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Federal Foreign Office on the situation in Ethiopia

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The latest reports out of Ethiopia are worrying: in Tigray, we are witnessing a further deterioration of the humanitarian situation; there have been clashes again, and there is the danger of a renewed increase in severe violence between different population groups. These developments must be stopped while that is still possible.

We call on everyone involved to agree and adhere to an immediate ceasefire. It is completely clear that all foreign troops must immediately and fully withdraw from the region, and that we need a transparent investigation into the human rights violations. Any redrawing of borders through armed force or by other unconstitutional means is unacceptable.

Safe, unhindered and permanent humanitarian access to Tigray must now be the top priority. Those who have fled because of the conflict must be able to return safely to their homes.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Germany – Federal Foreign Office.

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This post originally posted here The European Times News

Post Office text scam is back! New message is so convincing it’s hard not to be tricked

Post Office scams aren’t anything new but this latest message arriving on phones is one of the most elaborate yet. iPhone and Android users are being targeted by the new threat via a simple text message which says, “Post Office: Your parcel has been redirected to your local branch due to an unpaid shipping fee.” This is followed by a clickable link that uses the post office address to make it appear like the real deal.

Of course, we’ve all seen these messages arrive in our inbox before but where this one is so clever is that the website embedded in the link takes you to something that looks so real it’s easy to be duped.

To see just how simple it is to be fooled, Express.co.uk visited the website and, using a fake name and address, we went through each step of the scam to see exactly what data the thieves are trying to gain from unsuspecting Post Office customers.

Right from the start, the whole scam looks totally genuine with the official Post Office logo appearing, slick animations popping up and even the font looking just like the real thing.

The first Window you’ll see features a very simple message asking for your postcode to check for the missed delivery.

Once you’ve handed over that information you’ll then be asked for your name and the full delivery address.

At this point, Express.co.uk added a completely fictional name and address and, guess what? The system revealed that a parcel had been found and was waiting to be delivered.

And here’s where things get serious as the next piece of the form starts asking some very personal questions including date of birth and mobile number.

Once that data is added, users are then asked to select a date for redelivery which, again, all looks incredibly genuine.

Finally, you’ll see a page asking for a charge of £2.39 to be paid to receive the parcel and a form wanting full banking details to be added including a card number, CVV security code, account number and sort code.

Anyone falling for this trick will have then, unwittingly, handed over everything a cyber criminal needs to make fraudulent purchases. It’s scary stuff.

The Post Office says that anyone receiving a suspicious email, text message, telephone call or discover a Royal Mail branded website which they think is fraudulent, should report it to [email protected]

If you have been the victim of a payment scam, you can get a crime reference number by reporting it to your local Police station.

And if you have clicked on a link, provided any personal data like your bank account details on a website or over the phone or you’re concerned that you’ve been compromised, you should also report the scam to Action FraudOpens in a new window, the national fraud reporting centre.

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: Tech

In a glimpse into Trump’s crazed final days in office, it emerged the top military officer was shaken by Trump’s refusal to concede and feared he may attempt a coup

