US, Chinese trade officials express concern about each other's restrictions
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and her Chinese counterpart, Wang Wentao, have expressed concern about policies of each other’s governments following Chinese raids on consulting firms and U.S. restrictions on exports of semiconductor technology.
GOP senators: Computer chip money underwriting 'woke' agenda
Republican senators says the Biden administration is taking $39 billion in federal money that's meant to build computer chip factories and using it to further “woke” ideas such as requiring some recipients to offer child care and encouraging the use of union labor.
Raimondo: Inquiry on solar imports follows the law
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo pushed back forcefully Wednesday against critics — including some within the Biden administration — who say a government investigation of solar imports from Southeast Asia is hindering President Joe Biden’s ambitious climate goals.
AP Was There: The surreal first day of the pandemic
On the day the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic, Koloud “Kay” Tarapolsi reflected the views of many people when she told an Associated Press reporter: “If we avoid each other and listen to the scientists, maybe in a few weeks it will be better."
Senate confirms Raimondo as Biden commerce secretary
FILE - In this Jan. 8, 2021 file photo, President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for Secretary of Commerce, Rhode Island Gov. The Senate has voted to confirm Raimondo as President Biden's commerce secretary. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)WASHINGTON – The Senate voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to confirm Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo to serve as President Joe Biden’s commerce secretary and help guide the economy's recovery during and after the coronavirus pandemic. Later Tuesday, the Senate voted 95-4 to confirm Cecilia Rouse to be chair of Biden's Council of Economic Advisers.
Biden's Commerce pick, Raimondo, voices tough line on China
Gina Raimondo testifies remotely during her nomination hearing before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. Gina Raimondo, a former venture capitalist, would be responsible for promoting opportunities for economic growth domestically and overseas. U.S. companies need to get a license to sell sophisticated technology to companies on the list. Raimondo promised to give the Census Bureau more time to crunch the numbers for the 2020 census if needed. “I believe we need to take the politics out of the census and we need to rely on the experts,” Raimondo said.
Time, transparency needed as Biden inherits frazzled census
“We are optimistic that things at the Census Bureau will be better. The Biden administration also has pledged to give the Census Bureau the time it needs to process the data. He will report to Biden's new pick to head the Commerce Department — which oversees the Census Bureau — Rhode Island Gov. Former Census Bureau Director Kenneth Prewitt said he’s optimistic the final product will be as accurate as past censuses, especially now that Jarmin is at the helm. “The Census Bureau faced a number of challenges with the 2020 Census,” Schatz said in a letter.
Data snags cause Trump to miss giving Congress census data
President Donald Trump on Sunday let slip the target date for transmitting the apportionment numbers to Congress as the U.S. Census Bureau continued to work toward fixing data irregularities from its number-crunching efforts. “The Census Bureau is committed to fixing all anomalies and errors that it finds in order to produce complete and accurate results," said Deborah Stempowski, an assistant director at the Census Bureau, in a court filing last week. Gina Raimondo will be his nominee for Commerce Secretary, which would make her responsible for the final 2020 census numbers instead of current Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, if census data processing continues past Jan. 20. assertions ... can never be fully tested," coalition attorneys said in a court filing. The Department of Justice attorneys have said sanctions are inappropriate.
The Latest: Scores test positive in China's Hebei province
More than 360 people have tested positive in a growing COVID-19 outbreak south of Beijing in neighboring Hebei province. (Jin Haoyuan/Xinhua via AP)BEIJING — Chinese health authorities say scores more people have tested positive for coronavirus in Hebei province bordering on the capital Beijing. The National Health Commission said Monday that another 82 people had tested positive in Hebei and were showing symptoms. Around the country, another 36 people had tested positive without displaying symptoms, although it wasn’t immediately clear how many of those were in Hebei. The man who tested positive had no symptoms upon arrival but was hospitalized after his breathing became difficult.
