS Test Site Supports Advanced Testing at Denver International Airport   
By ND Commerce
The Northern Plains Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site recently supported the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in their assessment of techniques and technologies to detect Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in and around airports as part of its Pathfinder Program – UAS Detection and Mitigation at Airports and Critical Infrastructure. The collaborative assessment, which occurred on Nov. 11-18, was hosted at the Denver International Airport with a dozen different flights conducted under an FAA-issued Certification of Authorization or Waiver (COA) granted to the Northern Plains UAS Test Site. 

“Our ability to support the FAA’s assessment demonstrates the maturity and trust that the FAA has in our safety processes and procedures.”  Nicholas Flom, Executive Director of the Northern Plains UAS Test Site said.  “Our team traveled to Denver with our fleet of unmanned aircraft, and conducted the assessment under the oversight and procedures of the Northern Plains UAS Test Site successfully.” 

Vendors CACI International, Liteye Systems Inc. and Sensofusion participated in the event to evaluate procedures and technologies designed to identify UAS operations around airports. The Northern Plains UAS Test Site flew four different models of unmanned aircraft within Denver International Airport’s airspace while the FAA evaluated the technologies operated by the vendors. 

“North Dakota continues to advance UAS integration into the National Airspace System, and our partnership with the FAA for this assessment is another major accomplishment for the industry,” Flom said. 

The Northern Plains UAS Test Site works to collaborate with the FAA and industry partners to develop equipment, systems, rules and procedures to safely integrate unmanned aircraft into the National Airspace System without negatively impacting existing aviation.  

North Dakota has invested over $37 million to advance UAS research and development and is collaborating with organizations statewide to build this emerging industry. 

For more information about the Northern Plains UAS Test Site or to inquire about gaining access to our airspace, go to NPUASTS.COM or call us at 701-777-6100.   

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          North Dakota Drone Effort Lauded at White House Workshop   
Accomplishments made with unmanned aircraft systems in North Dakota were recognized recently during a workshop hosted on the White House campus.

The “Workshop on Drones and the Future of Aviation” assembled leaders from areas of industry, academia and government to outline the future of integrating unmanned aircraft, also known as drones, into the national airspace and discuss necessary policies to ensure that happens, according to a news release.

“Recognizing the fact that North Dakota as a test site is helping to pave the way for regulations really solidifies the reason why it was important that we were there,” said Nicholas Flom, director of safety for the Northern Plains UAS Test Site, who attended the workshop.

The North Dakota test site is one of six designated by the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct research into drones’ airspace integration.

The test site received recognition for requesting permission to fly drones beyond the line of visual sight at the Grand Sky business park on Grand Forks Air Force Base.

The test site is seeking to fly the aircraft up to 29,000 feet above ground without the use of a chase planes. These planes are tasked with tailing a drone during flights beyond the sight of the drone’s pilot, which is otherwise prohibited.

Another effort highlighted was the test site’s success in securing a block of spectrum from the Federal Communications Commission for transmitting commands and data during drone flights. Accessing spectrum an increasingly challenging feat nationwide, Flom said.

“Spectrum is not readily available throughout the country,” he said. “One of the things they were discussing was airspace might be a challenge to get, but what we’re finding is dedicated spectrum is even more difficult.”

Spectrum will play a large role in beyond-line-of-sight commercial drone flights, which could utilize secure transmission bands for their control systems.

Flying beyond the line of visual sight — along with accompanying sense and avoid technology — is considered by many in the industry as the next significant step needed to fully integrate commercial drones into the national airspace.

“Safely integrating drones into our airspace is one of the FAA’s top priorities, and we’re determined to get it right,” Michael Huerta, administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, told the workshop crowd. “It’s essential for our economy and our role as a global aviation leader.”

Also speaking were representatives from the U.S. Department of the Interior, Intel, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Edison Electric Institute.

The Edison Electric Institute, which represents all U.S. investor-owned electric companies, highlighted its work with Sharper Shape, an aerial inspection company with a research office in North Dakota.

Sharper Shape and EEI announced a partnership in March that will work to develop capabilities for beyond-line-of-sight flights for electrical companies to use to inspect infrastructure. Part of that will include seeking approval to bring a beyond-line-of-sight demonstration to the FAA.

“That was a great plug for a North Dakota company doing great things,” Flom said.

The workshop was co-host by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International Foundation.

North Dakota Drone Effort Lauded at White House Workshop - The Bismarck Tribune

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          Hoeven: General Atomics Flies First Flight at Northern Plains UAS Test Site   
At a ceremony with Air Force, state, local and industry officials today, Senator John Hoeven said General Atomics’ inaugural unmanned aerial systems (UAS) flight at the Northern Plains UAS Test Site is an important milestone because it is the first step to the company training hundreds of UAS pilots from around the world in North Dakota.
General Atomics, manufacturer of the Predator and Reaper unmanned aircraft, both of which are based in North Dakota, plans to train up to 60 flight crews a year from other countries that are purchasing Predators, including Great Britain, Italy and the Netherlands.
The company’s first flight today required ground observers and a manned chase plane, but to train pilots on the Predator, they will need to have beyond-line-of-sight operability and the ability to fly at higher altitudes without ground observers or manned aircraft to monitor the Predator. Currently, commercial operations of UAS weighing less than 55 pounds are permitted to fly only below 400 feet during day time hours and within visual line of sight.
The FAA, however, says it will waive operational limitations on UAS flights if they demonstrate they can conduct safe operations beyond the established rule, such as flying beyond line of sight or at higher altitudes. Hoeven says the test sites were set up to do just that, to demonstrate that you can safely do more than just the basic rule and advance UAS research and development.
“We are working to get authorizations to fly unmanned aircraft beyond the line of sight of the operator, which is essential to companies like General Atomics and others that are trying to train new pilots and develop new technologies” Hoeven said. “To get that approval, I’ve spoken with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Michael Huerta to allow for beyond-line-of-sight operations above 10,000 feet.
“The test site’s ability to use the advanced DASR-11 digital radar system at Grand Forks Air Force Base puts our test site in a strong position to get the authorization, which will make ours the only site in the country with a beyond-line-of-sight capability. We worked hard to secure funding for the DASE-11 radar. It will be valuable not only to General Atomics but also other companies developing UAS technologies. It will also give North Dakota’s test site a competitive edge in contending for a new UAS air wing the Air Force is planning to establish somewhere in the country.”
Today’s ceremony reflects Hoeven’s ongoing efforts to establish North Dakota as the northern hub for UAS technology, research and development. The senator recently returned from California, where he met with top leaders at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Ames Research Center in Moffet Field, Calif. to make the case for developing NASA’s Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) system and other programs at the Northern Plains UAS Test Site in North Dakota.
The partnership with NASA and securing approval for beyond-line-of-sight operations would help advance the integration of UAS into the national airspace, which Hoeven has actively supported. Earlier this month, Hoeven successfully included a provision in FAA Reauthorization Extension to extend the authorization for the nation’s UAS test sites, including the Northern Plains UAS Test Site, through September 2019.
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Hoeven has also worked to secure funding and language supporting UAS research, development and operations at NASA, the FAA, the Department of Defense (DoD) and other federal agencies in Fiscal Year (FY) 2017.

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          Internship Opportunities Take Flight as North Dakota Drone Industry Expands   
By Grand Forks Herald
The offices of Grand Forks unmanned aircraft systems firms are getting more crowded as interns begin to settle in and start carving out their roles in the ever-evolving industry.

Internship opportunities in the field vary from positions requiring students to be behind the controls of aircraft to placing them at the keyboard of a computer, a reflection of the wide variety of jobs employers are looking to fill.

"We've worked through some programs at the state to make sure that we're doing everything we can to make these students into highly skilled employees and help the North Dakota economy by creating new jobs and wealth," said Matt Dunlevy, president and CEO of SkySkopes.

The 10 positions at SkySkopes, which conducts aerial inspections of infrastructure, and others being filled at area companies are a testament to the fast-paced growth of the industry, which allows relatively young firms to support several interns.

Confidence in the sector has been growing steadily in recent months, with another shot in the arm delivered when the Federal Aviation Administration revealed its finalized regulations for unmanned aircraft weighing less than 55 pounds used for commercial and governmental purposes.

When the rules go live in August, many in the unmanned industry predict an economic boon. Anticipation and investment in unmanned technology prior to the regulations' release also helped boost business locally, paving the way for internship positions as well.

The uptick in business means three summer interns for Field of View, a Grand Forks business specializing in creating sensors and software for mapping and modeling data collected by unmanned aircraft.

"We've really had to strategically manage our growth because if we would have hired this many people two or three years ago, I'm not sure we would have had the business to support them," CEO David Dvorak said.

Collaborative education

Both Field of View and SkySkopes are striving to provide their students with real-world experiences that will complement their education and be attractive to future employers.

And much like the unmanned industry in Grand Forks, these interns are collaborating with peers at other companies.

On Wednesday, the SkySkopes group met up with Field of View just south of Grand Forks for a test flight.

Interns with SkySkopes are recruited from UND's Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program, and each student is provided with training on how to fly an aircraft and retrieve and store data, along with learning the ropes of running a business and filing paperwork with the FAA.

The background of Field of View's interns aren't rooted in the university's UAS program but are varied and include electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and geography majors.

"I definitely didn't think I would land anything like this," said Jacob Nordberg, a UND senior studying geography. "I thought I was kind of thinking I was going to go with urban planning or something like that, but I've taken some image processing courses at UND, and it definitely relates really well to what I'm doing here. I think it's been an invaluable experience."

At the company's Grand Forks office, Nordberg and fellow interns Jack Heichel and Alex Heyd work on a variety of projects ranging from testing cameras to crunching and mapping data to using the data to build 3-D models of objects. Working with them is Francisco Madera, who started as Field of View's first intern in February but has since moved into a full-time position.

During Wednesday's flight, the two company teams worked together to collect sample data the Field of View crew will use on the job. The field test provided an opportunity for SkySkopes' group to gain more experience in flight operations.

"We really want to put them through the internship program because we're trying to make the most highly educated and safest UAS pilots in North Dakota and ultimately in the nation," Dunlevy said.

SkySkopes' ultimate goal is to create 50 jobs in five years through the program, Dunlevy added.

Internship Opportunities Take Flight as North Dakota Drone Industry Expands - Grand Forks Herald

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          New Federal Regulations for Small Drones Receive Positive Feedback from North Dakota Industry Members   
By Grand Forks Herald
The Federal Aviation Administration debuted a set of long-awaited regulations governing the use of unmanned aircraft Tuesday that were met with fanfare from local and national members of the industry.

The rules are targeted at small unmanned aircraft, also known as drones, used for commercial and public applications and contain requirements for their operation and qualifications for their pilots.

David Dvorak, CEO of Field of View in Grand Forks, has been waiting years for the FAA to finalize regulations for unmanned aircraft.

"The level of restriction up until this point has been pretty horrendous so this seems like a walk in the park compared to what we have been working under," he said of the new requirements.

The rules, formally known as Part 107 of the Federal Aviation Regulations, will take effect in late August, and will apply to drones weighing less than 55 pounds.

These regulations pave the way for commercial operations utilizing unmanned aircraft, which currently are prohibited unless an exemption is obtained from the FAA. The agency had granted more than 5,000 exemptions prior to the unveiling of Part 107 — about 20 of which have gone to North Dakota-based companies.

Industry experts say the rules' release spells good news for the economy, with estimates predicting more than 100,000 jobs could be created and $82 billion generated over the next 10 years as a result.

Drone operations by public agencies such as sheriff and police departments also are included in the new regulations. Previously, these groups needed to acquire a certificate of authorization that spelled out conditions for flight.

"We are part of a new era in aviation, and the potential for unmanned aircraft will make it safer and easier to do certain jobs, gather information and deploy disaster relief," U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement Tuesday.


The first draft of the rules for small unmanned aircraft was published last year, but regulations in general have been a long-awaited by those in the industry.

In 2012, the FAA received a congressional mandate to integrate UAS technology into national airspace by September 2015. The deadline came and went with no rules finalized, leaving the industry to await this week's release.

Dvorak and others predict the news will inspire more confidence in the technology and produce an uptick in economic activity as businesses prepare for the rule to become active.

"As a company that provides software and hardware for drone operators, I'd imagine this release will give a lot more people confidence to start investing in equipment, training and software in the next 60 days," Dvorak said.

Come August, drone pilots can fly at an altitude of 400 feet or less, cannot fly directly over people not involved in a flight operation and must maintain a safe distance from airports unless permission is received from the facilities in Class B,C, D and E airspace.

Part 107 prohibits flying unmanned aircraft in Class A airspace, which spans from 18,000 to 60,000 above sea level. Flights are allowed in Class G airspace, which is considered uncontrolled airspace, without permission from air traffic control.

Drone pilots must be certified and at least 16 years old unless supervised by someone holding a remote pilot certificate.

The certificate would be obtained by passing an initial aeronautical knowledge test at a FAA-approved knowledge testing center or through other means if a person has an existing non-student Part 61 pilot certificate. Background checks on all remote pilot applications would be conducted by the Transportation Security Administration prior to issuance of a certificate.

Other requirements include always operating a drone within line of sight, flying during the day, not exceeding a groundspeed of 100 mph and avoiding reckless operations.

Missing pieces

Though Part 107 lays groundwork for the continued growth of unmanned industry, some found there still are important provisions missing from it.

"While the approved regulations are a step in the right direction for the drone industry, we still have a long way to go, specifically when it comes to long-distance or beyond-visual-line-of-sight drones," Tero Heinonen, CEO of Sharper Shape, said in a statement.

Heinonen, whose company operates out of Palo Alto, Calif., and Grand Forks, and others see beyond-line-of-sight as crucial to the continued development of drone technology.

Those wishing to conduct operations beyond line of sight or at night need to receive a waiver from the FAA, but it's likely that will be a temporary fix much like the commercial exemption process.

"With this new rule, we are taking a careful and deliberate approach that balances the need to deploy this new technology with the FAA's mission to protect public safety," FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said in a statement. "We're already working on additional rules that will expand the range of operations."

Overall, reaction to the rule's release has been favorable with advocacy groups such as the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International and the Academy for Model Aeronautics commending the FAA in allowing the industry to continue advancing.

Easier access to the industry does spell more competition for those already established within it.

"The challenge isn't over, it's really just beginning," Dvorak said. "Now everyone is kind of on an equal playing field. There have been companies that have come and gone over the years here, but now everyone has the opportunity to generate income from day one.

"It'll be interesting to see how the market handles that."

New Federal Regulations for Small Drones Receive Positive Feedback from North Dakota Industry Members - Grand Forks Herald

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          Lt. Gov: 'Future's Incredible Bright' for ComDel   
By Wahpeton Daily News
A 24,000-square-foot expansion to ComDel Innovation’s Wahpeton manufacturing plant at 2100 15th St. N. was dedicated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday, June 14. Coming after ComDel’s annual stockholders meeting, the event included not only leaders such as North Dakota Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley, but third-shift employees who stayed to observe it.

Jim Albrecht, company president, commented that since its 2007 founding, ComDel has been blessed with business opportunities. Because of this, their customer base and market share has grown.

“It’s pretty cool to see the commitment and dedication of this team, and the results that have come from that,” he said. “If you look at what that means to our customer base, it means that we continue to bring business back here and we continue to grow as a company.”

Wrigley, a fourth-generation North Dakotan, said the “future’s incredibly bright” for ComDel.

“You’ve done a great job of cultivating that customer base, so that your products have some place to go and a strong demand out there no matter what one particular sector’s doing,” he continued.

In his work with the North Dakota Trade Office, Wrigley is constantly asked about the state’s advancements in unmanned aircraft systems. Unmanned aircraft systems do not feature pilots and are being integrated incrementally into America’s airspace, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

“Private sector innovators are pairing in private-public partnerships with the government, and we’re doing things that are advancing this industry in important ways. It’s the fastest growing component of aviation. ... And it adds further diversification to our economy and more opportunity for the young people coming through and people looking for more diverse jobs. ... I think it taps into our pioneer spirit,” Wrigley said.

Wrigley urged those present to not believe what they’ve been told by television.

“Here we are today, with one of the strongest economies in all of America, one of the fastest-growing economies in America in many, many years,” Wrigley continued. Wages going up ... our population in North Dakota is higher than it’s ever been and in the last year, it’s growing more rapidly than anywhere in America because of opportunity in our state. A lot of opportunities present themselves and then there are things like this. This is an incredible endeavor and everything that you’re all doing makes it possible, makes it productive and makes it grow.”

After Wrigley, Wahpeton Mayor Meryl Hansey, Breckenridge Mayor Cliff Barth, Randy Pope, president of the Wahpeton Community Development Corporation and Dale Peppel, who managed the ComDel site when it was a 3M plant, all spoke.

“Growth is not given, it’s something that you have to earn,” Hansey said.

Prior to and following the ribbon-cutting, guests viewed displays of products produced by ComDel.

The expansion gives ComDel an additional 10 percent in footage, The Daily News reported in December 2015.

Lt. Gov: 'Future's Incredible Bright' for ComDel - Wahpeton Daily News

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          UAS Prepares for Takeoff in Hillsboro, North Dakota    
By Grand Forks Herald
Rising several stories above the surrounding farmland, a crane topped off a stack of metal shipping containers with a military-grade antenna and radar dish Monday.

The structure makes for an odd sight but will serve a vital function in an upcoming agricultural research project as it will receive data collected and transmitted by an unmanned aircraft.

That aircraft, accompanying ground control station and other equipment were shipped from Tel Aviv, Israel, to Hillsboro Regional Airport for the project and assembled by a crew with Elbit Systems, an Israeli unmanned aircraft manufacturer.

The project aims to compare imagery of farmland taken by Elbit's Hermes 450 aircraft to pictures of the same land photographed by satellites and smaller unmanned aircraft models.

If all goes according to plan, the aircraft could start collecting data at the end of this week.

"That's our goal. We looked out in the field, and there's corn coming up and we want to do stand counts," said John Nowatzki, lead researcher and an agricultural machine specialist at North Dakota State University. "Right now is the time to do it."

Data collected by the aircraft will be analyzed and potentially used to uncover nutrient deficiencies in crops, frost damage to plants and conducting stand counts, which involves counting the number of plants emerging per acre and comparing it to the number of seeds planted.

The Hermes will photograph an area 4 miles wide by about 40 miles long from various altitudes between 3,000 and 8,000 feet. Smaller unmanned aircraft will be flown at lower heights.

As a mid-size aircraft, the 20-foot-long Hermes requires a runway for takeoff. The aircraft has the capability to spend long periods of time flying, with flights lasting 20 hours or more possible. It can reach a maximum speed of 109 mph and can fly as high as 18,000 feet.

The aircraft's ground control station will be staffed by two pilots during flights. As the Federal Aviation Administration requires all unmanned aircraft flights to be within the line of sight of an observer, a chase plane will be used to keep an eye on the Hermes from the air.

The project is headquartered at the Hillsboro Regional Airport, which splits the difference for research partners from NDSU and the Northern Plains UAS Test Site headquartered at UND.

The research project is paid for in part by a grant from the North Dakota Department of Commerce, which accounts for half of the overall $715,000 allocated toward the project. Elbit covers the rest of the amount.

Property owners who do not want their land photographed can contact Nowatzki at John.Nowatzki@ndsu.edu or (701) 231-8213 with their field boundaries or a legal description of their land.

UAS Prepares for Takeoff in Hillsboro, North Dakota - Grand Forks Herald

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          A Drone for Loan? North Dakota Agency Eager to Help    
By ABC News
A drone for loan? One of the first law enforcement agencies to use unmanned aircraft as eyes in the sky says it's ready to ship its technology anywhere in the country to help police who need it.

The Federal Aviation Administration earlier this month authorized the Northeast Region Unmanned Aircraft System unit in Grand Forks to fly anywhere in the country. It is one of only a handful of law enforcement groups with the capability of responding to incidents like natural disasters, crime scenes or search-and-rescue missions.

Alan Frazier, the chief pilot and architect of the unmanned aircraft program for the Grand Forks unit, said the agency's pilots and sensor operators are able and willing to hop on a plane with its drone in a suitcase.

"If there was a major disaster or a multi-day search for dangerous suspects like that, my guess is that the sheriff would approve that," Frazier said.

Ben Miller, a board member of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International and founder of the drone program for the Mesa County Sheriff's Department in Colorado, said the Grand Forks pilots would be at the top of the list when help is needed elsewhere. The county is also home to one of six drone test sites in the U.S. and the nation's first unmanned aircraft tech park.

"I think I can very confidently say that Grand Forks and Mesa counties lead the country in the use of UAVs in law enforcement," Miller said. "Grand Forks has done some fantastic things. I know those guys. I've trained those guys."

Grand Forks also is unique, Miller said, because the group has four pilots who have their commercial licenses. That allows them to fly drones at night and operate in airspace that is restricted to non-rated pilots, such as the vicinity of airports. Grand Forks is one of two state agencies in the country approved to fly drones at night, along with Montgomery County in Texas.

Frazier said his group also makes numerous appearances at training seminars and conferences throughout the country and the FAA authorization permits them to give practical demonstrations.

"That's important, because if we can't get the information out to agencies that might want to use the technology, they're really not going to avail themselves of that opportunity," Frazier said.

The FAA website lists 74 government agencies that are authorized to fly nationwide. That includes 17 state law enforcement departments in a dozen states: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Oregon, Texas, Maryland, Ohio, Texas, Washington and North Dakota.

The Grand Forks crew previously had the OK to fly within 17 North Dakota counties in eastern North Dakota and one Minnesota county. Since 2013 the group has responded to 27 calls for service, including the collection of evidence for four homicides. It has helped police look for numerous victims and suspects, including the search for a missing hunter whose body was found in nearby Walsh County.

"It is a very multi-faceted tool that we have at our disposal," Grand Forks Sheriff's Lt. B.J. Maxson said. "It is just absolutely incredible to see the aircraft go."

Frazier said it's too early to tell whether the Grand Forks unit will be called on more for training or the real thing.

"We'll have to take a wait and see attitude on that," he said.

A Drone for Loan? North Dakota Agency Eager to Help - ABC News

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          Northern Plains UAS Test Site Aids NASA in UAS Airspace Test Event   
Earlier today, the Northern Plains Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Test Site successfully conducted close-proximity UAS flight tests to help evaluate NASA’s UAS Traffic Management (UTM) research platform.

Tests were conducted in partnership with the University of North Dakota (UND) and UAS company partners Botlink (www.botlink.com), Altavian (www.altavian.com) and Sensurion (www.sensurion.com).  

The goal of the test was to have at least four aircraft from each of the nation’s six FAA designated test sites flying simultaneously to test traffic management and safety of UAS flights in multiple locations in low-altitude airspace. Other FAA selected UAS test sites are located in Alaska, Nevada, Texas, Virginia and New York.

“This is the first test using the capabilities of all six test sites,” said Northern Plains UAS Test Site Executive Director Robert Becklund. “Data gathered from this type of testing is the critical information needed to ensure safe management of UAS in the national airspace to help move commercialization of the industry forward.”

The four aircraft chosen for testing in North Dakota were UND’s ScanEagle, Botlink’s ER-1, Altavian’s Nova F6500, and Sensurion’s Magpie. NASA orchestrated all of the tests from the UTM Flight Laboratory at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, CA. North Dakota test flights took place in western Grand Forks County.

“We are very pleased with our success in this milestone exercise,” said Doug Olsen, Principle Investigator for both Northern Plains UAS Test Site and UND.  “The tests today were very productive and the results will provide all parties valuable insights into how well NASA’s UTM research platform can help safely manage flights of unmanned aircraft, which is important for the future of UAS commercial flying operations.”

The Northern Plains UAS Test Site, led by the North Dakota Department of Commerce and supported by UND, is one of six national UAS test sites designated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to help integrate unmanned aircraft into the national airspace. Multiple test sites participated in today’s NASA research flights.

The UND John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences will have test event video available by 3:00 p.m. tomorrow. Instructions to access that footage can be found at: ftp://transfer.aero.und.ed.        
For more information about NASA’s UTM project, see http://utm.arc.nasa.gov/. For more information about the flights in Grand Forks, contact Doug Olsen, Northern Plains UAS Test Site/University of North Dakota, 701-777-3543, olsen@aero.und.edu.

North Dakota has invested more than $34 million to establish a national UAS test site, to establish the Grand Sky UAS Business Park and to advance North Dakota’s position as a hub for the nation’s growing UAS industry.

For additional information contact Brian Opp at the North Dakota Department of Commerce at (701) 328-5300 or by email at blopp@nd.gov

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          Dalrymple Highlights State's Economic Strength, Opportunities   
By ND Governor's Office
Gov. Jack Dalrymple kicked off the first annual Demographics Conference in Bismarck today by highlighting North Dakota’s economic strength and how the state’s diversified economy is helping to weather fluctuations in the energy and agriculture industries.
The focus of the conference was to help participants understand important socio-economic and demographic trends in North Dakota and how those trends impact citizens, businesses and communities. The inaugural event was a collaborative effort between the North Dakota Department of Commerce, the North Dakota Compass at North Dakota State University and the University of North Dakota Department of Economics, and was held at the
National Energy Center of Excellence on the Bismarck State College campus.
“For more than a decade, we have worked hard and strategically to diversify our economy and expand our target industries and those efforts have produced real results with increased economic production, job growth and rising wages,” said Dalrymple. “Despite a downturn in commodity prices impacting the state’s two leading industries, our diversified economic base is strong and growing, with many exciting advancements occurring in the technology, manufacturing and aviation sectors. Our economy is strong and North Dakota continues to be a great place to do business.”
During his remarks, Dalrymple stated that North Dakota’s continued economic growth stems from nearly every business sector across the state and that no single industry tells the whole story of North Dakota’s progress. He highlighted the state’s economic strength relative to production growth, unemployment, job openings and per capita personal income.
  • The state’s Gross Domestic Product through 3rd quarter 2015 is still performing well above the 2012-2013 levels.
  • North Dakota continues to have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation at just 2.9 percent for February 2016.
  • As of March 2016, North Dakota has more than 15,000 job openings across the state.
  • North Dakota has one of the fastest growing populations in the nation. Up until 2008, North Dakota was losing population. In 2013 alone, more than 18,000 new residents moved to the state. Between 2010 and 2014, North Dakota’s overall population increased 9.9 percent.
  • North Dakota continues to be one of only a few states whose populations are getting younger, with 9.6 percent of residents between the age of 20 and 24 compared to 7.1 percent nationally.
  • Since the fourth quarter of 2007, North Dakota’s personal income has led the nation in growth at an annual rate of 5.1 percent. In 2015, even with the economic slowdown, the state still ranked in the top 10 for per capita personal income at number 9 in the nation. 
The Governor also highlighted some of the advancements and opportunities emerging from North Dakota’s target industries and cited examples of businesses throughout the state that are reporting job and revenue growth.
  • North Dakota is well positioned in the energy industry as Bakken Shale is shown as the best cost value oil in the U.S. oil plays. Efficiencies in the industry are lowering the break-even point for companies to make a profit.
  • The state’s technology-based business sector is growing and diversifying, and leading the nation in innovative advances. The state’s technology industry payroll has grown to more than $1 billion a year, providing an average wage of $79,500. Companies like Microsoft and Amazon have long called North Dakota home. They, together with other high-tech companies like NISC, Intelligent Insites and Appareo, have shown growth in the state and continue to expand.
  • North Dakota is home to a growing cluster of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) research, business and military interests. Partnerships among private businesses, universities and state government strengthen North Dakota’s position as a leader in UAS. The state is one of six Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) UAS test sites conducting research to determine how to best integrate UAS into the national airspace. The FAA certified the Northern Plains UAS Test Site as the first site ready for operations in April 2014. Northrop Grumman and General Atomics — world leaders in aviation and aerospace — are investing millions in North Dakota.
  • Manufacturers in North Dakota account for 5.8 percent of the total output in the state and employ 5.6 percent of the workforce. Total output from manufacturing was $3.25 billion in 2014. In addition, there were 25,900 manufacturing employees in North Dakota in 2015, with an average annual compensation of $55,754.

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          North Dakota UAS Test Site Announces Approval of New Aircraft for Testing   
By ND Commerce
The North Dakota Department of Commerce announced today that the Northern Plains Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Test Site has been given an additional operational approval to expand testing capabilities for the UAS industry. The new testing, approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), includes the use of the Hermes 450 unmanned aircraft for research flights in cooperation with North Dakota State University to be conducted from the Hillsboro Municipal Airport.

“This new aircraft will be used to support a precision agricultural research project between Elbit Systems of America and researchers at North Dakota State University,” said Robert Becklund, executive director of the Northern Plains Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site.

The Hermes 450, manufactured by Elbit Systems of America, LLC, is a larger aircraft that will be accompanied by a piloted chase plane following behind to ensure safety beyond the ground observers' line of sight. Research using the aircraft will be conducted in cooperation with the North Dakota State University Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Department and the North Dakota Extension Service.

 “Governor Dalrymple and I are excited to welcome Elbit Systems of America to North Dakota, and we eagerly anticipate the commencement of this groundbreaking testing,” Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley said. “We are confident that this partnership will bolster precision agriculture research and expand economic opportunities for our producers.”

 “Elbit Systems of America is proud to be a part of this exciting new initiative which enables the use of a UAS for precision agriculture research and other commercial applications,” commented Raanan Horowitz, president and chief executive officer, Elbit Systems of America. “Elbit Systems is a global leader in UAS systems and applications. We are honored to cooperate with capable partners such as the Northern Plains Test Site and North Dakota State University as we plan to develop innovative solutions for this emerging market."

 North Dakota has invested more than $34 million to establish a national UAS test site, to establish the Grand Sky UAS Business Park and to advance North Dakota’s position as a hub for the nation’s growing UAS industry.

            North Dakota is a leader in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). On December 30, 2013, North Dakota was selected as one of six FAA test sites that will conduct crucial research that will assist the FAA in developing regulatory standards to foster integration of UAS into the national airspace. The Northern Plains UAS Test Site became the first site to begin flights in May 2014. As a FAA UAS Test Site location, North Dakota positions itself at the forefront of the burgeoning UAS industry.

 For additional information contact Brian Opp at the North Dakota Department of Commerce at (701) 328-5300 or by email at blopp@nd.gov.

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          Bob Becklund Pilots State's UAS Technology   
By The Bismarck Tribune
When the North Dakota Air National Guard’s F-16 fighter jets were growing old and in need of replacement, the organization made a choice — one that is taking North Dakota into the lead of the unmanned aerial systems industry.

Bob Becklund found himself at the head of that change.

As the United States had stopped buying fighter jets and the older jets handed down to guard units were becoming difficult to find, the air guard made strategic plans to look for new missions, according to Becklund.

“We were the best fighter unit in the U.S. … but still there weren’t aircraft,” he said.

That is when the MQ-1 Predator and RQ-4 Global Hawk came down from the clouds.

“We thought here’s a new technology that will be relevant and required forever,” Becklund said, and the air guard started seeking them out as replacements for the aging F-16s.

In 2004, Becklund was wing commander, overseeing a base realignment and closure in 2005. He then helped pick crews for UAS training and the unit earned a good reputation for UAS operations.

This would lead Becklund to an invitation to serve on a UAS task force to the Pentagon. One year on the task force turned into three before he returned to North Dakota.

Around that same time, Federal Aviation Administration-mandated UAS test sites were being picked around the country. Becklund answered North Dakota’s ad for an executive director of a test site. When hired, his job was to do his best to make sure North Dakota was selected for a site.

When he succeeded, he became executive director of the Northern Plains UAS Test Site in Grand Forks, at the helm of UAS industry in the state. This time, he is leading research that will help make a technology mostly dominated by the military become commercially viable.

The next step

To help advance research and development, Becklund said he would like to create an environment for the larger unmanned aircraft flown at Northern Plains to fly without a chase plane as is required under FAA rules.

The test site is working closely with the FAA on this, and if successful, it would be the only place in the country to allow it, according to Becklund, adding that Northern Plains already has FAA approval to fly UAS anywhere in the state and at night.

Becklund said the chase plane plan is aggressive but necessary for technological advancement and he thinks North Dakota has the right tools to make it work. Because of the Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota has access to high-end radar that can spot any aircraft flying in the area. That technology would keep UAS flights without a chase plane safe. In addition, Grand Forks is the only place in the U.S. where the Predator, Global Hawk and MQ-9 Reaper are flying together.Advertisement (1 of 1): 0:13Flying with a chase plane is cost prohibitive and the only way to make UAS commercially viable is to move beyond line-of-sight flights, according to Becklund, who said allowing in-field research to determine how this would be done safely would be beneficial to the industry and FAA.

Eventually, that research could transfer to the rest of the country, even where radar isn’t available. Becklund said this could be done through cooperative air space, where all aircraft flying would emit a signal rather than allowing some, such as gliders and aerial sprayers, to fly using visual flight rules.

While that may sound bold because it will cost money to institute, at the same time, it will greatly increase safety, Becklund said.

“There would never be mid-air collisions,” said Becklund, pointing out that secure and reliable communications links are the key and the research conducted at Northern Plains could help make that possible.

Becklund said the challenge now is there are no standards so companies don’t know to what specifications to build.

“Here in North Dakota, we can do research on those things,” he said.

2017 and beyond

The test site is set to expire in 2017, but Becklund said the North Dakota congressional delegation is working to extend it. With or without the federal extension, he is confident testing will continue as North Dakota has long invested in UAS technology and research — about $30 million to date.

“I think North Dakota needs to continue its investment; we’re out in front of it all. We need to stay in front of it and look to the future,” said Becklund, who describes the UAS expertise that has been developed in the state as “incredible” and will give North Dakota a seat at the table in deciding how to regulate the industry.

“It’s really exciting to be part of the new age of aviation,” said the former fighter pilot who has followed the industry from the cockpit to the remote control.

Becklund said, when he was flying, the planes were loud and highly visible. With UAS, many air guard missions are flown in secret on the other side of the world.

“But the cool factor is just off the charts,” said Becklund, adding that the air guard provides lots of opportunity and training, pays for college and can land airmen a full-time job upon graduation.

“Think where this could go,” said Becklund, pointing out that one day there may be a cheaper replacement for satellites. “That’s kind of fun stuff. I can’t think of where all it might go. I just know it’s a good thing.”

“I think North Dakota needs to continue its investment; we’re out in front of it all. We need to stay in front of it and look to the future.” — Bob Becklund

Bob Becklund Pilots State's UAS Technology - The Bismarck Tribune

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          ND Leaders Visit Israel for Trade Mission, Meet with Major Unmanned Aircraft Manufacturer   
By Grand Forks Herald
North Dakota leaders flew to the Middle East last week for a trade mission that included the discussion of a large-scale research project involving unmanned aircraft.

Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, accompanied by 22 others, flew to Israel and Egypt to strengthen relationships with government and business leaders located there in several industries, including unmanned aircraft systems.

Last week's trip marks the first North Dakota trade mission to Israel and the second to Egypt.

Wrigley and university representatives met with Elbit Systems, an Israeli unmanned aircraft manufacturer that is partnering with UND and North Dakota State University to fly a large-scale research project this summer near Hillsboro, N.D.

The company's Hermes 450 aircraft will be used to collect agricultural data on chemically resistant weeds, crop stands, nutrient deficiencies and other topics. The 20-foot gas-powered aircraft can fly for up to 20 hours, much longer than smaller electrical devices used in agricultural research.

"A large-scale UAS operation allows more agricultural data to be collected faster and at altitudes up to 8,000 feet," Wrigley said in a statement. "We're making important strides in the UAS and precision ag sectors in North Dakota, as well as supplying data to the Federal Aviation Administration in an effort to allow commercial UAS to operate simultaneously with manned aircraft in the future."

As the FAA requires all unmanned aircraft flights to be within the line of sight of an observer, a chase plane will be used to keep an eye on the Hermes from the air.

The eight-week project will be overseen by staff from NDSU and the Northern Plains UAS Test Site, which is headquartered at UND.

