News Article | May 10, 2017
James Comey is 'a canary in the coal mine' of Donald Trump presidency, lawyers warned in November If Donald Trump sacked FBI director James Comey it would "strike a blow against an important check on the modern presidency", lawyers warned in November. Two days after he won the November election, research fellows at influential think-tank the Brookings Institution wrote on its Lawfare legal blog, that Mr Comey's fate was a key indication of the state of the government. "Were Trump to fire Comey it would be a serious aberration; if he were to do so for mere political preference, in retaliation for Comey’s professional judgement that Clinton should not be prosecuted, or out of fear of Comey’s independence it would strike a blow against an important check on the modern presidency," authors Benjamin Wittes and Susan Hennessey warned. Who will Trump appoint to replace 'terminated' FBI chief James Comey? "And nobody who believes in the rule of law, even those most angry at Comey, should be hoping for it right now." At the time it was written, Mr Comey was facing heavy criticism from the Democratic Party for releasing a letter days before the presidential election which said the FBI had reopened an investigation into the private email server that Hillary Clinton used as secretary of state. Ms Clinton has subsequently said she took responsibility for her election loss but believes the investigation played a key part in her defeat. The article has received renewed attention in the wake of the President's firing of Mr Comey, which critics of the Trump administration have said is evidence of corruption. At the time of his dismissal, Mr Comey was leading an investigation into alleged collusion between Russia and Mr Trump's campaign team. The lawyers said: "For those concerned that President Trump will trample the rule of law — liberals and conservatives alike — Comey’s fate is one potential canary in the coal mine. "If Trump chooses replace Comey with a sycophantic yes-man, or if he permits Comey to resign over law or principle, that will be a clear bellwether to both the national security and civil libertarian communities that things are going terribly wrong." After firing the FBI director, Mr Trump announced on Twitter: "James Comey will be replaced by someone who will do a far better job, bringing back the spirit and prestige of the FBI."
News Article | May 12, 2017
Attorney General Jeff Sessions makes opening remarks during a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) 360 Heroin and Opioid Response Summit at the University of Charleston, Thursday, May 11, 2017, in Charleston, W.Va. The event was held to provide solutions and strategies for combating the heroin and prescription drug abuse epidemic. This was Sessions’ first public appearance since President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Sam Owens) WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from investigations related to the presidential campaign, yet he played a central role in the sudden firing of FBI Director James Comey, leaving many wondering if he violated that pledge. Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota called Sessions' involvement a "complete betrayal" of his commitment, and Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon called for his resignation. But the question of whether Sessions broke his promise to stay out of certain investigations is complicated and political. And the answer partly depends on what you see as the real motive behind the director's firing. Some questions and answers about Sessions' recusal: The shorthand version is that Sessions vowed to step aside from investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election after it was revealed he twice spoke with the Russian ambassador during the campaign and failed to say so when pressed by Congress during his confirmation hearing. But what he actually said was broader: "I have decided to recuse myself from any existing or future investigations of any matters related in any way to the campaigns for president of the United States." That could be interpreted to mean he pledged to stay out of affairs related to the Russia probe, but also to other campaign-related investigations, including into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server. DID HE BREAK THAT PLEDGE? Sessions recommended Comey's firing, writing in a letter that "a fresh start is needed at the leadership of the FBI." And President Donald Trump said he based the firing on Comey's very public handling of the bureau's investigation into Clinton's emails. In that context, the move can be seen as purely a personnel decision based on Comey's conduct, and Sessions should have been involved given his job as attorney general, said Susan Hennessey, a fellow at the Brookings Institution and managing editor of the Lawfare blog. But if you believe the dismissal was an effort to stifle the FBI's investigation into Trump campaign ties to Russian meddling in the 2016 election, as some lawmakers have alleged, "that reasoning is much harder to defend," she said. It can also be argued that Sessions should have steered clear of Comey's firing because his recusal applied to investigations of "campaigns," which would include the Clinton email probe, said Jane Chong, Lawfare's deputy managing editor and national security and law associate at the Hoover Institution. SHOULDN'T HE HAVE JUST STAYED OUT OF IT? Staying out of it could have been seen as suspicious, giving critics ammunition to argue Sessions did so because there was a connection between the firing and the Russia probe, Chong said. "Choosing