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Saturday, April 11, 2015

WEEKLY ADDRESS: TUITION-FREE COMMUNITY COLLEGE

SUSPECT ARRESTED FOR ATTEMPTING TO DETONATE CAR BOMB AT U.S. MILITARY BASE

FROM:  U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT
Friday, April 10, 2015

Topeka, Kansas, Man Charged in Plot to Explode Car Bomb at Military Base
A Topeka, Kansas, man has been charged in federal court with attempting to detonate a vehicle bomb at Fort Riley military base near Manhattan, Kansas, announced Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom of the District of Kansas and Special Agent in Charge Eric K. Jackson of the FBI’s Kansas City Division.  The defendant was arrested as part of an FBI investigation, and the device used by the defendant was, in fact, inert.        

John T. Booker Jr., 20, of Topeka, Kansas, was charged in a criminal complaint unsealed today with one count of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction (explosives), one count of attempting to damage property by means of an explosive and one count of attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization. Booker is expected to make an initial appearance this afternoon before U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree of the District of Kansas in federal court in Topeka.

Booker was arrested this morning near Manhattan, as he completed his final preparations to detonate a vehicle bomb targeting U.S. military personnel.

“As alleged in the complaint, John Booker attempted to attack U.S. military personnel on U.S. soil purportedly in the name of ISIL,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin.  “Thanks to the efforts of the law enforcement community, we were able to safely disrupt this threat to the brave men and women who serve our country.  Protecting American lives by identifying and bringing to justice those who wish to harm U.S. citizens remains the National Security Division’s number one priority.”

“We face a continued threat from individuals within our own borders who may be motivated by a variety of causes,” said U.S. Attorney Grissom.  “Anyone who seeks to harm this nation and its people will be brought to justice.”

“I want to assure the public there was never any breach of Fort Riley Military Base, nor was the safety or the security of the base or its personnel ever at risk,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Jackson.  “Recently the Command Staff at Fort Riley has been working hand in hand with law enforcement to ensure the utmost security and protection for the men and women who serve our country, and the surrounding community that supports the base."

Booker is alleged to have spent months discussing multiple plans before deciding on a plan that involved the execution of a suicide bombing mission.

The complaint alleges Booker told another person “that detonating a suicide bomb is his number one aspiration because he couldn’t be captured, all evidence would be destroyed, and he would be guaranteed to hit his target.”  Booker identified Fort Riley as a good target, “because the post is famous and there are a lot of soldiers stationed there,” the complaint alleges.

It is alleged that since March 2015, Booker plotted to construct an explosive device for an attack on American soil.  It is alleged he repeatedly stated that he desired to engage in violent jihad on behalf of ISIL.  Over a period of months, he took a series of actions to advance his plot.  As alleged in the complaint, Booker assisted in acquiring components for a vehicle bomb, produced a propaganda video, rented a storage locker to store components for the explosive device, identified Fort Riley as the target and talked about his commitment to trigger the device himself and become a martyr.

FBI Evidence Response Teams are executing search warrants related to the case.

If convicted, Booker would face a maximum penalty of life in prison.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, including members from the FBI’s Kansas City Division, the Topeka Police Department and the Kansas Highway Patrol.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tony Mattivi and David Smith of the District of Kansas, and Trial Attorneys Josh Parecki and Rebecca Magnone of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.

In all cases, defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.  The charges merely contain allegations of criminal activity.

WHITE HOUSE VIDEO: VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN SPEAKS AT THE NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIVERSITY

SECRETARY KERRY URGES CHINA TO UNCONDITIONALLY RELEASE WOMEN'S RIGHTS ACTIVISTS

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT
Ongoing Detention of Chinese Women's Rights Activists
Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
April 10, 2015

The United States strongly urges China to immediately and unconditionally release the “Beijing+20 Five” – Li Tingting, Wu Rongrong, Zheng Churan, Wei Tingting, and Wang Man. These women were detained before International Women’s Day in March after they organized a peaceful campaign to help end sexual harassment and promote equal rights for women.

Each and every one of us has the right to speak out against sexual harassment and the many other injustices that millions of women and girls suffer around the world each and every day. We strongly support the efforts of these activists to make progress on these challenging issues, and we believe that Chinese authorities should also support them, not silence them.

MADISON MAN CHARGED WITH ATTEMPTING TO PROVIDE MATERIAL SUPPORT TO ISIL

FROM:  U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT
Thursday, April 9, 2015
Madison, Wisconsin, Man Charged With Attempting to Provide Material Support to ISIL

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney John W. Vaudreuil of the Western District of Wisconsin and Special Agent in Charge Robert J. Shields Jr. of the FBI’s Milwaukee Division announced that Joshua Ray Van Haften, 34, of Madison, Wisconsin, has been charged with attempting to provide material support and resources, namely himself as personnel, to a foreign terrorist organization.  As alleged in the complaint, Van Haften intended to travel into Iraq or Syria to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The complaint alleges that Van Haften left the United States on Aug. 26, 2014, and traveled to Istanbul.  As alleged in the complaint, Turkey shares a land border with Syria and is known to be an entry point into Syria for those who wish to join ISIL.

“Van Haften traveled overseas for the alleged purpose of joining and attempting to provide material support to ISIL,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin.  “Stemming the flow of foreign fighters to Iraq and Syria and holding accountable those who attempt to provide material support to designated foreign terrorist organizations remains a top priority for the National Security Division.  I would like to thank all the agents, analysts and prosecutors who are responsible for this case.”

“We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate, arrest, and vigorously prosecute all extremists who choose to aid ISIL, or any other terrorist organization, and to stop them before they harm the United States or our allies,” said U.S. Attorney Vaudreuil.  “We also remain committed to working with dedicated community members to bring this cycle to an end.”

“This arrest underscores the importance of our JTTF law enforcement partnerships to bring those to justice who provide support and resources to terrorist organizations such as ISIL,” said Special Agent in Charge Shields.  “We hope this arrest will serve as a deterrent for others who may be terrorist sympathizers here in Wisconsin, across the nation or abroad: they will be held accountable for support of terrorism against our citizens and our international partners.”

Van Haften was arrested at O’Hare Airport in Chicago yesterday evening after his arrival in custody on an international flight from Turkey.

Van Haften will make an initial appearance in U.S. District Court at 9:45 a.m. CDT today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen L. Crocker of the Western District of Wisconsin.   If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison.

This case was investigated by the Joint Terrorism Task Force, the members of which include the FBI, the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation, the Dane County Sheriff’s Office and the University of Wisconsin Police Department.  Assistance was also provided by the Department of Homeland Security.  The case is being prosecuted by U.S. Attorney Vaudreuil and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Anderson of the Western District of Wisconsin, and Trial Attorney Lolita Lukose of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

The charges contained a complaint are merely accusations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

FTC APPROVES FINAL ORDER IN "BRAIN TRAINING" CASE

FROM:  U.S. FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
FTC Approves Final Order Barring Company from Making Unsubstantiated Claims Related to Products’ “Brain Training” Capabilities

Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final consent order barring Focus Education, the company that sold the Jungle Rangers “brain training” game, from making unsupported claims regarding Jungle Rangers’ ability to permanently improve children’s cognitive abilities, school performance, and behavior, including for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

According to the FTC’s January 2015 complaint, the advertisements claimed that Jungle Rangers had “scientifically proven memory and attention brain training exercises, designed to improve focus, concentration and memory”  and touted the game as giving children “the ability to focus, complete school work, homework, and to stay on task.” Focus Education’s website implied that these benefits would be permanent. The FTC charged Focus Education and its principals with misrepresenting the efficacy of their product and failing to have scientific evidence to support the claims made.

The final order settling the FTC’s complaint prohibits Focus Education and its principals from making the claims alleged in the complaint about the ifocus System or any substantially similar product unless the claims are non-misleading and are supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence.

The order also bars the respondents from making unsubstantiated claims about the benefits, performance, or efficacy of products or services that supposedly alter the brain’s structure or function, improve cognitive abilities, behavior, or academic performance, or treat or reduce the symptoms of cognitive disorders, including ADHD.

Finally, the order bars the respondents from misrepresenting the results of any test, study, or research; or misrepresenting that the benefits of a cognitive improvement product are scientifically proven.

The Commission vote to approve the final consent order and send letters to members of the public who submitted comments was 5-0. (FTC File No. 122-3153; the staff contact is Annette Soberats, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-2921)

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them.

SEC OBTAINS $5 MILLION JUDGEMENT IN CASE INVOLVING PENNY STOCKS

FROM:  U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 23226 / March 31, 2015
Securities and Exchange Commission v. StratoComm Corporation, et al., Civil Action No. 1:11-CV-1188
SEC Obtains Judgment for Over $5 Million in Penny Stock Fraud Case

On March 26, 2015, the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York entered an amended judgment in a penny stock fraud case against StratoComm Corporation; its CEO Roger D. Shearer; and its former Director of Investor Relations, Craig Danzig. The judgment orders payment of more than $5 million collectively and imposes permanent injunctions and bars.

The judgment follows the Court's earlier decision granting the SEC's motion for summary judgment on liability against the defendants on all charges against them, including violations of the antifraud provisions and certain registration requirements under the federal securities laws.

The SEC alleged that StratoComm, acting at Shearer's direction and with Danzig's assistance, issued and distributed public statements falsely portraying the penny stock company as actively engaged in the manufacture and sale of telecommunications systems for use in underdeveloped countries. In reality, StratoComm had no product and no revenue. The SEC argued that StratoComm, Shearer and Danzig sold investors more than $4 million worth of StratoComm stock in unregistered transactions.

The judgment orders StratoComm and Shearer to pay a total of $4,968,709.68 in disgorgement and prejudgment interest. It also orders Stratocomm to pay $100,000 as a civil penalty, and orders Shearer and Danzig to pay a civil penalty in the amount of $50,000 and $25,000, respectively. The judgment permanently enjoins all defendants from violating Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder and Section 5 of the Securities Act of 1933. The judgment also permanently enjoins StratoComm and Danzig from violating Section 17(a) of the Securities Act and permanently enjoins Danzig from violating Section 15(a)(1) of the Exchange Act. The judgment imposes permanent penny stock bars against Shearer and Danzig and a permanent officer and director bar against Shearer.

