January 25, 2022

News

News Network

Secretary Blinken’s Call with Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar

13 min read

Office of the Spokesperson

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke with Indian External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar today to reaffirm the strength of the U.S.-India partnership in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Expressing his appreciation for Indian assistance in America’s time of need, Secretary Blinken reviewed comprehensive ongoing U.S. government efforts in support of the Indian government’s COVID-19 response operations.  He also noted the outpouring of support from U.S. industries, non-governmental institutions, and private citizens for COVID-19 relief efforts in India.  The Secretary offered condolences and noted our concern for those who have lost friends and loved ones during this difficult period.  Secretary Blinken and Minister Jaishankar agreed to remain in close contact.

More from: Office of the Spokesperson

News Network

  • Virginia Tax Return Preparer Sentenced to Just Over 12 Months for Evading Her Own Taxes
    In Crime News
    A Richmond, Virginia, tax return preparer was sentenced yesterday to one year and a day in prison for evading her own taxes.
    [Read More…]
  • Remarks by Attorney General William P. Barr at a Press Conference Announcing the Results of Operation Crystal Shield
    In Crime News
    Remarks as Delivered [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Sues Northern Alabama Housing Authority and Property Owners for Housing Discrimination on the Basis of Race
    In Crime News
    The Justice Department announced today that it has filed a lawsuit alleging that the Housing Authority of Ashland, Alabama, which manages seven federally funded low-income housing complexes, violated the Fair Housing Act by intentionally discriminating on the basis of race or color against applicants for housing.
    [Read More…]
  • Owner and CEO of Government Contracting Firm Pleads Guilty to Bribery Scheme
    In Crime News
    A North Carolina woman pleaded guilty today in the Eastern District of Virginia to engaging in a bribery scheme with a former contracting officer for the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), now known as the U.S. Agency for Global Media.
    [Read More…]
  • Former Mexican police officer gets 30 years for sexually exploiting child
    In Justice News
    A 38-year-old resident [Read More…]
  • DAG Monaco Delivers Remarks at Press Conference on Darkside Attack on Colonial Pipeline
    In Crime News
    Today, the Department of Justice is announcing a significant development in the ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline.
    [Read More…]
  • Joint Statement on the Sixth U.S.-Republic of Korea Information and Communication Technology Policy Forum
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Former Florida Resident Indicted for Tax Evasion and Failing to Report Foreign Bank Accounts
    In Crime News
    A federal grand jury returned an indictment today charging Lucia Andrea Gatta, a former resident of Palm Beach County, Florida, with tax evasion and failing to file Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBARs), among other offenses, announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan for the Southern District of Florida.
    [Read More…]
  • The United States Sanctions Venezuelan Officials Involved in Unjust Sentencing of the Citgo 6
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken With Yalda Hakim of “Impact with Yalda Hakim” on BBC World News
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Tennessee State Senator and Nashville Social Club Owner Indicted for Alleged Campaign Finance Scheme
    In Crime News
    A federal grand jury in Nashville, Tennessee, returned an indictment Friday charging Tennessee State Senator Brian Kelsey and a Nashville social club owner with violating campaign finance laws as part of an alleged scheme to benefit Kelsey’s 2016 campaign for U.S. Congress.
    [Read More…]
  • Black Lung Benefits Program: Continued Inaction on Coal Operator Self-Insurance Increases Financial Risk to Trust Fund
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found The Department of Labor (DOL) took initial steps to implement GAO's recommendations to improve its oversight of self-insured coal mine operators, but its reform effort was hindered by the COVID-19 pandemic and a review of the program by the current administration, according to DOL officials. Black lung benefits are generally paid by liable coal mine operators, and federal law generally requires coal mine operators to secure their black lung benefit liability. Operators are allowed to self-insure if they meet certain DOL conditions. The federal government's Black Lung Disability Trust Fund (Trust Fund) pays benefits when no responsible mine operator can be identified or the liable mine operator does not pay. This can happen, for example, when an operator goes bankrupt. As GAO reported in 2020, the bankruptcies of some self-insured operators that occurred from 2014 through 2016 led to the transfer of $865 million in estimated benefit responsibility to the Trust Fund, according to DOL. This occurs when the amount of collateral DOL requires from a self-insured coal operator does not fully cover the operator's benefit responsibility should the operator become insolvent. Since 2016, several other self-insured operators have also filed for bankruptcy, according to DOL. In February 2020, DOL sent letters to 14 self-insured operators asking them to provide about $251 million in total collateral. Half of the coal operators provided the collateral DOL requested and the other half appealed, according to DOL. DOL officials said their ability to resolve the appeals was hindered by the COVID-19 pandemic and they suspended reviews of coal operator appeals. In December 2020, DOL issued a preliminary bulletin for coal operator self-insurance that described significant changes and included actions that would have addressed GAO's recommendations. For