Bloglikes - GAO https://www.bloglikes.com/c/gao en-US Thu, 15 Apr 2021 17:37:22 +0000 Sat, 06 Apr 2013 00:00:00 +0000 FeedWriter FCC Urges Americans To Run Internet Speed App To Counter Broadband Data Fudging http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/WQU64mMzero/fcc-urges-americans-to-run-internet-speed-app-to-counter-broadband-data-fudging

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Wed, 14 Apr 2021 03:00:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs
China's Sinovac vaccine is 50.7% effective against COVID-19, just reaching the threshold to be a vaccine worth using, a major trial showed http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/typepad/alleyinsider/silicon_alley_insider/~3/a0xSPyGrz3A/china-sinovac-vaccine-efficacy-effective-against-covid-with-symptoms-coronavac-2021-4 A nurse shows a COVID-19 vaccine produced by Chinese company Sinovac Biotech at the Sao Lucas Hospital, in Porto Alegre, southern Brazil

SILVIO AVILA/AFP via Getty Images

  • Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine CoronaVac was 50.7% effective against symptomatic COVID-19 in a Brazil trial.
  • The benchmark for a vaccine worth using is 50%.
  • The trial of Sinovac's CoronaVac vaccine tested the shot in more than 12,000 health workers.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The COVID-19 vaccine from Chinese biotech Sinovac is about 50% effective at preventing symptomatic coronavirus, a late-stage trial in Brazil showed.

The two-dose CoronaVac vaccine was safe and 50.7% effective against symptomatic COVID-19, Sinovac's Brazilian partner, Butantan, said in a preprint posted Sunday, confirming top-line results announced by the group in a press release in January.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said April 2020 that a vaccine that was 50% effective in trials was worth using.

Butantan said. that "efficacy to prevent any symptomatic COVID-19 started at 50.7% and became more extensive as disease severity increased." The study authors found CoronaVac was 100% effective against severe COVID-19, but the number of cases was too small for them to be confident in the figure.

The authors noted higher efficacy with more time between doses - 21 days rather than 14 - but didn't provide exact figures.

The study tested the vaccine in more than 12,000 health workers across 16 sites in Brazil.

Read more: COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker: AstraZeneca's shot proves safe and effective, and is headed to the FDA

The vaccine was generally well tolerated. Some people had pain at the injection site and muscle aches.

The study hasn't been scrutinized by experts in a peer review.

Despite the positive results, George Fu Gao, head of the Chinese Center for Disease Prevention and Control, said Saturday that the vaccine wasn't as good as expected.

In Turkey, CoronaVac was 83.5% effective in a study of more than 10,000 participants aged between 19 and 59.

The Brazil study included people over 60 - about 5% of participants - and took place in a country where coronavirus cases are surging.

Brazil has more than 330 new cases per million every day, compared with 206 in the US and 22 in the UK, according to Oxford University's Our World in Data.

Butantan's study doesn't tell us whether or not CoronaVac works against P.1, a variant that has spread in the country: Data collection ended on December 16, and P.1 was first detected in Brazil on December 4.

If it turned out to be variants making CoronaVac less effective, booster shots made by mixing the vaccine with others could help, Gao said.

The vaccine costs about $30 per dose, according to Chinese state media, and can be stored at normal fridge temperatures, so it could be a useful option for low- and middle-income countries struggling to secure vaccines. The WHO said Friday that low income countries had received just 0.2% of the 700 million jabs administered worldwide.

More than 180 million CoronaVac doses have already been sent to 30 low-and-middle income countries, including Brazil, Chile, and the Philippines, according to Butantan.

Read the original article on Business Insider

[Author: cschusterbruce@businessinsider.com (Dr. Catherine Schuster-Bruce)]

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Mon, 12 Apr 2021 08:31:34 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Health UK Science China US Trends Turkey Philippines Healthcare Brazil Who Astrazeneca Vaccine Oxford University World Health Organization WHO GAO Porto Alegre Brazil Chile Sinovac Biotech Sinovac Coronavirus COVID Butantan CoronaVac Catherine Schuster Bruce Sao Lucas Hospital Getty Images Sinovac George Fu Gao Chinese Center for Disease Prevention and Control
DEPC-hosted symposium, "Prioritizing Science Over Fear: An Interdisciplinary Response to Fentanyl Analogues," now available online https://sentencing.typepad.com/sentencing_law_and_policy/2021/04/depc-hosted-symposium-prioritizing-science-over-fear-an-interdisciplinary-response-to-fentanyl-analo.html Fentanyl-Analogues-Conference_for-social_v3As detailed in this press release, a coalition of over drug policy, civil rights, criminal justice and public health organizations are urging Congress and the Biden Administration to allow temporary class-wide emergency scheduling of fentanyl-related substances to expire in May 2021.  This letter to members of Congress on this topic highlights why this issue is, in many ways, a sentencing story because "class-wide scheduling of fentanyl analogues ... expands the application of existing severe mandatory minimum sentencing laws enacted by Congress in the 1980s to a newly scheduled class of fentanyl-related compounds":

For example, just a trace amount of a fentanyl analogue in a mixture with a combined weight of 10 grams — 10 paper clips — can translate into a five-year mandatory minimum, with no evidence needed that the seller even knew it contained fentanyl.  In addition, current laws impose a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years for just a trace amount of a fentanyl analogue in a mixture with a combined weight of less than 10 grams."

The advocacy letter also notes the practical realities of existing laws and concludes with a pitch for the Biden Administration to make good of avowed opposition to mandatory minimum sentencing schemes:

Between 2015 and 2019, prosecutions for federal fentanyl offenses increased by nearly 4,000%, and fentanyl-analogue prosecutions increased a stunning 5,000%.  There are significant racial disparities in these prosecutions, with people of color comprising almost 75% of those sentenced in fentanyl cases in 2019.  This holds true for fentanyl analogues, for which 68% of those sentenced were people of color.  In addition, more than half of all federal fentanyl-analogue prosecutions in 2019 involved a street-level seller or other minor role; only 10.3% of these cases involved the most serious functions."...

