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Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on the countries in the Persian Gulf region who have cut off Qatar to "ease the blockade." He also argued that the diplomatic crisis is impairing U.S. and international business activity, as well as hindering military actions in the region, including the campaign against ISIS.

Note: Qatar's leader reportedly declined Trump's invitation to host mediation talks at the White House. A Qatari official told Reuters Thursday that the Emir of Qatar "has no plans to leave Qatar while the country is under a blockade."

Key excerpts from his Friday statement:

  • "We asked [the Saudi-led countries] that there be no further escalation by the parties in the region... the emir of Qatar has made progress in halting financial support and expelling terrorist elements from his country, but he must do more, and he must do it more quickly."
  • "We support the Emir of Kuwait's efforts to bring about a peaceful resolution to this agreement...the U.S. will support these efforts along with the emir of Kuwait."
  • "We know you are stronger together... our expectation is that these countries will immediately take steps to deescalate the situation and put forth a good faith effort to resolve their grievances they have with each other."
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Go deeper

Tracking the pandemic's unequal impact

Expand chart
Data: Morning Consult/Axios; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

The pandemic was bound to hit the most economically vulnerable among us the hardest. New polling data from Morning Consult, out this morning, shows the degree to which those difficulties were more concentrated among people of color.

Catch up quick: The Morning Consult/Axios Inequality Index has tracked the economic experience of adults in three wage groups since May 2020. We began publishing the findings in May of this year, and six months in, we’re slicing the data a little differently — and looking at inequality between ethnicities.

1 hour ago - Health

WHO says Omicron poses "very high" risk

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaking in Geneva in October. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

The World Health Organization said Monday in a new risk assessment that it believes the COVID-19 Omicron variant poses a "very high" risk to the globe because it may be more transmissible than other strains of the virus.

Why it matters: Though the WHO acknowledged there are still many uncertainties associated with the variant, the agency said it believes the likelihood of potential further spread of Omicron around the world is "high."

Battle for the soul of a new web

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A well-funded and intensely motivated chunk of tech's hive mind is finding common cause in a vast new project: rebuilding the web on a foundation of cryptocurrency and blockchain tech. They call it "Web3."

The big picture: Developers, investors and early adopters imagine a future in which the technologies that enable Bitcoin and Ethereum will break up the concentrated power today's tech giants wield and usher in a golden age of individual empowerment and entrepreneurial freedom.