The Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations Announces the 2020 Industry Advisory Group Annual Meeting

17 Aug

Office of the Spokesperson

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) will host a meeting of the Industry Advisory Group (IAG) on Tuesday, September 22, 2020 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., virtually via WebEx Event.

This committee serves the U.S. government solely in an advisory capacity concerning industry and academia’s latest concepts, methods, best practices, innovations, and ideas related to OBO’s mission to provide safe, secure, resilient and functional facilities that represent the U.S. government to the host nation and support the Department’s achievement of U.S. foreign policy objectives abroad.  These facilities represent American values and the best in American architecture, design, engineering, technology, sustainability, art, culture, and construction execution.

The general public is welcome to attend this meeting. In order to register, you must complete the

registration form via WebEx. Additional information and the registration link are also available at www.state.gov/obo. A meeting notice will also be published in the Federal Register in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

For further information, please contact Christy Foushee at FousheeCT@state.gov.

 

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Financial Sanctions and Visa Restrictions against Ugandan Individuals Involved in Corrupt Adoption Scheme

17 Aug

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

Today, the United States imposed financial sanctions and visa restrictions on four Ugandan individuals for their involvement in activities that victimized young children in a corrupt adoption scheme.  Ugandan judges Moses Mukiibi and Wilson Musalu Musene, and Ugandan lawyer Dorah Mirembe and her associate Patrick Ecobu, participated in a scam whereby young children were removed from their families and placed into a corrupt adoption network, aided by the facilitation of Ugandan officials.  The U.S. government designated these four individuals pursuant to Executive Order 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.  The Department of State also designated Mukiibi and Musene under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2020 (Div. G, P.L. 116-94) due to their involvement in significant corruption.

Together, these individuals engaged in corruption to arrange the adoption of Ugandan children by unwitting parents in the United States.  Mirembe’s law firm used the services of intermediary parties to seek out vulnerable families in remote Ugandan villages, promising parents that their children would be moved to Kampala to further their education.  American prospective adoptive parents then traveled to Uganda to adopt children from an unlicensed children’s home in Kampala.

Mirembe, with the assistance of Ecobu, facilitated bribes to Ugandan judges and other Ugandan government officials to fraudulently procure adoption cases, either directly or through an interlocutor.  Mirembe paid bribes to get cases steered to judges Mukiibi and Musene.  Mukiibi and Musene are current or former government officials who have, directly or indirectly, engaged in corruption.

Under Section 7031(c), once the Secretary of State designates officials of foreign governments for their involvement, directly or indirectly, in significant corruption, those individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States.  The law also requires the Secretary of State to either publicly or privately designate or identify such officials.

Today’s actions demonstrate the United States’ commitment to protecting the dignity of every human being and protecting the United States from those who seek to profit at the expense of others.  These individuals’ actions also resulted in the submission of false documentation to the Department of State for consideration in visa adjudication, a falsification the Department will not tolerate.

For further information regarding the financial sanctions imposed today, please see the Department of the Treasury’s press release available here: https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm1095

 

 

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Forty Years of the South African Development Community

17 Aug

Morgan Ortagus, Department Spokesperson

The United States Government congratulates the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as it celebrates its 40th anniversary. SADC’s goals of promoting regional cooperation and integration, economic growth, socio-economic development, and durable peace and security among its member states have never been more salient.

SADC has achieved notable successes promoting regional peace and security and economic development for the betterment of the SADC region’s most important resource — its people. SADC’s enduring support helped Lesotho negotiate vital government reforms and undertake a peaceful transition of political power. It continues to promote regional peace and security as demonstrated by its positive role in helping Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo resolve a longstanding border disagreement. And through its Southern African Power Pool, SADC is mobilizing resources to address energy shortages that threaten regional development and economic integration.

We encourage SADC to play a proactive role in promoting good governance, respect for human rights, and democratic values, and to hold its members accountable when they fall short. By insisting that all its members adhere to the same universal standards of human rights protection and respect for the rule of law, SADC can to send a powerful message that it intends to be a force for positive change for all citizens across southern Africa.

 

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Trump’s USPS Sabotage Hurts Americans Across The Country

17 Aug

Trump’s sabotage of the United States Postal Office is hurting Americans across the country. Seniors and disabled veterans aren’t getting the medications they need, small businesses owners already struggling from Trump’s failed coronavirus response are suffering from delays, and workers aren’t getting their paychecks on time in the middle of the deepest recession on record.

