Executive Branch Oversight, Here & There

Government oversight can take diverse forms even among Western democracies.

A new report from the Law Library of Congress surveys the mechanisms of parliamentary oversight of the executive branch in Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Poland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

In Sweden, for example, “Any member of the public may ask the JO [Justitieombudsman, or parliamentary ombudsman] to investigate a breach of law committed by an agency or employee. The complaint must be made in writing and cannot be anonymous.”

The Law Library report does not provide comparative analysis, but simply presents a descriptive summary of each nation’s government oversight practices, with links to additional resources. Any policy conclusions to be drawn are left to the reader.

See Parliamentary Oversight of the Executive Branch, Law Library of Congress, August 2017.

FAS Engagement With China

“Supporting and expanding on Frank von Hippel’s cogent and exciting narrative of some of the great accomplishments of the Federation of American Scientists, I detail below two endeavors, at least one of which may have had far-reaching impact. The first was the initiative of FAS Director (and later President) Jeremy J. Stone who, in 1971, wrote the president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences to introduce FAS and to begin some kind of dialogue…”

Read on: View the full version of the article here.

“Zika has been sexually transmitted in Texas, CDC confirms” (CNN)

The first identified case of the Zika virus acquired in the continental United States has been confirmed in Texas, contracted via sexual transmission. The CDC is expected to release guidelines on sexual transmission, however relatively little is known. While it has been established that the virus remains in the blood for roughly a week, the viability in semen is yet to be determined. Find out more about the latest research developments of Zika virus at CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/02/health/zika-virus-sexual-contact-texas/

“Florida, Illinois officials report travel-related Zika virus cases” (The Washington Post)

Hawaii, Illinois, Florida, and Texas have all recently reported travel-related cases of Zika virus, including two pregnant women who are being actively monitored. The virus has shown a strong association with fetal brain damage, but no treatment or vaccine is currently available. Last week, the CDC advised pregnant women to avoid traveling to countries where transmission of the virus has been reported. Read more at The Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2016/01/19/cdc-issues-guidelines-for-pregnant-women-returning-from-zika-affected-countries/

“Suicide attack on Pakistan polio vaccination center kills 15” (Washington Post)

Fifteen people were killed and more wounded by a small militant group in Quetta, Pakistan. The suicide bomber targeted a polio vaccination center as teams prepared for a three-day immunization campaign. A spokesman for the group claiming responsibility has warned of future attacks on polio teams. More information can be found at the Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/police-14-killed-in-bomb-attack-on-polio-vaccination-center-in-southwestern-pakistan/2016/01/13/d27fafd0-b9b9-11e5-85cd-5ad59bc19432_story.html?wpmm=1&wpisrc=nl_daily202

Upcoming Trip to Japan

I will be traveling to Tokyo next week to meet with government officials, academics, and citizens to discuss nuclear energy and other issues that FAS is analyzing. In particular, I will give a seminar talk at Meiji University during the afternoon of July 28. Then during the afternoon of July 29, I will lead a roundtable discussion at Waseda University. At the end of the week on July 30, I will present on the outlook for global use of nuclear power. This presentation will be part of a major public symposium at Hitotsubashi University on the theme of the “International Nuclear Order in the Post-Fukushima Order.” FAS members in Tokyo or other locations in Japan are welcome to attend that symposium.

My Appearance on NPR’s Science Friday

Today at 2 pm, tune into NPR’s Science Friday with Ira Flatow for an update on Japan’s malfunctioning nuclear reactors and the evolving crisis.  As continued attempts are made to cool the reactors and spent fuel rod pools at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility, I’ll discuss the state of the deteriorating nuclear facility. Call with questions toll free at 800-989-8255.