NETWORK SOLUTIONS SETTLES WITH FTC RELATING TO ALLEGED MISLEADING CONSUMERS REGARDING REFUNDS

FROM:  U.S. FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
FTC Obtains Settlement From Network Solutions LLC for Misleading Consumers About Refunds

Network Solutions LLC has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it misled consumers who bought its web hosting services by promising a full refund if they canceled within 30 days. In reality, the company withheld substantial cancellation fees from most refunds.

In an administrative complaint, the FTC alleged that Network Solutions, a domain name registrar and web hosting provider, offered web hosting packages with a “30 Day Money Back Guarantee,” but did not adequately disclose that it withheld part of the refund – up to 30 percent – from customers who cancelled within 30 days of buying an annual or multi-year package and registering an included domain name.

The proposed settlement order prohibits Network Solutions from failing to clearly disclose, before obtaining a customer’s billing information, the material terms of any money-back guarantee, or failing to refund the full purchase price in response to a request that complies with the terms of a guarantee. The settlement also bars the company from misrepresenting material terms of any refund or cancellation policy or money-back guarantee, or any other material fact about web hosting.

The FTC acknowledges the assistance of the Better Business Bureau serving Metro Washington DC & Eastern Pennsylvania in this case.

The Commission vote to issue an administrative complaint and accept the proposed consent agreement for public comment was 5-0. The FTC will publish a description of the consent agreement package in the Federal Register shortly. The agreement will be subject to public comment for 30 days, beginning today and continuing through May 7, 2015, after which the Commission will decide whether to issue the order on a final basis. Interested parties can submit written comments electronically.

NOTE: The Commission issues an administrative complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. When the Commission issues a consent order on a final basis, it carries the force of law with respect to future actions. Each violation of such an order may result in a civil penalty of up to $16,000.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them.

CHARLES RIVKIN'S REMARKS ON FREE AND OPEN INTERNET IN TOKYO, JAPAN

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT
The Importance of a Free and Open Internet
Remarks
Charles H. Rivkin
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs
Japan Association of the New Economy (JANE), New Economy Summit
Tokyo, Japan
April 7, 2015
Remarks as prepared

Good morning and my special greetings to everyone here at the New Economy Summit in this remarkable and bustling city.

The title of this conference, “The New Economy,” highlights a timely point for me about the Internet. It isn’t just an essential component of the new economy. It really is the economy.

As early as 2011, the global digital economy’s impact on GDP growth in G7 countries had already surpassed the energy and agriculture sectors. It is rapidly transforming the emerging markets that are the key to future growth and globally shared prosperity. More and more, everything we do in the economic, commercial and financial realms is either leveraged by, or dependent upon the Internet.

In fact, the Internet has become one of the greatest and most important change agents of our lives. Three billion people are connected to the Internet today. Some estimate that number will rise to five billion by 2020. More than two-thirds of us have mobile phones.

The Internet is not only pervasive; it can cross borders and time zones at the click of a mouse. Cross-border Internet traffic grew 18-fold between 2005 and 2012. It continues to flow, day upon day, hour upon hour, microsecond after microsecond.

Clearly, the Internet is indispensable in everything we do, whether we are communicating with those we hold dear, seeking economic opportunity, or addressing the greatest shared challenges of our time, from the effects of climate change to finding cures for chronic diseases.

With something so essential, beneficial and central, to modern life, it’s imperative that we do everything in our power to preserve this precious asset. We must do so thoughtfully and with our eyes firmly focused on the futures of our children.

I spoke yesterday before the Japanese National Press Club about the importance of preserving data flows, which is essential, if we are to truly safeguard the viability of the Internet. I told them that, in many ways, the Internet is like the golden goose in a well-known children’s story; one that has been retold across centuries and many cultures, from Aesop’s Fables to the Buddhist book of Vinaya.

The details differ, depending on the culture, but the story is essentially the same. A family comes into possession of a magical goose – or a bird – that provides golden eggs – or in some versions, golden feathers. But in their zeal to further exploit this remarkable goose, the family ultimately kills the bird.

The story serves as a cautionary tale for how important the Internet is to all of us – and how we must all work together to make sure we don’t destroy humanity’s golden asset. It’s timely too, for as we meet, this is a critical moment in the fast moving evolution of the Internet, when important decisions lie before us.

The world community – in multilateral and other forums – faces complex and difficult choices, such as whether states – and the intergovernmental institutions they control – should be in the drivers’ seat for managing how the Internet works. Also in the debate is how we can find a balance between protecting people’s privacy and preserving the free and open flow that makes the Internet so dynamic. These and other questions are hugely impactful; not only for the world but for both our nations.

My country is proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with Japan on so many issues in this space. Our two countries are more than partners in this effort and our faith in our alliance is strong. We are not only among the Internet’s biggest producers and consumers, we are some of its strongest advocates.

In multilateral forums and negotiations, and in our own continuing bilateral dialogues, we continue to promote and support the decentralized, multi-stakeholder approach to Internet governance because it is in the best interest of continued innovation and broadly shared prosperity.

We also pursue other related agendas, such as how we can construct rules for the collection, use and distribution of data in our markets in a way that protects privacy while supporting innovation.

As Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, I am humbled to lead the office at the State Department which has such a leading and integral role, not only in Internet governance, but in trade and related matters, such as intellectual property rights. All three come to bear in one of our most important and ongoing negotiations: The Trans Pacific Partnership – or TPP.

This high standard multilateral trade deal will not only open new channels of trade and investment, and set high environmental, labor and consumer standards. It will encourage and support private sector investments in the transmission of data across borders. It will also work towards the certainty of a safe space where the Internet can continue to grow.

Whether we are engaging as bilateral or multilateral partners, or speaking on national issues in the U.S. Congress or the Japanese National Diet, we recognize that no decision can only affect our own nations and citizens. The Internet impacts everyone, for better or worse, and therefore must stay free and open. Japan highlighted this support for Internet openness when it joined the Freedom Online Coalition at its meeting in Estonia in April last year.

We know that, as we address what seem to be the most domestic issues, such as the privacy of our citizens, we must also consider their wider application and consequences. We must strike a balance between our understandable caution and the need for the Internet to be accessible to everyone.

The United States does not claim to have all the answers. But we strongly believe that, when it comes to the question of protecting data, corporations have some of the strongest motivations and the best resources to safeguard them.

By holding them accountable to best practices and sound rules, instead of creating walls, we believe we can provide a more dependable and enforceable defense. It is our hope that more countries, especially those who value democracy, openness and freedom, can adopt this or similar models.

As we work to maintain a free and open Internet, we are also focused on another critical issue: developing and expanding the Internet to create opportunities for developed, emerging, and developing economies alike.

According to many studies, more than half the world’s population is offline. It is also estimated that 1.8 billion people around the world will enter the consuming class by the year 2025. Almost all of them will be from emerging markets. This will create increased demand and global production, which means economic opportunities for both our countries, as well as improved goods and services for emerging and developing country consumers.

Digital technologies enable even the smallest companies and entrepreneurs to become “micro-multinationals” – selling products, services, and ideas across borders. In emerging and developing nations, whose small businesses are so often the backbone of their economies, this access to global markets would have dramatic results.

By linking more entrepreneurs and SMEs to global supply chains; and by connecting more people to each other and the information and services available, we could help ensure that all populations have access to technology. We can also ensure that no singular group is excluded due to barriers such as prohibitively high costs, lack of network connectivity, or social or cultural hurdles.

If you’ll permit me to return to my earlier metaphor, the Internet – like the goose of those children’s books – is something we cannot afford to lose. That is why the United States and Japan continue to expand connectivity, keep digital trade routes open, and make the Internet more accessible, as we also work to drive innovation and grow our economies.

There can be few more ambitious goals than these, but with partners like Japan, and the transformative potential of the Internet, we are confident that we can achieve them.

A generation ago, most of us would never have dreamed technology could leverage human aspirations at this kind of scale. It is a remarkable sign of our times that we can even think to do so. Let us not waste this unprecedented opportunity. Let us move forward together with vision, respect for one another, and an even greater sense of responsibility for our greater global community.

Thank you.

Friday, April 10, 2015

U.S. SENDS WARMEST WISHES TO PEOPLE OF SRI LANKA ON SINHALA AND TAMIL NEW YEAR

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT
Sinhala and Tamil New Year
Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
April 10, 2015

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I offer our warmest greetings to the people of Sri Lanka and the vibrant global Sri Lankan diaspora.

This New Year is marked by the extraordinary positive change that has occurred in Sri Lanka over the past several months and represents a renewed opportunity for the people of Sri Lanka to join together in the spirit of reconciliation, tolerance, and peace.

As you continue your work to build a prosperous, democratic, and united Sri Lanka, I offer my best wishes for a happy New Year and a peaceful year ahead.


U.S. SENDS WARMEST GREETINGS TO BENGALI-SPEAKING PEOPLE

FROM:  THE STATE DEPARTMENT
Bengali New Year
Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
April 10, 2015

On behalf of President Obama and the American people, I am delighted to send our warmest greetings to all Bengali-speaking people around the world as you celebrate Pahela Boishakh.

The United States joins you in celebrating the history and vibrant culture of the Bengali people. Your rich cultural heritage in song, film, poetry, art, and literature has enriched humanity. As you gather with family and friends to celebrate the New Year, know that the United States stands with you as a partner and friend.

May the New Year be filled with peace and prosperity. Shubho Nobo Borsho!

PRESIDENTIAL DETERMINATION ON AGREEMENT BETWEEN U.S.-CHINA ON PEACEFUL USES OF NUCLEAR ENERGY

FROM:  THE WHITE HOUSE
   April 10, 2015

Presidential Determination -- Proposed Agreement for Cooperation Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the People's Republic of China Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy

SUBJECT:      Presidential Determination on the Proposed
                         Agreement for Cooperation Between the Government
                         of the United States of America and the
                         Government of the People's Republic of China
                         Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy

I have considered the proposed Agreement for Cooperation Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the People's Republic of China Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy (the "Agreement"), along with the views, recommendations, and statements of the interested departments and agencies.

I have determined that the performance of the Agreement will promote, and will not constitute an unreasonable risk to, the common defense and security.  Pursuant to section 123 b. of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (42 U.S.C. 2153(b)), I hereby approve the proposed Agreement and authorize the Secretary of State to arrange for its execution.