In addition to Elbit's aircraft, a smaller device will be flown to allow researchers to compare images collected by both systems, NDSU Ag Machine Systems Specialist John Nowatzki told the Herald last month.

Elbit received a $357,546 grant from the North Dakota Department of Commerce's Research ND grant program for the project. With the required match from the company, the total funding for the project comes to $715,092.

The Research ND program has distributed $2.9 million in grant funding to UAS-related research projects since its inception in 2013.

ND Leaders Visit Israel for Trade Mission, Meet with Major Unmanned Aircraft Manufacturer - Grand Forks Herald

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          Testing the Skies: Breakthroughs, Collaboration set Flight Plan for Future of UAS   
By Grand Forks Herald
Bob Becklund doesn't have to go far to see the future of unmanned aircraft.

As executive director of the Northern Plains Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site, he only has to walk down the hall and talk to one of his staff members.

"They're all experts at what they do," he said. "When they have an idea, you're going to listen to them."

The test site, which is operated by the state but exists because of a congressional mandate on the Federal Aviation Administration, is charged with researching how to safely integrate unmanned aircraft into the national airspace.

This year, its crews have assisted businesses that want to explore potential uses of unmanned aircraft. These clients include companies in the insurance, railroad, energy and real estate industries and even NASA.

The progress at the test site is just part of advancement seen on several fronts for the unmanned aircraft industry in North Dakota. Major players such as UND and North Dakota State University made strides this year in terms of research, but now have set their focus for 2016.

On the horizon for NDSU is a large-scale agricultural research project aimed at comparing imagery taken by unmanned aircraft from various altitudes while UND intends to create an unmanned aircraft flight training program.

Building up

The unmanned flight training program isn't off the ground quite yet. It has a few more hurdles to clear at the federal level before it becomes official, according to UAS Program Director Al Palmer.

In order to conduct flight training for these aircraft, the school must apply for and receive an exemption.

The exemption is granted by the FAA and is most often sought by businesses looking to operate unmanned aircraft for commercial purposes, which is otherwise illegal.

UND's unmanned flight training program would mirror the school's manned flight training, with students starting on simulators before moving on to flying actual aircraft.

Those simulators and other portions of the UAS program are spread miles apart — a problem Palmers said should be fixed next year.

"We're scattered out at Grand Forks Air Force Base, at the international airport and down here on campus," he said. "It's a challenge for us, but once we get Robin Hall, we'll be centrally located, and everything will be in one building."

Construction on Robin Hall continued throughout 2015 and is expected to be completed in July 2016.

Also hoping to secure space in the new building, which the university has been authorized by the state to spend up to $25 million on, is the test site.

Like its current location on the UND campus in Clifford Hall, space in Robin Hall would be state property and therefore rent free for the test site, which is trying to become self sufficient, Becklund said.

The state has invested nearly $7 million in the establishment and operation of the test site. So far, the site has about $1 million in revenues from contracts that have been completed or are set to be, Becklund said. Some of the contracts are part of larger agreements UND and North Dakota State University have with other firms that total about $3 million.

"Right now we're using state funding for this, but of course companies are paying us to do stuff too, so we're already starting to see a return on that investment," Becklund added. "Our end goal is to be self sufficient. ... But it's impossible to predict when that's going to be."

In the meantime, demand for the test site's flight operations services has its director looking to hire additional staff.

The test site has seven active contracts and about 10 more serious inquires from companies. Becklund expects the test site's work to continue past 2017, the year under current law that the test sites in North Dakota and five other states are required to operate until.

"We're building all this infrastructure here and these people and this expertise for the long run," he said. "Regardless of whether they continue the test site program, we will definitely be a long term asset here for the industry and the FAA to use."

Flying forward

Several distinctions bestowed on the test site this year are helping build up its operations and reputation.

The FAA granted its flight crew authorization to fly anywhere in the United States at the altitude of 400 feet and below and the ability to fly up to 1,200 feet anywhere in North Dakota.

Those and future permissions are expected to pave the way for more projects and contracts lined up for 2016.

One big fish Becklund hopes to land is the ability to fly civilian unmanned aircraft without a chase airplane from Grand Forks Air Force Base, which is home to Grand Sky — touted as the nation's first business park for unmanned aircraft systems.

Chase planes are used to monitor unmanned aircraft operating at altitudes where manned aircraft could be encountered.

Grand Sky, which broke ground this year, would be home to tenants looking to access the base's airspace without employing a costly chase plane.

"If we're successful with that, and so far it's looking pretty good, we'll be the only place in the country where you can do that," Becklund said.

While some of the test site's contracts have taken its staff out of state, Becklund said they focus on conducting a majority of the research in North Dakota.

One of its largest research efforts involves collaborating with NDSU. Together, the organizations are pursuing a 2016 research project centered in the area of Hillsboro, N.D.

NDSU researchers partnering with Elbit, an Israeli manufacturer of unmanned aircraft systems, will test image capture capabilities for comparison between large and small aircraft near, Ag Machine Systems Specialist John Nowatzki said.

During an eight-week period, pictures of farmland will be captured by a small device at 400 feet and a large unmanned aircraft at altitudes of 1,000, 3,000 and 5,000 feet. Those images will be compared with each other and pictures taken by a satellite.

In addition to comparing imagery, researchers also hope the pictures can be used to estimate crop emergence and yields, detect nutrient deficiencies and count livestock.

Over the past year, similar research has taken place at other NDSU research centers and extension centers.

An economic report from the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International predicts agriculture will be the largest use for unmanned aircraft by 2025.

"We're coming close, but we're not there yet," Nowatzki said.

Testing the Skies: Breakthroughs, Collaboration set Flight Plan for Future of UAS - Grand Forks Herald

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          Researchers say Treasure Worth Billions is Buried in North Dakota   
By Valley News Live
UND researchers are hunting for buried treasure in western North Dakota they say, is far more valuable than oil, coal and natural gas.

UND’s College of Engineering and Mines has received a federal grant, to retrieve Rare Earth Elements. Rare Earth Elements are found in western North Dakota coal and the ground that surrounds it.

Elements with names like Scandium metal and Terbium oxide can be worth hundreds of dollars a teaspoon, because they’re critical components in things we use every day.

Steve Benson, UND Engineering & Mines: “They’re used in a wide range of applications, ranging from the new batteries that are out, to components in wind turbines, to material in your cell phone.”

UND researchers now have a 900-thousand dollar grant to develop a method to commercially mine Rare Earth Elements.

The first step in the project will be trying to extract them from the stream of coal used to fire North Dakota power plants.

Steve Benson, UND Engineering & Mines: “Once we identify the best laboratory method, then we’ll build a skid mounted system we can take to a plant and test there.”

It’s research that has the potential to unlock billions of extra dollars into the State’s energy economy.

The United States currently needs to import Rare Earth Elements from China, despite the fact we have them in our own backyard.

Researchers say Treasure Worth Billions is Buried in North Dakota - Valley News Live

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          Dalrymple, General Atomics Officials Break Ground on Grand Sky UAS Training Academy    
By ND Governor's Office
Gov. Jack Dalrymple today joined General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. CEO Linden Blue to break ground on the aviation company’s unmanned aerial systems (UAS) training academy at Grand Sky, the nation’s first operations-ready UAS business and aviation park. 
“General Atomics’ business presence at Grand Sky is a testament to the great work underway to build on North Dakota’s position as the premier destination for UAS research, development and commercialization,” Dalrymple said. “Linden and his leadership team recognize the many opportunities and advantages that North Dakota offers the growing UAS industry and we very much appreciate their investments in North Dakota.”
General Atomics is a global leader in the development of unmanned aircraft, including the Predator and Reaper series which are widely used by the U.S. Air Force.  The company is building a 19,400-square-foot hangar with adjacent offices to expand its capacity to provide state-of-the-art flight instruction for aircrews that operate its unmanned aircraft, including Air Force personnel, General Atomics pilots and international customers. Construction on the UAS training academy is expected to be completed next summer.
“North Dakota was selected as the site for our new training academy not only because it offers uncongested skies and an optimal test range, but also strong support for the continued development of unmanned aircraft capabilities from local, state, and federal government representatives,” General Atomics Aeronautical CEO Linden Blue said. “This investment in the State of North Dakota will establish North Dakota as the center of excellence for remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) training operations, and airspace integration testing and grow the number of high-tech jobs associated with these activities.” 
General Atomics’ UAS training academy will require a full-time staff of flight instructors, pilots, sensor operators, maintenance personnel, and administrators. About 25 General Atomics’ employees will staff the academy during its first year of operations.
Dalrymple last met with General Atomics officials in Washington, D.C. in September to discuss the company’s plans for Grand Sky and to offer the state’s continued assistance in developing its Grand Sky UAS training academy.
General Atomics is the second global aviation company to become a Grand Sky tenant.  Last month, Northrop Grumman broke ground on a Grand Sky facility that will support its UAS operations.
Dalrymple has led the state’s efforts to develop Grand Sky, to establish the Northern Plains UAS Test Site and to position North Dakota as the premier destination for UAS manufacturing, research and development.
In all, the state has invested more than $34 million to secure and develop one of only six national UAS test sites, to develop Grand Sky, and to support UAS research and innovation in North Dakota. The state has committed about $13 million for infrastructure projects essential to Grand Sky’s development.
Those joining Dalrymple and Blue for General Atomics’ groundbreaking included U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, Congressman Kevin Cramer, Col. Rodney Lewis, commander of the 319 Air Base Wing, Grand Forks Air Force Base and North Dakota Commerce Commissioner Al Anderson.

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          North Dakota Accepting Applications for Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership   
By ND Commerce
The North Dakota Department of Commerce announced today it is accepting applications for the newly announced $1.2 million U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership. Gov. Jack Dalrymple announced on September 14, 2015 that North Dakota was among 20 states selected by the USDA to participate in the partnership.  

The program offers grants from the USDA to state-led efforts to test and evaluate innovative and comprehensive approaches to marketing higher biofuel blends, such as E15 and E85. 

“North Dakota is a leader in the availability of blended fuels,” North Dakota Commerce Commissioner Al Anderson said. “This award from the USDA will help North Dakota build on the successful efforts that began years ago in our state to encourage greater access to biofuels at the pump. The end result is greater choice at the pump for consumers.” 

The USDA effort is intended to drive innovative public-private partnerships to have more comprehensive approaches to marketing higher ethanol blends, with the federal funds used to support the infrastructure and state/private resources used for other elements. 

In 2009, North Dakota initiated a statewide blended-fuel pump program that led to the installation of more than 200 pumps at 66 retail locations across the state. Over the life of the state’s program, the sale of ethanol-blended fuels increased 56 percent in North Dakota.
Additional information and details on the Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership Program is available at: http://www.communityservices.nd.gov/renewableenergyprograms/. 

The North Dakota Department of Commerce works to improve the quality of life for North Dakota citizens by leading efforts to attract, retain and expand wealth. Commerce serves businesses and communities statewide through committed people and partners who offer valuable programs and dynamic services.
For more North Dakota news and information go to www.NDCommerce.com.

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          Xcel Launches North Dakota's First Unmanned Aircraft for Utility Flight   
By WDAY News
Xcel Energy launched North Dakota's first Federal Aviation Administration-sanctioned utility flight of an unmanned aircraft Wednesday.

The drone, which measures about 4½ feet in length, resembles a small helicopter and is being used to inspect a 7-mile section of an electrical transmission line as part of an FAA pilot project.

The 230-kilovolt line runs from Xcel's Prairie substation in Grand Forks to the Canadian border, where it connects with Manitoba Hydro Electric Energy.

The section was rebuilt after a grass fire moved through the area in the spring.

Wednesday's demonstration was limited by a wind advisory that kept the aircraft within 50 feet of the ground. Those in attendance included state, University of North Dakota and Grand Forks regional and business leaders.

"It's an exciting day for our company and customers when we can show how new technology protects and improves energy reliability and safety,'' said Chris Clark, Xcel Energy regional president. "We'll explore any opportunity that can lower cost, improve employee safety and minimize environmental impact."

"Our people are safer on the ground than they are in the air," said Greg Bennett, Xcel's regional vice president of distribution operations.

In addition to inspections, the technology can be used in security flights to assess damage and construction work.

"North Dakota is home to diverse and exciting economic development opportunities in the unmanned aerial systems industry," said North Dakota Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley, who attended the demonstration. "We are pleased to have Xcel Energy utilizing this cutting edge technology to deliver greater electric reliability to North Dakota residents and leading the way for other companies."

Xcel is working with Flot Systems, a Colorado-based company that specializes in aerial inspections for the electric utility industry. The aircraft being used is a Pulse Aerospace Vapor 35, a 35-pound drone that can fly along transmission lines and other equipment while transmitting images and data to a ground station.

Xcel also is working with UND and the Energy and Environmental Research Center on the project, said Mark Nisbet, Xcel's North Dakota principal manager.

"This is something the whole state is interested in," Nisbet said. "The opportunities appear to be limitless."

Xcel Launches North Dakota's First Unmanned Aircraft for Utility Flight - WDAY News

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          LA Afternoon News   
US court hears arguments over chief justice choice JANET McCONNAUGHEY,Associated Press NEW ORLEANS (AP) — An overflow crowd heard attorneys for the only African-American on the Louisiana Supreme Court argue she should be its next chief justice. James Williams told U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan that Bernette Johnson has served longer than any other justice, and that's what the state constitution requires to be chief justice. Supporters of Justice Jeffery Victory say he has longer service because Johnson was first elected as an appeal court judge assigned to the high court. They want the Louisiana Supreme Court to settle the question. Williams says Johnson's first title is irrelevant because a federal court agreement made her equal to the other justices. Phelps Gay, arguing for the state, said the state feels the Louisiana Supreme Court should decide who has served longest.
          Dalrymple Calls for Comprehensive National Energy Policy   
By ND Governor's Office
Speaking today at the Great Plains & Empower ND Energy Conference, Gov. Jack Dalrymple said the nation should follow North Dakota’s lead in developing a truly “all-of-the-above” energy policy that empowers industry to produce diverse and affordable energy supplies, advance energy independence and create jobs.
“At a time of growing demand for affordable and reliable energy, we need a national energy policy that truly supports the development of all of our energy resources,” Dalrymple said. “North Dakota is a great example of what can be accomplished when we support the responsible development of our oil and gas resources; when we recognize the important role of coal-fired power generation while reducing emissions; and when we continue to increase production of renewable resources.”
North Dakota can also become a national leader in value-added energy, Dalrymple said. The Governor encouraged energy representatives attending the conference to continue developing projects that reduce flaring, add value to the state’s abundant supplies of natural gas and create jobs.
North Dakota has developed a comprehensive energy policy that acknowledges the need for a diverse power supply, and empowers all energy sectors to work together in the interests of meeting the growing demand for affordable energy.  Dalrymple said North Dakota’s energy policy, developed through EmPower ND, has helped the state achieve major advancements in energy production, including:
  • North Dakota has become the nation’s second-largest oil producer and remains among the nation’s most cost-efficient shale oil plays.
  • North Dakota continues to increase its electric generation from non-carbon sources. Today, about 25 percent of North Dakota's total electric generation comes from wind and hydroelectric power.
  • North Dakota is one of just a handful of states meeting all ambient air quality standards established by the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Total carbon emissions in North Dakota have dropped 11 percent below 2005 levels, despite the Bakken oil boom.
The Governor said that the Obama Administration refuses to honor states’ rights and continues on a path that threatens the nation’s ability to produce affordable energy and enhance its energy security.  Dalrymple cited the EPA’s “Clean Power Plan” and proposed “Waters of the United States” rule as examples of government overreach that will impede responsible energy development and drive up consumers’ energy costs.           
Dalrymple, Sen. John Hoeven, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Rep. Kevin Cramer hosted the annual Great Plains & Empower ND Energy Conference which was held at Bismarck State College’s National Center of Excellence. The daylong conference included a panel discussion with Dalrymple and the state’s congressional delegation as well as presentations by leading energy researchers and developers. Speakers included Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Tony Clark, and Marianne Kah, chief economist at ConocoPhillips.

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          Lt. Governor Wrigley Outlines the State of the UAS Industry in North Dakota at Annual Summit   
By ND Governor's Office
Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley today kicked off the 2015 UAS Summit and Expo in Grand Forks, welcoming leaders in aviation, business, and military to the 9th annual, three-day event. The summit will showcase the evolution of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) while updating attendees on the current state of the commercial unmanned aerial systems (UAS) industry.
“We are at the center of technological advancement in the unmanned aerial systems industry,” Wrigley said. “The stakeholders in North Dakota remain committed to creating an environment where private enterprise, public and private research organizations, and educational institutions can aggressively pursue new and exciting opportunities in the unmanned aerial systems industry.”
This year, the UAS Summit and Expo aims to combine the perspective of regional UAS personnel with the regulatory insight of national UAV entities, offering attendees a glimpse into the commercial realities and major economic opportunities present in North Dakota.
Since 2013, under Dalrymple’s leadership, North Dakota has invested more than $30 million to establish a national UAS test site, to establish the Grand Sky UAS business and aviation park, and to advance North Dakota’s position as a hub for the nation’s growing UAS industry.
Dalrymple established the Northern Plains Unmanned Aerial Systems Authority in May 2013.  The six-member authority, chaired by Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley, is charged with overseeing the operations of North Dakota’s UAS test site, including the development of public safety protocols, privacy safeguards, and UAS research and development opportunities. The authority has worked to develop a national UAS test proposal, to earn a test site designation, and to develop a test site operation that meets Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification.
The FAA selected North Dakota to operate one of only six national UAS test sites in December 2013, citing that North Dakota had a strong proposal, a stellar national standing in aviation and aerospace sciences, and university research and development capabilities, along with a diverse climate and open airspace. The Northern Plains UAS Test Site was also the nation’s first to be FAA certified in April 2014 as ready to begin the work of integrating UAS into the national airspace.
In February 2015, the U.S. Air Force and Grand Forks County officials signed an enhanced use lease agreement, paving the way for the development of the Grand Sky UAS Business and Technology Park. Northrop Grumman Corporation became Grand Sky’s anchor tenant in April 2015. Grand Sky is the first commercial UAS business and aviation park in the U.S. The park is under construction and will provide state-of-the-art facilities for UAS development, testing and training, sensor technology development and data analysis, and management. It capitalizes on the expertise of regional academic institutions such as the University of North Dakota’s UAS Center of Excellence and Northland Community & Technical College’s UAS Maintenance Technician Program. Grand Sky’s facilities are expected to grow to over 1.2 million square feet and accommodate companies, educational institutions, government contractors, and public agencies involved in the UAS sectors.
Also in 2015, North Dakota celebrated landing its first UAS manufacturing venture when Wahpeton-based ComDel Innovation and Altavian began manufacturing UAS and UAS components at ComDel’s plant in Wahpeton.
The FAA recently approved expanded operations of the Northern Plains UAS Test Site to include night flight testing capabilities throughout the state of North Dakota. This authorization, granted under the FAA’s Certification of Authorization (COA) process, allows the industry more efficient access to airspace for collaborative research. The FAA was able to approve this COA application based on maturity and the demonstrated safety and operational processes used by the Northern Plains UAS Test Site.

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          Dalrymple: North Dakota Selected For Federal Biofuels Program   
By ND Governor's Office
Gov. Jack Dalrymple announced that North Dakota is among 21 states selected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to participate in the Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership. The program will provide states with $100 million in grants to expand motorists’ access to renewable fuels.
“North Dakota is nationally recognized as a leader in developing successful partnerships with retailers to expand the availability of blended fuels,” Dalrymple said. “This new federal program will work in much the same way and will help us build on the successful efforts that began several years ago in North Dakota to promote greater access to biofuels at the pump.”
Funding through USDA’s Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership is limited to $100 million for fiscal year 2015 and will be used to support the installation of fuel pumps and other infrastructure needed to make more renewable fuel options available to American consumers. With matching funds from private and state resources, USDA estimates that the program will support nearly 5,000 additional blended fuel pumps at more than 1,400 fueling stations in 21 states.
In 2009, North Dakota initiated a statewide blended-fuel pump program that led to the installation of more than 200 pumps at 66 retail locations across the state. Over the life of the state’s program, the sale of ethanol-blended fuels increased 56 percent in North Dakota. 

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          Dalrymple, Officials Celebrate Continued Development of Grand Sky UAS Park   
ND Governor's Office
Gov. Jack Dalrymple today joined local, state and military officials in celebrating several infrastructure projects critical to the development of the Grand Sky unmanned aerial systems (UAS) business and aviation park. Located on the Grand Forks Air Force Base, Grand Sky is the nation’s first commercial UAS business park.
“By moving forward on these projects, we are laying the groundwork to establish Grand Sky as the premier destination for America’s growing UAS industry,” Dalrymple said. “North Dakota is on the cutting edge of the UAS industry and we’re committed to developing our expertise and assets into a national hub for UAS research, development, testing, training and operations.”
The state has committed about $13 million for infrastructure projects essential to Grand Sky’s development. Projects in various stages of completion at the 217-acre UAS park include roadway and sewer improvements; upgrades to a flight tarmac; the installation of data services, electricity and other utilities; and the construction of security infrastructure. In all, the state has invested more than $34 million to secure and develop one of only six national UAS test sites, to develop Grand Sky, and to support UAS research and innovation in North Dakota.
In April, aerospace giant Northrup Grumman Corporation became Grand Sky’s anchor tenant. Grand Sky officials said the state’s support will help attract other Grand Sky tenants and advance North Dakota’s position as a national hub for the UAS industry. Grand Sky will offer 1.2 million square feet of space to the UAS industry, including manufacturers, flight testing and training centers and data analysis.
Among those who joined Dalrymple to celebrate Grand Sky’s development projects were U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. William Bender, Sen. Ray Holmberg, Grand Forks Air Force Base Commander Col. Rodney Lewis, Grand Forks County Commissioner Tom Falck, Grand Sky Development President Thomas Swoyer and North Dakota Commerce Commissioner Al Anderson.
Dalrymple has led the state’s efforts to establish the Northern Plains UAS Test Site and to develop a national UAS industry hub. Working toward those goals, some of the state’s notable achievements include:
  • May 2013 - Dalrymple established the Northern Plains Unmanned Aerial Systems Authority.  The six-member authority, chaired by Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley, successfully worked to develop a national UAS test proposal, to earn a test site designation and to develop a test site operation that meets FAA certification.  The authority is charged with overseeing the operations of North Dakota’s UAS test site, including the development of public safety protocols,  privacy safeguards and UAS research and development opportunities. Former 119th North Dakota Air National Guard Commander Col. Robert Becklund serves as director of the Northern Plains UAS Test Site.
  • December 2013 - The Federal Aviation Administration selects North Dakota to operate one of only six national UAS test sites. The FAA cited North Dakota’s strong proposal, its national standing in aviation and aerospace sciences, university research and development capabilities as well as the state’s diverse climate and open airspace
  • April 2014 - North Dakota’s Northern Plains UAS Test Site became the nation’s first to be FAA certified as ready to begin the work of integrating unmanned aerial systems into the national airspace. 
  • February 2015 - The U.S. Air Force and Grand Forks County officials sign an enhanced use lease agreement, paving the way for the development of the Grand Sky UAS business and aviation park.
  • February 2015 - North Dakota lands its first UAS manufacturing venture when Wahpeton-based ComDel Innovation and Altavian begin manufacturing unmanned aerial systems and UAS components at ComDel’s plant in Wahpeton.
  • April 2015 - Northrop Grumman Corporation becomes Grand Sky’s anchor tenant.
  • August 2015 - The FAA approves expanded operations of the Northern Plains Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Test Site to include night- flight testing capabilities throughout the state of North Dakota. This authorization allows the industry greater access to airspace for collaborative research. The FAA approved the COA application citing maturity and the demonstrated safety and operational processes developed by the Northern Plains UAS Test Site.

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          Commerce Announces UAS Test Site Public Meeting   
By ND Commerce
The North Dakota Department of Commerce will host representatives from the Northern Plains UAS Test Site and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for a public meeting to discuss innovation and opportunities. The meeting will take place on September 23 at 1:30 p.m. at the Alerus Conference Center in Grand Forks, ND.

FAA personnel will be present to participate in the discussion and answer questions. There is no cost to attend this meeting.

North Dakota has invested more than $34 million to establish a national UAS test site, to establish Grand Sky and to advance North Dakota’s position as a hub for the nation’s growing UAS industry

Earlier this month, the Federal Aviation Administration approved expanded operations of the Northern Plains Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Test Site to include night flight testing capabilities throughout the state of North Dakota. This authorization, granted under the FAA’s Certification of Authorization (COA) process, allows the industry more efficient access to airspace for collaborative research. The FAA was able to approve this COA application based on maturity and the demonstrated safety and operational processes used by the Northern Plains UAS Test Site. 

For additional information contact Brian Opp at the North Dakota Department of Commerce at (701) 328-5300 or by email at blopp@nd.gov.

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          State Energy Program Awards Funding Requests Totaling $266,652   
The North Dakota State Energy Program's (SEP) awarded funding requests for eight grants totaling $266,652.
SEP’s mission is to promote energy conservation and efficiency, and reduce the rate of growth of energy demand by developing and implementing a comprehensive state energy plan supported by Federal financial and technical assistance. 
The following projects were funded:
  • NDSU Architecture and Landscape Architecture, $105,607, to develop an eFargo education campaign including a K-12 competition, urban game, and catalogs and classes. For more information contact Malini Srivastava, 612-209-7745.         North Dakota Ethanol Council, $30,000, to expand the offering of E15 in the state and increasing the use of distillers grains in the state.  For more information contact Deana Wiese, 701-355-4458.
  • City of Fargo, $25,244, for the assessments of existing buildings and/or buildings currently in design and construction from an energy use perspective.  For more information contact Malini Srivastava, 612-209-7745.
  • Energy & Environmental Research Center, $58,301, to conduct an assessment of North Dakota’s solar potential, analysis of advantages and disadvantages of PV solar power utilization in North Dakota and present the information to the public.  For more information contact Malhar Khambete, 701-777-5403.
  • North Dakota State College of Science, $25,000, to retrofit light fixtures to LED light fixtures.  For more information contact David Cooper, 701-671-2154.
  • North Dakota State University, $18,500, to provide education regarding agricultural energy efficiency.  For more information contact Ken Hellevang, 701-231-7243.
  • North Dakota Solid Waste & Recycling Association, $2,000, to host a conference regarding recycling. For more information contact Sheryl Koop, 701-330-4391.
  • Cedar Soil Conservation District, $2,000, to host a Bismarck Earth Day Festival. For more information contact Kathy Duttenhefner, 701-328-5370. The SEP provides a range of energy conservation and renewable energy related areas, including energy education, buildings, commercial/industrial, energy codes, and transportation. The SEP program receives formula funds from the Department of Energy.
Additional information on the program is available at: http://www.communityservices.nd.gov/SEP

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          North Dakota Drone Test Site Set to Fly High at All Hours   
By ABC News
Of the six sites in the U.S. where researchers are trying to figure out how to integrate unmanned aircraft into civilian airspace, only North Dakota's can fly high both day and night.

The Federal Aviation Administration approved a plan last week that allows drones to be flown up to 1,200 feet above the entire state and permits flights at night, a combination that makesNorth Dakota unique, since other test sites are limited to a 200-foot blanket and daylight hours.

"It really expands the type of operations you can conduct," said Nicholas Flom, director of safety for the Northern Plains UAS Test Site.

For example, some precision agriculture sensors are designed to function at a minimum altitude of 250 feet, he said, and drones that would be flown to look for hot spots in wildfires or used for search-and-rescue missions generally work better at a higher altitude because it gives the cameras a broader range.

Alaska, New York, Nevada, Texas and Virginia also were selected in December 2013 as national test sites for unmanned aircraft, which the FAA does not currently allow for commercial use. As for why North Dakota's wide-open skies were chosen for the higher altitudes, the FAA referred questions to the North Dakota Department of Commerce.

Officials at the Northern Plains site wasted no time getting up in the air at night last week with the Draganflyer X4ES, which was monitored by three University of North Dakota pilots.

"With the lights on the aircraft, it's uniquely easy to see it," Flom said. "It's a little bit different perspective when they take off and land, just from a depth perspective standpoint, but there's no problem seeing anything."

Flying drones at night can have many benefits, said Mark Hastings, the test site's director of operations. Infrared sensors, which can detect people or animals on the ground, seem to work better in cooler temperatures. There's also less air traffic in the nighttime hours and usually lower wind speeds, a challenge for drone pilots especially in North Dakota.

The schedule for nighttime and high-altitude flights has not been determined, but the FAA will be closely monitoring the number of flights, Flom said.

And getting high up has a lot of value, too, allowing cameras to collect more data over a larger area more quickly.

North Dakota State University professor John Nowatzki is spearheading a research project that would use a large drone to monitor crop conditions and plans to ask for a special permit to put an unmanned aircraft with a 35-foot wing span in the Red River Valley at heights of 3,000, 5,000 and 8,000 feet. The pictures from higher altitudes will be compared to those from a smaller drone at 400 feet and satellite images to see what's best at identifying crop conditions such as nutrient deficiencies, disease symptoms and specific weeds.

"The value of flying higher is what our research is going to be about in 2016," Nowatzki said.

North Dakota Drone Test Site Set to Fly High at All Hours - ABC News

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          Burst of Growth in Hotels Extends Across the State   
By The Bismarck Tribune
Ashok "Smiley" Thakker is just trying to keep up.

The owner of seven hotels in Grand Forks has watched as more and more competition springs up around town. Since the beginning of 2014, the city has seen an influx of six new hotels -- all of which sit on South 42nd Street.

The burst of growth in hotels isn't limited to Grand Forks but extends to other cities across the state. Overall, the number of hotels operating in five major North Dakota cities has jumped by 39 percent from five years ago.

The spike in new establishments doesn't come without consequences for the industry.

Hotels' annual occupancy rates and other key indicators that measure the industry's success are falling in Grand Forks and across the state.

An abundance of new hotels has owners such as Thakker trying to find a solution to attract guests and keep their businesses afloat.

Thakker reopened his Ramada Inn this past week after a large-scale renovation, which included refurbishing guest rooms, the restaurant, lobby, restrooms and more.

"It's been a big project," Thakker said.

Grand Forks has seen a 29 percent increase in available hotel rooms since 2010, according to data from the North Dakota Department of Commerce Tourism Division. In that same time frame, occupancy rates peaked in 2012 and are now on a downslide.

In the first six months of 2015, just 54.7 percent of hotel rooms were filled in Grand Forks, according to data provided by STR, a company that researches and tracks the hotel industry. That's down from a high of 69.8 percent during the same period three years ago.

Though the hotel market is cyclical, with more people staying in hotels during the summer months than in the winter months, those in the industry say the hotel market has remained down this summer, and they don't see it getting much better soon.

Trending downward

The hotel market as a whole is down across the state, said Dean Ihla, tourism development manager for the Department of Commerce.

Slipping occupancy in the eastern portion of the state can be attributed to a weakening Canadian dollar and possibly overbuilding, he said.

In western North Dakota, in places such as Minot and Dickinson, Ihla said the decrease is due to a combination of more permanent housing for oil field workers--they no longer have to stay in hotels for long periods of time--and a little bit of overgrowth.

"I think there's some overgrowth because of not knowing where this oil growth was going," Ihla said. "Now that the oil has slowed down, we're seeing that in hotels, too."

However, lower occupancy rates in places such as Minot likely stem from those cities returning to normal instead of an indication of a widespread problem, Ihla argued.

In 2011, Minot had an annual occupancy rate of 86.6 percent, but that rate was down to 65.4 percent as of last year, according to STR. Between 65 to 70 percent is considered a good rate, Ihla said.

Over the past five years, the number of hotels in Minot nearly doubled, growing from 17 to 32, according to STR.

Despite that, Wade Regier, director of sports and events for the Minot Convention and Visitors Bureau said Minot has a "perfect" number of rooms for the city.

Regier pointed to few vacancies on weekends when Minot hosts events such as the North Dakota State Fair or the state basketball tournament.

"When there's big events in town, we actually don't have enough hotels," Regier said.

Sara Otte Coleman, the director for the Tourism Division, said hotel owners are always concerned when new businesses enter the market, but she expects this to only be a short-term issue.

"It's natural that occupancy rates would fall with more hotels, but we think that will eventually correct itself," she said.

Bismarck also has seen a similar trend. In 2011, its occupancy rate was 78 percent. Last year, it fell to 70.1 percent. In the last five years, Bismarck has added 11 hotels, according to the Department of Commerce.

Fargo has remained steady since 2010, with its occupancy rate last year sitting at 67.5 percent.

Attracting guests

It's not just occupancy data that has slipped recently.

Revenue per available room, or RevPAR, is one of the top performance measures in the hotel industry. In the first six months of 2015, Grand Forks' RevPAR was $48.73, down 23 percent from its high in 2012. That means each room is making less money than it once did.

Troy Ausmus, general manager of Yellowstone Management, which owns three hotels in Grand Forks, said he's not sure how to combat the problem. His hotels have increased advertising, included more promotional deals and lowered rates all to draw in more tenants.

"There was a fixed number of customers coming down and now there's more options," Ausmus said. "I've seen other hotels drop their rates more than we have, but everybody's down. I've talked to a few different hotel groups and they're all saying the same thing."

Ausmus and Ihla both said one of the problems is that Grand Forks, and North Dakota as a whole, have only a limited number of people who come to visit. The state lacks a major metro area and doesn't have a large-scale attraction, such as Yellowstone National Park or a Disneyland to attract more visitors.Advertisement (1 of 1): 0:27According to the Department of Commerce, the occupancy rate for the entire state in the first six months of 2015 was 56 percent, which is a 9.3 percent decrease from that same months a year ago.

"I think it's more of a stabilization," Ilha said. "The numbers aren't alarming right now. We went through a period where you couldn't do a lot of promotion because there was just nowhere to stay.

"So, of course occupancy is going to change when you've added 10,000 rooms to your inventory. That's a lot of growth for a population of 725,000 and no large, major cities."

Canadian dollar

Without those large urban populations and attractions, cities such as Grand Forks have relied on Canadian travelers.

However, with the Canadian dollar continuing to struggle, fewer visitors from the north are coming down.

The Canadian dollar fell to its lowest level against the U.S. dollar since early 2009, according a MarketWatch report published earlier this month. A Canadian dollar was worth 76 cents as of Thursday, according to the Bank of Canada.

Meanwhile, border traffic has slumped. In the first six months of 2014, 158,254 personal vehicles were recorded at the Pembina, N.D., crossing, which decreased to 145,609 in the same period this year, according to federal data.

"We can't really do anything to bring more people to town in our market, so there becomes an internal competition to see if somebody can pull a bigger market share than the other hotels," Ausmus said.

Though several hotels have popped up recently, there are no new hotels on the horizon, according to the Grand Forks City Planning Department.

Julie Rygg, executive director for the Greater Grand Forks Convention and Visitors Bureau, said despite the recent growth, it's still too early to say if there's too much inventory in town.

"We just want to help the hotels stay busy," she said.

Rygg said hotels are busy at different times of years, so it's hard to say how exactly the industry is doing.

But by most measures, including the Grand Forks' lodging tax collections, the industry is down. Collections between January and May were down 6.9 percent in the first five months of 2015 from a year ago.

"There's no question that everybody's down," Ausmus said of the city's hotel industry. "Now we have to figure out a way to bring it back up."

Burst of Growth in Hotels Extends Across the State - The Bismarck Tribune

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          Unmanned Aircraft Test Site Get OK For Night Flights    
By Grand Forks Herald
The flight of some unmanned aircraft is no longer limited to the daytime in North Dakota.

The Federal Aviation Administration has given aircraft operating in conjunction with the state's Northern Plains Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site permission to fly at night, officials announced Thursday.

"The addition of night flying opens up the opportunities for industry partners to test sensor payloads in all lighting conditions," said Robert Becklund, executive director of the test site.