Seniors and disabled veterans aren’t getting the medications they need:

82-year-old Texas resident: “A man in Humble said he had to go without his daily heart medication for a week due to the delays… He said he’s irritated by the situation because his mail-order medication has never been this late before. ‘There have been a few times in which it’s taken a week, week and a half, two weeks, but this is the first time I actually ran out and checking with the post office didn’t do much good, even though I had a tracking number on it.”

Utah veteran’s wife: “My husband is a disabled vet. He gets his care through the Salt Lake City VA and it comes through the U.S. Postal Service…Alarm bells went off in my head because I know things are going on where mail is delayed with the U.S. Postal Service right now…It shouldn’t be a partisan issue, and frankly, it really isn’t. It’s just recently been made into a partisan issue…My husband shouldn’t be a pawn in this game. Nobody should be a pawn in this game.”

Pennsylvania woman: “The delays imposed on the U.S. Postal Service by new regulations are happening now. My sister, who ordered refills of her mail order medicine a month ago, just received them when she was within one pill of running out.  This is serious business — not that slowing down mail-in ballots is not serious business. It is unbelievable that this is allowed to happen in the United States of America. Lessons learned: Order your mail-order medicines early, the earlier the better, and send your ballots when you get them immediately. Maybe we should start mailing Christmas cards now.”

Small businesses already struggling from the coronavirus pandemic are now suffering from mail delays:

Nebraska small business owner: “I’ve worked so hard to get to this point, where I could own my own business and have a career that I love, and it’s flexible for me and my family. And things like coronavirus and the post office being something that may break my business—it’s just heartbreaking to me.”

Kentucky small business manager: “It’s affecting us big time because we’re a mom and pop shop and that’s how we get our payments, through the mail from our clients. So we’re not getting payments…The last few weeks it’s gotten slower and slower to where this week I’ve gotten one check.”

DC small business owner: “As a small-business owner, I rely on the USPS to get me my mail on time, because on some occasions money needed to pay my bills is in it.”

Americans aren’t receiving much-needed checks and payments on time in the middle of the deepest recession on record:

Alabama resident: “Most times, it may be a week to ten days late. It’s inconsistent and then a lot of times, I get people’s mail that’s not mine…It’s really frustrating because sometimes it’s legal documents being mailed. Sometimes it may be payments.”

Maryland resident: “I have to get my check.” “Another person said, ‘I have to get my check,’ ‘ Ruppersberger said.”

The post Trump’s USPS Sabotage Hurts Americans Across The Country appeared first on Democrats.

Majority Of Voters Know There’s Nothing ‘Phenomenal’ About Trump’s Failed Coronavirus Response

17 Aug

This morning on Fox and Friends, Trump said that we’ve done “phenomenally” on coronavirus, even as the U.S. surpassed 170,000 deaths and more than 1,000 Americans a day on average have died this month. A majority of voters know there’s nothing “phenomenal” about Trump’s failed coronavirus response.

Trump said we’ve done “phenomenally” on coronavirus.

TRUMP: “We’ve done phenomenally on this thing.”

A majority of voters disagree and know that Trump’s coronavirus response has been unsuccessful.

NBC News: “A combined 61 percent of voters believe America’s response to the coronavirus has been unsuccessful, including 39 percent who say it’s been ‘very’ unsuccessful and another 22 percent who say it’s been ‘somewhat’ unsuccessful. By comparison, just 36 percent of voters think the response has been successful, including 28 percent who say it’s been ‘somewhat’ successful and 8 percent who say it’s been ‘very’ successful.”

The U.S. just surpassed 170,000 deaths, and more than 1,000 Americans a day on average have died of coronavirus this month.

CNN: “More than 1,000 people in the US have died of coronavirus nearly every day this month”

CNN: “The Covid-19 death toll in the United States has soared to more than 170,000, just 18 days after the nation marked 150,000 lives lost.”

The U.S. has recorded six times more deaths and eight times more infections on average than other rich countries since the beginning of July.

Axios: “Over the past several weeks, the coronavirus has killed Americans at six times the average rate in other rich countries. And we’re recording about eight times more infections.”