The Secretary of State is authorized to publish this determination in the Federal Register.



BARACK OBAMA

U.S. WISHES PEOPLE OF LAO PEOPLE'S DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC PEACE AND PROSPERITY ON THEIR NEW YEAR

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT  
Lao New Year
Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
April 10, 2015

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States of America, I am honored to wish the people of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic peace and prosperity on the occasion of the Lao New Year.

The start of a new year is a time to celebrate all we have accomplished and look ahead with hope for the future. I was delighted that the United States had the opportunity to join the Government of Laos in co-hosting the Extraordinary Meeting of the Friends of the Lower Mekong in Pakse this past February. The coming year will be an important one for Laos, and I hope it brings joy to Lao people around the world.

The United States values its important friendship with Laos. May the New Year bring us closer together.

NSC STATEMENT ON YARMOUK REFUGEE CAMP SITUATION

FROM:  THE WHITE HOUSE
April 10, 2015
Statement by NSC Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan on the Situation in Yarmouk Refugee Camp

We welcome UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s statement on the situation in Yarmouk refugee camp, and join him in calling for an end to hostilities, access for humanitarian assistance, and safe passage for civilians who wish to escape safely.

The Yarmouk camp has been besieged by the Syrian regime for nearly two years, and its residents have been denied access to food, potable water, and medical supplies.  Those Palestinian refugees living inside the camp are now caught between ISIL and the Syrian regime, which continues to indiscriminately attack civilians, including with artillery and barrel bombs, in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2139.

All parties must comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law.  The siege of Yarmouk must be lifted and the safe evacuation of civilians must be allowed.  Civilians who manage to leave Yarmouk must be granted immediate and safe passage; families must not be separated; and departing civilians must not be detained.  We further call on the Syrian regime to halt aerial bombardment in order to allow civilians to leave the camp.

We applaud the efforts of the UN Relief and Works Agency to help protect civilians in Yarmouk.  Across Syria, more than 440,000 people are trapped in communities besieged by the Syrian Regime, ISIL and other armed groups.  The terrible toll the war has taken on Syria’s civilians underscores the urgent need for a political solution to end the fighting.  It also highlights the profound need for the perpetrators of sieges and atrocities against the civilian population to be held accountable.

U.S. EXTENDS WARMEST WISHES TO PEOPLE OF CAMBODIA ON THEIR KHMER NEW YEAR

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT
Khmer New Year
Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
April 10, 2015

On behalf of President Obama and the American people, I want to extend my warmest wishes to the people of Cambodia for a safe and joyous Khmer New Year.

The United States and Cambodia have a strong and lasting bond built on a foundation of trade, regional security, and people-to-people exchanges. The energy and enthusiasm of Cambodia’s youth is an inspiration to me, as it was for First Lady Michelle Obama during her historic visit in March. I am proud of our partnership with the people of Cambodia to build a healthy, prosperous, and democratic future for all.

I wish all Cambodians the very best in the new year.

U.S. SENDS WARMEST WISHES TO PEOPLE OF MYANMAR REGARDING THEIR WATER FESTIVAL AND NEW YEAR

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT
Thingyan Water Festival and New Year
Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
April 10, 2015

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I send my warmest wishes to the people of Myanmar on the occasion of the Thingyan Water Festival and New Year.

Thingyan is a special occasion for celebration, prayer, and reflection. It is also a time for family, friends, and strangers alike to help each other wash away the past and usher in the promise of a new year -- whether through the delicately watered sprigs of thabyay, or the many other methods of keeping cool in the April heat.

May the New Year be one of peace, security, prosperity, and national harmony for all the diverse people of Myanmar.

As you celebrate this special occasion with your loved ones, know the people of the United States will be with you on the long road ahead to reconciliation, justice, and democracy for all in your country.

WHITE HOUSE VIDEO: PRESIDENT OBAMA MEETS WITH PRIME MINISTER PORTIA SIMPSON-MILLER

DEFENSE SECRETARY CARTER REPORTS PROGRESS IN TALKS WITH JAPANESE OFFICIALS

FROM:  U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT

Right:  Secretary of Defense Ash Carter holds a press conference at Yokota Air Base in Japan. Carter visited service members and their families there to observe the Month of the Military Child. Carter is on a visit to the U.S. Pacific Command area of responsibility to strengthen and modernize U.S. alliances in the region. DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Sean Hurt  

In Japan, Carter Reports Progress on Major Issues
By Cheryl Pellerin

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, April 9, 2015 – In Yokota yesterday, Defense Secretary Ash Carter reported progress in talks with Japanese officials on the U.S.-Japan Defense Guidelines for Defense Cooperation and on a proposed regional regulatory and investment treaty called the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Speaking with reporters who are traveling with Carter on his first official trip as defense secretary to Northeast Asia, the secretary discussed the purpose of his visit to Japan and progress made on longstanding issues.

“The purpose of my visit was to prepare the way for … the so-called ‘2+2’ meeting, which is the meeting of foreign ministers and Secretary of State John Kerry and also the defense ministers, which occurs later this month,” Carter said.
The 2+2 meeting itself is a preparatory meeting in advance of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit here to meet with President Barack Obama.
U.S.-Japan Defense Guidelines

“I had the opportunity to make progress and to discuss two very important things, Carter said, referring to the U.S.-Japan Defense Guidelines for Defense Cooperation and the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP.

In October, the United States and Japan jointly released an interim report of ongoing revisions of the U.S.-Japan defense cooperation guidelines, according to the U.S. State Department’s website.

The revised guidelines, expected to be finalized by the end of the year, will establish an expanded and more flexible framework for alliance cooperation to ensure the peace and security of Japan under any circumstances, from peacetime to contingencies, the website said, and to promote a stable, peaceful and prosperous Asia-Pacific.

Historic Moment

“This is an historic moment for the U.S.-Japan relationship,” Carter said. “Japan is … changing its security posture in important and truly historic ways and we, accordingly, are changing our relationship to evolve with them.”

The secretary said the update of the guidelines is significant because it opens new possibilities for the United States and Japan to work together in Northeast Asia.

“We can work in new domains like space and cyberspace, and we can cooperate in new ways, both regionally and globally,” he added.

Carter said the agreement has many dimensions and represents a modernization of the alliance.

Lasting Security Relationship

“To me it shows how lasting a security relationship with the United States is,” the secretary added. “We've had it [with Japan] for many decades and of course it's been instrumental in keeping peace and stability in this part of the world.”
Such stability has led to the uplifting of many people economically and politically in the region, Carter said. “And that hasn't happened automatically,” he added. “It’s happened because of the United States' military role out here.”
Carter said the TPP is an important part of the U.S.-Japan relationship and relationships among many countries in the region.

The treaty, he said, “reinforces that the strategic approach to this part of the world is not just a military matter. It's economic and political as well [and] it's extremely important.”

Missile Defense Preparations

In response to a question about North Korea’s firing of two short-range surface-to-air missiles off its west coast earlier today, Carter called it a reminder of how tense things are on the Korean Peninsula.

“That’s the reason I'm going to talk to our own commanders and troops, and very importantly to the government of South Korea, which like Japan is a longstanding, very staunch ally out here,” he said.

The show of North Korean aggression, Carter added, “reinforces the missile-defense preparations we've long had on the Korean Peninsula and have here.”
More broadly than missiles, Carter said the missile launch is a reminder of how dangerous things are on the Korean Peninsula, and how a highly ready force in support of a strong ally is needed to keep the peace.

“That’s what we'll be talking about and visiting with the South Korean government about over the next couple of days,” Carter said, “the health of our alliance and the importance of our alliance to peace and security on the peninsula.”

U.S. TOUTS TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP

FROM:  U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a proposed trade agreement under negotiation by Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam. The agreement seeks to enhance trade and investment among TPP partner countries; promote innovation, economic growth and development; and support job creation and retention.  Graphic Credit:  DOD.



U.S. SEEKS ARREST, EXTRADITION OF FORMER SALVADORAN COLONEL FOR ROLE IN 1989 JESUIT MASSACRE

FROM:  U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
United States Seeks Extradition of Former Salvadoran Military Officer to Spain to Face Charges for Participation in 1989 Jesuit Massacre

The Department of Justice filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of North Carolina today seeking the arrest and extradition of a former colonel in the Salvadoran army to face charges in Spain related to the murder of five Spanish Jesuit priests in El Salvador in 1989.  

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Thomas G. Walker of the Eastern District of North Carolina made the announcement.

Inocente Orlando Montano Morales, 72, formerly of Everett, Massachusetts, and 19 other former Salvadoran military officials have been indicted in Spain for the 1989 murders of five Spanish Jesuit priests during the 10-year Salvadoran civil conflict.  An arrest warrant for Montano was issued by a Spanish magistrate.

According to allegations in the complaint filed in U.S. District Court today, between 1980 and 1991, El Salvador was engulfed in a civil conflict between the military-led government and the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN).  During this conflict, in the early morning hours of Nov. 16, 1989, members of the Salvadoran military allegedly murdered six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and the housekeeper’s 16-year old daughter at the Universidad Centroamericana.  Five of the Jesuit priests were Spanish nationals, and the remaining victims were from El Salvador.  The Jesuit priests were allegedly advocates for discussions between the FMLN and the military-led government to end the strife.

At the time, Montano Morales was a colonel in the Salvadoran army, and he also served as Vice Minister of Defense and Public Safety.  The complaint alleges that he shared oversight responsibility over a government radio station that, days before the massacre, issued threats urging the murder of the Jesuit priests.  The day before the murders, Montano Morales also allegedly participated in a series of meetings during which one of his fellow officers gave the order to kill the leader of the Jesuits and leave no witnesses.  The following day, members of the Salvadoran army allegedly executed the six priests, their housekeeper and the housekeeper’s daughter.

Montano Morales is currently serving a 21-month federal prison sentence in the United States for his 2013 conviction in the District of Massachusetts for immigration fraud and perjury in connection with false statements he made to immigration authorities to remain in the United States.  He will be released from that prison sentence on April 16, 2015.  

The allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and any finding of guilt or innocence will be made by Spanish courts upon Montano Morales’s extradition.

