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Exam Code: CPFO Practice exam 2023 by team
CPFO Certified Public Finance Officer (Governmental Accounting, Auditing, and Financial Reporting)

Test Detail:
The CPFO (Certified Public Finance Officer) certification is designed to validate the knowledge and expertise of individuals in the field of governmental accounting, auditing, and financial reporting. Here is a detailed overview of the CPFO certification, including the number of questions and time, course outline, exam objectives, and exam syllabus.

Number of Questions and Time:
The exact number of questions and time allotted for the CPFO certification may vary. However, typically, the exam consists of multiple-choice questions that assess the candidate's understanding of governmental accounting, auditing, and financial reporting. The duration of the exam may vary, but it is typically completed within a specified time limit, such as two to three hours.

Course Outline:
The CPFO certification course covers a comprehensive range of courses related to governmental accounting, auditing, and financial reporting. The specific course outline may include the following components:

1. Governmental Accounting and Financial Reporting:
- Introduction to governmental accounting principles and standards
- Fund accounting and financial statement preparation
- Budgeting and financial planning in the public sector
- Cash and debt management in government entities

2. Governmental Auditing and Internal Controls:
- Introduction to governmental auditing principles and standards
- Compliance auditing and performance auditing
- Internal controls in government organizations
- Audit planning, execution, and reporting

3. Financial Analysis and Reporting:
- Financial statement analysis for government entities
- Ratio analysis and financial performance evaluation
- Cost analysis and cost allocation in the public sector
- Long-term financial planning and capital budgeting

4. Governmental Financial Management:
- Revenue generation and taxation in government entities
- Debt management and capital financing strategies
- Grants and intergovernmental financial management
- Risk management and insurance in the public sector

Exam Objectives:
The objectives of the CPFO certification exam are to assess the candidate's knowledge and understanding of governmental accounting, auditing, and financial reporting principles, practices, and regulations. The specific objectives include:

- Evaluating the candidate's knowledge of governmental accounting principles and standards.
- Assessing the candidate's understanding of governmental auditing principles and techniques.
- Testing the candidate's ability to analyze and interpret financial statements of government entities.
- Evaluating the candidate's knowledge of financial management practices and strategies in the public sector.

Exam Syllabus:
The CPFO exam syllabus outlines the specific courses and subtopics that will be covered in the exam. The syllabus may include:

- Governmental accounting principles and standards (e.g., GASB standards)
- Fund accounting and financial statement preparation for government entities
- Governmental auditing principles and standards (e.g., GAGAS)
- Financial analysis and performance evaluation of government entities
- Governmental financial management practices and strategies
- Compliance auditing and internal controls in government organizations

It is important to note that the specific content and format of the CPFO certification exam may vary based on the certification provider or organization offering the certification. It is recommended to refer to the official CPFO certification program website or authorized training providers for the most up-to-date and detailed information regarding the specific CPFO certification exam you are planning to take.

Certified Public Finance Officer (Governmental Accounting, Auditing, and Financial Reporting)
Financial (Governmental test
Killexams : Financial (Governmental test - BingNews Search results Killexams : Financial (Governmental test - BingNews Killexams : 10 Best Government Project Management Software for 2023

Government entities need to manage projects just like other businesses, but their security and compliance needs are especially high, which can limit the scope of their software search. Fortunately, the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP®) has reviewed and approved multiple project management tools that meet government security standards. In this guide, we’ve reviewed several FedRAMP® approved government project management tools as well as some other offerings.

While we have included pricing information here to help you benchmark costs, you should know that in some cases the FedRAMP® approved product version requires a special quote from the government sales department. For instance, the Smartsheet Gov product is different from standard Smartsheet plans and requires a custom quote for pricing.

SEE: 8 Best Project Management Software for Architects

Top government project management software: Comparison table

Beyond security and compliance, you should make sure your government project management software has certain key features. Here are some of the features to look out for when comparing government project management software:

FedRAMP® authorized Multiple project views Native time tracking Templates Free plan available Pricing starts at
Smartsheet Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes $7 per person per month
Trello Yes Yes No Yes Yes $5 per person per month
Google Workspace Yes Yes No Yes No $6 per person per month
Clarity Yes Yes Yes Yes No Contact for quote
Microsoft Project No Yes Yes Yes No $10 per person per month
ProjectTeam Pending No No Yes No $700 per person per year, sold in blocks of five
Lucid Software Pending No No Yes Yes $7.95 per person per month
monday work management No Yes Yes Yes Yes $8 per person per month
Wrike No Yes Yes Yes Yes $9.80 per person per month
ClickUp No Yes Yes Yes Yes $7 per person per month

Jump to:

Smartsheet: Best for spreadsheet lovers

Smartsheet logo.
Image: Smartsheet

Smartsheet is a project management tool that bases its design interface on the familiar spreadsheet format. If you’ve been trying to make Excel or Google Sheets work for your project needs, Smartsheet is the solution you’ve been waiting for. The Smartsheet Gov offering is both FedRAMP® and DoD IL4 authorized, making it a great choice for government organizations.


  • Free: $0 for one user and up to two editors.
  • Pro: $7 per user per month billed annually, or $9 per user billed monthly. A free trial is available.
  • Business: $25 per user per month billed annually, or $32 per user billed monthly. A free trial is available.
  • Enterprise: Quotes are available upon request.


  • Grid view combines a spreadsheet interface with project management features.
  • Other project views include Calendar, Gantt and Card (kanban board).
  • WorkApps feature lets you build apps to connect external tools with Smartsheet.
  • Users can set up task dependencies to Strengthen efficiency.


  • More than 350 native project templates.
  • Great reporting and analytics tools.
  • Solid upgrade choice for legacy spreadsheet users.


  • Spreadsheet interface can feel outdated compared to alternatives.
  • Not all pages update in real time.
  • Autosave feature doesn’t always work.

For more information, read the full Smartsheet review.

Logo for Trello.
Image: Trello

Trello: Best for kanban boards

Trello Enterprise Cloud is currently the only Atlassian product that is FedRAMP® authorized for government use. Trello is known for its intuitive, visually appealing Kanban boards, which are extremely easy to use. This beginner-friendly app is a good choice for teams that want to get started with Kanban project management but don’t need a tool meant for power users or complex projects.


