Aligning Legislative, Spending Decisions with Climate Action Key to Recovering from COVID-19 Pandemic, Secretary-General Tells Speakers of Parliament

19 Aug

Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks at the opening of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) World Conference of Speakers of Parliament on the theme:  “Parliamentary leadership for more effective multilateralism that delivers peace and sustainable development for the people and planet”, in New York today:

Security Council Committee concerning Democratic Republic of the Congo Amends List Entries of Two Individuals, Three Entities on Its Sanctions List

19 Aug

\On 19 August 2020, the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1533 (2004) concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo amended the list entries of the following individuals and entities included on its list of individuals and entities, subject to the assets freeze and travel ban set out in paragraphs 1 to 6 of resolution 2293 (2016), as renewed by paragraph 1 of resolution 2528 (2020), adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations:

STATEMENT BY SECRETARY MICHAEL R. POMPEO

19 Aug

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

Special Tribunal for Lebanon Verdict

The United States welcomes the guilty verdict handed down by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) against Hizballah operative Salim Ayyash for his role in the February 14, 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. This act of terrorism also claimed the lives of 21 additional victims and resulted in injuries to 226 others. Although Ayyash remains at large, the STL’s ruling underscores the importance of rendering justice and ending impunity, which is imperative to ensuring Lebanon’s security, stability, and sovereignty.

Hizballah operatives do not freelance. Ayyash’s conviction helps confirm what the world is increasingly recognizing—that Hizballah and its members are not defenders of Lebanon as they claim to be but constitute a terrorist organization dedicated to advancing Iran’s malign sectarian agenda. From Beirut in 1983, to Buenos Aires in 1994, to Bulgaria in 2012, Hizballah’s terrorist attacks across the world have resulted in the wanton killing of hundreds of people and caused the misery of many thousands more. As the Lebanese people suffer through a crushing economic crisis, Hizballah’s exploitation of Lebanon’s financial system, its degradation of Lebanese institutions, and its provocative and dangerous actions threaten the Lebanese people and jeopardize Lebanon’s financial well-being and potential recovery. As I have said many times before, Hizballah’s terrorist and illicit activities in Lebanon and throughout the world demonstrate that it is more concerned with its own interests and those of its patron, Iran, than what is best for Lebanon and the Lebanese people.

 

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Secretary Pompeo’s Phone Call with Mauritanian President Ghazouani

18 Aug

Office of the Spokesperson

The following is attributable to Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus:

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo spoke today with Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Cheikh el Ghazouani. Secretary Pompeo encouraged President Ghazouani to continue his ambitious reform program to address Mauritania’s history of slavery and to promote prosperity for all Mauritanians through a business environment that welcomes foreign investment. President Ghazouani noted the broad-based partnership between our two countries and welcomed ongoing and increased investment. The Secretary and the President agreed that terrorism in the Sahel requires a coordinated international response, and that Mauritania plays an important role in advancing security and stability in the region.

 

 

 

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Secretary Pompeos Call with German Foreign Minister Maas

18 Aug

Office of the Spokesperson

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus:

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo spoke today with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to discuss cooperation on a range of issues related to Iran, Belarus, and Russia. Secretary Pompeo underscored the need for a unified Transatlantic response to hold Iran accountable and ensure the Security Council lives up to its responsibility to maintain international peace and security.

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Trump’s Executive Actions Keep Getting Worse For Struggling Americans

18 Aug

After derailing congressional negotiations, Trump cut enhanced unemployment benefits in half from his golf course, provided no funding for food assistance, and did virtually nothing to stop evictions.

In addition to getting less money after Trump cut enhanced unemployment benefits, out-of-work Americans may only get benefits for three weeks.

Washington Post: “Out-of-work Americans may see only a three-week boost to their unemployment benefits, as state and federal officials scramble to stretch out a limited pot of money and implement President Trump’s recent policy order.”

After Trump put the financial burden on states already struggling from the pandemic, few states have offered to cover the benefits he cut.

HuffPost: “Few States Taking Up Trump’s Unemployment Offer So Far”

The number of Americans going hungry is growing after Trump let unemployment benefits expire and provided no funding for food assistance.

