Blog

Biden’s Pick for Secretary of State Staunchly Supports International Alliances

Antony Blinken, who has been tapped to be U.S. secretary of state under President-elect Joe Biden, has decades of foreign policy experience and is known for his staunch support of international alliances and human rights.   

Blinken has a close relationship with Biden, and while he is not a household name, he has held important foreign policy positions in the Clinton and Obama administrations.  

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, he would become the face of U.S. diplomacy and would be the leading force in the Biden administration’s effort to reshape U.S. alliances after four years in which President Donald Trump has questioned longtime allies.  

International alliances  

According to multiple news accounts, Blinken agrees with Biden on the need for the U.S. to play a leading role again in world affairs, a change from Trump’s “America First” credo that at times left the United States at odds with other longtime Western allies.   

US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L), Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki (C) and First Vice Minister of…
FILE – U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki, center, and First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of South Korea Lim Sung Nam conclude a news conference in Tokyo on January 2016.

Aides say Blinken has helped Biden formulate an international strategy for the United States that includes quick outreach to allies that have been on the receiving end of Trump’s criticisms.   

Blinken told The Associated Press in September, “Democracy is in retreat around the world, and unfortunately, it’s also in retreat at home because of the president taking a two-by-four to its institutions, its values and its people every day.” 

“Our friends know that Joe Biden knows who they are. So do our adversaries. That difference would be felt on Day One,” he added.  

Blinken graduated from high school in Paris, France, and is a strong supporter of NATO and other alliances and multilateral institutions.

WATCH: Blinken to chosen be the next Secretary of StateDownload File  Embed Download Audio

He is also known for his support of human rights and refugees. In 2016, he appeared on the American children’s show “Sesame Street,” explaining the difficulties refugees face and how to practice tolerance.   

“We all have something to learn and gain from one another, even when it doesn’t seem at first like we have much in common,” he said then.  

Biden has campaigned on rejoining international agreements, including the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear deal, if Tehran restores its compliance. He would also reverse Trump’s plans to leave the World Health Organization and has promised greater international cooperation to fight the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout.   

Long resume  

Blinken, 58, has held a long list of previous foreign policy positions, including deputy secretary of state and deputy national security adviser during the Obama administration.  

A graduate of Harvard University and Columbia Law School, he has been influential in Democratic foreign policy circles for two decades.   

US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a press conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh on April 7, 2015. AFP…
FILE – U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a press conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh, April 7, 2015.

Blinken served first under former President Bill Clinton. While Republican President George W. Bush was in power, Blinken was the Democratic staff director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the same time Biden was chair of the panel.   

He has been advising Biden since 2002 and served during the Obama administration as then-Vice President Biden’s national security adviser.     

Blinken will take over a depleted State Department workforce, following the departure of a significant number of senior and midlevel agency officials during the Trump administration. Trump had sought to cut the State Department’s budget by more than 30% as it sidelined many of the traditional activities of the department.  

A Look at Biden’s Cabinet Picks

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has begun naming members of his new Cabinet, as well as other top-level administration officials. Biden has pledged to choose a Cabinet that reflects the diversity of the American population. His selections will be scrutinized by the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and must win confirmation in a narrowly controlled Senate, whose majority party will be determined by two Georgia Senate runoffs in January. Here are Biden’s selections so far.

Antony Blinken

Secretary of State

Blinken was deputy secretary of state during the Obama administration and has close ties with Biden. A graduate of Harvard University and Columbia Law School, Blinken, 58, has long served in foreign policy positions during Democratic administrations, including as a member of the National Security Council during the Clinton administration and deputy national security adviser during the Obama administration. He was also staff director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when Biden was chair of the panel, and later was then-Vice President Biden’s national security adviser.

FILE - In this July 25, 2013, file photo Alejandro Mayorkas, President Obama's nominee to become deputy secretary of the…
FILE – In this July 25, 2013, file photo Alejandro Mayorkas testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on his nomination.