The expiration of class-wide scheduling is an opportunity for the Biden administration and Congress to make good on a commitment to end mandatory minimums and embrace a public health approach.  The class-wide scheduling discussion allows Congress and this administration the opportunity to choose a new path on drug policy.  The Biden administration has expressed support for ending mandatory minimums. Allowing this policy to expire aligns with Biden’s stated support of ending mandatory minimums and treating drugs as a public health issue

Last month, the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law had the honor last month of hosting a multi-panel virtual symposium, titled "Prioritizing Science Over Fear: An Interdisciplinary Response to Fentanyl Analogues," which explored these issues at great length with a great set of speakers.  Here was how the event was set up:

In recent years, the illicit drug market around the world has seen a major rise in the production and use of synthetic drugs, including the rapid development of analogues of conventional drugs such as marijuana, amphetamine, and opiates.  Since 2015, fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, and its analogues have increasingly emerged in the illegal drug market in the U.S., most often added to heroin or sold in counterfeit opioid prescription pills.  In 2018, 30,000 overdose deaths in the U.S. involved synthetic opioids.

The purpose of this symposium is to educate advocates, congressional staff, administration officials, and scholars about the possibility that class-wide scheduling of fentanyl analogues will yield unintended consequences, and to highlight evidence-based alternatives that can help reduce overdose deaths. Participants will learn about the relationship between class-wide scheduling and public health policy approaches to dealing with fentanyl analogues and overdose.  Participants will be presented with an intersectional discussion of the issue that examines class-wide scheduling and its impact on the criminal legal system, racial inequities, scientific research, medicine, and evidence-based drug policy.

I am pleased to now be able to report that a transcript and captioned recordings of each panel are available now. 

UPDATE :  The GAO has now released this new report on this topic under the title "Synthetic Opioids: Considerations for the Class-Wide Scheduling of Fentanyl-Related Substances."

In addition, as detailed at this webpage, The US House of Representatives' Subcommittee on Health of the Committee on Energy and Commerce will hold a legislative hearing on Wednesday, April 14, 2021, at 10:30 a.m. via Cisco WebEx entitled, "An Epidemic within a Pandemic: Understanding Substance Use and Misuse in America."  The written testimony of the scheduled witnesses suggests that class-wide scheduling of fentanyl analogues will be a major topic of the hearing.

[Author: Douglas A. Berman]

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Mon, 12 Apr 2021 07:47:36 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Law Congress US America Biden GAO Douglas A Berman Cisco WebEx Ohio State University Moritz College of Law DEPC Biden Administration House of Representatives Subcommittee Committee on Energy and Commerce Interdisciplinary Response to Fentanyl Analogues
The Latest: Michigan pushing for more vaccines amid spike https://www.dailynews.com/2021/04/11/the-latest-michigan-pushing-for-more-vaccines-amid-spike/ By The Associated Press

DETROIT — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vowed to keep pushing the White House for more COVID-19 vaccines as the state experiences a spike in cases.

The Democrat on Sunday told CBS’ “Face The Nation” that she plans to work with the White House but wants to do everything she can to get additional vaccine doses.

President Joe Biden has said Washington will give Michigan more federal resources to support vaccinations and testing but not additional vaccines.

Michigan has the highest rate of new COVID-19 infections in the U.S. The state reported 6,900 cases Saturday and 74 more deaths. Michigan doesn’t report COVID-19 data on Sunday.

___

THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Ecuador, Peru head to polls under strict virus measures

— COVID-19 produces division in the European Union

— Thailand hits new daily record with nearly 1,000 virus cases

— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine

___

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

TORONTO — Canada’s most populous province reported a new single-day high for new infections with nearly 4,460 cases across Ontario.

The latest figures released Sunday also show a sharp rise of new confirmed cases in Toronto, which jumped by nearly 400 to over 1,350.

More than 3.1 million vaccine doses have been administered in Ontario so far. The province has a population of 14.5 million.

___

HONOLULU — The governor of Hawaii issued another emergency proclamation in response to the coronavirus pandemic that extends the statewide eviction moratorium for another two months and details plans for vaccinated travelers.

Democratic Gov. David Ige signed the proclamation Friday extending the statewide moratorium on residential evictions until June 8. It was set to expire Tuesday.

Under the moratorium, landlords are prohibited from evicting tenants for nonpayment.

The emergency proclamation also revealed plans to allow vaccinated travelers to bypass mandatory quarantine and COVID-19 testing.

The provision must receive approval from the director of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.

___

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran on Sunday reported its highest single-day death toll from COVID-19 this year, bringing the country’s total deaths in the pandemic to nearly 64,500, state TV reported.

The report said 258 new deaths were recorded in 24 hours. Iran’s deadliest day of the pandemic was in mid-November, when more than 480 deaths were tallied.

Sunday’s news report said health care officials also confirmed more than 21,060 new COVID-19 cases since the day before, bringing Iran’s total confirmed cases to more than 2,070,000.

On Saturday, Iran began a 10-day lockdown in the capital, Tehran, and other major cities amid a fourth wave of coronavirus infections. Iran’s vaccination campaign has been slow, with some 200,000 doses administered in the country of 84 million people, according to the World Health Organization.

___

BEIJING — In a rare admission of the weakness of Chinese COVID-19 vaccines, the country’s top disease control official says their effectiveness is low and the government is considering mixing them to get a boost.

Chinese vaccines “don’t have very high protection rates,” said the director of the China Centers for Disease Control, Gao Fu, at a conference Saturday in the southwestern city of Chengdu.

