Jan 9, 2018

Rex Tillerson says Cuba still isn't safe for U.S. diplomats

Rex Tillerson speaks to reporters at Camp David. Photo: Chris Kleponis, Pool / Getty Images

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told the AP that sending U.S. diplomats to Cuba would be "intentionally putting them back in harm’s way." He said, "I will push back on anybody who wants to force me to do that.”

The backdrop: It was deemed risky for American diplomats to remain in Cuba after they were reportedly hit with a mysterious attack in August that led to mild traumatic brain injury. But a new FBI report — which hasn’t been publicly released — "casts doubt on the initial theory that Americans [in Cuba] have been hit by sonic attacks," AP reports.

Go deeper

UFC wants to host fight on tribal land to avoid coronavirus restrictions

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In an attempt to skirt federal and state guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic, the UFC plans to hold its April 18 pay-per-view event on tribal land in California, per multiple reports.

The state of play: Even as the rest of the sports world hits pause, UFC president Dana White has remained adamant that fights must go on, and appears to have settled for a shutdown casino in a state with the fourth-most confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Go deeperArrow12 mins ago - Sports

Ivanka Trump plans focus on coronavirus recovery for small businesses

Ivanka Trump speaks at yesterday's White House videoconference with bank and credit card executives. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Ivanka Trump personally lobbied top bank executives to line up the $1.5 billion in commitments to small business that were announced yesterday at a videoconference among the bank executives and President Trump — stoking competitive juices among the execs to drive up their commitments.

The state of play: Ivanka, who has had workforce development in her portfolio going back to 2017, plans an increasing emphasis on small businesses in the weeks ahead as they navigate the rescue bill’s Payroll Protection Program, sources tell me.

Public transit's death spiral

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Public transit systems across the country are experiencing a painful trifecta: Ridership has collapsed, funding streams are squeezed, and mass transit won't bounce back from the pandemic nearly as fast as other modes of transportation.

Why it matters: Transit agencies could see an annual shortfall of as much as $38 billion due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to TransitCenter. At the same time, they're more important than ever, with more than 36% of essential workers relying on public transportation to get to work.

Go deeperArrow4 hours ago - Health