Sensors carried by unmanned aircraft can include video cameras, thermal cameras and other technologies that can be used collect data. In turn, those data can be used for a variety of purposes across a number of industries, from analyzing crop conditions to inspecting buildings to searching for missing persons.

"(The UAS) industry is taking off before our eyes, and the fact that Grand Forks' test site is the first in the nation to perform research at night reinforces our state's position as a leader in this technology," Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., said in a statement Thursday.

The test site, which is headquartered in Grand Forks, also received approval to conduct testing throughout the entire state at altitudes higher than 200 feet.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said in a statement the expansion of flight times and locations will allow the test site to continue its excellence in testing and developing UAS technology.

"That means greater opportunities for our state's residents in this growing and vibrant industry," he added.

Previously, the site's certificate of authorization, a document stipulating conditions for legal UAS flight, covered about two-thirds of the state's airspace.

The FAA approved new COA application based on the site's maturity and its demonstrated safety and operational processes, a test site news release said.

North Dakota's site is the first of the FAA's six test sites to be entirely covered by a COA that includes airspace above 200 feet.

Unmanned Aircraft Test Site Get OK For Night Flights  - Grand Forks Herald

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          FAA Announces Expanded UAS Airspace and Night Flight Capabilities in North Dakota   
By ND Commerce
The Northern Plains (UAS) Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site in collaboration with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announces the approval to expand operations and night flight testing capabilities throughout the state of North Dakota. This authorization, granted under the FAA’s Certification of Authorization (COA) process, allows the industry more efficient access to airspace for collaborative research. The FAA was able to approve this COA application based on maturity and the demonstrated safety and operational processes used by the Northern Plains UAS Test Site.
“The addition of night flying opens up the opportunities for industry partners to test sensor payloads in all lighting conditions,” says Robert Becklund, executive director of the Northern Plains UAS Test Site.
The Northern Plains UAS Test Site also received a COA that now makes the entire state available for testing at altitudes higher than the 200-foot blanket COA issued to FAA approved test sites. North Dakota is the first Test Site to be entirely covered by a COA that includes airspace above 200 feet for UAS testing.
The FAA recognizes the industry’s needs for safe and efficient access to the NAS to conduct the aeronautical research needed to safely integrate UAS ultimately enabling commercialization of their services. This Northern Plains UAS Test Site COA demonstrates the FAA’s commitment to the UAS industry as well as the capabilities of the Northern Plains UAS Test Site. 
For more information about the Northern Plains UAS Test Site or to inquire about gaining access to our airspace, go to NPUASTS.COM or call us at 701-777-6100.   

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          Dalrymple Presents $5.6 Million for UAS Park as Construction Start Looms   
By Grand Forks Herald
With a memo line reading "Grand Sky UAS Park," Gov. Jack Dalrymple presented a check Monday for $5.6 million to Grand Forks County.

The state funds will allow construction crews to get in the ground as early as next week to begin building the estimated $25 million unmanned aircraft systems business park, which is touted as the first of its kind in the nation.     

"I think all of us in this room together are building a new industry in North Dakota," Dalrymple said. "It's not very often that you can stand there and say we're building a new industry. Maybe a new company or a nonprofit, but very seldom can we say we are creating an entirely new industry for our state and for our nation."

Of the amount allocated through the state Department of Commerce, $2.5 million depended on the park securing a tenant, which came in the form of a commitment from industry giant Northrop Grumman. The remaining $3.1 million was designated by the state Legislature for infrastructure improvements.

Grand Sky aims to provide space to tenants in various areas of the unmanned aircraft industry, from manufacturers to data analysts to flight trainers. The development consists of 217 acres of land adjacent to Grand Forks Air Force Base, which in turn will be developed to offer 1.2 million square feet of usable space for tenants.

"The state of North Dakota has made a huge investment in Grand Sky," said Tom Swoyer Jr., president of Grand Sky Development Co., the business managing the park's development.

Funding development
The park site, located just southwest the base, is rented from the U.S. Air Force by the county after officials signed a lease earlier this year.

The county in turn leases the land to Grand Sky Development Co.

Swoyer said most of the state money will be used for installing or upgrading infrastructure needed before the park's offices, hangars, data storage facilities and other buildings can be constructed.

The first project will be posting a fence around the site, which will establish a secure perimeter.

Normally, entities such as cities can recoup infrastructure installation costs through special assessments placed on the land, which are then passed on to property owners.

In this case, the land is owned by the federal government and is not taxable, which means Grand Sky can't use this method and makes state funding even more vital.

The state's commitment also helps attract tenants, according to Swoyer.

"Without this kind of money, we can't leverage the private investment that's coming," he said. "Without the state investment, it's very difficult to ... get the private companies to this kind of a project."

Continued growth
The funding to get construction underway at Grand Sky is another milestone for the UAS industry in the state.

North Dakota is one of six states awarded a UAS test site by the Federal Aviation Administration in December 2013.

The test site, known as the Northern Plains UAS Test Site and also headquartered in Grand Forks County, is tasked with researching the integration of unmanned aircraft into commercial airspace.

In total, Dalrymple said the state has spent more than $30 million on unmanned aircraft system ventures, including Grand Sky, the test site and other research and development initiatives around the state, including at UND.

Monday's check likely won't be the last cut by the state for Grand Sky.

"I'm happy to say to this is by no means the end of it," Dalrymple said of the state funding. "There is contingency funding established by our legislature—$4.4 million in additional funding—as Grand Sky continues to develop and land more tenants."

In total, about $12.5 million is included in the state's 2015-2017 budget for UAS initiatives.

Dalrymple Presents $5.6 Million for UAS Park as Construction Start Looms - Grand Forks Herald

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          Dalrymple Announces $5.6 Million in Additional State Funding for Grand Sky UAS Park   
By ND Governor's Office
Gov. Jack Dalrymple announced that Grand Forks County will receive $5.6 million in additional state funding to support the continued development of the Grand Sky Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Business and Aviation Park.
“I am pleased to announce that an additional $5.6 million in state funding is available for the continued development of Grand Sky, the nation’s first UAS business park,” Dalrymple said.  “North Dakota’s leadership in the growing UAS industry is attracting national attention and we remain committed to developing our expertise and assets into a national hub for UAS manufacturing, research and development.”
Of the $5.6 million in state funding, the state is providing $2.5 million following Grand Sky’s success in securing its first park tenant - global aerospace giant Northrop Grumman.  An additional $3.1 million in state funding is also available to upgrade a flight tarmac and other infrastructure that will support UAS testing and flight operations. The 2015 Legislature appropriated another $4.4 million contingent upon Grand Sky’s further development.
North Dakota has provided more than $30 million to advance UAS research and development and is collaborating with organizations statewide to build this emerging industry. Within its borders, North Dakota already has all the components needed to support UAS education, training, research and commercialization.
The Grand Sky UAS Business and Aviation Park, located on the grounds of the Grand Forks Air Force Base, is under construction and will provide state-of-the-art facilities for UAS development, testing and training, sensor technology development and data analysis and management. It capitalizes on the state’s UAS test site, the expertise of regional academic institutions such as the University of North Dakota's UAS Center of Excellence. Grand Sky’s facilities are expected to accommodate companies, educational institutions, government contractors and public agencies involved in the UAS sectors.
Dalrymple announced the state’s latest funding commitment for Grand Sky at the Grand Forks County Office Building.  Those joining Dalrymple included members of the Grand Forks County Commission, Grand Forks County Regional Economic Development President and CEO Klaus Thiessen, Grand Sky Development President Tom Swoyer and North Dakota Commerce Commissioner Al Anderson.
Officials with Grand Sky and the North Dakota Department of Commerce have actively recruited Northrop Grumman, General Atomics and other aviation companies to establish a UAS presence at Grand Sky and to utilize the nation’s first UAS test site. Sen. John Hoeven and Rep. Kevin Cramer are meeting with General Atomics executives in Grand Forks today.
Dalrymple has led the state’s efforts to establish a national UAS test site in North Dakota and to develop a national hub for UAS manufacturing, research and development. Working toward those goals, some of the state’s notable achievements include:
  • May 2013 - Dalrymple established the Northern Plains Unmanned Aerial Systems Authority.  The six-member authority, chaired by Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley, has worked ever since to develop a national UAS test proposal, to earn a test site designation and to develop a test site operation that meets FAA certification.  The authority is charged with overseeing the operations of North Dakota’s UAS test site, including the development of public safety protocols,  privacy safeguards and UAS research and development opportunities. Former 119th North Dakota Air National Guard Commander Col. Robert Becklund serves as director of the Northern Plains UAS Test Site. 
  • December 2013 - The Federal Aviation Administration selects North Dakota to operate one of only six national UAS test sites. The FAA cited North Dakota’s strong proposal, its national standing in aviation and aerospace sciences, university research and development capabilities as well as the state’s diverse climate and open airspace. 
  • April 2014 - North Dakota’s Northern Plains UAS Test Site was the nation’s first to be FAA certified as ready to begin the work of integrating unmanned aerial systems into the national airspace.  
  • February 2015 - The U.S. Air Force and Grand Forks County officials signed an enhanced use lease agreement, paving the way for the development of the Grand Sky UAS Business and Aviation Park. 
  • February 2015 - North Dakota lands its first UAS manufacturing venture when Wahpeton-based ComDel Innovation and Altavian begin manufacturing unmanned aerial systems and UAS components at ComDel’s plant in Wahpeton. 
  • April 2015 - Northrop Grumman Corporation becomes Grand Sky’s anchor tenant. 
  • Since 2013, North Dakota has invested more than $30 million to establish a national UAS test site, to establish Grand Sky and to advance North Dakota’s position as a hub for the nation’s growing UAS industry. 

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          North Dakota UAV Business Grows   
By Ag Week
The UAV industry continues to grow and evolve, and Field of View is growing and evolving with it.

New regulations for unmanned aerial vehicles proposed in February by the Federal Aviation Administration “are a breath of fresh air,” says David Dvorak, CEO of Grand Forks, N.D.-based Field of View. “They provide our industry with more confidence that this is going to happen. People are finally starting to invest in the technology, which is good for us.”

The company, which he launched in 2010, seeks to “bridge the gap between unmanned aircraft and precision agriculture,” as the company’s website puts it.

By all accounts, the use of UAVs, also known as drones and unmanned aircraft systems, can be a big plus in agriculture and other industries. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International estimates easing current restrictions of UAVs would create 70,000 jobs and generate $13.6 billion in economic impact within three years in the U.S.

The FAA’s new proposal, which could be enacted by the fall of 2016, would pave the way for widespread commercial use of drones weighing fewer than 55 pounds. The FAA wants to balance the economic value of commercial use against the safety risk.

“The rule, as proposed, would seem to be good for agriculture,” Dvorak says. “So the regulatory side seems to be falling into place at last.”

Field of View’s flagship product, GeoSnap, generally has drawn more interest overseas because other countries have fewer restrictions on air space. Now, with the FAA proposal, domestic interest is picking up.

GeoSnap is an add-on device for multispectral cameras mounted on either manned or unmanned aircraft. Such cameras capture images in the red, green and near-infrared bands, allowing users to visualize plant stress better than they can with most other camera systems, Dvorak says.

GeoSnap takes images captured by the multispectral camera and maps them with real-world coordinates, a process known as georeferencing. That allows users to know the aerial images’ exact location on the ground.

Field of View recently came out with a less expensive version of GeoSnap, known as GeoSnap Express, “that will be useful for some of our newer customers,” Dvorak says. “Sometimes you just want to try it (the technology), and this is a really good system to help people get up and going with it.”

GeoSnap Express costs $1,450 or $1,950, depending on the model. GeoSnap Pro, the original version, costs $7,000 or $9,000, depending on the model.

Field of View also is offering a new product that involves thermal payloads.

“We’re able to map vegetation temperature across the field, which will help give us an indication of where water stress might be and to detect where plants get sick,” Dvorak says.

And Field of View has begun working with Minneapolis-based PowerOfGround to offer image processing services. For more information, visit www.powerofground.com.

“Some people want to do that (image processing) themselves,” Dvorak says. “Others want somebody to do it for them.”

Dvorak grew up in St. Cloud, Minn., and came to the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks to study engineering. At UND, he developed a special interest in the use of unmanned aircraft and multispectral cameras in precision agriculture.

He and another company employee work in Grand Forks. A third, an engineer, works in California. Field of View uses a Fargo, N.D., company for its international marketing.

“Good things are happening in our industry,” Dvorak says. “And we see that continuing.”

Previously posted in "North Dakota UAV Business Grows - Ag Week"

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          There’s a New Silicon Valley of Drones, and it Isn’t in California   
By MW Market Watch
The “Silicon Valley of drones” is taking shape in a place you probably wouldn’t expect.

With the most open airspace in the country, vast tracts of farmland, infrastructure to test on and the nation’s first unmanned aircraft degree program, it makes sense that North Dakota would be the place for drone technology to spread its wings, and it’s now expanding at an unprecedented rate.

The U.S. has previously been circumspect about allowing companies to commercialize drones; murky rulings from the Federal Aviation Administration and the haphazard enforcement of laws have made it challenging for drone companies to operate in the U.S. — so challenging, in fact, that many operators, including Amazon Prime Air, have expressed an intention to leave the U.S. to work in other countries.

But it’s a different story in North Dakota.

This summer, the nation’s first unmanned airport, the Grand Sky Development Park, opens at the state’s Grand Forks Air Force Base. The project, which has 1.2 million square feet of hangar, office and data space, is being developed by Grand Sky Development Co. A runway will allow for traditional and vertical takeoffs by drones.

The airport is expected to generate about 3,000 jobs by its 2016 completion, including 1,000 permanent jobs on site, 1,000 jobs around the community and 1,000 jobs outside the state, said Tom Swoyer, the project’s developer. Pilots would be able to control drones launching at the site from anywhere in the world.

“It’s going to touch a lot of places,” Swoyer said. “A pilot could be in Southern California and pilot the plane launched from North Dakota.”

It’s an appealing proposition for companies like Northrop Grumman NOC, -0.62%  , which has signed on as the site’s anchor tenant but has its aerospace-systems headquarters in Redondo Beach, Calif.

North Dakota committed $5 million to help bring infrastructure to the site as part of its 2015-17 executive budget and another $7.5 million in grants for runway improvements. With the project expected to cost about $25 million in total, the balance will be covered by private investment, said Swoyer.

“This project evolved here in North Dakota with the right combination of political will and an economy that was growing,” Swoyer said. “It’s a state that is investing in the industry. It’s a community willing to raise their hands and say, ‘Let’s try something completely different.’ ”

A community ‘all focused on unmanned aviation’
In 2005, the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) considered closing the Air Force base.

“Our performance and safety record in fighter aircraft was unprecedented, but despite that our aircraft were getting old and weren’t going to get replaced,” said Robert Becklund, then commander of the North Dakota Air National Guard.

To avoid a drastic action by BRAC, the base made a bold move — replacing its KC-135 Stratotankers with drones.

“This was a dramatic change going from a single-seat manned fighter aircraft to unmanned aircraft,” Becklund said. “But it was the right thing to do for the nation.”

The base is now the site of the Global Hawk and MQ-1 Predator drone aircraft.

At about the same time, the University of North Dakota established a “center of excellence” for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), offering the nation’s first undergraduate degree program in unmanned aviation. Five students received degrees in 2011, the program’s first graduating class. Today, more than 100 students are enrolled, and the program is one of more than 30 similar degree programs at universities throughout the country.

“We have academia, our military, the Department of Homeland Security and industries in the region all focused on unmanned aviation,” Becklund said.

In 2014, North Dakota was one of six states allowed to develop a test site for commercial drone applications: the Northern Plains UAS Test Site in Grand Forks. The site is part of an FAA program looking toward the safe integration of unmanned aircraft into airspace.

North Dakota’s test site was the first to earn operational designation from the FAA and the first to fly under the agreement. The site covers more than half the state, boasting 45,000 square miles of authorized airspace — the largest such volume of any single state.

“If North Dakota hadn’t been selected as a test site, I would have questioned our country’s decision making,” said Becklund, who now serves as the executive director of the test site.

The state budget allocated $4.2 million in its 2015-17 budget for operating the test site. Of that, $1.2 million goes directly to drone companies in the form of a dollar-for-dollar matching program for those opting to partner with one of North Dakota’s research universities on a project. A related but separate program, Research North Dakota, provides up to $300,000 in matching funds for qualified firms.

But there’s a catch. For major companies to fly at the test site, they have to lease their unmanned aircraft to the site so that they can fly under public domain. That caveat is what may have driven companies like Amazon to explore drone-delivery testing outside of the U.S.

“There is no way these companies will lease their airplanes to us,” Becklund said. “It’s a proprietary machine. Any company developing their own aircraft will not lease that to anyone outside their company.”

That restriction has posed a major problem for test sites trying to attract corporate research.

“The FAA says they are here to support industry, but to [participate at a test site] companies have to lease their aircraft to us,” Becklund said.

Companies could get around the requirement by applying for an experimental certification, but that still restricts them to research — not commercial — applications.

A vibrant startup scene
Despite the challenges, other (often smaller) drone companies benefit from the test site.

Most of those companies are based in Fargo, a city that entrepreneurs say bursts with an energy that’s akin to that of the startup scene in San Francisco. But this scene is dominated by drone-based industries.

“We’re becoming a robust startup community,” said North Dakota’s lieutenant governor, Drew Wrigley. “They are the geek squad over in Fargo. You’ve got technical companies and young, energetic entrepreneurs.”

Appareo Systems builds flight-data recorders and ADS-B, a type of aircraft tracking system. Since 2001, that startup has worked on a project in partnership with NASA and the University of North Dakota to build, design and manufacture the ADS-B equipping the airplanes.

Another company, Packet Digital, combines high-speed power electronics with advancements in solar to double drone flight times. The ultimate goal is to provide drones with unlimited flight.

“Once you extend flight time, you open up the possibility of many more types of applications and uses for drones,” said Terri Zimmerman, Packet Digital’s CEO. Those applications could include agriculture, allowing farmers to fly drones over farmland to monitor their crops.

And as more drones fill the airspace, there’s a company working on technology that gives pilots situational awareness of other drones in the area. Botlink allows operators to control a drone from a tablet and detect other drones flying nearby.

The company was founded by Shawn Muehler. He’s the guy behind DroneFocus, a meet-up group in Fargo that grew to 50 members, including Becklund, local startups and public officials. “We’re bringing the government, the private sector, the commercial side together to cut through the red tape,” Muehler said. “It’s the only meet-up where we get every industry player in one room.” Lt. Gov. Wrigley has been known to attend.

Indicative of the group’s attitude, the whole thing is organized through Meetup.com. That means anyone is welcome; you just click a button to join. When the group huddles, the gathering feels more like a block party than a rigid policy meeting with a strict agenda, according to attendees.

“We just have a different personality out here,” Muehler said. “It’s not about how we can beat our competitors. It’s how we can help each other out to propel this industry forward.”

North Dakota’s drone sector has already blown away industry predictions. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) released an economic report in 2013 (before North Dakota was chosen as a test site) predicting the economic impact of drone integration in the U.S. The data were based on airspace activity at the time the report was created.

They forecast that between 2015 and 2017, California’s drone industry would have the largest economic impact in terms of dollars, and North Dakota’s would have the third lowest.

North Dakota’s Department of Commerce revised those predictions in 2013 based on the assumption that the state would become a test site. Its data showed that North Dakota would have the greatest percentage of drone-related jobs (relative to population) of any state.

“Obviously, California has a number of aerospace companies as well as companies that develop sensors, payloads, software and a variety of different products that fit within this industry,” said Paul Lucy, a director at the North Dakota Department of Commerce. “They underestimated the potential for companies to come here and do R&D work with our test site.”

Still, Becklund doesn’t believe North Dakota is a complete replacement for Silicon Valley, he said. There just aren’t enough people working in engineering and technology to fill jobs in a state that already has one of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates, he said. North Dakota’s unemployment rate in May was 3.1% versus the national average of 5.5%.

“But if those engineers who developed the technologies in Silicon Valley are looking for a place with a low cost of living, a highly educated workforce and a cooperative community — whether that’s the government or financially — probably this is the best place to do that,” he said.

But even if the jobs get filled, there’s still the issue of funding.

“We can’t get funding because the people in the state tend to be fiscally conservative,” Botlink’s Muehler said. His company received $500,000 in seed funding from local investors. But that’s a paltry figure if the state is going to compete with such venture-backed Silicon Valley drone startups as Airware, which has raised over $40 million in five funding rounds, or 3D Robotics, which has more than $100 million in venture capital.

“We’ve been searching for Series A on a local level because we want to keep the money in the state, so we’re looking for funding sources within North Dakota,” said Muehler.

But where these startups lack private capital, the state is trying to foot the bill. Since 2006, North Dakota has allocated $32.5 million in grant funding to companies interested in commercial drone development through 2017. In addition, the state’s Research North Dakota program offers $5 million biannually in grants from research and development to organizations and companies involved in UAS research through state universities.

Those business incentives have drawn companies from around the U.S. to the state. Florida-based drone manufacturer Altvavian announced in February a $3.2 million agreement to manufacture drones at a plant in North Dakota, the first official UAS manufacturing project in the state.

Wrigley said he sees his state as the Silicon Valley of drones. “People look to North Dakota and say they want to emulate this,” the lieutenant governor said. “We’re blessed with the natural conditions that make it easy to expand drone technology, industries that are keen to tie in UAS technology — and on top of that you have people passionate for aviation and emerging technologies. It’s a part of our pioneering culture.”

There’s a New Silicon Valley of Drones, and it Isn’t in California - MW Market Watch

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          Wrigley, ComDel Mark Completion of First Unmanned Aerial System Built in North Dakota    
By ND Governor's Office
Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley today joined employees at Wahpeton-based ComDel Innovation, Inc. to celebrate the completion of the first unmanned aircraft manufactured in North Dakota. 
“Hats off to the great employees at ComDel Innovation for successfully manufacturing the first North Dakota-made unmanned aerial system,” Wrigley said.  “ComDel’s success represents another milestone in our continuing work to grow North Dakota’s UAS industry and to become a national hub for UAS manufacturing, research and development.
“By working together in North Dakota, we have also established the nation’s first UAS business park as well as the nation’s first certified UAS test site,” Wrigley said.  “With every advancement we make, North Dakota becomes even better positioned to attract more UAS-related investment and jobs; to lead the nation’s quest for the safe integration of the technologies; and to further diversify our state economy.”
In February, Gov. Dalrymple joined executives from ComDel Innovation. and Florida-based Altavian in announcing the companies’ agreement to manufacture unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and UAS components at ComDel’s high-tech manufacturing plant in Wahpeton.
“We are excited to be working with Altavian and to play a role in moving North Dakota’s UAS industry forward,” ComDel Innovation President Jim Albrecht said. “At ComDel Innovation, our expertise in high-tech, high-precision manufacturing is a great fit for the UAS industry and we look forward to the opportunities ahead.”
Depending on sales, Albrecht estimates that an additional 10 to 20 employees may be added at ComDel to manufacture unmanned aerial systems at its Wahpeton plant.

ComDel Innovation is a precision manufacturer that integrates all aspects of product development. ComDel’s manufacturing services include precision component fabrication, molding, tooling and stamping dies, injection molding, metal stamping, assembly operations and metal finishing.
At ComDel Innovation Friday, Altavian founder and CEO John Perry presented the first North Dakota-made unmanned aerial system to Fargo Air Museum officials, a donation to mark the milestone.
Altavian COO Thomas Rambo said his company is in the process of hiring a few local employees to help manage the partnership.  Rambo said Altavian is also pursuing opportunities to partner with the Northern Plains FAA UAS Test Site.

Based in Gainesville, Fla., Altavian provides unmanned aerial systems and associated data collection services with applications in the fields of precision agriculture, infrastructure analysis, natural resource management and conservation for government, commercial and research-based customers.
Others who joined Wrigley today at ComDel Innovation included Albrecht, Perry, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, Wahpeton Mayor Meryl Hansey and North Dakota Commerce Commissioner Al Anderson.
Dalrymple has led the state’s efforts to establish a national UAS test site in North Dakota, to develop the Grand Sky UAS Business and Aviation Park, and to establish North Dakota as a national hub for UAS research and development.

In May 2013, Dalrymple formed the six-member Northern Plains Unmanned Aerial Systems Authority (NPUASA) which was successful in landing one of only six national UAS test site designations approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.  The NPUASA is chaired by Lt. Gov. Wrigley.
In April 2014, North Dakota’s Northern Plains UAS Test Site was the nation’s first to be FAA certified as ready to begin the work of integrating unmanned aerial systems into the national airspace.  The state has invested more than $20 million to establish a national UAS test site; to support the development of Grand Sky, a UAS and aviation park located at the Grand Forks Air Force Base and to advance UAS research and development.

Last month, aerospace giant Northrop Grumman signed a lease to become an anchor tenant at the Grand Sky UAS park located on the Grand Forks Air Force Base.

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          Hoeven Introduces Legislation to set Interim UAS Rules   
Grand Forks Herald
Senator John Hoeven, R-N.D., introduced legislation Tuesday to set temporary guidelines for operating small commercial unmanned aircraft systems while the Federal Aviation Administration develops more permanent rules for the new technology.ADVERTISEMENTHoeven introduced the Commercial UAS Modernization Act with Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., in an effort to speed up the development process for an industry some see becoming a major part of the North Dakota and national economy. The FAA largely bans commercial use of UAS, but companies can receive an exemption.

"The sooner we allow the broader use of this technology, the more quickly the U.S. will realize the many societal and economic benefits of UAS," said Brian Wynne, president and CEO of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, in a statement.

The bill would allow UAS operators to certify aircraft and pilots with six federally designated test sites, one of them being in North Dakota, Hoeven said. Operators would have to fly under proposed FAA rules for small commercial UAS, which limit flights to daylight hours, to within an operator's line of sight, and under an altitude of 500 feet.

Hoeven said it could be a couple of years before the FAA rules are finalized.

The bill is "an effort to expedite the process because we're falling behind other countries," Hoeven said in an interview with the Herald. "This uses the test sites to speed up the process so that our companies can move forward with developing unmanned aircraft."


The six FAA test sites were set up to research integrating unmanned aircraft safely into the national airspace. North Dakota was named one of the sites in late 2013.

AUVSI estimates that the UAS industry will create more than 100,000 new jobs within 10 years of airspace integration. Small UAS are expected to be used in a variety of industries, including agriculture and energy.

The FAA announced its proposed rules for small UAS in February, but some worry that the government is moving too slowly to regulate the industry.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., joined Hoeven in writing a letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta last year in part to express concern about delays operators face in getting permission to fly.

"These delays force those manufacturers and operators who play by the rules to sit on the sidelines while they wait for approval while others chance fines and operate without any certification from the FAA, which raises serious concerns about public safety," Heitkamp, Hoeven, Booker and two other senators wrote in November.

Hoeven's and Booker's bill also creates a deputy FAA administrator responsible for the integration of UAS into the national airspace and "builds a reasonable framework for the registration and use of UAS," according to Hoeven's press release. It also requires operators to report crashes to the FAA.

The FAA doesn't comment on pending legislation, a spokeswoman said Tuesday evening.

"The Commercial UAS Modernization Act sets up clear and immediate rules of the road, helping to lay a foundation that will allow us to make cutting-edge progress in a rapidly emerging field," Booker said in a statement.

Hoeven Introduces Legislation to set Interim UAS Rules - Grand Forks Herald

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          Another Major Defense Company Interested in ND Drone Park   
By The Washington Times
The nation's first unmanned aircraft business park currently under construction in North Dakota has a second major defense contractor interested in setting up shop.
Linden P. Blue, the CEO of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., plans to visit in July to look into Grand Sky, a 1.2 million-square-foot park located on Grand Forks Air Force Base property. The base recently switched its operations from air refueling tankers to unmanned aircraft.
U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer said the General Atomics affiliate is looking not only to test aircraft, but train pilots. "They're the kind of prospect that has more than a casual interest, for sure," Cramer said.
Among the unmanned aerial systems General Atomics produces are drones for military combat missions. The MQ-1 Predator drones are being flown by the North Dakota Air National Guard and MQ-9 Reaper planes are being used by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Several graduates of the University of North Dakota aviation school are among the more than 6,000 employees for the San Diego-based company.
Already, defense technology company Northrop Grumman last month signed a lease to become the park's lead tenant, finalizing a plan that had been in the works for years. Northrop Grumman makes the RQ-4 Global Hawk drone, which is considered particularly valuable because it can conduct long-range missions, fly at 60,000 feet and roam in a particular area for 24 hours or more.
"I always have been a big believer in momentum, and someone like Northrop Grumman signing that lease, that's momentum," Cramer said.
The momentum continued this past week at an international trade show in Atlanta, where Grand Sky Development President Tom Swoyer said he received inquiries from seven companies. A handful of other businesses also have publicly expressed their interest, he said.
"The questions I heard were, 'What do I have to do to get space, what's the process, how fast can I get it, and what does it cost?'" Swoyer said.
In addition to the fledgling tech park, North Dakota is one six sites around the country testing unmanned aircraft and the only one to receive approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly in expanded airspace. Airspace, Swoyer said, was the No. 1 topic at the Atlanta convention.

Another Major Defense Company Interested in ND Drone Park - The Washington Times 

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          UND, Sensurion Aerospace establish UAS Pipeline Program   
By UAS Magazine
A recent collaboration between Sensurion Aerospace and the University of North Dakota has resulted in a new unmanned aircraft system (UAS) Pipeline Program that’s designed to provide career-building opportunities for graduates of UND’s John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences.

“We are thrilled to have access to top graduates from the country’s pre-eminent aerospace training program,” said Joe Burns, Sensurion CEO. “Our goal is to train and develop employees, retain top talent and grow future leaders.”

The Pipeline Program establishes a framework for broader collaborative efforts in the UAS arena, Sensurion said. A joint effort between the Sensurion Aerospace Training Department and UND Aerospace will formulate future curriculum recommendations, stay abreast of regulatory issues and partner on new education, training and internship programs.

“This is an excellent opportunity for our graduates, UND, and Sensurion,” said Al Palmer, director of UND Center of Excellence for UAS Research, Education, and Training.

“This will generate tremendous opportunities for both UND and Sensurion,” said Mark Hastings, chief UAS pilot, UND Aerospace. “We are excited to be at the forefront of the burgeoning field to UAS.”

In April, UND student, Kristopher Chacula, was presented with the first-ever UAS training scholarship. The scholarship, given to a senior graduating with a major in UAS, will provide both ground and flight training that is required for factory training in Sensurions’s MAGPIE MP-1.

“We recognize the hard work, the career-minded diligent efforts, and commitment to making the UAS industry the best it can be,” said Dan Johnson, Sensurion vice president for business development. “We sincerely value the relationship we have with UND and look forward to supporting their program and students for many years to come.”

Chacula’s training curriculum for the Minnesota-based company will include classroom instruction focusing on systems, operations and field maintenance; flight training that will put him side by side with a flight instructor at the controls of the MP-1; and operational training involving the aircraft’s Ground Control System.

Chacula is currently an intern with the Northern Plains UAS Test Site and was previously a console operator for UND and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration operating the International Space Station Agricultural Camera.

In March, Sensurion partnered with Blue-Chip UAS to provide UAS services across the oil and gas, wildlife, and agriculture and aerial photography industries under a U.S. Federal Aviation Administration UAS exemption.

Blue-Chip is prominent in the oil and gas industry right now, utilizing the Magpie to gain seismic collation data for oil and gas exploration.

“We have a client that we’re working with to monitor infrastructure—looking at well heads, oil pumps and pipelines—to look at some of the efficiencies,” said Clint Stevens, executive director and cofounder of Blue-Chip UAS.

The Magpie has a 6-foot wingspan, weighs 5.5 pounds and can carry up to five pounds of payload.

“What’s unique about this aircraft is that it’s the first FAA certified through its special airworthiness certificate, which they accomplished in conjunction with the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems test site,” said Stevens.

UND, Sensurion Aerospace establish UAS Pipeline Program - UAS Magazine

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          North Dakota Dominates North American UAS Industry with Largest Test Site and Key Commercialization Opportunities   
This week, nearly two-dozen North Dakota aerospace and aviation leaders are in Atlanta for the AUVSI Unmanned Systems North America 2015 conference to showcase the state's dominance in America's hottest new industry.

As one of the largest blocks of airspace available in the country for flying unmanned aerial systems (UAS) with the goal of integrating UAS into the national airspace, the delegation will be at the show to discuss how the nation's first operational UAS test site is advancing research and has become increasingly open for businesses in this high profile industry.

In 2014, North Dakota became the first mission-ready test site chosen by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to assist in research integrating unmanned aircraft with manned aircraft into the national airspace. North Dakota alone has invested $22.5 millioninto the test site to advance research and development for the commercialization of UAS, and will be investing an additional $10 million further between now and 2017. In addition, the state's 'Research ND' program will offers $5 million biannually in grants for research and development to organizations and companies involved in UAS research through cooperation with the University of North Dakota (UND) and North Dakota State University (NDSU).

"North Dakota is attracting innovative thinkers in UAS technology, creating jobs and expanding this important industry," said Lt. Gov.Drew Wrigley, who also serves as chairman of the Northern Plains Unmanned Systems Authority. "The momentum our state has gained in the past year alone, in cooperation with the FAA, shows again that we are the premier location for the advancement of UAS."

In February, the Grand Forks Air Force Base officially signed an Extended Use Lease Agreement that will allow for the development of the nation's very first UAS business park, Grand Sky. Governor Jack Dalrymple has already appropriated $2.5 million in state funds to further develop the 1.2 million square-foot UAS aerospace and technology park, with plans ahead for further annual investment. Grand Sky is estimated to eventually house 3,000 collaborating innovators for the advancement of UAS technology, including anchor tenant Northrop Grumman - who just signed a formal lease agreement and will break ground on its new facility at Grand Sky in September.

North Dakota's Governor Dalrymple, along with officials from ComDel Innovation, Inc. and Altavian, also recently announced that the companies have signed a $3.2 million agreement to manufacture UAS and UAS components at ComDel's high-tech manufacturing plant in Wahpeton, the first official UAS manufacturing project in the state.

Alongside these larger business deals taking place in the state, North Dakota's reputation for UAS innovation and proximity to an FAA test site has attracted many UAS tech startups, including Botlink, the creator of an all-in-one control and communications platform that allows UAS operators to control aircraft safely and securely through their own smart phone or tablet by processing all relevant FAA flight data – including avoidance alerts of other aircraft and restricted airspace. Just last week, Botlink announced its new password-protected encryption for secure drone communications that will prevent security breaches between UAS software and hardware, and through this partnership with authorization platform, LaunchKey, Botlink will be the first UAS app in the world with secure logins – solving one of the biggest concerns in the domestic UAS market today.

These new business announcements are just the most recent examples of how North Dakota is leading on UAS research, training and development.

In addition to North Dakota having unencumbered airspace across more than two thirds of the state available for FAA-approved testing, it is also home to a thriving private UAS industry, Grand Forks Air Force Base and partners with four universities prioritizing UAS research, including UND, NDSU, Northland Community & Technical College and Lake Region State College. UND, which has one of the most recognized UAS undergraduate programs in the nation, was the first university to offer a degree program in unmanned aviation in 2009 and is in the midst of a program re-vamp in effort to keep up with the evolving FAA regulations for the sector.

"Building upon North Dakota's long-term operational history and demonstrated performance in unmanned aircraft, and coupled with our collaborative efforts with both industry and the FAA, we are leading the nation's efforts to safely, efficiently and effectively integrate unmanned aircraft to enable commercial UAS operations throughout our National Airspace System," said Robert Becklund, executive director of the Northern Plains UAS Test Site.

For more information on North Dakota's UAS leadership visit NDUAS.com, and for details on the Northern Plains UAS Test Site visit www.npuasts.com.  