It’s the extreme danger that the US system of government, Constitution and cherished freedoms would face if an ex-President even now trying to revive his demagogic political career ever gets anywhere near the Oval Office again.
In the latest staggering glimpse into Trump’s crazed, final days in office from a flurry of new books, it emerged Wednesday that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley was so shaken by Trump’s refusal to concede defeat that he feared he might attempt a coup or other illegal gambit to stay in power.
Milley saw himself and the armed forces as a bulwark against any presidential mutiny against the Constitution and the nearly two-and-a-half centuries of democratic transfers of power.
“They may try, but they’re not going to f**king succeed,” Milley told his deputies, according to excerpts of the book “I Alone Can Fix It” by Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker, which was obtained by CNN ahead of its release next Tuesday.
Milley saw Trump as the “classic authoritarian leader with nothing to lose,” the authors wrote, but he told subordinates: “You can’t do this without the military. You can’t do this without the CIA and the FBI. We’re the guys with the guns.”
In the end, Trump did not seek to turn the military on the American people or stage the most alarming showdown in living memory between a modern commander-in-chief and top military brass. But that seasoned military officers thought it was a real possibility and hatched a plan for rolling resignations to thwart Trump’s autocratic impulses underscores the ex-President’s extraordinary instability. Their preparations raised the specter that the uniformed military was ready to act to protect democracy and the rule of law from a civilian commander-in-chief in a reversal of normal Constitutional order — furthering an impression repeatedly left by Trump himself that he was unfit to ever be President.
There can be little doubt that if he is ever again in a position of supreme power, the twice-impeached former President would be similarly erratic and lawless as he was in office. His behavior since returning to private life proves it.
New details of his past malfeasance come as Trump and his supporters actively seek to whitewash the truth of the insurrection that he incited against the US Capitol as Congress was certifying President Joe Biden’s victory on January 6. The former President still has most of the Washington Republican Party — which acted to excuse his assault on democracy — in thrall to his personality cult. Millions of his voters believe his lies about non-existent voter fraud spread by propagandistic right-wing media networks.
Trump is, meanwhile, moving to tighten his grip over national elections by effectively installing acolytes in positions of power in state GOP parties as local Republican legislators pass laws making it harder for Democrats to vote that also weaken non-partisan control of elections, which could make them easier to steal in the future.
The new account also raises even more questions about senior Republican leaders’ attitude toward Trump. Given the close links between Capitol Hill and the top echelons of the military, it is impossible to believe that Milley’s testimony in the book will come as a surprise to congressional leaders or that they did not understand his fears in real time. Even if they didn’t know, the fact that the GOP is still protecting, elevating and preparing to follow Trump into the 2022 midterm elections suggests even greater complicity with his offenses against democracy.
If the 2024 GOP nominating contest were taking place now, Trump would be the favorite, and he is giving every sign that he may indeed run for the White House again, meaning the idea of a return to power is not out of the question — even if new evidence of a despotic temperament might harm his chances in a national election.

The inevitable Trump defense

The authors interviewed Trump for more than two hours. But his allies are sure to accuse them and the media of lying about his record, and officers like Milley of grandstanding, polishing their place in history and bearing grudges against the former commander-in-chief.
The detail in the book leaves a strong impression that Milley cooperated with the authors. But it doesn’t follow that he is just seeking to burnish his own legend. Such accounts are often a way of making clear exactly what happened — with a thin veneer of deniability for non-partisan military officers. And the armed forces remain one of the few institutions in American life to retain broad public respect.
Furthermore, Trump’s behavior as depicted here is familiar from other new accounts of how a defeated President lashed out like a toppling dictator late last year. In those books, which back up contemporary reporting, including by CNN, Trump comes across as delusional, self-pitying, desperate, angry and vindictive, seeking to save his political skin while ignoring the democratic will of voters, all while negligently refusing to deal with the real emergency — the murderous and worsening coronavirus pandemic that would claim its 400,000th victim before he left office in January.
The books and media accounts are sketching the kind of historical record that Trump’s pliant Republican allies on Capitol Hill sought to prevent by killing off a bipartisan plan for an independent commission into the January 6 insurrection.
The new accounts add to a staggering anecdotal, journalistic, legal and political narrative — augmented by Trump’s own public inflammatory remarks and actions — of the most aberrant and dangerous presidency of modern times and maybe ever.
Still, if there is one reassuring aspect of the latest account, it is that the military was well aware of the potential danger posed by Trump and the compliant political aides he installed in the White House after systematically driving out professional civil servants, diplomats and former military and intelligence officers — the so-called adults who, early on, tried to contain his wild instincts. And as well as the military, other institutions — including the courts and even the Justice Department under an Attorney General William Barr, who often did Trump’s political bidding — stood firm against his attempts to steal the election. Their example casts a poor light on the democratically-elected Republican lawmakers who refused to do their duty to hold another branch of government to account and to protect the Constitution.