not to be involved would actually be its own kind of statement," she said. "That was clearly something he could have done, but I think optically speaking, there would still be a problem." "Sessions was in a hard place here," she said. IS THERE A PROBLEM WITH HIS DEPUTY BEING LINKED TO THE FIRING? Sessions' recusal means Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is overseeing the Justice Department's Russia investigation. Rosenstein also wrote a memo blasting Comey's handling of the email probe. Trump has said that scathing report factored into his decision to fire the director, though the president also said he would have done it regardless of the Justice Department's recommendation. Rosenstein "had a level of credibility regarding his political independence," Hennessey said. "His involvement in Comey's firing doesn't just undermine, it eviscerates the belief in his impartiality or credibility on this." Whether Rosenstein is impartial doesn't matter as much as whether the public believes the investigation is credible so that people have faith in the outcome, she said. Her suggestion: Appoint a special prosecutor. DOES ANY OF IT MATTER? Not really. There's no legal penalty for Sessions if he should have stayed out of the firing, though Congress could grill him over it or seek an inspector general investigation, Hennessey said. And it certainly won't change Comey's ouster. "It's still an important question to understanding how the decision was made," she said. ISN'T SOME OF THIS FAMILIAR? Kind of. The last high-profile special counsel to be named was in 2003 when the Bush Justice Department turned to Patrick Fitzgerald, then the top federal prosecutor in Chicago, to investigate who leaked the identity of Valerie Plame, a covert CIA officer. That appointment was made by Comey, who at the time was deputy attorney general. Comey took the extra step of giving Fitzgerald complete discretion to conduct the investigation, bolstering the special counsel's independence.
News Article | May 11, 2017
12 May, Bonn, Germany. MITIGATION ACTION THROUGH ARTICLE 6 OF THE PARIS AGREEMENT. This event on the sidelines of the mid-year UN climate talks is being co-hosted by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES). Negotiators on Article 6 of the Paris Agreement form selected countries and experts on carbon markets will discuss what lies ahead for the 24th session of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP24). Please note that to access the venue for this event, UNFCCC accreditation is necessary. For more information, please visit the ICTSD website. 15 May, Washington, US, and online. FUTURE OF THE EUROPEAN ECONOMY AFTER THE FRENCH ELECTION. This webcast event is being organised by the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) and will have two discussion panels comprised of PIIE senior fellows and European experts. The panels will discuss what the 7 May French election results mean for the wider EU economy and outline recommendations for ensuring the EU’s future economic stability. This event is open to the public and will be steamed online. To learn more and watch online, visit the PIIE website. 16 May, Washington, US. NEW GLOBAL AND REGIONAL TRENDS: POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC IMPLICATIONS FOR LATIN AMERICA. This event is being hosted by the Brookings Global- CERES Economic and Social Policy in Latin America Initiative and will feature a panel to discuss the implications of new global and regional trends. This panel will look at specifically at political and macroeconomic trends in the region and their ramifications across various policy areas. To learn more and to resister, please visit the Brookings Institution website. 17 May, Geneva, Switzerland. REFLECTIONS ON PROGRESS. This event is being organised by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies and will feature as its guest speaker Kemal Derviş, Vice President and Director for Global Economy and Development at the Brookings Institution, for a discussion on global growth and inequality. To learn more and to register, please visit the Graduate Institute website. An updated list of forthcoming WTO meetings is posted here. Please bear in mind that dates and times of WTO meetings are often changed, and that the WTO does not always announce the important informal meetings of the different bodies. Unless otherwise indicated, all WTO meetings are held at the WTO, Centre William Rappard, rue de Lausanne 154, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland, and are open to WTO Members and accredited observers only. 17 May: Committee on Trade and Development 17 May: Committee on Trade and Development – Dedicated Session on Small Economies 18 May: Committee on Budget, Finance, and Administration 19 May, Geneva, Switzerland, and online. TALKING DISPUTES |THE RUSSIA – PIGS (EU) DISPUTE. This event is being jointly organised by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) and WTI Advisors (WTIA). This event will focus on the recent World Trade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body ruling in the Russia – Pigs (EU) dispute, presenting the key findings and engaging in a discussion of the legal and policy implications, particularly regarding trade and regulatory cooperation. This event is open to the public and will be livestreamed online as an interactive webcast, with viewers able to submit questions for the panel. To learn more and to register, or to watch online, please visit the ICTSD website. 