U.S. ready to confront Beijing on South China Sea: admiral | Reuters


The United States is ready to confront China should it continue its overreaching maritime claims in the South China Sea, the head of the U.S. Pacific fleet said on Wednesday, comments that threaten to escalate tensions between the two global rivals.

“We will not allow a shared domain to be closed down unilaterally no matter how many bases are built on artificial features in the South China Sea,” said Admiral Harry Harris, head of the U.S. Pacific Command. “We will cooperate when we can but we will be ready to confront when we must.”

Source: U.S. ready to confront Beijing on South China Sea: admiral | Reuters

If Trump skews science, researchers must raise the alarm – Obama official | Reuters


Trump has called climate change a hoax and sought to fill his cabinet with oil industry allies like Texas Governor Rick Perry, the Energy Department nominee.Last week, the Trump team asked the U.S. Department of Energy to supply names of officials who took part in international climate talks – a request that the agency has rejected.

The scientific fact of climate change cannot be ignored no matter who is in the White House, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell will say. And she will urge climate experts to publicly defend their work.

Source: Exclusive: If Trump skews science, researchers must raise the alarm – Obama official | Reuters

Syrian army, Iraqi militia accused of ‘slaughter’ of civilians in Aleppo | Reuters


“The crushing of Aleppo, the immeasurably terrifying toll on its people, the bloodshed, the wanton slaughter of men, women and children, the destruction – and we are nowhere near the end of this cruel conflict,” U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said in a statement.

The Syrian army and its allies have taken full control of all Aleppo districts abandoned by rebels during their retreat in the city, a Syrian military source said on Tuesday (Dec 13).

Source: Syrian army, Iraqi militia accused of ‘slaughter’ of civilians in Aleppo | Reuters

Cyber, contracting, HR experts join Trump agency teams | FCW


George Nesterczuk, former Office of Personnel Management expert, will be on the General Services Administration’s landing team, as will contract lawyer Robert Tompkins. Bradley Buswell, former deputy undersecretary for science and technology at the Department of Homeland Security, will be on the DHS landing team, the President-elect’s administration said.

The landing teams serve in a coordinating role between current agency leaders and employees and the incoming administration. They help identify key policy issues and help with personnel decisions.

Source: Cyber, contracting, HR experts join Trump agency teams — FCW

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Google extends conservative outreach as Trump calls tech meeting | Reuters


Alphabet’s Google is racing to hire more conservatives for its lobbying and policy arm, trying to get a foothold in President-elect Donald Trump’s Washington after enjoying a uniquely close relationship with the administration of President Barack Obama.

In the weeks since the Nov. 8 election, Google has ramped up efforts to hire Republican lobbying firms and in-house lobbyists to change the composition of its Washington office, according to three lobbyists with knowledge of the matter.

Source: Google extends conservative outreach as Trump calls tech meeting | Reuters

Janet Yellen’s plan to raise interest rates Wednesday may re-ignite Trump’s feud with the Fed chair | Quartz


A Trump boom that boosts US economic potential by spurring business investment will not necessarily be dangerously inflationary, all else being equal. However, as employment and investment rise, prices will inevitably rise—even more so if Trump raises trade barriers as promised.

It will fall to Yellen to keep the lid on inflation.

Though Trump can’t—as promised—actually fire Yellen, he can decline to renew her tenure when her term ends in 2018. That would be a break with recent precedent given that the last three Fed chairs have all been reappointed. Trump will also get to fill two Fed board vacancies.

Source: Janet Yellen’s plan to raise interest rates Wednesday may re-ignite Trump’s feud with the Fed chair — Quartz

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Indian Gold Imports Said to Jump to Year’s High in November | Bloomberg


Overseas purchases rose to 111 metric tons from 101 tons a year earlier, the person said, asking not to be identified as the data aren’t public. For the 11 months through November, shipments slumped 43 percent to 513.9 tons from a year earlier, according to provisional ministry data compiled by Bloomberg.

Consumption is on track to drop to the lowest in seven years in 2016 because of higher prices, an excise tax on jewelry and the government’s push to bring more transparency to the financial system where gold is used as a home for undeclared income. Prime Minister Narendra Modi dealt demand another blow when he scrapped notes of higher denominations, reducing cash supply.

Source: Indian Gold Imports Said to Jump to Year’s High in November – Bloomberg

Seaborn Networks launches low latency service for Seabras-1


Seaborn Networks has announced what it claims is the lowest latency point-to-point solution between New Jersey in the US and São Paulo, Brazil.

SeaSpeed offers a multi-millisecond step-change in low latency offerings for the US-Brazil route, running along Seaborn’s Seabras-1 cable.

Seabras-1 is set to go live in June 2017. It is a 32Tbps system, landing in Fortaleza, which was built by Alcatel Lucent. The cable lay will commence in Q1 2017.

For the development, Seaborn secured more than $500 million of funding in 2015, on top of more than $20 million for research and development.

Source: Seaborn Networks launches low latency service for Seabras-1

EC and EIB announce €500m broadband fund


The money pot, called the Connecting Europe Broadband Fund, will target areas currently lacking in high capacity infrastructure between 2017 and 2021.

So far, German development bank KfW Bankengruppe, Italy’s Cass Depositi e Prestiti, and French institution Caisee de depots et consignations, have all agreed to invest, along with the EC itself which will put forward €100 million from the Connected Europe Facility.

Source: EC and EIB announce €500m broadband fund

How to Comment on Social Media | GovExec.com


While commenting is a form of writing, the emphasis is different. After all, comments are a reaction, they are inherently defensive, whereas the act of putting something out there is proactive and creative. So you need to have good reason for saying what you say.

No matter how benign your words, somebody out there will at some point take offense. You may deserve a challenge or a correction on legitimate grounds. Or, they may get ideological with you. They may attack you personally. You comment, they comment and suddenly it is an endless and unproductive protracted debate that makes everyone look bad.

So what are the qualities that make social media comments most effective? What are the things you should avoid?

Here are some dos and don’ts …

Source: How to Comment on Social Media – Promising Practices – Management – GovExec.com