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WHO Officials Reject Trump’s ‘China-Centric’ Claim

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Senior Officials leading the World Health Organization’s response to the coronavirus pandemic responded Wednesday to President Donald Trump, who threatened Tuesday to pause funding to the organization claiming it’s “China-centric.”

“We are still in the acute phase of a pandemic so now is not the time to cut back on funding,” Dr Hans Kluge, WHO Europe’s Regional Director told reporters Wednesday.

During Tuesday’s White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing, President Trump criticized the WHO for not warning the world about the virus early on saying they “could have called it months earlier.” Notably, Trump instituted a travel ban on China on January 31, which the WHO called unnecessary.

The U.S. is the number one contributor to the WHO. In fact, the U.S. provided nearly 15 percent of the WHO’s budget between 2018 and 2019.

“It was absolutely critical in the early part of this outbreak to have full access to everything possible, to get on the ground and work with the Chinese to understand this.” Dr Bruce Aylward, Senior Advisor to the Director General, said during the Wednesday meeting, “This is what we did with every other hard-hit country like Spain and had nothing to do with China specifically.”

Dr. Aylward led the WHO trip to China in February and commended the country’s “very hard” work in containing the virus, according to Reuters.

“China worked very, hard very early on, once it understood what it was dealing with, to try and identify and detect all potential cases to make sure that they got tested to trace all the close contacts and make sure they were quarantined so they actually knew where the virus was, where the risk was,” Aylward said.

He continued, “Then they made it very clear that these people would not and could not travel within the country, let alone internationally.”

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Analysis: Biden unlikely to sanction Iran’s oil exports, gas prices ‘critical during an election year’

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Analysts say President Joe Biden is unlikely to “prompt dramatic sanctions action on Iran’s oil exports” due to “worries about boosting oil prices and angering top buyer China” according to Reuters.

Speaking to Fox News on Sunday, House Republican Representative Steve Scalise, said the administration had made it easier for Iran to sell its oil, generating revenues that were being used to “go fund terrorist activity.”

The Biden administration has maintained for months that among its primary goals is to keep the Gaza conflict between terror group Hamas and Israel from turning into a wider regional war. However, House Republican leaders accused President Joe Biden of failing to enforce existing measures and said they would take up this week a series of bills to sharpen sanctions on Iran.

Kimberly Donovan, a sanctions and anti-money laundering expert at the Atlantic Council, said that oil-related sanctions have not been strictly enforced in the past couple of years.

“I would not expect the administration to tighten enforcement in response to Iran’s missile and drone attacks against Israel over the weekend, mainly for concerns (that) could lead to increases in oil prices,” she said.

“The price of oil and ultimately the prices of gas at the pump become critical during an election year.”
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