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Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson addressed State Department employees Wednesday amid reports that he is considering cutting 2,300 jobs from the department — but he didn't address those. He is also facing budget pressures from the administration to cut its funding by about one-third, a limitation that has drawn ire from advocates for international aid and diplomacy — but he didn't address that, either.

Instead, he championed "America First" and told the employees that for the State Department, this means an emphasis on national security and economic prosperity.

If you read only one thing: A day after Tillerson took Q&A from Model UN students, he did not take questions from his employees after the speech.

Tillerson's explained the national security concerns around the world:

  • North Korea: The U.S. is readying additional sanctions against North Korea if its actions warrant them. "I'd say we're at about dial setting 5 or 6 now."
  • China: The first high-level diplomatic and security dialogue with China will take place in June in D.C.
  • Russia: "We cannot have the two greatest nuclear powers in the world have this kind of relationship…we've got to change it…I don't want to say we're off to a good start." Tillerson will meet with Lavrov in Alaska next week.
  • Mexico: There will be a May 18 meeting to discuss how to break up transnational criminal organizations and the threats of drug flows into the U.S.
  • Central and Latin America: The U.S. is hosting an event in Miami to talk about pumping private capital investment into Central and Latin America.
  • ISIS: "We've got to move beyond the battle space; we've got to move into the cyber space into the social space, that allows them to recruit into their terrorism efforts."
  • Africa: "We cannot let Africa become the next breeding ground for the emergence of ISIS.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
2 mins ago - Economy & Business

How the tech stock selloff is hurting average Americans

Expand chart
Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Investors holding the ultra-popular Nasdaq 100 and S&P 500 index funds have been hard hit over the last two weeks as tech shares have been roiled by rising U.S. Treasury yields.

Why it matters: Even though the economy is growing and many U.S. stocks are performing well, most investors are seeing their wealth decline because major indexes no longer reflect the overall economy or even a broad swath of public companies — they reflect the performance of a few of the country's biggest companies.

28 mins ago - World

UN rights chief: At least 54 killed, 1,700 detained since Myanmar coup

A Feb. 7 protest in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo: Getty Images/Getty Images

Police and military officers in Myanmar have killed at least 54 people during anti-coup protests, while "arbitrarily" detaining over 1,700 people, United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet said Thursday.

Why it matters: Protesters have demonstrating across Myanmar for nearly a month, demanding the restoration of democracy after the country's military leaders overthrew its democratically elected government on Feb. 1.

2 hours ago - Health

The danger of a fourth wave

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Note: Anomalous Arkansas case data from Feb. 28 was not included in the calculated change; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The U.S. may be on the verge of another surge in coronavirus cases, despite weeks of good news.

The big picture: Nationwide, progress against the virus has stalled. And some states are ditching their most important public safety measures even as their outbreaks are getting worse.