Friday, April 29, 2011

Digest of Education Statistics, 2010

The 46th in a series of publications initiated in 1962, the Digest's primary purpose is to provide a compilation of statistical information covering the broad field of American education from prekindergarten through graduate school. The Digest contains data on a variety of topics, including the number of schools and colleges, teachers, enrollments, and graduates, in addition to educational attainment, finances, and federal funds for education, libraries, and international comparisons.

Source: National Center of Education Statistics

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| Link to online summary at NCES

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Marketing Whiteness: Geographies of Colorblind Liberalism

This paper examines how liberal, upper middle-class homeowners in the San Francisco Bay Area racially define and defend their neighborhoods. Based on an ethnographic study of neighborhood organizing over a one-year period, I show how homeowners simultaneously protect their identity as non-racist, liberal and open and act to exclude racial “others” through a gendered logic of caring for community. They are able to do so, I argue, only because their neighborhood is segregated, allowing them to use geographical references as a stand-in for race. Thus they are able to simultaneously critique (sometimes quite vociferously) those who target particular racial groups, while unproblematically identifying problems such as violence and sexual predation with particular geographies—geographies that are highly racialized. A localized conception of inclusive citizenship, rooted in the defense and nurturance of children, allows these exclusionary actions to be justified as not only “not racist” but as the ethical and moral duty of mothers, community members, and responsible citizens.

Source: ISSC Fellows Working Papers, Institute for the Study of Social Change, UC Berkeley

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| Link to online abstract [via eScholarship Repository]

Monday, April 25, 2011

Who Are the Entrepreneurs: The Elite or Everyman?

We trace the social positions of the men and women who found new enterprises from the earliest years of one industry’s history to a time when the industry was well established. Sociological theory suggests two opposing hypotheses. First, pioneering entrepreneurs are socially prominent individuals from fields adjacent to the new industry and later entrepreneurs are from an increasingly broad swath of society. Second, the earliest entrepreneurs come from the social periphery while later entrepreneurs include more industry insiders and members of the social elite. To test these hypotheses, we study the magazine industry in America over the first 120 years of its history, from 1741 to 1860. We find that magazine publishing was originally restricted to industry insiders, elite professionals, and the highly educated, but by the time the industry became well established, most founders came from outside publishing and more were of middling stature – mostly small-town doctors and clergy without college degrees. We also find that magazines founded by industry insiders remained concentrated in the three biggest cities, while magazines founded by outsiders became geographically dispersed. Finally, we find that entrepreneurship evolved from the pursuit of a lone individual to a more organizationally-sponsored activity; this reflects the modernization of America during this time period. Our analysis demonstrates the importance of grounding studies of entrepreneurship in historical context. Our analysis of this “old” new media industry also offers hints about how the “new” new media industries are likely to evolve.

Source: Working Paper Series, Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, UC Berkeley [via eScholarship Repository]

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Federal Research and Development Funding: FY2012

President Obama has requested $147.911 billion for research and development (R&D) in FY2012, a $772 million (0.5%) increase from the FY2010 actual R&D funding level of $147.139 billion. Congress will play a central role in defining the nation's R&D priorities, especially with respect to two overarching issues: the extent to which the federal R&D investment can grow in the context of increased pressure on discretionary spending and how available funding will be prioritized and allocated. Low or negative growth in the overall R&D investment may require movement of resources across disciplines, programs, or agencies to address priorities. As year- long funding for FY2011 appropriations has not yet been completed, this report compares the President's FY2012 request to FY2010 appropriations. Analysis of federal R&D funding is complicated by several factors, including the Obama Administration's omission of congressionally directed spending from the FY2012 budget request. This report will be updated as Congress acts on FY2012 appropriations bills.

Source: Congressional Research Service

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“Women in America, Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being.

The report, which is the first of its kind in nearly 50 years, addresses women’s present role in family life, education, employment, health, and crime in American society. It also challenges policymakers, researchers, and advocates to do more to further the collection of gender-specific data in the future.

