U.S. Policy Update for Tuesday, 26 July 2016

U.S. Olympic women's gymnastics team members, clockwise from top left: Ashton Locklear, Aly Raisman, Madison Kocian, Gabby Douglas, Ragan Smith, Simone Biles, MyKayla Skinner and Laurie Hernandez (AP Images)

Today’s topics:  Scotland holiday closure / Free State of Jones / Millennial voting / Gymnastics at Rio Olympics / Munich attack / Restoring vision /  DoD on Counter-ISIL Efforts

Scotland Holiday

The U.S. Consulate-General in Edinburgh, Scotland, will be CLOSED on Monday, 01 August 2016 for the Scottish Summer Bank Holiday. The Consulate will re-open the next business day, on Tuesday 02 August.


Olympics – U.S. Gymnastics Team

22 July 2016 Meet the U.S. women’s gymnastics team  The 2016 U.S. women’s gymnastics team is favored to win gold at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, with one of the strongest squads in history.    If they meet such high expectations, these athletes will follow in the footsteps of the “Fierce Five,” the U.S. team that won gold in London four years ago, and the “Magnificent Seven,” the U.S. team competing in Atlanta in 1996 and the first women’s gymnastics team to earn gold for the U.S.

It’s too early to predict what this year’s team might be called, but it’s a good bet you will be hearing about them. Here’s a brief introduction to the five principal U.S. gymnasts. (There are also the three alternates.)

2016 Summer Olympics logo
2016 Summer Olympics logo

Want to read more? Our sister site, Share.America.gov has a feature on this years’ Summer Olympics in Rio!


U.S. Elections

US Embassy London election night 2012
US Embassy London election night 2012

26 July 2016 Young Americans may decide who wins the White House The generation of Americans known as millennials, most of whom are between the ages of 18 and 35, has surpassed the baby boomers (ages 52–70) as the largest living U.S. generation.

And that has some political pundits saying that the 2016 presidential election hinges on whether the millennials show up to vote.

As almost all of them have reached 18, the age at which Americans are eligible to vote for president, the generation has nearly caught up to the boomers when it comes to their share of the American electorate.

In past elections, millennials have not turned out to vote in large numbers, especially when compared to other age groups. In 2012, a less-than-impressive 46 percent of eligible millennials voted, Pew reports. Compare that to 69 percent of eligible baby boomers who voted that year.


Munich Attack

22 July 2016 United States Condemns Attack in Munich The United States condemns today’s attack in Munich, Germany. We offer our condolences to the families of the victims and wish a quick recovery for the many injured.  We are in close contact with German officials and stand ready to provide any and all assistance requested by our close friend and ally Germany in this time of crisis.

Free State of Jones

Group of men in US Civil war dress race across a driveway
Newt (Matthew McConaughey) and his men (including Mahershala Ali) storm the Deason house in the film Free State of Jones

22 July 2016 Screening of Free State of Jones  In partnership with the Eccles Centre on American Studies and Studio Canal, the U.S. Embassy in London was delighted to present a sneak peak screening and discussion last week of the new movie Free State of Jones, prior to its general UK release on September 30, 2016.  The event brought together a mix of students, historians and other professionals from the U.S. and UK and highlighted the special relationship between the two countries.


Restoring Sight

Stanford Medicine tweet - Vision restored to once-blind mice:
Stanford Medicine tweet – Vision restored to once-blind mice:

25 July 2016 After giving blind mice vision, scientists hope to help humans    Most scientists once thought that the brain cells of mammals, once damaged, could never be repaired. But researchers at Stanford University in California have regrown damaged optic nerves in mice, restoring hope that similar treatments could help people with glaucoma, Alzheimer’s disease and even spinal cord injuries.

How did they do it? With two methods: flipping on a “growth switch,” a gene that encourages growth of cells in the central nervous system, and “exercising” the eye by having mice look at displays of bold, shifting patterns.


Defense Department on Counter-ISIL Efforts

Two men sitting at a conference table
Defense Secretary Ash Carter, left, and Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speak with reporters at the Pentagon, 25 July 2016 (DoD photo)

25 July 2016 Counter-ISIL Meetings Came At Critical Time, Carter Says    Important initiatives to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant that evolved from last week’s counter-ISIL coalition meetings came at a critical time in light of recent events, Defense Secretary Ash Carter told reporters today.

Carter emphasized both attacks serve as reminders of the threats overseas and in the American homeland. Carter and Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman expressed their condolences to the victims and families of both attacks in today’s news conference at the Pentagon.

Last week’s counter-ISIL defense ministers meeting at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland focused on three objectives, Carter said: to destroy ISIL’s parent tumor in Iraq and Syria, to combat ISIL’s metastases as it emerges around the world, and most importantly, Carter said, to support “our government, law enforcement, homeland security and intelligence partners as they protect the homeland and our people.”