Alejandro Mayorkas

Secretary of Homeland Security

Mayorkas is a former deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and will be the first Latino and immigrant nominated to head the agency. Born in Havana, Cuba, Mayorkas, 60, came to the United States as a political refugee with his family when he was a child. Following a career as a lawyer, he joined the Obama administration in 2009 as director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency, where he implemented the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, granting protection to immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children.

FILE - In this Jan. 9, 2014, file photo Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield, right,…
FILE – In this Jan. 9, 2014, file photo Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield, right, testifies during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield

United Nations Ambassador

Thomas-Greenfield is a 35-year veteran of the U.S. Foreign Service who has served on four continents. She was Obama’s top diplomat on Africa from 2013 to 2017, leading U.S. policy in sub-Saharan Africa during the West African Ebola outbreak. After leaving the State Department, Thomas-Greenfield took a senior leadership position at former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s global strategy company. Biden plans to elevate the position of U.N. ambassador to Cabinet level.

FILE - In this Jan. 9, 2020, file photo former Secretary of State John Kerry smiles while speaking at a campaign stop to…
FILE – In this Jan. 9, 2020, file photo former Secretary of State John Kerry smiles while speaking at a campaign stop to support Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

John Kerry

Special Envoy for Climate

Kerry is a prominent and longtime figure in the Democratic Party — a former secretary of state in the Obama administration; a former senator from Massachusetts for more than 25 years; and the Democratic presidential nominee in 2004. The special envoy for climate is not a Cabinet position, but Kerry will sit on the National Security Council, the first time the NSC will include an official dedicated to climate change. Kerry tweeted after the announcement of his selection, “America will soon have a government that treats the climate crisis as the urgent national security threat it is.”

(FILES) In this file photo taken on January 13, 2020 Avril Haines, former deputy national security advisor and former deputy…
In this photo taken on Jan. 13, 2020 Avril Haines, former deputy national security advisor and former deputy director of the CIA, testifies before the House Foreign Affairs Committee in Washington.

Avril Haines

Director of National Intelligence

Haines is a former deputy director of the CIA and a former deputy national security adviser in the Obama administration. She will be the first woman nominated to lead the U.S. intelligence community. Haines, 51, is a lawyer and has previously worked with Biden while serving on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations as deputy chief counsel when Biden was the committee’s chairman. After leaving the Obama administration in 2017, she held several posts at Columbia University.

Former State Department Director of Policy Planning Jake Sullivan speaks during a hearing on Iran before the House Foreign…
Former State Department Director of Policy Planning Jake Sullivan speaks during a hearing on Iran before the House Foreign Affairs Committee at Capitol Hill in Washington on Oct. 11, 2017.

Jake Sullivan

National Security Adviser

Sullivan was Biden’s national security adviser during the Obama administration. He was also deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. At age 43, Sullivan will be one of the youngest people to serve in that role in decades, according to the Biden transition team.

Biden Names His Diplomatic, National Security Team

WASHINGTON – U.S. President-elect Joe Biden is holding an event Tuesday to introduce the individuals he plans to nominate for top diplomatic and national security posts in his administration. 

The group includes Antony Blinken, one of Biden’s closest foreign affairs advisers, as the choice for secretary of state. 

“We have no time to lose when it comes to our national security and foreign policy,” Biden said in a statement Monday about his intended appointments. “I need a team ready on Day One to help me reclaim America’s seat at the head of the table, rally the world to meet the biggest challenges we face, and advance our security, prosperity and values.” 

Secretary of State John Kerry speaks about Israeli-Palestinian policy, Dec. 28, 2016, at the State Department in Washington.
FILE – Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at the State Department in Washington, Dec. 28, 2016.

Biden said he intends to nominate former Secretary of State John Kerry to a new position as special presidential envoy for climate while holding a seat on the National Security Council. It was a reflection, the Biden transition said, of the incoming president’s commitment to addressing climate change as an urgent national security issue.   

According to news reports, Janet Yellen, the 74-year-old former chair of the Federal Reserve, would be nominated as Biden’s Treasury secretary. As first reported in The New York Times, Yellen would be the first woman to lead the U.S. Treasury.

