Jan 31, 2017

The White House on dissenting diplomats: “they can go”

Carolyn Kaster / AP

Sean Spicer told reporters today that if State Department officials don't like the executive order mandating a refugee ban they can quit.

They should either get with the program or they can go…If somebody has a problem with that agenda, that does call into question whether or not they should continue in that post.

Why this matters: More than 100 State Department officials signed the dissent cable, which was drafted last week. State Department whistle-blower laws prohibit retaliation against employees following dissent procedures.

History: The State Department dissent cable began during the Vietnam War for diplomats to express opposition to administration policies. It came up last summer when 51 State Department officials signed one to protest Obama's policy in Syria.

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WHO won't call coronavirus a pandemic as cases spread

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The World Health Organization will not yet call the coronavirus a pandemic, claiming that needs across affected countries are too varied and the classification would increase fear, per a briefing Monday.

The big picture: As South Korea and Italy stepped up emergency measures in efforts to thwart the spread of the virus, WHO expressed concern about infections with no clear link to China. COVID-19 has killed at least 2,620 people and infected almost 80,000 others, with all but 27 deaths occurring in mainland China.

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The global scramble to contain the coronavirus

Taking precaution, in the Philippines. Photo: Ezra Acayan/Getty Images

The coronavirus is spreading quickly in cities nowhere near Wuhan, China, and the window to prevent a global pandemic is narrowing.

Zoom in: Here's a look at what comes with a coronavirus outbreak in communities outside China that have been hardest hit so far.

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