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Monthly Archives: February 2016

Afghan Sentenced to Prison for Committing Fraud Against USAID

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEAugust 31, 2010 Press Office: 202-712-4320Public Information: 202-712-4810www.usaid.gov

Washington, DC – Ahman Samim Sediqi of Kabul, Afghanistan, was tried and sentenced in a local Afghan court on forgery and embezzlement charges stemming from his work on a development project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), announced USAID Office of Inspector General spokeswoman Dona M. Dinkler.

A three-judge panel found Sediqi guilty of embezzling nearly $193,000 while working as a finance coordinator on a $229 million local governance program financed by USAID and implemented by an American contractor. The program is intended to assist provincial governments and improve stability within the provinces by supporting public administration and governance and promoting community development. On August 2, 2010, the court sentenced Sediqi to 7 years in prison as prescribed by the Afghan Penal Code-2 years for the falsification of income and rental tax deposit receipts, for which payment was never made, and5 years for embezzlement of funds. The defendant is also required to pay $160,000 in fines.

Sediqi was responsible for depositing the American contractor’s monthly tax payments to Afghanistan’s Ministry of Finance into a local bank account. When the Ministry reported that it had not received the payments, an investigation was initiated. Local law enforcement officials, aided by investigators from USAID’s Office of Inspector General (OIG), discovered that the bank deposit slips Sediqi had submitted to the contractor to prove he had made the payments were not legitimate. Sediqi was arrested on May 11, 2010.

USAID OIG investigators in Afghanistan work closely with local law enforcement authorities in an effort to hold accountable Afghan citizens who engage in criminal misconduct while working on USAID projects.

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8 things that really do help

We’re constantly told ways that we can be greener and help the environment. That’s great and all, but which ones really do help?

These eight changes really do help our planet. And here’s why:

Switching to reusable bags

You’re at the grocery story check out and they ask you: “paper or plastic?” The correct answer? Neither one. The dangers of plastic bags to our environment is one that we often hear. About 90 billion plastic bags were used in the US just last year… And even though it takes about 12 million barrels of oil to make them, that’s not even the half of it. It takes about four times the energy to make paper bags.

Instead, choose reusable shopping bags. Store one in your purse, a few in your car, and the rest by the front door.

Using a reusable water bottle

We sure love our H2O. But the fact that it takes about 25 bottles of water to produce the plastic for a one-litre bottle doesn’t really help the environment. Terrible. The simple solution to to stop buying bottled water. Purchase a stainless steel or aluminum bottle instead, filling it up at home, in the office, at fountains and where ever you can. If you leave it at home and have to opt for a plastic bottle, choose ones that are numbered 1,2,4 or 5.

Say goodbye to paper towels

Paper towels are handy, sure, but not exactly great for the environment. For cleaning, use microfibre towels–they do a better job and you can easily through them in the washer to use them over and over.

When paper towels are a must, look for “green” or “recycled” varieties. Although these in terms of toilet paper might not be the most pleasant, they’re great for paper towels. If every household in the US used recycled ones instead, almost 550,000 trees would be saved per roll.

Stop washing on hot

Washing machines are powered by about 10 percent to run the motor. So where does the rest come from? Heating that water. The bad news isn’t just your energy supply, but your wallet, too.

Choose to wash on cold water by a simple swap on your washing machine’s temperature setting. If you have very heavy soiled towels, socks, or similar, use warm if you absolutely need to. Most new, high-efficiency washers and driers are designed to work better on cold water, too.

And stop drying altogether

How necessary is it to run that dryer? Not really at all. In fact, dryers are the second largest energy user in the average house (first being the fridge). If it’s necessary (like a large load of socks and underwear, be sure to clean the lint filter and only dry full loads of clothes.

The rest of the time, opt for outdoor drying on a clothesline, or indoor on a clothes rack.

Turn down the heater or air conditioner

Yep, it’s chilly. The answer? Put on another layer and get under a blanket. Similarly, a fan, shorts and a tank-top will keep you pretty darn cool in the heat of summer. Save some money–and some energy–by setting your thermostat a few degrees cooler in the winter and a few degrees warmer in the summer. Better yet, nix the air conditioning altogether.

Run that dishwasher when it’s full

Dishwashers are cost-efficient, especially newer ones. They often use less water than handwashing, and save you a lot of time. For the most part, they use about a third less water than washing the dishes by hand, which can save up to 20 gallons of water a day. Click the heat-dry setting “off”, and let them air-dry until you’re ready to unload.

Recycle and compost

By now, if you haven’t started recycling and composting, we wonder where you’ve been all these years. Most paper, plastic, aluminum, food scraps, and cardboard doesn’t have to go in the trash. If you’re community hasn’t started a program, use the compost in your garden, and contact the city to find out what you can do with your recyclable goods.

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Thanksgiving for Kids Part 2: Dessert and Appetizers

Yesterday we talked about our holiday menu!  Today, we’re talking about appetizers and dessert.  In a few hours, we’re going to actually talk.. on the radio!

In keeping with our healthy holiday principles from yesterday, we came up with an appetizer that fit all three criteria. No crackers and cheese for this family!

Using small baking candy cups, we were able to have bite sized servings of:

We curled the ends of the celery sticks by peeling the ends with a vegetable peeler and dunking in ice cold water. (see our old post for curling celery)

For dessert, we had pumpkin pie, in a gluten free way.  For some reason, my dad used to do this growing up. We would only bake the inside of the pie, without the crust.  No one had a problem with gluten, we just loved the middle so much!  So, I just follow the recipe on the pumpkin can, and made pumpkin pie- no crust.  It still is dessert! There is still sugar.  But without the crust you can save a little fat and calories .

We cut the sugar slightly, so the final recipe reads:

Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Pour into a greased pie plate. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, reduce temp to 350 and bake for another 45 minutes. Pie is finished when toothpick can be inserted in the center and come out clean.

Serve with whipped topping. Garnish with nutmeg.

What are you serving for appetizers and dessert?

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