United States-Israel Diplomatic Efforts Underpin First Israeli Spacecraft Landing On The Moon

SpaceIL’s Lunar Lander

SpaceIL’s Lunar Lander

The United States congratulates the Government of Israel and our respective commercial space industries for the historic SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch of SpaceIL’s Lunar Lander named Beresheet. The mission launched yesterday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, at 8:45 p.m. EST and will land on the Moon in about two months. The non-profit organization SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries, with technical support from the Israel Space Agency, funded and built this lander. The mission required governmental authorization and continuing supervision, consistent with obligations set out in the Outer Space Treaty, to which both Israel and the United States are party. The U.S. government, as a responsible space-faring nation and launching state, also commends the U.S. commercial space sector for providing affordable launch services to another closely allied spacefaring nation. In fact, the Google X prize was the primary incentive that persuaded SpaceIL to embark on this endeavor.

We look forward to expanding our partnership in space with Israel as the nation takes on greater responsibilities in the international community of spacefaring nations (as in its recent assumption of the 2nd Vice Chair of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space). Israel is fostering its own innovative commercial space industry to produce a mission that will make Israel one of only four nations (United States, the former Soviet Union, China, and Israel) to reach the surface of the Moon through a controlled landing. This mission has fostered a partnership between NASAand the Israel Space Agency and both agencies will share the resulting discoveries with the global scientific community. NASA will contribute to the mission with communications support and observations from its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft and by providing a laser retroreflector that will fly onboard the Israeli lander.

For further information, contact OES-PA-DG@state.gov. For more information about outer space diplomacy, please visit the website for the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Space and Advanced Technology.

The United States Pre-Positions Aid For Venezuelans On The Brazil-Venezuela Border

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

On February 22, the United States and its partners began pre-positioning additional humanitarian aid for Venezuelans in Boa Vista, Brazil in proximity to the Brazil-Venezuela border. This life-saving humanitarian assistance is made up of 178 metric tons of locally-procured food supplies and is ready to be delivered to Venezuelans suffering from severe food shortages inside Venezuela. This aid includes:

  • Food kits containing rice, beans, sugar, and salt to feed nearly 3,500 people for 10 days; and
  • Additional rice to feed an estimated 6,100 people for one month.

To save lives, this critical aid must be allowed to enter Venezuela. The U.S. government is coordinating with governments in the region and our regional humanitarian partners to ensure that the systems are in place to transport this aid into Venezuela safely and efficiently and to reach Venezuelans.

The United States applauds Brazil for working in partnership with us to make this aid delivery possible, and for providing additional contributions of humanitarian assistance.

The United States remains committed to helping the people of Venezuela, and this assistance is not the first – and will not be the last – that the American people send to help those in need.

Since Fiscal Year 2017, the United States has provided more than $140 million – including nearly $97 million in humanitarian assistance and approximately $43 million in development and economic assistance – to support the generous efforts of countries in the region that are hosting the nearly 3.4 million people who have fled the chaos in Venezuela.

This includes more than $10.5 million in humanitarian aid to assist Venezuelans displaced to Brazil, particularly in the border state of Roraima, reinforcing the Government of Brazil’s emergency response efforts.

In addition, on January 24, 2019, Secretary Pompeo announced that the United States is ready to provide more than $20 million in additional funding to support humanitarian assistance activities in Venezuela. This additional funding is being used, in part, to procure the humanitarian supplies being pre-positioned on Venezuela’s borders with Colombia and Brazil.

We continue to assess humanitarian needs throughout the region to determine what additional assistance we can provide.

We greatly appreciate the generosity and compassion of countries throughout the hemisphere who are hosting the more than three million Venezuelans who have fled crisis in their country. We commend the humanitarian contributions made by all donors, and encourage additional contributions to meet growing humanitarian needs.

Humanitarian assistance is critical to saving the lives of Venezuelans, but it will not improve the political and economic conditions that are responsible for this crisis. We continue to encourage the relevant authorities in Venezuela to implement immediately the critical economic and political reforms necessary to end the hyperinflation, supply shortages, and corruption at the heart of this crisis.