Source: White House Council on Women and Girls

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Demographics of Stepfamilies

Whether it is a parent, sibling or child, more than four-in-ten American adults (41%) have at least one step relative in their family. The most common relationship is sibling. Three-in-ten adults (30%) have a step or half brother or sister. Close to one-in-five adults (18%) have a living stepparent, while 13% of adults have a stepchild. People with step relatives are just as likely as others to say that family is the most important element of their life. However, they typically feel a stronger sense of obligation to their biological family members (be it a parent, a child or a sibling) than to their step relatives, the survey finds. Seven-in-ten adults who have at least one step relative say they are very satisfied with their family life, compared with 78% of those who don't have any step relatives.

Source: Pew Research Center

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A Lifeline to Avoid Digital Divide

Prepaid wireless providers have demonstrated a commitment to finally providing economical communications services along with consumer value while encouraging the adoption of innovative new services by our most needy citizens. Prepaid wireless will also likely be a very positive force in deploying broadband over wireless services in the future. Lifeline and Linkup may be the last best hope to truly connect all Americans in the digital age and insure no one is left on the other side of the digital divide.
Commentary via the Benton Foundation

Link to online report by Hon. Deborah Taylor Tate, former FCC Commissioner

Bringing it home : the contribution that behavioural economics, and behavioural sciences, can make to environmental policy

This report from Green Alliance is about how government could help us to live more sustainably through a better understanding of human behaviour. We have focused on resource use in the home: the energy and water we use, and the waste we create and dispose of, because these are sources of some significant environmental pressures. The home is also important to us as social beings; it helps to give us identity, and is the place where we form long-standing behaviours and habits.

Source: Green Alliance

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| Link to Green Alliance

U.K. Billmonitor report of mobile phone users.

billmonitor is a bill analysis engine for mobile phone users. Employing highly developed statistical methods, billmonitor analyses post-pay customers’ online bills to find out exactly how they use their phone, then analyses all the contract deals in the market before matching them to exactly the right contract so they pay no more than they should.
billmonitor was founded by mathematicians in Oxford, who saw an opportunity to put maths to use in solving complex consumer choice problems such as choosing mobile contracts. billmonitor is an independent and impartial service that helps mobile phone users save money not only via its unique bill analysis but also through the UK’s only Ofcom-accredited mobile comparison calculator.

Source: Billmonitor

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Perceptions of Fairness and Justice: The Shared Aims & Occasional Conflicts of Legitimacy and Moral Credibility

A growing literature on procedural fairness suggests that there is practical value in enhancing a criminal justice system's "legitimacy" with the community it governs by adopting and implementing fair enforcement practices and adjudicative procedures. A separate literature suggests that there is practical value in enhancing the system's "moral credibility" with the community by distributing criminal liability and punishment according to principles that track the community's shared intuitions of justice. In this Article, we examine the shared aims and the similarities in the operation and effect of these two criminal justice dynamics as well as the occasional differences in effect and potential for conflict. By comparing the two dynamics, the article moves forward debates that – though rich and important – have grown stagnant. Specifically, legal scholars have tended to invoke the two dynamics too casually, to ignore one but not the other, or to conflate or confuse the two. This article provides a useful and necessary analytic framework for further exploration into the advantages and limits of moral credibility and legitimacy. Finally, the article stakes out tentative positions within the on-going debates. That is, it endorses the prevailing view that moral credibility and legitimacy are promising – indeed, critical – systemic enterprises that may carry significant crime-control advantages, and the article concludes that – for empirical and theoretic reasons – moral credibility ought to be the principal objective in uncommon circumstances in which a system may effectively pursue only one.

Source: Scholarship at Penn Law [via NELLCO Scholarship repository]

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| Link to abstract at NELLCO Scholarship repository

Friday, April 22, 2011

An Analysis of the President's Budgetary Proposals for Fiscal Year 2012

At the request of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has prepared an analysis of the President's budgetary proposals for fiscal year 2012, which were released on February 14, 2011. The analysis uses CBO's economic assumptions and estimating techniques, rather than the Administration's, to project how the proposals in the President's budget would affect federal revenues and outlays and the U.S. economy. For tax provisions, the analysis incorporates estimates prepared by the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation.

Source: (U.S.) Congressional Budget Office

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Reinventing research? Information practices in the humanities

The RIN [Research Information Network] has completed a second series of case studies to provide a detailed analysis of how humanities’ researchers discover, use, create and manage their information resources.

This project focuses on the behaviours and needs of researchers working in a number of subject or disciplinary areas in the humanities.