The case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Goulian and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney John Capin of the Eastern District of North Carolina and Trial Attorney Roberto Iraola of the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs.

DOCTORS TRAIN WITH HUMAN PATIENT SIMULATOR

FROM:  NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
How robots can help build better doctors
Research seeks to make better 'human patient simulators'

A young doctor leans over a patient who has been in a serious car accident and invariably must be experiencing pain. The doctor's trauma team examines the patient's pelvis and rolls her onto her side to check her spine. They scan the patient's abdomen with a rapid ultrasound machine, finding fluid. They insert a tube in her nose. Throughout the procedure, the patient's face remains rigid, showing no signs of pain.

The patient's facial demeanor isn't a result of stoicism--it's a robot, not a person. The trauma team is training on a "human patient simulator," (HPS) a training tool which enables clinicians to practice their skills before treating real patients. HPS systems have evolved over the past several decades from mannequins into machines that can breathe, bleed and expel fluids. Some models have pupils that contract when hit by light. Others have entire physiologies that can change. They come in life-sized forms that resemble both children and adults.

But they could be better, said Laurel D. Riek, a computer science and engineering professor at the University of Notre Dame. As remarkable as modern patient simulators are, they have two major limitations.

"Their faces don't actually move, and they are unable to sense or respond to the environment," she said.

Riek, a roboticist, is designing the next generation of HPS systems. Her NSF-supported research explores new means for the robots to exhibit realistic, clinically relevant facial expressions and respond automatically to clinicians in real time.

"This work will enable hundreds of thousands of doctors, nurses, EMTs, firefighters and combat medics to practice their treatment and diagnostic skills extensively and safely on robots before treating real patients," she said.

One novel aspect of Riek's research is the development of new algorithms that use data from real patients to generate simulated facial characteristics. For example, Riek and her students have recently completed a pain simulation project and are the first research group to synthesize pain using patient data. This work won them best overall paper and best student paper at the International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare, the top medical simulation conference.

Riek's team is now working on an interactive stroke simulator that can automatically sense and respond to learners as they work through a case. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, yet many of these deaths could be prevented through faster diagnosis and treatment.

"With current technology, clinicians are sometimes not learning the right skills. They are not able to read diagnostic clues from the face," she said.

Yet learning to read those clues could yield lifesaving results. Preventable medical errors in hospitals are the third-leading cause of death in the United States.

"What's really striking about this is that these deaths are completely preventable," Riek said.

One factor contributing to those accidents is clinicians missing clues and going down incorrect diagnostic paths, using incorrect treatments or wasting time. Reading facial expressions, Riek said, can help doctors improve those diagnoses. It is important that their training reflects this.

In addition to modeling and synthesizing patient facial expressions, Riek and her team are building a new, fully-expressive robot head. By employing 3-D printing, they are working to produce a robot that is low-cost and will be one day available to both researchers and hobbyists in addition to clinicians.

The team has engineered the robot to have interchangeable skins, so that the robot's age, race and gender can be easily changed. This will enable researchers to explore social factors or "cultural competency" in new ways.

"Clinicians can create different patient histories and backgrounds and can look at subtle differences in how healthcare workers treat different kinds of patients," Riek said.

Riek's work has the potential to help address the patient safety problem, enabling clinicians to take part in simulations otherwise impossible with existing technology.

-- Rob Margetta,
Investigators
Laurel Riek
Related Institutions/Organizations
University of Notre Dame

SEC CHARGES COMPANY WITH VIOLATING FCPA BY OFFERING TRAVEL, GIFTS TO FOREIGN OFFICIALS IN THE MIDDLE EAST

FROM:  U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
04/08/2015 11:05 AM EDT

The Securities and Exchange Commission charged Oregon-based FLIR Systems Inc. with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by financing what an employee termed a “world tour” of personal travel for government officials in the Middle East who played key roles in decisions to purchase FLIR products.  FLIR earned more than $7 million in profits from sales influenced by the improper travel and gifts.

FLIR, which develops infrared technology for use in binoculars and other sensing products and systems, agreed to settle the SEC’s charges by paying more than $9.5 million and reporting its FCPA compliance efforts to the agency for the next two years.  The SEC previously charged two FLIR employees in the case.

“FLIR’s deficient financial controls failed to identify and stop the activities of employees who served as de facto travel agents for influential foreign officials to travel around the world on the company’s dime,” said Kara Brockmeyer, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s FCPA Unit.

According to the SEC’s order instituting a settled administrative proceeding against FLIR, the company had few internal controls over gifts and travel out of its foreign sales offices.  Two employees in its Dubai office provided expensive watches to government officials with the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Interior in 2009, and they arranged for the company to pay for a 20-night excursion by Saudi officials that included stops in Casablanca, Paris, Dubai, Beirut, and New York City.  The value of the gifts and the extent and nature of the travel were falsely recorded in FLIR’s books and records as legitimate business expenses, and the company’s internal controls failed to catch the improper payments despite documentation suggesting that extravagant gifts and travel were being provided.  

The SEC’s order finds that from 2008 to 2010, FLIR paid approximately $40,000 for additional travel by Saudi government officials, including multiple New Year’s Eve trips to Dubai with airfare, hotel, and expensive dinners and drinks.  FLIR also accepted cursory invoices from a FLIR company partner without any supporting documentation to pay extended travel of Egyptian officials in mid-2011.

The SEC’s order finds that FLIR violated the anti-bribery provisions of Section 30A of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and the internal controls and books-and-records provisions of Sections 13(b)(2)(A) and 13(b)(2)(B) of the Exchange Act.  FLIR self-reported the misconduct to the SEC and cooperated with the SEC’s investigation.  FLIR consented to the order without admitting or denying the findings and agreed to pay disgorgement of $7,534,000, prejudgment interest of $970,584 and a penalty of $1 million for a total of $9,504,584.

The SEC’s investigation was conducted by FCPA Unit members Cameron P. Hoffman and Tracy L. Davis in the San Francisco office.  The SEC appreciates the assistance of the Justice Department’s Fraud Section, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the United Arab Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority.

GEN. WELSH DESCRIBES FUTURE AIR FORCE

FROM:  U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT
Welsh Describes Air Force of the Future
By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, April 8, 2015 – In the future, the Air Force’s core missions will probably not change, but the way they are carried out will, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III said today.

Welsh, speaking to the Defense Writers Group, said the Air Force’s missions include air and space superiority, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, rapid global mobility, global strike and command and control.

Those missions “are what the joint force requires to be successful,” the general said.

Hot Jobs

New technologies, new methods and new domains will change the way airmen do their jobs, Welsh said.

“The hot jobs will be probably be in the cyber domain [and] they will be in remotely piloted aircraft,” he said.

The remotely piloted aircraft career field is growing leaps and bounds, the general said. Airmen currently working in this field, he said, are figuring out what the technology can do and how it can be worked into today’s and tomorrow’s service.

“Many of them came in to do this, which is a change from 10 years ago,” Welsh said. “They are really excited about the potential and what it brings.”

These airmen are working to figure how to work remotely piloted aircraft with manned aircraft, he said, and they are the ones figuring how
microminiaturization technology can be used and what it will bring to the table.
Building on Air Force Traditions

But there will be more traditional jobs, too, Welsh said with a smile.

“We’re going to get the same kind of people who we’ve gotten for years,” the general said. “They want to fly the F-22, the F-35, the X-wing fighter. Those people still want to come do this and we’ll have options for them in the future.”
Some of the systems the Air Force has in the current inventory will still be in use in 2035, but what is carried aboard these platforms will bring new capabilities to the service, the joint force and the nation, Welsh said.

“A lot of how the Air Force looks will depend on what the budget looks like and what the economy looks like,” he said. “It could look a lot more robust, it could look a lot more modern, or it could look like it does today. The danger is that we settle for that. That won’t be good for us.”


FRANK ROSE MAKES REMARKS ON MISSILE DEFENSE COOPERATION

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT
Enhancing Regional Missile Defense Cooperation
Remarks
Frank A. Rose
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance
Center for Strategic and International Studies
Washington, DC
April 7, 2015

Introduction

Thank you for that kind introduction, and thanks for having me here today.

By way of introduction, while I am the Assistant Secretary for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, my work at the State Department is focused on enhancing strategic stability around the world. Arms control, verification and compliance are some of the tools we use to enhance strategic stability and reassure our allies and partners that we will meet our security commitments.

Missile defense is another tool to do just that. At the State Department, I am responsible for overseeing a wide range of defense issues, including missile defense cooperation with our allies and partners around the world. In this capacity, I served as the lead U.S. negotiator for the missile defense bases in Romania, Turkey, and Poland.

So I’m pleased to be here today to discuss our efforts at enhancing missile defense cooperation with our allies and partners, one of the key goals outlined in the 2010 Ballistic Missile Defense Review. Now you have already heard from Elaine Bunn and General Todorov about our missile defense policy and operations. So instead, let me focus my remarks on three areas: 1) significant progress we have been made implementing the European Phased Adaptive Approach (or EPAA) and NATO missile defense; 2) cooperation on missile defense with allies and partners outside of Europe, and 3) I’ll conclude with a few points on Russia and missile defense.

Before I do that, I do want to reiterate one point that you undoubtedly heard from Elaine and Ken: the President’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget protects and enhances our important missile defense priorities such as the European Phased Adaptive Approach and reflects the high priority we place on these efforts. As such, the U.S. commitment to NATO missile defense and the sites in Romania and Poland remains “ironclad.”


European Phased Adaptive Approach

With that, let me now take a few moments to discuss where we are with regard to overall implementation of the EPAA, the United States’ national contribution to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (or NATO) missile defense system. In 2009, the President announced that the EPAA would “provide stronger, smarter, and swifter defenses of American forces and America's Allies,” while relying on “capabilities that are proven and cost-effective.” Since then, we have been working hard to implement his vision and have made great strides in recent years.

I just returned from Turkey and Romania last week and had the opportunity to discuss our progress with these two key partners.

Turkey was the first country to receive EPPA elements in Phase 1 with the deployment of an AN/TPY-2 radar to that country in 2011. At the same time, we began the start of a sustained deployment of an Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) -capable multi-role ship to the Mediterranean. With the declaration of Interim BMD Capability at the NATO Summit in Chicago in May 2012, the radar in Turkey transitioned to NATO operational control.