  • Free: $0 for up to 10 boards per workspace and unlimited users.
  • Standard: $5 per user per month billed annually, or $6 per user billed monthly.
  • Premium: $10 per user per month billed annually, or $12.50 per user billed monthly.
  • Enterprise: Between $7.38 and $17.50 per user per month billed annually, depending on user count.


  • Butler automation tool helps you build custom workflows.
  • Many templates and pre-designed board layouts.
  • Checklist format for task management.
  • 180+ integrations with popular work apps.


  • Drag-and-drop kanban boards are easy to use.
  • The visual interface is easy to navigate.
  • Low learning curve makes this a beginner-friendly tool.


  • Not suitable for complex projects.
  • Other project views aren’t as robust as the kanban boards; for example, no native Gantt charts or time tracking views are available.
  • Could use more customizations.

For more information, read the full Trello review.

Google Workspace: Best for document management

Logo for Google Workspace.
Image: Google Workspace

If you’re attached to your personal Google apps, you’ll be happy to hear that Google Workspace is FedRAMP® authorized. This means that all your favorite Google apps — Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Sheets, Slides and so on — can be used for and adapted to governmental purposes. While you can make certain Google apps work for more robust project management, we recommend using these tools mainly for document and file management, then syncing them with a dedicated project management tool of your choice.


  • Business Starter: $6 per user per month billed annually, or $7.20 per user billed monthly.
  • Business Standard: $12 per user per month billed annually, or $14.40 per user billed monthly.
  • Business Plus: $18 per user per month billed annually, or $21.60 per user billed monthly.
  • Enterprise: Contact sales for a quote.


  • Cloud-based software ensures documents are always backed up.
  • Documents update in real time to aid team collaboration.
  • Templates make it easy to build documents, spreadsheets and presentations from scratch.
  • Users can upload and convert other document formats.


  • Excellent document management and file storage capabilities.
  • The Google Workspace interface will be familiar to many people.
  • Syncs with a wide variety of project management apps.


  • Not suitable for standalone project management.
  • The Sheets app isn’t as robust as Excel.
  • Must get each mobile app individually.

For more information, read the full Google Workspace review.

Microsoft Project: Best for Microsoft users

Logo for Microsoft Project.
Image: Microsoft Project

Before we dive in, you should know that Microsoft Project is not currently FedRAMP® authorized. However, many other Microsoft apps  — including Microsoft Office 365 and Azure Government — are FedRAMP® authorized, so we wanted to include Microsoft Project on the list. Microsoft Project is designed to be used in conjunction with other Microsoft products such as OneDrive and Teams, so it’s the best choice for departments that are already committed to the Microsoft ecosystem.


Microsoft Project offers five total plans: three for the cloud-based subscription and three for the on-premises solution. A 30-day free trial is available for the cloud-based solution.

For cloud-based subscriptions:

  • Project Plan 1: $10 per user per month. Users can pay monthly or annually.
  • Project Plan 3: $30 per user per month. Users can pay monthly or annually.
  • Project Plan 5: $55 per user per month. Users can pay monthly or annually.

For the on-premises platform:

  • Project Standard 2021: $679.99 per user per month. Users can pay monthly or annually.
  • Project Professional 2021: $1,129.99 per user per month. Users can pay monthly or annually.
  • Project Server: Contact Microsoft for pricing information.


  • Resource management capabilities included.
  • Native time tracking included.
  • Reporting feature is easy to use.
  • On-premises deployment option.


  • Suitable for managing very long, complex projects; the tool can be configured to fit multiple project management methodologies.
  • Interface will be familiar to Microsoft users.
  • Excellent customer support and user forum.


  • Lacks native file management and team collaboration tools.
  • High learning curve makes this most suitable for power users.
  • Doesn’t integrate well with non-Microsoft products.

For more information, read the full Microsoft Project review.

ProjectTeam: Best for construction projects

Logo for ProjectTeam.
Image: ProjectTeam

ProjectTeam is a construction project management information system (PMIS) that is currently under review for FedRAMP® authorization. It is designed to assist government organizations and private-public partnerships in planning, designing and executing construction projects. Because of its focus on construction, it is not suitable for more general project management use cases.


  • Small Teams: $700 per user per year, sold in blocks of five.
  • Enterprise: For more than 25 users, contact the sales team for a quote.


  • Generate custom forms to track unique construction processes.
  • Combine data from multiple projects into centralized reports and dashboards.
  • Review detailed history on every form or file for audit purposes.
  • Unlimited non-paid contributor seats.


  • Easy to learn and use.
  • Quick Start service is available for an extra fee.
  • Frequently releases new features.


  • Not suitable for managing projects outside of construction.
  • Customizations can take a while to set up.
  • System is sometimes slow to load.

Lucid Software: Best for creating visualizations

Logo for Lucid.
Image: Lucid

Lucid Software is the creator of Lucidchart (intelligent diagramming application), Lucidspark (virtual whiteboard) and Lucidscale (cloud visualization solution). Lucid’s government software offering is currently under review for FedRAMP® authorization. While it doesn’t provide traditional project management software, Lucid offers tools that are powerful resources for helping your team brainstorm ideas and visualize processes.


Lucidspark and Lucidchart offer the same a la carte pricing options to users:

  • Free: $0 for up to three boards or charts; best for personal use.
  • Individual: Starting at $7.95. A free trial is available.
  • Team: Starting at $9 per person per month. A free trial is available.
  • Enterprise: Contact the sales team for a custom quote. This plan option allows users to bundle Lucidspark and Lucidchart together.

Lucidscale is available in two pricing plans:

  • Individual: $2,000 per year; includes one Creator license.
  • Team: minimum Starting at $2,400 per year; depends on the type of number of licenses purchased.


  • Freehand drawings and sticky notes are visual options on the Lucidspark virtual whiteboard.
  • Users can add sticky notes to the board and sort by category to create a clear plan of action.
  • Create diagrams in Lucidchart to visualize team processes.
  • A variety of templates and team collaboration features.


