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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Message from the White House on My Brother's Keeper

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 - No comments
Dear Friends and Collegues,
Please see below a note from the White House regarding Kevin Durant's email on why he's proud to be part of the My Brother's Keeper Success Mentors Initiative, and how you can join in helping students succeed. We are proud that so many of our programs are part of the Success Mentors Initiative!
In Service,

 Ted Miller
Chief of External Affairs
Corporation for National and Community Service


Born and raised in Seat Pleasant, Maryland, I grew up in a community with higher rates of poverty and lower graduation rates than most of the state. For me, having the support of my mom was critical, but the support of mentors like the people I met at the local Boys and Girls Club, or people at my community activity center, or my youth basketball coach also helped ensure that I was able to graduate from high school and pursue my dreams.
The MBK Success Mentor Initiative helps connect caring mentors with students in sixth and ninth grades in high-need school districts across their communities. Our goal is to provide mentors to more than 250,000 students over the next two years and ensure that they have they support need to stay in school and achieve their dreams.
Every kid deserves an opportunity to succeed. Unfortunately, every year, over 6 million children miss at least a month of school, putting them at significant risk of falling behind and not graduating from high school. And one in three kids grow up without a mentor. By supporting My Brother’s Keeper and the Success Mentor Initiative, I’m proud to help change those statistics so that all kids have the support they need to make sure they are in school and can reach their potential.
Kevin Durant

Halloween Food Safety Tips

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 - No comments
Between the spooky houses, silly costumes, and sugary sweets, Halloween can be an exciting evening for a lot of kids! As fun as Halloween can be, however, taking candy from strangers can present risks. Teach your kids the importance of safety as they trick or treat with these tips:
  • Eat a light meal before snacking. Your kids might be tempted to go out on an empty stomach.
  • Some children have mild to severe food allergies. Ask your neighbors and provide alternatives to candies such as glow sticks or small toys, so that everyone can participate.
  • Do not accept any unwrapped food. Be sure to check for tampering before eating snacks.
  • Stick reflective tape on dark costumes to help drivers see you and them.
A parent with two dressed up kids for Halloween, takes you to a Hallowween safety page.
For more Halloween safety tips, check out this link.

IACHR Receives Requests for Hearings for Extraordinary Period of Sessions

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 - No comments

October 25, 2016

Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) will hold an Extraordinary Period of Sessions in the United States on December 9 and 10, 2016. The IACHR thanks the United States for the additional special contribution it made in order to make it possible for the Commission to hold activities that have been postponed or temporarily suspended as a result of the financial crisis of the institution. These new funds have allowed the Commission to organize the 160 Period of Sessions at the IACHR headquarters in Washington, D.C., consisting of a day of hearings on December 9 and a day of sessions on December 10.

The IACHR calls on interested users to present requests for hearings. The requests must be for holding hearings on the United States or Canada, either thematic in nature or on cases that are at the merits stage. No working meetings on precautionary measures, nor petitions or cases, will be held during this 160 Period of Sessions.

All requests must be presented through the system available on the IACHR Website. This system will open on Wednesday, October 26. Requests must be submitted by 5:00 pm EST on Monday, October 31.

"The financial contributions that we have been receiving as a response to the crisis have allowed us to reschedule the activities that we had had to suspend. With the offer of Panama to host and finance the 159TH Ordinary Period of Sessions, and now this contribution of the United States that allow us to add two days of hearings and sessions at headquarters, we have been able to reschedule essential activities that are necessary for the compliance of our mandate," said Commissioner Francisco Eguiguren, IACHR Vice-President.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

IACHR Condemns Violent Deaths in Brazilian Prison

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 - No comments

IACHR Condemns Violent Deaths in Brazilian Prison

October 25, 2016

Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) expresses its concern regarding the recent acts of violence that took place in Penitenciaria Agrícola de Monte Cristo, located in the state of Roraima, Brazil. The IACHR urges the Brazilian State to investigate the circumstances under which these events occurred, and to identify and judge those responsible.  Moreover, the State must adopt the necessary measures to prevent events such as these from happening again.

