January 23, 2022

News

News Network

On the Passing of John Pombe Magufuli

9 min read

Ned Price, Department Spokesperson

We extend our condolences to Tanzanians mourning the passing of President John Pombe Magufuli.  We will continue to work with the Government of Tanzania to improve ties between the American and Tanzanian people.  The United States remains committed to continuing to support Tanzanians as they advocate for respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and work to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.  We hope that Tanzania can move forward on a democratic and prosperous path.

More from: Ned Price, Department Spokesperson

News Network

  • Albania Travel Advisory
    In Travel
    Reconsider travel to [Read More…]
  • Conclusion of the Twelfth Round of the Columbia River Treaty Negotiations
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Crumbling Foundations: Extent of Homes with Defective Concrete Is Not Fully Known and Federal Options to Aid Homeowners Are Limited
    In U.S GAO News
    As of December 2019, at least 1,600 homes in Connecticut had confirmed pyrrhotite but the total number of affected homes is likely higher. According to one estimate, 4,000–6,000 more homes in Connecticut could develop crumbling foundations due to pyrrhotite. Affected homeowners may face total remediation costs of $150,000 or more and drops in property values of 25 percent or more. Connecticut established funding to provide homeowners with up to $175,000 towards the cost of foundation replacement, but affected homeowners are typically responsible for about one-third of total repair costs (which can include costs for replacing driveways and porches damaged during foundation replacement). Current funding is expected to assist 1,034 homeowners. Pyrrhotite Damage to a Basement and a Home Being Repaired Due to Pyrrhotite Damage GAO found that highly affected towns lost more than $1.6 million in tax revenue in 2018 due to lost assessment value of the houses affected by pyrrhotite, but town officials told us the losses have not yet significantly affected their budgets. However, officials were concerned that pyrrhotite could have long-term effects on their towns if the number of affected homes increased or homes were not remediated. GAO also found that homes located in highly affected towns and built when pyrrhotite-containing concrete was used sold for significantly less, on average, than similar homes in less-affected towns. Stakeholders told GAO that defaults and foreclosures related to pyrrhotite have been limited to date. Some federal funds have already been used for pyrrhotite testing and GAO identified eight additional federal programs that could be used to help mitigate financial impacts on homeowners. However, most of these programs have eligibility or funding restrictions that limit their potential for this purpose. Stakeholders with whom GAO spoke suggested other federal responses—in particular, declaring pyrrhotite damage a major disaster or establishing a federally backed insurance product. However, the Federal Emergency Management Agency determined that pyrrhotite damage did not qualify as a natural catastrophe, and a federally backed insurance program may not be feasible since it would serve a small population with high expected costs. Certain homes built in northeastern Connecticut and central Massachusetts between 1983 and 2015 have concrete foundations containing the mineral pyrrhotite. Pyrrhotite expands when it is exposed to water and oxygen and, over time, concrete foundations containing pyrrhotite may crack and crumble. The Explanatory Statement accompanying the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019 included a provision for GAO to study the financial impact of pyrrhotite. This report describes (1) what is known about the number of homes affected by pyrrhotite in the region; (2) the financial impact of pyrrhotite on homeowners; (3) the financial effects on towns, local housing markets, and the federal government; and (4) federal options to mitigate pyrrhotite's financial impact on affected homeowners. GAO analyzed data from state, local, and private entities about the extent of pyrrhotite in foundations and associated costs, and federal actions taken in response to pyrrhotite. GAO also interviewed federal, state, and local officials; homeowners; and other stakeholders such as banks and real estate agents. For more information, contact John Pendleton at (202) 512-8678 or pendletonj@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken Remarks at the Workforce Management into Tech Jobs Roundtable
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Rebuilding Iraq: Fiscal Year 2003 Contract Award Procedures and Management Challenges
    In U.S GAO News
    Congress has appropriated more than $20 billion since April 2003 to support rebuilding efforts in Iraq. This complex undertaking, which is occurring in an unstable security environment and under significant time constraints, is being carried out largely through contracts with private-sector companies. As of September 2003, agencies had obligated nearly $3.7 billion on 100 contracts or task orders under existing contracts. Given widespread congressional interest in ensuring that reconstruction contracts are awarded properly and administered effectively, GAO reviewed 25 contract actions that represented about 97 percent of the obligated funds. GAO determined whether agencies had complied with competition requirements in awarding new contracts and issuing task orders and evaluated agencies' initial efforts in carrying out contract administration tasks.Agencies used sole-source or limited competition