Pompeo says US doesn’t ask Southeast Asians to take sides
Robie de Guzman • August 2, 2019 • 696
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Southeast Asian counterparts at a meeting in Bangkok on Thursday (August 1) that the United States never asked Indo-Pacific nations to take sides.
Regional rivalry between the United States and an increasingly powerful China hangs over this week’s security meetings between foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and world powers.
“Look, we don’t ever ask any Indo-Pacific nations to choose between countries,” Pompeo said at the start of the meeting. “Our engagement in this region has not been and will not be a zero-sum exercise. Our interests simply naturally converge with yours to our mutual benefit,” he added.
The ASEAN 10-nation regional bloc consists of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Brunei, and Singapore. (REUTERS)
A bus driver in the United States (US) died 11 days after he posted a video on Facebook complaining about a coughing passenger.
50-year-old Detroit bus driver Jason Hargrove posted a video on March 21 recounting an incident where an woman in her late fifties coughed several times without covering her mouth.
“I feel violated, I feel violated for those folks that was on the bus when this happened,” he said on his video.
He also advised everyone watching the video to take the pandemic seriously.
He reiterated his anger to the old woman who coughed without covering her mouth saying it was those kinds of people who are not taking the situation seriously.
“This is real, I’m out here. We are all here. We are moving in this city back and forth, trying to do our jobs and be professional about what we do,” he said.
“We’re out here as public workers, doing our job, trying to make an honest living to take care of our families. But for you to get on the bus, and stand on the bus, and cough several times without covering up your mouth, and you know that we’re in the middle of a pandemic, that lets me know that some folks don’t care.”
A week after his Facebook rant, Hangrove, a father of six, died on April 1 due to complications from COVID-19.
His video has already been viewed more than half a million times. Netizens are also rallying for the frontliners amid the COVID-19 pandemic. AAC
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he will extend the guidelines aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus to April 30, from his original target of Easter on April 12. Trump added that deaths from the coronavirus could peak around Easter.
U.S. President Donald Trump also called on Congress Sunday (March 29), to restore the full tax deduction for meals and entertainment in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
As part of a wide-ranging 2017 tax reform measure, Congress eliminated the corporate tax deduction for entertainment expenses, but taxpayers were allowed to continue to deduct 50% of the cost of client business meals. Trump said he wanted to restore that tax deduction “so companies can send people to restaurants.”
In a long and wide-ranging news conference focused on his administration’s response to COVID-19, President Trump questioned the increasing need for masks, urging New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to look into hospitals requesting hundreds of thousands of masks during the pandemic.
“How do you go from 10 to 20 to 300-thousand? 10 to 20,000 masks to 300,000, even though this is different? Something’s going on. And you ought to look into it as reporters. Where are the masks going? Are they going out of the back door? he asked. “I don’t think it’s hoarding. I think it’s maybe worse than hoarding. But check it out. Check it out.”
On March 25, Trump issued an executive order to prevent the hoarding of essential medical equipment to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, including ventilators and masks.
The executive order authorized the U.S. government to directly target hoarders, who can be criminally prosecuted.
But with the infection rate rising rapidly, Reuters has documented shortages of vital protective equipment in hospitals in hard-hit New York, where healthcare workers are hiding supplies such as facemasks from colleagues in other departments.
As supply chains break down or delay delivery of vital equipment, nurses say they are locking away or hiding N95 respirator masks, surgical masks and other supplies that are prone to going missing if left unattended for long. (Reuters)
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