According to publicly available information, on October 17, 2016, a prison riot took place in Penitenciaria Agrícola de Monte Cristo, located in Boa Vista, capital of the state of Roraima, Brazil. According to The Special Operations Battalion, the riot started when a group of detainees entered a section occupied by members of a different faction.  The Secretary of Justice and Citizenship of Roraima, Uziel Castro, informed that approximately 100 detainee family members were taken hostage during the confrontation, which happened during visiting hours. The events resulted in at least 25 deaths, of which 7 were found decapitated and 6 carbonized, according to journalistic reports. The Inter-American Commission takes notice that this severe event happens in a context of prevalent violence in Brazilian prisons, which are generally overpopulated. It is estimated that Boa Vista prison holds 1,400 interns, even though its capacity is for 740.

As guarantors of fundamental human rights of persons deprived of liberty, States have the juridical obligation to adopt concrete actions to guarantee the rights to life, personal integrity and security of the recluses. This obligation includes guaranteeing the detention conditions established in international standards concerning human rights. The IACHR must also recall that the State has the obligation of investigating with due diligence all the deaths of people under its custody. These investigations should not only be oriented to establish material responsibilities but also to determine the possible intellectual authors or those  state agents or employees that contributed with actions or omissions.

The Inter-American Commission urges the Brazilian State to adopt all the necessary measures to prevent the occurring of similar events, in particular the implementation of actions to adequate the detention conditions in Penitenciaria Agricola de Monte Cristo and other detention centers to international standards, to guarantee the life and integrity of persons deprived of liberty. The State must maintain the internal security in penal centers and control the access of weapons and illicit substances, as well as the circulation of money. Moreover, the IACHR urges Brazil to create and implement mechanisms to reduce the overpopulation in prisons and other detention centers.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

Coast Guard Cutter Campbell home in Maine after North Atlantic patrol

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 - No comments

The crew of the Coast guard Cutter Campbell prepare to tow a disabled fishing vessel 69 nautical miles southeast of Fire Island, New York on Sept. 22 2016. The vessel became disabled after an engine casualty. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Rowland Rux) The Coast Guard Cutter Campbell's small boat crew work conduct training exercises on Sept. 28, 2016 in the Gulf of Maine. Operation Frontier Sentinel is an annual multi-national training exercise with the United States and Canadian Navy. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Campbell conduct a burial at sea on Oct. 20, 2016 off the coast of south Portland, Maine. The crew honored a former chief quartermaster who served in the coast Guard in the Asiatic Pacific Area Campaign in WWII. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Fireman Craig Bennett)
BOSTON – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Campbell returned Friday to its homeport of Kittery, Maine, following a 45-day patrol in the North Atlantic.
The cutter’s primary missions during the patrol included conducting 60 living marine resource boardings, involving the identification of 25 safety and fisheries violations, as well as search and rescue, and participation in a multi-national training exercise.
During the patrol, the crew responded to a vessel in distress 69 nautical miles off the coast of Fire Island, New York. The crew worked late into the night to assess the situation and establish a tow. After towing the vessel for more than 55 nautical miles, the Campbell's crew safely transferred the vessel to a commercial towing service and resumed search and rescue efforts for the overdue vessel, Chicken Pox.
The crew also traveled north to Canadian waters to participate in Operation Frontier Sentinel, an annual multi-national training exercise with the United States and Canadian Navy designed to maintain and improve relations with an essential maritime partner. The training focused on collaborative planning between multiple government agencies in both countries, and on their ability to respond to maritime security threats on the Atlantic.
Thursday the crew of the Campbell honored a former shipmate by conducting a burial at sea ceremony for a chief quartermaster who served in the Coast Guard in the Asiatic Pacific Area Campaign during WWII.
The Campbell is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter with a crew complement of 13 officers and 81 enlisted personnel.