North Dakota Dominates North American UAS Industry with Largest Test Site and Key Commercialization Opportunities - PR Newswire

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          Dalrymple, Secretary Foxx Discuss Ongoing Work to Improve Rail and Pipeline Safety   
By ND Governor's Office
Gov. Jack Dalrymple spoke again with U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to update the secretary on the state’s ongoing work to enhance rail safety and pipeline integrity in North Dakota.  Dalrymple also urged Foxx to adopt new federal tank car standards as soon as possible, and to enhance rail and pipeline safety programs administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT).
“Secretary Foxx and I agree that there is no single solution to improving the safety of rail transportation,” Dalrymple said. “We have taken significant steps in North Dakota to improve rail safety, including the adoption of new oil conditioning standards to reduce the vapor pressure of crude oil before shipment.  I also shared with Secretary Foxx the good progress being made on new oil pipelines and on other state initiatives for rail safety and pipeline integrity.”
Pipelines Critical to Safe Crude Oil Transportation
Dalrymple stressed to Foxx the importance of developing greater interstate pipeline capacity for the shipment of crude oil, and he briefed the secretary on three important projects currently underway:
  • Expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2017, Enbridge’s Sandpiper Pipeline will have the capacity to transport 225,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil from western North Dakota to an existing terminal in Superior, Wis. From there, the oil can be transported to refineries in the Midwest and along the East Coast.
  • Energy Transfer Partners is developing the Dakota Access Pipeline, which will be capable of transporting 450,000 bpd of crude oil to a terminal in Illinois that also serves Gulf Coast markets. The Dakota Access Pipeline is expected to be completed in late 2016.
  • TransCanada’s planned Upland Pipeline will have the capacity to ship 220,000 bpd of Bakken crude oil to East Coast refineries.  TransCanada expects to complete the pipeline project in 2018.
With a total capacity to ship 895,000 bpd, these three pipeline projects would significantly reduce daily rail shipments of crude oil from the Bakken Shale Formation. Currently, about 600,000 barrels of Bakken crude oil is shipped daily by rail.  Dalrymple emphasized that pipelines offer the safest mode of crude oil transportation, and said government officials at all levels should make pipeline development a top priority.
Dalrymple Presses for New Tank Car Standards
While speaking with Foxx today, Dalrymple urged the secretary to issue as soon as possible new standards for next-generation tank cars and new regulations for phasing out or retrofitting older tank cars.
New standards for tank cars should prioritize the installation of high-capacity relief valves to enhance the release of vapor pressures when excessive heat is present.  Legacy tank cars that can be retrofitted should also be equipped with the improved relief valves, Dalrymple said.
The USDOT originally planned to issue new tank car standards and regulations for the phase out of older tank cars in March. The new standards and phase-out requirements are now expected to be issued in May.
Proposed State-Run Rail Safety and Pipeline Integrity Programs
Dalrymple and the Public Service Commission have proposed establishing a state-run railroad safety program as well as a pipeline integrity program that would complement federal oversight in North Dakota. 
The proposal calls for about $1.4 million in state funding for three positions to enhance railroad track inspections in North Dakota and another three positions for stepped-up inspections of pipelines that transport crude oil and other liquids to market.
State-Mandated Oil Conditioning
On Dec. 9, the Industrial Commission unanimously approved an order that requires all oil producers in North Dakota to install and utilize oil-conditioning equipment to significantly reduce the volatility of Bakken crude oil.  The oil conditioning order includes strict parameters for temperatures and pressures under which the equipment must operate to ensure that light hydrocarbons are removed before oil is shipped to market. The order brings every barrel of North Dakota crude oil within a set standard, requiring oil be stabilized so that its vapor pressure is no greater than 13.7 pounds per square inch (psi) before shipment.
North Dakota’s vapor pressure standard for oil is more stringent than the national standard developed by the American National Standards Institute and the American
Petroleum Institute, which established that crude oil is stable at a vapor pressure of 14.7 psi. 
The Industrial Commission’s order requires that oil producers install and utilize conditioning equipment by April 1. The Industrial Commission approved the oil-condition order after holding a public hearing and providing for an extended public comment period.
Dalrymple also urged Foxx to provide funding for the second phase of a U.S. Department of Energy study on oil volatility.

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          Dalrymple Presses EPA on Issues Important to North Dakota   
By ND Governor's Office
Gov. Jack Dalrymple met with Gina McCarthy, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Washington, D. C. to discuss the agency’s proposed carbon emissions standards for existing coal-based power plants and other environmental issues important to North Dakota.
Dalrymple shared with McCarthy his concerns about the EPA’s development of new standards for carbon dioxide emissions.  Any new emission standards must be practical and offer flexibility for power generators to comply, he said.
“Coal-fired power plants provide about 80 percent of North Dakota’s residential and commercial energy supply while also providing power to surrounding states,” Dalrymple said.  “These power plants have continued to reduce emissions while providing an efficient and cost-effective energy source. Unattainable standards would only serve to undermine the nation’s energy security and would lead to lost jobs and higher utility costs for consumers.”
In North Dakota, private industry and researchers are developing innovative solutions to further reduce carbon emissions, including work underway at the University of North Dakota’s Energy & Environmental Research Center to capture carbon and utilized it for advanced oil recovery, Dalrymple said.
The EPA’s proposed carbon emission standards would require North Dakota to reduce its CO2 emissions by 11 percent. The EPA is expected to finalize its Clean Power Plan this summer.
Dalrymple also shared with McCarthy his concerns about the potential for EPA overreach under the auspices of the Clean Water Act. The EPA and U .S. Army Corps of Engineers have proposed a broader definition of what constitutes “Waters of the United States” which would expand federal authority to regulate virtually all surface water including small wetlands, ditches and seasonal streams.
Dalrymple said state officials were not consulted as the proposed rule was drafted, and he urged McCarthy to withdraw the proposed rule change. 

“North Dakota already has laws in place to manage and protect all waters of the state,” Dalrymple said. “The proposed rule is not workable for North Dakota’s farmers, ranchers, other landowners and the state’s business community.”
Dalrymple also updated McCarthy on the state’s progress in reducing the flaring of natural gas. Last year, the state adopted new regulations that require oil producers to submit a gas capturing plan in order to receive a drilling permit. Producers are required to follow through with approved gas capture plans or face mandatory reductions in oil production. The regulations include targets to reduce flaring to only 10 percent by 2020, and ultimately to five percent.

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          Dalrymple Celebrates Grand Sky Lease Agreement    
By ND Governor's Office
Gov. Jack Dalrymple was joined by other supporters of the Grand Sky UAS Business and Aviation Park to celebrate the completion of an enhanced use lease agreement that will allow for the business park’s development to move forward.
The lease agreement between the U.S. Air Force and Grand Forks County paves the way for the development of the Grand Sky UAS Business and Aviation Park on the grounds of the Grand Forks Air Force Base.  Other Grand Sky supporters who joined Dalrymple at the military base today included Sen. John Hoeven, Congressman Kevin Cramer, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force Kathleen Ferguson, other U.S. Air Force officers as well as state and local leaders.
 "This lease agreement is another important step in our ongoing work to grow North Dakota’s UAS industry and to become a national hub for UAS education, training, research and commercialization,” Dalrymple said. “With Grand Sky development underway and North Dakota’s designation as one of only six national UAS test sites, we are well positioned to attract UAS-related investment and jobs.”
Under terms of the lease agreement, the U.S. Air Force will provide Grand Forks County with about 220 acres of property on the Grand Forks Air Force Base to attract UAS business tenants and develop the Grand Sky UAS Business and Aviation Park.
Gov. Dalrymple led the state’s efforts to establish a national UAS test site in North Dakota and to establish North Dakota as a national hub for UAS research and development. The state has invested more than $20 million to support the development of the Grand Sky UAS park, to establish a national UAS test site and to advance UAS research and development.
In May 2013, Dalrymple formed the six-member Northern Plains Unmanned Aerial Systems Authority (NPUASA) which was successful in landing one of only six national UAS test site designations approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.  The NPUASA is chaired by Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley. North Dakota’s Northern Plains UAS Test Site became the nation’s first FAA certified as ready to begin the work of integrating unmanned aerial systems into the national airspace. 

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          North Dakota Lands Its First UAS Manufacturing Venture   
by ND Governor
0IMG_4928.JPGGov. Jack Dalrymple today joined executives from ComDel Innovation, Inc. and Altavian in announcing the companies’ agreement to manufacture unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and UAS components at ComDel’s high-tech manufacturing plant in Wahpeton.
“This partnership represents another important step in our ongoing work to grow North Dakota’s UAS industry and to become a national hub for UAS manufacturing, research and development,” Dalrymple said. “The UAS industry holds great promise with boundless opportunities for future applications.  As one of only six national test sites, North Dakota is well positioned to attract UAS-related investment and jobs, to lead the nation’s quest for the safe integration of the technologies and to further diversify our state economy in the process.”
Dalrymple and ComDel Innovation President Jim Albrecht announced ComDel’s UAS partnership with Florida-based Altavian during a news conference today at the state Capitol in Bismarck. They were joined by Thomas Rambo, COO of Altavian. Based in Gainesville, Fla., Altavian provides unmanned aerial systems and associated data collection services with applications in the fields of precision agriculture, infrastructure analysis, natural resource management and conservation for government, commercial and research-based customers.

“We are excited to be working with Altavian and doing our part to help round out North Dakota’s offerings to the UAS industry,” Albrecht said. “We look forward to moving the relationship forward and seeing what is in store for UAS technology in North Dakota.”

Depending on sales, Albrecht estimates an additional 10 to 20 employees may be added to work on this project during the next two years.  Altavian plans to hire a few employees from the local community to help manage the partnership.

ComDel Innovation is a precision manufacturer that integrates all aspects of product development. ComDel’s manufacturing services include precision component fabrication, molding, tooling and stamping dies, injection molding, metal stamping, assembly operations and metal finishing.
“North Dakota is presenting Altavian with the opportunity to grow in a number of ways including an opportunity to refine and scale our manufacturing process, to engage the universities and corporations with research and development and to expand our market presence,” Rambo said.  “The opportunity to partner with Research North Dakota and the Northern Plains FAA UAS Test Site will strengthen the UAS industry in the state. Altavian is fully committed to thrive in North Dakota. The first aircraft coming off the line at ComDel are slated to remain in North Dakota at research institutions and North Dakota based companies.”

Gov. Dalrymple led the state’s efforts to establish a national UAS test site in North Dakota and to establish North Dakota as a national hub for UAS research and development.
n May 2013, Dalrymple formed the six-member Northern Plains Unmanned Aerial Systems Authority (NPUASA) which was successful in landing one of only six national UAS test site designations approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.  The NPUASA is chaired by Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley.
In April 2014, North Dakota’s Northern Plains UAS Test Site was the nation’s first to be FAA certified as ready to begin the work of integrating unmanned aerial systems into the national airspace.  The state has invested more than $20 million to establish a national UAS test site; to support the development of Grand Sky, a UAS and aviation park located at the Grand Forks Air Force Base and to advance UAS research and development.

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          FAA Announces Expanded UAS Airspace in North Dakota    
by ND Commerce
The Northern Plains (UAS) Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site in collaboration with the Federal Aviation npuasts_bat.jpgAdministration (FAA) announces the approval to expand operations throughout the state of North Dakota. This authorization, granted under the FAA’s Certification of Authorization (COA) process, allows the industry more efficient access to airspace for collaborative research. The FAA was able to approve this COA application based on maturity and the demonstrated safety and operational processes used by the Northern Plains UAS Test Site.
“This is a perfect example of how we, working together with the FAA, have made North Dakota a premier location for industry to conduct research related to UAS,” Robert Becklund, Executive Director of the Northern Plains UAS Test Site.
This Northern Plains UAS Test Site COA milestone allows the Northern Plains UAS Test Site to offer industry partners increased airspace access to meet their research objectives. This streamlined process for integration of new users will further enhance the capabilities of the Northern Plains UAS Test Site while advancing the FAA’s ability to collect the operational data needed for NAS integration.
Operationally within the approved airspace volume, the Northern Plains UAS Test Site will individually activate defined operational areas within this COA based on industry needs. These defined operational areas will follow the existing notification processes, which include utilization of the FAA’s Notices to Airmen (NOTAM) system, community outreach and scheduling directly with local airspace users.  All flight operations will be conducted by FAA-rated pilots and under Visual Flight Rules. 
The FAA recognizes the industry’s needs for safe and efficient access to the NAS to conduct the aeronautical research needed to safely integrate UAS for ultimately enabling commercialization of their services. This Northern Plains UAS Test Site COA demonstrates the FAA’s commitment to the UAS industry as well as the capabilities of the Northern Plains UAS Test Site. 
For more information about the Northern Plains UAS Test Site or to inquire about gaining access to our airspace, go to NPUASTS.COM or call us at 701-777-6100.  

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          New Unmanned Aircraft Research Project Proposed by UND to Take Off   
By Grand Forks Herald
A groundbreaking unmanned aircraft research proposal was approved Friday by a UND research oversight committee
The project proposed by staff from the university's unmanned aircraft program seeks to test radio control of unmanned aircraft beyond line of sight. The Federal Aviation Administration is charged with integrating unmanned aircraft systems into commercial air space and researchers said this project supports that mission.

"This is true UAS integration into the (National Air Space). We have not done a project at UND that rivals as far as the importance of it to the FAA," UAS Course Manager Mike Corcoran said. "This is smack dab in the middle of what they're trying to solve."

According to an application submitted to the school's UAS Research and Compliance committee, the project's purpose is to test the "performance and viability of new radio communications" for unmanned aircraft.

The jump from flying these devices within sight of the pilot to out of sight is key to integrating the technology into commercial airspace.

The first flights will be conducted at the Lakota, N.D., airport starting in June. Since flights are expected to go beyond the line of sight of operators, researchers will follow the aircraft from the ground in chase vehicles.

The two-year project is funded with $500,000 from the North Dakota Department of Commerce and a matching $500,000 contribution from avionics company Rockwell Collins.

The university's new UAS training aircraft, a SandShark manufactured by Northrop Grumman, will be flown to test the communication systems and gather flight data. A larger aircraft, a Boeing ScanEagle may be used later on in the project.

All research data collected will be stored by Rockwell Collins, according to the proposal application.

The SandShark is equipped with a forward facing video camera on its nose, but Corcoran said any video taken will not be archived so privacy concerns should be minimal.

The completion date for the research project is set for Nov. 30, 2016.

New Unmanned Aircraft Research Project Proposed by UND to Take Off - Grand Forks Herald

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          Dalrymple Presents Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award to Chief Justice VandeWalle   
VandeWallePortraitGov. Jack Dalrymple today presented the North Dakota Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award to North Dakota Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerald W. VandeWalle. He is the 41st recipient of the award, the state’s highest commendation for its citizens.
The award was presented following VandeWalle’s State of the Judiciary Address to a joint session of the 64th North Dakota Legislative Assembly. Other speakers at the ceremony included South Dakota Supreme Court Chief Justice David Gilbertson; Erica Moeser, president of the National Conference of Bar Examiners; and North Dakota Supreme Court Justice Dale Sandstrom.
“When you think about visionary leaders having a significant impact on our state, Justice VandeWalle stands out among the rest,” Dalrymple said. “Throughout his tenure, he has been instrumental in strengthening North Dakota’s judicial system and enhancing the safety and quality of life for our communities. His commitment to upholding the laws of our state and protecting the fundamental rights of our people has shaped his service over the past three decades and his numerous accomplishments will leave a lasting legacy on our state court system and the state of North Dakota.”
Justice VandeWalle has served on the North Dakota Supreme Court for more than 36 years and was recently re-elected to his fourth 10-year term. He has served as the court’s Chief Justice for the past 21 years, making him the longest-serving Chief Justice in North Dakota history and the longest-serving of all sitting Chief Justices in the nation.
Throughout his career, VandeWalle has made important contributions to the North Dakota Supreme Court and the state court system. He played an integral role in the unification of the court system, establishing a unified, statewide approach to court proceedings and the administration of justice. He was instrumental in redefining North Dakota’s judicial districts and increasing the number of judges to accommodate growth in the state’s economy and population. He also promoted the establishment of a mediation program for family law cases and created a trial court administration system to place administrators within the judicial districts to oversee court procedures.
VandeWalle was born in 1933, and raised in Noonan, North Dakota. He attended the University of North Dakota, and in 1955, received a bachelor of science degree in Commerce from the School of Business. In 1958, he received a juris doctor degree magna cum laude from the University of North Dakota School of Law.
He was admitted to the State Bar of North Dakota in 1958 and accepted an appointment as Special Assistant Attorney General. In 1975, he was appointed First Assistant Attorney General. During his 20 years in the Attorney General’s office, VandeWalle held several portfolios, including elementary, secondary and higher education; the North Dakota Industrial Commission oil and gas division; and the State Retirement System.
In August 1978, VandeWalle was appointed to the North Dakota Supreme Court. That November, he was elected to serve an unexpired term and was re-elected to 10-year terms in 1984, 1994, 2004 and 2014.
In 1993, he was elected Chief Justice of the North Dakota Supreme Court, and has been reelected to that post for five consecutive terms. His more than two decades as Chief Justice makes him the state’s longest-serving and the nation’s longest-serving of all sitting Chief Justices.
Between 1985 and 1987, VandeWalle served as the first chair of the North Dakota Judicial Conference. He also served as co-chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Bar Admissions Committee and past chair of the Federal-State Tribal Relations Committee of the Conference of Chief Justices. He is past chair of the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the ABA, past President of the Conference of Chief Justices, past chair of the National Center for State Courts, and past chair of the National Center for State Court’s Research Advisory Council.
VandeWalle has received several national awards and recognitions, including the Kutak Award from the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar recognizing substantial contributions toward increased understanding between legal education and the active practice of law; the American Inns of Court Professionalism award for the 8th Circuit; the National Center for State Courts Paul C. Reardon Award for outstanding contributions to the justice system; and the Warren Burger Society Award recognizing volunteers who have given extraordinary contributions of service to the National Center for State Courts.
“The idea that I would ever receive the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award from the state and people I love was never even in my wildest dreams or imagination,” VandeWalle said. “I cannot believe it is real. But if it is, I hope the focus is not on me as an individual, but rather appreciation and respect for the rule of law and our judicial system.”
An honorary rank of Colonel in the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Riders was established during the 1961 Dakota Territory Centennial. The award recognizes present and former North Dakotans who have been influenced by the state in achieving national recognition in their fields of endeavor, thereby reflecting credit and honor upon North Dakota and its citizens.

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          Governor Dalrymple Delivers 2015 State of the State   
In delivering the State of the State address today, Gov. Jack Dalrymple said North Dakota’s strong economy and sound fiscal management make possible additional tax relief as well as investments in statewide priorities including infrastructure, education and meeting the challenges of growth.
“Two years ago I stood before you and reported that the state of our state was strong,” Dalrymple said. “Today, I am pleased to tell you that we’ve made great progress since then, and that North Dakota is stronger than ever.”
North Dakota has reduced taxes by $4.3 billion since 2009, and Dalrymple recommended that the legislature make even more tax relief a priority.  The legislature also will have an opportunity to pass a property tax reform bill that provides for more spending discipline, and makes it easier for taxpayers to understand how their tax dollars are used in comparison to other political subdivisions, Dalrymple said.
North Dakota has also made great progress on road and highway improvements, water supply projects and should continue to invest in the state’s infrastructure needs.  At the same time, North Dakota remains committed to advancing critical flood protection projects, Dalrymple said.
In just the past four years, the state has also leveraged nearly $90 million in tax credits and incentive funds to support the development of about 2,500 housing units reserved for low-to-moderate income residents and for essential service employees in western North Dakota.
“Never before in our state’s history have we undertaken such an ambitious, ongoing campaign to improve our roads and highways, expand water supply systems, advance flood control projects and develop affordable housing,” Dalrymple said.  “These projects enhance the quality of our lives and support our growing economy. “
Public Safety            
As the state’s population and commercial activity have grown, Dalrymple and the legislature have worked together so that North Dakota continues to be one of the safest states in the nation.    
Since 2011, the state has steadily expanded the capabilities of the Highway Patrol, the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the state’s judicial system and the Department of Correction’s parole and probation services.
For local law enforcement officers in western North Dakota, the region’s rapid growth has created significant challenges.  Within the last four years, the state has provided about $20 million in impact grants to help equip, train and staff local police departments and sheriff’s offices serving in North Dakota’s oil-producing counties.  The state has provided another $30 million to support the region’s fire and emergency medical services. 
Oversight of the Oil Industry
The remarkable amount of commerce throughout North Dakota requires that the state continue to strengthen its health and environmental protections as well as its oversight of the oil and gas industry, Dalrymple said.
Since 2011, the state has significantly expanded its regulatory staff within the Oil and Gas Division and the Department of Health, and Dalrymple has recommended funding for 22 additional positions within the Oil and Gas Division and 19 more within the Department of Health. Additionally, the state has adopted new oil conditioning standards to improve the safety of crude oil for transport; required major reductions in the flaring of natural gas and has revised more than 60 sections of regulatory code to strengthen environmental protections.  Dalrymple has also recommended new positions within the Public Service Commission to augment federal oversight of rail safety and pipeline integrity.

“We should all be proud of the vital role our state is playing to help America strengthen its energy independence,” Dalrymple said.  “We have become the nation’s second-largest oil producer, and as our energy production has increased so has our responsibility.”
North Dakota has steadily improved its K-12 education system, putting to rest the challenging issues of funding equity and adequacy.  The state has also significantly reduced the local cost of education by increasing the state’s funding commitment.   Dalrymple said the state has an opportunity to build on its success by maintaining strong funding for K-12 schools, by
investing in early childhood education, and by addressing the extraordinary needs of schools challenged by rapid enrollment growth.
North Dakota’s strong revenues also allow for continued investments in higher education, while most other states are reducing their funding.  Working together, the governor and legislature have improved the way North Dakota’s universities and colleges are funded, and have made major investments in capital projects and other improvements.

Moving forward, the state can continue to invest in the university system’s critical infrastructure needs, but should focus on programs that make college more affordable for students, Dalrymple said.

The state’s strong economy and sound fiscal management allow for continued investments in other priorities as well, including workforce development, improvements to the state’s park system and other quality-of-life enhancements.
“Here in North Dakota, we continue to drive an agenda for progress and a quality of life that is second to none,” Dalrymple said. “We know that progress comes with its own challenges and there is much work ahead.  But we have every reason to be optimistic about our state and the increasing number of opportunities it provides.” 
During his address, Dalrymple also spoke about recent declines in oil prices and the potential impact on state revenues.
“It’s important for the people of North Dakota to know that we are committed to a structurally balanced state budget, where ongoing spending never exceeds our available, ongoing revenues,” Dalrymple said.  “There are risks associated with any economy that relies on the value of commodities, and those risks must always be carefully considered.  We guard against these risks in several ways, including directing the vast majority of our oil and gas revenues – about 96 percent – to special reserve funds that are not used for ongoing operations.”

North Dakota’s investments in statewide infrastructure projects and other capital projects require one-time funding that doesn’t have to be repeated should state revenues decline.
In February, a new state revenue forecast will be completed and will help guide the legislature’s work, Dalrymple said.

“If adjustments to our spending plan are needed, I am confident our legislature will make prudent decisions based on the best available projections,” Dalrymple said. “In the end, I expect our legislature will find that we can continue to fund our priorities, maintain healthy reserves and provide even more tax relief.”

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          North Dakota UAS Industry on Edge Waiting for Release of Proposed Rules   
By Grand Forks Herald
The year 2014 came and went without the Federal Aviation Administration releasing its proposed rules for small unmanned aircraft — a draft North Dakota officials have been anxiously awaiting.
"We're sitting here on pins and needles," said Al Palmer, director of UND's unmanned aircraft systems center.

The rules would pertain to the use of small unmanned aerial systems, which are defined as devices less than 55 pounds. What exactly will be included in this draft is anyone's guess but those in the industry have a few ideas.

If included, requirements for UAS pilots are especially of interest for UND, Palmer said, adding rumors are circulating that it could be as simple as a certification course or as complex as getting a pilot's license.

The long-delayed release of the draft was expected to happen before the end of 2014, but officials now hope to see it later this month. Once released, the rules must undergo a public comment period officials expect to last at least a year. After the comments are reviewed and addressed, the finalized rules will be released in 2016 or even 2017.

"It'll be really interesting to see how the industry behaves in the next two years," said David Dvorak, founder of UAS sensor development company Field of View in Grand Forks.

Right now, Dvorak said the FAA just needs to release the proposed rules.

"It's fine if they're not perfect right away, but we just need to get something to give some hard and fast guidelines for people," he added.

Commercial use

Perhaps the most anticipated part of the rules would be the potential inclusion of guidelines for commercial operations.

"We hope that there are guidelines because people are using these things now," Palmer said. "The FAA doesn't have the manpower or staffing to go out and observe everything that's going on."

Commercial use of these aircraft is currently banned by the FAA, unless a company is granted a special exemption by the agency. Companies that have received exemptions so far are mostly involved in the motion picture industry.

In North Dakota, agriculture will likely emerge as the main arena of commercial use for the devices. Other industries such as energy, transportation and health care are also expected to adopt the use of UAS in some capacity in the state.

Dvorak's company focuses on providing sensors for agricultural use, relying on sales to international customers and universities during the commercial use ban.

He says there is a fear among business owners that the rules may be too restrictive.

"There is a possibility that the FAA could release these rules and they're so restrictive that you can't really do commercial operations," Dvorak said.

Rule breakdown

As FAA guidelines stand now, hobbyists are allowed to operate unmanned aircraft under 55 pounds within their line of sight and under an altitude of 400 feet. They are asked to contact an airport if they plan to fly within 5 miles of the facility and to avoid flying near any manned aircraft or at night.

Public agencies such as law enforcement and universities are required to obtain a certificate of authorization from the FAA to legally fly unmanned aircraft. These certificates take about 60 days or less to receive, according the administration's website.

The Grand Forks County Sheriff's Office has authorization to fly in 16 North Dakota counties. So far, the office's devices have been used to survey accident and crime scenes, search for missing persons and find suspects fleeing from officers.

At least two research projects overseen by UND and North Dakota State University also have been greenlighted by UND's UAS Research Compliance Committee. That committee vets research proposals brought to the university.

This summer, unmanned aircraft monitored wildlife at Sully's Hill Wildlife Preserve near Devils Lake and crops at NDSU's research facility near Carrington, N.D.

More research proposals are expected to be up for discussion at the compliance committee's Jan. 16 meeting.

Favorable attitudes

Release of the small UAS rules was delayed in part by privacy concerns voiced to the FAA.

A study conducted in the summer of 2014 hints operators likely won't run into too many privacy concerns in northeast North Dakota.

More than 70 percent of residents surveyed by two UND professors said they did not have concerns about UAS encroaching on their personal privacy. The survey polled 647 residents in 16 northeastern counties about their feelings toward various types of unmanned aircraft use.

When it came to businesses, just over half of respondents said they had no concerns and 64 percent weren't worried about individuals operating the devices.

The preliminary findings of the study were released by Thomasine Heitkamp and Cindy Juntunen — both members of the research compliance committee — at the 2014 UAS Action Summit held in June in Grand Forks. While results were favorable for the industry, officials acknowledge there are still concerns with UAS flight.

"The fear out there is there is a risk that somebody's out there flying these things and since there are no rules per se ... we may be operating these things in an unsafe manner too close to an airport where we could have an accident or an incident," Palmer said.

Federal data show an increase of UAS sightings and near-misses with manned aircraft being reported to the FAA as of June, but none of those incidents occurred in North Dakota.

In advance of the small rule release and a holiday season where people could possibly find a UAS under their Christmas tree, the FAA launched a safety campaign and educational website.

The Know Before You Fly website gives users a primer on types of unmanned aircraft use and the rules associated with each.

North Dakota UAS Industry on Edge Waiting for Release of Proposed Rules - Grand Forks Herald

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          Shale Boom Helps North Dakota Bank Earn Returns Goldman Would Envy   
By Wall Street Journal
Displaying WSJ Harmeyer.jpgIt is more profitable than Goldman Sachs Group Inc., has a better credit rating than J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and hasn’t seen profit growth drop since 2003.

Meet Bank of North Dakota, the U.S.’s lone state-owned bank, which has one branch, no automated teller machines and not a single investment banker.

The reason for its success? As the sole repository of the state of North Dakota’s revenue, the bank has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the boom in Bakken shale-oil production from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. In fact, the bank played a crucial part in kick-starting the oil frenzy in the state in 2008 amid the financial crisis.

When other banks around the U.S. were curtailing lending and increasing reserves, Bank of North Dakota helped smaller banks in the state ride out the crisis by providing them with letters of credit, loan sales and bank stock. Since then, its total assets have more than doubled, to $6.9 billion last year from $2.8 billion in 2007. By contrast, assets of the much bigger Bank of America Corp. have grown much more slowly, to $2.1 trillion from $1.7 trillion in that period.

Much of that growth has been fueled by surging deposits of mineral-rights royalty payments and taxes stemming from North Dakota’s leap from the country’s sixth-largest oil producer to its second largest over the past five years. The bank taps those coffers to extend loans for new businesses, infrastructure such as hospitals and purchases of new homes, all of which have seen increased demand as oil workers flock to the state.

Set up in 1919 under a socialist-oriented government that represented farmers frustrated with out-of-state commodity and railroad owners, the bank treads a fine line between the private and public sectors in what today is a solidly Republican state. It traditionally extends credit, or invests directly, in areas other lenders shun, such as rural housing loans.

The bank’s mission is promoting economic development, not competing with private banks. “We’re a state agency and profit maximization isn’t what drives us,” President Eric Hardmeyer said. At the same time, he said “it’s important to me that we show a respectable bottom line” to taxpayers, noting that the bank historically has returned profits to the state’s coffers.

Its profit, which hit $94 million last year, has grown by double-digit percentages annually since 2010. Return on equity, a measure of profitability, is 18.56%, about 70% higher than those at Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan. To be sure, Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan are much larger institutions with more complex balance sheets.

North Dakotans can open a personal account at the bank’s only branch in downtown Bismarck, the state capital. But the bank offers few of the perks offered by traditional lenders and says retail banking accounts for just 2%-3% of its business. The bank’s focus is providing loans to students and extending credit to companies in North Dakota, often in partnership with smaller community banks.

Bank of North Dakota also acts as a clearinghouse for interbank transactions in the state by settling checks and distributing coins and currency. “We get compared to a little, mini Federal Reserve” on the prairie, said Mr. Hardmeyer, who has led the bank for nearly 14 years.

For years, Bank of North Dakota paid exactly $30 million annually back into the state’s general budgetary fund. But with North Dakota’s coffers flush with oil revenue, the legislature hasn’t requested the payments from the bank since 2010. Its loan book has expanded, but not fast enough to keep up with deposits and retained earnings.

It recently started offering mortgages to individuals in the most underserved corners of the state. But Mr. Hardmeyer dismisses any notion the bank could run into trouble with deadbeat borrowers. “We know our customers,” he said. “You’ve got to understand the conservative nature of this state. Nobody here is really interested in making subprime loans.”

Five years ago, Bank of North Dakota lent about 90% of its deposits, but that ratio shrank to around 60% in 2013.

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services last month reaffirmed its double-A-minus rating of the bank, whose deposits are guaranteed by the state of North Dakota. That is above the rating for both Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan and among U.S. financial institutions, second only to the Federal Home Loan Banks, rated double-A-plus.

Lawmakers in a few other states such as Colorado and Maryland have advanced proposals to emulate Bank of North Dakota and set up state-owned lenders in recent years, so far without success. “Last year was a peak in terms of introducing these bills,” said Mathew Street, deputy general counsel at the American Bankers Association. “However many bills have been introduced, none have passed since 1919,” he said.

North Dakota officials hesitate to tout the bank as a model. “We think it’s worked well for us, but only because we’re very careful about how we use it,” said North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple.

Not all of Bank of North Dakota’s initiatives have succeeded. One misfire in the early 2000s involved financing “Wooly Boys,” a film starring Peter Fonda and Kris Kristofferson. The movie, about a sheep rancher’s family, was a box-office flop. The bank, which had hoped to spark a tourism boom similar to that in South Dakota after the release of the Kevin Costner hit “Dances with Wolves,” wrote off the loss.

Shale Boom Helps North Dakota Bank Earn Returns Goldman Would Envy - The Wall Street Journal

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          Grand Forks Air Base Manages Dual UAS Operations   
By Bill Carey
?Grand Forks U.S. Air Force Base in North Dakota recently managed the simultaneous operation of two unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in unrestricted airspace, the first such feat in the U.S., the Air Force said. Officers at the base said they are now developing procedures that would accommodate simultaneous operation of three or four UAS.

Controllers with the 319th Operations Support Squadron on August 1 managed two U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) MQ-9 Predator Bs operating in close proximity to each other after the Federal Aviation Administration authorized the base to host simultaneous UAS operations within its tower airspace. At the time, a University of North Dakota (UND) student pilot contacted the tower to conduct a practice approach, bringing a manned airplane into the traffic pattern with the unmanned Predators, said Lt. Col. Jonathan Castellanos, OSS commander. The base serves as the radar approach control for nearby Grand Forks International Airport, a public airport and home to UND’s 120-aircraft training fleet.

“The difference between manned and unmanned [aircraft] is that the tower controllers have to provide visual separation for the unmanned. You have to sequence them in,” Tech Sgt. Bianca Jakeman told reporters during a recent briefing at the air base. “We used to be able to have only one UAS in tower airspace at one time. We used not to be able to mix civil aviation and UAS.”

Grand Forks AFB is an Air Mobility Command base that lost its mission of supporting KC-135 tankers in the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure process. It now hosts a detachment of
A Customs and Border Protection MQ-9 awaits permission to launch as another passes by at Grand Forks AFB. (Photo: U.S. Air Force) the 119th Wing of the North Dakota Air National Guard, which operates the MQ-1 Predator, and the 69th Reconnaissance Group, an Air Combat Command tenant unit that operates the RQ-4 Block 20 and 40 Global Hawk. It is also the UAS training base of the CBP, an agency of the Department of Homeland Security that operates the MQ-9 Predator for border surveillance. MQ-9s stationed at the air base transition to mission altitudes through a temporary flight restriction area.

“The biggest lesson we’re learning is in the development of our procedures,” Castellanos said. “We started with a blank canvas and we developed safe procedures for one [unmanned] aircraft, to make sure that we knew exactly what the aircraft was going to do at different points in its flight plan. Then we sat down and put a lot of good brains together to figure out how we can bring two aircraft into that same airspace and deconflict them if the worst-case scenario happens—the worst-case scenario being lost link, meaning they have no control and they’re flying on their scheduled flight plan until they receive that link again from the satellite.”

The base is considering developing procedures that would accommodate three or four simultaneous UAS flights, although “we’re not there at this time,” Castellanos said. 

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          Commerce Names Malo Division of Community Services Director   
By ND Commerce
The North Dakota Department of Commerce has hired Bonnie Malo as the Community Services Division Director.
Malo will oversee programs to provide technical assistance to local governments and state agencies in the areas of community planning and development, policy research and development and grant program implementation. Malo replaces past director Paul Govig, who retired earlier this year.
“Bonnie has served the state of North Dakota for over 25 years and most recently has filled the role of Interim Director for Community Services,” North Dakota Commerce Commissioner Alan Anderson said. “Her leadership and expertise with the many federal programs that are administered through Commerce will be a great asset to our continued success as a team.”

A native of Belcourt, ND, Malo previously served as Community Development Block Grant/Home Program manager in the Community Services Division. Malo earned her degree from Mayville State. Malo has been with the North Dakota Department of Commerce since its inception in 2000.
The North Dakota Department of Commerce works to improve the quality of life for North Dakota citizens by leading efforts to attract, retain and expand wealth. Commerce serves businesses and communities statewide through committed people and partners who offer valuable programs and dynamic services.
For more North Dakota news and information subscribe to the Commerce News RSS Feed or go to www.NDCommerce.com.

