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  • Trump Bans Use of Arabic Numerals

    Monday, June 17, 2019
    President Donald Trump has issued an executive order banning the use of Arabic numerals by the federal government and replacing all numbers with Roman numerals. In a live television interview with campaign advisor Sean Hannity, Trump argued that it’s necessary to stop the infiltration of American life by Muslim culture and Sharia law. His reelection campaign will now be known as Trump MMXX. His MAGA caps will be rebranded as Make America GVIII Again.   read more
  • Côte d’Ivoire Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Haïdara Mamadou?

    Sunday, June 17, 2018
    Haïdara is president of the think tank Cercle Libéral de Côte d’Ivoire. He also has served as chairman of the board of SONITRA (Société nationale ivoirienne de travaux), a public-private partnership that undertakes public works projects, such as roads, bridges and other infrastructure, in Côte d’Ivoire.   read more
  • Ambassador of Madagascar to the United States: Who Is Eric Andriamihaja Robson?

    Friday, June 15, 2018
    Robson joined the Economic Development Board of Madagascar in 2007 as the representative of President Marc Ravalomanana. He later became the organization’s director of facilitation and business. He was promoted to deputy director general in 2009, and was named director general and CEO in 2015. Robson has been affiliated with the African Infrastructure Development Partnership, a Swiss-based organization offering alternative approaches to African development, since 2015.   read more
  • Argentina’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Fernando Oris de Roa?

    Thursday, June 14, 2018
    In 1993, Oris de Roa led a group of investors who purchased San Miguel, a failing lemon producer and processor. He turned the company into the largest lemon producer in the world, but his methods made enemies in the United States. In 2000, he made a deal with U.S. citrus grower Sunkist to export Argentine lemons to the U.S. and have them labeled and marketed by Sunkist. This did not sit well with lemon growers in California and Arizona who saw their market share and profits threatened.   read more
  • Japan’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Shinsuke Sugiyama?

    Wednesday, June 13, 2018
    While deputy minister of foreign affairs, Sugiyama created a controversy in 2016 after Japan and South Korea agreed on compensation for the Japanese Army’s forced sexual use of Korean women during World War II. He told the UN that an investigation found no evidence that the Japanese government or army had used such "comfort women." Sugiyama later arranged the visit of John Kerry to Hiroshima, the first time a U.S. Secretary of State had visited the site of the first use of the atomic bomb.   read more
  • Kiribati’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Teburoro Tito?

    Tuesday, June 12, 2018
    In 1995, Tito adjusted the International Date Line so his nation would be on one side of it, and as a bonus, would make Kiribati the first country to be able to celebrate the new year in 2000. He also proposed a plan to sell Kiribati special non-citizen passports to foreigners for $15,000 each, upping the price to $20,000 the following year. He recently endorsed a plan whereby members of a Russian monarchist party would buy three Kiribati islands as a site to revive the Romanov empire.   read more
  • Ecuador’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Francisco Carrión Mena?

    Monday, June 11, 2018
    Carrión served as Ecuador’s permanent representative to the United Nations from 2009 until 2011, when he left the diplomatic corps because of disagreements with Correa’s policies. He had been chairman of the UN’s Decolonization Committee. Since then, Carrión has taught and written a newspaper column for Diario El Comercio. During this period, he did serve as president of the International Committee of the United Nations for the Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers and Their Families.   read more
  • The Gambia’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Dawda Fadera?

    Sunday, June 10, 2018
    Fadera worked in The Gambia’s Personnel Management Office beginning in 1995, rising to become the office’s permanent secretary in August 2010. He was dismissed from the post by then-Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh in 2011, but brought back a year later when Jammeh found the office wasn’t functioning as well as it had been under Fadera’s leadership. In 2015, Fadera was caught up in a corruption investigation involving oil contracts, but the prosecution was dropped.   read more
  • Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan: Who Is Donald Lu?

