State Department

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US to Seek Social Media Details From All Visa Applicants

Plus email addresses and phone numbers

(Newser) - The State Department wants to require all US visa applicants to submit their social media usernames, previous email addresses, and phone numbers, vastly expanding the Trump administration's enhanced vetting of potential immigrants and visitors, the AP reports. Previously, social media, email, and phone number histories were only sought from... More »

State Dept. Has Spent $0 of $120M on Russian Meddling

Rex Tillerson hasn't used money set aside to fight interference by Russia

(Newser) - The New York Times is out with an attention-grabbing statistic related to the government's effort to fight Russian interference in US elections: The State Department has been allocated $120 million to counter foreign meddling but has not spent a single dollar of that sum. The story chalks it up... More »

In Blow to State Department, Longtime Diplomat Steps Down

Tom Shannon announces his retirement

(Newser) - The top career US diplomat announced Thursday he will step down, dealing a blow to the State Department as the Trump administration confronts numerous international challenges, reports the AP . The State Department's third-ranking official, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Tom Shannon, informed agency staffers that he will retire... More »

One Twin Is a US Citizen. The Other Faces Deportation

2 cases allege LBGT discrimination by State Department

(Newser) - Sixteen-month-old Aiden Dvash-Banks is a US citizen living with his family in Los Angeles. His twin brother, Ethan, is undocumented and thus at risk of being deported. It's an unusual situation that highlights discrimination against LGBT families by the US government, according to the boys' married male parents, who... More »

Going to North Korea? Plan Your Funeral First, Say Feds

State Department issued new travel advisory on Jan. 10

(Newser) - Lest you think North Korea's plans to compete on a joint Olympic team with South Korea represent a softening, the State Department's harsh words will jolt you back to reality. Inverse reports that a new system of travel advisories launched Jan. 10, and Fox News noted the Level... More »

US Gov. Gets Serious About Tainted Alcohol in Mexico

Investigation revealed over 120 incidents of tourists blacking out, getting hurt, and worse

(Newser) - Following a months-long investigation by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and criticism from both Republican and Democrat lawmakers, the US State Department is stepping up on reports of American tourists being injured and worse after drinking possibly tainted alcohol in Mexico. Since launching its investigation in July, the Journal Sentinel has... More »

Trump on State Dept. Vacancies: 'I'm the Only One That Matters'

President also talked North Korea, Tillerson, and Putin during interview with Laura Ingraham

(Newser) - President Trump sat down with Laura Ingraham Thursday night, and when the Fox News host pressed him on why there are still so many vacancies for top posts in the State Department, he seemed nonplussed. "Let me tell you, the one that matters is me," Trump said, per... More »

Convicted Pedophiles to Be Identified on New US Passports

New document will identify them as sex offenders

(Newser) - America's registered child sex offenders will now have to use passports identifying them for their past crimes when traveling overseas. The State Department said Wednesday it would begin revoking passports of registered child sex offenders and will require them to apply for a new one that carries a "... More »

Envoy Scott Brown Is Warned After Remarks to Guests

Ambassador to New Zealand says he'll be more 'culturally aware' in future

(Newser) - The US ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa is blaming the "blood sport" of politics for the kerfuffle he's in over comments he made while visiting the latter islands. Per the New York Times , witnesses told local media that former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown acted "obnoxiously" at... More »

Officials: US Wants Cuba's DC Embassy Staff Cut 60%

Move will match reduction at Havana embassy

(Newser) - US officials say the Trump administration is preparing to ask Cuba to reduce the staff at its embassy in Washington by 60%, the AP reports. The move follows last week's US decision to reduce American personnel at the embassy in Havana by a similar amount. That move was in... More »

Tillerson Is Letting $79M Collect Dust

The Global Engagement Center could get the money, but hasn't

(Newser) - It garnered a small two-paragraph mention in a hefty Foreign Policy piece on Monday: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has $79 million at his disposal for fighting ISIS propaganda—he just has to sign two memos to get it. And he hasn't. Politico reports the funding all relates to... More »

Families Say Others Have Died at Mexican Resorts

'Tainted' booze eyed after deaths, blackouts

(Newser) - The US State Department is warning travelers to Mexico about "tainted or substandard alcohol" after reports of people blacking out and waking with injuries—or sometimes not waking at all. Since its investigation into Abbey Conner's death in January, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has uncovered more than three... More »

US: Iran 'in Default of the Spirit' of Nuclear Deal

But Trump administration still gives wary recertification of Iran's compliance

(Newser) - The US, five other countries, and the EU reached a deal with Iran two years ago this month to make sure the latter's "nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful," and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recertified on Monday that Iran was complying with the agreement, as is... More »

Under Tightened Visa Rules, an Aunt Isn't a 'Close Relative'

Move affects refugees, citizens of 6 countries

(Newser) - The Trump administration has set new criteria for visa applicants from six mainly Muslim nations and all refugees that require a "close" family or business tie to the United States. The move, which takes effect at 8pm Thursday, came after the Supreme Court partially restored an executive order from... More »

State Dept. Blog Promoting Trump's Club Makes Waves

Blog post appears to be promoting Mar-a-Lago

(Newser) - A State Department blog post is making waves—because it appears to be promoting Mar-a-Lago, the private Florida club President Trump owns. The post was published April 4, but gained attention Monday after people realized it had been shared on the US Embassy in London's website, and started making... More »

One Word Keeps Dogging Rex Tillerson: Absence

The secretary of State has kept an extremely low profile thus far

(Newser) - A word that has been dogging Secretary of State Rex Tillerson: absence. Absence from the spotlight, from a high-profile human rights event Friday, and from the press, though that's set to change, somewhat, as of Monday. A rep for the State department attempted to answer the question of where,... More »

1K State Department Officials Sign Dissent Memo

Spicer says they should 'get with the program' or go

(Newser) - President Trump's refugee and visa ban "runs counter to American values" and "will hurt America economically," according to a dissent memo signed by an unprecedented number of State Department officials. More than 1,000 officials, including American diplomats all over the world, had signed the cable... More »

State Department Hit by Mass Exodus of Senior Officials

The Trump administration wanted to 'clean house,' says one source

(Newser) - On Wednesday, four top-level management officials resigned from the State Department, the Washington Post reports. A former State Department chief of staff calls it the "single biggest simultaneous departure of institutional memory that anyone can remember." According to CNN , the four officials are taking 150 total years of... More »

Senate Committee Narrowly Backs Tillerson as SecState

Vote is 11-10 along party lines

(Newser) - Rex Tillerson's bid to be secretary of state narrowly won approval Monday from the Republican-led Foreign Relations Committee, a move that all but assures Senate confirmation of President Donald Trump's choice to be the nation's top diplomat, the AP reports. Members of the committee voted along party... More »

Trump Team Wants Info on Gender-Equality Programs

The programs are a part of Hillary Clinton's legacy

(Newser) - Donald Trump's transition team has requested information from the State Department regarding "gender-related staffing, programming, and funding," the Washington Post reports. Both the Post and the New York Times got their hands on a copy of the memo. The request specifies programs that “promote gender equality,... More »

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