15,091,975 research outputs found

    A general purpose programming framework for ubiquitous computing environments

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    It is important to note that the need to support ad-hoc and potentially mobile arrangements of devices in ubiquitous environments does not fit well within the traditional client/server architecture. We believe peer-to-peer communication offers a preferable alternative due to its decentralised nature, removing dependence on individual nodes. However, this choice adds to the complexity of the developers task. In this paper, we describe a two-tiered approach to address this problem: A lower tier employing peer-to-peer interactions for managing the network infrastructure and an upper tier providing a mobile agent based programming framework. The result is a general purpose framework for developing ubiquitous applications and services, where the underlying complexity is hidden from the developer. This paper discusses our on-going work; presenting our design decisions, features supported by our framework, and some of the challenges still to be addressed in a complex programming environment

    Will anyone vote? Prospects for turnout in the general election

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    One of the most notable features of the last two general elections was the low level of turnout. Before 2001 turnout at general elections was always at least 70% (and often far higher). But in 2001 it fell to just 59% and, at 61%, the figure in 2005 was little better. Over 17 million people eligible to vote that year chose not to do so, seven million more than voted for the winning Labour party. Britain found itself almost at the bottom of the turnout league among established European democracies. The failure of large sections of the public to go to the polls has led to considerable concern about the health of Britain’s democracy and stimulated many a suggestion as to how the country’s politicians might be able to reconnect with the electorate

    Sinking or swimming in the New Zealand mainstream: Four young Asian learners in a new languaculture

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    New Zealand schools are increasingly diverse in terms of language and culture, and many immigrant school children are faced with the ‘languacultural’ (Agar, 1994) challenge of learning not only a new language but a new culture of learning – to learn new classroom interaction skills (Barnard, 2005) as a route from Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills to Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (Cummins 1981, 2000). This paper explores the challenges by referring to four young Asian learners in an upper primary school classroom (Barnard 2002, 2003, 2007). Brief profiles of each of these children are given and then transcript data of their classroom interactions are presented and interpreted. In conclusion, questions are raised about the respective responsibilities of teachers and school and parents and students, to ensure that new immigrant learners swim rather than sink in the mainstrea

    Semi-Annual Report to Congress for the Period of October 1, 2002 to March 31, 2003

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    [Excerpt] It is a privilege to transmit this Semiannual Report to the Congress covering the period October 1, 2002, through March 31, 2003, summarizing the significant audit and investigative activities of the Office of Inspector General (OIG), U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Moreover, I am pleased to introduce a new format for our report that makes use of advances in information technology and moves the OIG forward in the e-government environment. Readers will now receive a “Highlights” summary that emphasizes key audits and investigations conducted by the OIG. The Highlights contains information on how to visit our website and download the complete report. Our goal is to allow you to review snapshots of our work and quickly access those issues of most interest to you. Of special note during this reporting period was the inclusion of statutory law enforcement authority for our investigators in the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-296). This authority enhances our ability to investigate labor racketeering and fraud against pension plans, which has become increasingly important as other Federal law enforcement agencies redirect their resources toward homeland security activities. Among our significant investigative accomplishments during this period was the indictment of 42 individuals including members and associates of the Genovese and Colombo La Cosa Nostra (LCN) organized crime families and Locals 14 and 15 of the Operating Engineers, for unlawful labor payments as well as other charges. Another investigation led to guilty pleas by associates of the Gambino LCN Family. In total, during this reporting period, our investigative work resulted in 337 indictments, 191 convictions, and over 55.6millioninmonetaryaccomplishments.Fromanauditperspective,weissuedaseriesofreportsduringthisperiodrelatedtotheWorkforceInvestmentAct(WIA)includingyouthtrainingprograms,individualtrainingaccounts,andtheamountofWIAfundingavailabletostates.WehopethesereportsandrecommendationswilloffervaluableinformationastheCongressconsidersWIAreauthorization.WealsoreportedtheresultsofourworkwithrespecttoFloridascloseoutofitsjobtraininggrants,whichidentifiedsignificantdiscrepanciesbetweentheState2˘7sfinancialstatusreportsanditsofficialaccountingrecords.AlsosignificantthisperiodwasourfollowupauditofoverchargesbytheInternalRevenueServicetotheUnemploymentTrustFundthattotaled55.6 million in monetary accomplishments. From an audit perspective, we issued a series of reports during this period related to the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) including youth training programs, individual training accounts, and the amount of WIA funding available to states. We hope these reports and recommendations will offer valuable information as the Congress considers WIA reauthorization. We also reported the results of our work with respect to Florida’s closeout of its job training grants, which identified significant discrepancies between the State\u27s financial status reports and its official accounting records. Also significant this period was our follow-up audit of overcharges by the Internal Revenue Service to the Unemployment Trust Fund that totaled 174 million for fiscal years 1999–2002. This targeted work, as well as other audit work, identified nearly $184 million in questioned costs. I am proud of the work of all OIG employees and their continued commitment to serving American workers and taxpayers. My staff and I look forward to continuing to work constructively with the Secretary and the DOL team to further our common goal of ensuring the effectiveness, efficiency, and integrity of the programs that serve and protect the rights and benefits of American workers and retirees

