Biden Administration

Diversity & Inclusion
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a black african woman, to become head of the Wold Trade Organization
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a black african woman, to become head of the Wold Trade Organization
Credit: By the International Monetary Fund - http://www.imf.org/external/photo/allphoto.asp?g=52 (Public Domain)

Economist Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria looks set to become the first woman, and moreover the first black woman, to head the World Trade Organization (WTO). Trump had previously blocked her appointment, but Biden has now come out clearly in favor of Okonjo-Iweala. While Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is making history simply by being the first woman - and from Africa to boot - to head the WTO, says Nigeria's Amara Nwankpa, she is not only bringing "diversity and inclusion" to the international stage.

During her second term as finance minister, Okonjo-Iweala was "seen as a driving force behind the development of reform programs that helped improve government transparency and stabilize the economy", according to the US business magazine Forbes, which ranked her among the top 50 Power Women worldwide in 2015. Okonjo-Iweala will thus "bring to the new job impressive negotiating skills and leadership to address key issues facing the planet today", finds Amara Nwankpa of the Nigerian Public Policy Initiative.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Biden to end US support for Saudi-led offensive operations in Yemen
Bombed school in Yemen
Bombed school in Yemen Credit: Julien Harneis (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

President Joe Biden announced an end to the United States support for Saudi-led offensive operations in Yemen on Tuesday.

"This war has to end. We are ending all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen including relevant arms sales," so Biden. "At the same time, Saudi Arabia faces missile attacks and UAV strikes and other threats from Iranian supplied forces in multiple countries. We are going to continue to help Saudi Arabia defend its sovereignty and its territorial integrity and its people."

Regional News • Americas • United States
Senate confirms Alejandro Mayorkas as Homeland Security secretary

The US Senate voted Tuesday to confirm Alejandro Mayorkas to lead the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the first Latino and immigrant to lead the department. Mayorkas will play a central role in the Biden administration's response to the Covid-19 pandemic, national security threats and immigration policies.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Senate confirms Pete Buttigieg as transportation secretary
Senate confirms Pete Buttigieg as transportation secretary
Credit: Pete For America / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The US Senate confirmed Pete Buttigieg as transportation secretary on Tuesday, making him the first Senate-confirmed LGBTQ secretary. Buttigieg will oversee aviation safety, railroads, transit, highways and other transportation fields.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Biden launches taskforce to reunite families separated at border
Biden launches taskforce to reunite families separated at border
Credit: Adam Schultz, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

President Joe Biden is set to create a taskforce to reunite families separated at the US-Mexico border by the Trump administration. Biden signed three executive orders on Tuesday as a first step to reform the U.S. immigration system and reversed several of the former administration's policies.

"I’m not making new law, I’m eliminating bad policy," Biden said.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Biden reverses Trump-era abortion access restrictions

President Joe Biden has signed a presidential memorandum on Thursday reversing a ban on federal funds going to domestic and international aid groups that give access and information to abortions.

Biden said the memorandum would "reverse my predecessor's attack on women's health access" and that the measure "relates to protecting women's health at home and abroad, and it reinstates the changes that were made to Title X and other things making it harder for women to have access to affordable health care as it relates to their reproductive rights."

Regional News • Americas • United States
Russian parliament extends New Start nuclear treaty with US
President Barack Obama attends a New START Treaty meeting hosted by Vice President Joe Biden in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Nov. 18, 2010.
President Barack Obama attends a New START Treaty meeting hosted by Vice President Joe Biden in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Nov. 18, 2010. Credit: The White House from Washington, DC, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Duma, Russia's lower house of Parliament, has voted to ratify an extension of the New Start nuclear arms control treaty by five years, one of the last major pacts between Russia and the US.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Biden to direct Justice Department to not renew contracts with private prisons
Biden to direct Justice Department to not renew contracts with private prisons
Credit: unsplash.com / Hédi Benyounes

US President Joe Biden signed an executive order directing the Justice Department not to renew contracts with privately operated correctional facilities. The move is part of a series of actions Biden wants to take to address structural racism and promote equal treatment for all U.S. citizens. The White House pointed out that among the more than two million prisoners currently in the U.S., a disproportionate number are members of minority groups.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Biden anticipates nationwide availability of Covid-19 vaccines by spring
Biden anticipates nationwide availability of Covid-19 vaccines by spring
Credit: The White House, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

President Joe Biden said on Monday that he believes the Covid-19 vaccines will be available for every American by spring but anticipates a "logistical challenge that exceeds anything we've ever tried in this country."

"I think it'll be this spring. I think we'll be able to do that this spring," Biden said, adding that he thinks "by summer, we will be well on our way to heading toward herd immunity."

Regional News • Americas • United States
Janet Yellen to become first female Treasury Secretary in U.S. history
Janet Yellen to become first female Treasury Secretary in U.S. history
Credit: Federalreserve / via Wikimedia Commons

Former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will be Treasury Secretary in the new U.S. administration. The Senate confirmed the economist on Monday with 84 to 15 votes.

For the first time in the history of the United States, the influential ministry is thus led by a woman. Yellen had also easily cleared the first hurdle last week when her nomination was unanimously approved in the Senate Finance Committee.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Biden overturns Trump's transgender military ban
Biden overturns Trump's transgender military ban
Credit: @POTUS via Twitter

President Joe Biden has signed an executive order on Monday, reversing a Trump-era ban prohibiting transgender Americans to join the military. The order states that the government "immediately prohibits involuntary separations, discharges and denials of reenlistment or continuation of service on the basis of gender identity or under circumstances related to gender identity."