approaches to issue new reconstruction contracts, and when doing so, generally complied with applicable laws and regulations. Agencies did not, however, always comply with requirements when issuing task orders under existing contracts. For new contracts, the law generally requires the use of full and open competition, where all responsible prospective contractors are allowed to compete, but permits sole-source or limited competition awards in specified circumstances, such as when only one source is available or to meet urgent requirements. All of the 14 new contracts GAO examined were awarded without full and open competition, but each involved circumstances that the law recognizes as permitting such awards. For example, the Army Corps of Engineers properly awarded a sole-source contract for rebuilding Iraq's oil infrastructure to the only contractor that was determined to be in a position to provide the services within the required time frame. The Corps documented the rationale in a written justification, which was approved by the appropriate official. The U.S. Agency for International Development properly awarded seven contracts using limited competition. The Department of State, however, justified the use of limited competition by citing an authority that may not be a recognized exception to competition requirements, although a recognized exception could have been used. There was a lesser degree of compliance when agencies issued 11 task orders under existing contracts. Task orders are deemed by law to satisfy competition requirements if they are within the scope, period of performance, and maximum value of a properly awarded underlying contract. GAO found several instances where contracting officers issued task orders for work that was not within the scope of the underlying contracts. For example, to obtain media development services and various subject matter experts, the Defense Contracting Command-Washington placed two orders using a management improvement contract awarded under the General Services Administration's schedule program. But neither of the two orders involved management improvement activities. Work under these and other orders should have been awarded using competitive procedures or, due to the exigent circumstances, supported by a justification for other than full and open competition. The agencies encountered various contract administration challenges during the early stages of the reconstruction effort, stemming in part from inadequate staffing, lack of clearly defined roles and responsibilities, changing requirements, and security constraints. While some of these issues have been addressed, staffing and security remain major concerns. Additionally, the Army and its contractors have yet to agree on key terms and conditions, including the projected cost, on nearly $1.8 billion worth of reconstruction work that either has been completed or is well under way. Until contract terms are defined, cost risks for the government remain and contract cost control incentives are likely to be less effective.
    [Read More…]
  • Texas Man Arrested for Making Election-Related Threats to Government Officials
    In Crime News
    A Texas man was arrested today in Travis County, Texas, for allegedly sending threatening election-related communications to government officials on Jan. 5, 2021.
    [Read More…]
  • Condemning the October 3 Houthi Missile Attack
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Ned Price, Department [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Resolves Lawsuit Alleging Disability-Based Discrimination at 38 Multifamily Housing Complexes in North Carolina
    In Crime News
     The Justice Department announced that Mills Construction Company Inc. and several related entities have agreed to pay $275,000 to settle claims that they violated the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to build 38 multifamily housing complexes in North Carolina with required accessible features for people with disabilities. As part of the settlement, the defendants also agreed to make extensive retrofits to remove accessibility barriers at the complexes.
    [Read More…]
  • The Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2022
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Department Press Briefing – November 03, 2021
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Ned Price, Department [Read More…]
  • Afghanistan Development: USAID Continues to Face Challenges in Managing and Overseeing U.S. Development Assistance Programs
    In U.S GAO News
    This testimony discusses oversight of U.S. assistance programs in Afghanistan. Strengthening the Afghan economy through development assistance efforts is critical to the counterinsurgency strategy and a key part of the U.S Integrated Civilian-Military Campaign Plan for Afghanistan. Since fiscal year 2002, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded over $11.5 billion in support of development assistance programs in Afghanistan. Since 2003, GAO has issued several reports and testimonies related to U.S. security, governance, and development efforts in Afghanistan. In addition to reviewing program planning and implementation, we have focused on efforts to ensure proper management and oversight of the U.S. investment, which are essential to reducing waste, fraud, and abuse. Over the course of this work, we have identified improvements that were needed, as well as many obstacles that have affected success and should be considered in program management and oversight. While drawing on past work relating to U.S. development efforts in Afghanistan, this testimony focuses on findings in our most recent report released