The United States is taking urgent steps to get a bill through congress for the funding of the coronavirus outbreak in the country. This is being treated as a bi-partisan issue in light of a California victim of the virus who did not travel outside the U.S. and was not in contact with any infected person.
American health officials are urging the public not to panic even as they expect more cases.
Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Robert Redfield says the risk is low for the American public. He also said there is an aggressive containment strategy in place that has worked so far.
Lawmakers are not sure how much money would actually be sufficient to fight this epidemic, either the president’s two and a half billion dollar proposal, or the senate democrats’ eight and a half billion.
Political differences notwithstanding, lawmakers hope to pass the extra funding bill by mid-march. Democratic house speaker, Nancy Pelosi, says the house must work in a bipartisan fashion now and not name-call or play politics since lives are at stake.
South Korea’s Yoo Myung-Hee Reportedly Withdraws From WTO DG Race
Nigeria’s former finance minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, appears to be the lone ranger standing for the post of director-general of the World Trade Organization. This follows a report that her opponent, South Korea’s trade minister, Yoo Myung-Hee, is withdrawing her candidacy for the position.
South Korea is said to have informed the United States of the decision to drop out of consideration for the position because the trade minister had failed to garner enough support from every region.
Okonjo-Iweala secured wide margins of popular support, but her candidacy was put on hold because the U.S. had not supported her candidacy.
A newsletter, Washington Trade Daily, reports South Korea has already informed the United States of its decision which is expected to be made public in a matter of days.
Trump Imposes New Rule For Some African Travellers
The Trump administration has announced a new rule of entry into the U.S. for 15 African countries whose citizens will now have to post bonds of up to $15,000 when visiting the country.
The new temporary travel rule takes effect on Christmas eve and targets visitor and business visas. Affected African countries include Angola, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Djibouti. Others are Eritrea, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Libya, Mauritania, Sao Tome and Principe, and the Sudan.
The us state department says this move will deter those who overstay their visas.
President Donald Trump had made restricting immigration a central part of his four-year term. The visa bond rule targets countries whose nationals had an “overstay rate” of 10% or higher last year and will now be required to pay a refundable bond of $5,000, $10,000 or $15,000.
Meanwhile, president-elect Joe Biden has pledged to reverse many of Trump`s immigration policies, but untangling hundreds of changes could take months or years.
Sudan, Israel Normalization Talks
Sudan and Israel have continued normalizing ties between their two nations.
Israel says it has sent a delegation to Sudan for the first time since the countries agreed to build relations following a deal brokered by us president Donald Trump last month.
Israeli intelligence minister Eli Cohen said last week, the initial delegation to Sudan would be small and talks would focus on security matters.
He was quoted as saying, a larger delegation would then follow, to address possible economic co-operation with Sudan.
Sudan is the third Arab league nation, along with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, to normalize relations with Israel since September, despite strong opposition from Palestinians.
Sudan had been a foe of Israel for more than 8 decades. Since the latter’s founding in 1948.
Famously, it was the site of a declaration against normalizing ties with Israel in 1967, when the Arab league, meeting in the capital, Khartoum, swore “no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it”.