The plan of the Joint Chiefs

The most surprising revelation from Leonnig and Rucker, who cite friends, lawmakers and colleagues of Milley, was that the Joint Chiefs discussed a plan to resign, one-by-one, rather than carry out orders from Trump that they considered to be illegal, dangerous or ill-advised.
Such a sequence would have precipitated the most serious civil-military crisis and chain-of-command disruption in decades, a fact that underscores how seriously the top brass took the possibility of a revolutionary moment.
Milley was concerned that personnel moves that put Trump acolytes in positions of power at the Pentagon and raised alarm in Washington at the time, including the firing of Defense Secretary Mark Esper, were sinister omens.
“Milley told his staff that he believed Trump was stoking unrest, possibly in hopes of an excuse to invoke the Insurrection Act and call out the military,” Leonnig and Rucker reported.
Rucker and Leonnig interviewed more than 140 sources for the book, though most were given anonymity to speak candidly. Milley is quoted extensively and comes off in a positive light as someone who tried to keep democracy alive after receiving a warning from an old friend who is not named.
“What they are trying to do here is overturn the government,” the friend said, according to the authors. “This is all real, man. You are one of the few guys who are standing between us and some really bad stuff.”
Milley apologized after being seen as too close to Trump in June 2020, when, wearing military fatigues, he joined the President in a controversial photo-op after protesters were cleared from the square outside the White House.
But according to the new book, he feared that the President would try to fire FBI Director Christopher Wray and CIA Director Gina Haspel in order to solidify his control over the intelligence services.
Such a scenario was widely feared late last year. Though it did not happen, Trump did have past form in this area, having fired former FBI Director James Comey, before going on television to say he did it because of the Russia investigation.
In retrospect, the period following the election — one of the most harrowing in the modern history of the United States given Trump’s trashing of democracy and the sacking of the US Capitol by his supporters — was even more terrifying behind the scenes.
But events since have shown that the danger did not pass when Trump left the White House on the morning of January 20. In fact, a new threat is rising given the still vast political influence of a modern American demagogue.

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This post originally posted here CNN.com – RSS Channel – HP Hero

Theragun Prime review: Massages at the tap of a button? Just what EVERY home office needs!

Theragun Prime Review New Features Price UK Reach Review

The triangle-shaped design makes the Theragun Prime easy to hold in any position (Image: THERABODY • EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS )

Working from home has a number of advantages – you get more time in bed each morning, you’ll never have to trek to your local Royal Mail distribution centre because you missed a delivery, and you’re around when the kids get home from school. However, when it comes to posture and pains… it’s almost all disadvantages.

Forced to leave behind our desks in offices across the UK almost overnight, many have spent the subsequent 15 months perched on stools, hunched on folding chairs, or sprawled out on sofas with our laptops balanced precariously on knees, a stack of books, or kitchen counters. Let’s be honest, none of these set-ups are renown for their ergonomic benefits.

That’s something we all should be concerned about. According to research by the US National Institutes of Health, without proper care, roughly a fifth of those who experience lower-back pain will develop persistent symptoms within a year. It’s a similar story for those struggling with neck aches and joint pain.

And that’s where Thergun comes in.

This clever gadget is designed by the team at Therabody to ease all of the aches and pains caused by a cobbled-together home office – or anything else for that matter. While the company has been around for some time, Dr. Jason Wersland founded the company back in 2009, the strains of the global pandemic have brought the US brand to a greater audience.

Express.co.uk heaved ourselves off the sofa and tested a Theragun Prime to find out whether this health gadget is worth the cash…

The first-generation Theragun – named as a portmanteau of “Therapy” and “Gun” – was developed by Dr. Jason Wersland who, after a traumatic motorcycle accident, was left with debilitating pain. It’s amazing how much of the DNA of that original product, which looks like something from a Black And Decker catalogue – or one of the later sequels in the 50 Shades Of Grey series, can still be found in the latest fourth-generation gadget.

Express.co.uk took delivery of a fourth-generation Theragun Prime, which has a triangle-shaped frame that can be held from any of its three sides. This simple design makes it incredibly easy to aim the Theragun at hard-to-reach spots, like your lower back, shoulder blades and hamstrings. The entire frame is made from a tactile plastic that’s grippy enough that it’s not going to slide out of your hand during a sweaty post-run session. Elsewhere, there’s an On/Off switch, buttons to increase or decrease the speed of the percussion, and a variety of interchangeable heads to target specific muscle groups. And that’s it.

Theragun Prime Review New Features Price UK Reach Review

Theragun Prime is safe to use across your body (Image: THERABODY)

Therabody says the triangle shape is designed to handle the device without adding any strain to your wrist, hands or arms. It’s definitely true that using the device for prolonged periods doesn’t trigger any more pains or aches to flare up. The best indication that Theragun’s clever triangle design works incredibly well is the fact that lower-priced competitors have flooded Amazon and other online stores with almost identical designs.