Biden, 78, is set to become the 46th U.S. president at his inauguration on January 20, even as President Donald Trump continues his long-shot legal attempt to upend the Democrat’s November 3 election victory.  

Biden, overseeing his transition to power in Washington from his home in Wilmington, Delaware, selected Alejandro Mayorkas as head of the Department of Homeland Security. A Cuban American lawyer, he is a former deputy secretary at the agency, and if confirmed by the Senate, would be its first Latino and immigrant leader.

The incoming U.S. president picked an African American, former Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a 35-year veteran of the U.S. Foreign Service who has served on four continents, to serve as the U.S. envoy to the United Nations. Biden elevated her role to a seat in his Cabinet, a rank past presidents have also occasionally given the high-profile position.

FILE - Then-Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield, right, testifies during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 9, 2014.
FILE – Then-Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield, right, testifies during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 9, 2014.

Biden picked another woman, Avril Haines, as director of national intelligence. She is a former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency and a deputy national security adviser, She will be the first woman to lead the U.S. intelligence community.

Jake Sullivan, a Biden foreign affairs adviser, was named as his national security adviser.

In announcing the appointments, Biden said, “We have no time to lose when it comes to our national security and foreign policy. I need a team ready on Day One to help me reclaim America’s seat at the head of the table, rally the world to meet the biggest challenges we face, and advance our security, prosperity, and values.”

“This is the crux of that team,” Biden said. “These individuals are equally as experienced and crisis-tested as they are innovative and imaginative. Their accomplishments in diplomacy are unmatched, but they also reflect the idea that we cannot meet the profound challenges of this new moment with old thinking and unchanged habits — or without diversity of background and perspective. It’s why I’ve selected them.”

Biden appears set to re-engage the United States in an array of global alliances that Trump abandoned over the last four years.

The 58-year-old Blinken is a veteran of U.S. foreign affairs decision-making for two decades, and according to multiple news accounts, agrees with Biden on the need for the U.S. to play a leading role again in world affairs, a change from Trump’s “America First” credo that at times left the United States at odds with other long-time Western allies.

In his first days in office, Biden has said he plans to overturn Trump policies and rejoin the Paris climate agreement, stop the U.S. exit from the World Health Organization and attempt to again join other nations in the international pact to curb Iran’s nuclear weapons development.

Blinken, if confirmed by the Senate, would become the face of U.S. diplomacy. He served first under former President Bill Clinton, then later as deputy secretary of state and deputy national security adviser under former Democratic President Barack Obama when Biden was vice president. And while Republican former President George W. Bush was in power, Blinken was the Democratic staff director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris participate in a meeting with the National Governors Association's executive committee at The Queen theater, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
FILE – President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris participate in a meeting with state officials, at The Queen Theater, Nov. 19, 2020, in Wilmington, Delaware.

Virtual meeting with mayors

On Monday, the General Services Administration cleared the way for Biden to officially begin his administration’s transition, which includes access to certain resources such as a government domain for a website and email, federal office space, detailed briefings about security threats and covert operations and security clearances for his staff. 

“In the days ahead, transition officials will begin meeting with federal officials to discuss the pandemic response, have a full accounting of our national security interests, and gain complete understanding of the Trump administration’s efforts to hollow out government agencies,” Yohannes Abraham, the head of Biden’s transition team, said in a statement. 

Trump is continuing to claim he won the election, despite Biden’s unofficial 306-232 majority vote in the Electoral College. The electoral vote determines U.S. presidential elections, not the national popular vote, although Biden leads there, too, by more than 6 million votes.    

Trump tweeted after the GSA decision Monday that he had recommended the move “in the best interest of our Country,” but later wrote another post signaling he intends to continue his legal battle against the election outcome.  

“What does GSA being allowed to preliminarily work with the Dems have to do with continuing to pursue our various cases on what will go down as the most corrupt election in American political history? We are moving full speed ahead. Will never concede to fake ballots & “Dominion,” Trump said. 

Trump’s legal fight against the election results has been fruitless so far, with his campaign losing or withdrawing 34 lawsuits claiming vote and vote-counting fraud in key battleground states Biden was projected to win.     

