Good Night From Space

09/01/2015: NASA Image of the Day

Earth's thin atmosphere stands out against the blackness of space in this photo taken on Aug. 31, 2015 by astronaut Scott Kelly on board the International Space Station.

Government at Work - The White House

Press Briefing

08/28/2015: White House Press Briefings

White House Press Briefings are conducted most weekdays from the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room in the West Wing.

The U.S. Re-Opens Our Embassy in Havana, Cuba

08/14/2015: White House Video

Secretary John Kerry travels to Havana, Cuba to re-open our embassy after 54 years. August 14, 2015.

Weekly Address: Meeting the Global Threat of Climate Change

08/29/2015: President Obama's Weekly Address

In this week's address, the President spoke about his upcoming trip to Alaska, during which he will view the effects of climate change firsthand. Alaskans are already living with the impact of climate change, with glaciers melting faster, and temperatures projected to rise between six and twelve degrees by the end of the century.

Government at Work - Today

Daily Schedule

08/05/2015: US House of Reps

The House and Senate have adopted the adjournment resolution H. Con. Res. 72. Therefore, the House will not meet in pro forma session over the August District Work Period and the next meeting of the House is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 8, 2015.  The next recorded votes in the House are expected at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 8, 2015. In the absence of pro forma sessions, the Cloakroom will not be accepting bills/resolutions, co-sponsor sheets, or submissions for the Congressional Record until Tuesday, September 8. The next opportunity for members to submit items for the hopper or Congressional Record will be at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 8. 

Information regarding the legislative schedule for the week of September 8 will be posted once it is announced. Please check back for updates. 

Government at Work - Alerts

FDA's MedWatch Safety Alerts for Consumers: July 2015

08/25/2015: Health Information Update from the Food and Drug Administration

FDA is warning consumers about children's cough-and-cold medicine with codeine, the risks of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), unapproved prescription ear products and drugs from Moses Lake Professional Pharmacy.

Three Kentucky Counties Designated for Federal Assistance After July Storms

09/01/2015: FEMA Region 4

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency has amended a recent disaster declaration for severe storms in July in order to make survivors in Breathitt, Fleming and Perry counties eligible for its Individual Assistance program.


Tunisia Travel Alert

08/31/2015: International Travel Alerts

The U.S. Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the risks of travel to Tunisia and recommends that U.S. citizens in Tunisia maintain a high level of vigilance in light of recent terrorist attacks on sites frequented by tourists.

The Tunisian government has shown its commitment to addressing security concerns and has visibly augmented its security presence at tourist locations, but challenges remain.  This Travel Alert expires on September 30, 2015.  

U.S. citizens should exercise extreme caution in Tunisia when frequenting public venues that are visited by large numbers of foreigners, such as:  hotels, shopping centers, tourist sites, and restaurants.  Two recent attacks targeting tourists killed a number of foreign nationals: March 18, 2015, at the Bardo Museum in Tunis; and June 26, 2015 near Sousse at the Riu Imperial Marhaba and Riu Bellevue Park hotels.  The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for both attacks.  U.S. citizens should also be alert to the possibility of kidnapping.  On July 4, President Caid Essebsi declared a 30-day state of emergency that grants security forces more authority to maintain civil order, enabling the government to focus on combating terrorism.  This state of emergency was extended on August 3 for an additional 60 days, expiring October 2.  The Minister of Interior has stated that the state of emergency will assist in securing hotels and tourist areas. 

Terrorist organizations have also targeted Tunisian security forces and government installations.  The Tunisian government officially designated the group Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia (AAS-T), a group with known anti-U.S. and anti-Western sentiments, as a terrorist organization on August 27, 2013.  The Tunisian government continues security force operations against AAS-T, ISIL, and al Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

Protests, demonstrations, and civil unrest can occur with little warning throughout the country.  U.S. citizens should avoid large crowds and demonstrations, as even demonstrations that are meant to be peaceful have the potential to become unpredictable.  When the last significant protests took place in Tunisia in the summer of 2013, they were non-violent and not directed against U.S. citizens or foreigners.  U.S. citizens should be aware of anti-U.S. and anti-Western sentiment held by several groups in country.  U.S. citizens should also be alert and aware of their surroundings.  Travelers should monitor local events, report suspicious activity to the local police, and take appropriate steps to bolster personal security.