Instead of listening to experts, Trump elevated a radiologist who disagreed with Dr. Birx on scaling up testing and disagreed with Dr. Fauci on the science of masks.

Politico: “Trump elevates Scott Atlas, a doctor with a rosier coronavirus outlook”

Politico: “In private meetings at the White House, Atlas has irritated other aides by arguing against expanded Covid-19 testing. He opposed a proposal championed by Dr. Deborah Birx, the response coordinator for the White House coronavirus task force, to scale up home testing through methods such as saliva tests. And recently, in a task force meeting, he told Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, that science does not definitively support government mandates on wearing masks.”

Trump continues to push unproven coronavirus treatments and is still failing on testing, further hampering our coronavirus response.

New York Times: “‘We’re Clearly Not Doing Enough’: Drop in Testing Hampers Coronavirus Response”

CNBC: “Forty percent of U.S. Covid-19 tests come back too late to be clinically meaningful, data show”

Axios: “To the alarm of some government health officials, President Trump has expressed enthusiasm for the Food and Drug Administration to permit an extract from the oleander plant to be marketed as a dietary supplement or, alternatively, approved as a drug to cure COVID-19, despite lack of proof that it works.”

The post Majority Of Voters Know There’s Nothing ‘Phenomenal’ About Trump’s Failed Coronavirus Response appeared first on Democrats.

ICYMI: New DNC Ad Blasts Trump for Putting Americans at Risk

17 Aug

The DNC War Room today launched a new television ad, “Connect the Dots,” blasting Trump for ignoring the advice of medical experts and holding a political stunt in Wisconsin that will put people at risk of infection. The ad will air on cable in the Green Bay, WI and Washington, D.C. markets.

MSNBC: Morning Joe Interview with DNC Chair Tom Perez

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: President Trump is scheduled to visit Wisconsin later today and ahead of that trip, the DNC is out with a new television ad entitled “Connect the Dots,” which calls out the president for ignoring the advice of medical experts and holding what it calls a “political stunt” that put people at risk of coronavirus infection. Here’s a first look at the ad.

“CONNECT THE DOTS”: “Connect the dots.” That’s what the Tulsa Health Department Director said weeks after Trump held a rally in their city. A rally that “likely contributed” to record high COVID-19 numbers in Tulsa. For months, Trump’s downplayed the virus, “It’s going to disappear,” that has infected millions and killed 170,000. Now Trump is coming to Wisconsin, for a political stunt that puts you at risk. Just connect the dots. “I’m Joe Biden and I approve this message.”

[…]

BRZEZINSKI: The dots are not that difficult to connect. This is something we’ve been talking about for weeks and months now. That Tulsa rally, I don’t know how people decided to defy science and squish next to each other for hours, and I think it is fair to say that the virus could very easily have been spread there. Is the focus of the Biden campaign and of Democrats, who are fighting for Biden to win, going to be that President Trump endangered the lives of the American people?

TOM PEREZ: Our focus is going to be on the fact that he’s been chronically incompetent and as a result of his incompetence, Mika, we’ve had the loss of lives that has been just unbelievable. We have 4% of the world’s population, 25% almost of the coronavirus cases, going on 170,000 deaths. This is preventable. And this is why we need leadership that is competent — that is Joe Biden. And that’s what we’ll be talking about all of this week. Our goal here is to unite, not just the Democratic Party which we’ve made great progress in, it’s to unite America. And it’s to demonstrate this week through all of our speakers, culminating with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, that we need leadership that can build back a better America. Leadership that understands that science matters. Leadership that understands that you don’t travel and put people in harm’s way to massage your ego.

NBC News: Meet the Press: First Read: AD WATCH from Ben Kamisar

As both campaigns embark on dramatically different strategies regarding in-person events, the DNC and Biden campaign are out with a brutal new ad that argues Trump’s in-person events are putting Americans “at risk.”

The spot echoes words of a Tulsa public health official saying people could “connect the dots” between Trump’s June rally there and the subsequent spike in COVID-19 cases in the city (the Trump campaign defended the decision at the time by noting guests were provided a mask and temperature-checked). Then it warns that “now, Trump is coming to Wisconsin for a political stunt that puts you at risk.”

