Archive for the News Category

Ice Tsunami in Canada

Posted in News with tags on October 24, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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Post 2574

Se3nt By : Ben Draper – Canada

ben-lesley-20021

 Ice Tsunami in Canada

 

                                                             This is unreal…….I had never heard of this!

Have you ever seen an ice tsunami? It happened on the south side of Lac des Mille Lacs, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, on May 11, 2013! It destroyed more than 20 houses in 15 minutes!

The ice looked like legs creeping up to residences.

Debt Ceiling: How Much Is $16.699 Trillion?

Posted in News with tags on October 19, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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Debt Ceiling: How Much Is $16.699 Trillion?

By Marc Lallanilla, Assistant Editor   |   October 14, 2013 01:44pm ET

This Thursday, Oct. 17, the U.S. Treasury Department will run out of money and will no longer have the ability to borrow the funds needed to pay the U.S. government’s bills.

The federal debt ceiling of $16.699 trillion was actually reached on May 19, but the engine of government was able to keep chugging along by accessing an extra $412 billion through so-called “extraordinary measures,” according to the Washington Post. Having now maxed out all available resources, however, the U.S. government will no longer be able to meet any debt obligations, including billions of dollars in Social Security, military personnel, Medicare and other payments that are due Nov. 1.

If $16.699 trillion seems like a hard figure to wrap your head around, you’re not alone. It’s difficult for most people to have a concept of even a much smaller amount, like the proposed $700 billion Treasury bailoutfor failing bank assets, which was passed by Congress and signed into law in 2008. (The amount was reduced to $475 billion in 2010, with the signing of the Dodd-Frank Act.) [The 18 Weirdest Effects of the Government Shutdown]

A trillion dollars’ worth of $1 bills stacked on top of one another would reach about 67,000 miles (108,000 kilometers) high, according toFreakonomics. Therefore, $16.699 trillion of stacked $1 bills would be more than 1 million miles (1.6 million km) high — enough to stretch from the Earth to the moon four times and still have money left over.

But most people have never been to the moon, so it might be easier to grasp that sum by spreading all those trillions around: If each of the United States’ 317 million people took up his or her share of $16.699 trillion, each American man, woman and child would be in debt to the tune of about $52,678 — slightly more than the current U.S. mean annual household income of $52,100.

Perhaps it’s unfair to soak the average taxpayer with that kind of debt. So if you look to plutocrats for help, you’ll find that Bill Gates is worth about $67 billion, according to the 2013 Forbes list of billionaires. It would take 250 times Bill Gates’ fortune — far more than the bankrolls of Gates, Warren Buffet, Charles and David Koch, Michael Bloomberg and Mark Zuckerberg combined — to equal the $16.699 trillion debt ceiling. In fact, if each of the Earth’s 7 billion-plus people coughed up $2,000, there would be still be a shortfall of more than $2 trillion.

There is still time for Congress to act to prevent the government from defaulting on its obligations. As Winston Churchill famously quipped, “You can always trust America to do the right thing — after it has exhausted all other options.”

Follow Marc Lallanilla on Twitter and Google+. Follow us @livescience,Facebook & Google+. Original article on LiveScience.

US Ivory Crush Canceled in Wake of Shutdown

Posted in News with tags on October 8, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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US Ivory Crush Canceled in Wake of Shutdown

By Megan Gannon, News Editor   |   October 07, 2013 12:13pm ET
A pile of old ivory tusks.
Credit: saddako | Shutterstock   

In a bid to discourage poachers and wildlife traffickers, federal officials had planned to pulverize 6 tons (5.4 tonnes) of illegal elephant ivory this week, but the event has been canceled due to the lapse in government funding.

After the shutdown began on Oct. 1, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) suspended most of its programs and operations, including the ivory crush scheduled for Tuesday (Oct. 8) at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge in Commerce City, Colo., just north of Denver.

The agency was slated to destroy the United States’ government-held stockpile of ivory that it has compiled over the past 25 years. The move was part of an executive order to fight wildlife trafficking that President Barack Obama signed in July. The initiative called for a new task force to address the issue and allotted $10 million to aid Africa’s efforts to combat poaching and the illegal trade of wildlife, which has imperiled rhinoceroses, elephants and great apes. [Black Market Horns: Images from a Rhino Bust]

The Colorado ivory crush will be rescheduled, but a spokesman said the agency will not be able to make a decision about when until the Fish and Wildlife Service resumes normal operations. The agency has yet to determine what it will do with the crushed ivory.

