[guest post by Dana]
Feel free to talk about anything you think is newsworthy or might interest readers.
First news item
In a signing statement released hours after Mr. Trump signed the bill in a televised ceremony in the Oval Office, the president suggested he had the power to decide what information a newly created inspector general intended to monitor the fund could share with Congress…Under the law, the inspector general, when auditing loans and investments made through the fund, has the power to demand information from the Treasury Department and other executive branch agencies…But in his statement, which the White House made public about two hours after the president signed the bill, Mr. Trump suggested that under his own understanding of his constitutional powers as president, he can gag the special inspector general for pandemic recovery, known by the acronym S.I.G.P.R., and keep information from Congress.
Second news item
The death of a 25-year-old pharmacy technician this week from the coronavirus has prompted Riverside County officials to remind residents that the elderly are not the only ones as risk….Health officials said that the technician was exposed to the COVID-19 virus outside Riverside County and was in self-quarantine in La Quinta. The individual did not have any underlying health issues, according to county officials.
Third news item
Abbott Laboratories is unveiling a coronavirus test that can tell if someone is infected in as little as five minutes, and is so small and portable it can be used in almost any health-care setting.
The medical-device maker plans to supply 50,000 tests a day starting April 1, said John Frels, vice president of research and development at Abbott Diagnostics. The molecular test looks for fragments of the coronavirus genome, which can quickly be detected when present at high levels. A thorough search to definitively rule out an infection can take up to 13 minutes, he said.
Fourth news item
Governors, who also now find themselves competing with one another for urgently needed medical resources like ventilators, say they are placing restrictions on visitors to save their own people, trying to prevent the contagious virus from spreading further into their states. They are on particular alert for travelers from New York City, which has far more confirmed cases than any other area in the country.
And in a spiraling health crisis that has largely been managed by individual governors rather than a cohesive federal government, there has been little to stop them from making their own rules.
Fifth news item
Donald Trump has signed into law an act obliging Washington to help bolster international support for Taiwan, putting the US on a collision course with China even as the two countries try to stabilise relations that have deteriorated over the coronavirus pandemic.
The Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative (TAIPEI) Act, a law passed with strong bipartisan support, requires the Trump administration to reward third countries that have strengthened or upgraded relations with Taiwan.
The law also says the US must “alter its economic, security and diplomatic engagement with nations that take serious or significant actions to undermine the security or prosperity of Taiwan”, and calls on Washington to advocate for Taiwan’s participation in international organisations.
The move raises US support for international recognition of Taiwan to a level rarely seen since Washington cut diplomatic ties with Taipei in 1979.
Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu extended a personal invitation on Saturday for three major U.S. newspapers to station on the island their China-based journalists whose expulsion Beijing has announced…“As @nytimes, @WSJ & @washingtonpost face intensifying hostility in China, I’d like to welcome you to be stationed in Taiwan – a country that is a beacon of freedom & democracy,” Wu wrote on Twitter…“Yes! You’ll find people here greeting you with open arms & lots of genuine smiles.”
oh. my. god. pic.twitter.com/GAwEj5yvT0
— masks work (@wilfredchan) March 28, 2020
Stay safe and have a good weekend.