Trump is pursuing other lawsuits and appeals of decisions he has lost. 

搜狗最后一次发财报

投资界(ID:pedaily2012)11月17日消息,昨日,搜狗发布了2020年第三季度财报。搜狗三季度营收2.167亿美元,同比下降31.2%;归属于搜狗公司的净亏损为4200万美元。据悉,搜狗将于2020年四月份完成私有化交易,此次将是搜狗最后一次发布财报。

此后,搜狗将成为腾讯控股的间接全资子公司,与腾讯一同抢占更多移动搜索市场份额。有趣的是,字节跳动创始人张一鸣曾在一场内部员工会上表达了进军搜索的决心,这便意味着,在搜索这个领域,腾讯和字节跳动又相遇了。

搜狗最后一次发财报,净亏损为3770万美元

搜狗依然亏损。

昨天下午,搜狗提交了第三季度成绩单:截至2020年9月30日,搜狗总营收为2.167亿美元,同比下降31.2;归属于搜狗公司的净亏损为3770万美元。

从细分业务来看,搜索与搜索相关营收为1.925亿美元,同比下降33.2%;其他营收为2420万美元,同比下降9.3%。

值得注意的是,作为搜狗的新兴业务,智能硬件的表现较为不错。第三季度,智能硬件业务同比增长66%。自从2019年3月,搜狗开始涉足以语音识别、转写和翻译为核心诉求的录音笔行业。此前,搜狗在智能硬件部分营收并不高,2020年,随着搜狗在录音笔和新硬件的投入加大,智能硬件的营收情况有所变化。

2020年第一季度,搜狗其他收入为2640万美元,同比增长26%,其增长主要来自于智能硬件产品销售收入的增加;第二季度,智能硬件业务的收入实现25%的同比增长;本季度,智能硬件业务同比增长达66%。

虽然如此,搜狗的亏损现状并未好转。财报显示,2020年第一季度搜狗营业收入2.573亿美元,同比增长2%,归属于搜狗的净亏损为3110万美元,同比扩大10.5倍;2020年Q2总收入为2.612亿美元,同比下降14%,归属于搜狗的净亏损为850万美元。

搜狗持续亏损的原因在于受疫情影响,广告投放减少,与此同时流量成本又居高不下。搜索业务的黄金时代已经过去了,加之微信和今日头条的冲击,百度搜索和360搜索均遇到过业务下滑的情况。

与此同时,搜狗私有化的消息再次波及到搜索业务。在三季报中,搜狗说明了营收减少的主要原因:由于此前公布的腾讯将私有化搜狗的建议,导致某些广告主对搜狗的业务政策存在不确定性,以及流量获取活动减少。

第四季搜狗度退市,腾讯和字节跳动在搜索领域相遇

对于搜狗来说,2020年最好的消息莫过于腾讯全资收购自己的消息。当时消息一出,搜狗股价一度暴涨超48%。

这并不是搜狗与腾讯第一次结缘。早在2013年,腾讯入股搜狗的消息也是轰动一时。当时,搜狗输入法市场份额为87.8%;搜狗搜索覆盖2亿用户,覆盖率达45%,排名第三;搜狗浏览器拥有1.2亿用户,覆盖率接近25%,排名第三。

在入股搜狗之前,腾讯曾斥巨资发力搜索业务,但收效甚微。当入股搜狗之后,腾讯放弃了自有搜索业务,并给予资源支持:在腾讯系新产品中提供搜索服务优先使用搜狗服务,包括微信;在业务和决策方面,搜狗保持了最大的独立性。

近几年,搜索市场发生了新变化,腾讯不得不再次出手。整个移动互联网的流量红利都在下降,而流量成本依然越来越高,腾讯不少业务因此受到了不少挑战。与此同时,由于用户获取信息不再依赖搜索引擎,各类APP可以分走大量用户,导致搜索市场出现了新玩家。

