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US President-elect Joe Biden has named ex-Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen as his nominee for treasury secretary.

If confirmed by the Senate, she would be the first woman ever to hold the post.

She was among several women chosen for top economic positions. The Biden transition team said others were set to break racial barriers if confirmed.

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Mr Biden has pledged to build a diverse administration. He earlier appointed an all-female senior press team.

Mr Biden’s transition team said his picks for senior economic roles would help “lift America out of the current economic downturn and build back better”.

Mr Biden has also announced the formation of a Presidential Inaugural Committee ahead of his swearing-in on 20 January. The committee will be responsible for organising inauguration-related activities.

Who is Janet Yellen?

Ms Yellen had been widely tipped for the nomination in media reports prior to Monday’s announcement.

The 74-year-old economist has served as head of America’s central bank and as a top economics adviser to former President Bill Clinton.

She is credited with helping steer the economic recovery after the 2007 financial crisis and ensuing recession.

As chair of the US Federal Reserve, Ms Yellen was known for focusing more attention on the impact of the bank’s policies on workers and the costs of America’s rising inequality.

Donald Trump bucked Washington tradition when he opted not to appoint Ms Yellen to a second four-year term at the Fed. Starting with Bill Clinton in the 1990s, presidents kept on bank leaders appointed by their predecessors in an effort to de-politicise the bank.

Since leaving the bank in 2018, Ms Yellen has spoken out about climate change and the need for Washington to do more to shield the US economy from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a tweet following Monday’s announcement, Ms Yellen said: “We face great challenges as a country right now. To recover, we must restore the American dream – a society where each person can rise to their potential and dream even bigger for their children.

“As Treasury Secretary, I will work every day towards rebuilding that dream for all.”

What about the other names?

The Biden transition team said the senior economic team is set to include “several historic trailblazers”.

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Picks include former Obama administration official Wally Adeyemo as deputy treasury secretary and economist Cecilia Rouse as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers. If confirmed, Mr Biden’s team said both would be the first African Americans in those roles.

Mr Biden will nominate Neera Tanden, who worked with the Obama administration on the creation of Obamacare, to head the Office of Management and Budget. If confirmed, she would be the first woman of colour and first South Asian American to lead the agency.

But she is likely to be the hardest confirmation fight in the Senate.

Neera Tanden pick draws controversy

Joe Biden might have his first big presidential appointment fight on his hands.

The president-elect’s choice of Neera Tanden, a long-time Democratic operative, to be his White House budget office director – which requires Senate confirmation – is getting sharp attacks from the left and the right.

Grass-roots liberals don’t like Tanden because of her outspoken criticism of the party’s progressive movement and its standard-bearer, former presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders. Conservatives don’t like her because of her personal jabs at their leaders.

And Tanden’s views are well-documented, given that some of her most incendiary comments came on social media.

Concern about problematic tweets might seem quaint after four years of Donald Trump’s presidency, of course. And the Senate’s 2018 confirmation of Ric Grenell – a notorious Twitter provocateur – to be Trump’s ambassador to Germany suggests that inflammatory social media posts are not by themselves disqualifying.

Grenell, however, had a Republican majority supporting his nomination. Pending the outcome of Georgia’s Senate races, Biden could face a chamber controlled by the opposition – and a left flank disinclined to help.

Biden has touted his ability to work with the Senate to get things done. If he wants Tanden, this will be an early test of his skills.

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Coronavirus Vaccine

Biden will honor 500K US COVID-19 deaths with candle lighting ceremony

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President Biden plans to mark 500,000 deaths from COVID-19 in the US with a candle lighting ceremony Monday, according to the White House.

The president will deliver a heartfelt speech at sundown at the White House’s Cross Hall to commemorate the grim death toll milestone, Biden’s press schedule said Sunday.

“The president will deliver remarks on the lives lost to COVID-19 in the Cross Hall,” the schedule states.

“[He will then] hold a moment of silence and candle lighting ceremony at sundown in the South Portico.”

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Biden will honor the lives lost to the illness — which on Sunday hovered just under 500,000, according to state health officials — alongside Vice President Kamala Harris and First Lady Jill Biden.

Biden and Harris also held a somber ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial a day before taking office last month to honor the 400,000 lives lost to the coronavirus.

“To heal, we must remember,” Biden said at the time.

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Joe Biden to meet Justin Trudeau of Canada after Keystone pipeline order

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Joe Biden will hold his first bilateral meeting with the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, on Tuesday, the White House said on Saturday.

The meeting, which will be virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic, will aim to elevate collaboration on shared concerns at a time when the relationship between the close allies has been strained by Biden’s decision to block the Canada-backed Keystone XL pipeline.

In a statement, the White House said Biden and his cabinet will also meet virtually with Canadian ministers on a range of issues.

The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, said it would be “an opportunity for the two leaders to review joint efforts in areas of mutual interest such as the Covid-19 response, climate change and the economic ties that bind our countries, as well as the deep people-to-people bonds we share.

“The president will highlight the strong and deep partnership between the United States and Canada as neighbors, friends and Nato allies,” she said.

Trudeau called the US-Canada relationship “one of the strongest and deepest friendships between any two countries” and said: “It is built on common values, strong ties between our people and a shared geography … We will work together to end the Covid-19 pandemic and support people in both our countries.”

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Trudeau was the first world leader to congratulate Biden after the November election and Canada is looking forward to turning the page on the Donald Trump era, when relations between the two countries became somewhat strained.

While Biden has had at-times lengthy calls with foreign leaders, his Canada meeting will extend to lower-level meetings between cabinet ministers, as have interactions with Mexico and several European allies.

Biden revoked a permit for the Keystone pipeline, which would transport 830,000 barrels a day of carbon-intensive heavy crude from Alberta to Nebraska, on his first day in office last month, as part of a flurry of executive orders aimed at curbing climate change.

Trudeau has said Canada will seek exemptions to a US effort to ensure federal agencies buy US-produced goods. The US move could hurt Canada, given how tightly the two nations’ economies are integrated.

The two countries are in a shared standoff with China after Canada’s detention of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of China’s Huawei Technologies on a US arrest warrant.

Beijing detained and charged two Canadians with espionage after the detention of Meng, who remains under house arrest.
(The guardian)

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Joe Biden

VIDEO: 18 AG’s Urge Biden to Reinstate ICE Operation; Biden Is Using Religion as Cover: Pro-Life Activist

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18 AG’s Urged Biden to Reinstate ICE Operation

Biden Is Using Religion as Cover: Pro-Life Activist

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