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NEWS IN BRIEF 10/02/05

10 Feb 05. Prince Charles to marry Camilla. Prince Charles will marry his long-term partner Camilla Parker Bowles on 8 April, Clarence House says. The ceremony will be held at Windsor Castle and Mrs Parker Bowles will take the title HRH the Duchess of Cornwall. When the Prince of Wales, 56, becomes King, Camilla, 57, will not be known as Queen Camilla but as the Princess Consort, Clarence House added. Charles said he and his wife-to-be were “absolutely delighted” at the engagement. The Duke of Edinburgh and I are very happy that the Prince of Wales and Mrs Parker Bowles are to marry. (Source: BBC)

07 Feb 05. GCN reports that President Bush requested $65.1bn for federal IT for fiscal 2006, an increase of 7.1 percent over this year. The White House, which submitted its request to Congress, increased the civilian agency IT budget to $35bn and the Defense Department’s request to $30.1bn. For the current fiscal year, the federal IT budget is $60.8bn, the budget request said.
The big winners in 2006 include:
DOD, 4.9 percent increase to $30.1bn from $28.7bn
Homeland Security Department, 23 percent increase to $5.9bn from $4.8bn
Justice Department, 23 percent increase to $2.7bn from $2.2bn
Small Business Administration, 13.9 percent increase to $41m from $36m
Veterans Affairs Department, 23.5 percent increase to $2.1bn from $1.7bn
OMB also cut a number of agencies’ IT budgets:
Agency for International Development, down 9.2 percent to $119m from $131m
Housing and Urban Development Department, down 3.3 percent to $322m from $333m Labor Department, down 3.1 percent to $409m from $422m
Office of Personnel Management, down 14.2 percent to $127m from $148m
NASA, down 5 percent to $1.9bn from $2bn
Social Security Administration, down 4.2 percent to $958m from $1 bn

09 Feb 05. Russia’s arms exports have hit a ceiling because of insufficient investment in the defense industry, the country’s top exporter said Feb. 9.
Russia exported a record $5.7bn in arms and military hardware last year, 80 percent of it to China and India, said Rosoboronexport head Sergei Chemezov. “It’s clear that further growth is impossible without serious investment … We’ve reached a ceiling,” he told Itar-Tass news agency. “Construction bureaus have great new inventions and promising projects — but they don’t have the money to turn ideas into cold steel.” Russia’s arms industry, a core contributor to the national economy during the Cold War, shrank in the 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union left the state controlled business without substantial government funding. Production and exports picked up under President Vladimir Putin, but sales were a fraction of what they were in Soviet times. “Although Russian arms and military hardware are competitive on the global market, we are still mainly talking about modified products designed in the late 1970s and early 1980s,” Chemezov said. Producers have long been asking government to allocate funds for research into next-generation technology, especially for strategic rocket forces and the navy. Fighter jets make up about two-thirds of Russia’s arms exports but the fragmented nature of the industry has held back the sector’s recovery from the post-Soviet slump. Russia’s nominal defense budget is about three percent of gross domestic product. It spent about $14bn on the military last year and raised spending to $18bn in 2005. (Source: REUTERS, MOSCOW)

09 Feb 05. The U.S. General Services Administration hopes the success of its Quicksilver projects will convince Congress to let it use surplus funds from its IT sales and services operations to support e-government initiatives next year. Lawmakers last year approved a measure to prohibit the Office of Management and Budget from using surplus funding from GSA’s Federal Supply Service account to pay for cross-agency e-government projects. But GSA budget director Debi Schilling said the agency would again seek to use $40m from the General

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