字节跳动创始人张一鸣曾在一场内部员工会上表示,如果没有搜索场景的拓展和优质内容,今日头条的增长空间可能只剩4000万日活跃用户,这明确表达了进军搜索业务的决心。于是,字节跳动搜索业务开始走到大众视野。

至此,腾讯和字节跳动,在搜索领域再一次相遇了。

搜狗最后一次发财报

投资界(ID:pedaily2012)11月17日消息,昨日,搜狗发布了2020年第三季度财报。搜狗三季度营收2.167亿美元,同比下降31.2%;归属于搜狗公司的净亏损为4200万美元。据悉,搜狗将于2020年四月份完成私有化交易,此次将是搜狗最后一次发布财报。

此后,搜狗将成为腾讯控股的间接全资子公司,与腾讯一同抢占更多移动搜索市场份额。有趣的是,字节跳动创始人张一鸣曾在一场内部员工会上表达了进军搜索的决心,这便意味着,在搜索这个领域,腾讯和字节跳动又相遇了。

搜狗最后一次发财报,净亏损为3770万美元

搜狗依然亏损。

昨天下午,搜狗提交了第三季度成绩单:截至2020年9月30日,搜狗总营收为2.167亿美元,同比下降31.2;归属于搜狗公司的净亏损为3770万美元。

从细分业务来看,搜索与搜索相关营收为1.925亿美元,同比下降33.2%;其他营收为2420万美元,同比下降9.3%。

值得注意的是,作为搜狗的新兴业务,智能硬件的表现较为不错。第三季度,智能硬件业务同比增长66%。自从2019年3月,搜狗开始涉足以语音识别、转写和翻译为核心诉求的录音笔行业。此前,搜狗在智能硬件部分营收并不高,2020年,随着搜狗在录音笔和新硬件的投入加大,智能硬件的营收情况有所变化。

2020年第一季度,搜狗其他收入为2640万美元,同比增长26%,其增长主要来自于智能硬件产品销售收入的增加;第二季度,智能硬件业务的收入实现25%的同比增长;本季度,智能硬件业务同比增长达66%。

虽然如此,搜狗的亏损现状并未好转。财报显示,2020年第一季度搜狗营业收入2.573亿美元,同比增长2%,归属于搜狗的净亏损为3110万美元,同比扩大10.5倍;2020年Q2总收入为2.612亿美元,同比下降14%,归属于搜狗的净亏损为850万美元。

搜狗持续亏损的原因在于受疫情影响,广告投放减少,与此同时流量成本又居高不下。搜索业务的黄金时代已经过去了,加之微信和今日头条的冲击,百度搜索和360搜索均遇到过业务下滑的情况。

与此同时,搜狗私有化的消息再次波及到搜索业务。在三季报中,搜狗说明了营收减少的主要原因:由于此前公布的腾讯将私有化搜狗的建议,导致某些广告主对搜狗的业务政策存在不确定性,以及流量获取活动减少。

第四季搜狗度退市,腾讯和字节跳动在搜索领域相遇

对于搜狗来说,2020年最好的消息莫过于腾讯全资收购自己的消息。当时消息一出,搜狗股价一度暴涨超48%。

这并不是搜狗与腾讯第一次结缘。早在2013年,腾讯入股搜狗的消息也是轰动一时。当时,搜狗输入法市场份额为87.8%;搜狗搜索覆盖2亿用户,覆盖率达45%,排名第三;搜狗浏览器拥有1.2亿用户,覆盖率接近25%,排名第三。

在入股搜狗之前,腾讯曾斥巨资发力搜索业务,但收效甚微。当入股搜狗之后,腾讯放弃了自有搜索业务,并给予资源支持:在腾讯系新产品中提供搜索服务优先使用搜狗服务,包括微信;在业务和决策方面,搜狗保持了最大的独立性。

近几年,搜索市场发生了新变化,腾讯不得不再次出手。整个移动互联网的流量红利都在下降,而流量成本依然越来越高,腾讯不少业务因此受到了不少挑战。与此同时,由于用户获取信息不再依赖搜索引擎,各类APP可以分走大量用户,导致搜索市场出现了新玩家。

字节跳动创始人张一鸣曾在一场内部员工会上表示,如果没有搜索场景的拓展和优质内容,今日头条的增长空间可能只剩4000万日活跃用户,这明确表达了进军搜索业务的决心。于是,字节跳动搜索业务开始走到大众视野。

至此,腾讯和字节跳动,在搜索领域再一次相遇了。

US Senator Grassley to Quarantine After Exposure to COVID-19

Sen. Chuck Grassley  arrives for a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Oct. 26, 2020.