Boston mayor, RI governor among Biden adds to economic team
– President-elect Joe Biden on Friday introduced the governor of Rhode Island, the mayor of Boston and a small-business advocate from California as the newest members of his economic team. Gina Raimondo as his choice to become commerce secretary, Mayor Marty Walsh as his candidate for labor secretary and Isabel Guzman as his pick to lead the Small Business Administration. As commerce secretary, Raimondo would help set the Biden administration's trade policy and promote U.S. opportunities for growth domestically and overseas. When the Democrat took the oath of office in 2018 for his second term, Biden presided over the inauguration. Biden's pick for the leader of the Small Business Administration, Guzman, is the current director of California's Office of the Small Business Advocate in the California governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development.
Biden picks Rhode Island Gov. Raimondo as commerce secretary
FILE - In this March 1, 2020 file photo, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo faces reporters during a news conference, in Providence, R.I. President-elect Joe Biden has picked Rhode Island Gov. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)WASHINGTON – President-elect Joe Biden has picked Rhode Island Gov. Her name had been floated for Biden's health secretary, though she said last month she would be staying in Rhode Island and continuing to focus on the coronavirus pandemic. She is a former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff at the Small Business Administration and a small business entrepreneur herself.
EXPLAINER: Why the smallest state has a big virus challenge
The nation's smallest state by area has reported 1,855 pandemic deaths so far, far fewer than many states but giving Rhode Island the nation's sixth highest COVID-19 death rate. Like other Northeastern states, Rhode Island was hit hard early in the pandemic. Clusters of cases among students were reported this fall at the University of Rhode Island, Johnson & Wales University and Providence College. Like other states, Rhode Island limited indoor dining and customer capacity at many businesses in the spring and temporarily shuttered bar areas, gyms and theaters. Rhode Island has performed more than 2 million tests, more per resident than any other state, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
'If not one thing, it's another': Northeast preps for storm
“Our theme today ought to be, ‘If it’s not one thing, it’s another,’” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said as he gave residents storm guidance that's new this year — mask up if you help your neighbors shovel. In New York City, officials braced for the biggest storm in about three years. But they are being told to secure outdoor furniture, remove heaters and take other steps to make way for plows. Gina Raimondo suspended the scheduling of coronavirus tests for Thursday and said some outdoor testing sites may close, though others will remain open.
The Latest: Biden: Trump inaugural presence important to US
WASHINGTON – The Latest on President-elect Joe Biden (all times local):9:55 p.m.President-elect Joe Biden says it is important that President Donald Trump attend his inauguration only in the sense that it would demonstrate the nation’s commitment to a peaceful transfer of power between political rivals. ___8:45 p.m.Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus have made a fresh push for President-elect Joe Biden to nominate New Mexico Gov. But $207.5 million came in after Election Day as Trump repeatedly – and falsely – claimed President-elect Joe Biden won due to voter fraud. Gina Raimondo has knocked down talk that she is in the running for President-elect Joe Biden’s secretary of health and human services. ___12:25 p.m.President-elect Joe Biden has tapped former Obama administration senior economic adviser Brian Deese to be director of the National Economic Council.
Next for Biden: Getting the right health team as virus rages
WASHINGTON – Up soon for President-elect Joe Biden: naming his top health care officials as the coronavirus pandemic rages. Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus made a fresh push during a virtual conference call Thursday for Biden to nominate Lujan Grisham as HHS secretary. Biden is expected to announce his choice for HHS secretary next week. In the running for a top health job is former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, co-chair of Biden's coronavirus task force. Alongside his health secretary, Biden is expected to name a top-level White House adviser to coordinate the government’s extensive coronavirus response.
Americans face new COVID-19 restrictions after Thanksgiving
Jonathan Eshnaur lugged his 32-inch TV to a Thanksgiving Day family gathering at his sister’s home in Olathe, Kansas, so he could watch football outside. Health officials are urging people to remain vigilant until a vaccine becomes widely available, which is not expected to happen for at least a few months. Health officials on Monday added 4,425 confirmed infections and 87 hospitalizations to the state’s pandemic tally since Friday. Rhode Island’s hospitals reached their COVID-19 capacity on Monday, the same day the state’s two-week pause took effect. In suburban St. Louis, a hospital official warned that hospitalizations could double in two to three weeks if people don’t quarantine after Thanksgiving gatherings.