Source: Research Information Network

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| Link to online introduction

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Digital and Very Social: America Women and Technology Adoption

While men have historically been considered the earliest adopters and heaviest consumers of new technology, this perception does not tell the whole story. At the recent International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF), Sabrina Crow, SVP & Managing Director for Media Client Services at The Nielsen Company, discussed how women are just as adept at navigating the new media landscape. The key difference is that women are utilizing new technologies in their own way. In particular, women are most likely to adopt new technology when it is social and relevant—that is, when it seamlessly improves their day-to-day lives.

Source: Nielsen Wire

Link to online article

The Historian as Op-ed Artist: An Interview with Jonathan Zimmerman

You may have run across Jonathan Zimmerman’s op-eds on the History News Network or while browsing the editorial pages of the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Washington Times, Toronto Globe and Mail, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Dallas Morning News, Chicago Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, Christian Science Monitor, or USA Today. If there is a definable art to writing an op-ed, this NYU historian has mastered it. Even while serving as department chair and engaging in other academic leadership—Zimmerman recently completed his term as president of the History of Education Society—he manages to write two or three op-eds per month. In all, he has published more than 300 opinion pieces in major newspapers and magazines.

Source: The Historical Society [blog]

Read online interview with Jonathan Zimmerman

Knowledge, networks and nations

Knowledge, Networks and Nations surveys the global scientific landscape in 2011, noting the shift to an increasingly multipolar world underpinned by the rise of new scientific powers such as China, India and Brazil; as well as the emergence of scientific nations in the Middle East, South-East Asia and North Africa. The scientific world is also becoming more interconnected, with international collaboration on the rise. Over a third of all articles published in international journals are internationally collaborative, up from a quarter 15 years ago.
Collaboration is increasing for a variety of reasons. Enabling factors such as advances in communication technology and cheaper travel have played a part, but the primary driver of most collaboration is individual scientists. In seeking to work with the best of their peers and to gain access to complementary resources, equipment and knowledge, researchers fundamentally enhance the quality and improve the efficiency of their work.

Today collaboration has never been more important. With human society facing a number of wide-ranging and interlinked ‘global challenges’ such as climate change, food security, energy security and infectious disease, international scientific collaboration is essential if we are to have any chance of addressing the causes, or dealing with the impacts, of these problems. Through a few selected case studies, we examine the achievements of some of the current efforts to tackle these challenges, discuss problems they have faced, and highlight important lessons their experience has to offer similar initiatives.

Source: The Royal Society

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Hispanics Account for More than Half of Nation's Growth in Past Decade

The 2010 Census counted 50.5 million Hispanics in the United States, making up 16.3% of the total population. The nation's Latino population, which was 35.3 million in 2000, grew 43% over the decade. The Hispanic population also accounted for most of the nation's growth—56%—from 2000 to 2010.

Among children ages 17 and younger, there were 17.1 million Latinos, or 23.1% of this age group, according to an analysis by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center. The number of Latino children grew 39% over the decade. In 2000, there were 12.3 million Hispanic children, who were 17.1% of the population under age 18.

Source: Pew Hispanic Center

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Monday, April 18, 2011

The Gender Wage Gap: 2010 (Updated April 2011)

During 2010 the weekly gender wage gap narrowed slightly. Median weekly earnings of female full-time workers were $669, compared with male median weekly earnings of $824. Based on these data, the ratio of women’s to men’s median weekly earnings was 81.2, slightly higher than in 2009 (80.3) and above the historical high of 81.0 in 2005. During recessions the gender wage gap typically narrows because bonus and overtime payments, which on average account for a larger share of male than female earnings, are cut back. In real terms, women’s median weekly earnings did not increase during 2010; men’s median weekly earnings decreased by just under one percent.

Another measure of the earnings gap, the ratio of women’s and men’s median annual earnings for full-time year- round workers, was 77.0 in 2009 (data for 2010 are not yet available), essentially unchanged since 2008. (This means the annual gender wage gap for full-time year-round workers is 23 percent.

The annual earnings ratio for full-time year-round workers, which includes self-employed workers, tends to be slightly lower than the ratio for weekly earnings (which excludes the self-employed and includes full-time workers who work only part of the year). The two series exhibit the same general trend over the long term (even though they often move in different directions in the short-term).

Source: Institute for Women's Policy Research

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RAND Report : Are words enough in a crisis?