Beijing has distributed hundreds of millions of doses abroad while trying to promote doubt about the effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine made using the previously experimental messenger RNA, or mRNA, process.

Officials at a news conference Sunday didn’t respond directly to questions about Gao’s comment or possible changes in official plans. But another CDC official said developers are working on mRNA-based vaccines.

Experts say mixing vaccines, or sequential immunization, might boost effectiveness. Researchers in Britain are studying a possible combination of Pfizer-BioNTech and the traditional AstraZeneca vaccine.

___

PARIS — France’s health minister said Sunday that residents over age 55 will be granted access to COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, which is earlier than had been anticipated.

Health Minister Olivier Veran said citizens in the over-55 age bracket will be eligible for for the AstraZeneca vaccine or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine that is expected to arrive in France a week ahead of schedule.

The shortened timeline comes as France is trying to increase the pace of its vaccination program, which has been criticized as sluggish, and to gain ground on the spread of the more contagious virus variant first identified in Britain.

At the same time, French officials have defended a policy of reserving the AstraZeneca vaccine for people over 55 with serious health problems. Unusual blot clots have been found in a small number of younger recipients of that vaccine.

___

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea says it will resume administrating AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine to all eligible people between the ages of 30 and 60.

Last week, South Korea suspended the use of AstraZeneca vaccines for people under 60 while awaiting the outcome of the European Medicine Agency’s review.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said Sunday it will restart the use of AstraZeneca vaccine beginning Monday, citing studies showing that the vaccine’s benefits outweighs the risk of side effects.

An agency statement said people under 30 will be excluded, as U.K. authorities have recommended they take alternative vaccines.

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Sun, 11 Apr 2021 14:34:33 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs South Korea Cdc Washington France White House Uncategorized Toronto Sport Joe Biden Iran Beijing Britain Soccer Hawaii World Health Organization Astrazeneca Michigan Pfizer Tehran Ontario Paris France Honolulu GAO Toronto Canada Johnson Johnson Detroit Michigan CBS Face the Nation David Ige European Medicine Agency SEOUL South Korea South Korea Ecuador Peru Gretchen Whitmer Gao Fu COVID Olivier Veran Follow AP Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency European Union Thailand China Centers for Disease Control Chengdu Beijing
The Latest: Single-day high for cases in Ontario, Canada https://www.dailynews.com/2021/04/11/the-latest-single-day-high-for-cases-in-ontario-canada/ By The Associated Press

TORONTO — Canada’s most populous province reported a new single-day high for new infections with nearly 4,460 cases across Ontario.

The latest figures released Sunday also show a sharp rise of new confirmed cases in Toronto, which jumped by nearly 400 to over 1,350.

More than 3.1 million vaccine doses have been administered in Ontario so far. The province has a population of 14.5 million.

___

THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Ecuador, Peru head to polls under strict virus measures

— COVID-19 produces division in the European Union

— Thailand hits new daily record with nearly 1,000 virus cases

— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine

___

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

HONOLULU — The governor of Hawaii issued another emergency proclamation in response to the coronavirus pandemic that extends the statewide eviction moratorium for another two months and details plans for vaccinated travelers.

Democratic Gov. David Ige signed the proclamation Friday extending the statewide moratorium on residential evictions until June 8. It was set to expire Tuesday.

Under the moratorium, landlords are prohibited from evicting tenants for nonpayment.

The emergency proclamation also revealed plans to allow vaccinated travelers to bypass mandatory quarantine and COVID-19 testing.

The provision must receive approval from the director of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.

___

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran on Sunday reported its highest single-day death toll from COVID-19 this year, bringing the country’s total deaths in the pandemic to nearly 64,500, state TV reported.

The report said 258 new deaths were recorded in 24 hours. Iran’s deadliest day of the pandemic was in mid-November, when more than 480 deaths were tallied.

Sunday’s news report said health care officials also confirmed more than 21,060 new COVID-19 cases since the day before, bringing Iran’s total confirmed cases to more than 2,070,000.

On Saturday, Iran began a 10-day lockdown in the capital, Tehran, and other major cities amid a fourth wave of coronavirus infections. Iran’s vaccination campaign has been slow, with some 200,000 doses administered in the country of 84 million people, according to the World Health Organization.

___

BEIJING — In a rare admission of the weakness of Chinese COVID-19 vaccines, the country’s top disease control official says their effectiveness is low and the government is considering mixing them to get a boost.

Chinese vaccines “don’t have very high protection rates,” said the director of the China Centers for Disease Control, Gao Fu, at a conference Saturday in the southwestern city of Chengdu.

Beijing has distributed hundreds of millions of doses abroad while trying to promote doubt about the effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine made using the previously experimental messenger RNA, or mRNA, process.

Officials at a news conference Sunday didn’t respond directly to questions about Gao’s comment or possible changes in official plans. But another CDC official said developers are working on mRNA-based vaccines.

Experts say mixing vaccines, or sequential immunization, might boost effectiveness. Researchers in Britain are studying a possible combination of Pfizer-BioNTech and the traditional AstraZeneca vaccine.

___

PARIS — France’s health minister said Sunday that residents over age 55 will be granted access to COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, which is earlier than had been anticipated.

Health Minister Olivier Veran said citizens in the over-55 age bracket will be eligible for for the AstraZeneca vaccine or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine that is expected to arrive in France a week ahead of schedule.

The shortened timeline comes as France is trying to increase the pace of its vaccination program, which has been criticized as sluggish, and to gain ground on the spread of the more contagious virus variant first identified in Britain.

At the same time, French officials have defended a policy of reserving the AstraZeneca vaccine for people over 55 with serious health problems. Unusual blot clots have been found in a small number of younger recipients of that vaccine.

___

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea says it will resume administrating AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine to all eligible people between the ages of 30 and 60.