yesterday on the USAID's management and oversight of its agricultural programs in Afghanistan. It will address (1) the challenges the United States faces in managing and overseeing development programs in Afghanistan; and (2) the extent to which USAID has followed its established performance management and evaluation procedures.Various factors challenge U.S. efforts to ensure proper management and oversight of U.S. development efforts in Afghanistan. Among the most significant has been the "high-threat" working environment, the difficulties in preserving institutional knowledge due to the lack of a formal mechanism for retaining and sharing information during staff turnover, and the Afghan government ministries' lack of capacity and corruption challenges. USAID has taken some steps to assess and begin addressing the limited capacity and corruption challenges associated with Afghan ministries. In addition, USAID has established performance management and evaluation procedures for managing and overseeing its assistance programs. These procedures, among other things, require (1) the development of a Mission Performance Management Plan (PMP); (2) the establishment and approval of implementing partner performance indicators and targets; and (3) analyses and use of performance data. Although USAID disseminated alternative monitoring methods for projects in high-threat environments such as Afghanistan, USAID has generally required the same performance management and evaluation procedures in Afghanistan as it does in other countries in which it operates. Summary USAID has not consistently followed its established performance management and evaluation procedures. There were various areas in which the USAID Mission to Afghanistan (Mission) needed to improve upon. In particular, we found that the Mission had been operating without an approved PMP to guide its management and oversight efforts after 2008. In addition, while implementing partners have routinely reported on the progress of USAID's programs, we found that USAID did not always approve the performance indicators these partners were using, and that USAID did not ensure, as its procedures require, that its implementing partners establish targets for each performance indicator. For example, only 2 of 7 USAID-funded agricultural programs active during fiscal year 2009, included in our review, had targets for all of their indicators. We also found that USAID could improve its assessment and use of performance data submitted by implementing partners or program evaluations to, among other things, help identify strengths or weaknesses of ongoing or completed programs. Moreover, USAID needs to improve documentation of its programmatic decisions and put mechanisms in place for program managers to transfer knowledge to their successors. Finally, USAID has not fully addressed the risks of relying on contractor staff to perform inherently governmental tasks, such as awarding and administering grants. In the absence of consistent application of its existing performance management and evaluation procedures, USAID programs are more vulnerable to corruption, waste, fraud, and abuse. We reported in 2009 that USAID's failure to adhere to its existing policies severely limited its ability to require expenditure documentation for Afghanistan-related grants that were associated with findings of alleged criminal actions and mismanaged funds. To enhance the performance management of USAID's development assistance programs in Afghanistan, we have recommended, among other things, that the Administrator of USAID take steps to: (1) ensure programs have performance indicators and targets; (2) fully assess and use program data and evaluations to shape current programs and inform future programs; (3) address preservation of institutional knowledge; and (4) improve guidance for the use and management of USAID contractors. USAID concurred with these recommendations, and identified steps the agency is taking to address them. We will continue to monitor and follow up on the implementation of our recommendations.
    [Read More…]
  • Military Operations: Recent Campaigns Benefited from Improved Communications and Technology, but Barriers to Continued Progress Remain
    In U.S GAO News
    Recent U.S. combat operations in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq benefited from new Department of Defense (DOD) strategies and technologies, such as improvements in force networks and increased use of precision weapons, designed to address changes in the security environment resulting from the continuing terrorist threat and the advent of the information age. Based on the authority of the Comptroller General, GAO reviewed these conflicts, with a focus on bombing operations, to gain insight into the changes being implemented by DOD. This report focuses on (1) assessing the impact on operational effectiveness of improvements in force networks and in the use of precision weapons and (2) identifying key barriers to continued progress.Improvements in force networks and in the use of precision weapons are clearly primary reasons for the overwhelming combat power demonstrated in recent operations. However, the full extent to which operations have been speeded up or otherwise affected is unclear because DOD does not have detailed measures of these effects. Enhancements to networked operations, such as improved sensors and surveillance mechanisms, and more integrated command and control centers, have improved DOD's ability to share a broad view of the battlefield and communicate quickly with all elements of the force--reducing the time required for analysis and decision making in combat operations. However, recognizing