Can military forces get their messages across more effectively? RAND Europe examines NATO's new Strategic Communication concept.

Source: RAND Corporation [Europe]

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| Link to online introduction at RAND

Addiction and Brain Circuits

Humans have always struggled with addictions to mind-altering substances. Yet, only in the past few decades have neuroscientists begun to understand precisely how these substances affect the brain — and why they can quickly become a destructive and even deadly habit.

Scientists are learning how genetics and environmental factors, such as stress, contribute to these neural disruptions and increase the risk of addiction. This ongoing research is allowing researchers to:

* Understand how addictive substances affect the brain’s reward system.
* Develop more effective therapies for treating drug abuse and addiction.
* Establish better methods of detecting people at risk of developing addictions.

Source: Society for Neuroscience

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| Link to online introduction

Report: The New Digital American Family

According to a new report from The Nielsen Company that looks at family dynamics, media and purchasing behavior trends, American households are getting smaller, growing more slowly and becoming more ethnically diverse than at any point in history. Diversity in all its dimensions defines the emerging American Family archetype, with no single cultural, social, demographic, economic or political point of view dominating the landscape. In short, Ward and June Cleaver have left the building. The white, two-parent, “Leave It to Beaver” family unit of the 1950s has evolved into a multi-layered, multi-cultural construct dominated by older, childless households.

Source: Nielsen Research [via ad-tech]

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| Link to online summary and key facts

Egypt in Transition, Chantham House Workshop report

This paper is a summary of discussions that took place at a workshop held in Cairo in March 2011, six weeks after the former president, Hosni Mubarak, was forced to resign in the face of mass protests against his rule.

The workshop brought together a group of Egyptian activists, opposition party members, journalists and representatives of civil society organizations from across the political spectrum with a small number of UK policy-makers to discuss Egypt's changing political landscape and its relations with the UK and the West.

Source: Chantham House

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Neural control of cursor trajectory and click by a human with tetraplegia 1000 days after implant of an intracortical microelectrode array


The ongoing pilot clinical trial of the BrainGate neural interface system aims in part to assess the feasibility of using neural activity obtained from a small-scale, chronically implanted, intracortical microelectrode array to provide control signals for a neural prosthesis system. Critical questions include how long implanted microelectrodes will record useful neural signals, how reliably those signals can be acquired and decoded, and how effectively they can be used to control various assistive technologies such as computers and robotic assistive devices, or to enable functional electrical stimulation of paralyzed muscles. Here we examined these questions by assessing neural cursor control and BrainGate system characteristics on five consecutive days 1000 days after implant of a 4 × 4 mm array of 100 microelectrodes in the motor cortex of a human with longstanding tetraplegia subsequent to a brainstem stroke. On each of five prospectively-selected days we performed time-amplitude sorting of neuronal spiking activity, trained a population-based Kalman velocity decoding filter combined with a linear discriminant click state classifier, and then assessed closed-loop point-and-click cursor control. The participant performed both an eight-target center-out task and a random target Fitts metric task which was adapted from a human-computer interaction ISO standard used to quantify performance of computer input devices. The neural interface system was further characterized by daily measurement of electrode impedances, unit waveforms and local field potentials. Across the five days, spiking signals were obtained from 41 of 96 electrodes and were successfully decoded to provide neural cursor point-and-click control with a mean task performance of 91.3% ± 0.1% (mean ± s.d.) correct target acquisition. Results across five consecutive days demonstrate that a neural interface system based on an intracortical microelectrode array can provide repeatable, accurate point-and-click control of a computer interface to an individual with tetraplegia 1000 days after implantation of this sensor.

Source: Journal of Neural Engineering

Full text pdf download available to academic subscribers | Link to online abstract

Monday, April 11, 2011

Cities and Climate Change: An Urgent Agenda

Climate change is affecting cities and their residents, especially the poor, and more severe impacts are expected as climate extremes and variability increase. Cities are often already overwhelmed by the number and complexity of services they need to provide. Adding climate change mitigation and adaptation to the other challenges facing cities is an enormous burden; and at the same time cities must accommodate another three million new residents every week. Cities and Climate Change: An Urgent Agenda discusses the link between climate change and cities, why cities should be concerned about climate change and adopt early preventative policies, and how the World Bank and other organizations can provide further support to cities on climate change issues.

