The Department of State Dedicates the New U.S. Embassy in Niamey, Niger

Office of the Spokesperson

The Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) celebrates today’s dedication of the new U.S. Embassy in Niamey, Niger by Ambassador Eric Paul Whitaker.

Situated on the existing 11-acre Embassy campus, this multi-building project embodies OBO’s goals for safe, secure, functional, and resilient facilities that provide a platform for U.S. diplomacy abroad.

Over the past 50 years, the campus has evolved to meet the needs of the diplomatic mission.  The campus’s new buildings are integrated into the existing site and represent the best of American architecture, engineering, and construction execution.  A concrete, lasting symbol of the United States’ commitment to Niger, the Embassy is on track to become the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Platinum project in West Africa.

The Miller Hull Partnership of Seattle, Washington is the design architect and B.L. Harbert International of Birmingham, Alabama is the construction contractor.  Approximately 1,700 American, local, and third-country national employees have been involved in project construction, including 1,500 Nigeriens.  The construction team contributed more than 6 million work hours to this innovative project, which has generated $53 million to the local economy.

Since the start of the Department’s Capital Security Construction Program in 1999, OBO has completed 164 new diplomatic facilities.  OBO currently has more than 50 active projects either in design or under construction worldwide.

OBO provides safe, secure, functional, and resilient facilities that represent the U.S. government to the host nation and that support U.S. diplomats in advancing U.S. foreign policy objectives abroad.

For further information, please contact Christine Foushee at FousheeCT@state.gov or visit www.state.gov/obo.