The public destruction of the trinkets, figurines, statues and other goods is meant to send a message that ivory is not a legitimate commercial product to be bought and sold or used in art and jewelry.

“If we’re going to solve this crisis we have to crush the demand, driven by organized crime syndicates who are robbing the world of elephants and stealing the natural heritage of African nations,” Carter Roberts, president and CEO of World Wildlife Fund, said in a statement in September when the Colorado event was announced. “It’s a global phenomenon. So we hope this encourages other governments to take bold, decisive steps to curb the demand for illegal elephant products.”

The international ivory trade was banned in 1989 under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). But a CITES report published last year found that elephantpoaching has been on the rise and in 2012 it was at its worst in a decade. According to some estimates, at least 25,000 elephants were killed in Africa last year.

Traffickers sometimes go to great lengths to circumvent the law and sell ivory on lucrative global markets. Last year in Chinese-ruled Macau, customs officials discovered chocolate-coated ivory hidden in suspiciously heavy candy boxes.

Follow Megan Gannon on Twitter and Google+. Follow us@livescienceFacebook Google+. Original article on LiveScience.

 

Massacre at a Nairobi mall

Posted in News with tags on October 7, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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September 23, 2013

Massacre at a Nairobi mall

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2013/09/massacre_at_a_nairobi_mall.html

Islamist militants ambushed a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, on Saturday killing more than 50 people and terrorizing the city. The siege was still taking place on Monday, as Kenyan forces tried to drive the militants out of the Westgate mall and save remaining hostages. Somalia’s Al Shabab claimed responsibility for the deadliest attack in Kenya since 1998. -Leanne Burden Seidel ( 32 photos total)
 

A child runs to safety as armed police hunt gunmen who went on a shooting spree at Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi Sept. 21. The gunmen stormed a shopping mall in Nairobi on Sept. 21 killing at least 20 people in what Kenya’s government said could be a terrorist attack, and sending scores fleeing into shops, a cinema and onto the streets in search of safety. Sporadic gun shots could be heard hours after the assault started as soldiers surrounded the mall and police and soldiers combed the building, hunting down the attackers shop by shop. Some local television stations reported hostages had been taken, but there was no official confirmation. (Goran Tomasevic/Reuters) 

 

A woman is helped out of the Westgate Mall. At least 68 people died on Sept. 21 in Nairobi, Kenya. (Tyler Hicks/The New York Times) #

 

Police and army swept through the mall to pursue the assailants and to help civilians escape to safety in the Westgate Mall in Nairobi on Sept. 21. (Tyler Hicks/The New York Times) #

 

Plainclothes officer searches the Westgate Mall on Sept 21. Police and army swept through the mall to pursue the assailants and to help civilians escape to safety. (Tyler Hicks/The New York Times) #

 

A body of a man lies on the ground as armed policemen try to get entry into the Westgate Mall after masked gunmen stormed an upmarket mall and sprayed gunfire on shoppers and staff, killing at least six on Sept. 21 in Nairobi. The gunmen have taken at least seven hostages, police and security guards told an AFP reporter at the scene. (Simon Maina/AFP/Getty Images) #

 

Injured people cry for help after gunmen went on a shooting spree in Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Sept. 21. Gunmen stormed the shopping mall in Nairobi killing at least 15 people in what Kenya’s government said might be a terrorist attack, and sending scores fleeing into shops, a cinema and onto the streets in search of safety. (Goran Tomasevic/Reuters) #

 

Security forces search floor by floor for the gunmen on Sept 21. Police and army swept through the mall to pursue the assailants and to help civilians escape to safety. (Tyler Hicks/The New York Times) #

 

Shoppers attempt to flee the attack at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Sept. 21. (Tyler Hicks/The New York Times) #

 

A wounded man sits screaming in shock at a parking lot of Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Sept. 21. Militant gunmen stormed the shopping mall in Nairobi killing at least 39 people, including children, and sending scores fleeing into shops, a cinema and onto the streets in search of safety. Kenyan security forces were still locked in a standoff on Sept. 22 with the al Qaeda-linked militants, who were holding an unknown number of hostages. (Goran Tomasevic/Reuters) #

 

