Will Democrats Ever Drop Their Obstruction And Agree To A COVID Relief Deal?

9 Dec

It’s been well-acknowledged that Speaker Pelosi spent months blocking a COVID relief deal solely for political reasons. She even admitted as much at the end of last week:

Now, even more Democrats are acknowledging the fact that the American people went without critical COVID relief for months while workers, small businesses, and families struggled, simply because the Speaker thought that no assistance would be better for her party politically:

  • Fox News: “Bernie Sanders concedes Democrats held up coronavirus relief: ‘That’s right'”

Democrats’ obstruction has prevented commonsense relief that would extend unemployment insurance, help small businesses, and fund vaccine distribution from passing. Now, as the end of the year approaches, will they continue to block these critical measures and again put their political priorities before the best interest of the nation?

In an effort to actually make a deal that would help the American people, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced yesterday that he, again, made another reasonable offer to Speaker Pelosi:

The American people already know that the Speaker and the House Democrats who have enabled her are responsible for blocking relief up to this point. Their irresponsible and reckless leadership has already caused irreparable pain for so many businesses and families. They now have to decide if they will allow that pain to continue, or if they will, finally, put their political agenda aside and work on behalf of the people they were elected to serve.

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Joint Statement on the U.S.-Jamaica Strategic Dialogue

9 Dec

Office of the Spokesperson

The following is the text of a joint statement by the Governments of the United States of America and Jamaica.

Begin Text:

Jamaica and the United States of America held their first Strategic Dialogue virtually on December 3, 2020.  The two countries focused on their shared commitment to build upon their strong bilateral ties with emphasis on their economic, political, technical and security cooperation.  In this spirit, the two countries agree to adopt this joint statement and to hold an annual high-level strategic dialogue to advance their shared interests in security, prosperity and democracy in the Western Hemisphere.

Security Cooperation

The United States and Jamaica share deep historical tie​s and common values that have endured since before Jamaica’s independence in 1962.  Recognizing their mutual interests and common responsibility to regional defense and security and combatting transnational criminal organizations and gangs, the United States and Jamaica will continue to robustly combat trafficking in persons, narcotics, illegal weapons, and the illicit financial networks and activities that support these regional threats.  They will strengthen maritime security, enhance law enforcement capacity and deepen anti-corruption cooperation.  They recognize the importance of mitigating risks to global supply chains and of protecting critical infrastructure and communications networks.


A world increasingly connected through technology, travel, and trade needs modern infrastructure to support economic opportunity.  The two sides agreed that energy security and diversification are critical to economic growth and national security.  Jamaica’s regional leadership on renewable energy and liquefied natural gas, paired with the United States’ innovative energy solutions and world class service sector, present unique opportunities for cooperation in the energy sector.  They intend to cooperate on sustainable, clean and efficient energy technologies, such as solar, wind, hydro, smart city technologies and energy storage solutions, including through partnerships with the private sector.  They will work together to expand connectivity, ensure the development of secure digital infrastructure and support the growth of the digital economy.

The long-standing economic relationship between the United States and Jamaica is strong and has been steadily growing over many years.  Greater economic cooperation through increased trade and investment will enhance economic growth, create more jobs and encourage increased productivity for both countries.  Trade in goods and services as well as investment is increasing and plays an important role in our relationship, as does labor mobility.  They emphasize the necessity of an enabling investment environment that is based on free and fair competition, transparency, and the rule of law.  They intend to continue to explore ways to enhance cooperation and reduce barriers to greater trade and investment.


In an effort to address health threats and to strengthen their response to the global pandemic, they will seek opportunities to collaborate on new initiatives aimed at promoting public health.  Both sides also look forward to further collaboration to combat HIV/AIDS, Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and to improving capacity within the health sector.

Disaster Resilience

The United States and Jamaica have partnered successfully in disaster preparedness and humanitarian assistance.  They remain committed to enhancing bilateral cooperation and promoting resilience through investment in resilient infrastructure, energy diversification, disaster response training, risk assessment and enhanced use of ICT.


The United States and Jamaica are committed to strengthening bilateral cooperation and anticipate that the annual Strategic Dialogue will be a forum in which these and other issues of mutual interest will be addressed.  In this spirit, Jamaica and the United States are pleased to announce initiatives being pursued that that will enhance cooperation in 5G technology, disaster preparedness and resilience, health, energy and infrastructure finance.  These include a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed on December 3, 2020 between the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) and the Ministry of Finance and Public Service for Jamaica to work collectively on strengthening public procurement.

