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The Commerce Blog

NOAA, U.S. Coast Guard: New Ocean Current Data to Improve Search and Rescue Activities

Image of helicopter with responder hovering over water rescuing a victim. Click for larger image.

U.S. Coast Guard Photo

A new set of ocean observing data that enhances the ability to track probable paths of victims and drifting survivor craft should improve search and rescue efforts along the U.S. coast. The data comes from the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®), part of a joint effort among Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security. The new data sets include surface current maps from high frequency radar systems. (More)

Secretary Locke Sworn in at White House Ceremony by Vice President Biden

Image of Scretary Locke.

File Photo

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius were sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden in ceremonies at the White House. President Barack Obama also attended the ceremonial swearing-in event in the East Room. “My Cabinet is now full of energetic innovators like Kathleen and Gary. . . I am thrilled to have them by my side as we continue the work of turning our economy around and laying a new foundation for growth that delivers on the change the American people asked for, and the promise of a new and better day ahead,” President Obama said. Locke, a key member of the President’s economic team, is the department’s 36th Secretary, leading its 12 agencies and bureaus and more than 52,000 employees. (President’s Remarks)

Secretary Locke Discusses Trade Promotion Agreement with Colombian Minister for Trade

Minister Plata and Secretary Locke talk while seated in chairs. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke hosted a meeting with Colombia’s Minister for Trade, Industry and Tourism, Luis Guillermo Plata, at the Commerce Department today. This was the first meeting between Minister Plata and Secretary Locke. The Secretary and Minister Plata reaffirmed the commitment of both governments to move forward on progress towards the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement. The two leaders also underscored the importance of building stronger business ties through activities like joint cooperation in trade capacity-building for small- and medium-sized enterprises and good governance programs. (More)

Secretary Locke, Governor O'Malley Urge Americans to Get Ready for TV Transition

Residents of Liberty Senior Center listen as Secretary Locke addresses the group. Click for larger image.

Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley encouraged Americans to prepare for the June 12 switch to digital television at a community gathering at Liberty Senior Center in Randallstown, Maryland. Secretary Locke commended local volunteers who are assisting senior citizens who rely on over-the-air television in their community with the upcoming digital transition. “The national switch to digital television is just around the corner, and there won’t be another delay,” said Secretary Locke. (More)

Salazar and Locke Restore Scientific Consultation under the Endangered Species Act to Protect Species and their Habitats

Categories:
Image of sea turtle underwater. Click for larger image.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that the two departments are revoking an eleventh hour Bush administration rule that undermined Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections. Their decision requires federal agencies to once again consult with federal wildlife experts at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—the two agencies that administer the ESA—before taking any action that may affect threatened or endangered species. (More)

Commerce Secretary Locke Meets with China's Minister of Commerce

Secretary Locke and MinisterChen shake hands, with U.S. and Chinese flags in the background.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke hosted a meeting with China’s Minister of Commerce Chen Deming at the Commerce Department. The Secretary and Minister Chen reaffirmed the commitment of both governments to continuing to build a positive and cooperative relationship that strengthens trade and creates jobs in the United Statesand China. The two leaders underscored the importance of achieving concrete results at the next meeting of the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade and discussed issues such as increasing U.S. exports to China and the need to avoid protectionism. (More)

Secretary Locke Statement on World IP Day

Department of Commerce seal.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke released the following statement on World Intellectual Property Day: “U.S. companies are among the most innovative in the world. As we celebrate World Intellectual Property Day we are reminded of the important role intellectual property rights play in stimulating American ingenuity and spurring economic growth and jobs. Unfortunately, counterfeiting and piracy take an enormous toll on American industry and workers, costing billions of dollars and thousands of jobs each year. The Department of Commerce is working to combat this problem through trade agreement compliance, active engagement with foreign leaders, and educational outreach.” (More)

Residential Mover Rate in U.S. is Lowest Since Census Bureau Began Tracking in 1948

Bureau of the Census seal.

Commerce’s U.S. Census Bureau announced that the national mover rate declined from 13.2 percent in 2007 to 11.9 percent in 2008—the lowest rate since the bureau began tracking these data in 1948. In 2008, 35.2 million people 1 year and older changed residences in the U.S. within the past year, representing a decrease from 38.7 million in 2007 and the smallest number of residents to move since 1962. “Even though the number of people who changed residence in 2008 dropped by 3.5 million from the previous year, millions of Americans continue to move,” said Tom Mesenbourg, acting director of the U.S. Census Bureau. “As we gear up for the 2010 Census, we will be looking to get an accurate count of everyone in the country, regardless of whether they moved in the past year or not.” (More)

Researchers Give High Marks to New Technology for Fingerprint Identification

Image of fingerprint. Click for larger image.

Overworked crime scene investigators can take heart at the results of recent tests at Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of new technologies that automate the manual portion of latent fingerprint identification. Prototype systems evaluated by NIST performed surprisingly well for a developing technology: half of the prototypes were accurate at least 80 percent of the time and one had a near perfect score. Automating the manual portion of the work frees up time for trained examiners to spend time on very difficult images that the software has little hope of processing. (More)

Commerce Secretary Locke Addresses Motion Picture Summit

Secretary Locke at podium during remarks to Summit.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke talked about the motion picture industry’s importance to the U.S. economy at the Motion Picture Association of America’s (MPAA) Second Biennial Industry Summit. “Movies and TV shows are direct products of the freedoms we enjoy; that’s part of why they’re so popular around the world,” Locke said. “The Obama administration is well aware of the impact of counterfeiting and piracy on our industries and workers, and we’re working to combat it.” (Remarks) (www.stopfakes.gov)