  • Unique visualization capabilities that aren’t matched by other PM tools.
  • Many native integrations with external tools.
  • Lucidspark and Lucidchart sync together.


  • Not a standalone project management solution.
  • Connectors don’t disappear when you delete ideas.
  • Big, complicated diagrams may cause performance lags.

monday work management: Best for teams of all sizes

Logo for monday.
Image: monday

monday work management is not currently FedRAMP® authorized, but we wanted to include it on this list anyways because it’s widely considered one of the best project management tools on the market today. It combines robust project management features with relatively affordable pricing plans and a nice user interface that isn’t too intimidating.


  • Free: $0 for up to two seats.
  • Basic: $8 per seat per month billed annually, or $10 per seat billed monthly. A free trial is available.
  • Standard: $10 per seat per month billed annually, or $12 per seat billed monthly. A free trial is available.
  • Pro: $16 per seat per month billed annually, or $20 per seat billed monthly. A free trial is available.
  • Enterprise: Contact the sales team for a custom quote.


  • Native chat feature for in-platform team communication.
  • WorkForms tool for creating and sharing surveys.
  • Pre-built automations.
  • Advanced reporting and analytics.


  • Robust project management features.
  • Wide selection of integrations and many customization options
  • Colorful interface is easy to navigate.


  • Certain features like Gantt charts and time tracking are limited to higher-tier plans.
  • Higher learning curve than some project management alternatives.
  • Default notification settings can be overwhelming.

For more information, read the full monday review.

Wrike: Best for project portfolio management

Logo for Wrike.
Image: Wrike

If you were intrigued by the project portfolio management abilities of Clarity but the rest of the tool sounded like overkill for your needs, then you might want to check out Wrike. Wrike is not currently FedRAMP® authorized but does include a host of features that are designed for power users who need to manage multiple complex projects at once.


A free trial is available for each of the following plans:

  • Free: $0 per user per month.
  • Team: $9.80 per user per month.
  • Business: $24.80 per user per month.
  • Enterprise: Contact the sales team for a custom quote.
  • Pinnacle: Contact the sales team for a custom quote.


  • Customize request forms to meet company needs.
  • Forecasting tools for visualizing project risk.
  • In-app invoicing.
  • Video and file proofing.


  • Interface is well designed and organized.
  • Premium security and data privacy features will appeal to government entities.
  • Two-way sync with 12 other apps is available as a paid add-on.


  • Team plan only supports up to 25 users; users also must upgrade to the Business plan for time tracking and template creation.
  • Storage space is limited.
  • Learning curve is higher than some competitors.

For more information, read the full Wrike review.

ClickUp: Best for affordability

Logo for ClickUp.
Image: ClickUp

If you are looking for a tool that combines robust project management with affordable pricing, ClickUp should be at the top of your list. While not currently FedRAMP® authorized, ClickUp offers an impressive array of features that will satisfy many teams, especially considering that paid plans start at only $7 per person per month.


  • Free Forever: $0; best for personal use.
  • Unlimited: $7 per user per month billed annually, or $10 per user billed monthly.
  • Business: $12 per user per month billed annually, or $19 per user billed monthly.
  • Enterprise: Contact the sales team for a custom quote.


  • Choose from more than 15 project views.
  • Connect third-party apps with more than 1,000 integrations.
  • Message teammates using the built-in chat tool.
  • 24/7 customer support for all plans.


  • Affordable and transparent pricing plans; even the free plan offers a high level of functionality.
  • Suitable for managing complex projects.
  • Interface is colorful and easy to navigate.


  • Free plan only offers 100 MB of storage.
  • System can lag and glitch occasionally.
  • High learning curve due to the number of features.

For more information, read the full ClickUp review.

Key features of government project management software

Security and compliance

Security and compliance are usually the number one concern when choosing any kind of software for a government project. Make sure that your top choices are either compliant with FedRAMP® or otherwise meet all necessary security standards. Keep in mind that many project management tools reserve their highest levels of security for premium and enterprise accounts, so be sure to account for that in your budget.

Task management

Government project management software should make it easy to manage your personal to-do list. You should also be able to assign tasks to others, set due dates, view completed and upcoming tasks and more within the tool itself.

Project views

Any project management tool worth its salt should offer at least a handful of standard project views such as grids, spreadsheets, Gantt charts, timelines and/or kanban/board/card views. Make sure you read the fine print, though: Some of these tools reserve the most popular views to higher tier plans (like monday work management) or require a third-party app or extension (Trello).


Project templates can significantly speed up the setup phases of a project and also inspire your team to try out newer, more efficient ways of organizing information. Any government project management tool should include templates that are relevant to the sector and supply you the ability to create and save custom templates.


Even the most robust project management tools won’t have every single feature you need, which is why these tools should integrate with the rest of your software stack. Some project management platforms also offer the ability to build custom integrations thanks to API access, which sometimes comes with added costs.

How do I choose the best government project management software for my business?

Choosing government project management software is a complex process. You will need to work with your IT and security teams as well as other relevant stakeholders to ensure the software meets your functional needs while also supporting necessary safety and compliance protocols.

Start conversations about security early on so that you don’t waste your time researching and test-driving software that doesn’t meet the necessary criteria. Thankfully, some of the most popular project management tools are already FedRAMP® authorized or in the process of earning that authorization. Don’t forget to consider other factors as well, like the ability to create custom workflows and dependabilities that accurately capture governmental processes.

Additionally, make the most of product demos, free accounts and free trials so you can develop a full understanding of the software before committing to a paid plan. Implementing a new government project management software solution or importing data from one platform to another is no small feat, so you want to be confident in your decision before you make the leap.


We reviewed these government project management software solutions based on a number of criteria, including pricing, ease of use, user interface design and the learning curve. We also weighed additional features such as automation, project views, templates and time tracking. We evaluated these platforms by consulting demo videos, user reviews and product documentation.

Read next: 8 Best Healthcare Project Management Software

Wed, 09 Aug 2023 18:43:00 -0500 en-US text/html
Killexams : Responsible use of AI in government fraud prevention

How can government agencies best use generative artificial intelligence applications to fight fraud that is growing more sophisticated with each passing month?