that the full impact of these changes is unclear, DOD is conducting a series of case studies to better understand the effects of networked operations. Improvements in force networks have also been enhanced by the use of precision-guided weapons and associated technologies. These improvements not only provide commanders with greatly increased flexibility, such as the ability to conduct bombing operations in poor weather and from higher and safer altitudes, but also increase the accuracy of bombing operations. GAO's analysis found that the percentage of attacks resulting in damage or destruction to targets increased markedly between operations in Kosovo and those in Afghanistan. Notwithstanding these improvements, certain barriers inhibit continued progress in implementing the new strategy. Four interrelated areas stand out as key: (1) a lack of standardized, interoperable systems and equipment, which reduces effectiveness by requiring operations to be slowed to manually reconcile information from multiple systems and limiting access to needed capabilities among military services; (2) continuing difficulties in obtaining timely, high quality analyses of bombing damages, which can slow ground advances and negate other improvements in the speed of operations; (3) the absence of a unified battlefield information system to provide standardized measures and baseline data on bombing effectiveness, which creates confusion about the success of new tactics and technologies, about assumptions used in battlefield simulation programs, and about procurement decisions; and (4) the lack of high quality, realistic training to help personnel at all levels understand and adapt to the increased flow of information, more centralized management, and other changes in the operating environment brought about by the strategic changes.
    [Read More…]
  • Founder of Russian Bank Sentenced for Felony Tax Conviction Arising from Scheme to Evade Exit Tax while Renouncing his U.S. Citizenship
    In Crime News
    The founder of a Russian bank was sentenced today for his felony conviction for filing a false tax return. As required under his plea agreement, prior to sentencing, Oleg Tinkov, aka Oleg Tinkoff, paid $508,936,184, more than double what he had sought to escape paying to the U.S. Treasury through a scheme to renounce his U.S. citizenship and conceal from the IRS large stock gains that he knew were reportable. This includes $248,525,339 in taxes, statutory interest on that tax and a nearly $100 million fraud penalty. Tinkov was additionally fined $250,000, which is the maximum allowed by statute, and sentenced to time served and one year of supervised release.
    [Read More…]
  • On the Anniversary of the Day of Portugal, Camões, and Portuguese Communities
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Estonia Travel Advisory
    In Travel
    Reconsider travel to [Read More…]
  • Department Press Briefing – January 11, 2022
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Ned Price, Department [Read More…]
  • Department of Justice Releases Report on its Efforts to Disrupt, Dismantle, and Destroy MS-13
    In Crime News
    Today, the Department of Justice released “Full Scale Response: A Report on the Department’s Efforts to Combat MS-13 from 2016-2020.”  This report describes the Department’s work to dismantle La Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) in the United States and abroad.  The data show that since 2016, the Department has prosecuted approximately 749 MS-13 gang members.  So far, more than 500 of these MS-13 gang members have been convicted, including 37 who received life sentences.  Department prosecutors are using more than 20 federal criminal statutes to prosecute MS-13 members, including, for the first time, filing terrorism charges against MS-13’s leadership.  The data also show that for decades MS-13 has exploited weaknesses in border enforcement policies, as approximately 74 percent of the defendants prosecuted were unlawfully present in the United States.  The report also describes the Department’s efforts to combat MS-13 internationally through increased partnerships with law enforcement in Mexico and Central America.  Through international cooperation, hundreds of MS-13 members have been arrested abroad and more than 50 MS-13 members have been extradited to the United States.
    [Read More…]
  • Japanese Shipping Company Fined $1.5 Million for Concealing Illegal Discharges of Oily Water
    In Crime News
    Misuga Kaiun Co. Ltd. (MISUGA), a Japanese-based company engaged in international shipping, was sentenced yesterday in federal court before U.S. District Court Judge Paul G. Byron in Orlando, Florida.
    [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Settles Lawsuit Alleging Disability-Based Discrimination in Residential Rental Properties in North Dakota
    In Crime News
    The Department of Justice announced today that Hampton Corporation Inc. and several related individuals and entities have agreed to settle a federal lawsuit alleging that they violated the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to design and construct apartment complexes and a rental office in North Dakota so they are accessible to people with disabilities. The Department of Justice previously resolved claims against the architect and engineer involved in the design of one of the four apartment complexes at issue in the lawsuit.
    [Read More…]
  • Attorney General William P. Barr and DEA Acting Administrator Timothy J. Shea Announce Results of Operation Crystal Shield
    In Crime News
    Nearly 29,000 Pounds of [Read More…]
Network News © 2005 Area.Control.Network™ All rights reserved.