Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State
On behalf of the Government of the United States of America and the American people, I congratulate all Austrians as you celebrate your National Day.
Austria and the United States enjoy a deep and longstanding friendship based on shared values. The economic and cultural ties between our people grow stronger each year, and together we are better able to ensure peace and prosperity for the citizens of both of our countries. The United States values Austria’s commitment to working together on pressing global challenges such as climate change and rebuilding a robust transatlantic economy.
I wish everyone in Austria a happy National Day and look forward to continuing to strengthen our friendship and cooperation in the years ahead.
- Additional Restrictions on the Issuance of Visas for People’s Republic of China Officials Engaged in Human Rights AbusesBy Sam NewsDecember 21, 2020Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
- Secretary Antony J. Blinken on the Passing of Former Secretary of State Colin L. PowellBy Sam NewsOctober 18, 2021
- Democracy Assistance: U.S. Agencies Take Steps to Coordinate International Programs but Lack Information on Some U.S.-funded ActivitiesBy Sam NewsIn U.S GAO NewsAugust 24, 2021In fiscal years 2006- 2008, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which has primary responsibility for promoting democracy abroad, implemented democracy assistance projects in about 90 countries. The Department of State's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (State DRL) and the private, nonprofit National Endowment for Democracy (NED) also fund democracy programs in many of these countries. Partly to lessen the risk of duplicative programs, State recently initiated efforts to reform and consolidate State and USAID foreign assistance processes. GAO reviewed (1) democracy assistance funding provided by USAID, State DRL, and NED in fiscal year 2008; (2) USAID, State DRL, and NED efforts to coordinate their democracy assistance; and (3) USAID efforts to assess results and evaluate the impact of its democracy assistance. GAO analyzed U.S. funding and evaluation documents, interviewed USAID, State, and NED officials in the United States and abroad, and reviewed specific democracy projects in 10 countries.Data available from State show total democracy assistance allocations of about $2.25 billion for fiscal year 2008. More than $1.95 billion, or about 85 percent of the total allocation, was provided to field-based operating units, primarily country missions. Although complete data on USAID funding per country were not available, USAID mission data, compiled by State and USAID at GAO's request, show that in a sample of 10 countries, most democracy funds are programmed by USAID. In the 10 countries, annual funding per project averaged more than $2 million for USAID, $350,000 for State DRL, and $100,000 for NED. In fiscal year 2008, more than half of State funding for democracy assistance went to Iraq, followed by China, Cuba, Iran, and North Korea, and NED funding for democracy programs was highest for China, Iraq, Russia, Burma, and Pakistan. USAID and State DRL coordinate to help ensure complementary assistance but are often not aware of NED grants. To prevent duplicative programs, State DRL obtains feedback from USAID missions and embassies on project proposals before awarding democracy assistance grants. State DRL officials generally do not participate in USAID missions' planning efforts; some State and USAID officials told GAO that geographic distances between State DRL's centrally managed program and USAID's country mission-based programs would make such participation difficult. Several USAID and State DRL officials responsible for planning and managing democracy assistance told GAO that they lacked information on NED's current projects, which they believed would help inform their own programming decisions. Although NED is not required to report on all of its democracy assistance efforts to State and there currently is no mechanism for regular information sharing, NED told GAO that it has shared information with State and USAID and would routinely provide them with information on current projects if asked. USAID uses standard and custom indicators to assess and report on immediate program results; USAID also conducts some, but relatively infrequent, independent evaluations of longer-term programs. The standard indicators, developed by State, generally focus on numbers of activities or immediate results of a program, while custom indicators measure additional program results. USAID commissions a limited number of independent evaluations of program impact. USAID mission officials told GAO that they did not conduct many independent evaluations of democracy assistance because of the resources involved in the undertaking and the difficulty of measuring impact in the area of democracy assistance. In response to a 2008 National Research Council report on USAID's democracy evaluation capacity, USAID has reported initiating several steps--for example, designing impact evaluations for six missions as part of a pilot program.[Read More…]
- Wife of “El Chapo” Sentenced to Prison for Drug Trafficking and Money LaunderingBy Sam NewsNovember 30, 2021The wife of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera, leader of the Mexican drug-trafficking organization known as the Sinaloa Cartel, was sentenced today to 36 months in prison followed by four years of supervised release for charges related to international drug trafficking, money laundering, and a criminal violation of the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (the Kingpin Act).[Read More…]
