Cuba Officially Off U.S. Terror List

castroThe State Department removed Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism this week, enabling the two countries to re-establish diplomatic ties after 54 years of isolation.

The action paves the way to opening embassies in both Havana and Washington, DC.  January 1961 was the last time  both countries had embassies.   An economic trade embargo still remains in effect, and reversing it will require congressional action.

The move toward normalized relations was announced by President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro on Dec. 17, which opened the door for talks in each capital on conditions each side wanted fulfilled.

President Ronald Reagan added Cuba to the list of state sponsors of terrorism in 1982 for supporting revolutionary movements in Latin America, especially in El Salvadore.  The current State Department’s list of State Sponsors of Terrorism consists of three countries: Iran, Syria and Sudan.

Have questions? Check out the Treasury’s  FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS RELATED TO CUBA.

 

 

New Version of Child ID App Available

from FBI News Blog

The FBI announced a reboot of its popular Child ID App, which provides parents with an easy way to electronically store their children’s pictures and vital information to have on hand in case their kids go missing.ChildIDApp

The application, which works on most Apple and Android smartphones and tablets, allows users to store up-to-date images and physical descriptions—like height, weight, birthmarks, etc.—that could help responders in the event of an emergency. The information is stored only on your device—not with your mobile provider or the FBI.

The latest version of the Child ID App contains updated features, including high-resolution image capability, a default recipient field (where you can enter your local police department’s e-mail address, for example), and optional automatic reminders to update your children’s profiles.

Current users of the Child ID App are encouraged to download the latest version for improved performance and capabilities. Please note that if you had been using an older version of the app (prior to 2.0), you will need to re-enter all relevant information after installing the update.

The app has been downloaded more than 250,000 times since it was released, first on iTunes in 2011 and then for the Android operating system in 2012. The current version, released in April, has been downloaded more than 50,000 times onto devices around the world.

The Child ID App also includes tips on keeping children safe as well as specific guidance on what to do in those first few crucial hours after a child goes missing.

For more information and to download:

New USCOURTS.GOV Launched

from uscourts.gov

uscourts The federal Judiciary’s website, uscourts.gov, has a fresh look, improved functionality, and webpages that adjust automatically for optimal use on all sizes and types of devices. Other features include:

Court Locator

An improved Court Locator that helps users find their local court more easily. Search by city and state or ZIP code, and choose a court type on any page of the website. In addition:

  • Maps display with search results.
  • Individual district court information pages include direct links to the court’s website, e-filing, juror information page, and eJuror log-in.
  • Mobile users can easily call or get directions to their local court with a click of a button.

Forms

All court forms are now grouped in a central location, so users can search by keyword or filter by topic. Download forms directly from the main forms page, or click on the form name for more information. Relevant form instructions or committee notes are found on the specific form’s page.

Federal Rules

Records and Archives of the Judicial Conference Committee on Rules and Practice and Procedure and its advisory committees can be filtered and searched by committee and year for:

Statistics

An enhanced search for Judiciary data tables allows users to search by publication, specific type of data, and date range, and includes related analysis of the data tables.

Redirects

Bookmarks and links to old uscourts.gov locations, in most cases, will automatically redirect users to the correct page on the new site. Other websites should confirm and update any links to uscourts.gov, to ensure proper function.

ADA: 25 Years of Removing Barriers and Empowering People.

25th_logoTwenty-five years ago, our nation committed itself to eliminating discrimination against people with disabilities—through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Signed into law on July 26, 1990, by President George H.W. Bush, the ADA is one of America’s most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation.
The ADA prohibits discrimination and guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in the mainstream of American life — to enjoy employment opportunities, to purchase goods and services, and to participate in State and local government programs and services. Modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin – and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 — the ADA is an “equal opportunity” law for people with disabilities.

To be protected by the ADA, one must have a disability, which is defined by the ADA as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment. The ADA does not specifically name all of the impairments that are covered.

Census Bureau Launches Instagram Account

census2020The U.S. Census Bureau has created an official Instagram account. The account will provide an outlet for the public to view the story behind the numbers, starting with the 2015 Census Test in the Savannah, Ga., area.

Maricopa County, Ariz., and Savannah, Ga. celebrated “Census Day” on April 1st, as test sites for the most fundamentally redesigned census in U.S. history.  Five years before the actual Census Day on April 1, 2020, these and other tests are telling census planners whether new technology and innovative methods can work as planned in a real-world census environment. The ultimate goal is an accurate census that is more efficient and more cost-effective than any other in the nation’s history.

The Census Bureau is researching modern and cost-efficient methods for the population to exercise its civic obligation to be counted in the 2020 Census. Whether through the Internet, telephone or traditional paper questionnaires, the Census Bureau is committed to making the mandatory once-a-decade headcount quick, easy and safe for all to participate.

“We estimate that up to $5 billion in savings could result from providing an Internet response option, automating field operations, repurposing existing information and other innovations,” Census Bureau Director John H. Thompson said. “But timing is critical. By 2018, we must lock in our plans. This will give us the time we need to build out our systems and ensure that the technology can handle the capacity the 2020 Census requires.”

Follow the Census Bureau on Instagram at @uscensusbureau.

 

FBI Releases Final Report of the 9/11 Review Commission

From the FBI Press Release –  9.11

Today, the FBI released The FBI: Protecting the Homeland in the 21st Century, the final report of the 9/11 Review Commission. This congressionally mandated review focused on the FBI’s implementation of the recommendations proposed by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (the 9/11 Commission).

The FBI asked three experts to lead this review: Edwin “Ed” Meese III, former United States attorney general; Timothy J. Roemer, former congressman and ambassador; and Bruce Hoffman, Georgetown University professor and noted author on terrorism. Over the past 14 months, the Commission visited numerous FBI offices, here and abroad, and—with the full cooperation of the FBI—received more than 60 briefings from FBI personnel in the course of their work.

African American Judges Reach All-Time High

hastie
The first African American to be appointed to a lower federal judgeship was William H. Hastie, appointed by President Truman in 1949 to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Judge Hastie initially received a recess appointment from President Truman, but was later confirmed by the Senate in 1950. The first African American to serve as a U.S. district court judge was James B. Parsons, appointed by President Kennedy in 1961 to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
The first African American woman to serve as a lower federal court judge was Constance B. Motley,
The first African American woman to serve as a U.S. circuit court judge was Amalya L.Kearse,
In the following  years the number of African Americans serving as U.S. circuit and district court judges remained relatively low and remained that way until President Jimmy Carter created the U.S. Circuit Judge Nominating Commission in 1977. The  commission was “encouraged to make special efforts to seek out and identify well qualified women and members of minority groups as potential nominees”.  During the Carter presidency African American circuit court judges increased from two to nine, a 350% increase. As of January 1, 2015 the number of African American circuit court judges is 21.
There is also an increase in African American district court judges.  As with the circuit court judges,  a significant increase occurred during the Carter administration. The current number of African American district court judges is 86 which is an historic high, and the most recent increase is largely attributable to an increase in the number of African American women appointed during the past five years.
While this increase in African American circuit and district court judges is notable, there is a caveat. There are few or no African American judges currently serving in several judicial circuits and districts with populations comprised of relatively high percentages of African Americans and many advocates of judicial diversity consider this a crucial issue which needs to be examined.
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