InPERU Trade Delegation To Discuss Infrastructure, Transport, And Olympic Legacy With Business And Government Partners In London

The UK is Peru’s main delivery partner for the Lima 2019 Pan American and Para Pan American Games


InPERU trade delegation to discuss infrastructure, transport, and Olympic Legacy with business and government partners in London

InPERU trade delegation to discuss infrastructure, transport, and Olympic Legacy with business and government partners in London

InPERU, Peru’s annual trade and investment roadshow, will be travelling to London next week as part of its European tour to promote business and investment opportunities in Peru. This year’s high-level public-private delegation includes Carlos Oliva, Peru’s Minister of Economy and Finance, and Julio Velarde, President of Peru’s Central Reserve Bank. Lima’s newly elected Mayor, Jorge Muñoz, will join the delegation for a meeting with Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, Foreign Office Minister Alan Duncan, and a visit to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The Mayor and the Peruvian Vice minister of Transport, Carlos Estremadoyro, will also meet UK transport authorities to explore opportunities to work together with the new Urban Transport Authority in Peru.


The UK is Peru’s main delivery partner for the Lima 2019 Pan American and Para Pan American Games – the world’s fourth largest sporting event – to be held in the Peruvian capital later this year. British expertise stemming from London 2012’s legacy has helped reduce delays and cost overruns since support began in 2017 and created a strong appetite to use British models for contracting and managing major infrastructure projects across other sectors in Peru.

The Mayor of Lima, Jorge Muñoz, and Carlos Neuhaus, President of the Organizing Committee for Lima 2019, will be joined by business leaders from Arup, MACE, and 4 Global to visit the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park where they will be briefed on the social and economic aspects of London 2012’s legacy.

Speaking ahead of the visit, British Ambassador to Peru, Kate Harrisson, said:

The trade and investment relationship between the United Kingdom and Peru has transformed over the course of the last few years. The UK is now the single biggest investor in Peru. This is due in large part to major mining investments including by Anglo American last year, but we are also seeing strong development in new sectors including green finance and sustainable infrastructure.

The Government to Government agreement which established the UK as Peru’s main delivery partner for the Lima 2019 Pan American and Para PanAmerican Games, has put Peru on the radar of UK companies. British expertise in delivering global sporting events, including London 2012, is at the heart of this partnership. But when we saw what we could do to in partnership with Lima 2019 to deliver major infrastructure for the Games, it was clear we could apply UK delivery models to a much wider range of major infrastructure projects. That’s good for Peru and good for British business”.

In London, members of the Peruvian delegation will also participate in a series of bilateral meetings and roundtables, including the second meeting of the Joint UK-Peru Infrastructure Task Force. The first meeting was held in Lima in September last year and agreed a range of actions including direct UK support for the development of Peru’s National Infrastructure Plan.

This will be InPERU’s sixth visit to London. InPERU is a public-private initiative that seeks to attract foreign business and investment into Peru. The UK is the single largest foreign investors in Peru.

Public Designation Of, And Visa Restrictions Placed On, Multiple Officials Of The Democratic Republic Of The Congo Due To Involvement In Significant Corruption, Human Rights Violations Or Abuses, Or Undermining Of Democracy

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

The United States stands with the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo (D.R.C.) following that country’s historic transfer of power. The elections reflect the desire of the people of the D.R.C. for change and accountable government institutions. However, there are legitimate concerns over the conduct and transparency of the electoral process.

The Secretary of State is publicly designating, due to their involvement in significant corruption relating to the electoral process, the following individuals: Mr. Corneille Nangaa, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (D.R.C.) National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI); Mr. Norbert Basengezi Katintima, Vice President of CENI; Mr. Marcellin Mukolo Basengezi, Advisor to the President of CENI; Mr. Aubin Minaku Ndjalandjoko, President of the D.R.C.’s National Assembly; and Mr. Benoit Lwamba Bindu, President of the D.R.C.’s Constitutional Court. This public designation is being made under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act of 2019, (Div. F, P.L. 116-6-).