    Friday, June 08, 2018
    During his time as ambassador to Albania, Lu earned both praise and criticism for his attempts to support ongoing efforts by the U.S. and others to root out the systemic corruption in the Albanian political and judicial system. Despite the long-standing nature of the corruption and the efforts against it, some right-wing commentators seized on the conservative politics of those recently targeted to smear Lu with charges of being part of a so-called “deep state” conspiracy against Trump.   read more
  • Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives: Who Is Alaina B. Teplitz?

    Thursday, June 07, 2018
    Like most other Foreign Service officers, Teplitz had a tour in Afghanistan, beginning in 2011 as minister counselor for management in the U.S. embassy in Kabul. While there, she was forced to defend the failure of a program meant to provide visas for Afghans who worked for the U.S. government. In 2015, as ambassador to Nepal, she had to preside over a memorial for six U.S. Marines killed in an aircraft accident while supplying aid to Nepal in the wake of earthquakes earlier that year.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Malta: Who Is Christine Toretti?

    Wednesday, June 06, 2018
    Toretti has been a major Republican donor, having given more than $1.2 million to Pennsylvania GOP candidates alone. She was also a member of Pennsylvania’s Women for Trump Team and Trump’s presidential transition team. She's worked to bring women into the male-dominated Republican Party, but it has been an uphill battle. “It’s like pushing a rope versus pulling it,” she said. Toretti also founded an annual leadership program to encourage Republican women in Pennsylvania to enter politics.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to South Korea: Who Is Harry B. Harris Jr.?

    Tuesday, June 05, 2018
    Harris took over as commander of Joint Task Force Guantánamo in 2016. Under his watch, three prisoners held at the base died while in custody. Harris quickly declared the deaths to be suicides, describing it as "not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us.” However, an investigation by Harper’s magazine cast considerable doubt on that verdict, suggesting that the three were killed during a torture/interrogation session held in a secret part of the base.   read more
  • Director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation: Who Is Gordon Hartogensis?

    Monday, June 04, 2018
    Hartogensis is a wealthy private investor who has no experience in government or pension fund management. However, he's well-connected, in a nepotistic way. He's married to Grace Chao, a sister of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. This makes Hartogensis a brother-in-law of both Chao and McConnell. Consequently, the nomination has raised serious ethical questions.   read more
  • Assistant Secretary of Education for Career, Technical, and Adult Education: Who Is Scott Stump?

    Sunday, June 03, 2018
    Stump was Trump's second choice for the post because his first choice, Tim Kelly, was forced to withdraw after several bigoted blog posts written by Kelly became public knowledge. In 2014-2015, Stump was president of the National Association of State Directors of Career and Technical Education Consortium, now known as Advance CTE. In January 2015, Stump left public service to become chief operating officer at Vivayic, whose co-founders had long considered Stump a mentor.   read more
  • Secretary of Veterans Affairs: Who Is Robert Wilkie?

    Friday, June 01, 2018
    In 2010, Wilkie was named vice president and business development director for large Department of Defense program integration opportunities at design and construction consulting firm CH2M Hill. He returned to Capitol Hill in 2015 as an adviser to Sen. Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina). Wilkie worked on the Donald Trump transition team before being nominated in 2017 to be under secretary at Defense. Wilkie has also served as an intelligence officer in the Naval Reserve and the Air Force Reserve.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Nepal: Who Is Randy Berry?

    Thursday, May 31, 2018
    A career Foreign Service officer, Berry became, in 2015, the State Department’s first special envoy for human rights of LGBTI persons. He remained in the post for a time after Trump’s inauguration, despite disapproval from some in the conservative community. Just before Trump took office, Berry was named deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. His first assignment in Nepal came in 2007, when he was named deputy chief of mission there.   read more
  • Chair of the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board Resigns: Who Was Vanessa Allen Sutherland?

    Wednesday, May 30, 2018
    Sutherland did not give a reason for her departure. However, the Trump administration has twice attempted to zero out the board’s funding in annual budget requests, which is particularly alarming considering that the CSB does not engage in regulatory or enforcement activities. It only conducts safety investigations. For example, in April 2018, Sutherland released a report pointing out that a deadly 2017 explosion at a Louisiana paper mill might have been prevented by tougher regulations.   read more
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