As the private sector invests heavily in generative artificial intelligence (AI) applications, the public sector is playing catch-up. To combat sophisticated fraud attempts, government agencies are increasingly turning to generative AI, while carefully considering the philosophical, functional, and ethical challenges of deploying AI technology.

The wide range of new government benefit programs released during the COVID-19 pandemic set the stage for an uptick in government fraud activity. Three years later, fraudulent activity has not slowed, and experts predict that these behaviors will persist.

Large-dollar government programs remain the biggest targets of fraudsters, with illicit billing schemes and forged documents being to apply for legitimate benefits remaining the top forms of governmental fraud. State agencies are more vulnerable to such fraud than local governments due to the breadth of programs and dependence on online application portals. The situation is worsened because of limited government budgets, a loss of institutional knowledge due to large-scale retirements, and an increased workload in understaffed government offices.

The Wild West of AI experimentation

Federal agencies seem to be embracing AI more rapidly compared to state agencies, according to a 2020 report by the Administrative Conference of the United States, which revealed that 45% of 142 federal departments, agencies, and subagencies were already experimenting with AI tools.

While the federal government follows the lead of private sector companies in the financial and healthcare industries in adapting to AI, government tools still have some catching up to do. Further, government AI tools lag in sophistication, are mostly developed internally, and lack clear reporting on how effectively they meet agency needs, the report showed.

Indeed, AI has particular strengths in identifying unique activities that don’t conform to regular patterns across large data sets, offering the opportunity to reduce fraud and reduce the costs of detection for many organizations. As individual actors and organized crime rings continue to target government benefit programs with high-tech schemes, government agencies must stay up-to-date with AI technology to effectively detect and prevent fraud attempts.

Challenges to AI implementation

The adoption of the AI Training Act, enacted in October 2022, highlights the federal government’s future approach to using AI technology. The new law instructs federal agency employees to explore AI’s potential benefits for the federal government, while also considering the risks and ensuring privacy, safety, and reliability in its use.

Philosophically, the use of AI in government decision-making is challenging because many AI tools lack transparency. Government decisions, especially in administrative matters, require an explanation when services or benefits are denied to the public. Government organizations, which are held to high standards of transparency and accountability, could restrict some elements of AI’s deep learning in order to make the decisions reached more understandable.

However, agencies would want to avoid disclosing their internal AI tools, so as not to risk bad actors reverse-engineering government tools to continue to perpetuate fraud, which is counterintuitive to expectations of government transparency.

Functionally, the implementation of AI across federal agencies may face challenges from the 49-year-old Privacy Act, under which federal agencies are prohibited from sharing data across organizations. Yet generative AI relies on an increasingly large demo of standardized data.

Mitigating risks of model bias

As of 2020, federal government agencies using generative AI lacked the protocols to assess potential model bias, which poses risks to both program beneficiaries and the agencies themselves. Model bias is a known susceptibility of AI, in which data used to train a model may lead to systematic errors, favoring one outcome over others. Machine learning may further encode this bias, and discrimination becomes more likely with a larger data set as it may flag protected characteristics with a higher probability. This can result in unfair impacts on certain protected groups that would damage public trust.

Users within organizations must prioritize ensuring that their AI systems are trustworthy — meaning fair, transparent, accountable, safe, secure and private. Examples of this problem continue to flare up. For example, the U.K. Department of Work and Pensions faced criticism for their lack of transparency in the deployment of AI against welfare fraud during the COVID-19 pandemic. The department’s algorithms were not fully explained, and their ability to test for unfair impacts was limited.

Further, a 2023 IBM study found that more than half of the 3,000-plus CEOS interviewed expressed concern about cybersecurity issues related to the use of generative AI, a threat that is exacerbated by the continued growth of the Internet of Things.

In response to these concerns, the State of Maine’s Chief Information Security Officer Nathan Willigar took the newsworthy step of declaring a six-month pause on use of generative AI in state government. The purpose of this pause is to assess risk and develop policies and procedures across state agencies. One of the major reasons Willigar offered for the pause is his concern of adversarial uses that could threaten cybersecurity.

For these and other reasons, it could be argued — from an ethical standpoint — that generative AI is not an appropriate tool to use across all government systems, such as the justice system. While AI can reduce barriers for access to justice for vulnerable populations and cut costs, some argue that the human-guided nature of justice cannot be replicated by a machine.

Striking the right balance between utilizing AI and maintaining human-guided systems is the fine line government agencies must navigate. If the public suspects that AI use leads to unfair or inequitable outcomes, they will be less likely to be supportive of government innovation. Therefore, before fully embracing AI, government organizations must prepare their teams for its responsible use.

How governments can best prepare for AI implementation

Enhancing baseline user education on how algorithms work, avoiding and correcting model bias, and standardizing and compiling data in a way that respects basic human rights, including privacy, are critically important steps for government agencies as they move to implement AI-back tools and solutions.

The private tech sector often employs the concept of failing fast to learn quickly from mistakes. Public agencies might want to take a page from that book in order to Strengthen product delivery and maintain public trust by creating sandboxes where AI can be internally tested, evaluated, and refined before public deployment.

Government agencies need to carefully consider the ethical implications of using generative AI in different contexts. Agencies also should collaborate with subject matter experts, including lawyers, ethicists, and social scientists, to address the negative risks of AI and mitigate them.

Tue, 15 Aug 2023 10:06:00 -0500 en-US text/html
Killexams : The Financial Legacy of the Nuclear Tests on Bikini Atoll

This transcript was prepared by a transcription service. This version may not be in its final form and may be updated.

Speaker 1: Tenseness... Now about five seconds to go. And...

Jessica Mendoza: In 1946 at the dawn of the Cold War, the US ramped up its tests of nuclear bombs.

Speaker 1: Many miles away the raging might of searing flame, crushing force, and deadly radioactive water is seen falling in a killing mist as the great...

Jessica Mendoza: One test site was the American territory of Bikini Atoll. Over 12 years, a total of 23 atomic bombs were detonated at and around the chain of islands. But before it was a nuclear test site, it was home to more than a hundred people. The US government evacuated those islanders ahead of the experiments. And for decades, they were nuclear nomads, hopping from island to island, often facing harsh conditions, sometimes starvation. Eventually the US government agreed to set aside funding to help the people of Bikini and their descendants. Descendants like Jessy Elmi, whose grandmother was 15 when she was forced to leave Bikini Atoll.

