White Dwarf May Have Shredded Passing Planet

04/17/2015: NASA Image of the Day

In this Chandra image of ngc6388, researchers have found evidence that a white dwarf star may have ripped apart a planet as it came too close. When a star reaches its white dwarf stage, nearly all of the material from the star is packed inside a radius one hundredth that of the original star. The destruction of a planet may sound like the stuff of science fiction, but a team of astronomers has found evidence that this may have happened in an ancient cluster of stars at the edge of the Milky Way galaxy. Using several telescopes, including NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, researchers have found evidence that a white dwarf star – the dense core of a star like the Sun that has run out of nuclear fuel – may have ripped apart a planet as it came too close. More information. Image Credit: NASA

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Government at Work

Press Briefing

04/16/2015: White House Press Briefings

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

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Daily Schedule

04/15/2015: US House of Reps

​Thursday, April 16
House Meets at 9:00 a.m.
​Five One Minutes per side

Complete Consideration of H.R. 1105 - Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Kevin Brady / Ways and Means Committee)

Closed Rule, One Hour of Debate
Rule has been adopted
Rule Y      N
Passage Y N

Complete Consideration of H.R. 622 - State and Local Sales Tax Deduction Fairness Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Rep. Kevin Brady / Ways and Means Committee)
Closed Rule, One Hour of Debate
Rule has been adopted
Rule Y      N
Passage Y N

​Special Orders: ​Republicans have the first hour 

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U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services, February 2015

04/02/2015: Bureau of Economic Analysis

The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, through the Department of Commerce, announced today that the goods and services deficit was $35.4 billion in February, down $7.2 billion from $42.7 billion in January, revised. February exports were $186.2 billion, $3.0 billion less than January exports. February imports were $221.7 billion, $10.2 billion less than January imports. Full Text

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Government at Work

FTC Chairwoman Releases 2014 Annual Highlights

04/15/2015: Federal Trade Commission

Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez released the agency’s 2014 Annual Highlights today, emphasizing the agency’s work to protect consumers and promote competition during the past calendar year.

“With over 150 law enforcement actions taken and $640 million in consumer redress ordered, we marked the FTC’s centennial year with vigorous efforts to protect consumers and promote competition in a dynamic and continuously evolving marketplace,” Ramirez said. “Our enforcement, policy work, and business and consumer education demonstrate that the FTC is well positioned to serve the American public for another 100 years.

The agency’s Enforcement Highlights address a range of law enforcement actions in industries including health care, mobile technology, and consumer products and services. Promoting competition among health care providers remains a top priority for the Commission. A significant victory this past year for the agency in keeping health care costs low for consumers was the Ninth Circuit’s decision upholding a lower court ruling that the St. Luke’s Hospital/Saltzer Group merger would be anticompetitive.

In the technology sector, the FTC took several actions to preserve competition, such as authorizing staff to block Verisk Analytics proposed $650 million acquisition of Eagle View Technology in the growing market for rooftop aerial services. The parties then abandoned the proposed merger. The Commission also continued its efforts to protect consumers’ use of mobile platforms, including actions against companies that misrepresented the security features of their mobile apps and those that failed to disclose hidden in-app charges. In addition, the agency continued its fight against cramming by focusing on mobile carriers. AT&T and T-Mobile USA agreed to pay $80 million and $90 million in refunds respectively for billing customers for unwanted third-party subscriptions.

As noted in Policy Highlights, the FTC filed eight amicus briefs on topics such as debt collection and children’s online privacy. Staff hosted 16 workshops and conferences that explored issues such as developments in the health care industry, competition issues involving biologic medicines, and technology-related issues including big data and mobile device tracking. The FTC also continues to lead efforts to develop strong mutual enforcement cooperation and sound policy with its international partners.

Finally, the FTC’s Education and Outreach Highlights recognize the agency’s work to alert businesses to compliance standards and to alert consumers to the tell-tale signs of fraud and deceptive business practices. Among the agency’s many educational products produced in 2014, the FTC launched its first Tax ID Theft Awareness Week; launched the bilingual Pass it On campaign geared toward older consumers; published three fotonovelas for Spanish speaking consumers; and launched its Every Community Initiative to expand efforts to combat fraud in all communities.

More statistics are available in the Stats & Data 2014 infographic. Archives of past FTC Annual Highlights and Reports are available online.

The Federal Trade Commission promotes competition and protects consumers through law enforcement, policy and research initiatives, and consumer and business education. File a consumer complaint online or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). To inform the Bureau of Competition about questionable business practices, write to antitrust@ftc.gov or call 202-326-3300. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources

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Antitrust Division Issues 2015 Annual Newsletter

04/15/2015: Department of Justice Antitrust

The Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division today issued the 2015 edition of its annual newsletter.  The newsletter highlights the Antitrust Division’s civil and criminal enforcement actions, international cooperation efforts and competition guidance and advocacy over the last year.

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Nigeria Travel Alert

02/25/2015: International Travel Alerts

The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Nigeria and urges caution while traveling within Nigeria during the general and gubernatorial elections on March 28 and April 11, 2015, respectively.

The elections, originally scheduled for February 14 and February 28, were postponed for six weeks due to security concerns related to Boko Haram. This Travel Alert expires on May 25, 2015.

The upcoming elections are closely contested. Nigeria last held national elections in April 2011 and, although the elections themselves remained largely peaceful, violence temporarily erupted in many northern states after the announcement of results in the presidential race. The 2015 elections again present a possibility of violence. U.S. citizens are encouraged to exercise caution during the election process, particularly in and around polling locations in the weeks before and after the elections. There is presently no reason to believe that U.S. citizens would be specifically targeted in the event of election-related violence.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Nigeria enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you do not have internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Regularly monitor the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, including the Travel Warning for Nigeria, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution. Read the Country Specific Information for Nigeria. For additional information, refer to the Traveler’s Checklist.

Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate for up-to-date information on travel restrictions. You may also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free from within the United States and Canada, or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook to have travel information at your fingertips.

The U.S. Embassy in Abuja, located at Plot 1075 Diplomatic Drive, Central District Area, is open Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The U.S. Consulate General in Lagos, located at 2 Walter Carrington Crescent, Victoria Island, is open Monday-Thursday from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The U.S. Embassy in Abuja can be reached by telephone, including after-hours emergencies, at +234(9) 461-4000, or by email at AbujaACS@state.gov. The U.S. Consulate General in Lagos can be reached by telephone, including after-hours emergencies, at +234(1) 460-3600 or +234 (1) 460-3400, or by email at LagosACS@state.gov. For more information, please visit the U.S. Mission in Nigeria website.

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Government at Work

FDA Teams with Healthline.com to Better Serve Consumers

04/08/2015: Health Information Update from the Food and Drug Administration

The Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Communications has concluded a Memorandum of Understanding with Healthline.com, which has agreed, a.o., to post FDA Consumer Updates and other content on its website, produce a newsletter and alerts that feature FDA content, and provide direct links back to FDA web content such as the agency’s RSS feed for product recalls.

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Federal Aid Programs for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Declaration

04/13/2015: FEMA Region 1

Following is a summary of key federal disaster aid programs that can be made available as needed and warranted under President Obama's disaster declaration issued for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Assistance for the Commonwealth and Affected Local and Tribal Governments Can Include as Required:

English

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