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U.S. Bans Laptops and Tablets on Flights From Major Middle Eastern Airports and More in Politics Today

by Countable | 3.20.17

It’s difficult to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in this country and to break through the clutter, so we’re here to make it easier. Here’s what we at Countable are reading today:

1.The US Has Banned Laptops And Tablets On Flights From Major Middle Eastern Airports

The US is barring passengers from bringing laptops, tablet computers, and other electronic devices as carry-on items on nonstop flights from 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa.

The ban was revealed Monday after two Middle Eastern airlines began telling passengers about the new restrictions. A representative of Saudi Arabian Airlines, based at JFK International Airport in New York, told BuzzFeed News that the ban begins immediately, and covers all electronic devices, excluding cell phones. The airline said the ban applies on flights headed to the US.

Read more at Buzzfeed.

2. No African citizens granted visas for African trade summit in California

An annual African trade summit in California had no African attendees this year after at least 60 people were denied visas, according to event leaders.

The African Global Economic and Development Summit, a three-day conference at the University of Southern California (USC), typically brings delegations from across Africa to meet with business leaders in the US in an effort to foster partnerships. But this year, every single African citizen who requested a visa was rejected, according to organizer Mary Flowers.

Read more at The Guardian.

3. Tillerson plans to skip NATO meeting, visit Russia in April

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson plans to skip an April 5-6 meeting of NATO foreign ministers for a U.S. visit by the Chinese president and will travel to Russia later in the month, U.S. officials said on Monday, a step allies may see as putting Moscow's concerns ahead of theirs.

Tillerson intends to miss what would be his first meeting in Brussels with the 28 NATO members to attend President Donald Trump's expected April 6-7 talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, four current and former U.S. officials said.

Read more at Reuters.

4. Ivanka Trump set to get West Wing office as role expands

Ivanka Trump, who moved to Washington saying she would play no formal role in her father’s administration, is now officially setting up shop in the White House.

As her role in the White House grows — a role that comes with no playbook — Trump plans to adhere to the same ethics and records retention rules that apply to government employees, [ Ivanka’s lawyer, Jamie] Gorelick said, even though she is not technically an employee. But ethics watchdogs immediately questioned whether she is going far enough to eliminate conflicts of interest, especially because she will not be automatically subjected to certain ethics rules while serving as a de facto White House adviser.

Read more at Politico.

5. Trump promises the GOP unprecedented power if it votes with him

After Trump met with House Republicans on Tuesday morning, Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) told reporters Trump promised that the party would gain 10 seats in the Senate if they pass the bill and tax reform, but that they would lose their majorities if they don't.

We can say one thing about the prediction: It's not crazy — at least not completely. Democrats are actually defending Senate seats in 10 states that Trump won in last year's election...it would also be is unprecedented. Republicans currently have 52 seats in the Senate, and winning 10 would give them 62. They have never held this many Senate seats in the history of the chamber.

Read more at The Washington Post.

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: FEMA Photo Library / Public Domain)

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