• Bill would double cap on H-1B visas

    The United States allows millions of little-educated, low-skill immigrants to come to the country, while allocating a tiny number of visas to high-skill scientists and engineers; this is going to change, but critics complain that bill still leaves major problems — chief among them: setting wage floor for H-1B employees — unaddressed

  • Budget, staff cuts hamper FPS

    Since being absorbed into DHS in 2003, the Federal Protective Service’s budget and staff have been steadily cut, with DHS transferring many of the service’s assignments to outside contractors; critics say this has gone too far

  • Worries about drugs in the U.S. water supply increase

    The annual meeting of the Society of Toxicology is being held in Seattle this week; among the major topics: Pharmaceuticals contaminating the U.S. water supply; 7,000 scientists and regulators from 45 countries attend

  • Benefits and risks of close science-defense collaboration

    This week was National Science and Engineering week in the United Kingdom — and the London events and exhibit emphasized the contribution scientists and engineers make to the defense of the kingdom; a venerable engineering magazine says we should be just a bit cautious here lest we turn the battlefield of the future into a publicly funded industrial testing ground, where commercial pressure would overwhelm the sober considerations of defense decision makers

  • FDA criticized for ignoring health problems in spinach packing

    You may want to think twice before ordering spinach next time: Inspections of sixty-seven facilities found inadequate restroom sanitation, litter piles, and indoor condensation posing a risk of food contamination by microorganisms; the bad thing is that the FDA has taken no action to correct these breaches

  • U.K., U.S. work together toward shared goals // Sir Alan Collins

    The shared goal of both the United States and the United Kingdom is safeguarding our citizens and the security of key national assets. Our governments are working collaboratively and have long recognized the need to work closely on science and technologies for security

  • U.S. defies EU on bilateral visa waver agreements

    Most EU countries have visa waiver agreements with the United States — but not 11 of the 12 states which joined the EU since 2004; the EU wants to negotiate a package deal for these countries, but the United States prefers bilateral deals so it can pick and choose among the new EU members; the EU says this violates the EU rules

  • Company involved in largest U.S. meat recall admits it was at fault

    In February Hallmark/Westland Meat was forced to recall 143 million pounds of meat — the largest recall in U.S. history — after it was revealed that the company processed cows which were potentially sick; a week after the recall, the company went out of business; company’s president admits company was at fault

  • U.S. to lose a generation of young medical, biology researchers

    Five consecutive years of flat funding the budget of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is deterring promising young researchers and threatening the future of U.S. health, a group of seven preeminent academic research institutions warn

  • Data sharing among local, state, and federal law enforcement grows

    The 9/11 attacks demonstrated the need for more information and intelligence sharing among law enforcement services a the local, state, and federal levels; more and more intelligence sharing systems are being put in place by private companies to help law enforcement cope with — and meaningfully and effectively use — the vast new sources of data now open to them; privacy advocates worry

  • Congressional funding for campus security urged

    There are 17 million students who live in open environments on college campuses across the United States; a year after the deadly Virginia Tech shooting, there are growing calls for Congress to help fund campus security; high-tech alert systems, such as text messaging, are seen as crucial to warn students of possible threats

  • FSIS exemplifies growing inadequacy of U.S. food inspection regime

    Decline and fall: In FY 1981, FSIS spent $13.22 per thousand pounds of meat and poultry inspected and passed; by FY 2007, the figure had fallen to $8.26 per thousand pounds; in FY 1981 FSIS employed about 190 workers per billion pounds of meat and poultry inspected and passed; by FY 2007, FSIS employed fewer than 88 workers per billion pounds

  • U.K. government lost more than 1,000 laptops in recent years

    The worries about how the U.K. government protects sensitive data continue: A report to parliament admits that the government has lost or had stolen more than 1,000 laptops in recent years

  • Resistance to a U.K. hedge fund's effort to control CSX

    Ever since the 2006 Dubai Ports World’s takeover of management operations in major U.S. seaports, Congress has shown increasing irritation with attempts by foreign companies to own U.S. critical infrastructure assets; there is a growing resistance in Congress to U.K.-based TCI to take control of rail operator CSX

  • Avalanche of drugs, scarcely any oversight, II

    About $72 billion in drugs and active ingredients were imported into the U.S. in 2006; the FDA that year spent a mere $12.75 million inspecting foreign production plants; between 3,250 and 6,800 non-U.S. plants export drugs and drug ingredients to the U.S.(the FDA’s two main databases each gives a different figure), and are thus subject to FDA inspection; in the last five years the agency has conducted only 1,445 foreign inspections; main reason: In the face of growing drug and food imports, the Bush administration steadily cut the agency’s budget and resources since 2001