Jessy Elmi: Three islands were disintegrated and they can never go back. It's radioactive.

Jessica Mendoza: Jessy now lives in Florida, but she has relied on the funds to help with everyday expenses.

Jessy Elmi: I would be able to get diapers or baby food or whatever. It would help pay for school books and papers and pens and things like that.

Jessica Mendoza: Those payments were dependable until earlier this year.

Jessy Elmi: In February, we just stopped getting our payments. The date came up, it passed, and then another two weeks passed by and now it turned into a month. And then after that, the next payment, and we're like, "Hmm, so is there no money anymore? Something's going on here."

Jessica Mendoza: Welcome to The Journal, our show about money, business and power. I'm Jessica Mendoza. It's Friday, August 18th. Coming up on the show, Compensation Funds were set aside for the descendants of Bikini Atoll. What happened to their money? Where exactly is Bikini Atoll?

Dan Frosch: It's kind of in-between the Philippines and Hawaii. That's sort of a good way of looking at it.

Jessica Mendoza: That's our colleague Dan Frosch.

Dan Frosch: It's literally sort of a speck of an island, or islands I should say, that almost look like a bracelet or an anklet if you're looking at it from above. It's in the middle of the South Pacific.

Jessica Mendoza: Bikini Atoll is part of the larger chain of islands known as the Marshall Islands. More than 80 years after those nuclear tests, Bikini Atoll is still uninhabitable. So what would you find if you were to visit Bikini Atoll now? If you were walking around on the beach, what would you see? Can you drink the well water? Lay on the sand?

Dan Frosch: So you would find a largely deserted series of islands. You can't drink the groundwater there. According to researchers, it is still radioactive, as are the coconuts. And you will see coconut crabs who typically feast on these coconuts, but are also radioactive because of the nuclear fallout from decades earlier.

Jessica Mendoza: There were 167 people living on Bikini Atoll ahead of the blasts. The US government relocated those families and told them two things. First, that the residents would be able to return to Bikini eventually. And second...

Anderson Jibas: What you're doing is in service to humanity. It's going to help.

Dan Frosch: I mean, they were told that their actions would help end all wars.

Jessica Mendoza: Quite a promise to be making.

Dan Frosch: That's right.

Jessica Mendoza: After years of displacement, descendants of Bikini were still struggling. So in the 1980s, Congress decided to intervene.

Dan Frosch: The US government did several things that they thought would help the Bikini Atoll people deal with the hardship that they had endured.

Jessica Mendoza: The government set up two separate funds to help. The first pot of money was a $110 million trust fund.

Dan Frosch: Now, this money was initially intended to clean up Bikini Atoll and hopefully at some point get people back onto the islands chain to their homeland.

Jessica Mendoza: But it quickly became clear that cleanup from 23 nuclear bombs was not feasible. So that money went to the remote government representing the Bikinian diaspora spread across other islands.

Dan Frosch: And so the US government decided to let that money be used to help the Bikinians who are essentially living in existence in exile, operate their own government and pay for various expenses, schools, housing, scholarships, operating expenses for their government in the two places that they had largely resettled, which were Kili and Ejit.

Jessica Mendoza: Think of it as an operations fund. And the Bikinian government had some freedom to spend this money the way they wanted to. The second fund was for compensating Bikinians and their descendants.

Dan Frosch: We created something called the Bikini Claims Trust, a totally different fund. And the purpose of that fund was to disperse quarterly payments to Bikinians and their descendants, which in a single year typically amounted to about $500.

Jessica Mendoza: This fund allocated $75 million for Compensation. It was to be doled out every three months to some 7,000 descendants of those original residents. People now spread across the Marshall Islands and the United States. So the people of Bikini Atoll had two funds worth millions, one main operations fund for running the remote government and a second fund for compensation checks. For decades, the operations fund was overseen by the US Interior Department.

Dan Frosch: And every year, the Bikinian people would go to the Interior department and say, "We need several million dollars to help operate our government and to build houses on the island of Kili and Ejit where our people are living." And there would be a back and forth and they'd finally come up with a figure and that money would be used for those purposes. And there would be a sort of an extensive auditing process to ensure that the money from that fund was used for exactly what the Bikinian people and their government said it was going to be used for. And that process went largely unencumbered until 2017. And then something happened in 2017 that would change everything for the Bikinian people and how that money was dispersed.

Jessica Mendoza: A new leader with big promises would take charge. That's after the break. In 2016, the Bikinian diaspora elected a new mayor. His name is Anderson Jibas. Jibas and the government of Bikini Atoll don't actually run things from Bikini Atoll, since the islands are basically deserted. They work remotely from Majuro, the capital of the Marshall Islands. As Mayor, Jibas called on Washington to supply Bikinians more autonomy over the operations fund. He said he wanted to put some of it in the stock market and leverage it for investments in tourism and infrastructure.

Anderson Jibas: This money is not enough to resettle the people of Bikini. At the same time, as we encounter many challenges through the time of climate change. And as we try to survive on these isolated islands with not enough financial and facing health issues and education problems, all this comes together and we try to make sure we provide for the people. And this money is not enough to relocate.

Dan Frosch: Jibas, like some others in the Bikini community, thought that the US government should not be controlling this pot of money, that the limits on what it could be used for, were too restrictive and were impeding the advancement of the Bikinian people. And were really just sort of an extension of a paternalistic colonialist past.

Jessica Mendoza: Eventually, the US government gave over control of the money.

Dan Frosch: The Interior Department agrees with him and says, "You know what? You're right. We'll let you guys manage this fund. We'll let you withdraw as much money as you want at any time. We're out of here." Almost immediately they went on a colossal spending spree.

Jessica Mendoza: What were they buying?

Dan Frosch: Any and everything you can imagine, really. A new fleet of government cars, a new pickup truck for the Mayor, a new jet plane as an investment that they hoped would revive scuba tourism. Their idea was, "Well, maybe we can use this plane to make scuba diving in the area more accessible to bring in more divers." But they had not unfortunately finalized the deal with one of the airline operators in the area.