Travelers contemplating trips to the interior of the country should assess local conditions and routes when making travel plans.  In particular, all travel south of the designated military zone in the south must be coordinated in advance with Tunisian authorities.  Also, travel to either border should be avoided, if possible, given the periodic security incidents along the border regions, including the Mount Chaambi region near the Algerian border where security operations continue against armed extremists.  The Tunisian National Guard encourages persons traveling into the desert to register their travel beforehand.  For details on how and where to register, please visit the U.S. Embassy’s desert travel page.  No special authorization is required to travel to the desert as far south as Remada.  The desert south of Remada is designated as a military zone by the Government of Tunisia.  If travelers wish to enter the military zone, for example to travel to Borma, a special authorization is required.  Please visit the U.S. Embassy’s desert travel page.

Tunisia shares borders with Algeria and Libya.  Developments in Libya continue to affect the security situation along the border areas, and the Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all travel to Libya.  Due to tighter security, backups of several hours can occur on the Tunisian side of the border.  The Ras Jedir and Dehiba border crossings with Libya may be closed occasionally, and access to both crossings is strictly controlled by Tunisian security forces.  Travelers should consult local authorities before travelling to the Libyan border, and should read the Department of State’s Travel Warning for Libya, as well as the Department of State’s Country Specific Information and other international travel safety and security information for Libya and Algeria.  Travelers should consult local authorities before travelling to the Algerian border and read the Department of State’s Travel Warning for Algeria.  Some crossings may be closed occasionally and access is strictly controlled by Tunisian and Algerian security forces.

Government security forces, including the army, police, and National Guard, are visibly present throughout Tunisia.  Under the state of emergency, the Ministry of Interior is granted broad powers and may ban rallies and demonstrations.  The Minister of Interior, as well as local governors, have the prerogative to put any individual under house arrest, if considered a threat to national and public security; and to search houses and conduct other activities without requiring prior judicial authorization.  Security personnel, including plain clothes officials, may at times place foreign visitors under surveillance.  It is against Tunisian law to photograph government offices and other security facilities.  Suspicious incidents or problems should be reported immediately to Tunisian authorities and the U.S. Embassy.  Travelers should remain alert to local security developments and heed directions given by uniformed security officials.  U.S. citizens are urged to always carry a copy of their passport as proof of nationality and identity and, if moving about alone, a cell phone or other means of communication that works in Tunisia.

The U.S. government considers the potential threat to U.S. Embassy personnel assigned abroad sufficiently serious to require them to live and work under security restrictions which vary by country of assignment. Embassy Tunis travel regulations require advance notification to Embassy security officials of travel outside greater Tunis.   These measures occasionally prevent the movement of U.S. Embassy officials and the provision of consular services in certain areas of the country.

Unless otherwise indicated in a public announcement, the U.S. Embassy is open for all routine American Citizens Services by appointment.  U.S. citizens needing emergency assistance do not need an appointment.  The Embassy will notify U.S. citizens as quickly as possible of any closing and the types of emergency consular services that will be available.  Visit the Embassy website to check the latest changes to Embassy hours or services. 

For further information:

  • See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for Tunisia.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. 
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Tunisia located at North East Zone Berges du Lac, North of Tunis 2045 La Goulette, at +216 71 107 000, 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.  After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +216 71 107 000.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada, or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
  • Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Government at Work - Archives

FALQs: New Brazilian Code of Civil Procedure

09/01/2015: Library of Congress

The following is a guest post by Eduardo Soares, a foreign law specialist at the Law Library of Congress who covers Brazil and other Portuguese-speaking jurisdictions. Eduardo has previously published posts about the Brazilian law collection, capoeira and the law, a Law Library report on citizenship pathways and border protection, and highlights of the Law […]

FALQs: New Brazilian Code of Civil Procedure

09/01/2015: Library of Congress

The following is a guest post by Eduardo Soares, a foreign law specialist at the Law Library of Congress who covers Brazil and other Portuguese-speaking jurisdictions. Eduardo has previously published posts about the Brazilian law collection, capoeira and the law, a Law Library report on citizenship pathways and border protection, and highlights of the Law […]

Government at Work - Issues

Encouraging Global Leadership on Arctic Climate Change

09/01/2015: State Department Blog

Global leaders convened at GLACIER to highlight international and domestic priorities in the Arctic with a goal of generating momentum and expediting progress towards addressing some of the most pressing issues facing the region.