Security forces work quickly to get civilians out of the mall and to find militants on Sept. 21. (Tyler Hicks/The New York Times) #

 

Bodies of people lie on the floor of Westgate Mall as armed police hunt gunmen who went on a shooting spree in Nairobi Sept. 21. The gunmen stormed the shopping mall in Nairobi killing at least 20 people in what Kenya’s government said could be a terrorist attack, and sending scores fleeing into shops, a cinema and onto the streets in search of safety. Sporadic gun shots could be heard hours after the assault started as soldiers surrounded the mall and police and soldiers combed the building, hunting down the attackers shop by shop. Some local television stations reported hostages had been taken, but there was no official confirmation. (Goran Tomasevic/Reuters) #

 

Security forces push an injured person in a shopping trolley past the body of a man from the Westgate Mall as police search for gunmen in Nairobi, Sept. 21. Gunmen stormed the shopping mall in Nairobi killing at least 15 people in what Kenya’s government said might be a terrorist attack, and sending scores fleeing into shops, a cinema and onto the streets in search of safety. (Goran Tomasevic/Reuters) #

 

Police officers and soldiers swept through the five-story Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya on Sept. 21 after gunmen opened fire. (Tyler Hicks/The New York Times) #

 

A woman protects children from the attackers by hiding behind a restaurant counter. Gunmen entered the upscale Westgate Mall in Nairobi Sept. 21, killing and injuring civilians. (Tyler Hicks/The New York Times) #

 

Kenyan soldiers and the police descend on the mall, trying to isolate the gunmen and protect shoppers and workers on Sept. 21 after gunmen entered and killed dozens at the Westgate Mall. (Tyler Hicks/The New York Times) #

 

A woman jumps from an air vent of a restaurant where she was hiding in the Westgate mall in Nairobi on Sept 21. Police and army swept through the mall to pursue the assailants and to help civilians escape to safety. (Tyler Hicks/The New York Times) #

 

A woman is transported to safety after gunmen entered the upscale Westgate Mall in Nairobi on Sept. 21, killing and injuring civilians. (Tyler Hicks/The New York Times) #

 

People evacuate the Westgate Mall to escape the violence during the siege on Sept. 21. (Tyler Hicks/The New York Times) #

 

A Kenyan woman is helped to safety after masked gunmen stormed an upmarket mall and sprayed gunfire on shoppers and staff on Sept. 21 in Nairobi. (Simon Maina/AFP/Getty Images) #

 

An injured man, rumoured to be a suspect, is driven away in an ambulance with police escorts on Sept. 21, following a security operation at an upmarket shopping mall in Nairobi where suspected terrorists engaged Kenyan security forces in a drawn out gun fight. Some 20 people have been killed and about 50 wounded Sept. 21 in the initial attack by the gunmen the Kenya Red Cross said. (Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images) #

 

People who escaped the carnage said the assailants were holding hostages at gunpoint. (Tyler Hicks/The New York Times) #

 

A woman (C) who had been held hostage reacts in shock on Sept. 21 after she was freed following a security operation at an upmarket shopping mall in Nairobi where suspected terrorists engaged Kenyan security forces in a drawn out gun fight. Some 20 people have been killed and about 50 wounded Saturday in the initial attack by the gunmen the Kenya Red Cross said. (Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images) #

 

A woman who had been held hostage is carried in shock by rescue personnel on Sept. 21, after she was freed following a security operation at an upmarket shopping mall in Nairobi where suspected terrorists engaged Kenyan security forces in a drawn out gun fight. (Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images) #

 

A wounded woman reacts at Westgate Mall in Nairobi. Militant gunmen stormed the shopping mall in Nairobi on Sept. 21 killing at least 39 people, including children, and sending scores fleeing into shops, a cinema and onto the streets in search of safety. Kenyan security forces were still locked in a standoff on Sunday with the al Qaeda-linked militants, who were holding an unknown number of hostages. (Goran Tomasevic/Reuters) #

 

Relatives and Muslim faithful carry the slain body of Rehmad Mehbub, 18, who was killed in a crossfire between armed men and the police at the Westgate Mall, in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, Sept. 22. Islamist militants were holed up with hostages at a shopping mall in Nairobi, where at least 59 people have been killed in an attack by the al Shabaab group that opposes Kenya’s participation in a peacekeeping mission in neighboring Somalia. (Thomas Mukoya/Reuters) #