How are you celebrating Day of the Dead?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 - No comments

Explore the Hispanic tradition at the National Portrait Gallery

Day of the Dead Celebration | Tuesday, Nov. 1 5-7:30 p.m.| Kogod Courtyard
Celebrate the tradition of the Day of the Dead with live music from local band Los Gallos Negros, dance by the Maru Montero Dance Company, and art activities.

Day of the Dead Celebration, 2015.
smithsonian national portrait gallery logo

Help for Hurricane Matthew Victims

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 - No comments

The TSP has made a temporary change to the financial hardship withdrawal rules for participants affected by Hurricane Matthew: As of October 25, 2016, we will treat any Financial Hardship In-Service Withdrawal Request as a qualifying hardship and will waive the rule prohibiting employee contributions for 6 months after taking a hardship withdrawal provided one of the following is true:
1.  Your primary residence or place of employment is located in a covered disaster area and has incurred a loss as a result of Hurricane Matthew.
2.  Your hardship withdrawal will be used to assist an eligible family member who lives or works in a covered disaster area and who has incurred a loss as a result of Hurricane Matthew.
IN ADDITION, you must also meet all of the following requirements:
  • You must be actively employed as a federal civilian or a member of the uniformed services.
  • You must complete Form TSP-76Financial Hardship In-Service Withdrawal Request.
  • You must write “Hurricane Matthew” at the top of page 1 above the name of the form.
  • You must check the “Personal Casualty Loss” box on page 2, Item 18 of your request form, as the reason for requesting financial hardship.
  • Your request must be received in our office by March 8, 2017 and, in compliance with IRS guidelines, your distribution must occur before March 15, 2017. Any Financial Hardship In-Service Withdrawal Request forms received after March 15, 2017 will be processed as a standard hardship withdrawal, and your TSP contributions will automatically stop for 6 months.
If you want to stop your TSP contributions, complete Form TSP-1Election Form 
(Form TSP-U-1 for uniformed services) or use your agency or service’s automated system.

This rule change is not retroactive and all other Form TSP-76 rules apply. Participants may only receive one hardship withdrawal under this change. If you have questions about this change, call the toll-free ThriftLine at 1-877-968-3778. Outside the U.S. and Canada, please call 404-233-4400(not toll free).

FAA Issues Part 107 Waivers, Airspace Authorizations

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 - No comments

FAA Issues Part 107 Waivers, Airspace Authorizations

October 25- The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) began issuing Part 107 waivers and airspace authorizations to drone operators starting August 29, 2016, the effective date of the new rule.  As of October 24, 2016, the agency has approved 81 authorizations for flights in Class D and E airspace, and has issued 36 waivers of Part 107 provisions to drone operators who applied after the rule’s effective date.

However, the agency has found that many applications have incorrect or incomplete information. Many applicants request too many waivers or request waivers for flights in types of airspace for which the FAA is not yet granting approvals. As a result, the agency has had to reject 71 waiver requests and 854 airspace applications.

It’s important for applicants to understand the information needed to make a successful safety case for granting a waiver. The performance-based standards are available at:

For example, we clearly spell out the information required for a waiver to fly at night – one of the most common requests:
  • Applicant must provide a method for the remote pilot to maintain visual line of sight during darkness.
  • Applicant must provide a method for the remote pilot to see and avoid other aircraft, people on the ground, and ground-based structures and obstacles during darkness.
  • Applicant must provide a method by which the remote pilot will be able to continuously know and determine the position, altitude, attitude, and movement of their small unmanned aircraft (sUA).
  • Applicant must assure all required persons participating in the sUA operation have knowledge to recognize and overcome visual illusions caused by darkness, and understand physiological conditions which may degrade night vision.
  • Applicant must provide a method to increase conspicuity of the sUA to be seen at a distance of 3 statute miles unless a system is in place that can avoid all non-participating aircraft.