Additionally, Spain agreed in 2011 to host four U.S. Aegis BMD-capable ships at the existing naval facility at Rota as a Spanish contribution to NATO missile defense.

In February 2014, the first of four missile defense-capable Aegis ships, USS DONALD COOK, arrived in Rota, Spain. A second ship, USS ROSS joined her in June. During 2015, two more of these multi-mission ships, USS PORTER and USS CARNEY will forward deploy in Rota.

These multi-mission ships will conduct maritime security operations, humanitarian missions, training exercises, and support U.S. and NATO operations, including NATO missile defense.

Currently, we are focused on completing the deployment of an Aegis Ashore site in Romania as part of Phase 2 of the EPAA. Romania’s strong support for the timely completion of the arrangements needed to implement this deployment and Romania’s provision of security and its infrastructure efforts have been superb.

In October 2014, the U.S. Navy held a historic naval support facility establishment ceremony at the missile defense facility on Deveselu Airbase Base in Romania. This ceremony established the naval facility and installed its first U.S. commander. Currently, this site is on schedule to be completed by the end of this year and when operational, this site, combined with BMD-capable ships in the Mediterranean, will enhance coverage of NATO from short- and medium-range ballistic missiles launched from the Middle East.

And finally there is Phase 3. This phase includes an Aegis Ashore site in Poland equipped with the new SM-3 Block IIA interceptor. This site is on schedule for deployment in the 2018 time frame. For example, the President’s FY16 budget request includes approximately $200 million for the establishment of the site. The interceptor site in Poland is key to the EPAA: when combined with other EPAA assets, Phase 3 will provide the necessary capabilities to provide ballistic missile defense coverage of all NATO European territory in the 2018 time frame.

So, as you can see, we are continuing to implement the President’s vision for stronger, smarter, and swifter missile defenses in Europe.


National Contributions to NATO Missile Defense

I would also like to highlight the efforts of our NATO Allies to develop and deploy their own national contributions for missile defense. A great example is that today, Patriot batteries from three NATO countries are deployed in Turkey under NATO command and control to augment Turkey’s air defense capabilities in response to the crisis on Turkey’s south-eastern border.

Voluntary national contributions are foundation of the NATO missile defense system, and there are several approaches Allies can take to make important and valuable contributions in this area.

First, Allies can acquire fully capable BMD systems possessing sensor, shooter and command and control capabilities.

Second, Allies can acquire new sensors or upgrade existing ones to provide a key ballistic missile defense capability.

Finally, Allies can contribute to NATO’s ballistic missile defense capability by providing essential basing support, such as Turkey, Romania, Poland, and Spain have agreed to do.

In all of these approaches, however, the most critical requirement is NATO interoperability.

Yes, acquiring a ballistic missile defense capability is, of course, good in and of itself.

But if the capability is not interoperable with the Alliance then its value as a contribution to Alliance deterrence and defense is significantly diminished.

It is only through interoperability that the Alliance can gain the optimum effects from BMD cooperation that enhance NATO BMD through shared battle-space awareness and reduced interceptor wastage.


Missile Defense Developments in Other Regions

Let me turn now to some of the other regions of the world. The United States, in cooperation with our allies and partners, is continuing to bolster missile defenses in other key regions, such as the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific, in order to strengthen regional deterrence architectures.

In the Middle East, we are already cooperating with our key partners bilaterally and multilaterally through fora such as the recently established U.S.-Gulf Cooperation Council (or GCC) Strategic Cooperation Forum (or SCF).

At the September 26, 2013, SCF, Secretary Kerry and his Foreign Ministry counterparts reaffirmed their intent, first stated at the September 28, 2012, SCF, to “work toward enhanced U.S.-GCC coordination on Ballistic Missile Defense.”

Several of our partners in the region have expressed an interest in buying missile defense systems, and some have already done so. For example, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has contracted to buy two Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (or THAAD) batteries that, when operational, will enhance the UAE’s national security as well as regional stability.

The UAE also has taken delivery of its Patriot PAC-3 batteries, which provide a lower-tier, point defense of critical national assets. We look forward to advancing cooperation and interoperability with our GCC partners in the months and years ahead.

Additionally and separately, the United States maintains a strong defense relationship with Israel, and our cooperation on missile defense has resulted in comprehensive missile defense architecture for Israel. Israeli programs such as Iron Dome, the David’s Sling Weapon System, and the Arrow Weapon System, in conjunction with operational cooperation with the United States, create a multilayered architecture designed to protect the Israeli people from varying types of missile threats.

In the Asia-Pacific, we are continuing to cooperate through our bilateral alliances and key partnerships.

For example, the United States and Japan already are working closely together to develop the SM-3 Block IIA, which will make a key contribution to the EPAA as well as being deployed elsewhere in the world. We also recently completed the deployment of a second AN/TPY-2 radar to Japan, which will enhance the defense of both the U.S. and Japan. And finally, we are continuing to work on enhancing interoperability between U.S. and Japanese forces, which will be aided by recent changes to the U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation Guidelines, which we expect to complete soon.

We also continue to consult closely with Australia. For example, as a result of U.S.-Australia Foreign and Defense ministerial-level consultations over the past year, the United States and Australia have established a bilateral BMD Working Group to examine options for potential Australian contributions to the BMD architecture in the Asia-Pacific region.

Additionally, we are also consulting closely with the Republic of Korea as it develops the Korean Air and Missile Defense system, which is designed to defend the Republic of Korea against air and missile threats from North Korea. The Republic of Korea recently announced its plans to purchase Patriot PAC-3 missiles, which will enhance its capability to defend against the North Korean ballistic missile threat.


A Constraint Free Missile Defense

Finally, let me say a few things about missile defense and Russia.

Prior to the suspension of our dialogue as a result of Russia’s illegal actions in Ukraine, Russia continued to demand that the United States provide it “legally binding” guarantees that our missile defense will not harm or diminish its strategic nuclear deterrent. These guarantees would have been based on criteria that would have limited our missile defenses and undermined our ability to stay ahead of the ballistic missile threat.

The Ballistic Missile Defense Review is quite clear on our policy: U.S. missile defense is not designed nor directed against Russia and China’s strategic nuclear forces.

However, at the same time, we have also made it clear that we cannot and will not accept legally-binding or other constraints that limit our ability to defend ourselves, our allies, and our partners.

The security of the United States, its allies and partners is our foremost and solemn responsibility. As such, the United States will continue to insist on having the flexibility to respond to evolving ballistic missile threats, free from obligations or other constraints that limit our BMD capabilities.


Conclusion

Let me conclude by saying that we have made a great deal of progress on missile defense cooperation with allies and partners around the world over the past several years. This was a key goal of the 2010 Ballistic Missile Defense Review.

In Europe, implementation of the EPAA and NATO missile defense is going well. For example, the missile defense radar in Turkey has been operating since 2011, and the Aegis Ashore site in Romania is scheduled to become operational later this year.

In the Middle East, we are continuing to work bilaterally and multilaterally with our partners in the GCC to deploy effective missile defense. For example, later this year the United Arab Emirates will take delivery of its first THAAD battery.

Furthermore, we continue to work with Israel to expand its multilayered architecture to protect it from missile threats.

In the Asia-Pacific, we are working actively with our allies to enhance our missile defense capabilities in the region. On that note, we recently completed deployment of second missile defense radar in Japan, which will enhance the defense of both the U.S. and Japan.

Finally, we continue to oppose Russia’s attempts to impose limitations on our missile defenses that would limit our ability to defend ourselves, our allies, and our partners.

Suffice to say, defense of our allies and partners through assistance on missile defense cooperation is and will remain a key priority of the U.S. Government.

Thank you and I look forward to your questions.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

DOD DAILY REPORT ON AIRSTRIKES IN SYRIA AND IRAQ

FROM:  U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT
Airstrikes Continue Against ISIL in Syria, Iraq
From a Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve News Release

WASHINGTON, April 9, 2015 – U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Inherent Resolve officials reported today.
Officials reported details of the latest strikes, which took place between 8 a.m. yesterday and 8 a.m. today, local time, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.

"Our coalition capability to degrade ISIL continues to grow, with the first airstrikes conducted by Canada in Syria,” said Combined Joint Task Force Chief of Staff Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Thomas D. Weidley. "It is the collective efforts of all nations and the power of the coalition that foreshadows the defeat of ISIL and the threat they pose."

Airstrikes in Syria

Bomber, fighter and attack aircraft conducted seven airstrikes in Syria:

-- Near Hasakah, four airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, two ISIL vehicles and destroyed five ISIL vehicles and an ISIL tank.

-- Near Raqqah, an airstrike struck an ISIL military garrison.

-- Near Kobani, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions.

Airstrikes in Iraq

Fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 12 airstrikes in Iraq, approved by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense:

-- Near Beiji, three airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units, an ISIL tunnel system and destroyed an ISIL vehicle in the surrounding areas.

-- Near Mosul, five airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL mortar tube, an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL fighting position.

-- Near Sinjar, two airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroyed three ISIL heavy machine guns, two ISIL buildings, two ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL armored vehicle.

-- Near Tal Afar, two airstrikes destroyed an ISIL excavator and an ISIL fighting position.

Part of Operation Inherent Resolve

The strikes were conducted as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation to eliminate the ISIL terrorist group and the threat they pose to Iraq, Syria, the region, and the wider international community. The destruction of ISIL targets in Syria and Iraq further limits the terrorist group's ability to project terror and conduct operations.

Coalition nations conducting airstrikes in Iraq include the United States, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Jordan, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Coalition nations conducting airstrikes in Syria include the United States, Bahrain, Canada, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

U.S. EXTENDS NEW YEAR'S GREETINGS TO PEOPLE OF THAILAND

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT
Thai New Year
Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
April 9, 2015

It is with great pleasure that I extend New Year’s greetings on behalf of President Obama and the American people. Songkran is an auspicious occasion to look forward to a prosperous New Year and spend time with friends and family.

The people of the United States and the people of Kingdom of Thailand share a long and enduring friendship, and our countries cooperate on many important issues, including trade, health research, climate change, and regional security. We look forward to continuing to work together on issues that matter to the well-being of both our countries and the wider region in this New Year.

I wish all Thai people a happy and healthy Songkran!