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          Riege: Pheasant Hunting Dream in Harvey, N.D.   
By Austin Daily Herald
Have you stepped back in time? Or are you watching some movie that has come out of the 1950′s? The answers to your questions is summed up in two words; North Dakota.

Allow me to back up a bit and tell you how I found out about this paradise. A very good friend of mine, Jason Mitchell from Jason Mitchell Outdoors and resident of North Dakota called one day in the middle of the summer and said. “Bob you have got to get yourself out to Harvey, North Dakota.” The excitement in his voice told me that I should put down my ice tea and listen. “I’m telling you that it is like it use to be when we were kids growing up. You will see at least 300 pheasants in a day and you can’t believe it, but seriously the sky will turn black with birds.”

Now I have hunted pheasants in Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, South Dakota and even Nebraska for over forty years, and I have been on some good shoots, but really 300 pheasants a day? This guy has been out in the sun to long. So to sooth my friend I told him that I would see if I could fit it into my schedule for October. I figured that right after duck opener and just after the beginning of pheasant season would be a good time to get my Irish Setters on some real active birds. So, with a pause in my speech, I told Jason that I would give Nicki Weissman Job Development/ Economic Development Director and CVB Coordinator of Harvey, North Dakota a call.

I took the opportunity of the slow summer fishing season to sit down one evening and call out to Harvey, ND to talk to Nicki Weissman. What I heard on the other end of the line was remarkable. She told me that a number of goose, duck and pheasant hunters had visited Harvey last year and that their success ratio was outstanding. In our conversation, I asked; “Why is this area so good for waterfowl and upland game?” The answer from Nicki was a simple one word; “Habitat.”

Throughout the area around Harvey, North Dakota there are places that hold pheasants in huntible numbers. There are private lands with scattered potholes and sloughs or woody draws that provide good places to hunt. These prairie potholes provide an excellent sportsmen’s paradise with a plethora of ducks and geese.

Public lands, (Lonetree Wildlife Management Area 25,730 acres) whether game production areas or waterfowl production areas, which are managed by the state or federal government, are also excellent spots for hunters to look for a few roosters, sharp tailed grouse, or Hungarian partridge. In fact, a hunter would be hard pressed to hunt this entire WMA in a lifetime.

We met Nicki Weissman and Mike Jensen from North Dakota Department of Commerce at JW’s restaurant for breakfast. JW’s specializes in awesome omelets, and lunch specials that will keep you going all day long. More importantly, this is where many of the locals go and it is a good place for nonresidents to make contact with landowners and community members. This is where traditions are born. Traditions are something that Harvey, North Dakota has to offer especially when it comes to hunting in the fall. Harvey, North Dakota has hunting rooted in the traditional family methods and it is carried on from generation to generation.

We started our hunt in a narrow strip of Milo adjacent to a close-cropped alfalfa field. It didn’t look like it would hold a lot of birds, but in spots it looked a little thicker and maybe we would find some. We hadn’t gone twenty yards when Laddy struck his famous pose and as we approached the words, Rooster, Rooster rang through the air in competition with the report from the shotgun shells. This same sequence of events occurred numerous times throughout the morning and at midday we were tired and the dogs needed a rest.

Before leaving Harvey, we decided to meet back at Hornbacher Lunch around noon. As we approached the cafe we all could smell the fresh baked pies and the roast beef that awaited our abundant appetites. Everyone helped themselves to roast beef; mash potatoes, gravy, cranberries, salad and a host of other home cooked delicacies. Everyone had the opportunity to fill up on food and conversation, while at the dinner table. Again, this is how I remembered the “good old days of hunting.” Oh! I should mention that the meal was a meager $6.00 per person, a true bargain at double the price.

The afternoon was even more impressive than the morning. Tim Nelson, a local hunter who raises and hunts yellow labs, took us to an abandoned farmhouse that was bordered by a windbreak of cedar trees and oaks. Here in the tall switch grass we found an abundant amount of pheasants loafing in the midday sun. It seemed that every step we took five or six roosters would rise in rackus cackles. The promise of seeing two to three hundred birds did come true.

On the way back to our trucks Laddy stopped at the edge of the field and pointed a lone rooster in a small tuft of grass. As the bird clawed it’s way skyward into the deep blue of the autumn sky, I turned to Nicki and Mike and said, “This is a dream come true.” As the rooster gained altitude and sailed out of sight I also heard Mike say, “North Dakota is a true paradise.”

Harvey, North Dakota is legendary for its great hunting. Flocks of hundreds of birds are ever present. The people are some of the friendliest, most accommodating, and they are dedicated to their outdoor sports. The food and accommodations are steeped in good “hometown hospitality,” that gives you the legendary experience.

With all these factors to consider you need to put a dream pheasant hunt in Harvey, ND on your “buck list” for the upcoming year. Start planning today by contacting Nicki Weissman, Economic Development Executive Director/ Job Development Authority Director. 120 West 8th St. Harvey, ND 58341. Phone: 701-324-2490 or Fax: 701-324-2674. Website: www.harveynd.com or email HarveyJDA@harveynd.com. Or contact Mike Jensen mjjensen@nd.gov, www.ndtourism.com.

Previously Posted As, "Riege: Pheasant Hunting Dream in Harvey, N.D. - AustinDailyHerald.com"

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          North Dakota May Expand Wind Energy for Neighbors   
By Associated Press

North Dakota could play a larger role in generating wind energy to send its neighbors under new federal rules intended to curb carbon emissions, though the state is likely to keep relying almost entirely on coal to keep its own lights on.

The state has enormous wind potential. But with a population estimated to be less than 750,000, it remains a fairly small market for energy despite a spike in demand from its economic boom. That means additional wind output may likely be destined for other states.

The new Environmental Protection Agency rules, under which North Dakota needs to cut emissions by only around 11 percent, should lead to increased demand for coal alternatives in nearby states, said Tom Vinson, senior director of federal regulatory affairs at the American Wind Energy Association, a national trade association.

"Assuming that the transmission is sufficient, then North Dakota has potentially a major opportunity for exporting wind to help other states meet their compliance obligations — as well as using wind to meet your own obligation under the EPA rule," he said.

In 2013, 79 percent of North Dakota's electricity generation came from coal, 16 percent came from wind and 5 percent came from hydroelectric sources, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The American Wind Energy Association said North Dakota has a capacity of 1,681 megawatts of wind energy installed, and 633 megawatts under construction will expand its capacity significantly. The group says North Dakota already ranks sixth in the nation in terms of the percentage of electricity generated by wind.

The EPA rules aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent nationwide by 2030 could increase reliance on some of the state's other power sources. But since North Dakota's cut is comparatively small and barriers remain on energy sources like natural gas, coal will likely remain the dominant source.

When the new regulations were announced, North Dakota's U.S. senators stood by coal. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp said the country needs policies that support coal, and Sen. John Hoven said the new rules would hurt the economy and North Dakota because of coal's dominance.

Lignite, the type of coal mined in North Dakota, is considered a low-grade coal and criticized by opponents as the dirtiest burning coal. But it's not subject to the price swings that oil and natural gas are, making it a much more reliable energy source, said Steve Van Dyke, a spokesman for the Lignite Energy Council.

North Dakota has the second-largest lignite reserves in the world after Australia — enough economically recoverable to last 800 years at current usage, he said.

"Coal has really been the old faithful of North Dakota's economy, and that's for the last 40 to 50 years," Van Dyke said.

Here's a look at the likely future of other sources:

—Natural Gas: Basin Electric Power Cooperative based in Bismarck has one fully operational natural gas peaking station and one that is partially functional in North Dakota. But peaking stations run only at times of high demand, meaning they have a very limited impact on the state's power portfolio. The state currently burns off, or flares, more than 300 million cubic feet of natural gas every day, or 30 percent of what is produced in the state. To utilize that gas being wasted, pipelines need to reach remote areas of oil production to the plants where gas can be processed. And of the 70 percent or so of gas that is captured, much of it and the products pulled from it are shipped out of state.

—Water: Hydroelectricity will likely not play a major role in further reducing the state's emissions because it currently uses more of the power than its Garrison Dam produces, said Randy Wilkerson, spokesman for the Western Area Power Administration, a marketing agency within the U.S. Department of Energy.

North Dakota May Expand Wind Energy for Neighbors - newsdaily.com

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          Drones: Next Big Thing in Aviation Is Small   
By ABC News

The next big thing in aviation may be really small.

With some no bigger than a hummingbird, the hottest things at this week's Farnborough International Airshow are tiny compared with the titans of the sky, such as the Airbus 380 or the Boeing Dreamliner.

What's got aviation geeks salivating at Farnborough, this year's biggest aviation jamboree that features participants from 40 countries, are the commercial possibilities of unmanned aerial vehicles — drones to most of us.

Drones are more commonly known for their use in conflict areas. This week Hamas launched for the first time an unmanned drone into Israeli airspace that was shot down.

But drones, which can weigh less than an ounce, have potential commercial applications that are vast. The industry, military and non-military, is growing and could according to some see investments of nearly $90 billion over the next ten years.

Experts say they can be adapted to fly over fields to determine when crops need watering, fly into clouds in hopes of offering more precise predictions on twisters, track endangered rhinos, spot wildfires and search out vast stretches of land for missing children.

And like the dawn of the era of aviation a little over a century ago, innovations are often being conducted by individuals with an idea and endless enthusiasm. They won't find it easy though as the big players in the markets, such as Boeing and Airbus, are also getting involved.

A lot of the research has been taking place in big flat places such as the Plains States, where a broad expanse of land combines with universities near military bases with air space exclusions to make research possible.

Where California had Silicon Valley to drive its high-tech industries, America's central belt from North Dakota to Texas could become a new research and commercial center for the aviation industry — the Silicon Plains.

"This is open country for entrepreneurs," said Stephen McKeever, Oklahoma's secretary of science and technology. "There will be a Steve Jobs."

But things are a bit on hold at the moment for the American makers of unmanned air vehicles, or UAVs, as they await rules from the Federal Aviation Administration. Under current rules, you can legally fly drones for "recreational purposes," as long as you comply with certain basic guidelines — such as keeping well clear of airports.

Commercial operations are only allowed with special authorization, a cumbersome process that the government intends to streamline. Once they are able to do this, McKeever suggests the situation will be akin to the land rush that sent land-hungry settlers scurrying to his state in 1889.

The FAA is developing regulations to permit the widespread commercial use of drones while protecting privacy and preventing interference with larger aircraft. As part of this process, the FAA in December selected six test sites around the country where research on drones will be conducted in a variety of environments.

North Dakota is one of them, and Brian Opp, manager of aerospace business development for the North Dakota Department of Commerce, is at Farnborough, promoting the virtues of the weather. In other words, if your drone can work in the midst of a freezing North Dakota winter or its scorching summer, it will work anywhere.

"That's good news for us," Opp said cheerfully.

Drones: Next Big Thing in Aviation Is Small - abcnews.com

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          NDSU Evaluating Unmanned Aircraft System Technology   
By Farm and Ranch Guide

North Dakota State University researchers are taking to the air to monitor crop and livestock research projects on the ground.

Several researchers on campus are working with colleagues at NDSU’s Carrington Research Extension Center to evaluate whether unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) can be effective management tools in crop and livestock production.

“There is currently much interest in using UAS in agriculture,” says John Nowatzki, the NDSU Extension Service’s agricultural machine systems specialist and the lead investigator on this project. “However, there is little research to show that UAS can be used effectively or economically for crop or livestock management.”

Researchers are using UAS-mounted thermal, infrared sensors and cameras that capture image data at specific frequencies to collect data from fields and livestock at specified times.

The researchers plan to identify plant emergence and populations in corn, soybeans and sunflowers, and nitrogen deficiencies in corn and wheat. They’re also hoping the UAS can help them make early plant health assessments, and spot disease and insect damage symptoms, weed infestations and indications of moisture stress on irrigated crops.

In addition, they plan to use the UAS to determine the impacts of tillage and crop rotations on crop emergence, vigor and yield, and the impacts of soil salinity on crop yields, as well as monitor the dry-down times of individual corn hybrids to determine when to harvest the crops.

“The objective is to find out which observations taken from the plane can translate into immediate management actions, or possibly some observations may lead to corrective action for the following season,” says NDSU professor and Extension agronomist Hans Kandel, who is one of the project’s co-investigators.

Crop production researchers have identified at least 40 research trials at the Carrington center they want included in the UAS project, according to Blaine Schatz, the center’s director.

“On the livestock side of our research efforts, we will mostly be observing the beef cattle within multiple projects, and the observations will focus on capturing images that may help to determine animal health contrasts and animal behavior patterns,” Schatz says.

For example, researchers plan to monitor the breeding activity of the center’s beef cattle, count the cattle in pastures to make sure they are where they are supposed to be, detect animals that are ill so they can be isolated from the rest of the herd and treated as quickly as possible, and identify animals that are aggressive toward other livestock or humans so they can be removed from herds.

The researchers also intend to monitor animal temperatures and determine the feedlot surface temperatures of various bedding materials to mitigate stress from extreme weather conditions.

“The individual NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center researchers will collaborate with project principal investigators to select appropriate sensors and monitoring schedules for their projects,” Nowatzki says. “These researchers also will collaborate with ABEN (NDSU Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Department) personnel to correlate the UAS-sensed data with the data collected on the ground for each project.”

The first UAS flights were on May 5. The Federal Aviation Administration gave North Dakota approval in April for the UAS test flights.

A Research ND grant from the North Dakota Department of Commerce and a North Dakota Soybean Council research grant funded the project, Nowatzki says. The Research ND grant includes matching funds from two private-sector partners: the North Dakota Corn Council and LW Survey of Duluth, Minn.

The University of North Dakota’s Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research, Education and Training is collaborating on this research by flying the UAS at the Carrington center. UND also will collect flight information from each flight of both UAS used in the project. The flight information will be shared with the FAA for its use in developing future UAS regulations.

In addition to finding out whether UAS are effective in monitoring crop and livestock production, the researchers plan to develop methods to convert the image data to information that’s useful to producers and crop consultants, and help producers identify how they can make use of UAS on their operations.

“The major benefit of UAS is that it offers a very affordable technology that the farmers or consultants can easily adopt,” says Sreekala Bajwa, NDSU ABEN chair and a UAS project co-investigator whose expertise is in remote sensing for precision agriculture. “It offers the flexibility that you can fly it anytime and at any area of interest with the proper safety regulations in place.”

She thinks another huge advantage is that UAS potentially could cover a whole farm in a day or a few days and provide the producer with a visual of his or her entire field.

“Monitoring the entire farm is a very time- and labor-intensive job,” she notes. “It is virtually impossible to look at all the field, even when a consultant is walking the fields. A UAS will allow the farmer or consultant to identify potential areas of concern and focus on those areas which may otherwise go undetected.”

Bajwa believes this one-year project is just the beginning.

“With our current research project, we are only touching the surface of possibilities,” she says. “Many researchers at NDSU are working in areas that can benefit from data collected from a UAS platform. I hope to see many more researchers taking active roles to capture this opportunity to address a research potential in their area of interest and, thus, positively impacting our state, region and nation in a significant way.”

NDSU Evaluating Unmanned Aircraft System Technology - farmandranchguide.com

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          Startups Will Star as North Dakota Drone Summit Explores Commercialization   
By Roll Call

For drone enthusiasts, Grand Forks, N.D., will be the place to be this week, as the state hosts its eighth annual summit featuring Federal Aviation Administration officials as well as speakers from Northrop Grumman and an array of smaller companies in the fledgling unmanned aerial systems (UAS) industry.

Danny Ellis, a spokesman for an Ann Arbor, Mich., start-up called SkySpecs, who’ll be speaking at the summit, said his firm is developing small aerial systems “with a focus on advanced intelligence for applications requiring immediate obstacle avoidance. Our first market and customer is in wind turbine blade inspection.”


The firm, with nine full-time employees, all graduates of the University of Michigan, recently won a $150,000 National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research grant to do work on solving the sense and avoid problem for small unmanned aerial systems, Ellis said. The company’s first commercial devices will be available by the end of this year.

Another summit speaker, Zach Lamppa, the president of North Dakota-based firm Energy Intelligence, will be discussing how unmanned aerial systems can be used for inspecting oil and gas pipelines.

Al Palmer, the director of the University of North Dakota’s Center for UAS Research, Education and Training, who’ll also be speaking at the three-day summit, said he expected “a lot of focus on commercialization. I think for the industry to grow, we need to commercialize; very similar to what the airplane did after World War I — a great weapons system, but aviation didn’t come into its own until it was commercialized.”

Last year the FAA chose North Dakota as one of six UAS sites around the country to do research on how to integrate drones into the nation’s airspace.

“The test site is leveraging North Dakota State University research and University of North Dakota’s experience in aerospace, and our expectation is that we will continue doing research after the February 2017 mandate for the test site to shut down,” Palmer said.

Since 2003 the University of North Dakota has carried out nearly $60 million in research on UAS, with funding from federal, state and private sources, he said.

The university launched the nation’s first four-year degree program in unmanned aircraft systems in 2009 with five students. Now there are more than 130 enrolled.

Last week the FAA announced that the fourth of the six UAS test sites, at the Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi, became operational. Its missions will include monitoring wetlands along the Padre Island National Seashore and research on tracking tropical storms.


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          Federal Aviation Administration Considers Approving Drones for Filming Movies   
By Oregon Live

The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday it is considering giving permission to seven movie and television filming companies to use unmanned aircraft for aerial photography, a potentially significant step that could lead to greater relaxation of the agency's ban on commercial use of drones.

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          Dalrymple Kicks Off First Meeting of Pipeline Technology Working Group   
By ND Governor
Gov. Jack Dalrymple today kicked off the first meeting of the Pipeline Technology Working Group by welcoming its members and directing them to focus their work on identifying the latest available technologies for enhanced monitoring and control of oil and gas pipelines.
“Advancements in technology offer more opportunities to enhance the safe management of pipeline operations than ever before,” Dalrymple said. “We expect pipeline operators in North Dakota to use best practices and that may mean going above and beyond existing requirements to monitor and control pipeline flows.”
Dalrymple formed the 15-member advisory panel in December.  The technical working group includes private-sector engineers as well as representatives from the North Dakota Public Service Commission, the North Dakota State University Center for Surface Protection, the North Dakota Pipeline Authority, the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and representatives from pipeline companies operating in the state.
Members of the working group today discussed current pipeline operation standards, including the monitoring of pipeline pressures and flows. The group also discussed current standards for the operation of pipelines in populated areas and environmentally sensitive areas.  The group’s final recommendations will be made available to landowners, legislators, regulators, local officials and the general public. 
To enhance pipeline and rail safety, Dalrymple continues to work with the state’s congressional delegation, state officials, industry leaders and with federal agencies including PHMSA, which regulates the operation of oil pipelines and rail transportation. The federal agency also partners with states, including North Dakota’s Public Service Commission, to regulate natural gas pipelines.
In meetings with PHMSA officials, Dalrymple has urged them to review their oversight protocols and determine whether federal pipeline regulations offer ample protection. 
“Pipelines are essential to the safe and efficient shipment of North Dakota’s oil and gas resources, but their operation requires a total commitment to safety,” Dalrymple said.
Members of the working group on pipeline technology are:
  • Niles Hushka - Chief Executive Officer, KLJ engineering
  • Mike Seminary - Business Development Manager, Houston Engineering 
  • Allan Beshore - Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
  • Lynn Helms - Director, North Dakota Dept. of Mineral Resources
  • Sandi Tabor - former North Dakota Transmission Authority Director, Director of Government Relations, KLJ engineering
  • Gordon Bierwagen - North Dakota State University Center for Surface Protection, Department of  Coatings and Polymeric Materials
  • Wayne Armenta - Workforce, Safety and Field Operations, ONEOK Partners
  • Kari  Cutting - Vice President, North Dakota Petroleum Council
  • Arti Bhatia - Director of Pipeline and Corridor Risk Management, Alliance Pipeline
  • Patrick Fahn - Director of Compliance and Competitive Markets, North Dakota Public Service Commission
  • Scott Fradenburgh - Vice President of Operations, WBI Energy
  • Brent Horton - Director of Engineering for North Dakota, Enbridge Pipeline 
  • Mike McGrath - Pipeline Safety, Performance and Compliance, Alliance Pipeline 
  • Tad True - Vice President, Bridger and Belle Fourche Pipeline
  • Justin Kringstad - Director, North Dakota Pipeline Authority
Pipelines from the Williston Basin have the capacity to ship 583,000 barrels of oil per day. Three major pipeline projects, scheduled to be completed by late 2014, are expected to increase shipping capacity by 200,000 barrels of oil per day. Other pipeline projects, including the proposed Enbridge Sandpiper pipeline which would transfer as much as 225,000 barrel of oil per day to eastern U.S. markets, are in various stages of development. 
“Shipping Bakken crude by rail requires the same uncompromised commitment to safety and we will continue working with our congressional delegation, the federal government and the railroad industry for improved rail safety as well,” Dalrymple said.
PHMSA should finalize as soon as possible new standards for rail tank cars to incorporate improved safety features, Dalrymple said.  The governor is also urging the railway industry to provide more information about its emergency communication systems and operational protocols involving trains passing through populated areas while carrying hazardous materials.

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           FAA Choses North Dakota to Test Unmanned Aircraft Systems   
By ND Governor
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that North Dakota was designated as one of the six test sites for unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

North Dakota was among numerous states competing to host one of the test sites that will assist in research integrating unmanned aircraft with manned aircraft in the national airspace.  The state’s leadership in UAS operations, research and development, education and training made North Dakota a natural choice for the FAA.
Gov. Jack Dalrymple and Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley have led the state’s efforts to establish a national UAS test site in North Dakota. The state has invested more than $14 million to advance UAS research and development.
In May, Dalrymple established the Northern Plains Unmanned Systems Authority and appointed Lt. Gov. Wrigley to lead the state’s efforts to land a test site and to pursue other UAS opportunities. Following Dalrymple’s recommendation, the 63rd Legislative Assembly also supported the state’s pursuit of a national UAS test site by appropriating $5 million, with $4 million in operations funding contingent on North Dakota being selected one of six test sites.
“The FAA’s decision to locate one of only six national UAS test sites in North Dakota is good news for our state and for the entire nation,” Dalrymple said. “We have worked very hard to make sure North Dakota is well positioned for this designation and to make sure that the FAA recognizes the many strengths that we offer in helping to safely integrate unmanned aircraft into the national airspace. With this test site designation, we have a great opportunity to become a national hub for UAS research and development, to expand our national leadership in aerospace sciences and to further diversify our state economy.”

Not only does North Dakota have unencumbered airspace, but the Grand Forks region, where the test site will be established, is also home to a thriving private UAS industry, Grand Forks Air Force Base and the University of North Dakota, which has one of the most established UAS undergraduate programs in the nation. In addition, the state has been extremely proactive in addressing privacy concerns by establishing the nation’s first-ever UAS Research Compliance Committee tasked to oversee, review and approve the use of UAS for research at UND.

The Authority includes representatives from the state's general aviation industry, University of North Dakota Aerospace, North Dakota Aeronautics Commission, North Dakota Department of Commerce (NDDOC) and the Office of the Adjutant General.
Robert Becklund, executive director of the Authority, is currently overseeing the efforts of the Northern Plains Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site and will direct the activities associated with the Test Site.
“We are thrilled that the FAA has chosen our state as one of the test sites,” said Becklund. “And while we have worked diligently to ensure that North Dakota’s UAS capabilities were well known by key decision makers, our work has only just begun.”
Now that North Dakota has been chosen, Becklund’s next task is to ensure that the state meets the needs and expectations of the FAA while ensuring that the state’s efforts do not interfere with existing commercial and general aviation operations in the United States.
Members of the Authority have already moved forward with preparations that include identifying research projects centered on key UAS focal areas for the FAA such as UAS System Safety, UAS Aircraft Certification, Command and Control (C2) Link Issues, Control Station Layout and Certification, and Ground & Airborne Sense and Avoid.  Additionally, the Authority is in the process of identifying necessary infrastructure for the site as well as communicating the business benefits of working in North Dakota including tax incentives and research support, to companies all across the nation.
“Throughout this entire process our message has been consistent - that picking North Dakota, would benefit the national effort to safely integrate UAS into our airspace,” said Becklund. “The fact that we were chosen as a test site underscores the confidence the FAA has in us and we won’t let them down.”
While UAS have recently been in the news related to this month’s announcement from Amazon that the company would eventually like to distribute packages by UAS technologies, Becklund mentioned that other industries outside of logistics will benefit from the testing and eventual integration.

“In addition to agricultural surveying, exploring areas affected by natural disasters and helping with search and rescue efforts, the safe integration of unmanned systems into the national airspace will lead to a wide variety of other commercial applications,” Becklund said. “Unmanned aircraft have the potential to be less expensive and more efficient than manned aircraft in many instances.”

Becklund added that the Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Department and the Grand Forks Police Department already operate a handful of UAS tactics in partnership with the university. So far the departments have used the UAS in research projects surrounding search and rescue and assessing traffic congestion patterns.

Officials in North Dakota expect to work in close collaboration with the other FAA test sites located in Alaska, Nevada, New York, Virginia, and Texas as well as all other states, universities, industries and government agencies associated with UAS to ensure that the integration of unmanned aircraft into the national airspace systems is done safely. 

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          Inside One Of The FAA's New Drone Test Sites   
By Kelsey Atherton, Popular Science
Earlier this week, flying barely under the wire of its 2013 deadline, the Federal Aviation Administration announced the six states it had selected as test sites for domestic drone use. The goal is to figure out how unmanned aerial vehicles can safely work in U.S. skies alongside commercial planes, news and police helicopters, cropdusters, and the whole range of peopled flying machines. Twenty-four states applied, eager to lead the country in developing commercial uses for drones and grab a slice of what the Association for Unmanned Vehicles Systems International predicts will be an $82 billion industry by 2025.

The winning candidates were Alaska, Virginia, New York, Texas, Nevada, and North Dakota. Prior to test site selection, the FAA authorized over 300 much smaller test sites for drones, most of which were universities and small police departments. The FAA program is set to conclude in February 2017.

In November, I went to one of these test sites in Grand Forks, North Dakota, to see what exactly the future of domestic flying robots might look like. Full disclosure: The North Dakota Department of Commerce paid for my trip.

When I, along with four other journalists, traveled to the Roughrider State, I found a community united in avoiding the word "drone." The officials I spoke with refer to their flying machines as "unmanned aircraft." That's what the FAA is calling them, while at nearby Grand Forks Air Force Base the term is "remotely piloted vehicle."

"Unmanned is unequivocally the future of aviation," 69th Reconnaissance Group Commander Colonel Lawrence Spinetta said, speaking at Grand Forks Air Force Base. It's not just the military that has adopted this attitude. In 2010, the University of North Dakota, which has a long history in training airplane and helicopter pilots, created the nation's first civilian degree program in piloting drones. The FAA granted the University of North Dakota a special certificate that allows the school to fly unmanned vehicles.

The FAA authorized the Grand Forks County Sheriff's Department to use drones for law enforcement missions in March 2013. Canadian dronemaker Draganflyer and California drone company AeroVironment have both partnered with the sheriff's department to test their small drones. In May, the department used a drone during a police mission for the first time.

In Seattle, a plan for police to use drones was scuttled by the mayor before it had even taken off, following outcry and protest by privacy advocates. I asked North Dakota Lieutenant Governor Drew Wrigley why that didn't happen in Grand Forks. "We don't have that many Black Helicopters types," he said, before quickly clarifying, "There's a lot of trust in institutions here." He mentioned the state's status as the best-run in the nation, according to financial news company 27/7 Wall Street. Of course, not everyone in North Dakota would agree with Wrigley. Driving back from a tour of Grand Forks Air Force Base, we passed a home with "Libertarian: Less Government, More Freedom" painted on the side.

In an effort to gain community support for drone use, the University of North Dakota created the Unmanned Aerial Systems Research Compliance Committee, an academic ethics assembly that reviews and approves proposals for drone use. The committee's meetings are open to the public. I spoke with committee members Barry Milavetz and Thomasine Heitkamp about the project. Milavetz has a background in medicine; Heitkamp in social work. While neither comes from law enforcement or aviation, they both have extensive experience in the ethics of academic research.

The keys to a successful drone program are community standards, feedback, and public notification, Heitkamp and Milavetz told me. These standards, adopted voluntarily by the University of North Dakota and accepted by the sheriff's department, may have influenced the FAA's drone roadmap, which issued privacy guidelines that seem to be based on the committee's work.

One example of the committee's influence is the sign pictured at the top of this page, which informs people driving by that a police drone is in use. Another example comes from a major concert, which prompted a tremendous influx of traffic into Grand Forks. The city, with a population of 53,000, expected thousands more visitors, and the sheriff's department wanted to use drones to better manage the traffic. The public safety benefit was there--it's easier to spot and resolve traffic problems from above. But flying cameras can make people uneasy. Heitkamp and Milavetz both discussed the challenge of data retention: what happens to the video recorded by the drone? Is it stored indefinitely, and if so, by whom, and who can gain access to it? In the case of the concert, the committee tried to balance the safety benefits and privacy concerns by allowing the drones to stream live video, but not record it for future use. And they were only allowed to film cars, which matter for traffic snarls, and not people, which largely don't.

If all this sounds pretty mundane for a future of flying robots, that's because it is. The essential part of making drones work in Grand Forks, at least according to the officials I spoke with, seemed to be trustthe sheriff's department voluntarily adopted the university's standards; the university took their role as researchers and community stewards seriously; and the research compliance committee sought public input on all decisions about drone use.

Now that the FAA has selected North Dakota as a test site, the state will begin rolling out programs that have already been implemented on a small scale in Grand Forks. By participating in the FAA's research project, North Dakota, Alaska, Virginia, Nevada, Texas, and New York all stand to benefit from an economic windfall, with new industry and jobs springing up around domestic drones. For now, though, the future of unmanned aircraft is still in beta.

View "Inside One Of The FAA's New Drone Test Sites" at popsci.com

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          How to Lower a Mortgage Interest Rate Without Refinancing   

Your neighbor's mortgage interest rate is a full point lower than yours. Your co-worker's is two points lower. You want one of these lower rates, but you don't want to go through the hassles or pay the costs associated with refinancing your existing mortgage loan: The Federal Reserve Board says that the typical refinance costs from 3 percent to 6 percent of your outstanding mortgage loan balance. The good news is that you might be able to persuade your lender to lower your rate. The bad news? You'll usually have to be suffering through a financial hardship to do so.

          How to Remove a Co-Borrower on an FHA Streamline Refinance   

The Federal Housing Administration insures loans made to borrowers with low to moderate income, limited assets and credit challenges. It repays lenders if borrowers default, making it possible for lenders to make loans to otherwise risky borrowers. The FHA's streamline refinance program allows for the removal of one co-borrower when certain requirements are met by the other.

          Medical Technician Might Have Exposed Hundreds To Hepatitis C   
After five years of crisscrossing the country as a traveling medical technician, David Kwiatkowski landed at New Hampshire's Exeter Hospital in the spring of 2011. A full-time job in the hospital's cardiac unit soon followed. It was at Exeter that federal prosecutors say the 33-year-old began to divert syringes of the drug Fentanyl. They say Kwiatkowski, who was arrested July 19, would inject himself with the painkiller, and then refill syringes with a saline solution. He is hepatitis C-positive, meaning those tainted needles might have spread the liver-damaging virus. "It has resulted in where we are today, with at least 30 patients sharing that same strain of hepatitis C," said U.S. Attorney John Kacavas, who is leading the investigation into the outbreak. Kacavas alleges that during the five years prior to arriving at Exeter, Kwiatkowski may have exposed patients in at least seven other states where he worked in hospitals, including Maryland, Michigan and Arizona. "So this has
          It's not the Second Amendment's Fault that Inept and Lazy Law Enforcement failed to do their jobs   
Image result for Dr. Henry Bello, a family medicine physician

Dr. Henry Bello, was a family medicine physician, a Nigerian born muslim who had been allowed to stay in the United States on a expired work visa while having been arrested for sex abuse charges.  In February of 2015, Dr. Henry Bello, a muslim, resigned in lieu of being dismissed for sending threatening emails to a fellow physician at Bronx Lebanon Hospital.

 Image result for it's not the guns fault

He reportedly departed threatening to return and exact murderous revenge.
A background check would have shown that Dr Bellos was a foreign born muslim who had a criminal record that included an arrest for attempted burglary at 5:10 a.m. on April 23, 2003, when he kicked in the door to an ex-girlfriend’s apartment on Buchanan Place in the Bronx.

He was also that rare doctor with an arrest for fare evasion in the New York City subway, this at 5 p.m. on Aug. 12, 2003.

Image result for it's not the guns fault

He was also arrested for sexual abuse, forcible touching, and unlawful imprisonment at 5:15 a.m. on Aug. 29, 2004, on Bond Street in Manhattan. He is said to have grabbed the victim’s crotch with one hand while he lifted her in the air with his other. He began dragging her away.
“You’re coming with me,” he told the victim according to her subsequent account to the police. The police were well aware of Dr. Bello's murderous threats against his co workers, most especially female co-workers. Yet, the police did nothing.  The immigration department did nothing.
 Image result for it's not the guns fault
Now, the New York Police Commissioner, the Mayor, and ever liberal crack pot wants to blame guns.  Which, is absolutely ludicrous, the fault not with the gun, but with the inept, lazy, law enforcement officers who knew that there was a ticking time bomb in the form of an unstable, muslim sex offender and potential kidnapper. Yet, the authorities did nothing.  The New York Police and the lax immigration officials who sat by and did not do their sworn duties to protect Americans should go to jail! 
Image result for yet another  muslim attack
There should be a Federal investigation and if found negligent people should lose their jobs at the very least. I truly hope there is some financially hungry lawyer who sees the failure of the hospital, the police, immigration to protect both staff and patients from this Nigerian born muslim bent on murder-suicide.  

These are the facts you will not hear from the mainstream media.  

          Sr. Network Engineer - UNISYS Federal Systems - Reston, VA   
Establishes and maintains productive working relationships with Unisys third-party vendors and other Unisys business units....
From Indeed - Mon, 13 Mar 2017 23:59:19 GMT - View all Reston, VA jobs
          Data Entry Clerks - P/T 1099s - Kawaiola Personal Concierge Services - Littleton, CO   
Contractors pays their own state and federal taxes. Required license or certification:. Must be able to work as a 1099 independent contractor, submit W9 and... $14 - $16 an hour
From Indeed - Tue, 20 Jun 2017 21:30:00 GMT - View all Littleton, CO jobs
          Sr. Network Engineer - UNISYS Federal Systems - Reston, VA   
Establishes and maintains productive working relationships with Unisys third-party vendors and other Unisys business units....
From Indeed - Mon, 13 Mar 2017 23:59:19 GMT - View all Reston, VA jobs
          WE ARE ALL THIRD WAY NOW:   
The Case For a Universal  Basic Income (Sebastian Johnson, 7/01/17, The Los Angeles Times)

There are competing ideas about how exactly the policy should work. Advocates on the left call for a UBI that would increase benefits to the poor and be financed by increasing taxes on corporations and the wealthy. Conservative advocates favor an approach wherein programs in the current safety net, such as Social Security and food stamps, are replaced with a UBI. Others favor an incrementalist policy in which current safety net programs are expanded to include all Americans, while another faction wants to build a UBI program from scratch. Despite their differences, all approaches to UBI policy share the core goal of establishing an income floor for every American.

An income floor would help American workers in a number of critical ways. Relieved of the immediate pressure to pay bills, workers could pursue training for the kinds of jobs that automation will bring. A universal basic income would allow skilled workers to take entrepreneurial risks they cannot afford now. It would also allow Americans to work fewer hours but maintain their living standards, leaving more time for caregiving and raising children. Overall, UBI would provide a significant boost to the American middle class, which has stagnated even as productivity and overall wealth continue to rise. By putting more money into the pockets of workers, a UBI could fuel aggregate demand and job growth in different sectors across the country.

