September 25, 2021

News

News Network

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

13 min read

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

December 3 is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, a fitting occasion for the United States to reaffirm its commitment to, and support for, the full inclusion of persons with disabilities in daily life of the community. We point with pride to robust public and private enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act and to other federal, state, and local laws that guarantee open and equal access to facilities, markets, jobs, goods, and services.

It is also a fitting occasion to reaffirm that all members of the human family are “created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Each individual must have an equal opportunity to develop his or her unique talents and must be free to pursue their dreams.

We applaud the participation and leadership of persons with disabilities and their representative organizations in efforts to assure equal access and opportunity, and we recognize those whose vision and hard work are the basis for the technologies on which we rely to ensure that no one is left behind.

On this International Day of Persons with Disabilities, I am proud to announce the opening of the Access Center at the U.S. Department of State, an interactive facility showcasing assistive technologies that remove barriers for our employees with disabilities. The United States reaffirms our commitment to promoting and protecting the human rights of all and to achieving equal opportunity in education, employment, and participation in civic life for persons with disabilities.

More from: Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

News Network

  • Embassy Construction: State Has Made Progress Constructing New Embassies, but Better Planning Is Needed for Operations and Maintenance Requirements
    In U.S GAO News
    In response to 2 bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998, the Department of State embarked on a $21 billion program to replace 201 insecure and dilapidated diplomatic facilities. In November 2004, GAO reported that State's Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO), which manages the construction program, had implemented reforms to its planning, design, construction, and funding processes designed to expedite the construction process and prevent cost overruns that were common to previous State diplomatic construction programs. This report updates GAO's earlier report, by discussing OBO's completion rates and costs for embassy construction projects and the impact the reforms and other factors have on completion rates. It also discusses the changes in the costs for operating and maintaining these new facilities.State has made significant progress constructing new embassy compounds (NEC). The average time to design and construct the 18 embassies and consulates completed from 1999 to 2005 is nearly 3 years faster than for embassies built during the 1980s and 1990s, despite these new facilities being significantly larger and more complex. Although only half of the 18 projects were completed according to planned schedules, 15 of the 18 NECs were opened ahead of, on, or within 1 month after their scheduled move-in dates, and approximately 8,700 U.S. government employees were relocated to these secure and modern facilities. Construction costs for 14 of the 18 completed projects were significantly lower than budget estimates OBO provided to Congress. Strategic and procedural reforms implemented by State, including elevating the former Foreign Buildings Office to bureau status, switching to the design-build contract delivery method, and developing a standard embassy design have had a cumulative positive effect on project cycle times; however, it is still difficult to quantify the effects of any single reform. GAO found that factors specific to individual projects affected OBO's ability to complete work on time and on budget, including the experience levels of OBO and contractors' projects teams, unforeseen conditions at construction sites, and weather conditions, among others. Due to increased size and complexity, annual operations and maintenance costs for NECs are significantly greater than the costs for previous locations; once all 201 NECs are completed, annual operations and maintenance costs could increase by at least $111 million, and possibly several times more. These costs include increases in utility usage; the need to hire highly qualified technical staff; new maintenance needs; and costly equipment, supplies, and spare parts. State does not clearly identify the projected operations and maintenance costs for NECs it builds. Thus, there is currently no mechanism that allows decision makers to determine whether NEC operations and maintenance needs are being adequately planned for and funded. A lack of a comprehensive long-term plan that clearly identifies the significant increases in resources that are likely to be needed as more NECs come online could increase the risk of earlier-than-expected deterioration of NECs.
    [Read More…]
  • Four Charged in $32 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme
    In Crime News