End text.


Deputy Secretary Biegun’s Meetings with Republic of Korea First Vice Foreign Minister Choi and Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Lee

9 Dec

Office of the Spokesperson

The following is attributable to Principal Deputy Spokesperson Cale Brown:

Deputy Secretary of State and Special Representative for North Korea Stephen E. Biegun met today in Seoul with Republic of Korea (ROK) First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun and Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Lee Do-hoon. The Deputy Secretary reaffirmed our commitment to the U.S.-ROK Alliance and expressed appreciation for the ROK’s continued coordination on the COVID-19 response. Deputy Secretary Biegun also reaffirmed U.S. support for inter-Korean cooperation, and continued U.S. readiness to engage in meaningful dialogue with the DPRK in the pursuit of complete denuclearization. The Deputy Secretary encouraged continued cooperation with Japan to promote regional security and a free and open Indo-Pacific.


Medical Product Alert N°7/2020

9 Dec

Falsified HARVONI (Ledipasvir/sofosbuvir) identified in the WHO regions of the Americas and Europe

Alert Summary

This WHO Medical Product Alert relates to one batch of confirmed falsified HARVONI (Ledipasvir/sofosbuvir) identified in Brazil and Turkey.

Falsified Harvoni was identified in Brazil in May 2020 and in Turkey in November 2020.  WHO has received recent information that suggests these products are still in circulation. Available information indicates that these falsified medicines were supplied at patient level.

The WHO Global Surveillance and Monitoring System database has prior records of other falsified Harvoni batches. Consistent reporting is essential to determine the scope and scale of such falsified products.

HARVONI is an antiviral medicine indicated for the treatment of chronic Hepatitis C. Please refer to the WHO Fact Sheet here for further information on Hepatitis C.   

The falsified products identified in this Alert are confirmed falsified on the basis that they deliberately/ fraudulently misrepresent their identity, composition or source:

  • The genuine manufacturer of HARVONI – Gilead Sciences – has confirmed it did not produce the product referenced in this WHO Medical Product Alert n°7/2020;
  • AND the variable data (batch number and expiry dates) of these products do not correspond to genuine manufacturing records.

Table 1: Products referenced in WHO Medical Product Alert n°7/202

Advice to regulatory authorities and the public

WHO requests increased vigilance within the supply chains of countries and regions likely to be affected by these falsified products. Increased vigilance should include hospitals, clinics, health centres, wholesalers, distributors, pharmacies and any other suppliers of medical products.

All medical products must be obtained from authorized/licensed and reliable suppliers. The products’ authenticity and physical condition should be carefully checked. Seek advice from a healthcare professional in case of doubt.

If you are in possession of the above falsified products, please do not use them.

If you have used these falsified products, or you suffered an adverse reaction/event having used these products, you are advised to seek immediate medical advice from a qualified healthcare professional, and to report the incident to the National Regulatory Authorities/National Pharmacovigilance Centre.

National regulatory/health authorities are advised to immediately notify WHO if these falsified products are discovered in their country. If you have any information concerning the manufacture, distribution, or supply of these products, please contact rapidalert@who.int  

Table 2: Photographs of products subject of WHO Medical product Alert n°7/2020

WHO Global Surveillance and Monitoring System

for Substandard and Falsified Medical Products

For more information, please visit: https://www.who.int/health-topics/substandard-and-falsified-medical-products

 Email: rapidalert@who.int


President Trump’s Executive Order on Ensuring Access to United States Government COVID-19 Vaccines

9 Dec

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

On December 8, President Trump issued the Executive Order on Ensuring Access to United States Government COVID-19 Vaccines. The Executive Order provides a mandate for the United States to facilitate international access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, reaffirming the United States’ leadership and our commitment to help the world end this pandemic.

Through Operation Warp Speed, the Administration has led a historic collaboration between the U.S. private sector and U.S. health and regulatory agencies to accelerate the development, testing, approval, and manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines while maintaining the highest quality, efficacy, and safety standards. Bolstering global public confidence in these life-saving vaccines will be critical as their supply and distribution increases to meet global needs.