Source: World Bank

Download full pdf publication | Link to online summary and links for downloading report in segments

European Demographic Report 2010

From News Release:
EU population older and more diverse – new demography report says

The third Demography Report published in cooperation with Eurostat reveals Europeans are living longer and healthier lives.

A positive trend in the report is that fertility continues to rise slowly. It has increased from below 1.45 children per women to 1.6. However, for a population to be self-sustaining, 2.1 children per woman would be required. The report points to modern family policies as a good way to improve employment through better reconciliation between paid work and family commitments.

Life expectancy has also been increasing in an almost continuous and uniform trend at the rate of 2-3 months every year, and is the main driver behind the population ageing. At the same time, the demographic challenge is geographical with populations in four Member states (Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia and Romania) decreasing rapidly under the effects of natural growth (more people die than are born) and outward-migration.

The report also shows how Europe's population growth is still fuelled mainly by immigration. Non-EU citizens have been joining EU countries at a rate of 1 to 2 million per year and intra-EU mobility has also increased. By 2060 the proportion of migrants and their descendants will double. Although net immigration to the EU halved following the crisis the total number of non-EU nationals within EU borders still continued to rise.

In terms of intra-EU mobility, the new Eurobarometer survey shows that one in five of the EU-27 respondents has either worked, or studied in another country, lived with a partner from another country or owns property abroad. One in ten of the respondents plan to move to another Member State in the next ten years.

Source: Eurostat

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Delinquency: The Untold Story of Student Loan Borrowing

The new report, Delinquency: The Untold Story of Student Loan Borrowing, uses an unprecedented wealth of data provided by five of the nation’s largest student loan guaranty agencies to examine more than 8.7 million student borrowers with nearly 27.5 million loans who entered repayment between October 1, 2004 and September 30, 2009. With a primary focus on the nearly 1.8 million student loan borrowers who entered repayment in 2005, the study provides data on the repayment behavior of borrowers and quantifies how many are having difficulty repaying their federal education loans. The study also highlights the scope of student loan borrowers who become delinquent on their loans, but who do not default, and suggests that to fully capture borrowers’ struggle with repayment each month, data must look beyond just default.

Source: Institute for Higher Education Policy

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Aging alone: Older lesbians, gays have higher rates of chronic disease, mental distress, isolation

California's aging LGB population is set to double in next 20 years

Members of California's aging lesbian, gay and bisexual population are more likely to suffer from certain chronic conditions, even as they wrestle with the challenges of living alone in far higher numbers than the heterosexual population, according to a new policy brief from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

Half of all gay and bisexual adult men in California between the ages of 50 and 70 are living alone, compared with 13.4 percent of heterosexual men in the same age group. And although older California lesbians and bisexual women are more likely to live with a partner or a family member than their male counterparts, more than one in four live alone, compared with one in five heterosexual women.

Source: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research

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The Effects of Other-Generated and System-Generated Cues on Adolescents' Perceived Attractiveness on Social Network Sites

The aim of this study was to investigate to what extent other-generated and system-generated cues on social network sites (SNS) influence the popularity and attractiveness of adolescents. In a 2 (friends' physical attractiveness: attractive, unattractive) ×2 (friends' wall postings: positive, negative) ×3 (number of friends: low, average, high) factorial experiment, 497 high school students between 12 and 15 years of age were randomly assigned to one of the twelve experimental conditions. Results revealed that the profile owner of a SNS was perceived as being more attractive when the profile includes attractive friends and positive wall postings. The profile owners' number of friends did not affect the perceived attractiveness of the profile-owner, only the perceived extraversion.

Source: Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication

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Potential social interactions are important to social attention

Social attention, or how spatial attention is allocated to biologically relevant stimuli, has typically been studied using simplistic paradigms that do not provide any opportunity for social interaction. To study social attention in a complex setting that affords social interaction, we measured participants’ looking behavior as they were sitting in a waiting room, either in the presence of a confederate posing as another research participant, or in the presence of a videotape of the same confederate. Thus, the potential for social interaction existed only when the confederate was physically present. Although participants frequently looked at the videotaped confederate, they seldom turned toward or looked at the live confederate. Ratings of participants’ social skills correlated with head turns to the live, but not videotaped, confederate. Our results demonstrate the importance of studying social attention within a social context, and suggest that the mere opportunity for social interaction can alter social attention.

Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

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Comparative Effectiveness of Therapies for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

The comparative effectiveness report found that two commonly used medications – risperidone and aripiprazole – show benefit in reducing some behaviors, including emotional distress, aggression, hyperactivity and self-injury. However, these medicines are associated with significant side effects, such as rapid weight gain and drowsiness. The review found that no medications used for ASDs improved social behaviors or communication skills. The report also found that several medications show promise and should be studied further, but that secretin, which has been studied extensively, has shown no effectiveness.

Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

View report : Comparative Effectiveness of Therapies for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Libya: Unrest and U.S. Policy

Over forty years ago, Muammar al Qadhafi led a revolt against the Libyan monarchy in the name of nationalism, self-determination, and popular sovereignty. Opposition groups citing the same principles are now revolting against Qadhafi to bring an end to the authoritarian political system he has controlled in Libya for the last four decades. The Libyan government's use of force against civilians and opposition forces seeking Qadhafi's overthrow sparked an international outcry in February and early March 2011, and a stalemate began to break in favor of the Qadhafi government, threatening civilians in opposition-held areas. The United States and other European and Arab states are now carrying out military operations in Libya to enforce United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, which was adopted on March 17 and authorizes "all necessary measures" to protect Libyan civilians. Qadhafi and his supporters have described the uprising as a foreign and Islamist conspiracy and are attempting to outlast their opponents. Qadhafi remains defiant amid the dismantling of his military by coalition air strikes. His supporters threatened to respond to attacks by striking civilian and military targets in the Mediterranean region. Resolution 1973 calls for an immediate cease-fire and dialogue, declares a no-fly zone in Libyan airspace, and authorizes robust enforcement measures for the arms embargo on Libya established by Resolution 1970 of February 26, "while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory." As of March 28, U.S. military officials reported that U.S. and coalition strikes on Libyan air defenses, air forces, and ground forces had neutralized the ability of Muammar al Qadhafi's military to control the country's airspace and were increasingly focused on targeting pro-Qadhafi ground forces found to be continuing to violate Resolution 1973 through attacks on Libyan civilians. President Obama has said the United States will not introduce ground forces and has called for Qadhafi to step down.

Source: Congressional Research Service

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Japan's 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami: Economic Effects and Implications for the United States

The March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami that occurred in Japan followed by the nuclear crisis are having a large negative impact on the economy of Japan but a lesser effect on world trade and financial markets. Japan has lost considerable physical and human capital. Physical damage has been estimated to be from $250 billion to as much as $309 billion. (Greece's GDP is $330 billion). In excess of 28,000 persons in Japan are killed or missing, and more than 196,000 homes and other buildings have been totally or partially damaged. The negative effects of the earthquake and tsunami are being compounded by the continuing crisis at the Fukushima nuclear reactors and the evacuations, radioactive contamination, shortages of electricity, continuing aftershocks, and the extensive damage to infrastructure, homes, manufacturing plants, and other buildings. The earthquake-related events in Japan are still unfolding; and each round of economic assessments seems more and more pessimistic. Analysts expect that over the next quarter or so, Japan's economy will contract and may fall into recession, but it may begin to expand later in the year because of rebuilding activity. Much depends on whether the damage from the nuclear plant can be contained, the speed at which electrical and oil refining capacity can be restored, and how quickly Japan's industrial base can recover. As the third largest economy in the world, Japan's GDP at $5.5 trillion accounts for 8.7% of global GDP. The net impact of the disaster on global GDP is that it is expected to shave about a half percentage point off global economic growth with about half of that effect confined to Japan, itself. Congressional interest on the economic side centers on humanitarian concerns, radioactive fallout reaching the United States, the impact on U.S. citizens and American companies in Japan, the effects on trade and supply chain disruptions, and increased volatility in Japanese and U.S. financial markets, interest rates, and the yen-dollar exchange rate. The impact on U.S. imports from and exports to Japan is expected to be modest as a proportion of overall trade, but particular sectors or companies may be affected considerably.

Source: Congressional Research Service

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Civil War at 150: Still Relevant, Still Divisive

As the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War approaches, most Americans say the war between the North and South is still relevant to American politics and public life today.

Source: Pew Research Center for the People & the Press

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