But while the rough shape is easy enough to copy-paste, Therabody has a few other tricks up its sleeve that make it worth the investment over its competitors.

First up – the motor. As the name suggests, percussive therapy uses a vibrating tip to pound your muscles, recreating the experience of a deep-tissue massage at the touch of a button. As such, the gadget needs to be pretty powerful, but not too loud. With the latest generation, Therabody says it has made the motor 70 percent quieter than previous versions. On top of that, the company says its motor has enough grunt to deliver a 60 percent deeper massage than other consumer devices on the market.

That all sounds great on paper, although it’s important to state that Theragun Prime is not what we’d call “quiet” by any stretch of the imagination. It is possible to use the fourth-generation model stretched out on the sofa while watching television… but you’re going to need to crank-up the volume before you start your massage.

But while there’s still room for improvement when it comes to the noise of the Theragun, we’ve got no complaints about the massage itself. No muscle knot is a match for the ferocious motor fitted to the Theragun Prime. LEDs denote which of the five built-in speeds you’re currently using – 1,750 percussions per minute, 1,900ppm, 2,100ppm, 2,200ppm or 2,400ppm) and how much battery life is left in the tank.

Theragun Prime Review New Features Price UK Reach Review

With this fourth-generation model, the battery life has received a healthy boost (Image: THERABODY)

Therabody says the battery cell in the fourth-generation model is rated for 120-minutes of continuous use. While we never tried a two-hour endurance session to test that claim, we were able to pick-up the Theragun once a day for over a fortnight without even thinking about recharging. So, don’t worry about forgetting the charger if you decide to take the Theragun Prime on your holidays – it’s got more than enough stamina.

Finally, the last secret weapon that puts Theragun Prime above its rivals – the companion app on Android and iPhone. When you first unbox the Prime, the idea of pressing its pounding nozzle deep into your thigh or shoulder seems a little intimidating. Not only that, but since our academic qualifications centre on being able to write proper, we’re no experts when it comes to muscle groups and the best percussive therapy routine.

Theragun Prime Review New Features Price UK Reach Review

Therabody has designed a stellar app with a number of curated exercises when working at home or exercising (Image: THERABODY)

Thankfully, that’s where the smartphone app comes in. It’s packed with step-by-step instructions that guide you through some of the most effective routines. The app syncs with the Theragun Prime in real-time, so it can tell you when you’re applying too much pressure to a muscle – or not enough. And it also advises which attachment to use.

The guides are sorted into a number of handy categories, including First-Time User, Run Recovery, Hiking Warm Up, Yoga Recovery, and, of course, Work From Home.

As you use the Therabody app, the suggested routines will be tailored to your tastes. So, if you’ve never looked into the guides around climbing… the app will assume that’s not an activity you’re interested in, for example.

Theragun Prime Review New Features Price UK Reach Review

With a maximum of 2,400 percussions per minute, Theragun Prime is a powerful tool (Image: THERABODY)

Theragun Prime review: Final Verdict

  • Pros: An amazing deep tissue massage at the push of a button, brilliant battery life means you can leave the charger at home, comprehensive guides in the app for beginners
  • Cons: At full pelt, the motor be a little quieter, price could be a little more affordable

Whether it’s the hours spent hunched over a laptop, or a busy workout schedule at home or back in the gym… the Theragun Prime is phenomenally adapt at untangling knots or relaxing any tightness in your muscles. The powerful motor and brilliant battery life means a deep tissue massage is always just a button press away. Bliss.

The cleverly designed companion app includes a dizzying number of guides that provide step-by-step instructions for runners, cyclists, and Work From Home-ers who want to target specific muscle groups. It’s clever stuff and ensures the Theragun Prime is never intimidating – even if this is your first percussive therapy device.

At £275, the Theragun Prime is reasonably pricey. However, if you have no plans to return to the office, buy an ergonomic desk chair, or relax your gym routine… it’s a no-brainer. The comprehensive app and two-year warranty puts it ahead of the competition.

And if the Theragun Prime seems a little too pricey, the Therabody app also works with the entry-level gadget from the percussive therapy brand, the Theragun Mini costs £175.

