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Under pressure from Congress, IRS suspends Equifax contract

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON – The IRS suspended a $7.25 million contract with the credit reporting company Equifax Friday after members of Congress complained the tax agency had awarded a no-bid contract to a company that recently had a massive data beach. The IRS had contracted with Equifax to validate the identity of taxpayers communicating with the agency on the telephone or through its website. In a statement Friday, the IRS said it suspended the contract as "a precautionary step" while the agency reviews the company's security systems. "During this suspension, the IRS will continue its review of Equifax systems and security," the statement reads. "There is still no indication of any compromise of the limited IRS data shared under the contract."


U.S. missile contracts have surged since decision to exit arms treaty, study shows

The Japan Times

GENEVA - Washington has signed more than $1 billion in new missile contracts in the three months since it announced plans to withdraw from a key Cold War-era arms treaty, campaigners said Thursday. "The withdrawal from the INF treaty has fired the starting pistol on a new Cold War," warned Beatrice Fihn, who heads the Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). U.S. President Donald Trump announced last October that his country would leave the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) agreement concluded between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union in 1987. Washington, which accused Russia of violating the treaty through a new missile system, began the official process of withdrawing from the pact in February. Russian President Vladimir Putin responded by saying Moscow would also leave the INF treaty, which is considered the cornerstone of global arms control.


Pentagon seeks an extra 30 days to decide on JEDI cloud contract

ZDNet

This week (August 17, to be precise) was supposed to be the deadline for the Department of Defense to announce the winner of the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract. But last week, the Pentagon asked for an additional 30 days to issue its decision, which would make September 16 the new deadline. The Pentagon requested the 30-day delay on August 10 via a court filing, as noted by Nextgov.com. FedScoop also said that AWS' and Microsoft's lawyers were not against the proposed delay, according to the DoD's lawyers. In March, the DoD requested revised bids from AWS and Microsoft for the storage solutions component of the ten-year $10 billion JEDI contract. As of late July, the Pentagon still was expecting the JEDI award announcement by the end of August.


Businesses urged to 'do more' to win public contracts

BBC News

Businesses looking to secure public sector contracts will need to do more to help improve society, the UK government is set to announce. Ministers want firms to tackle issues like modern slavery and climate change. The UK, which spends £49bn with outside organisations every year, will also try to award more contracts to small firms. It is "morally right" for the UK to make certain demands of companies taking taxpayers' money, Cabinet Office minister David Lidington will say. However, the government stressed that the changes to public procurement would not add complexity or increased costs to the process.


Junior doctors reject new contract

BBC News

Junior doctors and medical students in England have voted to reject the contract that has been offered to them by the government. British Medical Association members voted 58% to 42% against accepting the deal. BMA leaders had urged members to accept the terms, which were announced in May after talks with the government resumed following six strikes. BMA junior doctor leader Johann Malawana immediately resigned. In a letter to members, Dr Malawana said the NHS was lurching "headlong into a wider crisis" that was of the government's making.