- Department of Justice Awards Nearly $50 Million in Grants to Improve School SafetyBy Sam NewsSeptember 10, 2020The Department of [Read More…]
- Justice Department Concludes Its Investigation of D.C.-Area Private High Schools’ Decision to Stop Offering Advanced Placement CoursesBy Sam NewsJanuary 11, 2021The Department of Justice announced today that it has completed its investigation into whether Georgetown Day School, Holton-Arms School, Landon School, Maret School, National Cathedral School, The Potomac School, St. Albans School, and Sidwell Friends School (jointly, “the Schools”) collectively agreed to stop offering Advanced Placement (AP) courses by 2022 in violation of the Sherman Act. The Schools announced in June 2018 that they would eliminate AP courses from their curricula by 2022.[Read More…]
- Honduran immigrant convicted of alien smugglingBy Sam NewsIn Justice NewsMay 2, 2021Read full article at: [Read More…]
- Priority Open Recommendations: Department of DefenseBy Sam NewsIn U.S GAO NewsAugust 10, 2021What GAO Found In May 2020, GAO identified 81 priority open recommendations for the Department of Defense (DOD). Since then, DOD has implemented 21 of those recommendations, leading to improvements in readiness rebuilding efforts, cybersecurity, and the Navy's force structure, among other areas. Additionally, GAO closed four priority recommendations related to DOD enterprise-wide business reform as unimplemented because the recommendations are no longer relevant. GAO also removed one priority recommendation related to acquisition oversight because it no longer warranted priority attention due to actions taken by the military departments. Thus, reducing the number of remaining priority open recommendations to 55. In July 2021, GAO identified 26 additional priority recommendations for DOD, bringing the total number to 81. These recommendations involve the following areas: acquisitions and contract management; rebuilding readiness and force structure; financial management; cybersecurity and the information environment; health care; driving enterprise-wide business reform; preventing sexual harassment; and strengthening diversity, equity and inclusion within DOD. DOD's continued attention to these issues could lead to further improvements in the department's operations. Why GAO Did This Study Priority open recommendations are GAO recommendations that warrant priority attention from heads of key departments or agencies because implementation may significantly improve government operations, for example, by realizing large dollar savings; eliminating mismanagement, fraud, and abuse; or making progress toward addressing a high-risk or fragmentation, overlap, or duplication issue. Since 2015, GAO has sent letters to selected agencies to highlight the importance of implementing such recommendations. For more information, contact Elizabeth Field at (202) 512-2775 or firstname.lastname@example.org.[Read More…]
- Secretary Antony J. Blinken to Embassy Iceland Staff and FamiliesBy Sam NewsMay 18, 2021
- The Launch Is Approaching for NASA’s Next Mars Rover, PerseveranceBy Sam NewsIn SpaceSeptember 26, 2020The Red Planet’s [Read More…]
- Four Individuals Plead Guilty to RICO Conspiracy Involving “Bulletproof Hosting” for CybercriminalsBy Sam NewsMay 7, 2021Four Eastern European nationals have pleaded guilty to conspiring to engage in a Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) arising from their providing “bulletproof hosting” services between 2008 and 2015, which were used by cybercriminals to distribute malware and attack financial institutions and victims throughout the United States.[Read More…]
- Court Enjoins California Company from Manufacturing and Distributing Adulterated Sterile Animal DrugsBy Sam NewsNovember 22, 2021A federal court enjoined a California company from distributing adulterated sterile animal drugs in violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), the Department of Justice announced.[Read More…]
- Bhutan Travel AdvisoryBy Sam NewsIn TravelSeptember 26, 2020Do not travel to Bhutan [Read More…]
- Secretary Pompeo’s Meeting with Indian External Affairs Minister JaishankarBy Sam NewsOctober 6, 2020Office of the [Read More…]
- Deputy Secretary Sherman’s Meeting with Uruguayan President Lacalle PouBy Sam NewsNovember 9, 2021Office of the [Read More…]
- Designations of Former Honduran President Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo Sosa and Former First Lady Rosa Elena Bonilla Avila for Involvement in Significant CorruptionBy Sam NewsJuly 20, 2021
- Passing of Marja’ Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Muhammad Saeed al-HakimBy Sam NewsSeptember 3, 2021Ned Price, Department [Read More…]
- Justice Department Sues to Block Visa’s Proposed Acquisition of PlaidBy Sam NewsNovember 5, 2020Today, the Department of Justice filed a civil antitrust lawsuit to stop Visa Inc.’s $5.3 billion acquisition of Plaid Inc. Visa is a monopolist in online debit services, charging consumers and merchants billions of dollars in fees each year to process online payments. Plaid, a successful fintech firm, is developing a payments platform that would challenge Visa’s monopoly.[Read More…]
- Department Press Briefing – March 2, 2021By Sam NewsMarch 3, 2021Ned Price, Department [Read More…]
- Secretary Antony J. Blinken Intervention at Arctic Council MinisterialBy Sam NewsMay 20, 2021