Momentum is building. Child poverty experts in growing numbers have called on states and the federal government to consider a child allowance -- UBI for kids -- that would help level the playing field for low- and middle-income families. The California Senate is considering ambitious cap-and-trade legislation that would send "climate dividend rebates" to every citizen. Even some oil companies are in favor of schemes to tax carbon and send checks to every American.

          Abnormally high number of humpbacks dying off Atlantic coast: report   
Abnormally high number of humpbacks dying off Atlantic coast: report

The U.S. National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration Marine Fisheries’ latest report has revealed that humpback whales have been dying in abnormally large numbers along the Atlantic Coast.

The federal agency declared it an unusual mortality event that is called when higher-than-typical number of marine creatures expires for unfamiliar reasons. More details are due on Thursday this week.

Meanwhile a 43-foot-long Sei whale washed up near the North Surf Road beach. It was first spotted in the morning hours on Wednesday. The dead whale’s body was in such a bad state that officials couldn’t identify it right away.

Officials couldn’t determine the cause of the whale’s death. However, some believe that it might have been bit by a fast-moving ship.

A separate juvenile humpback was found dead in the shallow water of the Delaware Bay. It was apparently the fourth stranded whale in Delaware waters so far this year. Four another whales have stranded off the coast of Virginia and last fall there was a stranding off Long Island.

          Waymo couldn’t be more wrong: Uber argues   
Waymo couldn’t be more wrong: Uber argues

Ride-hailing giant Uber Technologies Inc. continues to insist that the laser sensor technology that is being used in its self-driving cars has nothing to do with Waymo’s allegedly stolen laser sensor technology.

As per new filings in connection with the federal lawsuit alleging the theft of trade secrets, Uber attorneys claimed that Google’s self-driving unit Waymo is using a single-lens Lidar, while Uber is using a four-lens technology.

In the new filings, Uber attorneys wrote, “This fact alone demonstrates the misguided nature of Waymo’s request for ‘extraordinary and drastic relief,’ Waymo could not be more wrong, and Uber’s design could not be more different.”

The dispute started in February when Waymo filed the suit alleging that its former employee Anthony Levandowski stole 14,000 technical files from the company’s servers and launched his autonomous truck business called Otto, which was later acquired by Uber.

Uber called Waymo’s legal action a “baseless attempt” to hold back a competitor.

However, earlier this week, the judge presiding over the case indicated that Waymo’s request for a preliminary injunction might be granted. In that situation, Uber will have to stop testing its autonomous cars.


          R-Star and the Yellen rules   

R-Star and the Yellen rules

Henrike Michaelis, Volker Wieland 03 February 2017

With the new Republican majority in both Houses of the US Congress, the Fed Oversight Reform and Modernization (FORM) Act that was passed by the House of Representatives in November 2015 is receiving renewed attention. Section 2 requires that the Fed:

  1. “describe the strategy or rule of the Federal Open Market Committee for the systematic quantitative adjustment” of its policy instruments; and
  2. compare its strategy or rule with a reference rule.1

Janet Yellen, Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, is to be complimented for using such comparisons with reference rules in her communication about Fed policy. Just recently, in a speech at Stanford on 19 January, she discussed how current Fed policy compares to several simple policy rules.2

For example, Yellen uses the well-known Taylor rule as a reference point. Additionally, she considers two other rules, which she calls the ‘balanced-approach rule’ and the ‘change rule’. Looking forward, she contrasts the implications of the rules with the FOMC members’ projections for the federal funds rate. She states that such benchmark rules “can be helpful in providing broad guidance about how the federal funds rate should be adjusted over time in response to movements in real activity and inflation.” Yet, as Yellen notes, “the Taylor rule prescribes a much higher path for the federal funds rate than the median of (FOMC) participants’ assessments of appropriate policy”.

Yellen goes on to make the important argument that “if the neutral rate were to remain quite low over the medium term, .., then the appropriate setting for R-Star in the Taylor rule would arguably be zero, yielding a yet lower path for the federal funds rate.” To support her argument, she refers to estimates of this R-Star by Holston et al. (2017).

However, as we show below, if one uses an estimate of potential real activity that is consistent with this R-Star estimate, the argument is turned on its head. Since the consistent estimate of potential real activity is lower than the one considered by Yellen, it implies federal funds rate prescriptions that have been above Fed policy for quite some time. Thus, a consistent use of these estimates indicates that Fed policy has been rather loose relative to such a reference rule.

This is shown in Figure 1. The blue line is the actual federal funds rate. The orange line indicates the prescriptions from the (standard) Taylor rule. The dark green line (labelled the “Yellen Taylor Rule”) uses the lower neutral rate/R-Star estimate suggested by Yellen (2016). Its prescriptions for the funds rate are quite a bit lower. However, once the consistent estimate of potential real activity is used along with the R-Star estimate, the interest rate prescriptions move back up as shown by the light-green line in Figure 1 (labelled the “consistent Yellen Taylor rule”).

Figure 1 Federal funds rate and Taylor rules

R-Star and other ingredients in the reference rules

Let’s take a closer look why this is so. The Taylor rule prescribes a value for the federal funds rate that deviates from its long-run equilibrium whenever inflation deviates from a target of 2% and output deviates from potential (Taylor 1993). Here’s the formula:

Fed Funds Rate = R-Star + Target + 1.5 (Inflation – Target) + 0.5 (Output Gap)

The equilibrium funds rate is simply the sum of the long-term equilibrium real rate, the ‘infamous’ R-Star, and the target rate for inflation. Taylor (1993) puts both at 2%. For inflation, the 2% value actually coincides with the Fed’s longer-run goal made public in 2012 and measured with the PCE (Personal Consumption Expenditures) Index. For R-Star, Taylor (1993) used trend GDP growth, which stood at 2.2% between 1984 and 1992. Incidentally, the same estimate of R-Star stands even a bit higher between 1984 and 2016.

The standard Taylor rule shown in Figure 1 uses a 2% R-Star, core PCE inflation (green line in Figure 2), and the output gap proposed by Yellen (2016). This output gap (blue line in Figure 2) is based on the unemployment rate using Okun’s law with an estimate of the long-run NAIRU. This output gap measure declines following the outbreak of the financial crisis reaching a trough of -8% in 2010, and it has just been closed in 2016.

Figure 2 Output gap estimates and PCE-inflation (core)

Medium-run equilibrium rates

The Yellen Taylor rule instead uses estimates of the equilibrium real rate based on a methodology as appears in Laubach and Williams (2003) and Holston et al. (2017). (For the calculation, see Beyer and Wieland 2014 and GCEE 2015, 2016.) This is best characterised as a medium-run equilibrium rate. It is estimated within a three-equation model consisting of an aggregate demand curve, an inflation Phillips curve, and a definition linking potential growth and the equilibrium interest rate/R-Star. This setup contains a number of temporary and permament shocks. The estimate of the medium-run equilibrium rate can change substantially within short periods of time. As shown by the orange line in Figure 3, it declined sharply with the recession in 2008/2009 and has hovered near zero since then.

Figure 3 Medium run equilibrium interest rates

Using the estimate of the medium-run equilibrium rate in place of the long-run equilibrium R-Star, the Yellen Taylor rule (green line in Figure 1) results in much lower federal funds rate prescriptions than the standard Taylor rule.

However, the estimates of potential real activity and the output gap obtained with the methodology as in Laubach and Williams (2003) are quite different from those in the Yellen Taylor rule, which are derived from a long-run NAIRU. The medium-run output gap (orange line in Figure 2) declines much less in the 2008/09 recession. The trough occurs at about -2%. The output gap estimate is back in positive territory by 2011. A deeper trough and longer-lasting negative output gap would have implied substantial deflation according to the estimated Phillips curve. Absent deflation, potential is revised down and the output gap is revised upwards. Along with the lower potential and trend growth, the equilibrium rate estimate declines. Consequently, using the consistent medium run estimates of R-Star and the output gap, the federal funds rate prescriptions from the consistent Yellen Taylor rule turns out to be quite a bit higher than when the long-run NAIRU-based output gap is used.

The balanced-approach rule, also considered by Yellen, doubles the coefficient on the output gap to unity. Thus, the interest rate prescriptions from the balanced-approach rule would be even higher. Finally, the change rule uses first-differences, thereby removing R-Star considerations from the formula.

R-Star, reference rules, and Fed independence

In conclusion, with the use of simple reference rules one can illustrate quite clearly the impact of changes in R-Star and potential real activity on the path for monetary policy. In this sense, the comparative approach that would be required under Section 2 of the FORM Act proves quite useful. It also helps pointing out that insisting on consistency in the gap and equilibrium measures has important implications for how to interpret current policy. Specifically, the decline in R-Star estimates does not justify the current policy stance. Rather, consistent application suggests that policy should be tightened. Whether these medium-run estimates, following Laubach and Williams (2003), should really be given so much attention is another question. For one thing, they are extremely imprecise as indicated by the wide confidence bands in Figure 3. They are very sensitive to technical assumptions (Beyer and Wieland 2015, GCEE 2015), as Laubach and Williams (2003) have stressed. Others have pointed to a number of reasons why these estimates may suffer from omitted variable bias (Taylor and Wieland 2016, Cukierman 2016). Thus, it would be better not to use them as key determinant of the policy stance.

Importantly, however, these comparisons of Fed policy to simple reference rules show how such legislation would serve to bolster the Federal Reserve’s independence. Just imagine, if ever a president would try to exert pressure on the Fed to keep interest rates too low for too long in order to boost activity during his or her term and improve chances of reelection. This has a name – it’s a political business cycle. Clearly, by referring to such legislation and appropriate reference rules, the Fed would be able to better stand up to such pressure and more effectively communicate its reasons to the public.


Beyer, R C M and V Wieland (2015) “Schätzung des mittelfristigen Gleichgewichtszinses in den Vereinigten Staaten, Deutschland und dem Euro-Raum mit der Laubach-Williams-Methode”, GCEE Working Paper 03/2015, Wiesbaden, November.

Cukierman, A (2016) “Reflections on the natural rate of interest, its measurement, monetary policy and the zero bound”, CEPR Discussion paper 11467.

GCEE (2016) “Time for reforms”. Annual economic report, German Council of Economic Experts, 2 November.

GCEE (2015), “Focus on future viability”, Annual economic report, German Council of Economic Experts, 11 November.

Laubach, T and J C Williams (2003) “Measuring the natural rate of interest”, Review of Economics and Statistics, 85(4): 1063-1070.

Holston, K, T Laubach and J C Williams (2017) “Measuring the natural rate of interest: International trends and determinants”, Journal of International Economics, in press.

Taylor, J B and V Wieland (2016) “Finding the equilibrium real interest rate in a fog of policy deviations”, Business Economics, 51(3): 147-154.

Yellen, J (2016) “The economic outlook and the conduct of monetary policy”, Remarks at Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, Stanford University, 19 January.

Yellen, J (2015) “Normalizing monetary policy: Prospects and perspectives”, Remarks at the conference on New Normal Monetary Policy, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.


[1] For more information on the legislation and why the Requirements for Policy Rules of the Federal Open Market Committee are supported by leading scholars of monetary economics see here.

[2] This can be found in the third section of the speech under the heading “Evaluating the appropriate stance of monetary policy” (Yellen 2016).

Topics:  Macroeconomic policy Monetary policy

Tags:  Fed, US Federal Reserve System, Janet Yellen, R-Star, Federal Open Market Committee, Taylor rule

          How bank networks amplify financial crises: Evidence from the Great Depression   

How bank networks amplify financial crises: Evidence from the Great Depression

Kris Mitchener, Gary Richardson 28 May 2016

How financial networks propagate shocks and magnify recessions is of interest to both scholars and policymakers. The financial crisis of 2007-8 convinced many observers that financial networks were fragile, and while reforms are underway, much remains to be learned about how and why connections between financial firms matter for the macroeconomy. Indeed, the complexity and sheer number of linkages has made it particularly challenging to formulate empirical estimates of their role in amplifying downturns.

Economic theory suggests many channels through which networks may transmit shocks (Allen and Gale 2000, Cabellero and Simesek 2013) and empirical research has provided some evidence of contagious failures flowing through interbank markets, particularly for the recent financial crisis in the US and Europe (Puhr et al. 2012, Fricke and Lux 2012). History should have a lot to say about the role of networks in contributing to the severity of financial crises, but it is a surprisingly lightly studied aspect of earlier periods of financial turmoil – even for well-researched episodes such as the Great Depression. This lacuna exists despite the fact that financial networks of the past may be simpler in structure, thus making it somewhat easier to identify empirically how aggregate variables, such as lending, were affected when linkages were disrupted.

In a recent paper, we document how the interbank network transmitted liquidity shocks through the US banking system and how the transmission of these shocks amplified the contraction in real economic activity during the Great Depression (Mitchener and Richardson 2016). The paper contributes to the growing literature on financial networks and the real economy, illuminating both a mechanism for transmission (interbank deposits) as well as a source of amplification (balance-sheet effects). It also introduces an additional channel through which banking distress deepened the Great Depression and complements existing research on how bank distress during the Great Depression influenced the real economy.

We describe how a pyramid-like structure of interbank deposits developed in the 19th century, how the founding of the Fed altered the holdings of these deposits, and how this structure then influenced real economic activity during periods of severe distress, such as banking panics (Mitchener and Richardson 2016). The interbank network that existed on the eve of the Great Depression linked large money centre banks in New York and Chicago to tens of thousands of smaller rural banks throughout the US. The money centre banks served as correspondents holding deposits from institutions in the countryside. Interbank balances exposed correspondent banks to shocks afflicting banks in the hinterland. Interbank deposits were a liquid source of funds that could be deployed to meet sudden demands by depositors to convert claims to cash, and the removal of these deposits from correspondent banks peaked during periods that contemporary commentators described as – and that our detailed statistical analysis of bank suspensions confirms were – banking panics. Although the pyramided system of interbank deposits could handle idiosyncratic bank runs, when runs clustered in time and space (i.e. when panics occurred) the system became overwhelmed in the sense that banks higher up the pyramid were forced to adjust to these changes in liabilities by changing their assets (i.e. lending).

We use the timing and location of these panics to statistically identify the causal relationship between panics, deposit withdrawals, and the decline in lending that occurred in banks in reserve and central reserve cities throughout the US. During periods identified as panics, withdrawals of interbank deposits forced correspondent banks to reduce lending to businesses. These interbank outflows led to a substantial decline in aggregate lending, equal to approximately 15% of the total decline in commercial bank lending in the US, from the peak in 1929 to the trough in 1933.

Ironically, the Federal Reserve System had been created with the purpose of preventing crises such as those that had regularly plagued the banking system in the 19th century. We help to explain why the Fed failed to fulfil this basic responsibility. Because the Fed failed to convince roughly half of all commercial banks to join the system, a pyramided-structure of reserves persisted into the third decade of the 20th century and created a channel through which the interbank deposit could influence real economic activity. In theory, pyramided reserves could have been deployed to help troubled banks, but during the banking panics of the 1930s, just as in the panics of the late 19th century, the total size of these withdrawals overwhelmed correspondent banks, leaving those banks with the choice of either saving themselves, contracting on the asset side of their balance sheets, or borrowing from the Fed. With the Fed unable or unwilling to provide sufficient liquidity to support distressed correspondent banks, they were forced to react to interbank outflows by reducing lending, thus amplifying the decline in investment spending. Although the mechanism is new, our results corroborate other studies on the Depression, which emphasise how banking distress reduced loan supply (Bernanke 1983, Calomiris and Mason 2003b).

What might have alleviated this problem? One solution would have been for the Federal Reserve to extend sufficient liquidity to the entire financial system. The Fed could have done this by lending funds to banks in reserve centres. In turn, those banks could have loaned funds to their interbank clients. To do this, banks in reserve centres would have had to accept as collateral loans originated by non-member banks. Banks in reserve centres would, in turn, need to use those assets as collateral at the Federal Reserve’s discount window. However, leaders of the Federal Reserve disagreed about the efficacy and legality of such action.

Another potential solution would have been to compel all commercial banks to join the Federal Reserve System and require all commercial banks to hold their reserves at a Federal Reserve Bank. Due to powerful political lobbies representing state and local bankers, however, Congress was unwilling to contemplate legislation that would have effected such changes. Had they done so, the pyramid structure of required reserves would have ceased to exist, and the interbank amplifier, as defined here, would have been dramatically diminished. That said, given the inaction of some Federal Reserve Banks during the 1930s, had such changes taken place, they may have magnified banking distress as more banks would have depended on obtaining funds through Federal Reserve Banks that adhered to the real bills doctrine. As we show, the costs of the pyramid in terms of a contraction in lending were substantial, but banks still met some of their short-term needs through this structure during the turbulent periods of banking distress.


Allen, F and D Gale (2000) “Financial contagion,” Journal of Political Economy 108:1-33.

Bernanke, B S (1983) “Nonmonetary effects of the financial crisis in the propagation of the Great Depression”, American Economic Review, 73(3): 257-276.

Caballero, R J and A Simsek (2013) "Fire sales in a model of complexity", The Journal of Finance, 68(6): 2549-2587.

Calomiris, C W and J R Mason (2003b) “Consequences of bank distress during the Great Depression”, American Economic Review, 93: 937-47.

Fricke, D and T Lux (2012) “Core-periphery structure in the overnight money market: Evidence from the e-MID trading platform”, Kiel Institute for the World Economy, Working Paper No 1759.

Mitchener, K and G Richardson (2016) “Networked contagion and interbank amplification during the Great Depression”, CEPR Discussion Paper 11164.

Puhr, C, R Seliger and M Sigmund (2012) “Contagiousness and vulnerability in the Austrian interbank market”, OeNB Financial Stability Report, No 24, Oesterreichische Nationalbank.

Topics:  Economic history Financial regulation and banking Global crisis

Tags:  US, Great Depression, networks, financial network, banks, banking system, Fed, banking network, liquidity shocks, reserves

          The nature and effectiveness of central-bank communication   

The nature and effectiveness of central-bank communication

Stephen Hansen, Michael McMahon 03 February 2016

Over the past two decades, central bank communication has become an increasingly important policy instrument. Figure 1 plots the use of the phrase “central bank communication” in English books over the recent past. Usage rapidly expands after essentially no coverage before 2000. One illustrative example is the recent decision of the US Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) to raise policy rates by 25 basis points on 16 December 2015. While markets widely anticipated this decision, there was a great deal of speculation beforehand about the statement the Federal Reserve would release with its decision that would outline its views on economic conditions and forward guidance on future policy decisions.

Figure 1. Frequency of phrase “central bank communication” in Google Books corpus over time

Note: y-axis scale is *10e-10 percentage points.
Source: Google Ngram Viewer.

The importance of communication to monetary policy has risen alongside a recognition that controlling market expectations is as important – if not more so – than setting the actual overnight policy rate. Communication is one of the main channels through which central bankers can affect market beliefs about its future actions. Evidence of this comes from the event-study analysis of Gürkaynak et al. (2005), who show that on Fed decision days the statement moves markets beyond the effect of the change in contemporary policy rate. More generally, once one accepts the importance of communication in shaping expectations, an important issue is to design the optimal communication policy (Reis 2013).

While the literature has established that communication can drive expectations, it has not pinned down the mechanism by which it does. In other words, given that central bankers can speak about a variety of issues, which ones are most important for driving market outcomes? Our recent paper builds on the computational linguistics techniques developed by Blei et al (2003) and introduced to the economics literature by Hansen et al (2014) to address this question (see Hansen and McMahon 2016).

Measuring central bank communication

For our analysis, we consider Fed statements from 1998 up to 2014. These statements – released when the policy interest rate is announced after each FOMC meeting – provide short summaries of the FOMC’s thinking behind interest rate decisions. There are eight such meetings each year. Central bank communication can give information along (at least) two distinct dimensions. First, the Fed has in place a large infrastructure for determining economic conditions, not all of which is available to market participants. By disclosing its views on conditions, the Fed can provide additional information to outsiders. Second, the FOMC can indicate how it expects to set future policy, so-called ‘forward guidance’.

To measure communication about economic conditions, we first estimate a topic model called Latent Dirichlet allocation (Blei et al 2003) on the set of paragraphs of all Fed statements in our sample. This both estimates topics or coherent themes within the data, and then decomposes each paragraph into the percentage of time it spends covering each topic. Importantly, there are no pre-defined labels on topics; instead, the algorithm groups together words in a completely data-driven way. After estimating topics, we identify several that pertain to economic conditions – prices and inflation; the demand side of the economy; labour market conditions; and growth prospects. Figure 2 illustrates the topic pertaining to labour market conditions as a word cloud in which the size of the word is proportional to the probability it appears in the topic.

Figure 2. Example topic about economic conditions

For the next step, we identify which paragraphs are predominantly about economic conditions and then, within these paragraphs, count the number of ‘expansionary’ words – such as “increasing”, “accelerating”, etc. – and subtract the number of ‘contractionary’ words such as “weak”, “slow”, etc. (The specific lists are taken from Apel and Blix Grimaldi 2012). This allows us to construct an index for each meeting’s statement of how positive the Fed is about economic conditions.

To measure forward guidance, we manually identify relevant paragraphs.1 We take a broader conception of forward guidance than some of the recent literature. We consider paragraphs to contain forward guidance if they reflect conditional statements about the extent of monetary support going forward, if they contain the date-based guidance of the FOMC in recent years, or if the FOMC statement is clear about the balance of risks as seen by the FOMC. To form our measure of a particular meeting’s forward guidance, we multiply the share of a statement’s total words made up of paragraphs about forward guidance and multiply it by the overall direction of the guidance (an increase in future rates = 1; a neutral stance = 0; and a decrease in future rates = -1). To arrive at the final index, we rescale this measure by the number of words in the forward guidance paragraphs that reflect uncertainty (the specific list is taken from Loughran and McDonald 2011) – the more ‘uncertain’ words the paragraphs contain, the lower the index. The idea is that more precise forward guidance should be more informative than ambiguous statements.

Figure 3 plots the time series of both our economic conditions and forward guidance indices. The former roughly tracks the business cycle (though it is noisy), while the latter grows in prominence over time, in particular in the recent period in which the Fed engaged in unconventional monetary policy.

Figure 3. Indices of Fed communication about economic conditions and forward guidance

Effects of public communication

Our ultimate question of interest is which dimension of monetary policy communication —economic conditions or forward guidance — is more important for explaining the market responses to Fed statements. We also need to control for the policy rate decision that accompanies Fed statements. For this, we use the shadow rates constructed in Wu and Xia (2014) that correct for the fact that the main policy rate of the Fed reached its effective lower bound in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008-2009.

To study the impact of multi-dimensional monetary policy (communication in addition to the monetary stance), we employ a factor-augmented vector autoregression (FAVAR) statistical model. This allows us to model interdependencies among all variables while capturing the effects of the macroeconomy using factors from a large array of macroeconomic time-series data.

We first study the reaction of financial asset prices to monetary policy. In terms of bonds, we find that the short end of the yield curve reacts very little to communication, but is fairly sensitive to the policy rate. But as one goes out further in the yield curve, forward guidance plays an increasingly important role in explaining variation in bond prices. On the other hand, communication about economic conditions explains very little of the observed bond price movements in our data at all time-horizons. The overall pattern is similar for equity prices – forward guidance explains three to four times as much movement in market indices as economic conditions communication.

We also study the relationship between monetary policy and the real economy. Here again, we find an important role for forward guidance relative to economic conditions. In fact, forward guidance explains as much variation in short-term unemployment rates as the monetary stance itself. Again though, there is little role for economic conditions in explaining movement in unemployment, prices, and other measures of economic activity.

Overall, then, the message of our work is that markets appear to put much more weight on what central banks say about their future policy decisions than what they say about economic conditions. This is consistent with a view in which market participants and the Fed have a similar understanding of the state of the economy at any given point in time, but substantial uncertainty exists regarding the future behaviour of the central bank. In this environment, communication shapes expectations through providing markets with additional information on how the central bank will behave in the future.


Apel, M and M Blix Grimaldi (2012) “The information content of central bank minutes”, Working Paper Series 261, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).

Blei, D M, A Y Ng and M I Jordan (2003) “Latent Dirichlet allocation", Journal of Machine Learning Research, 3: 993-1022.

Blinder, A S (1998) Central banking in theory and practice, Cambridge MA: MIT Press.

Gürkaynak, R S, B Sack and E Swanson (2005) “Do actions speak louder than words? The response of asset prices to monetary policy actions and statements”, International Journal of Central Banking 1(1).

Hansen, S and M McMahon (2016) “Shocking language: Understanding the macroeconomic effects of central bank communication”, CEPR, Discussion Paper 11018.

Hansen, S, M McMahon and A Prat (2014) “Transparency and deliberation within the FOMC: a computational linguistics approach”, CEPR, Discussion Paper 9994.

Loughran, T and B McDonald (2011) “When is a liability not a liability? Textual analysis, dictionaries, and 10-Ks”, Journal of Finance, 66: 35-65.

Reis, R (2013) “Central bank design”, Journal of Economic Perspectives, 27(4): 17-44.

Wu, J C and F D Xia (2014) “Measuring the macroeconomic impact of monetary policy at the zero lower bound”, NBER, Working Papers 20117.


1 For larger sets of documents, one can apply classification algorithms to automate labeling.

Topics:  Financial regulation and banking Frontiers of economic research Macroeconomic policy

Tags:  Information, Communication, Central Banks, central banking, Fed, central bank communication, expectations, markets, interest rates, forward guidance, economic conditions, policy

          The ECB and the Fed: A comparative narrative   

The ECB and the Fed: A comparative narrative

Dae Woong Kang, Nick Ligthart, Ashoka Mody 19 January 2016

Although the Great Recession was viewed – especially in Europe – as mainly a US problem, the Eurozone has been implicated from the start and felt virtually the same impact in the early stages (Figure 1). The US economy, however recovered much faster. US stock prices and GDP regained their pre-crisis levels by late-2011; the Eurozone barely reached that stage in 2015.

Figure 1. Stock and GDP price movements

The US policy response was much more proactive (de Grauwe 2010). Fiscal stimulus was greater than in the Eurozone in 2008-9; the US also returned to fiscal austerity later, in 2011 rather than in 2010 as the Eurozone did (Mody 2015). More important was the US authorities’ active resolution of banking stress; Eurozone banking problems were allowed to fester. And throughout, US monetary policy was much more aggressive. In a recent paper, we used a narrative approach to identify the role of monetary policy during the Great Recession (Kang et al. 2015).

The US Federal Reserve lowered its policy interest rate (the Fed Funds rate) from 5.25% in September 2007 to 0-0.25% in December 2008 (Figure 2).1 At that point, the Fed also initiated quantitative easing and began ‘forward guidance’, making public its intention to keep interest rates low ‘for some time’. The ECB’s first reaction to the Great Recession was in July 2008, and it was to raise the policy rate (the main refinancing rate).2 After the Lehman bankruptcy in September 2008, the ECB joined an internationally coordinated rate reduction on 8 October. But then the ECB’s slow pace of rate cuts was interrupted by two more hikes—in April and July 2011. The policy rate was brought to near-zero only in November 2013; modest quantitative easing began in September 2014 and was expanded in January 2015.

Figure 2. Policy rates: The US Federal Reserve and the ECB

Our narrative tracks the stated policy intent, the stock market response following the announcement, and the immediate market commentary. To examine the stock market’s response to the announcement of interest rate cuts, we used an event-study methodology similar to that of Ait-Sahalia et al. (2012). First, the ‘abnormal difference’ was computed for each day following the announcement. This is measured as the change in the stock price minus the average daily change over the 20 days before the announcement (the presumption is that absent the announcement, stock prices would have continued to change at the same pace over the next five days). Adding up the daily abnormal differences, the cumulative abnormal difference shows the post-announcement divergence in the stock price movement from the trend in the preceding 20 days. The results are summarised in Figure 3.

Figure 3. Stock market reactions to the reduction of interest rates

Note: In computing the average ‘abnormal’ reaction between 2007 and 2009, we do not include the market reaction on 8 October 2008 because of high volatility in the days following. The results remain unchanged.

The stock market responded positively to the Fed’s rate cuts. In contrast, the market’s reaction to the slower-moving ECB was, on average, negative between 2007 and 2009 and also between 2011 and 2014. Consistent with our findings around the announcements, US stock indices moved ahead of those in the Eurozone, as seen in Figure 1. Moreover, as Figure 1 also shows, stock prices tracked relative differences in GDP performance, in line with Akerlof and Shiller’s (2009) view that improved investor sentiment helps stem the fall and begin the recovery.

Active stimulus

The anticipation of the announcements was not the primary influence on stock prices. In the US, the one unexpected announcement did trigger a strong response; but even the anticipated rate cuts were viewed favourably, especially if they were 50 basis points (0.5%) or larger. Researchers at the Chicago Fed find that anticipated policy actions have positive stimulative effects if they signal deviation from historical policy (D’Amico and King 2015, pp. 2-3). Thus, while formal ‘forward guidance’ came only on 16 December 2008, the actions up until then established a presumption that the Fed was pursuing a risk management approach and creating a safety net.3 Specifically, the larger rate cuts and accompanying statements signalled that the Fed was trying to ‘forestall’ financial turmoil from spiralling out of control.

In contrast, even the ECB’s larger rate cuts were seen as ‘too little, too late’. The ECB was reacting to news—building its shelter amidst a raging storm. ECB statements also mused endlessly about rising inflation and hence almost never promised more forthcoming action. The Bank of England was also late, but made up with quicker and much larger rate cuts, followed by quantitative easing.

It is true that the Fed has a clear dual mandate to support employment and maintain price stability. However, the central banks’ differing mandates were not the reason why they acted differently in the Great Recession. The ECB—despite its primary focus on price stability—had previously responded as if it had a dual mandate. Indeed, as Lars Svensson has pointed out, the ECB’s goal of medium-term price stability (over a two-year horizon) implied that it would not seek to bring inflation down instantly since attempting to do so would cause an unreasonable drop in output (Svensson 1999, pp. 83, 96, and 107). The result, Svensson argues, is that the ECB’s stated objective is indistinguishable from that of central banks with dual mandates, as studies have confirmed (Taylor 2010 and Nechio 2011).

Rather, as Alan Blinder pithily states, the Fed operated during the Great Recession on the ‘dark’ view that a huge loss of wealth could tip the economy into a free fall (Blinder 2013, p. 94). The priority was to prevent or manage that risk. Between 2007 and 2009, the Fed made the judgement that inflation risk was low and the main task was to prevent a downward output spiral. Later, the Fed used the same risk management approach to fend off the risk of price deflation.

By contrast, the ECB concluded that a temporary scare had caused banks to hoard cash and restrict lending to other banks (Blinder 2013, p. 94, Stark 2008). Thus, the ECB provided ample liquidity to banks, although no more so than the Fed. As the Fed understood, such passive provision of funds to banks was insufficient to induce banks to lend more and stimulate economic growth (Hetzel 2012). The loss of confidence and severe demand contraction required active monetary stimulus. The ECB insisted that foreign demand would ‘support ongoing growth’ in the Eurozone (e.g. Trichet and Papademos 2008).

The essential difference between the Fed and the ECB, therefore, boiled down to how each institution viewed the evolution of the economy. Even though inflation rates in the US and the Eurozone were nearly identical (Figure 4), the ECB overemphasised the risk of a commodity price-wage spiral and underestimated the financial and economic risks (Hetzel 2014). Market commentary repeatedly sent this message, as we document in our paper.

Figure 4. Headline inflation and core inflation for the US and Eurozone

Note: 12-month moving average of year-on-year inflation.

Forestalling deflation

The Fed transitioned to worrying about deflation risk as early as June 2010, even though inflation was rising in tandem with the European inflation rate (Figure 4) (Federal Reserve System 2010). The Fed’s main tools now were quantitative easing and forward guidance. As is well known, in this inglorious interlude, the ECB twice raised interest rates. But even past that point, the ECB continued to reject a risk-management approach and followed rather than anticipated the deceleration in inflation. Because it had delayed stimulus during 2007-9, the ECB needed more aggressive action rather than a continued wait-and-see approach. At a November 2013 press conference, a journalist described the ECB as a “pea-shooter dealing with an approaching deflationary tank”. ECB President Mario Draghi responded that the ECB was waiting for more data, and would do more “if needed” (Draghi 2013). Thus, the ECB acted asymmetrically: rising commodity prices were expected to feed persistent inflation, but falling commodity prices were expected to reverse course. Once again, markets and analysts reacted impatiently. Interest rate cuts were not enough. The question was why more aggressive ‘non-standard’ actions were not being taken.

Policy credibility

We conclude also that the Fed gained credibility even though it appeared to temporarily suspend its commitment to price stability. Bordo and Kydland (1995) have argued that setting aside a policy rule to deal with extraordinary contingency is consistent with a commitment to long-term goals. The Fed made clear its objective of preventing a meltdown and, as Blinder (2012) has emphasised, credibility principally requires that words be matched with deeds.

In the Eurozone, words were often a substitute for deeds. Markets and investors reacted to the tight monetary policy, which added to the economic drag and deflationary tendencies due to fiscal austerity and lingering banking problems. By mid-2009, Eurozone output had fallen behind that of the US, and it never caught up. Delays in stimulating economic recovery have permanent consequences, as recent analysis reaffirms (Fatas and Summers 2015). For all its rear-guard action, the ECB misread the Crisis and will be associated with the legacy of a weak recovery and more entrenched deflationary tendencies. If, as is entirely possible, the Eurozone’s core inflation rate remains below 1% a year, the ECB’s credibility will be twice hurt. Not only would it have failed to provide stimulus when needed, but it would have allowed the EZ to slip into a low inflation trap, well below its stated target of 2% a year.


Aït-Sahalia, Y, J Andritzky, A Jobst, S Nowak, and N Tamirisa (2012), “Market Response to Policy Initiatives during the Global Financial Crisis,” Journal of International Economics 87(1): 162-177.

Akerlof, G and R Shiller (2009), Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism, Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Blinder, A (2012), “Central Bank Independence and Credibility During and After a Crisis,” Griswold Center for Economic Policy Studies Working Paper No. 229, September.

Blinder, A (2013), After the Music Stopped: the Financial Crisis, the Response, and the Work Ahead, New York: Penguin Press.

Bordo, M and F Kydland (1995), “The Gold Standard as a Rule: an Essay in Exploration,” 32: 423-64.

D’Amico, S and T King (2015), “What Does Anticipated Monetary Policy Do?” Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Working Paper 2015-10, November.

De Grauwe, P (2010), “Fighting the wrong enemy,” VoxEU.org, 19 May.

Draghi, M (2013), “Introductory statement with Q&A,” European Central Bank, November 7.

Fatas, A and L Summers (2015), “The Permanent Effects of Fiscal Consolidations,” CEPR No. 10902, October 2015.

Federal Reserve System (2010), “Minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee,” June 22-23.

Hetzel, R (2012), The Great Recession: Market Failure or Policy Failure, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hetzel, R (2014), “Contractionary Monetary Policy Caused the Great Recession in the Eurozone: A New Keynesian Perspective” The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond Working Paper Series, August 22.

Kang, D W, N Ligthart, and A Mody (2015), “The European Central Bank: Building a Shelter in a Storm,” Griswold Center for Economic Policy Studies Working Paper No. 248, Princeton University, December.

Mody, A (2015), “Living dangerously without a Fiscal Union,” Bruegel Working Paper 2015/03.  

Nechio, F (2011), “Monetary Policy When One Size Does Not Fit All,” Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Economic Letter, June 13.

Svensson, L (1999), “Monetary Policy Issues for the Eurosystem,” Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy 51: 79-136.

Taylor, J (2010), “Globalization and Monetary Policy: Mission Impossible,” In International Dimensions of Monetary Policy, University of Chicago Press: 609-624.

Trichet, J-C and L Papademos (2008), “Introductory statement with Q&A,” European Central Bank, February 7.