Jessica Mendoza: A lot of these investments tanked, like that three point $25 million airplane. Dan says it's been sitting idle at an airport in Taiwan for two years.

Dan Frosch: So this plane has not been used for this burgeoning scuba business that the Bikini leader had envisioned. Some land that they had bought in Hawaii and had hoped to develop is sitting vacant, also has not been developed. So all these revenue generating investments that Bikini leaders had made had really failed to deliver on the money that would've been used to replenish this fund.

Jessica Mendoza: Before the Jibas' administration took control, the main operations fund for the Bikinian government totaled nearly $60 million. Within six years, it's been drained to less than 0.2% of that amount.

Dan Frosch: What struck me most about this story was the brazenness of the spending on the part of the leadership of the Bikinian people.

Jessica Mendoza: But people could see that?

Dan Frosch: People could see it. Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of trips. There was even a check that we viewed in our reporting that paid for the Mayor's vacation. And you can imagine that it adds up.

Jessica Mendoza: Jibas attributed criticisms of his government spending to political opponents. The money to run the government was gone.

Dan Frosch: So if you live on Kili and you work for the government, you're not getting a check anymore because there's no money in this fund that was used to pay government employees to operate the government. Power on the island is having to be rationed because there's no money in this fund to pay the bills for electricity.

Jessica Mendoza: And so the Jibas government turned to that second pot of money, the Compensation Fund. According to Jibas, there was still $29 million in there, earmarked for quarterly checks for Bikinians and their descendants.

Dan Frosch: The Bikinian leaders say, "Okay, we got to put the power back on. We got to pay our employees. Let's go into this claims trust fund and start getting the government back up again."

Jessica Mendoza: But there was a problem.

Dan Frosch: This trust fund called the Claims Trust Fund has very strict parameters on how much money you can withdraw per year, and very strict parameters on when you can withdraw again after you've exceeded your annual limits.

Jessica Mendoza: Dipping into that Compensation Fund set off alarm bells. And while Jibas and his team say they believed they could keep withdrawing money from it.

Dan Frosch: It turns out they were wrong. And once they withdrew money from that trust fund to get the government back up again, the trustee said to them, "Whoa, wait a minute. You've reached your limits. You can't withdraw any more money from it." So that is where we are now. These quarterly payments have stopped and there's no indication of when the spigot will be turned back on

Jessica Mendoza: Two funds. One completely drained on that spending spree, the other locked up for the foreseeable future. The Interior Department has referred the issue to its Inspector General for investigation. Jibas has defended his actions saying that the US government never provided enough money to meet the needs of Bikinians. He added that some of the investments were successful and others might still make money. He also blamed the administrators of the trust for barring access to the Compensation Fund. In the meantime, 7,000 Bikinians and their descendants have been left in the lurch. Many of them need those quarterly payments. Some descendants who ended up on Kili earn as little as $3 an hour. What does this story tell us about the long and lasting impact of those 20th century nuclear tests?

Dan Frosch: That's a really good question, and I think if there's anything to be learned from what's happening to the Bikinian people right now, it's that the fallout from these nuclear tests did not simply manifest itself in radioactive ash and elevated radiation levels. That it's impacting people to this day, financially, culturally, in ways that are really hard to quantify. And then the other sort of question becomes, what is the US government's roles still? Is it their responsibility to make things right, to make sure that Bikinians' financial situation is completely settled? Or can the government simply wash its hands of the whole thing and let Bikinians fend for themselves? What is America's responsibility to these people?

Jessica Mendoza: Jessy Elmi, the Bikinian descendant says her grandmother lives on Kili Island and has no income besides the compensation payments. Jessy has joined protests and her sister is running against Jibas in an upcoming election.

Jessy Elmi: The United States promised to take care of the people of Bikini if they would move and leave their island, so that they could do their bomb testing. They trusted them and they failed them. Now, after all of that, their own leaders decided to let them down by not taking care of what little bit they had, and there they are. It's just too sad.

Jessica Mendoza: That's all for today, Friday, August 18th. Additional reporting in this episode by Christine Mai-Duc. The Journal is a co-production of Gimlet and the Wall Street Journal. The show is made by Maher Adoni, Annie Baxter, Catherine Brewer, Maria Byrne, Pia Gadkari, Rachel Humphreys, Ryan Knutson, Matt Kwang, Kate Linebaugh, Annie Minoff, Laura Morris, Enrique Pérez de la Rosa, Sarah Platt, Alan Rodriguez Espinoza, Heather Rogers, Jonathan Sanders, Pierce Singgih, Jeevika Verma, Lisa Wang, Catherine Whelan, and me, Jessica Mendoza. Our engineers are Griffin Tanner, Nathan Singhapok, and Peter Leonard. Our theme music is by So Wiley. Additional music this week from Catherine Anderson, Peter Leonard, Bobby Lord, Emma Munger, So Wylie and Blue Dot Sessions. Fact checking by Nicole Pasulka. Thanks for listening. See you on Monday.

Fri, 18 Aug 2023 08:16:00 -0500 en text/html
Killexams : Government exploring crash test norms for trucks

As India gears up to adopt its first-ever vehicle crash test star rating system for passenger vehicles later in the year, the government is contemplating bringing crash test regulations for commercial vehicles also.

Presently India does not have a crash test norm for trucks and buses despite the market churning out nearly 1 million a year commercial vehicles (CV). India’s CV market is the third largest in the world, suggest estimates, and is set to grow at a CAGR of 9% till 2028.

Speaking to FE, Satyakam Arya, managing director and CEO, Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV) said, “The Indian CV market still does not mandate the crash safety norms for cabins whereas in Europe these are already in place.”

DICV, which sells medium and heavy trucks and buses under the Bharat Benz brand, has been offering trucks in India that adhere to the European crash norms.

“We are the only company to offer trucks adhering to the European crash safety norms to the Indian consumer. In case of a downtime (time taken to bring the truck back on the road) is much lower because the truck cabins are designed as per those standards,” Arya added.