U.S. Senator from Iowa, Charles Grassley said Tuesday he has been exposed to COVID-19 and will quarantine while awaiting the results of a test to see if he has the virus.

In a statement from the 87-year-old Republican senator’s office, Grassley said he felt fine and has no symptoms, but he will follow his doctor’s orders and immediately quarantine at his home.

He also stressed that “It is important we all follow public health guidelines to keep each other healthy.”

Grassley was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1980 and is currently chairman of the finance committee.  He is president pro tempore of the Senate, making him third in line for the presidency. 

US Senator Grassley to Quarantine After Exposure to COVID-19

Sen. Chuck Grassley  arrives for a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Oct. 26, 2020.

U.S. Senator from Iowa, Charles Grassley said Tuesday he has been exposed to COVID-19 and will quarantine while awaiting the results of a test to see if he has the virus.

In a statement from the 87-year-old Republican senator’s office, Grassley said he felt fine and has no symptoms, but he will follow his doctor’s orders and immediately quarantine at his home.

He also stressed that “It is important we all follow public health guidelines to keep each other healthy.”

Grassley was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1980 and is currently chairman of the finance committee.  He is president pro tempore of the Senate, making him third in line for the presidency. 

US States Tighten Coronavirus Restrictions After Rise in Cases

A bronze statue of late singer Ella Fitzgerald is seen wearing a hat and protective face mask, as the global outbreak of the…

Mardi Gras parades have been canceled in New Orleans, the city said Tuesday, as the coronavirus continues to surge in much of the United States. 

City spokesman Beau Tidwell said at a news conference Tuesday that the celebrations, which were scheduled to take place on Feb. 16, 2021, cannot happen with current limits on outdoor gatherings. 

“None of this should be a surprise to anybody,” Tidwell said. “The guidelines have been in place for some time.” 

Also Tuesday, U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley announced that he had tested positive for the coronavirus. 

“I’m feeling good + will keep up on my work for the ppl of Iowa from home,” the 87-year-old Senator from Iowa wrote on Twitter, adding that he would continue to quarantine according to CDC guidelines. https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1328830806291341312&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.voanews.com%2Fcovid-19-pandemic%2Fus-states-tighten-coronavirus-restrictions-after-rise-cases&siteScreenName=VOANews&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

I’ve tested positive for coronavirus. I’ll b following my doctors’ orders/CDC guidelines & continue to quarantine. I’m feeling good + will keep up on my work for the ppl of Iowa from home. I appreciate everyone’s well wishes + prayers &look fwd to resuming my normal schedule soon— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) November 17, 2020

A day earlier, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds ordered all indoor gatherings to be limited to 15 people, mandated mask-wearing for people who are unable to socially distance from others indoors for more than 15 minutes, and said all restaurants and bars must close by 10 p.m. 

Sioux Falls, the largest city in South Dakota, was set to vote on a mask mandate Tuesday evening. South Dakota currently has the highest positivity rate for COVID-19 in the country. 

Maryland and Ohio also imposed 10 p.m. curfews on bars and restaurants on Tuesday. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listens during a Senate Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Hearing on the federal government response to COVID-19 Capitol Hill, Sept. 23, 2020.
FILE – Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listens during a hearing on Capitol Hill, Sept. 23, 2020.

But Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, called Tuesday for a more uniform approach to fighting the virus. 

“We need some fundamental public health measures that everyone should be adhering to, not a disjointed, ‘One state says one thing, the other state says another thing,'” Fauci told The New York Times, speaking from a virtual press conference. 