22 May, Geneva, Switzerland. REFORMING FOSSIL FUEL SUBSIDIES THROUGH THE WTO AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE AGREEMENTS. This workshop is being organised by Climate Strategies, Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). This workshop will feature a panel of representatives from IISD, the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), SEI, SWP, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to discuss the varied nature of fossil fuel subsidies and what this means for agreements of different configurations. For more information, please visit the ICTSD website. 31 May – 12 July, online. MASSIVE OPEN ONLINE COURSE: GREENING CONSUMPTION & PRODUCTION. This six-week facilitated course is being offered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAP) Forum and The Nature Conservancy. Topics for the course will cover green consumption and production including greening key production sectors, sustainable commodity supply chains, and mainstreaming biodiversity into development planning. The course is aimed at policymakers and practitioners working in the area of sustainable consumption and production and is available in English, Spanish, and French. To learn more and to register, please visit the Nature Conservancy website. 5-8 June, Manila, Philippines. ASIA CLEAN ENERGY FORUM 2017. This event is being jointly organised by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Korea Energy Agency. The aim of this forum will be to share best practices in policy, technology, and finance regarding clean energy, energy efficiency, and energy access, with the event having as its theme “The Future is Here: Achieving Universal Access and Climate Targets.” To learn more and to register, please visit the event website. 7-9 June, Geneva, Switzerland. INNOVATE 4 WATER: A MATCHMAKING FORUM FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT BRINGING TOGETHER INNOVATORS, INVESTORS, AND EXPERTS. This two-day forum is being organised by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) GREEN, WaterVent, and WIPO GREEN partner Waterpreneurs. The aim of this forum will be to bring together individuals and organizations working in the water sector and create a space for entrepreneurs in this field to meet collaborators in related areas. To learn more and to register, please visit the WIPO GREEN website.
News Article | May 8, 2017
Program Insight empowers educators to respond by providing a step-by-step process to compare current and proposed program strategy with local market demand, drawing on labor market information that was previously available only through extensive research or expensive consultants. "Now more than ever, higher education is judged by its ability to prepare graduates for the job market," said Matthew Sigelman, CEO of Burning Glass Technologies. "Program Insight provides the data institutions need to align programs with real-time information on skills in demand. That crucial insight allows traditional and nontraditional learning providers to keep up with what employers really need." Program Insight is driven by the Burning Glass database of nearly 700 million job postings, collected from more than 40,000 online sources daily. The database engine provides insight into what employers need much faster and in more detail than other sources of labor information. The product also incorporates many other sources of educational and job data, including government and IPEDs data, to provide a one-stop research tool for program development. The product is part of Burning Glass Technologies' Education Solution suite, a series of software products that helps institutions uncover their unique value when creating programs and engaging students. The suite includes Program Insight, Labor Insight, and Job Pulse. In addition, Burning Glass research also draws on the labor market information provided within these products and is regularly cited by the Federal Reserve, the Brookings Institution, Harvard Business School, and a wide range of corporate and educational clients. For more information about Program Insight, visit burning-glass.com/program-insight or visit us at the ASU-GSV Summit, May 8-10 in Salt Lake City, in the Imperial Ballroom hallway next to the social media wall. Follow us at twitter.com/burning_glass and LinkedIn.com/company/138182. About Burning Glass Burning Glass Technologies delivers job market analytics that empower employers, workers, and educators to make data-driven decisions. The company's artificial intelligence technology analyzes hundreds of millions of job postings and real-life career transitions to provide insight into labor market patterns. This real-time strategic intelligence offers crucial insights, such as which jobs are most in demand, the specific skills employers need, and the career directions that offer the highest potential for workers. For more information, visit burning-glass.com. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/program-insight-gives-higher-education-ability-to-check-learning-against-the-job-market-300453247.html
News Article | May 9, 2017
