January 25, 2022

News

News Network

Celebrating International Women’s Day

8 min read

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

Every year on March 8th, the United States joins the world in recognizing International Women’s Day by celebrating the leadership, strength, and courage of women and girls. The United States recognizes the reality that the equitable participation of women in social, political, and economic life is critical to the peace and prosperity of our collective community.

The COVID-19 pandemic presented an unexpected challenge to the safety and prosperity of women and girls in the last year. From an increased risk of domestic abuse during stay-at-home orders to increased economic and employment insecurity, women and girls have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Despite this disparity, women have led on the frontlines of this pandemic including as unpaid caregivers, healthcare workers, teachers, and other essential personnel, and continued to advocate for the dignity and rights of all people, building lasting change that will benefit their communities for years to come.

I have the great pleasure of celebrating International Women’s Day this year by hosting the 15th annual International Woman of Courage (IWOC) Award ceremony. The recipients of this year’s award demonstrate that courageous women inspire a better world. These women have demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership while advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality, and women’s empowerment – often at great personal risk and sacrifice. We know that when women are empowered, they are agents of positive change. I am so proud to commemorate the great work of each of this year’s IWOC awardees and especially honored that the First Lady will be joining us for the occasion.

The United States is dedicated to ensuring that gender equality and women’s empowerment are central tenets of our foreign policy and national security. Today, like every day, we stand firmly in our commitment to women’s empowerment and gender equality at home and around the globe. The United States is prepared to support and advance the health, economic, political, and human rights of every woman and girl, because when women are empowered, we are all better for it.