 

Kenyans wait to donate blood for victims from the Sept. 21 terrorist attack on a shopping mall, at Uhuru Park in Nairobi, Kenya on Sept. 23. Hostages being held by al-Qaida-linked terrorists in the mall have not been released despite an earlier statement from the military that “most” had been rescued, a person connected to the situation told The Associated Press on Sept. 23. (Khalil Senosi/Associated Press)

Kenyan soldiers take cover after heavy gunfire near Westgate Mall in Nairobi on Sept. 23. Kenyan Defence troops remain inside the mall, in a standoff with Somali militants after they laid siege to the shopping centre shooting and throwing grenades as they entered. Somali Shebab militants on Sept. 23 threatened to kill hostages they are holding in the Nairobi shopping mall as Kenyan troops move to end their siege. (Carl De Souza/AFP/Getty Images) 

 

Smoke rises from the Westgate Mall in Nairobi on Sept. 23. Kenyan troops were locked in a fierce firefight with Somali militants inside an upmarket Nairobi shopping mall in a final push to end a siege that has left at least 43 dead and 200 wounded with an unknown number of hostages still being held. (Carl De Souza/AFP/Getty Images) #

 

A Kenyan police officer runs for cover in a nearby forest as large explosions and heavy gunfire are heard from the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya Sept. 23. Four large blasts rocked Kenya’s Westgate Mall on Sept. 23, sending large plumes of smoke over an upscale suburb as Kenyan military forces sought to rescue an unknown number of hostages held by al-Qaida-linked militants. (Ben Curtis/Associated Press) #

 

Kenyan security personnel wave at bystanders to take cover as heavy gunfire erupts from the Westgate Mall in Nairobi Kenya on Sept. 23. Multiple large blasts have rocked the mall where a hostage siege is in its third day. (Jerome Delay/Associated Press) #

 

Medics take cover behind a large tree as gunfire and explosions are heard from the Westgate Mall in Nairobi Kenya on Sept. 23. Multiple large blasts have rocked the mall where a hostage siege is in its third day. Associated Press reporters on the scene heard multiple blasts and a barrage of gunfire. Security forces have been attempting to rescue an unknown number of hostages inside the mall held by al-Qaida-linked terrorists. (Jerome Delay/Associated Press) #

 

Stephen, center, who lost his father on the Sept. 21 attack at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, is comforted by relatives as he waits for the post mortem exam at the city morgue Sept. 23. Islamic extremist gunmen lobbed grenades and fired assault rifles inside Nairobi’s top mall Sept. 21, killing dozens and wounding over a hundred in the attack. Early Sept. 23 morning gunmen remained holed up inside the mall with an unknown number of hostages. (Jerome Delay/Associated Press)

 

Car bomb in Peshawar

Posted in News with tags on October 7, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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Post 2482

September 30, 2013

Car bomb in Peshawar

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2013/09/car_bomb_in_peshawar_1.html

A historic street in Peshawar was demolished by a car bomb on Sunday, killing dozens of people. At the same time the country was coping with a deadly earthquake, three major attacks in Pakistan in the past week have killed at least 140 people. The increase in violence in Pakistan has come after recent discussions to work toward peace talks with militant groups. - Leanne Burden Seidel ( Note: Graphic content )( 17 photos total)

 

A Pakistani man carrying a child rushes away from the site of a blast shortly after a car exploded in Peshawar, Pakistan, Sept. 29. A car bomb exploded on a crowded street in northwestern Pakistan, killing scores of people in the third blast to hit the troubled city of Peshawar in a week, officials said. (Mohammad Sajjad/Associated Press)

 

 

 

A Pakistani man is comforted by another while mourning the death of a relative in a car bomb attack in Peshawar, Pakistan, Sept. 29. (Mohammad Sajjad/Associated Press) #

 

 

An injured man, right, waits for help at the site of a blast shortly after a car explosion in Peshawar, Pakistan, Sept. 29. (Mohammad Sajjad/Associated Press) #

 

 

A man cries over the death of his brother, who was killed in a bomb blast, at a hospital in Peshawar Sept. 29. Twin blasts in the northwestern Pakistan city of Peshawar killed 33 people and wounded 70 on Sept. 29, a week after two bombings at a church in the frontier city killed scores, police and hospital authorities said. (Fayaz Aziz/Reuters) #

 

 