The President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa Part II

The President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa Part I



PRESIDENT OBAMA SPEAKS ON THE IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON PUBLIC HEALTH

PRESIDENT OBAMA GIVES NOTICE OF CONTINUATION OF NATIONAL EMERGENCY WITH RESPECT TO SOMALIA

FROM:  THE WHITE HOUSE
April 08, 2015
Notice -- Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Somalia
NOTICE
- - - - - - -
CONTINUATION OF THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY WITH
RESPECT TO SOMALIA

On April 12, 2010, by Executive Order 13536, I declared a national emergency pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701-1706) to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States constituted by the deterioration of the security situation and the persistence of violence in Somalia, acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia, which have repeatedly been the subject of United Nations Security Council resolutions, and violations of the arms embargo imposed by the United Nations Security Council.

On July 20, 2012, I issued Executive Order 13620 to take additional steps to deal with the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13536 in view of United Nations Security CouncilResolution 2036 of February 22, 2012, and Resolution 2002 of July 29, 2011, and to address:  exports of charcoal from Somalia, which generate significant revenue for al-Shabaab; the misappropriation of Somali public assets; and certain acts of violence committed against civilians in Somalia, all of which contribute to the deterioration of the security situation and the persistence of violence in Somalia.

Because the situation with respect to Somalia continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States, the national emergency declared on April 12, 2010, and the measures adopted on that date and on July 20, 2012, to deal with that emergency, must continue in effect beyond April 12, 2015.  Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13536.

This notice shall be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to the Congress.

BARACK OBAMA

FORMER GAMBLING SUPPLY STORE OWNER PLEADS GUILTY IN CASE INVOLVING ILLEGAL GAMBLING AND CHARITY

FROM:  U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Former Owner of Ohio Gambling Supplies Store Pleads Guilty to Gambling, Tax and Obstruction Offenses

The former co-owner of R&J Partnership Ltd. doing business as Reece’s Las Vegas Supply (RLVS), a gambling supplies store located in Dayton, Ohio, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to operate an illegal gambling business and operating an illegal gambling business, conspiracy to defraud the United States and witness tampering.  The charges were part of an indictment unsealed on Sept. 26, 2014, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.

The other defendants charged in the indictment, including Douglas A. Sanders, Jason S. Pulaski, Michael E. Gedeon, Jennifer Williams and Walter F. Dyer, previously pleaded guilty to illegal gambling and obstruction of justice offenses.

According to the indictment and the statement of facts as part of the plea agreement, between February 2004 and May 2011, Reece Powers II oversaw the recruitment of local 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organizations to sponsor poker fundraisers that included casino-like card games.  Powers entered into arrangements with the charitable organizations to control all of the funds generated from the poker fundraisers.

These poker fundraisers were exempted from the general prohibition against games of chance under then-existing Ohio laws, subject to the requirement that all the funds received from the games of chance, after deducting only prizes paid out and necessary expenses sanctioned under law, be transferred to the charitable organization for their sole benefit and use.  Powers, with the help of his co-conspirators, took a portion of the money generated from the poker fundraisers and used those funds to pay the events’ workers, among other things, in violation of Ohio law and federal gambling laws.

Powers provided false accountings to the charitable organizations of the funds received from the events and skimmed a portion of the money.  Powers either supervised or personally distributed illegal cash payments to his co-conspirators and employees who worked as card dealers, cashiers, chip sellers, pit bosses, tournament directors and managers.  Powers and his co-conspirators also falsely held themselves out as uncompensated volunteers at the poker fundraisers.

In 2009, Powers and Allen Beck, a former business broker, conspired to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in attempting to sell RLVS.  Beck previously pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge.  In an effort by Powers to evade taxes, Powers and Beck arranged the sale to make it appear as if the business and its associated real estate was sold for an amount less than its actual sale price.

In February 2010, Powers also tampered with a witness testifying before a federal grand jury by instructing the witness to testify falsely that the witness and other RLVS staffers did not get paid for working at the poker fundraisers.  Previously, Pulaski, Gedeon, Williams and Dyer each pleaded guilty to committing obstruction of justice by falsely testifying before a federal grand jury that they were uncompensated volunteers at the poker fundraisers.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Black of the Southern District of Ohio did not schedule a sentencing date.  Powers faces a statutory maximum sentence of 35 years in prison and a fine of $1,000,000.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo commended special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who investigated the case, and Assistant Chief Jorge Almonte and Trial Attorneys Christopher P. O’Donnell and Austin F. Furman of the Tax Division, who are prosecuting the case.  Ciraolo also thanked the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Ohio for their substantial assistance.

NORAD, NORTHCOM COMMANDER BRIEFS REPORTERS ON HOMELAND DEFENSE

FROM:   U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT

Navy Adm. William E. Gortney, commander of U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command, briefs reporters at the Pentagon, April 7, 2015. DoD photo by U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz.  

NORTHCOM, NORAD Strengthen Homeland Defense, Says Commander
By Amaani Lyle
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, April 7, 2015 – Four months into his tenure as leader of North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, Navy Adm. Bill Gortney conducted a Pentagon press briefing today on priority efforts in homeland defense.

Currently the Defense Department’s only bilateral command, 58-year-old NORAD brings Americans and Canadians together, Gortney said. NORAD works in tandem with Northcom, established in 2002, to protect the homeland from external threats as well as respond to natural disasters, homeland extremists and cyberattacks, he explained.

“[The mission set] encompasses the traditional NORAD role of air defense, as well as … maritime warning,” Gortney said.

Northcom, the admiral noted, rounds out the mission set with its maritime defense and control elements and includes Operation Noble Eagle, U.S.-Canadian homeland security operations that have been ongoing since just after 9/11.

The commands’ responsibilities also include homeland ballistic missile defense and countering transnational criminal networks to thwart smugglers or others who engage in nefarious activity, he said.

Federal military forces provide defense support of civil authorities, which Gortney said has expansive functions across myriad mission requirements.

“Many people think [that support] involves Hurricane Katrina or Super Storm Sandy, an earthquake or a flood, but it encompasses much more than that,” the admiral said. “It’s helping our interagency … and law enforcement partners, predominantly homeland security, in their particular missions.”

Importance of Homeland Partnerships

Gortney described homeland partnerships as NORAD’s and Northcom’s “center of gravity,” with not only a large interagency and law enforcement presence, but some 60 senior federal and senior executive service employees whose tasks cross mission sets.

NORAD and Northcom, he added, also work with governors, the Army National Guard and Air National Guard, and the functional and geographic combatant commands. “[They all work] together to close those seams that the enemy will try and exploit to get after us,” Gortney said.

International Partnerships

Gortney said that as the unified command plan directs, his people emphasize international partnerships with Canada, the Bahamas and Mexico to assess and solve shared problems.

DoD is also “the advocate of the arctic,” Gortney said, adding that he and his team are working to better define roles and doctrine by determining operational requirements, necessary investments and partnerships that will best inform DoD plans for the region.

Focus on Professionalism, Warfighters, Families

Along with professionalism and excellence, which Gortney described as full-time jobs, he told reporters NORAD and Northcom’s people focus on warfighters and their families.

“We rely on those who wear the cloth of our nation to defend our nation,” Gortney said. “It’s both an away game and a near game, and our families are the very stitches that hold [it] together.”

SEC CHARGES 12 COMPANIES, 6 INDIVIDUALS FOR ROLES IN ALLEGED FRAUD SCHEME INVOLVING CELLULAR SPECTRUM LICENSES

FROM:  U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
04/06/2015 02:40 PM EDT

The Securities and Exchange Commission charged 12 companies and six individuals with defrauding investors in a scheme involving applications to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for cellular spectrum licenses.

According to the SEC’s complaint filed in federal district court in Arizona, David Alcorn and Kent Maerki orchestrated the offering fraud through Janus Spectrum LLC, a Glendale, Ariz.-based company they founded and managed.  Janus Spectrum held itself out as a service provider that prepares cellular spectrum license applications on behalf of third parties.  The complaint alleges that although Alcorn and Maerki had third parties offer and sell securities based on the licenses to investors, they were personally involved in presentations to investors and Maerki appeared in misleading videos, including one called “Money from Thin Air.”

The SEC alleges that investors in the scheme were promised potentially lucrative returns based on Janus Spectrum obtaining FCC licenses in the Expansion Band and Guard Band portions of the 800 megahertz (MHz) band.  Janus Spectrum and the fundraising entities claimed that investors could profit because Sprint and other major wireless carriers needed licenses in this spectrum.  In fact, the value of the licenses was small because this spectrum cannot support cellular systems and is generally used for “push-to-talk” services for local law enforcement or businesses like pizza delivery companies that require less bandwidth.

“Janus Spectrum and its fundraising entities allegedly engaged in the unregistered offer and sale of securities in violation of the federal securities laws and repeatedly lied to investors regarding the value and use of the FCC licenses,” said Michele W. Layne, Director of the SEC’s Los Angeles Regional Office.

The SEC’s complaint alleges that the scheme raised more than $12.4 million from investors from May 2012 to October 2014.  The fundraising entities funneled a significant percentage of the investors’ funds to Janus Spectrum, which used only a small portion to prepare applications for FCC licenses.  The complaint alleges that instead, all of the individuals in the scheme kept a significant portion of investor funds for personal use.

Four individuals and 11 companies were named as fundraising entities:

Daryl G. Bank of Port St. Lucie, Fla., and his companies Dominion Private Client Group LLC, Janus Spectrum Group LLC, Spectrum Management LLC, Spectrum 100 LLC, Spectrum 100 Management LLC, Prime Spectrum LLC and Prime Spectrum Management LLC all based in Virginia Beach, Va.
Bobby D. Jones of Phoenix and his company Premier Spectrum Group PMA, a Texas private membership association based in Phoenix.
Terry W. Johnson of Heath, Texas and Raymon G. Chadwick Jr. of Grand Prairie, Texas and their companies Innovative Group PMA, Premier Group PMA and Prosperity Group PMA, Texas private membership associations based in Grand Prairie, Texas or Heath, Texas.
As alleged in the SEC’s complaint, in conducting this fraudulent scheme and lying to investors, Janus Spectrum, Alcorn, Maerki, Bank, Jones, Johnson, Chadwick, and the fundraising entities violated the antifraud provisions and the securities registration provisions of the federal securities laws, and Janus Spectrum and all six individuals violated the broker-dealer registration provisions.