Last week, South Korea suspended the use of AstraZeneca vaccines for people under 60 while awaiting the outcome of the European Medicine Agency’s review.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said Sunday it will restart the use of AstraZeneca vaccine beginning Monday, citing studies showing that the vaccine’s benefits outweighs the risk of side effects.

An agency statement said people under 30 will be excluded, as U.K. authorities have recommended they take alternative vaccines.

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Sun, 11 Apr 2021 11:46:11 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs South Korea Cdc France Uncategorized Toronto Sport Iran Beijing Britain Soccer Hawaii World Health Organization Astrazeneca Associated Press Pfizer Tehran Ontario Paris France Honolulu GAO Toronto Canada Johnson Johnson Ontario Canada David Ige European Medicine Agency SEOUL South Korea South Korea Ecuador Peru Gao Fu COVID Olivier Veran Follow AP Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency European Union Thailand China Centers for Disease Control Chengdu Beijing
How American guns help Mexican cartels overwhelm Mexico's police and military http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/typepad/alleyinsider/silicon_alley_insider/~3/DTPnf_GeH40/guns-sold-legally-in-us-used-in-crimes-in-mexico-2021-4 Suspects stand behind seized guns at a press conference in Tijuana, Mexico, March 24, 2010.

AP Photo/Guillermo Arias

  • About 70% of guns used in crimes in Mexico that are seized and traced originated in the US.
  • Weapons sent illegally from the US to Mexico and used by criminal groups are overwhelming Mexican security forces.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Ciudad Juarez, MEXICO - Almost 50 years after Mexico's first law to restrict the use of firearms was implemented in an attempt to keep the country at peace, Mexico finds itself flooded with foreign weapons.

Mexico's prohibitive laws against firearms have not stopped thousands of weapons from being used in its streets, directly threatening its own security forces.

About 70% of guns used in crimes in Mexico that are seized and traced originated in the US, according to an updated Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on efforts to combat firearms trafficking from the US to Mexico.

The weapons sent illegally from the US to Mexico and used by criminal groups are now overwhelming security forces in most Mexican states, and it is "almost impossible" to fight back, a state police officer in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas told Insider.

A Mexican police officer is killed by a gun every 16 hours, despite their own heavy armor and armament, according to a 2020 report by Causa en Común, a nonprofit organization focused on security issues in Mexico.

Mexico City forensic crime scene gun Mexican forensic experts observe a gun used in an assault in La Condesa neighborhood of Mexico City, May 6, 2019

PEDRO PARDO/AFP via Getty Images

Heavily armed military personnel have been deployed throughout Mexico to fight crime, but state and local police forces, many of which are riven by corruption, are outgunned by criminals and face other challenges, such as low pay.

Criminal groups "are using military tactics and equipment like tanks, landmines, rocket-launchers. It is getting to a point where we are not equipped enough to fight back, and most of the time we rather leave than stay to fight," the officer said, speaking anonymously to avoid retaliation.

English journalist Ioan Grillo, who has covered crime in Mexico for more than 20 years, says most of the automatic weapons sold legally in the US end up in the wrong hands in Mexico, driving armed conflict there.

"At least 200,000 guns cross illegally from the US into Mexico every year," Grillo told Insider.

Drug cartels use high-powered firearms, such as .50-caliber rifles, that can rip through armored vehicles, as well as weapons capable of shooting down government helicopters, as happened in Michoacan in 2016.

Grillo's new book, "Blood, Gun, Money," examines how Mexico's biggest challenge has its origins in the US.

"Mexico is now dealing with a hybrid armed conflict fueled by the 'iron river' flowing south of the border," Grillo said. "This needs to be addressed and stopped by both countries."

Mexico guns rifles firearms Hundreds of firearms on display before being destroyed at the Morelos military headquarters in Tijuana, Mexico, August 12, 2016.

GUILLERMO ARIAS/AFP via Getty Images

Rep. Gregory Meeks, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a press release that firearms trafficking to Mexico is "out of control" and urged Congress to "move quickly to crack down" on it.

"Neither Mexico nor the United States can solve these challenges alone and I look forward to continue working on these issues with [Sen. Dick] Durbin and our partners in Mexico," Meeks said. (Meeks and Durbin requested the updated GAO update.)

This armed conflict has its deepest roots in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez, where the vast majority of those more than 200,000 guns come across from Texas, which has a strong gun culture.

"Ciudad Juarez has become the number-one for illegal guns trafficking into Mexico," Grillo said.

Ciudad Juarez was known as the "murder capital of the world" in the late 2000s, when violence largely related to organized crime caused more than 13 murders a day, according to official figures.

During four years of research for his book, Grillo interviewed an illegal arms trafficker at a local prison in Ciudad Juarez, who described how Mexican cartels benefit from the US's permissive gun laws.

"This trafficker thought gun shows in Texas were illegal because of how easy it was to get a hold of powerful firearms," Grillo said. "They enter gun shows in places like El Paso and buy firearms from alleged collectors who are selling all kinds of guns without asking for any documentation."

Texas Ft. Worth gun show Guns for sale at a gun show in Fort Worth, Texas, July 10, 2016.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A hitman, or sicario, for the Juarez Cartel interviewed by Insider confirmed the use of gun shows to supply his organization and described how they traffic arms into Mexico.

"There are some people [with clean records] we send to El Paso or to Tucson to legally buy guns or ammo in small quantities ... and then we traffic them little by little," he said.

"But the real firepower, we get it from dealers who have the permits to sell military-grade weaponry," the man said.

The sicario also said they buy "heavy weaponry" from "private security agencies" or even from members of the US military.

"If [the guns] are trafficked through Juarez, we disassemble them and put them inside old fridges or a bunch of scrap [metal], and we pay Mexican customs to let all the scrap into Mexico. When it is through Arizona, we bring them all the way from Vegas in containers and smuggle them through the desert," he said.