Wall Street Journal: “The number of Americans who say they can’t afford enough food for themselves or their children is growing, according to Census data, and it is likely to get larger now that some government benefits have expired. As of late last month, about 12.1% of adults lived in households that didn’t have enough to eat at some point in the previous week, up from 9.8% in early May, Census figures show. And almost 20% of Americans with kids at home couldn’t afford to give their children enough food, up from almost 17% in early June.”

Despite his claims, Trump’s executive order did virtually nothing to stop evictions that are continuing across the country as tens of millions are at risk.

Washington Post: “But across the country, evictions are continuing…Trump’s executive order directed some regulators to study whether an eviction moratorium was necessary and others to investigate whether they could appropriate money for rental assistance. But it fell short of reinstating the federal eviction ban that prohibited evictions of 12 million renters in government-backed properties that expired last month, as many had expected.”

CNN: “Up to 40 million Americans could be evicted by the end of this year, according to a new report published Friday by the Aspen Institute. The report warns that the United States may be facing the most severe housing crisis in history if conditions do not change, with up to 43% of renter households facing eviction this year.”

The post Trump’s Executive Actions Keep Getting Worse For Struggling Americans appeared first on Democrats.

More Evidence Children Spread The Virus And Have ‘Really Troublesome’ Long-Term Effects

18 Aug

Trump keeps lying that children are almost immune to the coronavirus and is pushing schools to reopen without having a plan to ensure it is done safely. Meanwhile, evidence continues to mount that children can suffer serious harm from infection and spread COVID-19, yet Trump is not tracking new outbreaks in schools, making it even harder to control the virus.

The CDC says that the rate of coronavirus infections in children has been “steadily increasing.”

CNN: “Health experts say children make up more than 7% of all coronavirus cases in the US — while comprising about 22% of the country’s population — and the number and rate of child cases have been ‘steadily increasing’ from March to July. The data was posted alongside updated guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for pediatricians that also includes what is known about the virus in children.”

Axios: “Mirroring almost every other pandemic trend, Black and Latino children have had it worse than white children. Hispanic children have been hospitalized eight times more than white children, per the CDC. Black children have been hospitalized five times more.”

Dr. Fauci warned that the coronavirus can have “really troublesome” long-term effects on children.

CNN: “Fauci says Covid-19’s long-term effects, especially in young people, are ‘really troublesome’”

CNN: “The top infectious disease doctor in the US, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said Monday, ‘We’d better be careful when we say ‘Young people who don’t wind up in the hospital are fine, let them get infected, it’s OK.’ No, it’s not OK.’”

A growing number of schools that tried to reopen are being forced to shut down again due to coronavirus outbreaks.

Wall Street Journal: “A growing number of schools nationwide are closing temporarily or longer term just days after reopening as the coronavirus pandemic threatens to upend another school year. Schools in several states, including Indiana, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Georgia, closed to in-person learning this month after students and staffers tested positive for Covid-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus, sending thousands into quarantine and remote learning.”

Washington Post: “UNC-Chapel Hill pivots to remote teaching after coronavirus spreads among students during first week of class”

The Trump administration is not tracking outbreaks in schools, making it harder to control the virus.

NBC News: “Coronavirus cases are already surfacing in K-12 schools that have reopened, but the federal government is not tracking these outbreaks, and some states are not publicly reporting them, making it more difficult to determine how the virus is spreading, experts say.”

The post More Evidence Children Spread The Virus And Have ‘Really Troublesome’ Long-Term Effects appeared first on Democrats.

Trump’s USPS Sabotage Puts American Lives And Livelihoods At Risk

18 Aug

Trump’s sabotage of the Postal Service puts American lives and livelihoods on the line after slowdowns have delayed the delivery of essential medications, hurt small businesses, held up paychecks, or kept bills from being paid on time.

Veterans aren’t able to get their medications or time-sensitive information from the Department of Veterans Affairs:

73-year-old Vietnam War veteran: “Vietnam War veteran Richard Valdez requested four mail-order medications from the Department of Veterans Affairs on July 25. Twenty-three days later, he’s still waiting on three of them. … ‘If that’s happening to me and I’m not living in a rural area, what’s happening to those guys?’ Valdez asked. ‘It’s not just meds that are a problem, but also time-sensitive information coming from the VA that’s being impacted.’”

Ohio Veterans Service Commission director: “Director Jeffrey Shull noticed the delay in mail delivery about two to three weeks ago. The county agency issues vouchers to help veterans pay their rent or utility bills. Service providers and landlords have seen a delay in receiving those vouchers. ‘We noticed it even before it became national news,’ Shull said. ‘The vets sometimes panic if they see their account is still not paid and understandably so.’”