    Semi-Annual Report to Congress for the Period of April 1, 2014 to September 30, 2014

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    [Excerpt] I am pleased to submit this Semiannual Report to the Department and the Congress, which highlights the most significant activities and accomplishments of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the six-month period ending September 30, 2014. The OIG remains committed to promoting the integrity, effectiveness, and efficiency of DOL’s programs and operations. In addition, our investigations continue to combat labor racketeering and organized crime in internal union affairs, employee benefit plans, and labor-management relations. During this reporting period, the OIG issued 19 audit and other reports in which we recommended that 5.1millioninfundsbeputtobetteruse.Amongourmanysignificantfindings,wereportedthefollowing:TheEmployeeBenefitsSecurityAdministrationhasnotprovidedtheguidanceandoversightneededtoadequatelyprotectmorethan5.1 million in funds be put to better use. Among our many significant findings, we reported the following: The Employee Benefits Security Administration has not provided the guidance and oversight needed to adequately protect more than 1 trillion of plan assets invested in complex trust arrangements and hard-to-value assets held and certified by custodians. The Mine Safety and Health Administration lacked a unified timeliness standard for its laboratories, covering the entire cycle time from collection of samples by mine inspectors to the reporting of results, for tests of underground mine air, gas, and dust samples that are critical to ensuring mine safety and health. Approximately 900,000ofJobCorpsfundsweremisusedorwastedbecausetheagencylackedbasicinternalcontrolsoverprepaiddebitcardsandcentrallybilledgovernmenttravelcardsusedtopaystudenttravelexpenses.TheDepartmentsfinancialmanagementcontinuityplansdidnotincludeafullydevelopedplanforanacceptablerecoveryorreconstitutionoffinancialdataafteradisruptionorfailure.TheOIGsinvestigativeworkalsoyieldedimpressiveresults,withatotalof253indictments,249convictions,and900,000 of Job Corps funds were misused or wasted because the agency lacked basic internal controls over prepaid debit cards and centrally billed government travel cards used to pay student travel expenses. The Department’s financial management continuity plans did not include a fully developed plan for an acceptable recovery or reconstitution of financial data after a disruption or failure. The OIG’s investigative work also yielded impressive results, with a total of 253 indictments, 249 convictions, and 41.3 million in monetary accomplishments. Highlights include the following: Two Chicago-area women were sentenced to 6 years and 4 years in prison and ordered to pay more than 4.8millionand4.8 million and 4.6 million, respectively, in restitution. This one of the largest fictitious employer UI fraud schemes ever prosecuted in the U.S. A Texas psychologist was sentenced to 3 years in prison and ordered to pay more than 1.8millioninrestitutiontotheOfficeofWorkersCompensationProgramsfordefraudingtheFederalEmployeesCompensationActprogram.Achiropractorandhiswifeweresentencedto8yearsand2yearsinprison,respectively,andorderedtopaymorethan1.8 million in restitution to the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs for defrauding the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act program. A chiropractor and his wife were sentenced to 8 years and 2 years in prison, respectively, and ordered to pay more than 1.4 million in restitution to the victims of a health care fraud scheme. The wife of a Colombo La Cosa Nostra Crime Family associate was sentenced to 4 years’ probation and ordered to pay $40,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to embezzling from a union benefit plan. These are some of the examples of the exceptional work done by our dedicated OIG staff. I would like to express my gratitude to them for their significant achievements during this reporting period. We are currently working on several important audits for fiscal year 2015, including reviews of Job Corps center safety and the federal Black Lung program. For more details, I invite you to review our audit work plan, which can be accessed at www.oig.dol.gov/workplan/FY2015.pdf. I look forward to continuing to work constructively with the Department and the Congress on our shared goals of identifying improvements to DOL programs and operations and protecting the rights and benefits of workers and retirees