Moon Jae-in is set to become the next president of South Korea, amid escalating tensions over North Korea’s nuclear programme across the world – with the incoming leader aiming for a shift in relations both with its neighbour and the US. Mr Moon received more than 40 per cent of the vote according to exit polls from broadcasters in the country and Mr Moon was quick to claim victory. Nearly 80 per cent of South Koreans voted in the election, the highest number in 20 years, and while full results are yet to be released, the other top candidates Hong Jun-pyo and Ahn Cheol-soo appear to have conceded. Speaking after the exit poll results were announced, Mr Moon said his expected “landslide victory” comes at a time when the Korean people are “desperate” for a change in government. Previous president Park Geun-hye, a conservative, was impeached over a corruption scandal, which left a sour taste for many voters on her conservative party. Ms Park’s party has a more historical view of the US alliance, many older supporters of the party lived through the Korean War and remember the US military support and economic aid provided by Americans during their time of need. There are still 28,000 US military personnel stationed in South Korea as well. Her administration recently allowed the US military to instal the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) missile system to become operational, a point Mr Moon argued should have been the decision of the incoming president not the outgoing administration. Jonathan Pollack of the Centre for East Asia Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution think-tank said that “China would be cheering from the sidelines” should Mr Moon successfully “restrict missile development in Korea”. China has opposed the THAAD missile system for fear it would be used by the US to spy on them. Mr Moon has advocated for a less hardline “sunshine policy” of engagement with Pyonyang, pledging to ease tension and work to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula by reviving six-party talks involving the two Koreas, China, the US, Russia and Japan. The issue is a personal one for many South Koreans, but especially so for Mr Moon whose parents actually fled their homes in the north during the Korean War. Moon has criticised the two previous conservative governments for failing to stop North Korea’s weapons development. He advocates a two-track policy of seeking dialogue with the North while maintaining pressure and sanctions to encourage change. He also aims to expand economic and social exchange between the two Koreas by reopening industrial parks on the shared border. His victory was bolstered by strong support from younger people, according to the exit polls. Many of his supporters participated in big, peaceful weekend rallies over the last few months of 2016 and early this year, demanding Ms Park step down. Only 22 to 25 per cent of people in their 60s and 70s voted for Mr Moon, exit polls showed, underscoring a longstanding generation gap. Many older people are wary of Mr Moon's less confrontational stance on North Korea. Mr Moon has said he would meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un if a summit could help ease tension. Lisa Collins, a fellow with the Korea Chair at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, told The Independent that what will be key for Mr Moon going forward is his relationship with Donald Trump given that there is no current US ambassador in Seoul. Mr Pollack said that Mr Trump and Mr Moon will have to have a “very frank” personal relationship for anything to change with North Korea because at this time both sides seem to have opposite views on the situation. Mr Moon, whose campaign promises include a “National Interest First” policy, has struck a chord with people who want the country to stand up to powerful allies and neighbours. He wrote in a book published in January that South Korea should learn to say “no” to America. Mr Moon said in a YouTube live stream on Tuesday that South Korea should take on a more active diplomatic role to curb North Korea’s nuclear threat and not watch idly as the US and China talk to each other. Echoing Ms Collins’ statement, Mr Pollack explained that that an early face-to-face meeting between Mr Moon and Mr Trump will be crucial, adding that Mr Trump does like dealing with leaders on a more personal basis. Though Mr Trump’s tweets about the Korean-US trade agreement and the escalating tensions with Pyongyang are troubling to many conservative Koreans, there is reason for some hope for an “effective working relationship” between the two presidents, said Mr Pollack. “Koreans understandably don’t want to be instructed on how they’re supposed to think and what they’re supposed to do,” Mr Pollack said, adding that the US “needs to be very attentive to the views that emanate” from South Korea. Ms Collins does not feel that Mr Trump would oppose “inter-Korean meetings” but any moves by Mr Moon would have to be “timed well,” meaning done in coordination with Mr Trump's military policy in the region which has involved sending an aircraft carrier fleet to the Sea of Japan. The White House was quick to congratulate Mr Moon, with a statement from Press Secretary Sean Spicer saying: “We look forward to working with President-elect Moon to continue to strengthen the alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea and to deepen the enduring friendship and partnership between our two countries.” Another challenge Mr Moon faces in changing the North Korean relationship is the set of domestic problems he will inherit as well as his party’s seats in the National Assembly. Mr Moon ran on a platform of reducing the income gap and expanding public sector employment, among other issues. Reform may be tough though given that Mr Moon’s party does not have the majority in the National Assembly, which requires a 60 per cent majority vote to pass big legislation, Mr Pollack explained. His Democratic Party holds 40 per cent of the single-chamber, 299-seat assembly, which will means he will have to build coalitions to pass legislation. The next National Assembly election will not be held until 2020. Mr Moon is set to be sworn in on Wednesday, and has pledged to start work straightaway.