Trump’s slowdown is dangerous for many Americans across the country who rely on the mail to get the lifesaving medications they need:

81-year-old Maryland resident: “Eighty-one-year-old Louise Martin’s blood pressure medicine mail delivery is 10 days overdue to her North Bethesda residence. ‘I think it’s outrageous, it’s absolutely outrageous,’ Martin, a retired US Health Service Corps officer, said. ‘This is not just needing some aspirin that you can buy over the counter. People’s lives are being threatened.’”

Nebraska cancer survivor: “One Omaha woman says slowdowns in the mail service could be fatal for many vulnerable Americans. Lorraine Touray discovered she had breast cancer two years ago. ‘I had the surgery…I had a lumpectomy before the radiation,’ said Touray. Now she takes medication daily. ‘I get my meds through the mail…now if I don’t take that Metrosal and if I don’t take that Metrosal then the cancer can pop back up,’ said Touray. And there’s more… ‘I’ve had a lot of blood clots in the past. If I don’t take that Zerelto that I’m taking for the blood clots. If I don’t take that for one day then the blood clots can come back in one day.’”

In the middle of a recession, Americans aren’t able to get their paychecks on time and risk missing bill payments:

Disabled Texas retiree: “The 59-year-old disabled retiree lives in an unincorporated community in eastern Bexar County. On a fixed income, he relies on the Postal Service to pay his bills. More than two weeks ago, Silva mailed his gas payment to a utility in Floresville and his water payment to another company in La Vernia. On Monday, neither had made it to its destination, he said. Now, the utility in La Vernia is threatening to shut off his water, he said. ‘It’s not around the corner for me to go drop off this bill,’ Silva said. ‘It’s like 18 miles from my house.’”

Louisiana resident: “‘My kids are having to suffer and I’m putting it together the best that I can,’ Shena Couvillur tells WAFB’s Donovan Jackson. Couvillur says she has been waiting for more than a month for her mail. ‘They won’t bring it to my house, they won’t give it to me. I have my unemployment [benefit checks] and all my stimulus checks money in there, [and] that is causing me to get in financial predicaments that we already have in [addition to] a crisis.’”

Louisiana resident: “Kenneth Washington says he’s in a similar situation and is having trouble paying his bills due to delays with his mail. ‘I came down to check and they tell me it’s on the mail truck,’ Washington explained. ‘I have seen the mail lady on one side of the streets, but never pass on our side.’”

Small businesses already hit hard because of Trump’s failed coronavirus response are now struggling even more:

Texas small business owner: “Even if I say, ‘Oh, sorry that happened, here’s a percentage savings on me,’ I’m still potentially losing money and a customer..”

Texas small business owner: “That extra $5 to $7 makes the difference to them. And to think — now it’s going to be $13, $15? Will that make them want to shop somewhere else, like Amazon? They may not want to support a smaller business anymore because we don’t have the resources to get something out cheaper.”

The post Trump’s USPS Sabotage Puts American Lives And Livelihoods At Risk appeared first on Democrats.

Second Review of the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance Policy

18 Aug

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

The United States leads the world in global health assistance and is committed to protecting life through every health program funded by American taxpayers. The Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance (PLGHA) Policy aims to ensure that U.S. taxpayer funding does not support foreign non-governmental organizations that perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning.

Today, the State Department, in conjunction with the U.S. Departments of Defense (DoD), Health and Human Services (HHS), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) released the Review of the Implementation of the PLGHA Policy. This review reaffirms that the United States can continue to meet its critical global health goals, while protecting life abroad through its global health assistance programs. It contains detailed information on the small number of awards affected because organizations declined to receive U.S. global health assistance under the requirements of the PLGHA Policy, how these declinations have affected awards and ongoing health assistance, and how the U.S. Government has resolved situations in which delays or gaps in services occurred.

The U.S. Government is committed to protecting life, the unborn, and the dignity of the human person. U.S. Government Departments and Agencies that implement PLGHA have made information and guidance available to partners on the application of PLGHA.  The U.S. Government will continue to develop materials to support partners in clearly communicating the PLGHA Policy’s intent, implementation, and compliance.

Read the second review of the PLGHA Policy here.

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