    Semi-Annual Report to Congress for the Period of April 1, 2009 to September 30, 2009

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    [Excerpt] I am pleased to submit this Semiannual Report to Congress, which highlights the most significant activities and accomplishments of the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General (DOL-OIG), for the six-month period ending September 30, 2009. During this reporting period, our investigative work led to 214 indictments, 221 convictions, and 123.1millioninmonetaryaccomplishments.Inaddition,weissued22auditandotherreports.OIGauditsandinvestigationscontinuetoassesstheeffectiveness,efficiency,economy,andintegrityofDOLsprogramsandoperations.Wealsocontinuetoinvestigatelaborracketeeringand/ororganizedcrimeinfluenceagainstunions,employeebenefitplans,andworkers.Fromanauditperspective,theOIGishighlyengagedinensuringtheintegrityofDOLactivitiesrelatedtotheAmericanRecoveryandReinvestmentActof2009(RecoveryAct)funding.Duringthisreportingperiod,weissuedfivereportstothatend.AmongourfindingsarethatDOLimplementedproceduresfortheaccountingofRecoveryActfinancialactivity,actedquicklytoimplementthepremiumassistanceprovisionsforworkerswhotemporarilymaintaintheirhealthinsuranceatgroupratesafterlosingtheirjobs,andeffectivelyimplementedthetemporaryprogramforadditionalunemploymentcompensationforeligiblerecipients.Wealsoidentifiedareasforimprovementrelatedtofinancialandperformancereportingandprogrammaticcoordinationwithstates.AnauditfoundshortcomingswithDOLsnewiCertsystem,whichisdesignedtoidentifyinaccuraciesinH1Blaborconditionapplications(LCAs)forforeignworkers.Wefoundthat,becauseofmissingelectronicchecks,manualreviewsoftheLCAsbyanalystsarenecessary.However,increasesinthevolumeofapplicationsmayresultinanalystsnotbeingabletoperforma100percentreview.ThisincreasestheriskofLCAsbeingimproperlycertified.OurauditsalsocontinuetorevealthatsomeJobCorpscentersdonotcomplywithrequirementsforreportingperformanceforstudentattendanceandaccountability.Wealsofoundthat,atthreecenters,acontractorhadnotensuredcompliancewithprocedurestoaddressstudentmisconduct.AnauditofthehandlingofinjuredFederalemployeesreemploymentstatusattwoFederalworkerscompensationdistrictofficesfoundthattheDepartmentdidnotensurethatconsistentinterventionactionsweretakentowardremovingcasesfromtheperiodicroll.ThisincreasedtheriskofclaimantscontinuingtoreceivefullFederalEmployeesCompensationActbenefitsaftertheywereabletoreturntoworkoraftertheircompensationcouldhavebeenreduced.Ourinvestigationscontinuetocombatorganizedcrimeand/orlaborracketeeringinvolvingthemoniesinunionsponsoredbenefitplans,internalunioncorruption,andlabormanagementrelations.AmajorOIGinvestigationdisclosedmorethan30yearsoforganizedcrimecontroloftheInternationalLongshoremensAssociationLocal1235,whichrepresentsportworkersinNewJersey.Inanotherinvestigation,thebusinessmanagerfortheElectricalWorkersLocalUnionNo.3,whowasaformerNewYorkStateassemblyman,wassentencedto10yearsimprisonmentonracketeering,bankfraud,andfalsestatementchargesinvolvinganumberofschemescarriedoutforpersonalgain.OIGinvestigationsalsoidentifiedvulnerabilitiesandfraudinDOLprograms,suchastheforeignlaborcertification(FLC)program.OneOIGinvestigationledtotherecentsentencingofViktarKrusandhiscoconspiratorstovariousperiodsofincarcerationforfraudulentlyobtainingvisasformorethan3,800foreignnationalsanddefraudingthegovernmentof123.1 million in monetary accomplishments. In addition, we issued 22 audit and other reports. OIG audits and investigations continue to assess the effectiveness, efficiency, economy, and integrity of DOL’s programs and operations. We also continue to investigate labor racketeering and/or organized crime influence against unions, employee benefit plans, and workers. From an audit perspective, the OIG is highly engaged in ensuring