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Pompeo is Hopeful For the Change in the Course of History on the Korean Peninsula

“Mike Pompeo is someone who I think has the close ear of the president,” said Nile Gardiner of the conservative-leaning Washington-based research institution, The Heritage Foundation.

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Pompeo has vowed to bring back the “swagger” to the State Department.
Mike Pompeo, U.S. Secretary of State ,Wikimedia commons
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New U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says there is “an unprecedented opportunity to change the course of history on the Korean peninsula” with President Donald Trump planning to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“I underscore the word “opportunity;” we are in the beginning stages of the work and the outcome is certainly yet unknown,” Pompeo said after his ceremonial swearing in at the State Department Wednesday. Trump was in attendance.

Pompeo said the Trump administration will not repeat the mistakes of the past, adding, “Our eyes are wide open.” He said “We are committed to the permanent, verifiable, irreversible dismantling of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction program and to do so without delay.”

Trump made his first visit to the State Department Wednesday for the ceremonial swearing-in.

said Pompeo Tuesday while speaking to personnel who gathered as he arrived for his first full day at the State Department
Mike Pompeo, wikimedia commons

“Mike is a true American patriot,” Trump said as he praised Pompeo. “I have no doubt that you will make America proud as our nation’s chief diplomat.”

Pompeo has vowed to bring back the “swagger” to the State Department.

“The United States diplomatic corps needs to be in every corner, every stretch of the world, executing missions on behalf of this country, and it is my humble, noble undertaking to help you achieve that,” said Pompeo Tuesday while speaking to personnel who gathered as he arrived for his first full day at the State Department.

Thomas Hill, of the Washington-based Brookings Institution said “I would say he needs to go further than restore, but I would say he needs to modernize the department, while also fighting the interagency battles that will inevitably come about. As well as just dealing with the problems of normal, international diplomacy: Iran, North Korea, Russia, etc.”

The former CIA director takes the helm of the State Department after Trump’s decision to fire then-secretary of state Rex Tillerson in March, hours after Tillerson had returned from a trip to Africa.

Unlike with Tillerson, Trump is said to have a close working relationship with Pompeo.

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“Mike Pompeo is someone who I think has the close ear of the president,” said Nile Gardiner of the conservative-leaning Washington-based research institution, The Heritage Foundation.

Pompeo took selfies with several State Department employees Tuesday, vowing to reach out to as many staff members as possible.

“I’ll spend as little time on the 7th floor” and meet people in “many parts of this organization,” he said.

A U.S. foreign service officer, who did not want to be named, told VOA he hopes Pompeo’s experiences in Congress, the U.S. military, and the intelligence community “highlight that the United States faces real adversaries abroad, and that the [State] Department’s career employees are resources – not the enemy.”

Tillerson was under fire at the State Department for leaving many senior vacancies unfilled and proposing dramatic budget cuts, lowering the morale of the diplomatic workforce.

Pompeo, who was confirmed last week, boarded a plane just hours after being sworn in Thursday, traveling to the NATO foreign ministerial meeting in Brussels. He continued on to Saudi Arabia, Israel and Jordan.

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“I do think he is going to be a far bigger presence on the world stage than Rex Tillerson was,” said The Heritage Foundation’s Gardiner.

And while Tillerson brought just one reporter on his first foreign trip to Asia, Pompeo left Washington with six journalists on his plane last week. Pompeo picked up two more reporters as he continued his overseas trip to the Middle East, before returning to Washington on Monday.

“I think I have the record for the longest trip on the first day of work,” Pompeo joked on Tuesday. (VOA)

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Googling ‘idiot’ Bringing up Donald Trump Pictures Drags Google in Trouble

The House committee had also questioned YouTube, Twitter and Facebook executives at separate hearings on bias in big tech

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Sundar Pichai
Google CEO Sundar Pichai testifies at a House Judiciary Committee hearing "examining Google and its Data Collection, Use and Filtering Practices" on Capitol Hill in Washington. VOA

US Democratic Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, in an effort to understand how Google search algorithms work, asked its CEO Sundar Pichai why so many pictures of President Donald Trump appear when she does a Google search for “idiot”.

“Right now, if you Google the word ‘idiot’ under images, a picture of Donald Trump comes up. I just did that,” the California Democrat told Pichai during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday here.

“How would that happen? How does search work so that would occur?” Lofgren asked Pichai, according to the Washington Post.

The Google CEO — who was at the hearing to address allegations of political bias in his company’s widely used search engine — said the results were based on billions of keywords ranked according to over 200 factors such as relevance, popularity, how others were using the search term, to determine how to best match a query with results.

“So it’s not some little man sitting behind the curtain figuring out what we’re going to show the user?” Lofgren asked. “It’s basically a compilation of what users are generating.”

Republicans have long accused Google of political bias, which the company has strongly denied.

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Why googling ‘idiot’ brings up Trump photos, Congresswoman asks Pichai. VOA

In August, Trump said in a tweet that a Google search for “Trump News” showed only reports from “Fake News Media.” He concluded it was “rigged” against him so “almost all stories and news was bad.”

House Republicans said they wanted to hold the hearing — entitled “Transparency & Accountability: Examining Google and its Data Collection, Use and Filtering Practices” — to make sure the search giant was being impartial.

“Americans put their trust in big tech companies to honour freedom of speech and champion open dialogue,” Republican House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia said in a statement before the hearing.

The House committee had also questioned YouTube, Twitter and Facebook executives at separate hearings on bias in big tech.

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In response to Republicans who complained about Google searches, Democratic Representative Ted Lieu said: “If you want positive search results, do positive things. If you don’t want negative search results, don’t do negative things.”

“And to some of my colleagues across the aisle, if you’re getting bad press articles and bad search results, don’t blame Google or Facebook or Twitter, consider blaming yourself.” (IANS)