Pakistani men carry an injured blast victim at the site of a bomb explosion in the busy Kissa Khwani market in Peshawar on Sept. 29. (Hasham Ahmed/AFP/Getty Images) #

 

 

An injured blast victim is moved through the halls on a stretcher at a hospital after a bomb explosion in Peshawar on Sept. 29. (A. Majeed/AFP/Getty Images) #

 

 

Pakistani men comfort a mourner at the site of a bomb explosion in the busy Kissa Khwani market in Peshawar on Sept. 29. (A. Majeed/AFP/Getty Images) #

 

 

Faisal, 11, who was helping in a fruit shop, suffered multiple injuries on his arms, legs and head during the car bomb explosions on Sept. 29. The boy is suffering from shock and is not speaking but often crying. (Bilawal Arbab/European Pressphoto Agency) #

 

 

Rescue workers help an injured victim at the scene of a bomb blast in Peshawar, the provincial capital of militancy-hit Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan, Sept. 29. (Bilawal Arbab/European Pressphoto Agency) #

 

 

A man cries over the coffin of his brother, who was killed in a bomb blast, at a hospital in Peshawar Sept. 29. (Fayaz Aziz/Reuters) #

 

 

A man cries over the death of his son, who was a victim killed in one of the twin bomb blasts, at a hospital in Peshawar Sept. 29. (Fayaz Aziz/Reuters) #

 

 

A shopkeeper collects his belongings from the debris of a damaged building after it was hit by a bomb blast in Peshawar.The death toll from a car bomb explosion in an ancient market in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar rose to at least 42 on Sept. 30, after the third attack in the area in a week. The blast ripped through the busy centuries-old market known as Quiswakhani, or the storytellers’ bazaar, in Peshawar’s old city on Sept. 29, exactly a week after more than 80 Christians were killed in a twin suicide bomb attack on a nearby church. (Fayaz Aziz/Reuters) #

 

 

A boy looks out of a shattered window of a shop that was damaged by a bomb blast in Peshawar, Pakistan, Sept. 30. Car bomb explosions on Sept. 29 killed at least 42 people at a market street near a police station in the north-western Pakistani city, officials said. It was the third attack in a week in Peshawar. More than 100 people were injured by the explosion. (Arshad Arbab/European Pressphoto Agency) #

 

 

Pakistani relatives and residents carry the coffins of bomb victims during a funeral procession in Shabqader on Sept. 29. (A. Majeed/AFP/Getty Images) #

 

 

A Pakistani trader removes debris from his shop that was damaged by a bomb blast in Peshawar,Pakistan, Sept. 30. (Arshad Arbab/European Pressphoto Agency) #

 

 

Pakistani security officials and volunteers gather at the site of a bomb explosion in the Kissa Khwani market in Peshawar on Sept. 29. (A. Majeed/AFP/Getty ) #

 

 

Pakistani shopkeepers read the Quran for people who lost their lives in a car explosion in Peshawar, Pakistan, Sept. 30. A deadly car bomb exploded on a crowded street in northwestern Pakistan Sept. 29 in the third blast to hit the troubled city of Peshawar in a week, officials said. (Mohammad Sajjad/Associated Press)

Shutdown May Hinder California’s Rim Fire Cleanup

Posted in News with tags on October 5, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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Shutdown May Hinder California’s Rim Fire Cleanup

By Becky Oskin, Staff Writer   |   September 30, 2013 02:17pm ET
The Rim Fire approaches the Groveland Ranger Station in August 2013.
Credit: U.S. Forest Service   

One of the worst wildfires in California’s history continues to burn in Yosemite National Park, where employees will be furloughed if the government can’t pass a budget tomorrow (Oct. 1).

The Rim Fire has burned more than 257,000 acres (1,040 square kilometers) and is 92 percent contained. (Containment means the fire can still burn, but the flames are trapped within a perimeter, with little chance of escape.)

Very little is left of the extreme blaze, which consumed entire canyons. Now, a few hot spots char the ground in Yosemite National Park, where Park Service policy allows nonthreatening fires to burn themselves out, renewing the forest. “It’s burning at very, very low intensity,” said Michelle Carbonaro, fire information officer for the Rim Fire. “We suspect they’re not calling it [as] out because there are some unsettled weather patterns coming that could stir up fire activity,” Carbonaro told LiveScience.