CDC pleads with Americans to avoid Thanksgiving travel
The week of Thanksgiving is usually a busy week ahead for travel, but travel experts at AAA say it could be the largest yearly decline since the Great Recession. The CDC issued the recommendations just one week before Thanksgiving, at a time when diagnosed infections, hospitalizations and deaths are skyrocketing across the country. “The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is at home with the people in your household,” she said. ___KEEPING UP WITH NON-COVID-19 CASESHospitals are struggling to keep up with non-coronavirus cases ranging from broken bones to heart attacks in states where COVID-19 cases are tying up resources. In Kansas, 178 employees and doctors at a Topeka hospital had active coronavirus cases or were isolated and on leave because of contact with someone who had coronavirus.
The Latest: Hawaii imposes new COVID-19 travel restrictions
There were 1,225 new confirmed COVID-19 cases increasing the state total to 60,873. ___WASHINGTON -- Pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech will seek emergency government approval for their coronavirus vaccine, as the U.S. aims to begin administering doses by the end of the year. ___LOUISVILLE, Kentucky — Kentucky reported a new daily record of 3,649 coronavirus cases Thursday amid warnings by Gov. He and public health experts are warily watching the number of patients hospitalized with the COVID-19 disease caused by the coronavirus. ___WASHINGTON — Infection disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci says he “wants to settle” concerns about a coronavirus vaccine as he returns to the White House podium for the first time in months.
Voters strip ‘Plantations’ from Rhode Island’s formal name
(AP Photo/Susan E. Bouchard, File)Rhode Island will now be officially known as ... Rhode Island. Officially, Rhode Island was incorporated as The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations when it declared statehood in 1790. Although the word “Plantations” in Rhode Island’s name does not specifically refer to a place where slaves labored, the measure’s backers insisted it still offends, especially since Rhode Island’s ties to the slave trade are undeniably deep. The formal vote for House speaker, however, won’t happen until January, when the new legislature convenes. Mattiello rose to House speaker in 2014 after then-Speaker Gordon Fox resigned amid a public corruption investigation.
The Latest: Kentucky sees near-record number of new cases
(AP Photo/Michael Probst)FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Kentucky reported a near-record number of new coronavirus cases Friday as the surging outbreak continued sending more people to hospitals, Gov. Total statewide COVID-19 cases surpassed 105,000, and the virus-related death toll reached at least 1,476. The new virus cases brought the number of cases statewide to 13,520, according to the Department of Health. The announcement comes as Kenya’s government says a second surge in coronavirus cases has begun in East Africa’s economic hub. The Czech Republic has 310,068 total confirmed cases, with 161,050 cases in the last two weeks.
US colleges struggle to salvage semester amid outbreaks
Several teams in other leagues have had to postpone games because of outbreaks among players and staff. Ron DeSantis, alarmed by what he sees as draconian rules on college campuses, said he is drawing up a “bill of rights” for college students. The University of Wisconsin-Madison had seen more than 2,800 confirmed cases in students as of Friday. At Kansas State University, more than 2,200 students have been placed in quarantine or isolation since class began. But Mariscano said universities should expect college students to act like college students.
Detroit turns island park into COVID-19 memorial garden
A procession of vehicles drive past photos of Detroit victims of COVID-19, Monday, Aug. 31, 2020 on Belle Isle in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)DETROIT A Detroit island park was transformed Monday into a drive-thru COVID-19 victims memorial as policy makers across the U.S. moved forward with plans to reopen schools and public spaces. Hearses led processions around Belle Isle Park in the Detroit River, where more than 900 large photos of local coronavirus victims provided by relatives were turned into posters and staked into the ground. New COVID-19 cases were linked to travelers on vacation in Europe and the head of the World Health Organization cautioned against opening societies too quickly. Public Health Wales says it was contacting nearly 200 people who were on the Tui flight from the Greek island of Zante to Cardiff, Wales, last Tuesday.
'Calamari comeback': Tiniest state's DNC video gets big buzz
WARWICK, R.I. There goes Rhode Island again always finding a way to get its tiny tentacles onto the national stage. The 30-second spot, aired Tuesday night during the convention's roll call as Rhode Island's Democrats formally nominated Joe Biden for president, was an instant social media sensation. "Rhode Island trended for hours overnight on Twitter. The backstory: Joseph McNamara, who chairs the state Democratic Party and appeared in the video, lobbied successfully in 2014 to make calamari Rhode Island's official state appetizer. Rhode Island has been a punch line since the Cianci era.