Kyrgyz defense minister meets with head of the OSCE Program Office in Bishkek

Defense Minister of Kyrgyzstan Taalaibek Omuraliev met with head of the OSCE Program Office in Bishkek Alexei Rogov to discuss topical issues and cooperation, Trend reports citing Kabar.

According to the press service of the Ministry of Defense, following the meeting, an agreement was signed between the Ministry of Defense of the Kyrgyz Republic and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on the implementation of a regional project for the disposal of liquid rocket fuel components.

Read more here >>> Trend – News from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Iran and Turkey.

Goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks’ death was accidental, medical examiner’s office says

Kivlenieks, 24, died from a fireworks mortar blast and chest trauma, according to Inspector Mitch Brown of the Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Office.
The death was ruled accidental after a full autopsy was conducted by the Oakland County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Ljubisa Dragovic, Brown said.
Novi Police Department Lt. Jason Meier told CNN that the chest injury from the fireworks resulted in internal injuries.
Earlier on Monday, Meier had said there seemed to be a malfunction that sent the fireworks in the direction of people. Kivlenieks and others were in a hot tub and when they tried to get out, Kivlenieks slipped, fell, and hit his head on the concrete, Meier had said.
Emergency responders were dispatched for an injury call at 10:13 p.m. Kivlenieks was taken to Ascension Providence Hospital and pronounced dead, Meier said.
Kivlenieks on the ice following an American Hockey League game between the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Cleveland Monsters on December 13, 2019.
Blue Jackets President of Hockey Operations John Davidson said: “We are shocked and saddened by the loss of Matiss Kivlenieks, and we extend our deepest sympathies to his mother, Astrida, his family and friends during this devastating time. Kivi was an outstanding young man who greeted every day and everyone with a smile and the impact he had during his four years with our organization will not be forgotten.”
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman shared his condolences on behalf of the league.
“The National Hockey League was saddened to learn of the sudden and tragic passing of goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks,” Bettman said in a statement.
“On behalf of the NHL family, we extend our deepest sympathies to his family, friends and teammates in both the Blue Jackets organization and his native country of Latvia. His love for life and passion for the game will be deeply missed by all those who have been fortunate to have him as a teammate and a friend.”
Kivlenieks signed with Columbus as a free agent in 2017. In eight career games with the team, he went 2-2-2 with a 3.09 goal-against average (GAA).
From 2017-21, the goaltender played for the Blue Jackets’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Cleveland Monsters, where he had a 33-35-9 record with a 3.31 GAA and three shutouts in 85 career games.
Kivlenieks represented Latvia at several international tournaments, including the world championships in May and June where in four games he went 1-2 with a 2.18 GAA and one shutout. That shutout came in Latvia’s first-ever win over Canada on the first day of the tournament.

Author: Jennifer Henderson and Wayne Sterling, CNN
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Labour MP Chris Bryant’s office targeted by ‘angry’ anti-vaxx mob – police notified

Chris Bryant grills Matt Hancock on Test and Trace in June

The Labour MP for Rhondda, in South Wales, took to Twitter to reveal how his office in Tonypandy was “plastered” with stickers from anti-vaxxers. The MP confirmed he has contacted the police.

He tweeted: “I’m told an angry crowd has gathered outside my office in Tonypandy and plastered it with stickers.

“Not quite an ‘attack’ as I was originally told, but I have notified the police.”

A Twitter user asked him: “Why in the world have they done that and why are they angry?”

Mr Bryant simply replied: “Vaccination.”

Labour MP Chris Bryant's office targeted by anti-vaxxers

Labour MP Chris Bryant’s office targeted by anti-vaxxers (Image: BBC)

Coronavirus restrictions in Wales

Coronavirus restrictions in Wales (Image: Getty)

Pictures taken of the vandalism revealed the stickers read: “Say no to vaccine passports.

Others said: “If unvaccinated people pose a threat to vaccinated people, does that mean the vaccine doesn’t work?”

Another reads: “Stop saying asymptomatic.

“The word you’re looking for is healthy.”

READ MORE: UK Covid cases rise by 27,125 as deaths shoot up by 27

Coronavirus restrictions in Wales

Coronavirus restrictions in Wales (Image: Getty)

While another reads: “Imagine doing all this for a virus so deadly you have to be tested to even know if you have it.”