    A medical director, operator and two unlicensed practitioners at a Texas medical clinic are now in custody on charges related to their alleged participation in a $32 million health care fraud scheme.
    [Read More…]
  • International Finance: Treasury Has Reduced the Number of Attaches Overseas
    In U.S GAO News
    The number of financial attaches that the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) deploys overseas dropped from approximately 30 in 1981 to 7 at the beginning of fiscal year 2005. Treasury has traditionally used financial attaches to monitor and gather information on international economic and financial developments to help shape U.S. international economic policy and to promote U.S. national interests. These attaches are part of the U.S. mission overseas and are typically stationed in U.S. embassies in key countries. Since at least 1981, however, the number of financial attaches placed overseas has been declining in response to changing conditions. Due to congressional interest in these financial attaches, this report describes (1) the role of financial attaches and (2) the process Treasury uses to determine attache placement. In commenting on this report, Treasury considered our report to be fair and accurate. Both Treasury and the Department of State provided technical comments, which we incorporated where appropriate.Financial attaches represent Treasury overseas and cover economic and financial issues relevant to U.S. international economic policies and U.S. national interests, although the role and need for financial attaches have evolved. Specifically, financial attaches conduct monitoring and analysis of macroeconomic and financial issues, including those affecting the private sector. Typically, financial attaches interact with host government financial agencies such as the ministries of finance and central banks, as well as with private sector financial entities. Financial attaches typically work in conjunction with the Economic Section of the U.S. mission and usually share the information they collect with other U.S. agencies. In Afghanistan and Iraq, financial attaches are primarily involved in coordinating economic reconstruction efforts. In general, the role of attaches has evolved over time due to changing Treasury priorities, as well as factors such as technological advances in communications. To some extent, these changes have reduced the necessity for some financial attache posts overseas. Treasury has recently begun to formalize its process for determining attache placement. Previously, the placement of Treasury's attaches was accomplished through an informal process, according to Treasury officials. More recently, Treasury has taken steps to formalize its process by specifying placement criteria it will take into consideration relative to overall Treasury priorities. These criteria include whether the United States has major financial interest in a country or whether there is significant U.S. engagement in a country. However, Treasury officials stated that budget constraints have been a primary factor in determining the number of attaches in recent years. Furthermore, projected rising costs are likely to constrain the number of attaches in the future.
    [Read More…]
  • From NASA JPL’s Mailroom to Mars and Beyond
    In Space
    Bill Allen has thrived [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Sues Florida Man for Flagrant Violations of the Rivers and Harbors Act
    In Crime News
    The Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) announced that the United States has filed a civil lawsuit in the Southern District of Florida against Fane Lozman for violations of the Rivers and Harbors Act (RHA) in connection with Mr. Lozman’s obstruction of Lake Worth Lagoon, a navigable waterway, in Riviera Beach, Florida.
    [Read More…]
  • Solomon Islands’ National Day
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • U.S. Territories: Public Debt Outlook – 2021 Update
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico): Puerto Rico remains in default. It has finalized three debt restructuring agreements or settlements to date, pursuant to three distinct legal approaches, and it is using one of these approaches to restructure additional debt. Puerto Rico's total public debt outstanding as a share of Gross National Product increased slightly from 93 to 95 percent between fiscal years 2016 and 2017, the most recent year for which audited financial data are available. Puerto Rico's total revenue remained consistent between fiscal years 2016 and 2017 at about $30.0 billion and the territory operated with a $3.1 billion deficit in fiscal year 2017. Puerto Rico's future capacity for debt repayment depends primarily on the outcomes of the ongoing debt restructuring process, its ability to generate sustained economic growth, and the disbursement of federal funding. American Samoa: American Samoa's total public debt outstanding as a share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased from 19 to 37 percent between fiscal years 2017 and 2019. This increase was partially due to a series of general revenue bonds issued in late 2018 to fund infrastructure projects. During this period, American Samoa's yearly total revenue fluctuated but was 24 percent higher in fiscal year 2019 compared to fiscal year 2017, and the territory had a surplus of $34.0 million in fiscal year 2019. Continued reliance on a single industry and significant pension liabilities remain fiscal risks in American Samoa. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI): CNMI's total public debt outstanding as a share of GDP remained constant at about 8 percent between fiscal years 2017 and 2019. During this period, CNMI's yearly total revenue fluctuated but was 27 percent higher in fiscal year 2019 compared to fiscal year 2017, and the territory had a deficit of $33.3 million in fiscal year 2019. Worsening economic conditions and significant pension liabilities may affect CNMI's future debt repayment capacity. COVID-19 has hurt tourism, CNMI's primary industry. Guam: Guam's total public debt outstanding as a share of GDP decreased slightly from 44 to 42 percent between fiscal years 2017 and 2019. Guam's total revenue increased 7 percent during this period and the territory had a surplus of $112.6 million in fiscal year 2019. Guam faces fiscal risks such as COVID-19's negative impact on tourism, Guam's primary industry, and significant pension liabilities. United States Virgin Islands (USVI): USVI's total public debt outstanding as a share of GDP increased slightly from 68 to 69 percent of GDP between fiscal years 2016 and 2018, the most recent year for which audited financial data are available. During this period, USVI's yearly total revenue fluctuated but was 36 percent higher in fiscal year 2018 compared to fiscal year 2016, and the territory had a deficit of $29.4 million in fiscal year 2018. USVI's capacity for future debt repayment may be affected by its ability to create economic growth and its ability to manage its pension liabilities and address the pending insolvency of its public pension system. USVI's ability to create economic growth may be hampered by the adverse impact of COVID-19 on tourism, USVI's primary industry. Why GAO Did This Study The five permanently inhabited U.S. territories–Puerto Rico, USVI, American Samoa, CNMI, and Guam–borrow through financial markets. Puerto Rico, in particular, has amassed large amounts of debt, and began to default on debt payments in 2015. In 2017, hurricanes caused widespread damage in Puerto Rico and USVI. Further, in 2018, American Samoa, CNMI, and Guam experienced typhoons and cyclones. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the territories' economies is not yet fully known. In June 2016, Congress passed and the President signed the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act. It contains a provision for GAO to review the public debt of the five territories every 2 years. In this report, for each of the five territories, GAO updates (1) trends in public debt and its composition; (2) trends in revenue and its composition, and in overall financial condition; and (3) the fiscal risk factors that affect each territory's ability to repay public debt. GAO analyzed the territories' single audit reports for fiscal years 2017, 2018, and 2019, as available; reviewed relevant documentation and analyses; and interviewed officials from the territories' governments, federal agencies, and industry groups. For more information, contact Yvonne D. Jones at (202) 512-6806 or jonesy@gao.gov or David Gootnick at (202) 512-3149 or gootnickd@gao.gov.
    [Read More…]
  • The United States Has Repatriated 27 Americans from Syria and Iraq Including Ten Charged with Terrorism-Related Offenses for Their Support to ISIS
    In Crime News
    The International [Read More…]
  • Secretary Blinken’s Call with Guatemalan Foreign Minister Brolo
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Austria National Day
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
  • Designation of Al-Qa’ida-Linked Financial Facilitators
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Promoting Fair and Transparent Selection of Justices to Guatemala’s Constitutional Court
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Ned Price, Department [Read More…]
  • Secretary Blinken’s Call with French Foreign Minister Le Drian
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Djibouti Travel Advisory
    In Travel
    Reconsider travel to [Read More…]
  • Venezuela Travel Advisory
    In Travel
    Do not travel to [Read More…]
  • Alabama Man Sentenced to Prison for Tax Evasion
    In Crime News
    An Alabama man was sentenced to serve 12 months in prison for tax evasion, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Prim Escalona for the Northern District of Alabama announced today.
    [Read More…]
  • Brunei National Day
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Department Press Briefing – February 2, 2021
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Ned Price, Department [Read More…]
  • Sheriff of Franklin County, Arkansas Found Guilty of Assaulting Two Individuals in Custody
    In Crime News
    A federal jury convicted the Sheriff of Franklin County, Arkansas today on two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law.
    [Read More…]
  • The United States and ASEAN: Strategic Partners for the Indo-Pacific
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
Network News © 2005 Area.Control.Network™ All rights reserved.