More from: Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

News Network

  • Justice Department Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Cincinnati, Ohio Landlord
    In Crime News
    The Justice Department today announced that landlord John Klosterman and his wife, Susan Klosterman, will pay $177,500 to resolve a Fair Housing Act lawsuit alleging that John Klosterman sexually harassed female tenants since at least 2013 at residential properties the couple owned in Cincinnati, Ohio. 
    [Read More…]
  • Global Entry for UK Citizens
    In Travel
    How to Apply for Global [Read More…]
  • Science & Tech Spotlight: Consumer Electronics Recycling
    In U.S GAO News
    Why This Matters Consumer electronics contain critical materials whose supplies are limited, including gold, platinum, and rare earth metals. Domestic recycling of consumer electronics could extend the supply and reduce the current U.S. reliance on imports. New technologies are becoming available, but electronics recycling is complex and faces challenges, such as narrow profit margins. The Technology What is it? Recycling of consumer electronics—including smartphones, televisions, and computers—generally involves separating high-value metals from plastics and other low-value materials. Precious metals and rare earth metals are the economic driving force for consumer electronic recycling technology. These metals have high market values and limited supplies, and they can be reused across many industries, including the defense and energy sectors. Consumer electronic devices can also contain personally identifiable information (PII), including medical and financial data, which could be improperly disclosed if they are not destroyed prior to recycling. According to a study of selected consumer electronics, about 2.8 million tons were disposed of in the U.S. in 2017, of which about 36 percent was recycled. Figure 1. Selected valuable, hazardous, and digital materials contained within consumer electronics that can be recovered, disposed, or destroyed There is no federal standard requiring consumer electronics recycling. Some states have enacted electronics recycling laws requiring electronics producers to pay fees or contract with businesses to ensure electronic waste is collected for recycling. The U.S. recycles electronics domestically and also exports electronics for recycling abroad. How does it work? The high concentration of valuable material in certain consumer electronics is key to the economic viability of recycling these products. Cell phones, as one example, have more precious metal by weight than raw ore does. According to the EPA, 35,274 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, and 75 pounds of gold can be recovered from a million recycled cell phones. Based on commodity market prices on August 12, 2020, these weights of metals are worth approximately $100,000, $290,000, and $2.1 million for copper, silver, and gold, respectively. In contrast, cathode ray tube (CRT) displays in older televisions and computer monitors have little recycling value, but they contain leaded glass and may be considered hazardous waste. In addition, recovery of certain valuable materials from consumer electronics is limited due to the high costs of technology and processing. Electronics recycling companies disassemble devices by shredding, which also destroys PII, or by hand. These companies then separate valuable materials for reuse (including gold, silver, platinum, and rare earth metals) from toxic materials for disposal (including brominated materials and lead). Traditional methods include burning to remove non-metal parts and separation using strong acids. New separation technologies are being used or piloted to recover precious and rare earth metals. For example, robotic disassembly uses machine learning and computer vision to more rapidly pick and sort items. Another new technology uses ultrasound to speed up the chemical removal of gold from cell phone SIM cards. Figure 2. Emerging separation technologies for recycled electronics Other technologies are emerging, like biometallurgy, which uses microorganisms to separate high-value metals from other materials, such as plastics, glass, and glue. For example, naturally occurring bacteria can oxidize gold in acidic solutions, making it soluble and thus easier to separate from other materials. Other advanced techniques, such as magnetic or electrochemical separation, are showing promise in the laboratory with existing technology. For example, in one study, researchers used ultrasound to dissolve nickel and gold within a SIM card. They then used a magnetic field to separate the dissolved nickel, which is magnetic, from the gold, which is not. Similarly, other techniques use electric fields to separate dissolved metals based on their weight and electric charge. How mature is it? Recycling technology is well established for some traditional single-stream processes, such as aluminum recycling. However, electronic devices are more complex and require disassembly and separation. At least one consumer electronics manufacturer is piloting robotic disassembly for its products. Emerging separation technologies such as ultrasound have come to market in the past decade and are being used. Manual disassembly and shredding are decades old. Biometallurgy is being tested in pilot plants, and new microorganisms are being developed in laboratories to treat electronic waste. Opportunities Increase supply and reduce imports. Recycling could increase the domestic supply of precious and rare earth metals and reduce the current U.S. reliance on overseas sources. Grow the green economy. Developing advanced recycling technologies could promote domestic business and employment. Reduce hazardous practices. A significant amount of recycling currently occurs in the developing world, where methods include open-pit burning. New technology could reduce the use of such methods, which are hazardous to the environment and human health. Lessen environmental impacts. Developing advanced recycling technologies could reduce the environmental impacts of raw ore mining and landfill disposal of hazardous materials such as lead and brominated materials. Challenges Market challenges. Markets for recovered materials may be limited, and the value of recovered materials may not be enough to cover the costs of equipment for collection, sorting, disassembly, and separation. Secure destruction of personal information. Many electronic devices contain PII. Shredding them may effectively destroy PII but may also make high-value material harder to recover. Counterfeit electronic parts. Exported used electronics may serve as a source of counterfeit electronic parts, which, as GAO previously reported, could disrupt parts of the Department of Defense supply chain and threaten the reliability of weapons systems. (See GAO-16-236, linked below.) Rapid technological development. As consumer electronics made with new materials get smaller, new technologies for separation may be needed to recycle valuable materials. Policy Context and Questions With the volume of electronic waste expected to grow, questions include: How can programs to support technological innovation, economic development, and advanced manufacturing be leveraged to promote a more robust domestic electronics recycling industry? What efforts can the federal government, states, and others make to incentivize recycling rather than disposal? What are the potential benefits and challenges of such policies? What strategies can the public and private sectors implement to address the risk that exports of used electronics will contribute to unsafe recycling practices, disclosure of PII, and counterfeit electronics? How can reductions in exports bolster job growth? For more information, contact Karen Howard at (202) 512-6888 or HowardK@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Four Chinese Nationals Working with the Ministry of State Security Charged with Global Computer Intrusion Campaign Targeting Intellectual Property and Confidential Business Information, Including Infectious Disease Research
    In Crime News