The focus is also on the micro and small commercial vehicles which often ply at speeds similar to passenger vehicles like cars and SUVs, warranting the need for them to be brought under crash test norms.

The auto industry has had discussions with the government on getting the crash test norms to India. “There have been discussions with the government on bringing these norms to India. These norms should be brought about as soon as possible,” Arya added.

While Tata Motors did not comment on the proposed crash test safety norms while responding to a query from FE, a senior official said that the company is working and has deployed both active and passive safety.

Active safety is driven through a smart design, fatigue-free experience for drivers, active vehicle systems and driver assist features to avoid collisions. Passive safety is ensured through structural integrity engineered for management and absorption of the energy from a crash and provisioning of a safety survival space to the occupants.

Tata Motors claims its CV products have anti-lock braking systems, traction control, electronic stability control, hill hold assist and a host of connected vehicle features.

Next level of active safety systems like, Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) that includes collision mitigation system, lane departure warning system, driver drowsiness monitoring system/ inattention detection and on-board tyre pressure monitoring system, will add to the overall safety of the CV occupants.

Rajendra Petkar, president and chief technology officer, Tata Motors said, “We have introduced these features, without waiting to be driven by regulations. Considering the volume of commercial vehicles, ADAS technologies will go a long way in making India’s roads safer.”

A typical medium or heavy truck’s cabin is supposed to be designed in such a way that the deformation patterns of the cabin structure during an impact can assure sufficient survival space for occupants. According to a study, 20% of the deaths of the truck drivers in India in case accidents happen because they could not be taken out of the cabin in the event of an accident.

The focus is also on the micro and small commercial vehicles which often ply at speeds similar to passenger vehicles like cars and SUVs, warranting the need for crash test norms.

Sun, 13 Aug 2023 08:54:00 -0500 en text/html
Killexams : Financials Tick Up as Treasury Yields Test Multi-Year Highs -- Financials Roundup

Shares of banks and other financial institutions ticked up as Treasury yields rose to near multi-year highs.

China's largest surviving property developer, Country Garden Holdings, is scrambling to avoid the failure that claimed several rivals as it warned that it may have lost as much as $7.6 billion in the first half of the year.

Swiss bank UBS said it would no longer rely on Swiss government assistance tied to its emergency takeover of Credit Suisse in March, marking an important step in the complex and politically fraught absorption of its smaller rival.

Write to Rob Curran at

Fri, 11 Aug 2023 09:10:00 -0500 en-US text/html
Killexams : Minimum wage has passed the high inflation test

As policy ideas go, the minimum wage has had a great run of it. Productivity might have been disappointing after the financial crisis, average pay growth might have been weak, but the minimum wage was one policy tool that seemed to help people at the bottom of the ladder.

When Germany introduced a minimum wage in 2015, it reduced wage inequality without hurting people’s employment prospects.

When the UK’s Conservative government supercharged the minimum wage for over-25s in 2016, it didn’t do much for productivity but it did reduce low pay while employment levels continued to rise. Other countries and regions took the same approach, from South Korea to a swath of US states.

Then the pandemic and the war in Ukraine turned the macroeconomy upside down. So how has the minimum wage fared through this bout of high inflation – did it run into trouble?

It could have gone wrong in a couple of ways. On the one hand, the various mechanisms that exist in different countries for uprating the wage floor might have proved too slow or too cautious to keep up with the surge in prices.

That could have led to a sharp fall in real-terms pay for workers at the bottom – a bad outcome for people who are especially vulnerable to the price shock as they spend a bigger chunk of their incomes on energy and food.

None of this is to say that wage floors aren’t necessary. Job markets aren’t always hot, after all.

On the other hand, there was also a risk of the opposite problem: that minimum wages could rise quickly, particularly in countries where they are indexed to inflation rates, and fuel a self-reinforcing loop of higher pay and higher prices.

The good news is that neither of these things appear to have happened, according to research by economists at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Most OECD countries have held their nerve and increased their minimum wages to try to keep up with inflation (the US is an exception: at the federal level, its $7.25 (€6.65) an hour minimum wage hasn’t increased since 2009).

On average across OECD countries, nominal statutory minimum wages increased by 29 per cent between December 2020 and May 2023, while prices increased by about 25 per cent. In other words, minimum wages proved “a useful policy instrument to protect the most vulnerable workers from rising prices”, the researchers concluded.

Nor did they find much reason to worry about wage-price spirals. Their calculations suggest that a 1 per cent increase in the minimum wage only adds up to 0.09 per cent in the US and 0.23 per cent in France to aggregate wage growth.

Minimum wages seem to have passed the test of high inflation, then. But it’s worth noting that employers have been so hungry for staff that the dynamics of supply and demand have pushed up wages for people in lower-paid jobs anyway.

Take the UK. For most of this century, the number of minimum wage jobs has been growing, from less than half a million in 2000 to well over 1.5 million by 2019. As the pay floor has risen, more people have found themselves bunched up on it.

But between 2019 and 2022, the number of minimum wage jobs fell unexpectedly by about 400,000 – the first time that has happened in 20 years.

Why? Analysis by the UK Low Pay Commission suggests wage growth has been faster for people paid slightly above the minimum wage.

In particular, between 2019 and 2022 (when the minimum wage rose to £9.50 an hour), the number of jobs that paid exactly £10 an hour more than doubled from 190,000 to 420,000.

Employers in low-paying sectors told the LPC there had been so much competition for scarce workers, they just had to pay up.

For all the good a minimum wage can do for workers – nothing beats simply being in demand.

The Association of Convenience stores, for example, reported that its members “‘tend to employ store colleagues at or just above” the minimum wage but it had proved “increasingly difficult to recruit staff at this level”.

When I read the UK data, I was reminded of a conversation I had last year with a warehouse worker in the US, who argued that the “whole decade-long battle over raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour” had been superseded.

“The free market already decided,” he said. “Now no one takes a job for under $15 an hour.” And employers desperate for staff haven’t just raised pay – an OECD analysis of online job adverts shows there has also been an increase in the number of US employers promising health insurance and paid time off.