The SEC’s investigation was conducted by Sana Muttalib and Lorraine Pearson and supervised by Victoria A. Levin of the Los Angeles office.  The litigation will be handled by Sam Puathasnanon.  The SEC appreciates the assistance of the Texas State Securities Board and the Federal Communications Commission.

USING 3-D DIGITAL LASER MICROSCOPY TO RECOVER DATA FROM DAMAGED OPTICAL MEDIA

FROM:  NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
Restoring lost data

Researchers developing 3-D digital laser microscopy to create visual roadmap
It can be disheartening to learn that something precious, such as a one-of-a-kind family photo, has disappeared from a scratched or broken CD or DVD. It also can become serious, dangerous and potentially costly if it happens to a disc containing criminal forensic evidence, corporate records or scientific data.

But there may be a way in the future to bring the material back.

Optical media, that is, CDs and DVDs, have been in widespread use for the past two decades, and burners are in many homes and elsewhere, making it possible for consumers to create any number of their own personal discs. But the products have not turned out to be as durable as originally believed, a situation that can turn tragic if a disc containing the only available copy of important material has become damaged.

Although still a work-in-progress, researchers have developed a process with the potential to restore much of what was thought to be lost.

"While we haven't solved all of the challenges necessary for efficient data recovery from damaged optical media, we have moved forward in terms of refining what is possible," says Greg Gogolin, a professor of information security and intelligence at Michigan's Ferris State University, stressing that the work of his team at this point was aimed solely at demonstrating "proof of concept."

Equally important, the development of new security techniques to ensure that data is unrecoverable, similar to advances that now prevent the retrieval of information on destroyed paper documents.

"A common way to destroy a paper document used to be to burn it," Gogolin says. "Forensic techniques, however, were developed that allowed for the recovery of information that was on a burned document. Document destruction techniques were then improved."

The National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded researcher, in collaboration with colleagues James Jones, associate professor in the computer forensics program at George Mason University; Charles Bacon, a Ferris professor of physical science; Tracey Boncher, a Ferris associate professor of pharmacy; and Derek Brower, a Ferris graduate student at the time of the research, theorized that using three-dimensional digital laser microscopy to capture 3-D image of the disc could provide a visual roadmap of the data. This and a special computer algorithm capable of recognizing its patterns then could aid in recovering the vast majority of it.

"If a disc is broken in half, you've still got 99 percent of the data still there," Gogolin says. "The media is quite elastic and the data is pretty much intact up to the cut line. There is, of course, a region that is destroyed near where the disc has been cut. But for most part, you didn't destroy the data, you just made it unreadable because you can't spin the disc."

The researchers, funded by a $356,318 grant awarded in 2011 from NSF's Division of Computer and Network Systems, tested their idea by breaking a disc, putting it together and taking a picture of it using the high-powered 3-D digital laser microscope.

"It was like sticking it into a kind of copy machine," Gogolin says. "There are patterns to represent the data, that is, the different letters." After determining the data patterns, "we then read them with a computer program to determine what data was on the disc."

At this early stage of development, the computer program the scientists wrote contains and recognizes only simple alphabetic encoding.

But, "there are many different types of data that could be on there, including letters, numbers and special characters," he says. "There is a huge range of possible data elements, and we don't have recognition set up for all of them, only for a subset, part of the alphabet."

The ultimate goal is "to expand the capabilities of the recovery program to be able to recognize all the different types of data and encoding that could be present on an optical disc," he adds, stressing that big hurdles remain. "It's a huge deal in that there are many different combinations and variations of data that make it a significant challenge to be able to recognize everything that would be on an optical disc. You can have different types of discs and Blu Ray discs. Different manufacturers use different inks. You could have encryption. There are a lot of variables."

Also, the larger the file, the more difficult the recovery, he says.

"If it's a small file, the chances of recovering it are much better than if it's a large file, because the chances of the file running into that ‘destruction zone' are greater," he says. "If you need a complete file to affect the recovery, and it's a large file, it becomes a bigger issue."

The researchers now are trying to decide if they want to test their ideas on other types of memory, such as flash drives "like that in your phone," he says, or solid state drives, rather than hard drives. "That's where everything is going," he says. "Would time be better spent trying to perfect a way to recover material from a flash or finishing what is needed for optical?"

The team is a long way from making the process widely available. Nevertheless, "we wanted to prove the concept that it could be done, so that every time you see a broken disc, you won't necessarily think, 'oh, it's lost forever,"' Gogolin says.

-- Marlene Cimons, National Science Foundation
Investigators
Greg Gogolin
James Jones
Charles Bacon
Tracey Boncher
Barbara Ciaramitaro
Related Institutions/Organizations
Ferris State University

COMPANY AND PARENT MUST PAY OVER $16 MILLION FOR ALLEGEDLY USING FAKE NEWS SITES TO PROMOTE DIET PILLS

FROM:  U.S. FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION

Federal Court Rules Affiliate Marketing Network and its Parent Company Must Turn Over $16 Million They Received From Deceptive Marketing Scheme
FTC and State of Connecticut Charged LeadClick Media with Operating A Network That Used Fake News Sites to Promote Diet Pills

A U.S. district court has ruled that LeadClick Media, an affiliate marketing network, and its parent company, CoreLogic, Inc., must turn over $16 million in ill-gotten gains they received from a deceptive marketing scheme that sold purported weight-loss products.

In granting the FTC’s request for summary judgment, the court ruled that LeadClick was responsible for the false claims made by affiliate marketers it recruited on behalf of LeanSpa, LLC, a company that sold acai berry and “colon cleanse” weight-loss products. According to the FTC’s Complaint, LeanSpa used a “free trial” ploy to enroll consumers into its recurring purchase program that cost $79.99 a month and that was difficult to cancel.

LeadClick’s network lured consumers to LeanSpa’s online store through fake news websites designed to trick consumers into believing that independent news outlets and independent customers, rather than paid advertisers, had reviewed and endorsed LeanSpa’s products.

“This ruling is good news because it takes ill-gotten gains out of the hands of companies who knew they were promoting a scam and gives them back to the consumers who lost millions of dollars,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “It also makes clear that a parent company cannot retain ill-gotten gains of its subsidiaries.”

The FTC’s case dates back to December 2011, when the Commission and the State of Connecticut first sued LeanSpa and its principal, Boris Mizhen. In January 2014, the FTC and the State of Connecticut settled with LeanSpa and Mizhen, who agreed to stop their deceptive practices and surrender assets for redress to consumers.

In the summary judgment ruling, the court held that the fake news sites developed by LeadClick’s affiliates deceived consumers by using real news organization names and logos along with purported testimonials from users of LeanSpa’s products. In finding LeadClick responsible for the deceptive content on its affiliates’ websites, the court noted that LeadClick  recruited the affiliates, had the power to approve or reject their marketing websites, paid the affiliates, purchased advertising space for them, and gave them feedback about the content of their sites. The court also rejected LeadClick’s claim that it was immune from liability under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, because it was responsible in part for the fake news sites promoting LeanSpa’s products.

The court ordered LeadClick to give up the nearly $12 million it received from LeanSpa as payment for its affiliate marketing services. It also ruled that LeadClick’s parent company, CoreLogic, must disgorge $4 million in ill-gotten gains it received from LeadClick. LeadClick and CoreLogic are appealing the decision.

Funds recovered from the defendants will be used by the FTC to provide redress to consumers affected by the scam.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

SECRETARY KERRY MAKES REMARKS WITH ALGERIAN FOREIGN MINISTER RAMTANE LAMAMRA

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT
Remarks With Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra
Remarks
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
April 8, 2015

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, good afternoon, everybody, and it’s my great pleasure to welcome Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra, the foreign minister of Algeria. And I’m really happy to welcome him and his entire delegation here. (Inaudible) happy to have you here.

Ramtane and I met last September to discuss regional security issues in Algiers a year ago, I guess, we met during our second annual Strategic Dialogue. So we’ve had a chance to be able to share thoughts and to find common ground, and I’m very, very appreciative for the relationship that we have. And I thank him very much for his hospitality when I was in Algiers. I had a chance to be able to play soccer with a bunch of young kids at a clinic. And I’m very happy that a lot of them were much too young to remember Landon Donovan’s extra-time goal for America that won the – (laughter). I won’t even repeat it. Diplomacy – (laughter) – diplomacy brings countries together and overcomes last-minute World Cup goals. (Laughter.) So thank God for that.

I am very, very grateful to Ramtane for his very generous hospitality, but most importantly, President Obama and our entire Administration are very grateful for the very significant cooperation that we have. It’s a difficult region. There are enormous challenges today. Partners need to work together effectively, and we have been doing so with Algeria, and we thank you for that.

The ties between the United States and Algeria are actually very, very long and longstanding. Many people are not aware that the city of St. Augustine, Florida was founded 450 years ago, and it was named in honor of a man who lived in what is now Algeria, the great scholar Augustine of Hippo. And ever since 1783, when Algeria became one of the very first nations to officially recognize the now-United States, the people of our two countries have actually had a great deal in common.

Those shared interests were reflected today throughout the Strategic Dialogue that has been taking place, and that included expert discussions on four critical sets of issues: energy and commerce; security collaboration; education and cultural exchanges; and the political cooperation. So I just want to offer very quickly a thought on each.

First, we are committed to strengthening the economic and energy ties between our two countries. And just last month, Assistant Secretaries Patterson and Rivkin of the State Department and Jadotte of the Commerce Department led a trade delegation to Algeria. And these delegations enabled top-level American firms to share insights with their Algerian counterparts and to be able to explore new ways of doing business together.

I should emphasize that we’ve been working very intensively with our partners in Algeria to identify and to remove barriers that impede increased trade and investment, including the trade and investment framework, the agreement – the trade and investment agreement council that was reached on February – I think February 17th. And today’s dialogue, Ramtane, contributed to the progress and moving in the right direction on that.