The other performance-based standards also list exactly what the FAA needs to consider a waiver. Operators must make waiver requests at:

Without a detailed description of how the applicant intends to meet these standards, the FAA can’t determine if a waiver is possible. Operators should select only the Part 107 regulations that need to be waived for the proposed operation. Applicants also should respond promptly to any request we make for additional information. If the agency does not receive a response after 30 days, it will withdraw the request.

Operators must apply for airspace authorizations on the same web page. The required information is spelled out in the waiver/airspace authorization instructions document:

As the FAA previously announced, operators who want to fly in Class G (uncontrolled) airspace don’t need FAA authorization. The agency is currently processing requests to operate in Class D and Class E airport surfaces. We will begin to consider requests for Class C drone flights after October 31 and for Class A airspace after December 5. Applications to fly in those areas before the indicated dates won’t be approved.

The Part 107 regulations provide a flexible framework for unmanned aircraft operations. Waivers and airspace authorizations are an important part of making the new rule work as intended. Applicants can help speed the process by making sure they make a solid, detailed safety case for any flights not covered under the small drone rule. 

DEA, Discovery Education Launch Operation Prevention nationwide

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 - No comments


--National Initiative for Preteens, Teens, Educators and Parents Offers Standards-Aligned Resources to Address the Science of Addiction and Kick Start Lifesaving Conversations on Prescription Opioid Misuse and Heroin Use; Initiative Announced During Live Virtual Town Hall Event —

SILVER SPRING, Md. [October 25, 2016] – To combat America’s rapidly growing opioid and heroin epidemic, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms, today announced a new joint nationwide education initiative called “Operation Prevention.” This announcement was made as part of a live town hall event that was broadcasted from Virginia’s McLean High School and streamed into classrooms nationwide.
Designed for middle and high school students, educators and parents nationwide, Operation Prevention is an important effort to educate students about the science behind drug addiction and its impact, with resources that help initiate lifesaving conversations in the home and classroom.  The no-cost initiative offers standards-aligned classroom resources including digital lesson plans, and a parent toolkit that offers information on the warning signs of substance misuse disorder and a guide to prevention and intervention. In December, a student video challenge will also launch.   

Every day in America, 44 people die as a result of prescription opioid overdose, and heroin use has more than doubled among young adults ages 18-25 in the past decade (Center for Disease Control and Prevention). The epidemic cuts across lines of age, race, gender and wealth, afflicting cities as well as suburbs, rural towns as well as tribal communities. Now, Operation Prevention will arm students with the tools they need to make smart, informed choices when they are prescribed or presented with the opportunity to experiment with opioids. Materials include:

Educator Lesson Plans – Standards-aligned digital lesson plans bring powerful real-world context to science and health classrooms by equipping teachers with dynamic curricula on the science behind opioids’ physical and neurological effects. Companion instructor guides are also available to support educators as they integrate these lessons into classroom instruction. 

Interactive Student Resources – A self-paced e-learning module combines video, animation and interactive elements to offer students an engaging learning experience that encourages them to investigate the impacts of opioids on the brain and body. Accompanying this module are pre-and-post-assessments as well as companion guides for educators and parents to utilize to best support students’ experience.

Parent Toolkit – Designed to empower parents with knowledge and resources to begin lifesaving conversations, detect warning signs and take action, the Operation Prevention Parent Toolkit includes family discussion starters, a detailed guide of warning signs and what they mean, and prevention and intervention tools that allows parents to proactively take action through research-based strategies.

“Operation Prevention is a free science-based education tool for students, teachers, and parents,” said DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg. “In partnership with Discovery Education, we will illuminate the opioid epidemic by teaching kids the science behind it."

“Discovery Education is proud to partner with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration on this important and potentially life-saving initiative,” said Bill Goodwyn, president and CEO, Discovery Education. “Operation Prevention will provide teachers, students, and families the engaging digital resources they need to combat the national opioid addiction epidemic.”