Section 7031(c) provides that, in cases where the Secretary of State has credible information that officials of foreign governments have been involved in significant corruption or a gross violation of human rights, those individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States.

The Secretary of State is also imposing visa restrictions on election officials as well as military and government officials believed to be responsible for, complicit in, or to have engaged in human rights violations or abuses or undermining of the democratic process in the D.R.C.

These individuals enriched themselves through corruption, or directed or oversaw violence against people exercising their rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. They operated with impunity at the expense of the Congolese people and showed a blatant disregard for democratic principles and human rights.

The Department of State emphasizes that the actions announced today are specific to certain officials and not directed at the Congolese people or the newly elected government. This decision reflects the Department of State’s commitment to working with the new D.R.C. government to realize its expressed commitment to end corruption and strengthen democracy and accountability, and respect for human rights.

For more information, please contact AF-Press@state.gov.

Health And Social Care Secretary Bans Pagers From The NHS

Matt Hancock has ordered the removal of pagers for non-emergency communications by the end of 2021

Department of Health

Department of Health

NHS trusts will be required to phase out pagers by the end of 2021. All hospitals will be expected to have plans and infrastructure in place to ensure this is possible by the end of September 2020.

Staff will instead use modern alternatives, such as mobile phones and apps. These can deliver more accurate 2-way communications at a reduced cost.

A pilot project at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSFT) in 2017 saved junior doctors 48 minutes per shift and nurses 21 minutes on average.

The NHS uses around 130,000 pagers at an annual cost of £6.6 million. More than one in 10 of the world’s pagers are used by the NHS.

Most mobile phone companies have phased out support for pagers, leaving only one provider in the UK. This means a single device can cost up to £400.

Removing pagers brings a number of benefits to NHS staff:

  • Pagers only offer a one-way form of communication. The recipient is unaware who is contacting them, the reasons why, or the level of urgency. This can interrupt work, waste time, make the prioritisation of tasks difficult and the evidence trail of communications is limited.
  • Pagers do not support the sharing of information between staff on the move. Mobile phones and apps are able to do all of this more quickly and at a reduced cost.

NHS trusts will be allowed to keep some pagers for emergency situations, such as when wifi fails or when other forms of communication are unavailable.

The WSFT pilot project used Medic Bleep, a messaging and calling system similar to Whatsapp, with enhanced data protection.

The move to replace pagers with modern technology is the next step in achieving a fully digitised NHS – a crucial part of the tech vision and the NHS Long Term Plan.

Digital services and IT systems used by the NHS will soon have to meet a clear set of open standards to ensure they can talk to each other across organisational boundaries and can be continuously upgraded.

Any system which does not meet these standards will be phased out and the government will look to end contracts with providers which do not understand these principles for the health and care sector.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:

Every day, our wonderful NHS staff work incredibly hard in what can be challenging and high-pressured environments. The last thing they need are the frustrations of having to deal with outdated technology – they deserve the very best equipment to help them do their jobs.

We have to get the basics right, like having computers that work and getting rid of archaic technology like pagers and fax machines. Email and mobile phones are a more secure, quicker and cheaper way to communicate which allow doctors and nurses to spend more time caring for patients rather than having to work round outdated kit.

We want to build a health and care service which is fully able to harness the huge potential of technology. This will save lives, support hard-working staff and deliver the cutting-edge care set out by our Long Term Plan for the NHS.

WSFT medical director, Nick Jenkins, said:

As a global digital exemplar trust, we’re always keen to explore new digital opportunities that could improve experience for staff and patients.

There is scope for Medic Bleep to be used for everything from arranging shift cover to sharing patient observations. For us, it’s about a digital tool helping our communications to become more efficient. Contact with other clinicians can be made much more easily than with a physical bleep, and responses are much quicker. All that time we save can be spent caring for patients, so we benefit, but more importantly, our patients benefit too.

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