But while he points to gun shows and gun stores in the US, some gun owners point further up the chain.

Former Las Vegas gun dealer Wesley Felix accuses the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) of framing him and his family during Operation Fast and Furious, a federal investigation between 2009 and 2011 that allowed illegal gun sales so authorities could track their buyers and sellers.

"In my family's case, the ATF knowingly worked with known criminals and used a confidential informant to illegally purchase many firearms without our consent or knowledge," Felix said, adding that he believes his store was targeted because it sold class-three weapons, which includes machine guns, short-barreled rifles and shotguns, and silencers.

Mexico guns for peace A boy looks at one of the sculptures in an exhibition called Guns for Peace at Bishopric Hill in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state, Mexico, March 31, 2015.

Julio Cesar Aguilar/AFP via Getty Images

Felix recently sent a letter with more than 30 pages of documents to the Mexican government addressing this issue. Insider obtained a copy of the letter and documents and confirmed their receipt through a Mexican diplomatic source.

In March 2016, the US Justice Department said it and the ATF "deeply regret[ed]" that firearms related to Operation Fast and Furious were used in violent crimes, "particularly crimes resulting in the deaths of civilians and law enforcement officials."

Felix believes the problem facing Mexico as it grapples with drug-related violence is not cartels or even gun shops like his but "the biggest cartel, which is the US Department of Justice."

But Grillo said a solution will rely on actions by the US and Mexico and that one country alone will never end illegal arms trafficking.

"Gun culture is rooted inside the US. It is very different from what happens in Mexico. But this issue has to be addressed by both countries. Both of them need to stop the iron river," said Grillo.

Read the original article on Business Insider

[Author: insider@insider.com (Luis Chaparro)]

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Fri, 02 Apr 2021 09:22:17 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Politics Texas Guns Congress Mexico US International Trends United States Mexico City Arizona Gun Sales Vegas El Paso Firearms FELIX Fort Worth Texas GAO US Department of Justice Juarez Tucson MichoacAn Meeks Ioan Grillo ATF Government Accountability Office GAO Ciudad Juarez House Foreign Affairs Committee Durbin Tijuana Mexico US Justice Department Morelos Tamaulipas US Mexico Grillo Pedro PARDO Monterrey Nuevo Leon Gregory Meeks Spencer Platt Getty Guillermo Arias La Condesa Juarez Cartel Wesley Felix Julio Cesar AGUILAR Dick -RSB- Durbin Mexican drug cartels Military & Defense News Contributor Mildef freelance Mexico homicides Luis Chaparro Guns Smuggling Firearm Smuggling Causa en Común Getty Images Heavily Former Las Vegas Bishopric Hill Getty Images Felix
United States: GAO Finds That Bid Was Reasonable Despite Its 43% Price Premium - Taft Stettinius & Hollister https://www.mondaq.com/Article/1053248 Thu, 01 Apr 2021 01:54:21 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs News United States Hollister GAO Taft Stettinius California needs to reform nurse licensing requirements https://www.dailynews.com/2021/03/31/california-needs-to-reform-nurse-licensing-requirements/ Nurses shouldn’t need to alert a state legislator to get a license to help people.

For the last year, nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals have been on the frontlines fighting a once-in-a-century virus sweeping the United States. This pandemic has required Americans to make sacrifices big and small to stop the spread. And it has exacerbated shortages in the medical community.

Courtney Gramm is a nurse practitioner who specializes in diabetes. Her husband is serving our country in the United States Air Force. Because her husband’s military career required them to move from Florida to California, she was delayed in obtaining her nurse practitioner license. Without the license, she wasn’t able to do the job she was trained and hired to do. She was unable to assist in managing patients with diabetes, which is a significant risk factor for developing severe COVID infection requiring hospitalization.

As a new resident to California, she is required to receive a license to practice as a nurse practitioner. While there is a compact between 34 states to allow registered nurses to work in multiple states without relicensing, there is no compact for nurse practitioners. As a nurse practitioner, she has additional training and skill in diagnosing and treating health conditions and assisting patients with management of their chronic disease, and is licensed to order diagnostic tests and prescriptions.

California required Gramm to first get her registered nurse license, which she told me involved a $350 application fee, getting fingerprinted, submitting transcripts, and paying $30 for a license verification check. This took 12 weeks. Then she applied for her nurse practitioner license at a cost of more than $900 for the different requirements. After 17 weeks, she finally contacted her California State Assemblymember, Mark Stone, who contacted the California Board of Registered Nursing on her behalf. This spurred action. After a total of 30 weeks, more than $1000, and a call to her state legislator, she obtained her nurse practitioner license. That’s more than six months.

Her husband’s assignment in California is only 18 months long.

There was no additional testing, just fees and paperwork. She was already certified by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

All she wants to do is help people:

“When I see someone in need of help, my intuition and training as a nurse all but launch me toward that person,” she says. “I have studied, trained, and worked hard so I am prepared for a situation like the one the pandemic presented where skilled and resolved workers were needed to aid those who were ill. It was vexing, and cloyingly ironic, to be a medical professional on the sidelines during a pandemic for no better reason than regulatory red tape.”

Gramm is one of the many military spouses whose careers are interrupted by state licensing requirements and whose lives would be improved with more licensing reciprocity. The non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently issued a report at the request of the House Armed Services Committee addressing state licensing practices and military spouse employment.

Related Articles

According to the report, “About one in four spouses reported that, for their most recent military-related move (PCS), obtaining a credential necessary for employment was a problem. Among unemployed spouses, an even higher proportion (38%) reported that obtaining a credential was a problem during their most recent PCS move.”

GAO also reported that more than 90 percent of the estimated 605,000 military spouses of active duty servicemembers in 2018 were women, so state licensing requirements disproportionately impact women when it comes to military moves.