"Today, I repealed the discriminatory ban on transgender people serving in the military. It’s simple: America is safer when everyone qualified to serve can do so openly and with pride," so Biden on Twitter.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Christopher Wray to remain FBI Director, Biden team says
Director Christopher Wray addresses the audience during his formal installation ceremony at FBI Headquarters on September 28, 2017
Director Christopher Wray addresses the audience during his formal installation ceremony at FBI Headquarters on September 28, 2017 Credit: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

President Joe Biden will keep Christopher Wray as acting FBI Director, White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced on Thursday. Wray was picked for the role by former President Donald Trump in 2017 after he fired James Comey and was later accused of being disloyal to Trump.

"I caused an unintentional ripple yesterday so [I] wanted to state very clearly President Biden intends to keep FBI Director Wray on in his role and he has confidence in the job he is doing," Psaki wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Department of Education pauses federal student loan payments through September
Department of Education pauses federal student loan payments through September
Credit: unsplash.com/Philippe Bout

The Department of Education has extended "the pause on federal student loan payments and collections and keep the interest rate at 0%." Federal student loan payments have been suspended since March, an extension had previously been drafted in December's stimulus package but was ultimately cut.

"Too many Americans are struggling to pay for basic necessities and to provide for their families. They should not be forced to choose between paying their student loans and putting food on the table," so the statement by the White House.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Rep. Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene files articles of impeachment against Joe Biden
Rep. Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene files articles of impeachment against Joe Biden
Credit: United States Congress, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Newly-elected Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene has filed articles of impeachment against President Joe Biden, accusing him of corruption and abuse of power. Greene, who has ties to the QAnon conspiracy theory, announced her move on Twitter, which previously blocked her account for "multiple violations of our civic integrity policy" following the Capitol Hill riots.

Greene previously alleged that Biden allowed his son, Hunter Biden, "to siphon cash from America’s greatest enemies Russian and China".

"President Joe Biden is unfit to hold the office of the presidency. His pattern of abuse of power as President Obama’s vice president is lengthy and disturbing," so Greene.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Biden laid off three Trump appointees on his first day in office
President Biden speaks at an event in Jackson, MS standing in front of an American flag
President Biden speaks at an event in Jackson, MS standing in front of an American flag Credit: The White House (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

President Joe Biden terminated three of Donald Trump's appointees on his first day in office: Michael Pack, the head of the U.S. Agency for Global Media which oversees international broadcaster Voice of America; Kathleen Kraninger, who has been the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau since 2019; and Peter Robb the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Biden signs 17 executive orders, memorandums and proclamations on his first day in office
Biden signs 17 executive orders, memorandums and proclamations on his first day in office
Credit: The White House, via Twitter (Public Domain)

President Joe Biden has signed 17 executive orders, memorandums and proclamations shortly after his inauguration, including revoking Trump's Muslim ban, rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, extending federal eviction moratorium, rescinding Census orders to exclude non-citizens, preserving the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and a federal mask mandate.

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
Biden proclaims National Day of Unity
Biden proclaims National Day of Unity
Credit: Courtesy of The White House

The newly inaugurated President Joe Biden has proclaimed January 20, 2021, as a National Day of Unity and stated that he calls "upon the people of our Nation to join together and write the next story of our democracy — an American story of decency and dignity, of love and of healing, and of greatness and of goodness."

Regional News • Americas • United States
Joe Biden has been sworn in as 46th President of the United States
Joe Biden has been sworn in as 46th President of the United States
Credit: Ashley Winkler for Pendect

Joseph Robinette „Joe“ Biden, Jr. has been sworn in as 46th President of the United States of America. He is succeeding President Donald Trump.

As the first woman of color, the first woman of South Asian descent Kamala Harris has also been sworn in to hold the office of Vice President of the United States.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Biden plans to make masks mandatory nationwide
Biden plans to make masks mandatory nationwide
Credit: unsplash.com/Anton

President-elect Joe Biden's first executive order will be a nationwide mask mandate, not as a "political statement" but for the "health of our families, and economic recovery of our country."

"This executive action will direct the agencies to take action to require compliance with CDC guidance on mask wearing and physical distancing in federal buildings, on federal lands, and by federal employees and contractors," Biden’s counselor and Covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said. "And the President will call on governors, public health officials, mayors, business leaders and others to implement masking, physical distancing and other public measures to control Covid-19."

Regional News • Americas • United States
FBI is vetting National Guard ahead of Biden's inauguration amid fears of insider attack
FBI is vetting National Guard ahead of Biden's inauguration amid fears of insider attack
Credit: Georgia National Guard, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

All 25,000 National Guard troops tasked with securing the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on January 20 are being vetted by the Pentagon and the FBI amid fears of a coordinated insider attack.

"This type of vetting often takes place by law enforcement for significant security events. However, in this case the scope of military participation is unique. The DC National Guard is also providing additional training to service members as they arrive in DC that if they see or hear something that is not appropriate, they should report it to their chain of command," so Christopher Miller, the acting defence secretary.