    A federal grand jury in San Diego, California, returned an indictment in May charging four nationals and residents of the People’s Republic of China with a campaign to hack into the computer systems of dozens of victim companies, universities and government entities in the United States and abroad between 2011 and 2018.
    [Read More…]
  • U.S. Special Envoy for Yemen Lenderking’s Travel to Saudi Arabia
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Designation of Houthi Official in Yemen
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco Announces New Civil Cyber-Fraud Initiative
    In Crime News
    Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco announced today the launch of the department’s Civil Cyber-Fraud Initiative, which will combine the department’s expertise in civil fraud enforcement, government procurement and cybersecurity to combat new and emerging cyber threats to the security of sensitive information and critical systems.
    [Read More…]
  • Bhutan Travel Advisory
    In Travel
    Do not travel to Bhutan [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Recovers Over $2.2 Billion from False Claims Act Cases in Fiscal Year 2020
    In Crime News
    The Department of Justice obtained more than $2.2 billion in settlements and judgments from civil cases involving fraud and false claims against the government in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2020, Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division announced today.  Recoveries since 1986, when Congress substantially strengthened the civil False Claims Act, now total more than $64 billion.
    [Read More…]
  • Pharmacist and Two Pharmacies Agree to Pay $1 Million to Resolve Allegations of False Claims for Anti-Overdose Drug
    In Crime News
    Riad “Ray” Zahr, a pharmacist in Dearborn, Michigan, along with two specialty pharmacies that Zahr formerly owned and operated, have agreed to pay the United States $1 million to resolve allegations that they submitted false claims for the drug Evzio.
    [Read More…]
  • Secretary Blinken’s Call with People’s Republic of China State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Rocket Attacks in Erbil
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Fort Bend County home health owner charged with copying and pasting doctor signatures
    In Justice News
    A 60-year-old Richmond [Read More…]
  • This Week in Iran Policy
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • 2020 International Women of Courage Award Recipients Announced
    In Women’s News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • COVID-19 Pandemic: Observations on the Ongoing Recovery of the Aviation Industry
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found The COVID-19 pandemic severely affected the aviation and aerospace sectors that depend on commercial passenger travel. As demand for air travel plummeted and remained low throughout 2020, effects cascaded across sectors including U.S. passenger airlines, airports, aviation manufacturers, and repair station operators. For example, in response to reduced demand, airlines parked or retired a substantial portion of their aircraft fleet, which, in turn, reduced demand for aircraft maintenance services. Aircraft Temporarily Stored at Denver International Airport in 2020 In response to the pandemic's effects, aviation stakeholders reported that they acted quickly to mitigate financial losses and position themselves to maintain business viability until demand increased. Stakeholders' actions included: managing costs, such as by implementing early retirement programs; raising funds in the private market to increase liquidity; and taking steps to mitigate COVID-19's spread among employees and customers. Stakeholders also noted the importance of the over $100 billion in payroll support payments, loans, and other financial assistance provided through COVID-19 relief legislation. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported taking quick action to help the aviation industry adjust operations in response to the pandemic. These actions included providing temporary relief from some regulatory requirements—such as airline crewmember medical certifications—and issuing guidance to airlines and airports on mitigating COVID-19 risks. FAA has phased out many of these relief measures. Although airlines experienced a rebound in demand for U.S. leisure travel in 2021, operational challenges and concerns about the COVID-19 Delta variant have slowed recovery. Forecasts suggest that industry recovery will be uneven as business and international air travel—the most profitable segments—are likely to lag. Stakeholders identified areas of concern for policymakers to consider, such as strengthening aviation workforce pipelines, as they determine how or whether to continue to assist the industry in evolving market conditions. Further, developing a national aviation-preparedness plan for communicable disease, as GAO recommended, would provide greater coordination among federal and industry stakeholders and help better prepare the U.S. for future pandemics. Why GAO Did This Study International flight restrictions, local stay-at-home orders, and a general fear of contracting and spreading COVID-19 through air travel had a sudden and profound effect on the U.S. aviation industry. According to Department of Transportation (DOT) statistics, passenger traffic in April 2020 was 96 percent lower system-wide than April 2019, and remained 60 percent below 2019 traffic levels throughout 2020. This report examines (1) immediate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses across the aviation industry; (2) actions those businesses took in response; (3) actions the FAA took to help the industry respond to the pandemic; and (4) the outlook for industry recovery, among other issues. GAO reviewed DOT airline operational and financial data from calendar years 2019 through 2020, financial statements from various aviation-related businesses, FAA regulations and operational guidance, and industry recovery forecasts. GAO conducted a generalizable survey of 1,136 smaller airports. GAO also interviewed officials from FAA and representatives from a judgmental sample of 47 aviation and aerospace industry stakeholders selected based on location and industry sector.
    [Read More…]
  • Priority Open Recommendations: Small Business Administration
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found In April 2020, GAO identified eight priority recommendations for the Small Business Administration (SBA). Since then, SBA has implemented one of these recommendations by developing a process for an organization-wide cybersecurity risk assessment. In April 2021, GAO identified eight additional priority recommendations for SBA, bringing the total number to 15. These recommendations involve the following areas: COVID-19 pandemic response Disaster response Credit elsewhere requirement Export promotion SBA's continued attention to these issues could lead to significant improvements in government operations. Why GAO Did This Study Priority open recommendations are the GAO recommendations that warrant priority attention from heads of key departments or agencies because their implementation could save large amounts of money; improve congressional or executive branch decision making on major issues; eliminate mismanagement, fraud, and abuse; or ensure that programs comply with laws and funds are legally spent, among other benefits. Since 2015, GAO has sent letters to selected agencies to highlight the importance of implementing such recommendations. For more information, contact Daniel Garcia-Diaz at (202) 512-8678 or garciadiazd@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Settles Claims Against California Supermarket Chain and Affiliated Money Lender for Discriminating Against Asylee Worker
    In Crime News
    The Department of Justice today announced that it signed a settlement agreement with Northgate Gonzalez Markets Inc., a California-based supermarket chain, and Northgate Gonzalez Financial LLC d/b/a Prospera Gonzalez, an affiliated payday loan company (collectively, Northgate).
    [Read More…]
  • Soldiers charged with alien smuggling
    In Justice News
    Two Fort Hood active [Read More…]
  • Violence in Jerusalem
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Ned Price, Department [Read More…]
Network News © 2005 Area.Control.Network™ All rights reserved.