In Wales, First Minister Mark Drakeford said the next lockdown review will be on July 15.

The current rules say groups of up to 30 – not including children under 11 – can meet outside, including in private gardens and outdoor hospitality.

Three homes can also form an extended household.

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Coronavirus cases across the UK

Coronavirus cases across the UK (Image: Express)

Members of extended households are able to meet indoors and have physical contact.

You can stay at each other’s homes overnight and in holiday accommodation together.

Speaking on BBC Politics Wales in June, Mr Drakeford said: “It leaves Wales not relying wholly and exclusively on vaccination as the only thing we can do to prevent coronavirus from overwhelming the health service again.

“The social distancing, the mask-wearing, the hand-washing, all those things are a defence against coronavirus, as is vaccination.

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford (Image: Getty)

“First of all, we press ahead with the vaccination programme to try to get as close to that 80 percent figure as we can.

“The more we push the vaccination numbers up, we hope, the fewer other restrictions we will need.

“And for the time being, it’s going to be a balance between those two things.”

Following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, there have been several anti-vax protests up and down the country.

Labour MP's office targetted by anti-vaxxers

Labour MP’s office targetted by anti-vaxxers (Image: Getty)

Last month, Jeremy Corbyn’s brother, Piers Corbyn, was photographed outside Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, east London.

In one picture, Mr Corbyn can be seen addressing those waiting through a megaphone held by another man.

He has been seen numerous times protesting against the lockdown restrictions and vaccine efficacy since the pandemic began.

Mr Corbyn, brother of the former Labour leader, was arrested earlier this year for a leaflet comparing Britain’s vaccine rollout to the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz.

Labour MP's office targetted by anti-vaxxers

Labour MP’s office targetted by anti-vaxxers (Image: Getty)

In 2020 he was arrested in two anti-lockdown demonstrations, in Trafalgar Square and Westminster, for breach of Covid regulations.

The Government and medical authorities insist mass vaccination is the best way to preserve public health, and reopen the economy.

To date, more than 78,000,000 people across the UK have received their coronavirus vaccine.

Out of these figures, 53 percent are fully vaccinated, while 72 percent have received at least one dose.

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Author: Steven Brown
Read more here >>> Daily Express :: UK Feed

After reports of dysfunction in the vice president’s office, the administration is trying to stop a drama-filled narrative from taking hold