Today’s launch announcement was broadcasted from Fairfax County Public School’s McLean High School in Virginia. It connected students with a panel of experts including Louis J. Milione, DEA Assistant Administrator, Office of Diversion Control; Melvin Patterson, DEA special agent; Peggy Compton, Associate Dean at Georgetown University’s School of Nursing and Health Studies; Jamie Lane, Assistant Principal, McLean High School; and a former teen user, who discussed how prescription opioids and heroin affect the brain and behavior, and answered questions submitted in real time by participating students nationwide. An archive of the event is available for year-round use at:

“Substance abuse touches everyone and too often it is unrecognized as families are left to deal with the consequences on their own,” said McLean High School Principal Ellen Reilly. “By bringing this issue to the McLean school community during today’s town hall and to school communities worldwide, this is a unique opportunity to acknowledge and understand a very real crisis. Operation Prevention will increase awareness of this crisis which is key to developing solutions for those struggling with this issue.”

More information on Operation Prevention and access to the program’s free resources are available at For other Discovery Education initiatives,

About the Drug Enforcement Administration
The mission of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is to enforce the controlled substances laws and regulations of the United States and bring to the criminal and civil justice system of the United States, or any other competent jurisdiction, those organizations and principal members of organizations, involved in the growing, manufacture, or distribution of controlled substances appearing in or destined for illicit traffic in the United States; and to recommend and support non-enforcement programs aimed at reducing the availability of illicit controlled substances on the domestic and international markets.
About Discovery Education

Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content and professional development for K-12, transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content that supports the implementation of Common Core, professional development, assessment tools, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Serving 3 million educators and over 30 million students, Discovery Education’s services are in half of U.S. classrooms, 50 percent of all primary schools the UK, and more than 50 countries. Discovery Education partners with districts, states and like-minded organizations to captivate students, empower teachers, and transform classrooms with customized solutions that increase academic achievement. Discovery Education is powered by Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the number one nonfiction media company in the world. Explore the future of education at

Women Reaching Equality in Dubious Habit: Drinking

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 - No comments
10/24/2016 07:00 PM EDT

Females also closing the gender gap on health problems from alcohol consumption
HealthDay news image

Source: HealthDay
Related MedlinePlus Pages: AlcoholWomen's Health
10/24/2016 05:00 PM EDT

Little difference seen in patient survival rates
HealthDay news image

Source: HealthDay
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10/24/2016 05:00 PM EDT

But small pockets of world still have cases of crippling disease, officials add
HealthDay news image

Source: HealthDay
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10/24/2016 05:00 PM EDT

Other physicians urge caution, however, and say these findings aren't conclusive
HealthDay news image

Source: HealthDay
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10/24/2016 04:00 PM EDT

Seniors saw lasting changes from weight-lifting twice a week for 6 months, researchers report
HealthDay news image

Source: HealthDay
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10/24/2016 04:00 PM EDT

Northeast may also experience changes in infectious diseases due to weather variations, research suggests
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Source: HealthDay
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10/24/2016 04:00 PM EDT

Study finds close adherence to instructions may be especially important after angioplasty
HealthDay news image

Source: HealthDay
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10/24/2016 02:00 PM EDT

But absolute risk is very small; researchers not sure of reasons why
HealthDay news image

Source: HealthDay
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10/24/2016 12:00 PM EDT

Researchers offer new ways to discourage smoking among adolescents
HealthDay news image

Source: HealthDay
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10/24/2016 12:00 PM EDT

Habit is linked to close to one-third of fatal cancers in people 35 and older, study finds
HealthDay news image

Source: HealthDay
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10/24/2016 07:00 AM EDT

Not yet clear if those changes are lasting or meaningful
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Source: HealthDay
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10/24/2016 07:00 AM EDT

Sleeping nearby -- but not in same bed -- advised for first year, pediatricians' group says
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Source: HealthDay
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