Some states have suspended licensing requirements to address the pandemic. This is a time to review and eliminate unnecessary state occupational licensing laws and reform how states treat professionals who are licensed in other states.

Karin A. Lips is the founder and president of the Network of Enlightened Women, which educates women on conservative principles. She is a senior fellow with the Independent Women’s Forum and editor of “She’s Conservative: Stories of Trials and Triumphs on America’s College Campuses.” Follow her on Twitter @klips.

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Wed, 31 Mar 2021 13:41:28 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Florida California Opinion America Sport Soccer United States Biden GAO House Armed Services Committee Government Accountability Office GAO Karin Bonta Gramm Becerra Guest Commentary Independent Women 's Forum Network of Enlightened Women Courtney Gramm American Association of Nurse Practitioners All
Trump-era stimulus let corporations claim $14 billion in tax refunds, watchdog says http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/typepad/alleyinsider/silicon_alley_insider/~3/iZ6HniB8obM/corporations-tax-break-refunds-billions-coronavirus-stimulus-irs-gao-report-2021-3

Chip Somodevilla /Staff/Getty Images

  • Tax breaks included in the CARES Act let corporations receive $14 billion in refunds, the GAO said.
  • Roughly 1,200 firms received refunds worth more than $1 million, according to the Wednesday report.
  • The CARES Act won bipartisan support, but Democrats have since slammed the breaks as poorly targeted.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will dole out $14 billion in tax refunds to corporations thanks to controversial provisions included in last year's CARES Act, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said Wednesday.

The $2.2 trillion stimulus package signed by President Donald Trump in the early stages of the pandemic included a swath of measures aimed at reducing tax burdens for struggling businesses. Tenets included carrybacks for business losses and refunds linked to the Alternative Minimum Tax.

The IRS has already received more than 41,000 cases from businesses looking to access refunds through either, or both, of the two tax breaks, according to a GAO report. Roughly $14 billion in related refunds were approved by the end of last year. Of that, about $11 billion has already been distributed.

Yet while the tax breaks included in the CARES Act were touted as ways to keep small businesses afloat, many of the companies filing for relief are winning massive refunds. Nearly 3,000 companies filing for refunds received between $100,000 and $999,000, according to the report. And roughly 1,200 firms got refunds worth more than $1 million.

Bloomberg first reported on the tax break.

US tax law allows businesses to use net operating losses from unprofitable years to cancel out future tax bills in a carryover process. The CARES Act widened this provision to allow operating losses to be carried back as far as five years, effectively letting companies hit by the pandemic dodge some tax burdens.

The CARES Act passed in March 2020 on a nearly unanimous basis, but Democrats have since criticized some of its tax breaks for issuing relief to wealthy companies and Americans. Some lawmakers have even called for the measures to be repealed.

Republicans, however, have pointed out that Democrats backed the bill's passage and that similar policies have been used in past downturns.

The GAO's report suggests the $14 billion in approved refunds are the tip of the iceberg for CARES-related tax breaks. IRS officials said in late January they received more than 12,000 more applications for carrybacks and credit refunds, but that they aren't yet sure how many are related to the CARES Act. A backlog of revised tax returns could also add to the total amount refunded to corporations, the GAO said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

[Author: bwinck@businessinsider.com (Ben Winck)]

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Wed, 31 Mar 2021 13:12:37 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs US Trends Bloomberg Democrats Donald Trump Irs Trump GAO Government Accountability Office GAO Internal Revenue Service IRS Ben Winck
646 Pilot Shop http://www.airplanegeeks.com/2021/03/24/646-pilot-shop/ Our guest is Sporty’s Pilot Shop vice president John Zimmerman. In the news, startup airlines are launching during the pandemic, data on General Aviation shipments, and F-35 software upgrade issues. Also, the recent Blue Bonnet airshow, how to notify the FAA of construction activity, and a hush kit for the Gulfstream.

Guest John Zimmerman, VP Sporty’s Pilot Shop

John Zimmerman is a pilot and a vice president at Sporty’s Pilot Shop. Before becoming an employee, John learned to fly at a Cincinnati airport and regularly attended Sporty’s famous hot dog cookouts. Today as a vice president, he’s responsible for new product development and marketing. John regularly flies a Citabria, a Pilatus PC-12, and a Robinson R44 helicopter. He is an ATP and also holds ratings for multi-engine, seaplanes, gliders, and helicopters. John is also editor-in-chief of Air Facts and a contributing editor at Flying Magazine.

John tells us the Sporty’s story that started 60 years ago. It’s a company where the employees are pilots who use the products they sell. We look at the challenges of the last twelve months and consider the strength of the demand for flight training. John explains how Sporty’s Pilot Shop has responded to training technology that has changed over the years – from videotapes to streaming media.

We also learn about Sporty’s iPad Pilot News, the monthly email newsletter where you can find tips and tricks for using your favorite apps, stay up to date on the latest iPad news, read detailed reviews of new apps, and learn about new iPad accessories and specials.

Aviation News How to launch an airline during a global pandemic

At least three airlines are planning to start operations in 2021: Norwegian low-cost startup Flyr, UK startup Flypop, and Breeze Airways in the US. Flyr will focus on the Norwegian family and leisure market with the Boeing 737-800. Flypop will offer low-cost long-haul flights with the Airbus A330. Breeze Airways from airline entrepreneur David Neeleman will target the US leisure travel market with the Airbus A220-300 and some Embraer E190 and E195 aircraft.

Does Reduced Airline Capacity Give General Aviation And Business Jets More Opportunity?

Global business aviation is reported to be “back to 85% of pre-COVID-19 levels” while the U.S. business aviation market is down just 7% and charter flights are up 4%. Former first class passengers are turning to business jets and some travelers are looking at charter memberships and jet cards.

