Tillerson spoke in Addis Ababa on boosting trade with Africa
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is highlighting female empowerment on International Women's Day in Addis Ababa Thursday - the second of his six-day tour of Africa.
Joining (Moussa Faki) the chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission for a media briefing, Tillerson also spoke about initiatives aimed at boosting trade with Africa.
Tillerson said: "On trade, we also support the African Union's economic regional integration efforts to lower intra-trade barriers on the continent, boost more intra-regional trade - which we know has been a central goal of the negotiations around the constant Continental Free Trade Agreement, which we are quite supportive of. We look forward to engaging further with the African Union once that agreement is in place on how this will also promote greater participation of U.S. private sector business interests as well."
Tillerson's comments precede President Donald Trump's proposed new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, despite some of the members of his administration criticizing the idea as protectionist and anti-free trade.
The state of Florida passed new gun control legislation
U.S. lawmakers in the state of Florida passed new gun control legislation weeks after the massacre at a local high school and despite lobbying efforts by the National Rifle Association.
The bill bans bump stocks, increases the minimum age to buy a rifle from 18 to 21 with the exception of law enforcement and the military. The bill also requires a three day waiting period for all gun sales.
Additionally, the bill creates conditions allowing trained school employees to carry guns on school property.
Following Wednesday's vote, the father of one of the victims at the Parkland high school urged the governor to sign the bill into law.
He said: "I want to thank the governor for his tremendous support and we stand united in asking him to sign this historic bill into law. We thank the House and Senate for voting in favor of protecting our children. But more needs to be done and it's important for the country to unite, in the same way the 17 families united in support of this bill."
The bill's passage came on the same day the accused 19-year-old shooter in Parkland, Florida, was indicted on 17 counts of premeditated murder and another 17 counts of attempted murder.
No date was set for Nikolas Cruz to enter a plea during his court appearance Wednesday. Cruz, who was expelled last year from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, could face the death penalty in the case. But the prosecutor has not announced whether he plans to seek the ultimate penalty.