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    Mandatory arbitration clauses in civilian employment contracts and consumer agreements have prevented servicemembers from resolving certain claims in court under two laws that offer protections: the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994, as amended (USERRA), and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, as amended (SCRA) (see figure). Some courts have held that claims involving mandatory arbitration clauses must be resolved with arbitrators in private proceedings rather than in court. Although we reviewed federal court cases that upheld the enforceability of these clauses, Department of Justice (DOJ) officials said mandatory arbitration clauses have not prevented DOJ from initiating lawsuits against employers and other businesses under USERRA or SCRA. However, DOJ officials noted that these clauses could affect their ability to pursue USERRA claims against private employers on behalf of servicemembers. Servicemembers may also seek administrative assistance from federal agencies, and mandatory arbitration clauses have not prevented agencies from providing this assistance. For example, officials from DOJ, as well as the Departments of Defense (DOD) and Labor (DOL), told us they can often informally resolve claims for servicemembers by explaining servicemember rights to employers and businesses. Examples of Employment and Consumer Protections for Servicemembers Note: USERRA generally provides protections for individuals who voluntarily or involuntarily leave civilian employment to perform service in the uniformed services. SCRA generally provides protections for servicemembers on active duty, including reservists and members of the National Guard and Coast Guard called to active duty. Data needed to determine the prevalence of mandatory arbitration clauses and their effect on the outcomes of servicemembers' employment and consumer claims under USERRA and SCRA are insufficient or do not exist. Officials from DOD, DOL, and DOJ told us their data systems are not set up to track these clauses. Further, no data exist for claims settled without litigation or abandoned by servicemembers. Finally, data on arbitrations are limited because they are often private proceedings that the parties involved agree to keep confidential. Servicemembers are among millions of Americans who enter into contracts or agreements with mandatory arbitration clauses. For example, these provisions may be included in the contracts servicemembers sign when they enter the civilian workforce, obtain a car loan, or lease an apartment. These contracts generally require disputes to be resolved in private proceedings with arbitrators rather than in court. Due to concerns these clauses may not afford servicemembers certain employment and consumer rights, Congress included a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 for GAO to study their effects on servicemembers' ability to file claims under USERRA and SCRA. This report examines (1) the effect mandatory arbitration has on servicemembers' ability to file claims and obtain relief for violations of USERRA and SCRA, and (2) the extent to which data are available to determine the prevalence of mandatory arbitration clauses and their effect on servicemember claims. GAO reviewed federal laws, court cases, and regulations, as well as agency documents, academic and industry research, and articles on the claims process. GAO interviewed officials from DOD, DOL, DOJ, and other agencies, academic researchers, and a range of stakeholders representing servicemembers, businesses, attorneys, and arbitration firms. GAO also identified and evaluated potential sources of data on servicemembers' employment and consumer claims collected by federal agencies and the firms that administer arbitrations or maintained in court records. For more information, contact Kris T. Nguyen at (202) 512-7215 or NguyenTT@gao.gov.
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  • Former Construction Executive Sentenced to 38 Months in Prison
    In Crime News
    A former senior New York construction official was sentenced to 38 months in prison today for tax evasion, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.
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  • Justice Department Brings Enforcement Action Against Centurylink
    In Crime News
    The Department of Justice announced today that CenturyLink, Inc. has agreed to settle allegations that CenturyLink violated the court-ordered Final Judgment designed to prevent anticompetitive effects arising from its acquisition of Level 3 Communications, Inc. 
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    In Space
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  • Attorney General Merrick B. Garland’s Statement on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day
    In Crime News
    Attorney General Merrick B. Garland issued the following statement:
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  • Georgia Correctional Officer Pleads Guilty to Civil Rights Offense for Assaulting Inmate
    In Crime News
    A Georgia correctional officer pleaded guilty today to violating the civil rights of an inmate.
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  • Brazilian Partnership to Begin Producing NASA-Designed COVID-19 Ventilator
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    In Human Health, Resources and Services
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  • Owner and Operator of India-Based Call Centers Sentenced to Prison for Scamming U.S. Victims out of Millions of Dollars
    In Crime News
    An Indian national was sentenced today to 20 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release in the Southern District of Texas for his role in operating and funding India-based call centers that defrauded U.S. victims out of millions of dollars between 2013 and 2016.
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  • 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 Michael R. Pompeo With Jayme West and Jim Sharpe of Arizona Morning News on KTAR Phoenix
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Seeks to Shut Down Fraudulent Chicago-Area Tax Return Preparer
    In Crime News
    The United States has filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, seeking to enjoin a tax preparer from South Chicago Heights, Illinois, from preparing federal income tax returns for others.
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  • Maryland Man Sentenced to Prison for Intentionally Damaging the Computers of His Former Employer
    In Crime News
    A Maryland man was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake today to 12 months and one day in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for illegally accessing and damaging the computer network of his former employer. Judge Blake also entered an order requiring Stafford to pay restitution in the amount of $193,258.10 to his former employer.
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  • North Carolina Woman Sentenced for Production and Distribution of Child Pornography
    In Crime News
    A North Carolina woman was sentenced Monday to 50 years in prison followed by 20 years of supervised release for production and distribution of child pornography.
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  • Zimbabwe Independence Day
    In Crime Control and Security News
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  • Insitu Inc. to Pay $25 Million to Settle False Claims Act Case Alleging Knowing Overcharges on Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Contracts
    In Crime News
    Insitu Inc., headquartered in Bingen, Washington, has agreed to pay $25 million to settle allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by knowingly submitting materially false cost and pricing data for contracts with the United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and the Department of the Navy (Navy) to supply and operate Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), the Department of Justice announced today.
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  • Briefing with European and Eurasian Affairs Acting Assistant Secretary Philip T. Reeker on the Secretary’s Upcoming Travel to Belgium
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Philip T. Reeker, Acting [Read More…]
  • Virginia Attorneys Sentenced for Attempting to Extort a Multinational Chemicals Company
    In Crime News
    Two Virginia attorneys were sentenced today on federal extortion charges for their roles in a scheme to extort a multinational chemicals company by threatening to inflict substantial financial and reputational harm on the company if their demands for a $200 million payment disguised as a purported “consulting agreement” were not met.
    [Read More…]