During the past week, the United States has recorded an average of nearly 150,000 new cases per day, according to Johns Hopkins University. The country has registered more than 11.3 million total cases during the pandemic, the most in the world. 

The rise in cases has put a strain on the health care systems with half of the country’s states reporting new peaks in hospitalizations. 

Some retailers have also reintroduced safety precautions on lines for customers to get into stores and set purchase limits on items such as hand sanitizer, toilet paper and disinfecting wipes to prevent hoarding. 

WATCH: US States Add More Restrictions Download File  Embed Download Audio

Other commercial establishments, however, are seeking to increase business. Movie theaters in New York City are seeking permission to reopen, while restaurateurs in Massachusetts are trying to serve more customers at night.  

In a phone call Monday with the nation’s governors, Vice President Mike Pence, who leads the Trump administration’s coronavirus response, urged the governors to tell residents the country has never been more prepared to deal with COVID-19. He said there is a large supply of personal protective equipment and cited promising early results from two vaccine candidates.

Transition team 

President-elect Joe Biden told reporters Monday that the Trump administration’s refusal to coordinate with his transition team has potentially dire consequences for the government’s COVID-19 response when the new administration takes office in January. 

Biden cited the task of distributing any vaccines that are approved, calling it a “huge undertaking” and saying that if his team is not given access to the current planning process then they will be “behind, over a month, month and a half.” 

“More people may die if we don’t coordinate,” Biden said. 

Trump has refused to concede his defeat while he pursues long-shot legal claims that the November 3 vote was rigged against him. He has blocked administration officials from cooperating with Biden’s transition team throughout government agencies.   

Trump’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States was one of the key issues in the election. National polls showed that voters trusted Biden more than Trump to deal with the pandemic. 

US States Tighten Coronavirus Restrictions After Rise in Cases

A bronze statue of late singer Ella Fitzgerald is seen wearing a hat and protective face mask, as the global outbreak of the…

Mardi Gras parades have been canceled in New Orleans, the city said Tuesday, as the coronavirus continues to surge in much of the United States. 

City spokesman Beau Tidwell said at a news conference Tuesday that the celebrations, which were scheduled to take place on Feb. 16, 2021, cannot happen with current limits on outdoor gatherings. 

“None of this should be a surprise to anybody,” Tidwell said. “The guidelines have been in place for some time.” 

Also Tuesday, U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley announced that he had tested positive for the coronavirus. 

“I’m feeling good + will keep up on my work for the ppl of Iowa from home,” the 87-year-old Senator from Iowa wrote on Twitter, adding that he would continue to quarantine according to CDC guidelines. https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1328830806291341312&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.voanews.com%2Fcovid-19-pandemic%2Fus-states-tighten-coronavirus-restrictions-after-rise-cases&siteScreenName=VOANews&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

I’ve tested positive for coronavirus. I’ll b following my doctors’ orders/CDC guidelines & continue to quarantine. I’m feeling good + will keep up on my work for the ppl of Iowa from home. I appreciate everyone’s well wishes + prayers &look fwd to resuming my normal schedule soon— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) November 17, 2020

A day earlier, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds ordered all indoor gatherings to be limited to 15 people, mandated mask-wearing for people who are unable to socially distance from others indoors for more than 15 minutes, and said all restaurants and bars must close by 10 p.m. 

Sioux Falls, the largest city in South Dakota, was set to vote on a mask mandate Tuesday evening. South Dakota currently has the highest positivity rate for COVID-19 in the country. 

Maryland and Ohio also imposed 10 p.m. curfews on bars and restaurants on Tuesday. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listens during a Senate Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Hearing on the federal government response to COVID-19 Capitol Hill, Sept. 23, 2020.
FILE – Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listens during a hearing on Capitol Hill, Sept. 23, 2020.

But Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, called Tuesday for a more uniform approach to fighting the virus. 

“We need some fundamental public health measures that everyone should be adhering to, not a disjointed, ‘One state says one thing, the other state says another thing,'” Fauci told The New York Times, speaking from a virtual press conference. 