Hard-hit Massachusetts worries COVID-19 respite is fleeting
Casinos, gyms, movie theaters, and museums are among the businesses allowed to reopen in the state on Monday, under the third phase of Massachusetts Gov. Pay attention #Massachusetts #COVID19 is on the rise. Charlie Baker to consider rolling back his decision to move the state into the third phase of his reopening plan if case numbers dont improve. Gina Raimondo on Wednesday delayed the next phase in the states reopening plan by another month. Baker and other state officials stress Massachusetts' key virus measures remain far below those in other states, and below where Massachusetts stood when he began the phased reopening in mid-May.
Voters to get say in dropping 'plantations' from R.I.'s name
PROVIDENCE, R.I. Voters will get another chance to strip the words and Providence Plantations" from Rhode Island's formal name after lawmakers approved a joint resolution to put the question on the November ballot. Although the word plantations in Rhode Islands name does not specifically refer to a place where slaves labored, it elicits such imagery, say sponsors of the bill approved Thursday. Rhode Island was incorporated as The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations when it ratified the Constitution in 1790, but the name dates to pre-Revolutionary times. Gina Raimondo last month signed an executive order to remove the phrase and Providence Plantations from some official documents and executive agency websites. The ballot question would make the change official in the states constitution if approved by a simple majority of voters.
Isolate on arrival: NYC region is latest to try quarantine
Arriving passengers await their bags in the baggage claim area at LaGuardia Airport's Terminal B baggage claim area, Thursday, June 25, 2020, in New York. New York, Connecticut and New Jersey are asking visitors from states with high coronavirus infection rates to quarantine for 14 days. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Isolate on arrival: NYC region is latest to try quarantine
New York, Connecticut and New Jersey are asking visitors from states with high coronavirus infection rates to quarantine for 14 days. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are the latest states to enact 14-day visitor quarantines to try to check the spread of the coronavirus. In Florida, travelers from the three states arriving on commercial flights or via Interstate-95 fill out a form that includes their phone number and address where they will be staying. Now, as pandemic hotspots shift, states in the New York City region are asking travelers to quarantine if they come from states with high infection rates. Messages are also posted throughout the terminal building, said Kevin Dillon, executive director of the Connecticut Airport Authority.
While asking for more, states are slow to spend virus aid
Republicans say it's too much and want to move slowly in the Senate, preferring to see how states spend the first batch of money. The AP survey found that at least 32 states are considering sharing a portion of the federal aid with local governments. Several states including California, the most populous are projecting deficits equal to about 20% of the budgets they proposed before the virus took hold. Arkansas and North Dakota have considered using the federal money for hazard pay for front-line workers. Tate Reeves, a Republican, said he had the authority to spend the $1.2 billion under a 40-year-old state law.
Trump declares churches 'essential,' calls on them to reopen
President Donald Trump speaks with reporters about the coronavirus in the James Brady Briefing Room of the White House, Friday, May 22, 2020, in Washington. Asked what authority Trump might have to supersede governors, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said she wouldn't answer a theoretical question. White evangelical Christians have been among the president's most loyal supporters, and the White House has been careful to attend to their concerns throughout the crisis. But Trump on Friday stressed the importance of churches in many communities and said he was identifying houses of worship churches, synagogues and mosques as essential places that provide essential services.Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential but not churches, he said. So Im correcting this injustice and calling houses of worship essential."
Tech-assisted COVID-19 tracking is having some issues
A second wave of tech-assisted pandemic surveillance tools is on its way, this time with the imprimatur of tech giants Apple and Google. It's traditionally conducted by trained public health workers who interview those who may have been exposed, then urge them to get tested and isolate themselves. She urged governments to set rules addressing both privacy and efficacy so that surveillance tools don't interfere with more conventional public health methods. As early as this week, Rhode Island has said it is set to launch a one-stop pandemic response phone app. It was updated on May 19, 2020, to correct information about the usage of COVID-19 contact-tracking apps.