Woodford, M (2012), “Methods of Policy Accommodation at the Interest-Rate Lower Bound,” September 16.


1 The US Federal Funds rate determines the rate at which banks lend to each other.

2 The Eurozone’s main refinancing rate is the interest rate banks pay to borrow from the ECB. Normally, this rate also determines the euro overnight index average (EONIA), the rate at which banks lend to each other in the ‘unsecured’ market. But banks relied principally on the ECB for their funding through much of the Crisis; the limited lending in the banks’ unsecured market was a substitute to depositing money at the ECB (ECB 2010 and 2015b).

3 See Woodford (2012) on the distinction between policy response to news and a change in the policy.

Topics:  Global crisis

Tags:  Great Recession, Fed, eurozone, Eurozone crisis, EZ reforms

          Evidence that low real rates will persist   

Will interest rates be permanently lower?

John Williams 26 November 2015

Following the Global Crisis, central banks around the world brought their policy rates close to zero, as shown in Figures 1 and 2. And now a few – including the ECB, the Swedish Riksbank, and the Swiss National Bank – have crossed the zero-rate threshold and instituted negative interest rates. A period of nearly seven years of extremely low interest rates has spurred a debate over whether interest rates will return to more normal levels. Will they rebound once the effects of the global financial crisis are finally behind us? Or are low rates a permanent feature of the economic landscape? The resolution to this debate has important implications for the economy and monetary policy (Summers 2014).

Figure 1. Near-zero interest rates following the Global Financial Crisis

Source: OECD, Federal Reserve Board.

Figure 2. Negative short-term interest rates become more common

Source: OECD.

Economists have a laundry list of developments that, in theory, could cause the trend in real (inflation-adjusted) interest rates to change over time. These include persistent shifts in the rate of productivity growth, demographics, risk aversion, fiscal policy, and international factors (Congressional Budget Office 2015, IMF 2014, Council of Economic Advisers 2015, Hamilton et al 2015). However, it has proven more challenging to gauge their quantitative impact on trend interest rates.

Unfortunately, standard statistical techniques are poorly suited to distinguish whether a permanent shift in interest rates will emerge from the current situation – an extended period of low rates instituted in response to an unusually deep recession and sluggish recovery. As discussed in Laubach and Williams (2015), the fact that rates have been very low for close to seven years implies that standard statistical methods indicate that the fall in real rates is entirely due to a downward shift in trend. In particular, these methods indicate that the current trend short-term rate in the US is about –1.5. A similar conclusion is drawn for global interest rates (Hamilton et al 2015).

One way around this problem is to use a macroeconomic model that explicitly takes into account the combined behaviours of inflation, output, and interest rates in estimating the trend in real interest rates. In the Laubach-Williams (LW) model, the trend, or ‘natural,’ real interest rate is implicitly defined as that which occurs when the economy is operating at its full potential and there are no inflationary pressures in either direction. This model assumes that the trend real interest rate depends on the estimated trend growth rate of real GDP and other unspecified influences.

The model is estimated using the Kalman filter. The Kalman filter operates on the principle that one should partially adjust one’s estimate of the unobserved variables –the trend natural rate of interest, the level of potential output, and its trend growth rate – based on the discrepancies between the model’s predictions for real GDP and inflation, and the actual data.  In particular, if real GDP is lower than the model predicts, the estimate of the natural rate of interest is reduced by a small fraction of the forecast error. The output gap estimate, in turn, is based on a Phillips curve relationship between inflation, the output gap, and other variables. If, for example, inflation turns out lower than predicted, the level of potential output is revised up (that is, for a given level of real GDP, the output gap is revised down) by a small fraction, as is the estimate of the trend growth rate of potential output.

The LW estimates of the natural rate of interest display a moderate secular decline over the two decades preceding the Great Recession and a second, more substantial decline during the Great Recession (Williams 2015). Figure 3 shows the estimates of the natural rate of interest from 1980 to 2015.  The estimate of the natural rate was about 3.5% for 1990, gradually declining to about 2% in 2007, on the cusp of the Great Recession. In the recession years of 2008 and 2009, the estimated natural rate plummets to about zero, where it has remained ever since. This is an unprecedented decline and historical low for the natural rate.

Figure 3. Laubach-Williams estimates of trend short-term real interest

Note: Grey bands denote NBER recessions.

What accounts for the decline in natural rates? According to the LW model, a falling trend rate of potential output growth accounts for about half of the decline.  The final two rows of Table 1 show the contributions from changes in trend growth and the catch-all ‘other factors’ to the decline in the estimated natural rate for the periods 1990–2007 and 2007–2015.  Figure 4 shows the LW model estimates of the trend growth rate of potential output over 1980–2015. Estimated trend potential output growth was about 3.5% in 1990, declining to 3% in 2007, then falling sharply to about 2%. Note that the model does not attribute these movements in trend potential output growth to specific sources; rather they are treated as exogenous shifts.

Table 1. Alternative measures of trend real short-term interest rates

Figure 4. Laubach-Williams estimates of the trend growth rate of GDP

Note: Grey bands denote NBER recessions.

There is robust evidence of a persistent decline in the trend real interest rates using alternative approaches to estimate trend real interest rates. Laubach and Williams (2015) explore alternative versions of the LW model and in each case the current estimate of trend real rates is very low. In addition, a number of other studies have examined whether trend real interest rates are permanently lower. Although individual estimates differ, it is striking that a wide variety of approaches point to historically low levels of future real interest rates (Hamilton et al 2015, Johannsen and Mertens 2015, Kiley 2015, Lubik and Matthes 2015).

Economic forecasters and financial market participants appear to have embraced this perspective, as seen in economists’ surveys and yields on Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS). The first row of Table 1 reports natural rate estimates implied by the long-run forecasts from the Blue Chip survey of forecasters. The second row reports real interest rates five to ten years in the future based on TIPS yields (note that TIPS did not exist in 1990). The third row reports the LW estimates. The pattern of declining trend interest rates is consistent across the three measures, although the movements in the LW estimates are noticeably larger than the other two.

What are the implications of the sizeable decline in the trend real rate of interest? First, if sustained, it implies that longer-term interest rates will also be correspondingly lower on average. Second, a lower average real interest rate implies that episodes of monetary policy being constrained at the zero lower bound are likely to be more frequent and longer (Reifschneider and Williams 2000). Third, it is a powerful reminder that one should not treat the natural rate of interest as fixed, as is often done in discussions of monetary policy rules such as the Taylor rule. Finally, estimates of trend or natural rates are subject to a great deal of uncertainty (Orphanides and Williams 2002, Laubach and Williams 2003). The various measures of trend interest rates differ by as much as 1.5 percentage points, an unusually large deviation in estimates compared to the period before the Great Recession.

So, will interest rates be permanently lower? While an unequivocal answer is not possible with the information at hand, the evidence suggests a significant decline in the trend in real interest rates. And there is little, if any, sign of a return to a more normal trend.  Taken together, this evidence suggests that it is likely that the trend in real short-term interest rates is lower than it was in previous decades, with the possibility that it may even have fallen below 1%.

Author’s note: The views presented in this article are the author’s alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of other members of the Federal Reserve System.


Congressional Budget Office (2015) The 2015 Long-Term Budget Outlook, June 16.

Council of Economic Advisers (2015) “Long-term interest rates: A survey”, July.

Hamilton, J D, E S Harris, J Hatzius and K D West (2015) “The equilibrium real funds rate: Past, present, and future”, Hutchins Center on Fiscal & Monetary Policy at Brookings, Working Paper 16, October 30.

International Monetary Fund (2014) World Economic Outlook: April 2014.

Johannsen, B K and E Mertens (2015) “The shadow rate of interest, macroeconomic trends, and time-varying uncertainty”, Unpublished manuscript.

Kiley, M T (2015) “What can the data tell us about the equilibrium real interest rate?” Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2015-077, Washington: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, August.

Laubach, T and J C Williams (2003) “Measuring the natural rate of interest”, Review of Economics and Statistics, 85(4): 1,063–1,070. Updated estimates here.

Laubach, T and J C Williams (2015) “Measuring the natural rate of interest redux”, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Working Paper 2015-16, October.

Lubik, T A and C Matthes (2015) “Calculating the natural rate of interest: A comparison of two alternative approaches”, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Economic Brief 15-10, October.

Orphanides, A and J C Williams (2002) “Robust monetary policy rules with unknown natural rates”, Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, 2002(2): 63–145.

Reifschneider, D and J C Williams (2000) “Three lessons for monetary policy in a low-inflation era”, Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking, 32(4/ 2): 936–966.

Summers, L H (2014) “US economic prospects: Secular stagnation, hysteresis, and the zero lower bound”, Business Economics, 49(2): 65–73.

Williams, J C (2003) “The natural rate of interest”, FRBSF Economic Letter, 2003-32, October 31.

Williams, J C (2015) “The decline in the natural rate of interest”, Business Economics, 50(2): 57–60.

Topics:  Global crisis Macroeconomic policy

Tags:  Fed, interest rates, zero lower bound, central bank, Central Banks, global crisis

          Estimating the equilibrium real interest rate   

The equilibrium real funds rate: Past, present and future

James Hamilton, Ethan Harris, Jan Hatzius, Kenneth West 15 November 2015

Are low real interest rates in the US here to stay? Or will the long-delayed,­ but presumably upcoming round of nominal rate hikes lead to real interest rates comparable to those that prevailed prior to the Great Recession?

There seems to be a consensus that we are heading towards a new world where the equilibrium – or long-run – value of the safe real interest rate will be lower than was conventionally thought to be normal. The Federal Open Market’s Summary of Economic Projections provides a baseline for conventional values. In December 2012, across the members of the Federal Open Market’s Summary, the median ‘longer-run’ forecast for the nominal Federal funds rate was 4%, for inflation it was 2% The implied safe real rate is thus 2%.

By contrast, Summers (2013) says that we may need to “think about how we manage an economy in which the zero nominal interest rate is... chronic”. Financial markets agree that typical rates have fallen. As of this writing, Federal funds futures over the next three years peak at about 1.5%. And in September 2015, in the Fed’s most recent Summary of Economic Projections, the median longer-run forecast for the Federal funds rate fell slightly to 3.5%. With an inflation forecast of 2%, all three sources quoted suggest a steady state real rate that is spectacular, either notably (Fed funds futures) or modestly (Summary of Economic Projections) below the 2% value that once was conventional wisdom.

Using reduced form evidence, we argue that it would be foolish to attempt to pin down a precise value for the steady state real rate. This rate is highly uncertain.  It is also highly variable.  Presumed constancy at 2% or any other value was a fiction even prior to the Great Recession. In addition, the steady state real rate is influenced by many variables.

In our view, a plausible range for the steady state real rate is wide, from a little above zero to a little below 2%.1

Determinants of the steady state real rate

An influential literature has zeroed in on growth in potential output or productivity as a prime determinant of the equilibrium rate.2 Unfortunately, the link does not seem to be present in the data, at least not in a clear or even moderately supportive way. Using rolling averages as a measure of steady state values, we find that the correlation between steady state output growth and steady state real rate is numerically small, with a sign that is sensitive to the exact sample used. This applies to averages over business cycles in the US going back to 1869 and to cross-data as well.

Here is one illustration: for the most recent seven business cycles in the US, Figure 1 plots peak to peak values of average GDP growth and of the average ex ante real rate of interest.3 To understand the figure, consider the dot corresponding to the peak in 1980:1. In the 25 quarters between the previous peak in 1973:4 and the 1980:1 peak, GDP growth averaged 2.8% and the real interest rate averaged 0.7%. Other dots are interpreted similarly.

Figure 1. Peak-to-peak average real GDP growth versus average r, quarterly data, 1969:4-2007:4

It is manifest that the link between steady state output growth and the steady state real rate is noisy. Clearly peak-to-peak GDP growth of approximately 3% can be associated with a wide range of peak-to-peak average values of the ex ante real rate – 0.7 % (1980:1), 2.9 % (2001:1) and 5.0% (1990:3). Clearly the correlation is negative (at -0.4, it so happens), rather than positive as suggested by theory. Just as clearly, dropping the 1981:3 peak would turn the correlation positive (+0.3).

We do not doubt that lower safe real rates are associated with higher spending and thus higher output, and vice versa for higher safe real rates. But that association is mediated by a host of factors, so much so that a simple bivariate relationship seems to be more noise than signal over periods as long as a business cycle. For example, the high (4.9%) average value for the real rate in the 1981:3-1990:1 cycle can be attributed in part to the overhang of high inflation from the 1970s. Investors demanded high insurance against inflation taking off again. Over time, that concern about a resurgence of inflation abated, contributing to the fall in the average value of the real rate to 2.9% in the 1990:1-2001:1 cycle. During these and other episodes, trends in inflation, time varying volatility, financial frictions, incomplete markets, heterogeneous agents, bubbles and other factors contributed substantially to the value of the steady state real rate.

The post-war average value of the ex ante real rate is 1.95%. As well, in episodes in which the rate was low, it stayed low temporarily. For example, in the cycle that ended in 2007:4, the ex ante real rate was at or below 0.3% for nearly four years (2001:4-2005:3), and below zero for over two years (2002:4-2005:1). It subsequently peaked at 3.1% in 2006:4. Hence there is evidence that mean reversion has acted as a powerful force. We are doubtful that secular stagnation looms as a force to overrule mean reversion. The possibility of such mean reversion accounts for the upper end of our 0-2% range for a possible value for the steady state rate.

Long-run tendencies of the real rate

The lower end of our 0-2% range results from a dramatically different tack. First, we look to long-term annual data. Second, we model the real rate as non-stationary. Third, we compute the steady state as an explicit time series forecast. We do so in a bivariate error correction model in which the US ex ante rate is co-integrated with a measure of the long-run, or steady state, world rate. In a given year, the world steady state rate is the median, across the 17 countries, of country-specific steady state rates. Country specific steady state rates are computed from rolling 30-year samples.

Figure 2 plots the US rate and the long-run world rate.  One can see that the annual ex ante real rate is highly variable. In the last century, this rate has shown long secular swings, going down roughly from the end for World War I to the late 1940s, up from the late 1940s to the late 1970s, and down from the late 1970s to the present. In the estimates of the error correction model, we find that if the US rate is (say) 1% below the world rate, then all else equal, we expect the US rate to move 40 basis points closer to the world rate in the next year.4 Peculiarly, there is little evidence of a symmetric effect for the long-run world rate to be pulled to the US rate. In the equation for the long-run world rate, the parallel movement is 2 rather than 40 basis points. In any event, the fit is noisy. In the equation for the US rate, the standard deviation of the residual is 260 basis points: despite co-integration, in any given year, substantial divergence between US and world rate is possible.

Figure 2. Long-run world real rate (lt' in blue) and U.S. ex-ante real rate (rUS,t' in black)

Figure 3 plots a forecast for the US rate and the long-run world rate. The forecast for the US rate asymptotes at about 0.4%, with a huge confidence interval. This 0.4% figure rationalises the lower end of our 0%-2% plausible range.

Figure 3. Forecasts for US and long-run world real rates along with 90% confidence intervals for the latter.

Monetary policy implications

All our evidence – from mean reversion or from unit roots, from narrative evidence or from formal regressions – indicates considerable uncertainty about the steady state real rate. Using a small scale New Keynesian model, Orphanides and Williams (2003) argue that uncertainty about exact value of the equilibrium rate will lead a policymaker to move interest rates more slowly than she would in the absence of such uncertainty.

We have evaluated this proposition with the Fed’s ‘FRB/US’ model (the US Federal Reserve Board model), using data that ended in 2014:4. We take data from the December 2014 Survey of Economic Projections as a baseline path for the Federal funds rate and inflation. We assume that policymakers recognise that the actual path may be above or below the baseline. We find that such uncertainty about the future real rate leads to more inertial policy. Lift-off is delayed, and there is a steeper path once rates are raised (see Figure 4).

Figure 4. Alternative funds rate paths


There is much uncertainty about the steady state, or equilibrium, real rate. This rate varies considerably over time. Its determinants are manifold and time-varying, with the effects of trend output growth generally dominated by those of other factors.  Looking forward, a plausible range for the equilibrium rate is wide, perhaps ranging from a little above zero up to 2%. The lower end is consistent with a view that the rate is trendy, or unit root like. The upper end is consistent with the view that the rate will mean revert to its traditional level.


Hamilton, J D, E S Harris, J Hatzius and K D West (2015), “The Equilibrium Real Funds Rate: Past, Present and Future” ,Proceedings of the US Monetary Policy Forum.

Laubach, T and J C Williams (2003), “Measuring the Natural Rate of Interest”, The Review of Economics and Statistics 85(4): 1063-1070

Orphanides, A and J C Williams, (2002), “Robust Monetary Policy Rules with Unknown Natural Rates”, Brookings Papers on Economic Activity 2002(2): 63-145.

Summers, L (2013), “Larry Summers Remarks at IMF Annual Research Conference”, available at https://www.facebook.com/notes/randy-fellmy/transcript-of-larry-summers-speech-at-the-imf-economic-forum-nov-8-2013/585630634864563.


1 Details on the discussion below may be found in Hamilton et al. (2015).

2 For example, Laubach and Williams (2003).

3 The ex-ante rate was computed from Federal funds and a forecast of inflation computed from rolling auto-regressions in GDP inflation.

4 For this and other numbers in this paragraph, see equations (5.4) and (5.5) and associated discussion in Hamilton et al. (2015).

Topics:  Macroeconomic policy

Tags:  interest rates, Fed, Federal Reserve

          Short-sighted monetary policy and fear of liftoff   

Short-sighted monetary policy and fear of liftoff

Athanasios Orphanides 11 November 2015

Monetary policy operates in an uncertain environment with long and variable lags. Different macroeconomists and policy advisers can reasonably have different views about what would be the most appropriate monetary policy strategy at any moment in time and differ on their views on the appropriate policy setting. This is often cited to justify different views about the stance of monetary policy. There is little disagreement, however, that monetary policy works best when it is systematic and avoids short-sighted, seat-of-the-pants discretionary decision making that places undue importance on perceived short-term gains and ignores larger long-term costs.

The Federal Reserve, like other central banks, has been granted operational independence to protect against political pressures that constitute one source of unsystematic short-sighted policy. The risks are well understood. However, Federal Reserve policymakers retain immense discretionary power and, as the history of the Federal Reserve suggests, Federal Reserve policymakers have often used that power inappropriately, adopting policies that placed excessive emphasis on perceived short-term gains.

The Great Inflation serves as an important example. For over a decade, the Federal Reserve pursued inappropriately-expansionary monetary policy focusing on short-term gains on employment and growth. The excessive focus on employment gains resulted in greater economic instability, higher inflation and lower growth. For a generation following the Great Inflation, under the leadership of Paul Volcker and Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve followed a more systematic policy approach based on the premise that the best way the Federal Reserve could contribute to long-term sustainable employment and growth was by protecting price stability over the long- term. The Great Moderation, a period of low inflation and greater economic stability reflected in large part the systematic nature of monetary policy.

Post Crisis

Following the crisis, the Federal Reserve has followed a different approach. In the past few years, the Federal Reserve has once again started placing undue emphasis on short-term employment. The sustained reduction in the rate of unemployment appears to have become the guiding principle of monetary policy. Long after the end of the recession, reducing unemployment served as the justification for QE3, a policy that expanded the Fed’s balance sheet by 1.5 trillion dollars over a period of two years. And this year, six years after the end of the recession, and despite larger declines in the unemployment rate than projected by the policymakers themselves, the Fed has been unable to even begin the process of policy normalisation.

A short-termist mentality is the antithesis of systematic monetary policy. The fear of liftoff exhibited in Fed decisions suggests a return to the unsystematic, short-term oriented policy approach pursued before the Great moderation. This should be a cause of great concern.

Current policy

So what’s wrong with current policy? Let’s first reflect on inflation, the one and only thing that the Fed can control in the long run. Since the start of the crisis in 2008, core measures of inflation have been moving roughly sideways. Core inflation has not fallen as much as many feared at the beginning of the crisis and is only slightly below the Fed’s target. This can justify the maintenance of somewhat accommodative monetary conditions. The issue is whether this can be used to justify the continuation of the unprecedented accommodation the Fed has engineered not only during the recession, but since then. The short-term real interest rate has remained significantly negative for many years, much longer than in any recession in the past several decades. In addition, the expansion of the balance sheet has added to this accommodation what may be the equivalent of a few hundred basis points of additional easing.

What about the real economy? The Fed was correct in responding aggressively to the downturn in 2008. In my view, the Fed deserves credit for that policy easing. The problem at present is that the Fed has been unable, unwilling or reluctant to begin the process of normalisation.

The economy recovered from the Great Recession long ago and labour markets are not far from normal. For those who measure slack in terms of deviations of the unemployment rate from measures of the natural rate of unemployment, the economy is very close and perhaps beyond full employment, depending on the estimates. The unemployment rate is at 5.1, within the central tendency of FOMC members, according to the latest Survey of Economic Projections. (The latest survey reports the central tendency as 4.9-5.2 – see Federal Reserve Board 2015.)

There is disappointment that real GDP growth has been subdued, that productivity is lower than what was hoped. However, given the rapid improvement in employment markets, this appears to reflect lower trend productivity and lower potential output growth. We may all wish for better trend productivity and should lobby for better fiscal and structural policies to encourage higher long-term productivity and growth but higher trend productivity is not something the Fed can deliver. The best way the Fed can contribute to long-term growth is by following a systematic policy that defends price stability over the medium and long term.

With the economy close to full employment, the currently massive degree of policy accommodation cannot be justified. The process of policy normalisation should have started long ago. Liftoff is not the end of accommodative conditions. Liftoff was needed to prevent an overheating in labour markets that would threaten longer term stability.

Why would systematic policy need to begin the process of normalisation before inflation concerns become immediate? Is tighter policy justified, given that core inflation measures are somewhat below the Fed’s target?

The Fed should retain a somewhat accommodative stance given that inflation is somewhat below its target.  However, this cannot be used as an excuse to retain the massive accommodation that was engineered to fight the recession years ago.

Monetary policy operates with long and variable lags. According to some Fed models, the maximum effect is around two years after a policy action. The Fed has been adding accommodation with quantitative easing up until less than a year ago, which will continue to stimulate the economy and push inflation upward well into 2016.  Policy needs to be pre-emptive. The degree of policy accommodation should be reduced to avoid an overheated economy which would surely destabilise inflation and make a recession more likely (for a more detailed exposition, see Orphanides 2015).

Concluding remarks

The costs of further delay in normalising policy will not be felt in the next year or two. The success of the Fed under Paul Volcker and Alan Greenspan in anchoring inflation expectations serves as a shield. Given the long lags in the monetary policy process, even major mistakes at present are unlikely to have large destabilising effects on price stability in the next year or two. Short-sighted policies always shift costs into the future.

The need for a somewhat accommodative policy cannot be used to defend the current non-systematic policy and excessive emphasis on short-term employment gains. First and foremost, the Fed should take a long view and return to a systematic policy approach that preserves and defends price stability. As Paul Volcker and Alan Greenspan kept reminding us over a generation while cleaning up the mess that short-sighted policies created before their chairmanships, this is best way monetary policy can contribute to enhancing growth and employment in the long run.


Federal Reserve Board (2015) Economic Projections of Federal Reserve Board Members and Federal Reserve Bank Presidents, September 2015.

Orphanides, A (2015) “Fear of liftoff: Uncertainty, rules, and discretion in monetary policy normalization”, Federal Reserve of St Louis Review, 97(3): 173-96. 

Topics:  Macroeconomic policy Monetary policy

Tags:  Federal Reserve, Fed, central bank, central banking, unemployment, liftoff, monetary policy, macroeconomics, Great Recession, inflation, policy normalisation

          The enduring structure of the Federal Reserve System: Is it time to redraw the map?   

The enduring structure of the Federal Reserve System: Is it time to redraw the map?

Matthew Jaremski, David Wheelock 25 October 2015

The Federal Reserve System was established in 1914 as a confederation of 12 regional districts, each with its own Reserve Bank. A Reserve Bank Organisation Committee (RBOC), comprised of the Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Agriculture, and Comptroller of the Currency, was appointed to select the cities for Reserve Banks and to set district boundaries. The Reserve Banks remain in the 12 cities selected by the RBOC and, except for a few minor adjustments made early in the system’s history, the borders of the Reserve Districts have never been changed.

The selection of cities for Reserve Banks was controversial in 1914 and remains so today. Seen in Figure 1, the RBOC placed four Reserve Banks within just a few hundred miles of one another in the Northeast, and two Reserve Banks in Missouri; and yet single Reserve Banks serve vast territories in the western two-thirds of the nation. Commentators have long called for a redistribution of Reserve Banks, particularly in light of the shift of US population and economic activity to the South and West that has occurred since 1914 (e.g., Bordo 2015). Richard Shelby (R-AL), chairman of the US Senate Banking Committee, introduced legislation on May 12, 2015 calling for the establishment of an independent commission to review and suggest possible changes to the structure of the Federal Reserve System, including to the number and location of Federal Reserve Banks and district boundaries.

Figure 1. Federal Reserve Districts in 1914

Source: RBOC (1914).

It has long been alleged that political considerations strongly influenced the selection of cities for Reserve Banks (e.g., Willis 1923), though recent scholarship has largely concluded that most of cities chosen for Reserve Banks could be justified on economic grounds (e.g., Binder and Spindel 2013, McAvoy 2006). The Federal Reserve System was established to bring stability to the US banking system, primarily by providing a ready source of liquidity to the commercial banks that joined the Fed System. The Reserve Banks were to be on the front lines, holding the reserves of their member banks, lending to them in emergencies, and operating the payments system. In exchange for purchasing stock in and maintaining a reserve deposit with their local Reserve Bank, members received access to the Fed’s discount window and other services, were paid a dividend, and had a vote in the selection of the Reserve Bank’s board of directors.

Because the Fed’s member banks were both the primary customers and the stockholders of the Reserve Banks, the RBOC gave them a strong voice in choosing where the Reserve Banks were to be located. All national banks (i.e., banks with charters issued by the federal government) were asked to name their top three choices for the location of their Reserve Bank, and those votes appear to have strongly influenced the committee’s decisions. In recent research, we estimate several multivariate regressions of the selection of cities for Reserve Banks and branches, and find that the votes largely explain these selections (Jaremski and Wheelock 2015).1 Further, using voting data aggregated at the county level, we find that the votes go a long way to explaining the boundaries of Federal Reserve districts. Even decisions that today seem questionable, such as the placement of two Reserve Banks in Missouri, seem less so in light of the preferences expressed by national banks at the time (Wheelock 2015).

Our research attempts to explain the votes of national banks for the location of Reserve Banks. Although the votes of individual banks are not available, we find that county-level vote totals are explained well by established correspondent banking relationships. In short, banks appear to have voted for cities where they already had correspondent ties. Cities whose banks already provided services to large numbers of national banks tended to receive more votes, and thus were more likely to be awarded a Reserve Bank or branch office than were other cities.

To a large extent, the Federal Reserve System was placed over the old correspondent banking system it was meant to replace. The major cities in the Northeast—especially New York City, but also Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore—had long been important correspondent banking centres. Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City and Minneapolis were important banking centres in the Midwest, and San Francisco was dominant on the West Coast. All of these cities, save for Baltimore, was given a Reserve Bank.2

More Reserve Banks were placed in the eastern half of the nation than in the west for two reasons:

  1. Eastern cities received far more votes from national banks than cities in the West and South; and,
  2. The Federal Reserve Act stipulated that each Reserve Bank have a minimum capitalisation paid in by its member banks.

Given the sparse population of national banks (and people) in the South and West, shown in Figure 2, Federal Reserve districts in those regions had to be larger than those of the Midwest and Northeast simply to amass enough capital to organise a Reserve Bank. Further, the RBOC may have put more Reserve Banks in the Northeast to reduce the dominance of the banks in New York City, the nation’s financial capital.

Figure 2. National bank locations in 1914

Source: Comptroller of the Currency (1915).

Should there be more Reserve Banks in the West and South?

The question remains whether there should now be more Reserve Banks in the West or South, either by moving some from the Northeast or establishing new districts. The shift of population and economic activity to the West and South since 1914 suggests that were the locations of Reserve Banks and district boundaries set today, the Federal Reserve System map would look very different than the one shown in Figure 1.

The Federal Reserve map has not changed significantly in 100 years, but both the mission and the technology of central banking have changed dramatically. In the early days, when the Fed’s interactions with its member banks were conducted mainly in person or through the mail, minimising transportation times between Reserve Bank offices and member banks was crucial for performing the system’s mission as lender of last resort and for operating the payments system efficiently.

Today most of the interactions between the Reserve Banks and commercial banks are electronic, so close proximity to a Reserve Bank or branch is no longer important for most member banks. Moreover, the Reserve Banks now play a significant role in monetary policymaking—a concept not contemplated by the Fed’s founders.

Concluding remarks

Although the Fed’s decentralised structure arguably promotes good policymaking by helping to ensure that different points of view are heard and different regions of the country are represented, modern communications technology reduces the need for physical proximity to a Reserve Bank.

Probably more important than the physical locations of Reserve Banks is the distribution of monetary policymaking authority on the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). Some argue that the Reserve Banks outside of New York should have a stronger voice on the FOMC (e.g., Fisher 2015), while others propose to weaken or even remove altogether the Reserve Banks from monetary policymaking. Those who favour a continued or expanded role for the Reserve Banks contend that the system’s regional diversity and political independence contribute to better policymaking. A system that is responsive to differing economic conditions that might exist across the regions of a large and diverse nation was certainly a principle on which the Federal Reserve was established.

Disclaimer: The views in this column are solely those of the authors and should not be interpreted as reflecting the views of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis or of any other person associated with the Federal Reserve System.


Binder, S and M Spindel (2013) "Monetary politics: Origins of the Federal Reserve", Studies in American Political Development, 27: 1-13.

Bordo, M D (2015) “Some historical reflections on the governance of the Fed”, presented at a Hoover Institution conference on Central bank governance and oversight reform: A policy conference, May 21.

Comptroller of the Currency (1915) Annual report of the comptroller of the currency, Washington: Government Printing Office.

Fisher, R (2015) "Suggestions after a decade at the Fed”, remarks before the Economic Club of New York, New York City: February 11.

Jaremski, M and D C Wheelock (2015) “Banker preferences, interbank connections, and the enduring structure of the Federal Reserve System”, NBER, WP No. 21553, September.

McAvoy, M (2006) "How were the Federal Reserve Bank locations selected?" Explorations in Economic History, 43: 505-526.

Odell, K A and D F Weiman (1998) "Metropolitan development, regional financial centers, and the founding of the Fed in the Lower South", The Journal of Economic History, 58: 103-125.

Reserve Bank Organisation Committee (1914) Decision of the Reserve Bank Organisation Committee determining the Federal Reserve Districts and the location of Federal Reserve Banks under the Federal Reserve Act Approved December 23, 1913.

Wheelock, D C (2015) “Economics and politics in selecting Federal Reserve Cities: Why Missouri has two reserve banks”, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review, 4th Quarter.

Willis, H P (1923) The Federal Reserve System, legislation, organisation and operation, New York: Ronald Press.


1 Odell and Weiman (1998), McAvoy (2006) and Binder and Spindel (2013) also report evidence that the votes strongly influenced selection outcomes.

2 Baltimore is an interesting case. Although national banks had far more correspondent ties to Baltimore than to Richmond, Richmond received more first-choice votes and was selected for the district’s Reserve Bank.

Topics:  Economic history Financial regulation and banking

Tags:  Fed, the Fed, Federal Reserve System, reserve bank, reserve, US, history, banking, population density, monetary policy

          Search for yield   

Search for yield

David Martinez-Miera, Rafael Repullo 12 October 2015

The 2015 Annual Report of the Bank for International Settlements opened with the following sentence: “Globally, interest rates have been extraordinarily low for an exceptionally long time, in nominal and inflation-adjusted terms, against any benchmark”, adding that “[s]uch low rates are the most remarkable symptom of a broader malaise in the global economy… which has proved exceedingly difficult to understand”. In particular, the report argues that the malaise “reflects to a considerable extent the failure to come to grips with financial booms and busts that leave deep and enduring economic scars”.

Our recent paper (Martinez-Miera and Repullo 2015) tries to face up to the challenge of providing a theoretical model of the connection between real interest rates, credit spreads, and the structure and the risk of the banking system. Specifically, we show how an increase in aggregate savings leads to a reduction in interest rates and spreads, inducing financial intermediaries to search for yield, which ultimately leads to financial instability.

We characterise the endogenous structure of a competitive financial system in which both shadow and traditional banks emerge in equilibrium. We also provide a framework for understanding the emergence of endogenous boom and bust cycles, as well as the procyclical nature of the shadow banking system, the existence of countercyclical risk premia, and the low levels of interest rates and spreads leading to the build-up of risks during booms. Our findings provide a consistent explanation for a number of stylised facts of the period preceding the 2007-2009 financial crisis (see Brunnermeier 2009 for a recollection of some of these facts).

Interest rate spreads and financial sector structure

To analyse the links between aggregate savings, interest rates and financial instability, we focus on the role of banks as intermediaries between entrepreneurs, who need funds for their investment projects, and (uninsured) investors. Banks can monitor entrepreneurs’ projects, which reduces their probability of default but entails a cost for the banks. We assume that monitoring is not contractible, so there is a moral hazard problem, which is the key informational friction driving our results. We show that there are circumstances in which banks choose not to monitor entrepreneurs and others in which they do choose to monitor them. We associate the first case to (shadow) banks that originate-to-distribute, and the second case to (traditional) banks that originate-to-hold.

Our (partial equilibrium) results show that which case obtains depends on the spread between the lending rate and the expected return required by the investors, which under risk-neutrality equals the safe rate. In particular, a reduction in this spread reduces monitoring, and makes it more likely that banks will find it optimal to originate-to-distribute.

To endogenise interest rates and interest rate spreads, we embed our model of bank finance into a general equilibrium setup in which a large set of heterogeneous entrepreneurs that differ in their observable risk type seek finance for their investment projects from a competitive banking sector. We assume that the higher the total investment in projects of a particular risk type, the lower the return, and characterise the equilibrium for a fixed aggregate supply of savings. We show that safer entrepreneurs will borrow from shadow banks while riskier entrepreneurs will borrow from traditional banks.

Aggregate savings and financial instability

To assess whether a global savings glut may have an impact on financial stability, we investigate the effects of an exogenous increase in the aggregate supply of savings. We show that a global savings glut (to use the terminology of Bernanke 2005) leads to a reduction in interest rates and interest rate spreads, an increase in investment and in the size of banks’ lending to all types of entrepreneurs, an expansion of the relative size of the shadow banking system, and a reduction in the monitoring intensity and hence an increase in the probability of failure of the traditional banks. Hence, we have a model that links aggregate savings with the structure and the risk of the banking system.

Although we focus on the effects of an exogenous increase in the supply of savings, the same effects obtain when there is an exogenous decrease in the demand for investment, due for example to a negative productivity shock. Thus, the model provides an explanation of the way in which changes leading to a reduction in the equilibrium real rate of interest, as those noted by Summers (2014), can be linked to an increase in financial instability.

A first extension of our results shows that the effect of a savings glut on financial stability critically depends on the increase in the size of the traditional banks. When banks that originate-to-hold cannot increase their balance sheets, there will be a greater increase in the size of the shadow banking system, a greater reduction in the safe rate, and wider spreads for the traditional banks, so they will become safer. But as soon as these banks are able to relax the constraint, they will become riskier. This result allows us to distinguish between the short- and the long-run effects of a savings glut, and provides a rationale for the idea that the build-up of risks happens when (real) interest rates are ‘too low for too long’.

A second extension deals with the case where investors are risk averse. We show that a reduction in risk aversion has similar effects as a savings glut except for the level of the safe rate, which goes up instead of down, due to the shift in investment toward riskier entrepreneurs that reduces the funds available for safer ones. This provides a simple way to empirically distinguish a savings glut from a reduction in investors’ risk appetite.