We also appreciate enormously Algeria’s leadership in the climate negotiations that are going to take place in the final meeting in Paris later this year. We’re particularly grateful for your partnership as the co-chair of this important process. And as you know, the United States just submitted its emission reduction target and we strongly encourage Algeria now to also join in putting forward its target. In order for this agreement to succeed – and it is vital for everybody that this agreement does succeed – we need to have everybody participate. And President Obama is deeply engaged, as I am, in crisscrossing the world in order to encourage people to come to Paris ready to make an agreement.

Second, security cooperation is a cornerstone of the U.S.-Algeria relationship. And as we were reminded tragically in Kenya last week, terrorist groups such as Daesh, al-Qaida, al-Shabaab, Boko Haram all pose a serious challenge to every single one of us. And that is why the United States welcomes Algeria’s plan to host an international summit this summer on the issue of de-radicalization, one of several follow-on events to the conference on Countering Violent Extremism that President Obama held here in Washington in February.

I’m grateful to Algeria for agreeing to share the lessons from its own battle against violent extremists, and we greatly appreciate Algeria’s engagement in the Global Counterterrorism Forum and its partnership with us in the leaders meeting in September on the margins of the UN General Assembly.

Our counterterrorism coordinator, who I see sitting here with Ambassador Patterson, Ambassador Kaidanow and Algerian Minister-Delegate Masaha (ph) will continue to work together closely on counterterrorism issues. And we’re going to deepen all the aspects of our security partnership with Algeria, and I look forward to building on our work to promote justice sector reform, the rule of law, and border security.

Third, it is vital for us to continue to strengthen people-to-people ties. The United States is committed to supporting Algeria with more English language learning opportunities, expanding our cultural exchanges, and making it easier for Algerian students to study in the United States. And every person in Algeria who wants to learn English should have the chance to do so. That’s what we believe and we’re going to work on making that a reality. And we’ll continue our efforts to promote citizen engagement with the government and a strong, active, and independent civil society, including through the Middle East Partnership Initiative.

Finally, our political cooperation remains absolutely critical, especially in the face of the growing instability throughout the region. Here Algeria is playing an important, highly constructive role, and we’re grateful for that. I especially appreciate Ramtane’s mediation efforts in support of the inter-Malian peace agreement, a blueprint for restoring security, supporting economic development, and promoting good governance, as well as reconciliation and justice.

Going forward, we believe the parties must abide by their pledge to resolve peacefully their remaining differences and to work together to promote good governance and security for their people.

Algeria has also been a vital backer of UN-led efforts to reach a political solution in the embattled and deeply divided nation of Libya. The recent meeting of Libyan political parties and activists in Algiers was a very important milestone. It underscored not only Algeria’s leadership in the region, but also the commitment of the parties to dialogue as the only viable solution to this crisis. So the United States, I pledge to you, will continue to support this process, the goal of a stable and united Libya at peace with both its neighbors and itself.

Obviously, our delegations had a lot to talk about today, as you can tell from my comments. This dialogue could not be more timely. We value deeply our friendship and we believe strongly that an Algeria that is stable, that is increasingly prosperous and working in partnership with the international community is vital for the region and vital really for the world.

So I warmly welcome our guests today, particularly the new Algerian ambassador here in Washington, Madjid Bouguerra, and I thank them for a very productive and useful set of discussions today. We have to build off of these discussions. I’m confident that we will, and I look forward to visiting with all of you in Algiers sometime in the not-too-distant future.

Now it is my pleasure to recognize Foreign Minister Lamamra. (Applause.)

FOREIGN MINISTER LAMAMRA: Thank you very much, John. Thank you for reminding us of so many commonalities and including those fond memories that we keep of your not-too-distant stay in Algeria, though we would have loved to have you again in between. And I’m delighted that we had so many things to discuss, including between yourself and President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who is sending his greetings as well as his best wishes to you and through you to President Barack Obama.

I was of the view that we could set aside things, but I think that now it’s better for me also to take advantage of my speaking notes so that I would cover as much ground as you have so ably done. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, you should have told me ahead of time. I would have saved time. (Laughter.)

FOREIGN MINISTER LAMAMRA: So it’s nice to be here again during this cherry blossom season. I would like to thank you, John, for your warm welcome and promising remarks. My team is pleased to be part of the third session of the Algeria-U.S. Strategic Dialogue and ready to engage with a positive spirit in a wide-ranging discussion about the implementation of what they have been working on during the day’s session.

Since its inception three years ago, the Algeria-U.S. Strategic Dialogue is having a tangible and positive impact in terms not only of its achievements, but more importantly with regard to the new spirit it had infused to our multidimensional cooperation. This forum has been, indeed, very instrumental in providing the needed holistic approach to our bilateral interactions, and I’m glad to see that we share the same desire and commitment to reinforce them in order to serve the best interests of our two countries. Our ambition is to enlarge the scope of this forum, thus making it an oriented action, policy and decision-making body. Algeria is satisfied indeed with the way this dialogue is evolving and with the results so far achieved.

Dear John, dear friends and colleagues, your visit, John, to Algeria last year was fruitful and it has opened many avenues for both countries to work closely together. In the political field, the two countries have developed strategic partnership that covers many areas. We can say today, safely, that the Algeria-American partnership is effective.

Let me add that Algeria is committed to deepen its political, security, economic and commercial relationship with the United States. Moreover, thanks to the trust, mutual respect and shared values that characterize our relations, Algeria and the United States have been able to maintain continued political dialogue and close consultations on international and regional issues of mutual interest.

On the issue of terrorism, the quality and effectiveness of our cooperation are a source of satisfaction. Indeed, Algeria and the U.S. are playing a leading role in shaping a coordinated global response to this multifaceted threat to the international peace and security. Both our countries are founding members of the Global Forum Against Terrorism. Last month, we hosted a meeting of the Working Group on the Sahel that Algeria co-chairs with Canada. In the months ahead, Algiers will, as you mentioned, host a high-level conference organized by the African Union on the issue of terrorism financing. While the fight against terrorism groups – against terrorist groups must continue to be waged vigorously, there is an urgent need for the international community, we believe, to adjust its preventive strategy in order to be in a better position to counter what we see as a shift in the modus operandi and the targets of these terrorist groups.

In this context, the recently-held White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism was timely. It was also very useful as it sought to consider the phenomenon of the radicalization especially among the youth in a multidimensional approach. Algeria expressed during that meeting its readiness to share the lessons it has learned the hard way from its own experience in dealing with this very sensitive problem, by organizing a very important international meeting devoted to de-radicalization.

We are of the view that to be successful in this endeavor, we must effectively combat Islamophobia throughout the world. The stigmatization of Muslims is not only unacceptable, but it further damages our collective efforts to countering the propaganda of violent extremism.

Our economic cooperation has reached, during the last months, an unprecedented dynamic in terms of exchange of high-level visits and the holding of business forums and trade missions. These interactions between our respective government representatives and business communities are of the utmost importance. I do believe that the visit of the Algerian minister of industry and mining to the United States last October and the holding last February in Algiers of the second session of Algeria-U.S. Council on Trade and Investment can be considered as a significant progress. I welcome in this regard the holding of this session, and I do hope that the council will be able to meet annually, as stipulated.

Algeria has endeavored to fulfill its obligations under this agreement, and particularly, those obligations relating to the setting of an open and predictable environment for trade and investment, the elimination of non-tariff barriers, and the protection of intellectual property rights. At the same time, Algeria expects that this agreement will effectively encourage investments that are generating wealth, job creation, and transfer of technology. The Algerian Government seeks to diversify the national economy, and it has consequently taken significant and concrete measures for setting up a friendly environment for national and foreign investments. As a matter of fact, we have already asked our international partners, including the U.S., obviously, to support us in this challenging process.

Ladies and gentlemen, in leading an international mediation effort for the resolution of the crisis in Mali – an action that you have mentioned, and I thank you for the kind words you have used in this respect to describe my own personal role in it – Algeria designed a solution that ensures the preservation of the unity and territorial integrity of the Republic of Mali and creates the necessary conditions for its national reconstruction and economic development. The recently-concluded Algiers Agreement represents the best compromise, which serves the interests of Mali while recognizing the legitimate claims and aspirations of the populations of the northern Mali regions.

Algeria is convinced that the restoration of a lasting peace in Mali will have a positive impact on the whole situation in the Sahel region, as well as on the global fight against terrorism. Algeria is committed to building an integrated, united and prosperous Maghreb beyond mere rhetoric. My country has demonstrated in deeds its act of solidarity whenever any one of our neighbors was in need of it. We lent our support, full support to Tunisia to successfully go through the democratic transition and take its responsibilities in the face of terrorism and instability. We are guided by the same spirit of solidarity with regard to the tragic situation prevailing in Libya. Algeria has constantly pleaded for a political solution as the only way to preserve the unity and territorial integrity of Libya. Any military intervention would further exacerbate the conflict and would more than likely annihilate the chances of a peaceful settlement based on national reconciliation. We are glad that Algeria and the U.S. share the same vision and stand by the same position.

In close coordination with the UN Secretary-General Special Representative Bernardino Leon, Algeria has already hosted the meeting of leaders of political parties and prominent Libyan personalities. We see this as a promising step in a process that needs to be supported by the international community as a whole.

On Syria, we believe that there can be no military solution to the conflict. We think also the time has come for the international community to engage all the political actors in an inclusive dialogue with the aim of finding a consensual solution to this destructive and senseless war.

Concerning the situation in the Middle East, Algeria supports the legitimate of the Palestinian people to a state with East Jerusalem, Al-Quds, as its capital. We urge the international community to live up to its obligations towards the peace process, which should resume without delay in order to achieve the just and lasting solution the Middle East is so desperately looking for. I certainly take this opportunity to salute your personal efforts, John, in these regards.

With respect to Western Sahara, Algeria continues to support the UN secretary general and his personal envoy, Chris Ross, in their efforts to achieve a mutually acceptable political solution which provides for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara in accordance with the UN Charter and relevant resolutions.

Algeria strongly believes that there is no other alternative for the settlement of this conflict than the holding of a free and fair referendum of self-determination for the people of Western Sahara.

Let me conclude, John, by expressing once again my sincere appreciation for you, to you, and for all your colleagues, bearing in mind that the outcomes of this third session of our strategic dialogue are so positive and so promising. I believe that these outcomes will give a real impetus to the already strong and mutually beneficial strategic partnership between our two countries. I very much look forward to receiving you again and again in Algiers. (Applause.)

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you.