the integrity of DOL activities related to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) funding. During this reporting period, we issued five reports to that end. Among our findings are that DOL implemented procedures for the accounting of Recovery Act financial activity, acted quickly to implement the premium-assistance provisions for workers who temporarily maintain their health insurance at group rates after losing their jobs, and effectively implemented the temporary program for additional unemployment compensation for eligible recipients. We also identified areas for improvement related to financial and performance reporting and programmatic coordination with states. An audit found shortcomings with DOL’s new iCert system, which is designed to identify inaccuracies in H-1B labor condition applications (LCAs) for foreign workers. We found that, because of missing electronic checks, manual reviews of the LCAs by analysts are necessary. However, increases in the volume of applications may result in analysts not being able to perform a 100 percent review. This increases the risk of LCAs being improperly certified. Our audits also continue to reveal that some Job Corps centers do not comply with requirements for reporting performance for student attendance and accountability. We also found that, at three centers, a contractor had not ensured compliance with procedures to address student misconduct. An audit of the handling of injured Federal employees’ reemployment status at two Federal workers’ compensation district offices found that the Department did not ensure that consistent intervention actions were taken toward removing cases from the periodic roll. This increased the risk of claimants continuing to receive full Federal Employee’s Compensation Act benefits after they were able to return to work or after their compensation could have been reduced. Our investigations continue to combat organized crime and/or labor racketeering involving the monies in union- sponsored benefit plans, internal union corruption, and labor-management relations. A major OIG investigation disclosed more than 30 years of organized crime control of the International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1235, which represents port workers in New Jersey. In another investigation, the business manager for the Electrical Workers Local Union No. 3, who was a former New York State assemblyman, was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment on racketeering, bank fraud, and false statement charges involving a number of schemes carried out for personal gain. OIG investigations also identified vulnerabilities and fraud in DOL programs, such as the foreign labor certification (FLC) program. One OIG investigation led to the recent sentencing of Viktar Krus and his co-conspirators to various periods of incarceration for fraudulently obtaining visas for more than 3,800 foreign nationals and defrauding the government of 7.4 million in payroll taxes. Because of our investigative expertise, the OIG is a member of the International Organized Crime (IOC) strategy headed by the U.S. Attorney General. The IOC is committed to combating crime by international organized groups. Finally, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to former DOL Inspector General Gordon S. Heddell, who is now serving as the Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Defense. During his leadership of more than eight years, the DOL-OIG consistently achieved significant results similar to those presented in this report. As Acting Inspector General, I look forward to continuing to work with the Secretary of Labor and her management team in ensuring the effectiveness of DOL in delivering services and protecting the rights and benefits of American workers and retirees