But the shutdown could hamper efforts to mop up hot spots and stabilize scorched soils because it will mean firefighters and emergency response teams will be low on cash.

“It will be difficult for teams to purchase supplies and equipment,” said Jerry Snyder, public affairs officer for the Stanislaus National Forest. “Permission can be granted, but there isn’t a budget to purchase necessary materials beyond what they already have on hand.”

The possible shutdown would also be a financial blow for Yosemite National Park and private businesses nearby, which suffered severe economic losses this summer because of the fire. With the Rim Fire nearly out and major roads reopened, visitors were finally returning to Yosemite for camping and the park’s fall foliage display. [Yosemite Aflame: Rim Fire in Photos]

The National Park Service must shutter hundreds of parks and historic sites and furlough thousands of nonessential employees if a new spending law fails to pass tomorrow, the start of fiscal year 2014, according to the Department of the Interior. Day trippers will be kicked out immediately and overnight visitors will be given 48 hours to leave.

For Yosemite National Park, the good news is the shutdown won’t stop firefighters from battling the blaze. And in the Stanislaus National Forest, an emergency soil restoration team will continue its efforts to stabilize steep slopes before the winter rains arrive, Snyder said. Both the soil restoration team and firefighters are considered essential employees, he said.

An estimate of soil burn severity after the Rim Fire from the Forest Service.
Credit: U.S. Forest Service BAER 

The Forest Service’s Burned Area Emergency Response Team — the soil emergency restoration team — has found moderate to severe soil damage in 37 percent of the entire burned area, which includes river watersheds that supply drinking water to San Francisco and many other California cities.

Only 287 firefighters (down from more than 4,500 in late August) continue to mop up hot spots and work on containing the Rim Fire. Started in Stanislaus National Forest on Aug. 17 by a hunter’s illegal campfire, the Rim Fire is California’s third-largest wildfire since the 1930s and the biggest ever in the Sierra Nevada mountains. The fire destroyed 11 homes and more than 2 million board-feet of timber in the national forest. (A board-foot is a measure of the volume of lumber, referring to a board that is 1 foot in length and width and 1 inch thick.)

“The fire is fully contained in the Stanislaus National Forest, but there are plenty of internal smokes that we are chasing down and trying to put out,” Snyder told LiveScience.

Email Becky Oskin or follow her @beckyoskin. Follow us @livescience,Facebook & Google+. Original article on LiveScience.com.

 

How Would a Government Shutdown Impact Science?

Posted in News with tags on October 2, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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How Would a Government Shutdown Impact Science?

Life’s Little Mysteries Staff   |   September 30, 2013 05:23pm ET
The U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C.
Credit: gary718 | Shutterstock.com 

Once again, congressional Democrats and Republicans cannot agree on a budget bill, and the result could be a shutdown of the U.S. federal government. Similar situations occurred in 2011 and earlier this year, when budget cuts related to sequestration took hold.

Since 1977, there have been 17 shutdowns, according to USA Today, most of which lasted no more than a day or two. “Unfortunately, we’re getting familiar with dealing with this,” Ted Davies, president of government contractor Unisys Federal Systems, told the Washington Post. “You do all the preparing you can.”

The snag this time is the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare“), which was passed by Congress in 2010. Congressional Republicans — particularly in the House of Representatives — are attempting to defund or delay its implementation. If the two sides can’t come to an agreement by Monday (Sept. 30) at midnight, a government shutdown will begin to take effect. [7 Great Congressional Dramas]

A complete government shutdown doesn’t mean that all government employees will stop working. “Essential operations” — such as national security, law enforcement, criminal investigations, care of prisoners,air-traffic control and other transportation safety functions — will keep working during a shutdown.

So what might result from a shutdown this time? If history teaches any lessons, the shutdowns of the past may provide some guidance.

General

During a November 1995 shutdown, an estimated 800,000 federalemployees were furloughed. During the 21-day 1995-1996 shutdown, the estimate of furloughed federal employees was 284,000, with another 475,000 essential federal employees continuing to work without pay.

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget estimated that the first of those two shutdowns cost taxpayers an estimated $100 million per day. The final cost of the three-week shutdown, including back pay to employees who did not go to work during that time, was more than $1.25 billion. According to the Government Accountability Office, a funding gap of just three days in 1991 ran up a $607 million bill, including $363 million in lost revenue and fees.