None of this is to say that wage floors aren’t necessary. Job markets aren’t always hot, after all. But it is a reminder that – for all the good a minimum wage can do for workers – nothing beats simply being in demand. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2023

Tue, 22 Aug 2023 17:00:00 -0500 en text/html
Killexams : Ask the Financial Doctor: What is the earnings test for Social Security benefits?

Q: My neighbor donated some books and videos to the library. Can my neighbor take a deduction on the Michigan tax return?

A: There is no tax credit or deduction for donations to a library on the Michigan tax return.

Q: Is there a maximum age at which I will be forced to file for my Social Security benefits?

A: No, the Social Security Administration will not compel you to take your benefits. Taking benefits ahead of full retirement age (FRA) will result in a permanent reduction, postponing benefits past your FRA will increase your benefits by 8% per year up to age 70. Waiting beyond age 70 makes no sense because you could lose some monthly benefits. If you forget to file upon turning 70, you can apply for retroactive benefits up to six months.

Q: Can my Social Security check be garnished by a creditor?

A: Private creditors cannot garnish Social Security checks but the federal government can. If you defaulted on a VA or student loan or you owe money to the IRS or Medicare or are required to pay child support, then the federal government can garnish part of your Social Security check. The garnishment is usually 15% but could be as high as 60% for child support.

Q: What is the definition of the primary insurance amount (PIA) that the Social Security Administration calculates?

A: The primary insurance amount (PIA) is the Social Security benefit that you would receive at your full retirement age (FRA). Your benefits are reduced if you receive benefits earlier and are increased by 8% per year up to age 70 if you start benefits after your FRA.

Q: I am applying for a mortgage and need my tax returns for the last two years. How do I get them from the Internal Revenue Service?

A: Copies of your tax returns are generally available for the current tax year and as far back as six years. The fee per tax year is $43. Complete and mail form 4506 to request a copy of your tax return. Most lenders will accept a tax return transcript. A tax return transcript shows most line items and is free. You can request a transcript online, by phone or mail.

Q: Can I borrow money from my IRA?

A: No, there is no such thing as an IRA loan.

Q: If I lose Social Security benefits due to the earnings test, are they permanently lost?

A: No, the Social Security benefits are not permanently lost. The withheld amount will be restored as a delayed retirement credit, which will increase your Social Security benefits once you reach full retirement age (FRA).

Q: What is the earnings test for Social Security benefits?

A: The earnings test determines how much of your Social Security benefits are reduced when you have wages. The reduction depends on your age. If you are under full retirement age (FRA) for all of 2023, you would forfeit $1 in benefits for every $2 earned over $21,240. For example, if you applied for Social Security at 62 and earned $40,000 this year, you would lose $9,380 in benefits ($40,000 – $21,240 = $18,760 ; $18,760/2 = $9,380). There is no earnings test for wages after you reached FRA.

Q: When are estimated taxes due?

A: The year is divided into four payment periods, or due dates. Those dates generally are April 15, June 15, Sept. 15 and Jan. 15 (next tax year). Form 1040ES provides the instructions, worksheets, schedules and payment vouchers. The easiest way to pay estimated taxes is electronically through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System or EFTPS. You can also pay estimated taxes by check or money order using the payment voucher that comes with form 1040ES.

Q: My uncle passed away two years ago and I believe there is an unclaimed insurance policy covering my uncle. How do I check for the missing insurance policy? If it exists how do I make a claim?

A: If you know the name of the insurance company contact them. If you do not know the name contact the large insurance companies, AIG, John Hancock, MetLife, Nationwide and Prudential. Several insurance companies have online tools for finding lost policies. Use the site,, to search for missing insurance policies. After a lost policy is found, you need to provide a death certificate and proper beneficiary proof to claim the insurance.

Q: I have a ROTH IRA valued at $166,000. My total contributions were $77,000 with the balance being investment earnings. Can I take out the $77,000 anytime without penalty?

A: Yes, your contributions can be taken anytime without penalty. The investment earnings would incur a 10% penalty and be taxable if withdrawn before 59½ or if the account is under five years old. There are some exceptions to the 10% penalty such as payment for education, paying for a first-time home purchase and if you become disabled. If you’ve met the five-year holding requirement, and you are older than 59½ you can withdraw money from a Roth IRA with no taxes or penalties.

Helpful telephone numbers for any tax concerns:

• IRS Help (800) 829-1040 • MI Help (517) 636-4486

• IRS Forms (800) 829-3676 • MI Forms (517) 636-4486

• IRS Refund Info. (800) 829-4477 • MI Refund Info. (517) 636-4486

Helpful websites:



Richard Rysiewski, a Certified Financial Planner, welcomes all questions on tax and financial matters.  Please send to Richard Rysiewski, Financial Doctor, 3001 Hartford Lane, Shelby Twp., MI 48316.

Wed, 09 Aug 2023 19:16:00 -0500 Richard Rysiewski en-US text/html
Killexams : LA Times Today: Oppenheimer’s test site wasn’t remote. It was populated by Hispanos and Native Americans

The new blockbuster movie, “Oppenheimer,” is generating a renewed interest in the dawn of the atomic age. But what you won’t learn from the movie is how Hispano and Native American communities living in the fallout zone of the bomb bore the brunt of 10 pounds of plutonium that spread across the Tularosa Basin in New Mexico.

L.A. Times contributor Cat Cardenas joined Lisa McRee to discuss the decades-long quest for the truth and financial compensation from the U.S. government.

Thu, 10 Aug 2023 09:05:00 -0500 en text/html
Killexams : Chinese regulators vow more financial support to tackle property sector crisis No result found, try new keyword!Chinese regulators vowed on Sunday to provide more support to stabilize the country's teetering property market as South Korean officials sought to calm fears the crisis would spill across ... Sun, 20 Aug 2023 04:13:15 -0500 en-us text/html Killexams : As China’s property crisis plagues its economy and financial system, is a ‘Lehman Moment’ looming? No result found, try new keyword!China Evergrande Group reported losses of 812 billion yuan (US$112 billion) for 2021 and 2022, while fellow property developer Country Garden is on the verge of a bond default A so-called Lehman ... Tue, 22 Aug 2023 12:00:11 -0500 en-us text/html
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