General Aviation Airplane Shipments Fall Off 10 Percent for 2020

In 2020, the overall GA industry saw 9.7 percent fewer shipments. Billings fell 14.8 percent. GAMA’s executive committee chairman, Nicolas Chabbert, said, “I must say that these figures are not representing the level of demand, which stays very high and are moderated by our ability to deliver as a global industry.” Supply chain constraints are limiting shipments, as well as company efforts to fight the pandemic and keep employees safe.

Block 4 Software Issues Could Cause F-35 Capability Delays, Costly Retrofits

The Government Accountability Office issued a 67-page report to Congress, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, DOD Needs to Update Modernization Schedule and Improve Data on Software Development (PDF). The F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter is DOD’s most expensive weapon system program. Congress directed the GAO to review the F-35 program which is 3 years into a development effort to modernize the F-35 aircraft’s capabilities. GAO is making three recommendations to DOD: that DOD update its modernization schedule to reflect achievable time frames, identify and implement tools to enable automated data collection on software development performance, and set software quality performance targets. DOD agreed with GAO’s recommendations.

Mentioned

Valerie Insinna, Defense News’ air warfare reporter. On Twitter: @ValerieInsinna.

The Marshalling Detachment of the Commemorative Air Force

Adventure Flying podcast, Flying Over the Swiss Alps in a PA-28 with Launchpad Marzari. 

Obstruction Evaluation / Airport Airspace Analysis (OE/AAA) The FAA website where a project proponent can determine if they need to notify the FAA about a contemplated construction.

What is the Waffle House Index?

Hubbard Aviation hush kit. Support

You can support the Airplane Geeks podcast by making a donation.

The post 646 Pilot Shop appeared first on Airplane Geeks Podcast.

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Wed, 24 Mar 2021 08:25:13 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs UK Congress US Aviation Airbus John F-35 Faa Boeing Flyr Cincinnati Dod GAO Swiss Alps CAF Embraer Government Accountability Office Defense News David Neeleman Gama Episodes Sporty Citabria John Zimmerman General Aviation Valerie Insinna Breeze Airways Sporty's Flypop Hubbard Aviation Pilot Shop Sporty 's Pilot Shop Sporty 's Pilot Shop Before Air Facts Flying Magazine John Airbus A330 Breeze Airways Nicolas Chabbert
Biden under fire for border wall cash freeze https://upstract.com/p/pb5bbzkq?ref=rss&rd=1 Tue, 23 Mar 2021 20:40:37 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Biden GAO US Grid At Rising Risk To Cyberattack, Says GAO http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/Qt_hn1J30wU/us-grid-at-rising-risk-to-cyberattack-says-gao

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Fri, 19 Mar 2021 21:25:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs US Tech Department Of Energy GAO Hill Government Accountability Office GAO Energy Department
Biden border wall freeze unlawful, 40 GOP senators tell GAO in letter https://upstract.com/p/2jwaecr2?ref=rss&rd=1 Wed, 17 Mar 2021 12:22:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Gop Biden GAO Government Accountability Office Marine Corps gets rid of men's-only allowance for underwater after audit finds inequities in uniform costs http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/typepad/alleyinsider/silicon_alley_insider/~3/nF9vkFt3FNk/marine-corps-ends-mens-only-underwear-allowance-after-audit-2021-3

Cpl. Angelica Annastas/US Marine Corps

  • The Marine Corps has removed an allowance for underwear that was only given to men and adding a new allowance for women's dress shoes.
  • The changes come after an audit that revealed systemic inequities in clothing and uniform costs for male and female service members.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

The Marine Corps has removed a clothing replacement allowance for underwear that was only allotted to men and added a new replacement allowance for female dress pumps following an audit of policy.

A Government Accountability Office report released this month revealed systemic inequities in out-of-pocket clothing and uniform costs for male and female service members - a reality colloquially known as the "Pink Tax."

The watchdog organization found that some enlisted women paid more than $8,000 out of pocket over the course of a career for clothing, while some men actually ended up with allowance overages they could pocket. The disparity, the GAO found, was largely the result of the higher costs of some women's uniform items, and costs of essentials not included in clothing calculations that were higher across the board for women.

The investigation also prompted the individual military services to review their own policies and calculations. For the Marine Corps, this resulted in the discovery of inequity and a move to change.

"Beginning in fiscal year 2021, enlisted [Marine] males will no longer receive an annualized standard cash clothing replacement allowance for underwear, according to the officials," GAO officials wrote in their report. "Currently, males receive an annualized standard cash clothing replacement allowance for their underwear, but females do not."

Women Marine Karate Recruits watch a Marine Corps Martial Arts demonstration, July 21, 2011.

Lance Cpl. Francisco Abundes /US Marines Corps

The report added that there had been no annualized replacement allowance for female Marines' dress pumps, even though they were listed as a required uniform item. Going forward, it said, there would be an additional replacement allowance, apart from the current $50 one-time allotment.

"According to officials, this was an oversight and the Marine Corps plans to fix this to ensure female enlisted service members receive an annualized standard cash clothing allowance for dress pumps," GAO officials wrote.

A spokesman for the Marine Corps Uniform Board and Marine Corps Installations and Logistics, Master Sgt. Andrew Pendracki, told Military.com via email that underwear was issued to Marines in their initial sea bag and was considered a personal item to be purchased at the individual's expense following recruit training.

"During the GAO audit, it was noted that male Marines were receiving an annual replacement allowance to maintain drawers as late as [fiscal year 2020]," he said. "A review of past annual Minimum Requirement Lists (MRL) indicated that the drawers have not been on the MRL for at least 20 years and, as such, a clothing replacement allowance should not have been paid."

A similar allowance did not exist for female Marines.

The annualized line item for men's underwear is not much: 72 cents, Pendracki said. It will be removed in the fiscal 2022 MRL, he noted.

