Obama traveled the world. Trump goes to Florida.

Donald Trump has evinced a notable lack of curiosity about many aspects of the job he claimed to want. One that stands out — and that is particularly galling for the supposed leader of the free world, and in stark contrast to President Obama — is a disinclination thus far to travel outside the country’s borders.

It was clear early on in the presidential campaign that Donald Trump was more interested in winning the election than in actually doing the daily work involved with the job, as the laughably thin list of his so-called “historic accomplishments” during his first 100 days shows.

He has demonstrated his mental laziness and utter lack of curiosity in understanding of the world time and time again.

From his shifting positions on NATO, to needing a history lesson from the president of China on the subject of North Korea, to his varied inappropriate behavior toward the prime minister of Australia, the prime minister of Japan, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel — who also had to give Trump a schooling on his supposedly signature issue of trade — Trump has proven that it is a markedly small world in which he lives.

And not just metaphorically.

When Obama took office, he immediately faced the task of improving the United States’ standing around the world, after the damage done on a global scale by the George W. Bush administration. And Obama took that job seriously, logging thousands of miles within the first 100 days after his inauguration in 2009.

And the public’s admiration at that time for Obama’s efforts outpaces current opinion on Trump’s ability to do the same by a vast margin, according to a recent Gallup poll:

According to the poll, only 29 percent of Americans believe “leaders of foreign countries around the world have respect for the President.” That is less than half of the 67 percent of people who believed Obama was respected by foreign leaders at this point in his presidency, and it even trails the 49 percent who believed this of George W. Bush.

Considering his embarrassing encounters with many world leaders thus far, and his clear preference for authoritarians and dictators, it is difficult to say whether Trump traveling to other countries would actually be helpful.

But it is supposed to be part of the job of president of the United States. Instead, Trump seems content to merely occupy the role, rather than embody it.

Trump spends much of his time — and taxpayer dollars — traveling to his resort in Florida. And he will occasionally travel to other states when he has the chance to grandiosely pat himself on the back, however unearned the personal kudos may be.

But there is a whole world out there with which the United States president ought to be thoughtfully engaged. Obama understood this well. But Trump? He surely has a tee time to meet.

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Florida nightclub shooting: Two Orlando hospitals will not issue medical bills to survivors

Two hospitals in Orlando, Florida, will not bill survivors of the Pulse nightclub mass shooting, the Orlando Sentinel reported on Wednesday. Instead, the Orlando Health and Florida Hospital will write off an estimated $5.5 million (approximately Rs 36.8 crore) in medical costs for those injured in the June 12 massacre, in which 49 people were killed.

Orlando Health President David Strong called the Pulse shooting a “horrendous tragedy” and said the waiving of medical fees was the company’s way of showing its support to the community. While health insurers providing coverage to those treated by Orlando Health will receive bills, the hospital will write off anything not covered by their policies.

Meanwhile, Florida Hospital said it will not bill the survivors’ insurers and will forego issuing fees for any follow-up surgeries those injured will need. “We hope this gesture can add to the heart and goodwill that defines Orlando,” said Florida Hospital Chief Executive Officer Daryl Tol.

Orlando Health treated 44 of those injured in the shooting, while Florida Hospital treated 12, according to CNN. A man, later identified as Omar Mateen, opened fire at the gay nightclub in an “organised and well-prepared” attack. While the Islamic State group had claimedresponsibility for the carnage, investigators said there was no direct evidence linking them to the crime committed by the 29-year-old shooter.

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Uber Teams With Florida City on Public Transit Test

Uber Teams With Florida City on Public Transit Test

A Florida city is testing whether it can save millions of dollars in road-building and other public transportation expenses by subsidizing the cost of rides with Uber Technologies Inc.

Altamonte Springs, an Orlando suburb, on March 21 will become the nation’s first city to pay a portion of the fare for all trips with Uber within its limits, according to Christine Mitchell, Uber’s general manager in Central Florida.

The goal is to integrate the on-demand ride service into the transportation network, get cars off the road and induce people to use mass transit such as SunRail, the two-year-old regional commuter train, said city manager Frank Martz.

Altamonte Springs has budgeted $500,000, partly from local businesses, for a year-long study during which it will pick up 20 percent of all Uber rides in city limits, and 25 percent for those to or from its SunRail station.

“It is infinitely cheaper than the alternatives,” said Martz, whose city has a population of about 43,000 and median income of $50,000. “A mile of road costs tens of millions of dollars. You can operate this for decades on $10 million.”

Some economics and public policy experts who study Uber disagree.

“I see this plan as blowing (the city’s) budget out of the water,” said Joann Weiner, director of the master’s programme in applied economics at George Washington University.

Subsidies usually cause costs to increase because someone else is picking up part of the tab, she said. The city’s budget also may not account for rider demand.

The other big question is public acceptance.

Martz said suburban sprawl in Florida has made transportation solutions like bus routes inefficient and unaffordable. He believes cheaper Uber rides also will help those who need public transportation to reach available bus and rail services.

However, advocates for the homeless and poor who rely on buses say this will not help them.

Andrae Bailey, chief executive for the Central Florida Commission on Homeless, argued that the homeless and poor who rely on city buses typically don’t benefit from technological solutions because they don’t have easy internet access.”

Lyft, Uber’s largest ride-hailing competitor in the United States, is also in negotiations with transit agencies about subsidies for Lyft rides, said Emily Castor, Lyft director of transportation policy. She did not provide the names.

If the city decides to continue the service, Martz said the contract will be open to other bidders.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

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