Climate, Environment, and Conservation: Concluding Remarks at the Global Leadership in the Arctic: Cooperation, Innovation, Engagement, and Resilience (GLACIER) Conference

09/01/2015: Climate, Environment, and Conservation

Concluding Remarks at the Global Leadership in the Arctic: Cooperation, Innovation, Engagement, and Resilience (GLACIER) Conference

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Anchorage, Alaska
August 31, 2015

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you very, very much. Thank you all, Governor Walker, Lieutenant Governor Mallott, and Senator Murkowski, Senator Sullivan. We are so appreciative to all of you, to Alaska, for an absolutely spectacular welcome here. And I think it is fair to say on behalf of all of my colleagues who have been part of this daylong discussion that this has been a tremendous reception in Alaska but importantly a very constructive and substantive day. I think every delegation here would agree that we have covered an enormous amount of territory, and we reinforced here today that every nation that cares about the future of the Arctic has a responsibility to be a leader in taking action and in urging others to take bold action in order to deal with this challenge. It is immediate and it requires ambitious steps to curb the emission of greenhouse gasses and to deal with methane, coastal erosion, fisheries – a host of challenges that Alaska particularly faces.

There is no mystery, as we saw reinforced in very dramatic presentations by a number of scientists – no mystery at all about what a failure to act would mean. We can already see it. We can already measure it. And Alaskans are living it every single day.

We confirmed today that we cannot afford to wait until someone else moves to implement solutions to the challenges that confront us in the Arctic. I’m very pleased that through today’s GLACIER meeting we made progress in a host of areas – and our communique will summarize that – including addressing the issues of climate change, the impacts of it, enhancing resilience, strengthening emergency response, improving air quality, and promoting renewable energy and household innovations that will increase efficiency and community health at the same time.

Everyone in this room, those here at the circular table and those in the audience, are connected to the Arctic in some way. And so are all of the citizens that we represent. The fate of the region is not just the responsibility of the Arctic, the Arctic states even themselves. We agreed today it is everyone’s responsibility.

And it is with that purpose in mind that I turn now to the next speaker, who understands all of this, all of what is at stake. The threat posed by a changing Arctic has long been a top priority for President Barack Obama. He has repeatedly defined climate change as one of the great challenges that we face in this century. And the President has stated clearly that what’s happening in Alaska “isn’t just a preview of what will happen to the rest of us if we don’t take action. It’s our wake-up call. The alarm bells are ringing,” to quote the President.

Since 2009 President Obama has demonstrated repeatedly that he is committed to meeting this challenge before it’s too late – not with words but with actions. That’s why he put forward a National Strategy for the Arctic Region that establishes a comprehensive and long-term vision for our Arctic engagement. That’s why he created the Arctic Executive Steering Committee to prepare for a changing Arctic and to enhance coordination of national efforts here.

That’s why today, thanks the President’s Climate Action Plan, the United States is well on its way to meeting our international commitments to seriously cut our greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and beyond while bolstering our nation’s resilience to ensure communities thrive and that economies flourish. And that’s why he has prioritized so many other things, including I might add not a small symbolic step of renaming a big, famous mountain, and I think we could say that Denali never looked better than it does today. (Cheers and applause.)

That is why also the President has prioritized working with so many partners, because he knows that all of us together have to do so much more to beat this threat. We have to do it now, and it will not be done without our concerted global commitment.

Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States, Barack Obama. (Cheers and applause.)

Entercom Required to Divest Three Denver Radio Stations as Part of Lincoln Acquisition

07/15/2015: Department of Justice Antitrust

Entercom Communications Corp. (Entercom) will be required to divest three radio stations in Denver, in order to proceed with its acquisition of Lincoln Financial Media Company (Lincoln).