The new annualized allowance for women's dress pumps may make a more substantial difference to Marines' wallets: Female Marines will now get $16.66 per year to maintain and replace their dress shoes.

In the GAO report, officials emphasized that the root issue was equity: equal pay for equal work.

"The equity principle also calls for the concept of equal pay for substantially equal work under the same general working conditions," the report states. " ... Specifically, comparability refers to the specific items of basic pay, basic pay-related items, allowances, and benefits."

- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.

Read the original article on Business Insider

[Author: insider@insider.com (Hope Hodge Seck)]

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Sat, 06 Mar 2021 10:36:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Trends Marine Corps Marines Women In The Military GAO US Marine Corps Government Accountability Office MRL Pay Disparity Gender Disparity Military & Defense Contributors Military & Defense News Contributor Military.com Hope Hodge Seck Cpl Angelica Annastas US Marine Corps Marine Corps Martial Arts Lance Cpl Francisco Abundes US Marines Corps Marine Corps Uniform Board Marine Corps Installations Andrew Pendracki Pendracki
Dino ‘Parasites’ Trapped in Amber Are Not What They Appear to Be, Say Scientists https://gizmodo.com/dino-parasites-trapped-in-amber-are-not-what-they-app-1846414344

Scientists are challenging the reported discovery of fossilized lice-like bugs crawling through dinosaur feathers, but the original researchers are standing by their interpretation. Y’all know what this means, right? Science fight!

Read more...

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Fri, 05 Mar 2021 10:32:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Science Insects GAO Dino David Grimaldi Feather Parasitism Delusional Parasitosis Scale insect Chung Kun Shih Mandible Hexapoda Burmese Amber Louse Taiping Gao Isabelle Vea Mesophthirus Engeli
GAO-21-212, Data Center Optimization: Agencies Report Progress and Billions Saved, but OMB Needs to Improve Its Utilization Guidance, March 04, 2021 https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-21-212?source=ra Thu, 04 Mar 2021 12:00:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs GAO OMB Office of Management and Budget OMB Data Center Optimization Initiative DCOI Data Center Optimization GAO-21-208, Heavy Lift Helicopter Program: Navy Should Address Cost and Schedule Risks, March 04, 2021 https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-21-208?source=ra Thu, 04 Mar 2021 12:00:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Navy GAO GAO-21-358, Warfighter Support: DOD Needs a Complete Picture of the Military Services' Prepositioning Programs, March 04, 2021 https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-21-358?source=ra Thu, 04 Mar 2021 12:00:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Dod GAO Indo Pacific Military Services Prepositioning Programs GAO-21-179, Weapon Systems Cybersecurity: Guidance Would Help DOD Programs Better Communicate Requirements to Contractors, March 04, 2021 https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-21-179?source=ra Thu, 04 Mar 2021 12:00:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Dod GAO Department of Defense DOD Weapon Systems Cybersecurity DOD Programs Better Communicate Requirements GAO-21-146, Aviation Security Technology: TSA Lacks Outcome-oriented Performance Measures and Data to Help Reach Objectives to Diversify its Marketplace, March 03, 2021 https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-21-146?source=ra Wed, 03 Mar 2021 12:00:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Tsa Transportation Security Administration GAO GAO-21-409T, Drug Safety: FDA's Future Inspection Plans Need to Address Issues Presented by COVID-19 Backlog, March 04, 2021 https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-21-409T?source=ra Wed, 03 Mar 2021 12:00:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Fda GAO Food and Drug Administration FDA GAO-21-412T, COVID-19 Pandemic: Preliminary Observations on Efforts toward and Factors Affecting the Aviation Industry's Recovery, March 02, 2021 https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-21-412T?source=ra Tue, 02 Mar 2021 12:00:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Airlines GAO GAO-21-384T, High-Risk Series: Dedicated Leadership Needed to Address Limited Progress in Most High-Risk Areas, March 02, 2021 https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-21-384T?source=ra Tue, 02 Mar 2021 12:00:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs GAO GAO-21-383T, High-Risk Series: Dedicated Leadership Needed to Address Limited Progress in Most High-Risk Areas, March 02, 2021 https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-21-383T?source=ra Tue, 02 Mar 2021 12:00:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs GAO GAO-21-119SP, High-Risk Series: Dedicated Leadership Needed to Address Limited Progress in Most High-Risk Areas, March 02, 2021 https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-21-119SP?source=ra Tue, 02 Mar 2021 12:00:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs GAO GAO-21-251, Tax Filing: Actions Needed to Address Processing Delays and Risks to the 2021 Filing Season, March 01, 2021 https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-21-251?source=ra Mon, 01 Mar 2021 12:00:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs GAO Internal Revenue Service IRS GAO-21-311R, Federal Protective Service: Projected Outcomes of the New Fee Structure on Tenant Agencies' Costs, March 01, 2021 https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-21-311R?source=ra Mon, 01 Mar 2021 12:00:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs FPS GAO Department of Homeland Security DHS Federal Protective Service FPS Federal Protective Service GAO-21-259, Forced Labor: CBP Should Improve Communication to Strengthen Trade Enforcement, March 01, 2021 https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-21-259?source=ra Mon, 01 Mar 2021 12:00:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs CBP Forced labor GAO Border Protection CBP Department of Homeland Security s U S Customs GAO-21-37, Man-Made Chemicals and Potential Health Risks: EPA Has Completed Some Regulatory-Related Actions for PFAS, January 27, 2021 https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-21-37?source=ra Mon, 01 Mar 2021 12:00:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Epa GAO Environmental Protection Agency EPA Man Made Chemicals GAO-21-252, Medicare Part B: Payments and Use for Selected New, High-Cost Drugs, March 01, 2021 https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-21-252?source=ra Mon, 01 Mar 2021 12:00:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Medicare GAO