Hammond R.A.,Brookings Institution |
Dube L.,McGill University
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2012
We argue that food and nutrition security is driven by complex underlying systems and that both research and policy in this area would benefit from a systems approach. We present a framework for such an approach, examine key underlying systems, and identify transdisciplinary modeling tools that may prove especially useful.
Hammond R.A.,Brookings Institution
Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity | Year: 2010
Purpose of Review: To review a selection of research published in the last 12 months on the role of social influence in the obesity epidemic. Recent Findings: Recent papers add evidence to previous work linking social network structures and obesity. Social norms, both eating norms and body image norms, are identified as one major source of social influence through networks. Social capital and social stress are additional types of social influence. Summary: There is increasing evidence that social influence and social network structures are significant factors in obesity. Deeper understanding of the mechanisms of action and dynamics of social influence, and its link with other factors involved in the obesity epidemic, is an important goal for further research. © 2010 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Rothwell J.T.,Brookings Institution
Urban Studies | Year: 2012
A large body of recent research claims that racial diversity hinders the general trust of others, but these studies rarely consider how racial segregation mediates diversity. This article re-examines the issue by considering how the residential isolation of minorities alters general trust and one manifestation of trust: volunteering in cities. Using data from the US, the results from a regression analysis suggest that metropolitan-level racial segregation decreases trust and volunteering. Diversity has no significant effect. The results are robust to a variety of specifications and assumptions. The use of historical metropolitan and state characteristics improves the fit between segregation and distrust, and political affiliation is explored as a potential link between group distrust and general distrust. High levels of trust have been identified as a source of good governance and economic performance; integration is likely to enhance these attributes regardless of the level of diversity. © 2011 Urban Studies Journal Limited.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ECONOMICS | Award Amount: 450.00K | Year: 2011
This award provides partial funding for the Brookings Conference on Macroeconomics and the accompanying Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, a conference volume.
The conference is designed to bring together scholars in economics (primary macroeconomics) to focus on the scientific analysis of economic policy issues. The topics include fiscal and monetary policy, asset pricing, labor markets, consumptions and saving behavior, business investment, housing, wage and price setting, business cycles, long-run economic grown, the distribution of income and wealth, intermational capital flows and exchange rates, international trade and development, the macroeconomic implications of health costs, energy supply and demand, environmental issues, and the education system.
The papers presented develop empirical evidence, include real world institutions, and focus on relevance to policy. A wide range of methodological approaches are included. Papers are available online to the general public, and the series has been praised as a key forum for discussion of economic research and policy.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 450.00K | Year: 2015
This award provides partial funding for the Brookings Conference on Macroeconomics and the accompanying conference volume, the Brookings Papers on Macroeconomic Activity. The conference is designed to bring together economic scientists to focus on the scientific analysis of economic policy issues. These issues include the changing labor market, financial institutions, global economic policy, heath care, data improvement, inequality, and long run economic growth. The papers presented at the conference are available online to the public. They develop empirical analysis, employ a wide range of research methods, include real world institutions, and focus on relevance to policy. The award promotes the national interest by improving the quality of the economics used in making policy decisions.
BPEAs work not only adds to the body of economic literature but increases the contributions of economic research to our understanding of public policy. This is in part due to a high degree of interaction among the organizers, researchers, discussants, and attendees. Each researcher invited to present engages in an intensive process of three rounds of review, criticism, discussion and editing. BPEA encourages scientists to apply the best knowledge of the profession to pressing policy issues and uses policy concerns to point the professions way toward new science.