instance, DOL set a goal to resolve coal operator appeals within 90 days after receiving supporting documents or meeting with the operator to discuss their concerns. However, in February 2021, DOL rescinded the preliminary bulletin due to a program review by the current administration, according to DOL officials. DOL officials said they have taken no further actions to resolve appeals or to collect any additional collateral or other information from self-insured operators. As a result, DOL has not obtained about $186 million in requested collateral from self-insured operators that appealed DOL's requested collateral. In addition, one of these operators, Lighthouse Resources, filed for bankruptcy in December 2020; this could result in a transfer of about $2.4 million in estimated benefit responsibility to the Trust Fund, according to DOL. In addition, two operators DOL said no longer met their requirements to self-insure almost two years ago remain self-insured. In November 2021, DOL officials said the current administration's program review is complete, but could not describe any anticipated changes to coal operator self-insurance going forward. Given that the Trust Fund had to borrow about $2.3 billion from the U.S. Treasury in fiscal year 2021 to make needed expenditures, we reiterate that DOL should take action to address our previous recommendations to help prevent additional benefit liabilities from transferring to the Trust Fund. Why GAO Did This Study The Trust Fund, which pays benefits to coal miners disabled due to black lung, faces financial challenges. It has borrowed from the U.S. Treasury's general fund almost every year since 1979 to make needed expenditures. In February 2020, GAO found that DOL's limited oversight of coal mine operator insurance exposed the Trust Fund to additional financial risk. This testimony is based on reports GAO issued in 2020 and 2018. GAO found in 2020 that in overseeing coal operator self-insurance DOL did not (1) estimate future benefit liability when setting the amount of collateral required to self-insure, (2) regularly review operators to assess whether the required amount of collateral should change, or (3) always take action to protect the Trust Fund by revoking an operator's ability to self-insure as appropriate. To obtain updated information for this hearing statement, GAO interviewed DOL officials in November 2021 and reviewed agency documentation.
    [Read More…]
  • Secretary Blinken’s Call with Acting Haitian Prime Minister Joseph
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Couple Who Falsely Claimed to be Farmers Sentenced in $1.1 Million COVID-Relief Fraud
    In Crime News
    More from: June 2, 2021 [Read More…]
  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken with Indian Minister of External Affairs Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar After Their Meeting
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Harnessing Technology to Address Loneliness and Social Isolation
    In Human Health, Resources and Services
    Physical distancing has [Read More…]
  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken To Staff Members and Volunteers from Local Refugee Resettlement Agencies
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Federal Research: Agencies Need to Enhance Policies to Address Foreign Influence
    In U.S GAO News
    U.S. research may be subject to undue foreign influence in cases where a researcher has a foreign conflict of interest (COI). Federal grant-making agencies can address this threat by implementing COI policies and requiring the disclosure of information that may indicate potential conflicts. GAO reviewed five agencies—which together accounted for almost 90 percent of all federal research and development expenditures at universities in fiscal year 2018—and found that three have agency-wide COI policies, while two do not (see figure). The three agencies with existing policies focus on financial interests but do not specifically address or define non-financial interests, such as multiple professional appointments. In the absence of agency-wide COI policies and definitions on non-financial interests, researchers may not fully understand what they need to report on their grant proposals, leaving agencies with incomplete information to assess the risk of foreign influence. GAO found that, regardless of whether an agency has a conflict of interest policy, all five agencies require researchers to disclose information—such as foreign support for their research—as part of the grant proposal that could be used to determine if certain conflicts exist. Elements of Conflict of Interest (COI) Policies at Agencies with the Most Federal Research Expenditures at Universities Based on a review of university documents, GAO found that all 11 of the universities in its sample have publicly available financial and non-financial COI policies for federally funded research. These policies often align with the financial COI policies or requirements of the grant-making agencies. All five agencies have mechanisms to monitor and enforce their policies and disclosure requirements when there is an alleged failure to disclose required information. All agencies rely on universities to monitor financial COI, and most agencies collect non-financial information such as foreign collaborations, that can help determine if conflicts exist. Agencies have also taken actions in cases where they identified researchers who failed to disclose financial or non-financial information. However, three agencies lack written procedures for handling allegations of failure to disclose required information. Written procedures for addressing alleged failure to disclose required information help agencies manage these allegations and consistently apply enforcement actions. In interviews, stakeholders identified opportunities to improve responses to foreign threats to research, such as harmonizing grant application requirements. Agencies have begun to address such issues. The federal government reportedly expended about $42 billion on science and engineering