The ad just started running this morning, first in Washington D.C. according to the ad trackers ad Advertising Analytics. So it’s not clear yet how widely it will run. But that one political party can run an attack ad based off of the other’s decision to hold in-person events is yet another sign of how COVID-19 has flipped political campaigning on its head.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Democrats launch ad calling Trump’s Wisconsin visit a health risk as president puts up ‘Where’s Joe?’ billboards

Democrats launched a cable TV ad Monday calling President Donald Trump’s visit to Wisconsin a political stunt that’s putting human lives at risk.

[…]

The ad by the Democratic National Convention starts by discussing Trump’s June rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma — and the spike in coronavirus cases in that city in the weeks afterward.

“Now Trump is coming to Wisconsin for a political stunt that puts you at risk,” the narrator says in the ad.

It closes with a photo of Biden and running mate Kamala Harris wearing face masks.

The ad is running on cable in the Green Bay market, which includes Oshkosh. It’s also running in Washington, D.C.

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The United States Further Restricts Huawei Access to U.S. Technology

17 Aug

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

The Trump Administration sees Huawei for what it is – an arm of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) surveillance state – and we have taken action accordingly. Today, our government enacted several measures to protect U.S. national security, our citizens’ privacy, and the integrity of our 5G infrastructure from Beijing’s malign influence.

The Department of State strongly supports the Commerce Department’s expansion today of its Foreign Direct Product Rule, which will prevent Huawei from circumventing U.S. law through alternative chip production and provision of off-the-shelf (OTS) chips produced with tools acquired from the United States. This measure follows the more limited expansion of the Foreign Direct Product Rule in May, which Huawei has continuously tried to evade.

The Commerce Department also added 38 Huawei affiliates to its Entity List, which identifies foreign parties prohibited from receiving certain sensitive technologies and allowed Huawei’s Temporary General License (TGL) to expire. The United States has provided ample time for affected companies and persons – primarily Huawei customers – to identify and shift to other sources of equipment, software, and technology and wind-down their operations. Now that time is up.

We will not tolerate efforts by the CCP to undermine the privacy of our citizens, our businesses’ intellectual property, or the integrity of next-generation networks worldwide.

We are backing up our words with actions across the U.S. Government. The Department of Justice has indicted Huawei for stealing U.S. technology, conspiracy, wire fraud, bank fraud, racketeering, and helping Iran to evade sanctions, amongst other charges. The Department of Commerce placed Huawei on the Entity List in 2019. The Department of State has engaged in vigorous diplomacy for more than a year to share what we know about Huawei and other untrustworthy vendors with allies and partners around the world.

The United States will continue to restrict most U.S. exports to Huawei and its affiliates on the Entity List for activities that threaten U.S. national security and international stability. We urge our allies and partners to join us.

 

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Gabon National Day

17 Aug

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

On behalf of the Government of the United States and the American people, I wish the people of Gabon peace and prosperity on the occasion of your 60th National Day.

The United States looks forward to partnering with Gabon on the Friends of the Gulf of Guinea maritime security initiative.  We welcome the opportunity to work with the Government of Gabon to promote unimpeded global commerce, freedom of navigation, and strengthening sustainable marine ecosystems.  Working together we will create conditions for improved security in the maritime domain.

My hope is that all Gabonese enjoy a safe and festive national day.

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NEW DNC AD: ‘Connect the Dots’

17 Aug

Ahead of Trump’s visit to Wisconsin today, the DNC War Room released a new television ad, “Connect the Dots,” blasting Trump for ignoring the advice of medical experts and holding a political stunt that will put people at risk of infection. The ad will air on cable in the Green Bay, WI and Washington, D.C. markets.

WATCH HERE: 

Because of Trump’s failed coronavirus response, 170,000 Americans have lost their lives and millions have been infected, and now, he’s threatening to make this crisis worse for Wisconsinites. Experts have already warned that Trump’s Tulsa, OK rally needlessly put people in danger, yet Trump has again decided to ignore public health concerns in favor of doing what he thinks will be politically beneficial to him.

“For months, Trump has claimed the virus would disappear and ignored the experts, and his political event in Wisconsin today shows Trump still isn’t taking this seriously. This campaign photo op is a desperate attempt to distract from the Democratic convention, which will highlight stories of hardworking Americans hurt by Trump’s horrible coronavirus response. Americans want leaders like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris who they can trust to keep them safe, not a president who is putting on desperate political stunts that will put them at even more risk,” said DNC senior spokesperson Lily Adams.

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