Apr 28, 2017

State Department could lose 2,300 jobs

Richard Drew / AP

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is considering cutting 2,300 jobs at the State Department, according to the AP — a three percent cut to the department's roughly 75,000 employees. This would also slash the number of new diplomats being hired and potentially include a State Department and USAID consolidation.

Why now: To adjust to Trump's proposed budget cuts to the State Department for the next fiscal year, which are more than a quarter of its current allowance.

Why it matters: Laying people off certainly doesn't fit into Trump's rhetoric about creating jobs, and just yesterday the WH blamed the State Department for not recommending people to fill nearly every undersecretary and assistant secretary position, as well as one-third of ambassadorships, at the department.

Senators are taking note: A group of 43 senators from both sides of the aisle sent a letter to appropriators on the Hill this week, warning cuts in this area would be "shortsighted, counterproductive and even dangerous."

What's next: Tillerson will outline the plan to staffers next week.

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Coronavirus kills 2 Diamond Princess passengers and South Korea sees first death

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. U.S. numbers include Americans extracted from Princess Cruise ship.

Two elderly Diamond Princess passengers have been killed by the novel coronavirus — the first deaths confirmed among the more than 600 infected aboard the cruise ship. South Korea also announced its first death Thursday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,200 people and infected over 75,465 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 118 new deaths since Thursday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

SoftBank to cut its stake to get T-Mobile's Sprint deal done

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

T-Mobile and Sprint announced a revised merger agreement that will see SoftBank getting a smaller share of the combined company, while most shareholders will receive the previously agreed upon exchange rate. The companies said they hope to get the deal as early as April 1.

Why it matters: The amended deal reflects the decline in Sprint's business, while leaving most shareholders' stake intact and removing another hurdle to the deal's closure.