research at universities in fiscal year 2018. Safeguarding the U.S. research enterprise from threats of foreign influence is of critical importance. Recent reports by GAO and others have noted challenges faced by the research community to combat undue foreign influence, while maintaining an open research environment that fosters collaboration, transparency, and the free exchange of ideas. GAO was asked to review federal agency and university COI policies and disclosure requirements. In this report, GAO examines (1) COI policies and disclosure requirements at selected agencies and universities that address potential foreign threats, (2) mechanisms to monitor and enforce policies and requirements, and (3) the views of selected stakeholders on how to better address foreign threats to federally funded research. GAO reviewed laws, regulations, federal guidance, and agency and university COI policies and requirements. GAO also interviewed agency officials, university officials, and researchers. GAO is making nine recommendations to six agencies, including that grant-making agencies address non-financial conflicts of interest in their COI policies and develop written procedures for addressing cases of failure to disclose required information. Five agencies agreed with GAO's recommendations. The National Science Foundation neither agreed nor disagreed with GAO's recommendation, but identified actions it plans to take in response. For more information, contact Candice N. Wright at (202) 512-6888 or wrightc@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • Operation Legend Expanded to Cleveland, Detroit, and Milwaukee
    In Crime News
    Today, the expansion of Operation Legend was announced in Cleveland, Detroit, and Milwaukee. Operation Legend is a sustained, systematic and coordinated law enforcement initiative in which federal law enforcement agencies work in conjunction with state and local law enforcement officials to fight violent crime. The Operation was first launched on July 8 in Kansas City, Missouri, and expanded on July 22, 2020, to Chicago and Albuquerque. Operation Legend is named in honor of four-year-old LeGend Taliferro, who was shot and killed while he slept early in the morning of June 29 in Kansas City. The first federal arrest under Operation Legend was announced on July 20.
    [Read More…]
  • Oil and Gas: Onshore Competitive and Noncompetitive Lease Revenues
    In U.S GAO News
    Pursuant to federal law, the Department of the Interior's (Interior) Bureau of Land Management (BLM) offers leases competitively through auction or noncompetitively for a fee if an adequate bid is not received. Competitive leases for oil and gas development on federal lands produced greater revenues, on average, than noncompetitive leases for fiscal years 2003 through 2019, according to GAO's analysis of revenues reported by Interior's Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR) and leases from BLM. For this period, about 72,800 competitive leases produced about $14.3 billion in revenues—while total of 100,300 leases produced $16.1 billion. Average revenues from competitive leases over this time period were nearly 3 times greater than revenues from noncompetitive leases; about $196,000 and $66,000, respectively. Based on GAO's analysis of leases that started in fiscal years 2003 through 2009, competitive leases produced oil and gas more often than noncompetitive leases during the leases' 10-year primary term. Further, competitive leases with high bonus bids (bids above $100 per acre) were more likely to produce oil and gas in their 10-year primary terms than both competitive leases with lower bonus bids and noncompetitive leases. Specifically, about 26 percent of competitive leases that sold with bonus bids above $100 per acre produced oil and gas and generated royalties in their primary term compared with about 2 percent for competitive leases that sold at the minimum bid of $2 per acre and about 1 percent for noncompetitive leases. GAO's analysis showed that competitive leases with high bonus bids generated over 3 times the amount of cumulative, or total, royalties by the end of their primary term than all other competitive and noncompetitive leases combined (see fig.). Cumulative Royalties from Competitive Leases, by Bonus Bid, and Noncompetitive Leases That Started in Fiscal Years 2003 through 2009 According to BLM, federal onshore oil and gas leases generate about $3 billion annually in federal revenues, including royalties, one-time bonus bid payments, and rents. The Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Reform Act of 1987 requires that public lands available for oil and gas leasing first be offered under a competitive bidding process. BLM offers leases with 10-year primary terms competitively through auction or, if the tract of land does not receive an adequate bid, noncompetitively for a fee. The minimum bid is $2 per acre, and bids at or above the minimum are called bonus bids. ONRR is to collect revenues from oil and gas leases in accordance with the specific terms and conditions outlined in the leases, including revenues from rents and royalties. Lessees are to pay rent annually until production begins on the leased land and then pay royalties as a percentage of oil and gas production. Lease terms may be extended beyond the primary term if, for example, the lease is producing oil or gas. GAO was asked to review oil and gas leasing on federal lands. This report describes oil and gas revenues from competitive and noncompetitive leases for fiscal years 2003 through 2019. GAO analyzed federal lease and revenue data and interviewed Interior officials and four experts knowledgeable about federal oil and gas leasing. To consistently compare leases over their lifecycle, GAO analyzed revenues that occurred within the leases' primary term (first 10 years) for leases that started in fiscal years 2003 through 2009. For more information, contact Frank Rusco at (202) 512-3841 or RuscoF@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]

Crime

Network News © 2005 Area.Control.Network™ All rights reserved.