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Around Town: June 15, 2009

It’s been a while since we updated you on what the President’s Cabinet is up to, but from developing international agreements to allocating Recovery Act funds here at home, they’ve been keeping busy. Here are just some of their most recent activities:
  • Today, the Department of Homeland Security launched The Blog @ Homeland Security, which will be updated frequently with news on the Secretary’s activities and events, and will discuss emerging technology that the department is developing. The inaugural post features a video from Secretary Napolitano, and declares that the primary mission of the blog is transparency.
  • The State Department announced the adoption of a joint statement by the United States and the European Union supporting the closure of Guantanamo Bay by January 22, 2010, as well as future counterterrorism cooperation. The statement declares that individual EU member states may accept detainees.  This afternoon, the President announced that Italy will be taking three detainees.
  • The Department of Justice announced a new major initiative to increase engagement, coordination and action on tribal justice in Indian Country.  Attorney General Holder will hold a Tribal Nations Listening Conference later this year to address concerns about public safety in Indian Country. The President also announced today the appointment of Kimberly Teehee as Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs.
  • Agriculture Secretary Vilsack attended the Western Governors Association meeting, where he highlighted some Recovery projects for wood-to-energy and biomass utilization, which will help create markets for low value trees. He joined several other senior officials in the Administration to discuss ways to tap into renewable energy opportunities in the West.
  • Secretary of Education Duncan spoke to the nation’s governors and state education leaders at the 2009 Governors Education Symposium. He announced that $350 million in Recovery funds will support states to develop rigorous assessments which will ensure the success of common standards.  These common standards will be research-based, and aligned with international standards.