And according to some estimates, there would be 800,000 to 1 million federal employees furloughed in the case of a shutdown this time. Those estimates do not include government contractors.

Health

New patients were not accepted into clinical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) clinical center during past shutdowns, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ceased disease surveillance, hotline calls to NIH concerning diseases were not answered, and toxic-waste cleanup work at 609 sites reportedly stopped, resulting in 2,400 Superfund workers being sent home.

This year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said that a government shutdown could mean furloughing more than 40,000 staff, while retaining about 37,000, according to the Post. And while some agencies, including the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, would have to furlough the majority of their staff, the CDC would continue “minimal support” to protect the health of U.S. citizens, though it would have a “significantly reduced capacity” to respond to disease outbreaks and would be unable to continue its annual flu program.

Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration would be forced to furlough about 45 percent of its workforce, according to the Post, and the agency would cease routine inspections, monitoring of imports and most laboratory research.

Ironically, Obamacare — the sticking point in the current budget debacle — will continue its rollout, despite Republican efforts to kill the program. The Affordable Care Act is a permanent entitlement that isn’t subject to annual funding by Congress, according to USA Today, and all state-run health insurance exchanges will open as scheduled on Tuesday (Oct. 1).

Energy, environment and public lands

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy told the Post that the agency would all but close in the event of a government shutdown, leaving just a handful of staff members available to “keep the lights on and respond in the event of a significant emergency.”

Most of the Department of Energy’s offices would close during a shutdown, except for those groups overseeing nuclear weapons and naval-reactor programs, and officials in charge of dams and electrical transmission lines around the country.

The Department of Interior — which oversees the National Park Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Land Management — would furlough about two-thirds of its staff, according to the Post. Closure of 368 National Park Service sites, including national monuments andnational museums, would begin immediately. These closures would cause a significant loss of tourism revenue for local communities.

Science and technology

The National Science Foundation — which funds 2,000 research institutions, including astronomy observatories, and science and technology centers, as well as millions of dollars in research grants each year — was gravely affected during the last shutdown. Approximately $120 million in research grants went unmade during that time, delaying the support of approximately 2,000 people to carry out research and education activities.

Additionally, 240 grant proposals for science and engineering research and education went unprocessed each day of the shutdown, resulting in a backlog of 3,000 grant proposals, 1,000 of which would normally have been accepted. Dozens of panels, meetings and workshops were canceled.

This year, all Smithsonian Institution museums and zoos will be closed immediately if a shutdown takes place. Only personnel involved in “security, maintenance, and the [National] Zoo employees that are responsible for the care of the animals,” will continue working, according to a spokeswoman for the Smithsonian, as quoted in the Post.

About 5,700 employees of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration would remain on the job because their analysis and dissemination of weather data are considered necessary “to protect life and property,” the Post reports.

Finally, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has about four weeks’ worth of funds (partly from user fees) to continue operating, but once those funds run dry, the agency will be forced to close.

Visas and passports

In prior shutdowns, about 20,000 to 30,000 applications by foreigners for visas reportedly went unprocessed each day by the U.S. Department of State, some 200,000 U.S. applications for passports reportedly went unprocessed, and U.S. tourist industries and airlines reportedly sustained millions of dollars in losses.

Last Friday (Sept. 27), the State Department reported that it still has some funds outside the annual congressional appropriation to continue functioning in the event of a government shutdown. “Consular operations domestically and overseas will remain 100 percent operational as long as there are sufficient fees to support operations,” the State Department said in a statement.

Veterans’ services

In previous shutdowns, multiple services for veterans were curtailed, ranging from health and welfare to finance and travel.

Medical services offered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) would not be affected by a shutdown, according to the Post, but benefits programs would probably be curtailed. VA offices handling disability claims would have limited services, the Veterans Benefits Administration would stop processing benefits and the Board of Veterans’ Appeals would cease all hearings.

Law enforcement and public safety

In previous shutdowns, delays occurred in the processing of applications by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; work on more than 3,500 bankruptcy cases reportedly was suspended; cancellation of the recruitment and testing of federal law enforcement officials reportedly occurred, including a halt to hiring 400 border-patrol agents; and delinquent child-support cases were delayed.

Many law-enforcement personnel are exempt from a shutdown, including employees of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; federal prison staff; members of the U.S. Parole Commission; and U.S. attorneys across the country.

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