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Good to Know…Week of October 31, 2011

7 Billion? Hold the Celebrations!
Today, after a decade of economic turbulence, rising commodity prices and setbacks in the fight against hunger and severe poverty, profound questions are being raised about humanity’s future. We may not be facing a doomsday scenario, but the march of progress seems less assured than it did in 1999.

To read this article, go to: ChicagoTribune.com

UN: World Will Miss Economic Benefit of 1.8 Billion Young People
The world is in danger of missing a golden opportunity for development and economic growth, a “demographic dividend”, as the largest cohort of young people ever known see their most economically productive years wasted, a major UN population report warned on Wednesday.

To read this article, go to: Guardian.co.uk


States with Highest Poverty Levels Don’t Always have the Most on Welfare
Separate reports issued this month by the bureau’s American Community Survey illustrate the paradox. Alabama and Arkansas, both among the five states with the highest poverty rates, also fall among the five states with the lowest rates of public assistance usage. Census defines “public assistance” to include welfare but not food stamps, Medicaid or disability payments through the federal Supplemental Security Income program.

To read this article, go to: Stateline.org

Orlando Federal Judge Temporarily Blocks State from Drug Testing Welfare Applicants
An Orlando federal judge on Monday temporarily blocked the state from drug testing welfare applicants in a case involving a Central Florida father, rejecting many of the state’s claims of why the probes are legal.

To read this article, go to: OrlandoSentinel.com

Outside Cleveland, Snapshots of Poverty’s Surge in the Suburbs
The poor population in America’s suburbs–long a symbol of a stable and prosperous American middle class–rose by more than half after 2000, forcing suburban communities across the country to re-evaluate their identities and how they serve their populations.

To read this article, go to: NYTimes.com

Health Care Reform Review Decision Could Come on Nov. 10
The Obama administration and five opponents of the law are asking the court to review whether the law’s requirement that all Americans buy insurance is constitutional. Five of the six pending requests have been sent to the justices ahead of the November conference, at which the justices will decide which cases it will accept.

To read this article, go to: Politico.com

More States Limiting Medicaid Hospital Stays
A growing number of states are sharply limiting hospital stays under Medicaid to as few as 10 days a year to control rising costs of the health insurance program for the poor and disabled.

To read this article, go to: USATODAY.com

Search for Health Information Going Mobile
More than one in four U.S. adults have used their mobile phones in the past year to find healthcare information, according to a summary of a survey of digital health trends.

To read this article, go to: ModernHealthCare.com

Government Employment Grew in 22 States, Analysis Finds
A new analysis of federal data by the Business Journals, a national network of business news sites, examines local, state and federal employment numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and concludes that some states have been aggressively adding government jobs even as others have been forced to cut back considerably.

To read this article, go to: Stateline.org

Google Reports Spike in Government Requests for Online Data
In the first six months of 2011, government agencies in the United States, for example, made 5,950 requests for information from 11,057 accounts at Google and its video service YouTube, according to numbers released on Tuesday.

To read this article, go to: NationalJournal.com

XML Encryption Cracked, Exposing Real Threat to Online Transactions
German researchers have demonstrated a technique for breaking the encryption widely used to secure data in online transactions, which they say “poses a serious and truly practical security threat on all currently used implementations of XML Encryption.”

To read this article, go to: GCN.com

Design Firm Recommends Revamping Many Government Mobile Apps
Federal agencies have built a few standout mobile software applications, but too often they perform inconsequential tasks, rely on outdated technology, or fail to address the needs of their primary users, according to an industry report released Thursday.

To read this article, go to: NextGov.com

Only 1 in 11 approve of Congress
Just 9 percent of Americans are happy with Congress’s job performance, according to a CBS News/New York Times poll released Tuesday night — marking a record low approval rating for Congress since the poll began asking that question in 1977, according to CBS News.

To read this article, go to: Politico.com

Obama Moves to Ease Student Loan Burdens
President Obama on Wednesday announced a plan to allow college graduates to cap federal student loan repayments at 10 percent of discretionary income starting in January, two years before the cap was due to take effect under federal law.

To read this article, go to: WashingtonPost.com

States Rewrite Education, With or Without Race to the Top
Some of the states rejected for federal “Race to the Top” education grants are proceeding to revamp their school systems anyway–in some cases more ambitiously than states that won.

To read this article, go to: Stateline.org

Study Raises Questions about Virtual Schools
As an increasing number of cash-strapped states turn to virtual schools–where computers replace classmates and students learn via the Internet–a new study is raising questions about their quality and oversight.

To read this article, go to: WashingtonPost.com

Solar Power is Beginning to go Mainstream
The high costs that for years made it impractical as a mainstream source of energy are plummeting. Real estate companies are racing to install solar panels on office buildings. Utilities are erecting large solar panel “farms” near big cities and in desolate deserts. And creative financing plans are making solar more realistic than ever for homes.

To read this article, go to: Boston.com

Libya after Qaddafi
Muammar Qaddafi’s death and the fall of his regime will have profound implications for Libya, NATO and the international community. Brookings experts analyze post-Qaddafi Libya plus the challenges and opportunities for U.S. and global foreign policy.

To read this analyses, go to: Brookings.edu

Government Could Hide Existence of Records under FOIA Rule Proposal
A proposed rule to the Freedom of Information Act would allow federal agencies to tell people requesting certain law-enforcement or national security documents that records don’t exist – even when they do.

To read this article, go to: ProPublica.org

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