During the past week, the United States has recorded an average of nearly 150,000 new cases per day, according to Johns Hopkins University. The country has registered more than 11.3 million total cases during the pandemic, the most in the world. 

The rise in cases has put a strain on the health care systems with half of the country’s states reporting new peaks in hospitalizations. 

Some retailers have also reintroduced safety precautions on lines for customers to get into stores and set purchase limits on items such as hand sanitizer, toilet paper and disinfecting wipes to prevent hoarding. 

WATCH: US States Add More Restrictions Download File  Embed Download Audio

Other commercial establishments, however, are seeking to increase business. Movie theaters in New York City are seeking permission to reopen, while restaurateurs in Massachusetts are trying to serve more customers at night.  

In a phone call Monday with the nation’s governors, Vice President Mike Pence, who leads the Trump administration’s coronavirus response, urged the governors to tell residents the country has never been more prepared to deal with COVID-19. He said there is a large supply of personal protective equipment and cited promising early results from two vaccine candidates.

Transition team 

President-elect Joe Biden told reporters Monday that the Trump administration’s refusal to coordinate with his transition team has potentially dire consequences for the government’s COVID-19 response when the new administration takes office in January. 

Biden cited the task of distributing any vaccines that are approved, calling it a “huge undertaking” and saying that if his team is not given access to the current planning process then they will be “behind, over a month, month and a half.” 

“More people may die if we don’t coordinate,” Biden said. 

Trump has refused to concede his defeat while he pursues long-shot legal claims that the November 3 vote was rigged against him. He has blocked administration officials from cooperating with Biden’s transition team throughout government agencies.   

Trump’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States was one of the key issues in the election. National polls showed that voters trusted Biden more than Trump to deal with the pandemic. 

Fears Over New COVID-19 Cluster in Australia

A medical staff member takes details from people queuing at a COVID-19 testing site in Adelaide

SYDNEY – Australian officials are warning they face a “dangerous situation” in the coronavirus pandemic after reporting about 20 newly detected infections in the state of South Australia, its first outbreak since April. 

After seven months with no community transmission of the new coronavirus, South Australia is fighting to contain a cluster of new cases.   

Most of the recently detected infections are within the same family. 

The source is thought to have been a hotel in Adelaide where Australian travelers are placed in mandatory quarantine after returning from overseas.  An infected cleaner is believed to have passed on the virus to his or her large family, including a prison worker.  

Health authorities have been working to trace all known contacts of those within the Adelaide cluster. Thousands of people have been tested since it was discovered.  Just one new case was detected Monday, but South Australian premier Steven Marshall says vigilance is needed.

“This is a very dangerous situation.  If we work cooperatively with SA (South Australia) Health and SA (South Australia) Police on this one we should get on top of it. But it is really a very worrying situation, and we must act very swiftly,” Marshall said.

People are seen at a cafe after the state of Victoria saw COVID-19 case numbers drop in Melbourne
People are seen at a cafe after the state of Victoria saw COVID-19 case numbers drop in Melbourne, Nov. 17, 2020.

The state government has brought in new emergency restrictions in South Australia, including the closure of gyms, while international flights carrying returning Australian citizens and permanent residents have been suspended for seven days. 

The outbreak could hamper Australia’s efforts to reopen state and territory borders by Christmas.  Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory are reintroducing quarantine measures on South Australian residents.    

But other jurisdictions, including New South Wales, have no plans to refuse entry to visitors from South Australia.  

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian. 

“What this does is reinforce for us how contagious the disease is and how unexpectedly cases and outbreaks can arise. But it is how you deal with those outbreaks, and we are confident that if that happened in New South Wales, we would get on top of it and similarly that South Australian authorities are getting on top of it and that is our understanding from our health officials here in New South Wales,” Berejiklian said.

New South Wales has recorded its 10th consecutive day without any community transmission of COVID-19, while Victoria state officials say they have now gone 18 days in a row without a new case following the easing of a strict lockdown in the city of Melbourne. 

Since the pandemic began, Australia has diagnosed 27,750 coronavirus infections. More than 900 people have died. 

Australia closed its international borders to foreign nationals in March.