May 3, 2018

U.S. special forces aiding Saudis with war in Yemen

U.S. and Saudi Arabian flags. Photo: Ahmed Youssef Elsayed Abdelrehim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

A team of "about a dozen" Green Berets are aiding Saudi Arabia in its fight against the Houthis in Yemen, according to a New York Times report.

Why it matters: The Pentagon has been asserting that U.S. involvement is limited to things like information sharing and aircraft refueling. But the Times reports that the Green Berets "are training Saudi ground troops to secure their border," and "helping locate and destroy caches of ballistic missiles and launch sites” that the Houthis have used to attack Saudi Arabia.

The big picture: The war in Yemen is a primary driver of the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, and the U.S. military appears to be more involved than originally explained.

  • Lt. Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich, Pentagon spokeswoman told Axios: "The DOD's limited non-combat support, such as intelligence sharing, focuses on assisting our partners in securing their borders from cross-border attacks from the Houthis and improving coalition processes and procedures, especially regarding compliance with the law of armed conflict and best practices for reducing the risk of civilian casualties... We do not provide or vet Coalition targets, and there are currently no plans to provide offensive targeting support of any kind."
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders, who introduced a resolution to pull U.S. support from the Saudis in Yemen's war, said in a statement to Axios: "[T]he article in today’s New York Times only adds to my strong concern that the Trump administration is getting the United States even more deeply involved in a war in Yemen without congressional authorization.  I will be seeking further clarification on these activities from the administration."

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 1,094,068 — Total deaths: 58,773 — Total recoveries: 225,519Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 273,880 — Total deaths: 7,077 — Total recoveries: 9,521Map.
  3. Public health latest: The CDC is recommending Americans wear face coverings in public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
  4. 2020 latest: Wisconsin's governor called for a last-minute primary election delay. "I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting," President Trump said on the 2020 election, as more states hold primaries by mail.
  5. Business updates: America's small business bailout is off to a bad start. The DOT is urging airlines to refund passengers due to canceled or rescheduled flights, but won't take action against airlines that provide vouchers or credits.
  6. Oil latest: The amount of gas American drivers are consuming dropped to levels not seen in more than 25 years, government data shows. Trump is calling on the Energy Department to find more places to store oil.
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Government will cover uninsured patients' coronavirus treatment

Azar at Friday's briefing. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The federal government will cover the costs of coronavirus treatment for the uninsured, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said at a White House briefing Friday.

How it works: The money will come from a $100 billion pot set aside for the health care industry in the most recent stimulus bill. Providers will be paid the same rates they get for treating Medicare patients, and as a condition of those payments, they won't be allowed to bill patients for care that isn't covered.

More states issue stay-at-home orders as coronavirus crisis escalates

Data: Axios reporting; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued a stay-at-home order on Friday as the novel coronavirus pandemic persists. The order goes into effect Saturday at 5 p.m. and will remain in place through April 30. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson also issued a statewide social distancing order on Friday.

The big picture: In a matter of weeks, the number of states that issued orders nearly quadrupled, affecting almost 300 million Americans.

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