Endogenous booms and busts

Finally, we extend our model to a dynamic setting in which the aggregate supply of savings is endogenous. Specifically, the supply of savings at any date is the outcome of agents’ decisions at the previous date together with the realisation of a systematic risk factor that affects the return of entrepreneurs’ projects. For good realisations of the risk factor, aggregate savings will accumulate (the boom state) leading to lower interest rates and spreads, which translate into higher risk-taking. In this situation the economy is especially vulnerable to a bad realisation of the risk factor, which can lead to a crisis (the bust state). The associated reduction in aggregate savings leads to higher interest rates and spreads, which translate into lower risk-taking and a safer financial system. Then savings will grow, restarting the process that leads to another boom and a fragile financial system. In this manner, we can generate endogenous boom and bust cycles.

The dynamic model yields other interesting testable results. First, interest rates and interest rate spreads are countercyclical. Second, during booms the safe rate may be below investors’ subjective discount rate, and it may even be negative. Third, the shadow banking system is highly procyclical. Fourth, even when investors are risk neutral, they behave as if they were risk averse, so risky assets have positive risk premia. Fifth, even when investors’ preferences do not change over time, such risk premia are countercyclical.


Summing up, our research addresses a challenging issue, namely to provide an explanation for the connection between interest rates and financial stability. Specifically, our results rationalise the links between a global savings glut, the low level of real interest rates, and the incentives to search for yield by financial intermediaries. Moreover, the results provide a rationale for a number of empirical facts in the run-up of the 2007-2009 financial crisis.

It should be noted that we abstract from any kind of nominal frictions, which is why monetary policy is absent from our model of search for yield. Introducing nominal frictions would allow studying the connection between monetary policy and financial stability, a topic that merits further research.


Bank for International Settlements (2015), 85th Annual Report, Basel.

Bernanke, B (2005), “The Global Saving Glut and the U.S. Current Account Deficit”, Sandridge Lecture, Virginia Association of Economists, Richmond, Virginia.

Brunnermeier, M (2009), “Deciphering the Liquidity and Credit Crunch 2007-2009”, Journal of Economic Perspectives 23: 77-100.

Martinez-Miera, D, and R Repullo (2015), “Search for Yield”, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 10830.

Rajan, R (2005), “Has Financial Development Made the World Riskier?”, Proceedings of the Jackson Hole Conference organized by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

Summers, L (2014), “US Economic Prospects: Secular Stagnation, Hysteresis, and the Zero Lower Bound”, Business Economics 49: 65-73.

Topics:  Macroeconomic policy

Tags:  yield, interest rates, Fed, Bank of England

          Compliance Officer - Silver State Schools Credit Union - Las Vegas, NV   
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          The FTC’s Data Security Guidelines   
  On the occasion of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) 50th data security settlement, it issued a statement, giving businesses guidelines for their data security practices. Under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTCA), the FTC must protect consumers from “deceptive and unfair” commercial practices in the economic sectors under its jurisdiction. One […]
          Ediscovery, Data Privacy and Social Media Weekly Updates   
Privacy a Top Agenda Item for FTC, NTIA Entering 2014 – With the new year fast approaching, the Federal Trade Comm… http://ow.ly/2BXSFj  JPMorgan Chase breach update: pile on… – The JPMorgan Chase Ucard breach reported previously on this blog affe… http://ow.ly/2BXSFk  Thorsten Ihler ‏@DataProtecThor1h @VivianeRedingEU “Disappointing day” for #EUdataP reform. “Still no workable solution” for One Stop […]
          Comment on We Still Celebrate Independence Day at Church (by Dean Stewart) by Jim Perry   
Hey Dave Miller Todd Benkert Brent Hobbs, this started as a comment on the post about patriotic services, but grew so long in the telling that it seemed less appropriate as such. Would it pass muster as a regular piece on the blog as the other side of the argument? ####### I was a worship leader on staff at a church the last two years. I have seen two 4th's of July come and go, and I never did even one patriotic song. Pastor mentioned it and maybe preached on how to live as Christians in this country, but we didn't do patriotic stuff, and in fact, I never heard a complaint for not doing it. And we're in the middle of Indiana, which is hardly any less patriotic than anyone else. I have said in the past, perhaps glibly, "I'm here to worship God, not America." That's how I see it, personally. But there is so much to deal with on this issue, and it really is a matter of the conscience, certainly not a salvation issue, or perhaps not even a right or wrong issue, though I suppose we only come to positions we believe are right and correct. I don't hate anyone who thinks differently, and I don't get angry over it. But here, perhaps, is a suitable explanation of my perspective. The first principle is that it is incumbent upon those of us in leadership to aim for the higher ideal, closer to the heart of God, and lead our people there. With regard to the "meat sacrificed to idols" topic, much is made of the "brother with the weaker conscience," but wherein is the strengthening of that conscience? If it is permissible to eat that meat, but we abstain from doing it in front of the weaker brother, are we not to educate said brother and strengthen him so that he agrees with the Lord, "Why call unclean what I have made unclean?" I don't believe the Apostle was advocating for leaving said brother in his "weaker" state. We absolutely have to analyze why we think the way we think, in all areas. To find the roots of our sentiments and judge them valid or invalid. First is an appreciation for the undertaking that won us our liberty from Great Britain. I love the Revolutionary War period of history. I will gobble that stuff up. Every 4th of July I make my kids sit down and watch The Patriot, with John Williams' beautiful score (my son's named after the guy), and that overwhelming sense of national pride. This and the founding documents are essential to understanding how and why we became who we are as Americans, and Who through His divine Providence made us free. Second is our contemporary sentiments regarding this country, which are largely generational. We are nearing the time when the veterans of World War II will no longer be among us. It was the last war that I believe we fought on entirely just grounds (save for the first Gulf War, which really was no war, but a brief armed incursion to remove Saddam Hussein from Kuwait). Many thousands of people died to liberate the European continent and the Pacific theater from near global tyranny. The industry of war finally brought us out of the Depression (which FDR had unnecessarily perpetuated with his disastrous economic policies). It brought us together as a nation for a common purpose. It made us proud to be Americans. We were the good guys for real. We did something really GOOD, and that was something to celebrate. The World War II generation may be nearly lost to us, but their children remain. They were raised in a country steeped in this good patriotism. My Grandfather was of the World War II generation, and several of you are Boomers, so we are not so far removed from that time we did something truly good. We know and believe what we are taught, and we naturally gravitate toward the familiar. So it is with no great burden that we dutifully recite the Pledge of Allegiance, we stand for the National Anthem with our hands on our hearts, we vote because we believe we should, and we say our troops our "defending our freedom." However, I am reminded of a couple things from Eisenhower's farewell address. Who better to draw from than a man who embraced, and served with distinction in, all spheres of his life? The first is this: "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together." We have been so very fortunate that those at the head of the "military-industrial complex" have not sought misplaced power. Our military brass have respected the chain of command, and I agree that all who have served deserve our honor and respect. The problem is that there has been a "disastrous rise of misplaced power" in our politicians, and all our Presidents since Eisenhower have been looking, in one form or another, for that next great military victory that all Americans can again be unified in celebrating. Trust me when I say that I am not being glib in asking this question, and it is not a reflection on our troops or their commanders, but rather the bureaucrats who command them. Are they really sent to defend our freedom? Were they defending *our* freedom when they were sent to Vietnam, Grenada, Kosovo, Iraq or Somalia? Our military has been sent into action after questionable action, without Constitutionally appropriate declarations of war from Congress, and then when they are sent in, the execution of the action so often becomes subject to political calculation and partisan whim. We all know too well the sins of Vietnam. I now fear my children desiring to serve in the military, and would counsel them against it. I didn't always feel this way. The second Eisenhower quote is this: "As we peer into society's future, we -- you and I, and our government -- must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for our own ease and convenience the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow." Sadly, the World War II generation gave us a great tragedy along with a great victory. That tragedy was the vast behemoth of FDR's government, which threw out the window every great thing that President Coolidge achieved (or left alone) when he vastly reduced the size, scope and budget of the Federal Government. That World War II generation, and now the Boomers, are beginning to rely on a government program that has itself become insolvent, and may in fact become a "phantom" tomorrow. With the national debt now having increased 800% (!!!!!) since 1980, vastly out-gaining inflation of just over 212%, our government has truly mortgaged the material assets of our grandchildren. By allowing Marxist Socialism into our government and allowing the Federal Government to exceed its Constitutional bounds, we have lost our political heritage. And who would be culpable in a nation that has lost its spiritual heritage? Perhaps the American Church which has largely worshiped our "Christian" Nation? Examine your own hearts in this regard. How many times to we misappropriate 2 Chronicles 7:14 for America? This is not a promise from the Lord to heal our land, but Israel. And under the New Covenant we are spiritually grafted into Israel, which is a *spiritual* Israel. Psalm 81:13 says, "If only my people would listen to me and Israel would follow my ways." God is not going to heal America, no matter how much we ask him. He is interested in the hearts of men and women, and he judged harshly the nations whose god was themselves. So when you raise up America in the focal place where God is worshiped, how can he be pleased? This is what bothers me about Awana or RA’s/GA’s (if anyone does that still). We teach kids not only to do the Pledge of Allegiance–which, secularly speaking, is good insofar as we do not seek to undermine the country whose benefits we enjoy–but then a made-up pledge to the Bible, which the Lord doesn’t command we do, and a made-up pledge for a made-up “Christian” flag, which to me, raising a flag for Jesus that Jesus didn’t institute is an abomination. It's an offensive trivialization of the Faith. We lift up the Savior, not a flag. Yes, we ought to be grateful that God gave us this country to live in, where our ancestors settled to be free to worship as they saw fit. Yes we have been blessed by God, but we have taken that blessing and grown fat and lazy. We have "done evil in the sight of the Lord," and not just "those sinners" who practice abortion and homosexuality, but also "us Christians" who gossip, covet, hate and worship idols. None of this should be taken as hatred for America, but rather we all ought to cultivate a healthy sense of ambivalence to it. And I mean 'healthy.' We have liberties and we should *use* them, even as many of them are slowly eroded away. We must participate in the electoral process, but always demanding the best of our politicians. We should lobby our government for "redress of grievances" as is appropriate. We should not speak evil of her but speak truthfully about the evils within her, and most especially in our own house. We should recognize the erosion of civility with the increase in partisanship and become less partisan ourselves because Jesus is our King, and His is our Kingdom. With the celebration of our founding comes lament in that we have allowed this country to fall so far from it. In conclusion, I do not feel patriotic observances are wrong. It is not sinful to honor the people who have served in our military. Have the picnics. Have the fireworks. Sing the songs, honor those who died in service to another, and celebrate the founding of "the last best hope of man on earth." But consider carefully whether it ought to take the place of our singing to the Lord, and singing of him only, and preaching of his Word rather than overlaying it with a flag. To present this as a function of our worship service is wrong, in my view. It is not hope on earth we are trying to secure, but hope in the life to come.
          Violencia mediática, violencia de género: ¿quién le pone un freno a Tinelli?   
La nota es de fines del año pasado, de todas maneras no de deja de tener vigencia puesto que Tinelli siempre ofreció el mismo nefasto producto, con el lamentable aplauso de irresponsables que incluso le hacen reverencias... En el 2011 irá por más y el freno o el aplauso a la mediocridad que daña y destruye depende de nosotrxs, nuestros valores y compromisos. Lenny Cáceres.

“Show Match” , el programa televisivo que conduce Marcelo Tinelli en canal 13, está bajo la lupa de quienes pugnamos por una comunicación no sexista desde hace varios años. Sin duda, los contenidos reproducidos en el segmento predominante “Bailando por un sueño” son la versión exacerbada de la estereotipación del rol que nos asignan como mujeres en esta sociedad: de subordinación ante el varón y objeto sexual de deseo masculino. Y como objeto sexual, las mujeres son las que aportan el mayor valor a la mercancía que vende Tinelli.

Pero el mensaje perverso emitido en “Show Match” no se termina en los minutos de aire que tiene dentro del canal. Los contenidos, sea cual sea su tenor, alimentan a una cantidad significativa de programas de TV que se emiten durante la tarde en aire o cable, de emisiones radiales y de productos digitales. No sólo Tinelli lucra con su “Bailando por un sueño”, muchos otros alimentan sus bolsillos reproduciendo los fragmentos que califican como “mas picantes”. Y un dato esencial que se agrega al desalentador panorama es que es la emisión de mayor raiting de nuestro país.

En los últimos días volvieron a circular por Internet algunas iniciativas ciudadanas, entre ellas un mail que cuestiona el concurso que proponía que “jóvenes bonitas de hasta 40 años” se candidatearan para ser la pareja de Ricardo Fort a cambio de promesas de dinero, auto, tarjeta de crédito. En ese mail se afirma que Tinelli puede ser denunciado por “lenocinio”. (delito doloso -conocimiento que se está prostituyendo a una persona y voluntad de hacerlo- cuyo elemento subjetivo es el ánimo de lucro o de satisfacer deseos ajenos).

La polémica siguió alimentándose y agravandose. El lunes 25 de octubre una coreografía bailada por Silvina Escudero de alto contenido erótico renovó las críticas. No vale mencionar de que se trataba la escena que ha sido reproducida a mansalva por diestra y siniestra, pero fue una suerte de gota que rebalsó el vaso. La violencia mediática ejercida en “Show Match” parece no tener freno.

“El cuadro de baile protagonizado por Silvina Escudero y su partenaire, al parecer sobrepasó los límites razonables de lo que debe ser un espectáculo público y de semejante masividad”, señaló la Autoridad Federal de Servicios Audiovisuales (AFSCA) en un comunicado en el que indica que se encuentra evaluando posible sanciones. Pero al mismo tiempo le da una suerte de salvaguarda al asegurar que “funciona como atenuante” que la escena se haya dado en el marco del “horario de protección al menor”. Si aclara que para quienes lo hayan reproducido fuera de este horario cabría una sanción “estipulada dentro de lo que el artículo 107º inciso d) de la Ley de Servicios de Comunicación Audiovisual considera directamente como falta grave: “Las representaciones explícitas de actos sexuales que no sean con fines educativos. La desnudez y el lenguaje adulto fuera de contexto”.

Frente a esto me pregunto ¿quién le pone un freno a Tinelli? ¿la sanción cabe solo para quienes reprodujeron la coreografía fuera del horario de protección? ¿con qué otras herramientas contamos? ¿existe multa económica que pueda equipararse con el lucro que hace Ideas del Sur con este programa?.

Vale mencionar también que la nueva Ley de Servicios de Comunicación Audiovisual establece en el apartado ‘m’ del artículo Tercero como objetivo de los mensajes “promover la protección y salvaguarda de la igualdad entre hombres y mujeres, y el tratamiento plural, igualitario y no estereotipado, evitando toda discriminación por género u orientación sexual”. El comunicado de AFSCA obvía mencionar este apartado.

No está de mas recordar que durante el gobierno de Néstor Kirchner nuestro país adhirió al Protocolo Facultativo de la Convención para Todas las Formas de Discriminación contra la Mujer (CEDAW por su sigla en inglés). Dicho protocolo insta en el apartado ‘a’ del artículo 5 a “modificar los patrones socioculturales de conducta de hombres y mujeres, con miras a alcanzar la eliminación de los prejuicios y las prácticas consuetudinarias y de cualquier otra índole que estén basados en la idea de la inferioridad o superioridad de cualquiera de los sexos o en funciones estereotipadas de hombres y mujeres”.

Un herramienta contundente para erradicar los mensajes sexistas emitidos en el programa de Tinelli es la “Ley de protección integral para prevenir, sancionar y erradicar la violencia contra las mujeres”, disposición sancionada en 2006 y reglamentada recientemente. Esta ley define la “violencia mediática” como una modalidad en la que se manifiestan las diferentes formas de violencia contra la mujer y dice al respecto que es “aquella publicación o difusión de mensajes e imágenes estereotipados a través de cualquier medio masivo de comunicación, que de manera directa o indirecta promueva la explotación de mujeres o sus imágenes, injurie, difame, discrimine, deshonre, humille o atente contra la dignidad de las mujeres, como así también la utilización de mujeres, adolescentes y niñas en mensajes e imágenes pornográficas, legitimando la desigualdad de trato o construya patrones socioculturales reproductores de la desigualdad o generadores de violencia contra las mujeres”.

No fue mi intención con esta reflexión abarrotarlas/los de elementos jurídicos, sino visualizar que sobran herramientas para sancionar y erradicar estas conductas. Quizá lo que falte sea decisión política para que tantas leyes no caigan en letra muerta.

Belén Spinetta
Colega, compañera integrante de la Red PAR
          La tele, un sistema cerrado de espejos y reflejos de sí misma   
El programa de Tinelli, que fue lo más visto del año, es cada vez más un vulgar circo mediático basado en los escándalos reales y/o armados. El ciclo de Canal 7, por otra parte, marcó el paso del supuesto “periodismo objetivo” al periodismo con posición.

Por Emanuel Respighi- Página 12

Fueron las dos caras –antagónicas, por cierto– de una misma pantalla. Los dos polos de atracción que signaron la televisión argentina de 2010, en una temporada que se caracterizó por los contrastes de estas dos propuestas que acapararon horas enteras del aire, a través de “programas sucursales” que funcionaron como propagadores infatigables de sus contenidos. Los que se convirtieron en tema de debate obligado en el tiempo muerto del trabajo, en la sobremesa familiar o en cualquier otro ámbito en el que dos o más personas dispusieran de tiempo para charlar. Por un lado, un ShowMatch cada vez más convertido en un vulgar circo mediático al que sólo le quedan los escándalos –reales y/o armados– para mantenerse como el programa más visto de la TV argentina (tanto en audiencia como en horas que otros programas le dedican al ciclo de Marcelo Tinelli). En el otro extremo, 6, 7, 8 revolucionó el periodismo televisivo desmantelando discursos y posiciones mediático-políticas, convirtiéndose en la llave de un derrotero que pasó del supuesto “periodismo objetivo” al periodismo con posición. Claramente, fueron los dos programas que marcaron a fuego la TV de 2010, transformada ya definitivamente en un sistema cerrado de espejos y reflejos de ella misma.

La temporada que culmina no será recordada como una de las más prósperas en términos de calidad e innovación para la pantalla chica. El interés artístico, la búsqueda de nuevos lenguajes y la pretensión de originalidad fueron cediendo lugar ante el avance de los programas de archivo y la idea cada vez más extendida entre los programadores y productores de que los escándalos y los chimentos del mundo del “espectáculo” son los dos ejes temáticos que los televidentes quieren ver. En ese contexto, la TV volvió a priorizar la fórmula fácil y se resignó a correr detrás de ShowMatch como nunca antes lo había hecho. Como consecuencia, la ficción se llevó la peor parte: hubo pocas propuestas del género, a las cuales no sólo el público no acompañó sino que, en muchos casos, tampoco lo hicieron los programadores, que decidieron levantarlas abruptamente (Caín & Abel, Secretos de amor) o modificaron el horario de sus emisiones (Alguien que me quiera).

La tinellización de la TV
Debe tratarse de un hecho iné-dito para la historia de la televisión mundial, porque no debe existir otra industria televisiva que base su programación alrededor de un único programa. La pantalla chica de 2010 vivió a la sombra de ShowMatch, convertido ya en un programa obsceno que antepone a cualquier atisbo de criterio artístico, ético y moral su irrefrenable saciedad de rating. Con la cobertura del “gran show”, la creación de Marcelo Tinelli ya ni siquiera trata de ocultar su única pretensión de generar disputas y conflictos entre los participantes de un supuesto concurso de baile, para exponer durante varias horas diarias toda clase de miserias humanas (basta saber que cuando Baila Argentina no funcionó en audiencia, el reality federal fue abandonado a su suerte). Todo con el aval de un maquiavélico Tinelli, que detrás de su cara de sorprendido y desconcertado por lo que ocurre en el programa esconde la mente de quien digita cada cosa que pasa y no pone límite alguno con tal de hipnotizar televidentes.

Este año, el contenido de ShowMatch alimentó casi 24 horas diarias de TV entre sus derivados (Este es el show, Sábado show, Intrusos, Viviana Canosa, Infama, AM, Mañaneras, Demoliendo teles, RSM, etcétera), siendo tema de seguimiento obligado por ciclos periodísticos, de entretenimientos y de chimentos de los diferentes canales de aire privados. Los 30 puntos de rating diarios de ShowMatch hicieron que nadie pudiese –o no quisiese– evitar referirse al programa más visto de la TV desde hace dos décadas. Esa exposición continua de culos y tetas, chistes de mal gusto y discusiones vulgares entre los participantes hicieron que en este 2010 que se va Tinelli cumpliera el sueño de tener un canal propio. Sólo que no tuvo una única frecuencia sino que su “programación” se coló a toda hora en cualquiera de los cuatro canales de aire privados, donde hasta El Trece (Este es el show) y Telefe (Zapping diario) se resignaron e incluyeron en sus grillas diarias programas que se hacen eco de los conflictos televisivos, en una fina separación con los programas de chimentos.

El bombardeo mediático de ShowMatch, entonces, digitó buena parte del consumo televisivo de 2010. Las discusiones de poca monta y mal gusto entre Ricardo Fort, Graciela Alfano, Aníbal Pachano y las hermanas Escudero fueron la comidilla de una industria que se rindió a los pies de un ciclo para el que el baile sirve de excusa para mostrar lo peor de la condición humana. ¡Si hasta hubo dos galas en las que de tanta discusión sin sentido pero cargadas de insultos los participantes no llegaron a bailar! Así, el estudio caliente de ShowMatch se erigió como una suerte de ágora pública para que su fauna disertara sobre el HIV o la violencia de género con la misma liviandad con la que discuten la calificación de un baile, sin considerar que todos ellos –lamentablemente– se convirtieron en modelos sociales a partir de su sobreexposición mediática.

Basta cotejar la escasa audiencia que ficciones como Alguien que me quiera, Botineras, Contra las cuerdas y la recientemente levantada Caín & Abel cosecharon diariamente en el prime time durante este año para tomar conciencia de que la tinellización de la televisión consolidó un registro que determina las preferencias de la audiencia. En este momento de la TV, la disposición de los televidentes a seguir en el tiempo historias que requieren de cierta complejidad, y con un tratamiento alejado a la industria del efecto en continuado, parece no ser la de hace algunos años, cuando las ficciones competían entre sí para ser el programa más visto. El abrupto final por bajo rating de Caín & Abel, una telenovela de historia densa, con actuaciones brillantes, visual y musicalmente atractiva, es una señal de alerta sobre el estado de la televisión. Tinelli y una industria que funcionó bajo su sombra lo hicieron.

En este panorama, es coherente que la ficción más vista del año haya sido Malparida. Luego de que Alguien que me quiera no funcionara como se esperaba y dejara el horario de las 21.30 para pasar a emitirse a las 19, el “Plan B” diseñado por Adrián Suar para reemplazar al éxito de Valientes tuvo la sensibilidad de captar las preferencias de un público adormecido y programar un culebrón hecho y derecho. Con una historia de entretenimiento básico, que no le genera al televidente reflexión ni identificación alguna, y con el protagónico de una Juana Viale que deshonra con su actuación a grandes intérpretes del género, Malparida promedió los 22 puntos diarios y satisfizo las necesidades de El Trece, que está a punto de ganar el año en el rating.

Planillas aparte, lo mejor de la ficción estuvo dado por los unitarios. El Bicentenario del comienzo del proceso independentista del país sirvió como plataforma para que la pantalla chica recuperara uno de los géneros que había dejado en el olvido: el de la ficción histórica. A través del ciclo Lo que el Tiempo nos Dejó, la producción de Underground para Telefe contó momentos y hechos de la historia argentina del siglo XX en seis telefilms irreprochables desde los rubros técnicos (la ambientación de época, el vestuario y la fotografía estuvieron a la altura de las circunstancias), amén de algunos maniqueísmos en el guión, tal vez propios de la dificultad que representa plasmar historias complejas en 40 minutos. La otra propuesta interesante del año fue Para vestir santos, el unitario que Pol-ka realiza para El Trece (culmina el miércoles, a las 22.45), que no sólo volvió a poner en pantalla las credenciales de la productora en el género, sino que además se animó a jugar con el musical dentro de su estructura dramática, sin perder encanto.

Aunque se haya estrenado en 2009, la finalización de Ciega a citas a finales de mayo requiere de un comentario especial. La comedia de Rosstoc con la que Canal 7 volvió a incluir en su programación la ficción nacional demostró que una historia bien contada y actuada, en la que cada engranaje se pone al servicio del producto, puede atraer a un público no habituado a sintonizar la emisora estatal. Nominada al Emmy Internacional, la telenovela surgida de un blog supo armonizar el mundo de Internet y el de la TV en su propuesta, con una coherencia en su armado que culminó con un especial acorde con su origen, en el que el público votó al mejor de los tres finales posibles para la historia protagonizada por Muriel Santa Ana y Rafael Ferro. Es justo señalar que, en contrapartida, la segunda temporada de Todos contra Juan no le dio tantas alegrías a la productora de Gastón Pauls, que a mediados de año cerró sus puertas por una supuesta estafa del socio Alejandro Suaya.

Periodismo sin maquillaje
Envuelto en la contienda político-mediática que asomó su potencialidad en el debate sobre la Resolución 125, y que terminó de hacer eclosión a partir de la decisión del Gobierno de enviar al Congreso la Ley de Servicios de Comunicación Audiovisual, actualmente en vigencia, el periodismo televisivo atravesó en 2010 una etapa en la que las máscaras de las que se valían muchos periodistas y medios se fueron cayendo en la misma proporción que lo hacía su credibilidad. Si hasta no hace mucho para que algo fuera verdad debía salir en la TV, en la actualidad los televidentes han aprendido que el periodismo objetivo, independiente, no existe como entidad pura, impermeable a pensamientos e intereses políticos, sociales, económicos y/o culturales. Este fue el año en el que, por convicciones propias o por intereses empresariales, al periodismo televisivo no le quedó otra que proceder a cara descubierta.

El programa que metió el dedo en la llaga y revolucionó el medio fue 6, 7, 8, que aunque está al aire desde 2009 fue en este año cuando consolidó desde la pantalla estatal su lugar de “tema de conversación en la opinión pública”, multiplicando su mensaje a través del regreso de Duro de domar y de TVR, ciclos también producidos por PPT. Con una línea editorial abierta y orgullosamente oficialista, 6, 7, 8 puso negro sobre blanco sobre quién es quién en el periodismo actual, analizando el discurso mediático que se propaga ante cada tema de interés. El programa conducido por Luciano Galende asume hoy un protagonismo vital y activo dentro de la política, que incluso trasciende los límites televisivos (sus fieles seguidores han llegado a organizar manifestaciones públicas por diferentes causas). Valiéndose de material de archivo e invitados afines a su línea editorial, 6, 7, 8 abrió la posibilidad de que haya un debate periodístico-político en la TV argentina que no se da puertas adentro, sino intracanales o intraprogramas. Por eso es un programa que marcó un antes y un después dentro del género televisivo.

Acorde con la TV del efecto continuo que se consolidó en estos últimos años, abundan en el medio programas como Calles salvajes, GPS o Policías en acción, ciclos “periodísticos” que –al igual que Tinelli– se nutren de las miserias de la vida cotidiana de los más necesitados sin espacio para el análisis, con la sola finalidad de mostrar imágenes de alto impacto. Que en este escenario, en el que desde los noticieros o algunos periodísticos se elige retratar lo peor, haya un espacio como 6, 7, 8 para reflexionar sobre diversas temáticas de interés social –más allá de la posición política a la que se adhiera– no es poco. El arribo a Canal 9 de Bajada de línea, con la credibilidad, coherencia y trayectoria de Víctor Hugo Morales sumó al periodismo televisivo a un interlocutor válido desde el punto de vista de la honestidad intelectual desde la que dice lo que piensa.

En la era del periodismo subjetivo explícito, los programas de archivo que otrora buscaban furcios e inocuos errores hoy son el espacio elegido por las emisoras para reafimar su posición sobre algún tema o desacreditar al otro. Cada uno con su estilo, con mayor o menor grado de exposición de su línea editorial, TVR, Zapping y Demoliendo teles funcionan como brazos mediáticos armados de una idea política o de una idea empresarial. Si anteriormente el valor de un programa del género descansaba en el nivel de hallazgos televisivos que retransmitía, mostrando aquello que se escapaba a los ojos de los televidentes, ahora su sentido de ser pasa exclusivamente por ser difusores acríticos de programas de la casa, o de propagadores críticos de ciclos ajenos.

Entre la TV basura a toda hora y el fin del supuesto periodismo objetivo, entre la persecución de rating como único parámetro válido para decidir la suerte de un ciclo y la autorreferencialidad como caja de resonancia siempre a mano, la TV de 2010 termina con la esperanza de que el próximo año la pantalla chica apueste a propuestas diversas y originales. Por un 2011 en el que vuelva a primar en la TV el criterio artístico... ¡Salud!
          Cessna airplane crashes in northern Wisconsin   
PHILLIPS, Wis. — Authorities are investigating the fatal crash of a Cessna airplane that went down in northern Wisconsin. The Price County Sheriff’s Office has not said how many people were aboard the airplane when it crashed at 3:21 a.m. Saturday or whether more than one person died. The sheriff’s office says the crash happened just south of the city of Phillips. Several area fire departments responded. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are helping investigate. […]
          Fyre Festival promoter Billy McFarland out on bail after arrest on fraud charges   
Federal prosecutors arrested and charged Billy McFarland with scheming to defraud investors in his company, Fyre Media.

          Maryland argues Republicans not harmed in redistricting case   

Attorney General Brian E. Frosh asked a federal court Friday to dismiss a lawsuit that claims state lawmakers violated Republicans' constitutional rights when they redrew Maryland's congressional boundaries six years ago.

The state's response in the redistricting case — the first since the litigation...

          House panel approves yanking money for new FBI headquarters   

A House panel Thursday approved stripping money from the proposed new headquarters for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, an ominous sign for a project that is already facing challenges under the Trump administration.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers has been putting aside money for the headquarters...

          Maryland to become first state with law to protect Planned Parenthood   

Maryland on Saturday will become the first state in the nation with a law to protect funding for Planned Parenthood from a possible federal cutoff.

Legislation ensuring that the state will cover the cost of the group's health care services in Maryland if Congress blocks it from receiving federal...

          Senior Applications Programmer (Online & Mobile Banking)   
SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union Tustin, CA
Il sindacato confederale Ugl di Forlì-Cesena e Rimini presenterà istanza di costituzione di parte civile nei confronti di Lopes Edson Jorge Tavares, accusato dalla Procura della Repubblica del Tribunale di Rimini di numerosi delitti nei confronti della concittadina Gessica Notaro...
          Officials Restore Money to L.A. Schools 1 Week After Making Controversial Cuts   
Barely a week after the Los Angeles Board of Education approved a budget based on reduced federal anti-poverty aid, schools officials have restored nearly all of the funding. The added dollars will help L.A. Unified avoid some cutbacks and may make some planned layoffs unnecessary. While the news was welcome, it was less clear why the belt-tightening went forward in the first place: Federal officials had told the district about the improved funding projection in a May 24 letter, and […]
          Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland arrested on fraud charges   

The world’s worst festival promoter could potentially face 20 years in prison. One of the founders of Fyre Festival, tech entrepreneur Billy McFarland, has been arrested on fraud charges. As the New York Times reports, federal prosecutors arrested McFarland in New York on Friday (June 30) with one count of wire fraud after allegedly defrauding investors […]

The post Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland arrested on fraud charges appeared first on FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music..

          Fyre Festival Founder Arrested, Charged With Fraud   

The promoter behind a failed music festival in the Bahamas has been arrested in New York on a wire fraud charge. Federal prosecutors say Billy McFarland was arrested Friday and is charged with scheming to defraud investors in his company, Fyre Media.

          Reale: é hora de voltar às ruas.   
Reale: é hora de voltar às ruas.:

O jurista Miguel Reale Jr. conclama os cidadãos a voltarem às ruas contra o conchavo que tenta impedir o funcionamento da Justiça. Mas onde diabos estão os tais "movimentos sociais", que ele também invoca?:

Fala-se que inquéritos e processos relativos à corrupção de agentes políticos – senadores, deputados, governadores, presidente e ex-presidentes – constituem fator de fragilização da política, com promotores e juízes assumindo o papel de “tenentes de toga”, a ditar com tom moralizador o destino da Nação, em prejuízo das genuínas instituições políticas. Creio haver um equívoco grave de perspectiva.

Tristemente, revelou-se o lado B, obscuro, dos ex-presidentes Lula e Dilma e do atual e de expressivas lideranças políticas de diversos partidos. O crime dessas figuras foi, em parte, trazido inicialmente à tona graças às delações dos empresários corruptores, beneficiários da desonestidade dos dirigentes para obterem vantagens em prejuízo das finanças públicas.

A Polícia Federal, o Ministério Público e o Judiciário não tiveram a iniciativa de submeter a classe política à persecução penal, com investigações, conduções coercitivas, busca e apreensão e ações penais. Apenas agiram a partir da notícia de crime que lhes foi dada. Não são tais investigados perseguidos políticos, mas políticos corruptos, que com sua reiterada conduta se colocaram debaixo da incidência da lei penal.

O que se pretendia fosse feito pelo Ministério Público e pela magistratura? Diante da avalanche de líderes da sociedade política envolvidos em crimes graves, cumpriria aos juízes e promotores prevaricar para manter hígida a “harmonia” entre Poderes? Caberia ao Ministério Público e à Polícia Federal preocupar-se em não perquirir sobre fatos delituosos, como corrupção passiva e lavagem de dinheiro, para não perturbar a frágil ordem democrática e a economia? É isso que certos arautos do comodismo democrático desejam?

Deveria ser esquecida e rejeitada a delação da Odebrecht por tocar em figuras ilustres da República? E que dizer da delação da JBS? Pensam alguns ser necessário preservar as instituições da República, razão por que não convém cutucar tanto mais os políticos, sem os quais não há democracia. Assim, haveríamos de ser condescendentes e, tocados por cínico realismo, deixar de ser ferro e fogo, para admitir um tempero, uma pitada de malfeito como necessária ao sistema democrático? Seria obrigatória da democracia a combinação entre corrupção e classe política?

Sejamos claros: a persecução penal de comportamentos criminosos de agentes políticos relevantes não compromete a democracia. Ao contrário. Eles, os políticos, é que comprometiam a democracia com o cancro da corrupção, traindo seus deveres elementares.

E não apurar a corrupção sabida é corroer ainda mais a democracia, pois significa anuir com os atos delituosos, incentivar a sua prática, passar à população o exemplo da sua permissão, apenas por se tratar de pessoas do andar de cima, da classe dirigente. Não extrair o tumor por ser a cirurgia arriscada é condenar a democracia a morrer, lá na frente, de septicemia. A gangrena tomará conta do corpo social. Paralisar a apuração dos crimes dos líderes políticos só provocará descrença profunda na democracia. Separar o joio do trigo fará bem à democracia, pois há muitas pessoas corretas na atividade política.

Não se trata de mero discurso moralista. Os órgãos internacionais bem destacam ser a luta contra a corrupção essencial para preservar a democracia, fato hoje em dia presente em diversos países da Europa, onde o rigor penal em face da corrupção é ainda maior que no Brasil.

A corrupção distorce a vontade popular, desvia de programas sociais fundamentais verbas para encher os bolsos de corruptos e corruptores. É um jogo sujo, feito às escondidas, com desprezo pelo esforço cotidiano dos trabalhadores que recolhem impostos. Trata como próprio o que é fruto do sacrifício de muitos. Nada mais antidemocrático. A democracia é corroída por dentro pela corrupção, pois, repito, há duas formas de ditadura, a do fuzil e a da propina, sendo que nesta o inimigo está oculto.

As convenções internacionais da ONU e da União Europeia contra a corrupção relacionam essa persecução com o fim de defesa da democracia e buscam promover a mais larga coope