Two people close to Harris’ team said some individuals inside the vice president’s office are frustrated with what they see as a dysfunctional operation that has been at times waylaid by internal conflict. Some of that ire is directed squarely at Harris’ chief of staff, Tina Flournoy, those people said. Another source close to the staff said there were “challenges and struggles” and heard complaints about Flournoy from staff, but denied it amounted to dysfunction or that the tensions were directly Flournoy’s fault.
Sabrina Singh, deputy press secretary to the vice president, told CNN in a statement that Harris’ focus remains on her work.
“The Vice President and her office are focused on the Biden-Harris Administration’s agenda to build an economy from the middle out and the bottom up, not the top down, to making sure racial equity is at the core of everything the Administration does, to combatting the existential threat of climate change, and to continue protecting the American people from the Covid-19 pandemic,” Singh said.
And White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Friday said, “I will say that the vice president is an incredibly important partner to the President of the United States. She has a challenging job, a hard job, and she has a great supportive team of people around her. But other than that, I’m not going to have any more comments on those reports.”
Still, conversations are now underway in the West Wing about how to better support Harris’ team, one source close to the White House said.
That help from the West Wing is a sign that the spiraling narrative could start to affect Harris, who is considered the next in line to lead the Democratic Party — with a potential for a presidential run coming as soon as 2024 if President Joe Biden decides not to seek reelection. Biden has said he does intend to run.
Top White House officials and aides to the vice president went on the record to defend Harris and Flournoy, calling reports of infighting and dysfunction overblown or simply untrue. And Harris’ outside allies and advisers — like influential adviser Minyon Moore and Democratic strategist Bakari Sellers — quickly took to Twitter, looking to drown out the criticism.
On Friday, Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain, a longtime friend of Flournoy, said in a statement to CNN: “Vice President Harris and her team are off to the fastest and strongest start of any Vice President I have seen. She’s Delivering for the American people on immigration, small business, voting rights, and economic growth. The President’s trust and confidence in her is obvious when you see them in the Oval Office together.”
“The results speak for themselves: a decline of border arrivals from the Northern Triangle, improved vaccine equity, and increased economic opportunities for women. Anyone who has the honor of working closely with the Vice President knows how her talents and determination have made a huge difference in this Administration already,” Klain’s statement added.
As the frustrations bubbled to the surface this week and damage control commenced, the full-court defense also served to amplify the clear concern inside and around the Biden administration about the drama unfolding in Harris’ office. The latest reports are seen as part of a pattern of stories about staff infighting and low morale, which have followed Harris from her Senate office to her presidential campaign and now to the vice presidency.
One administration official described the current efforts by the West Wing as an attempt to help with any issues any staff might be facing.
“Ron, Anita (Dunn), Cedric (Richmond), others, have certainly expressed their solidarity with our team, internally and externally,” the administration official said.
But some of those efforts actually helped solidify reports of staff discontent. Rather than denying the existence of complaints about morale inside Harris’ office, Dunn — a White House senior adviser — told Politico the complaints were “not anywhere near what you are describing” and acknowledged that there “may be people whose feelings were a little hurt on her staff” after many staffers weren’t told of her trip to the southern border ahead of it being announced publicly.
The departure of Harris’ top two advance officials has also served to compound a chaotic narrative, even though some officials insisted the pair had always planned for early exits from the administration.
It does not help that Harris has come under fire for multiple missteps in her first few months in office, starting after just a few weeks when she gave an interview to a West Virginia TV station that angered crucial moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who hails from the state. That tension reached its apex last month during her first international trip as vice president, a two-day visit to Guatemala and Mexico, during which she likened not going to the border to also not having visited Europe.
“I, and I haven’t been to Europe. And I mean, I don’t — I don’t understand the point that you’re making,” Harris said with a laugh to NBC’s Lester Holt when pressed about the fact that she hadn’t visited the US-Mexico border.
The trip to El Paso, Texas, last week was without incident and some people close to Harris called reports alleging dysfunction overblown. But others told CNN that the office is rife with frustration and occasional infighting.
“I think everybody is just feeling overwhelmed,” a source close to the White House said of the dynamics in the vice president’s office.
“It’s a tough place, obviously,” the administration official said, not just of the vice president’s office but of all administration jobs, which operate at a high level of stress and pressure. “But for the most part, people are focused on the mission.”
That official contended that Flournoy has been asset to Harris as her chief of staff, and a source close to Flournoy credited her with keeping Harris’ circle tight, saying her role “is to be the gatekeeper, it is to keep the principal on task and it is to be the person that is the last voice before the principal’s make the decision, so in that regard, she is doing the job that she’s supposed to be doing.” Some of the complaints voiced in media reports alleged that Flournoy has limited access to Harris too much.
“There’s not infighting between the teams,” the administration official said. “The office is united together as part of the larger goal of the OVP. People are working together to make sure that she is executing on like the tasks she’s been assigned.”

Author: Jasmine Wright, Jeremy Diamond and Arlette Saenz, CNN
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Spain: Foreign Office travel warning for islands but mainland resorts still banned

Holidays to Spain received a moderate boost on Thursday, when the Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps confirmed the Balearic Islands were to be added to the green list. This means, from Wednesday 30 June, Britons will be able to fly to and from the Balearics without quarantine.

The Spanish archipelago is home to tourist hotspots including Ibiza, Majorca and Menorca.

In line with the new traffic light update, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has amended its travel advice for Spain.

However, the bad news is, mainland Spain remains amber, with the FCDO continuing to advise against travel.

This means holidays to the likes of Benidorm, Marbella and Malaga remain on hold.

READ MORE: Flights: Jet2, easyJet, TUI, Ryanair and BA green list updates

Francina Armengol, the region’s leader, made a similar call on Twitter, urging Spanish officials to set “strict and safe entry controls” for British tourists.

There are some entry requirements in place for UK arrivals, although currently, Britons are exempt from having to prove a negative COVID-19 test or proof of being fully vaccinated.

“From 24 May, entry restrictions and testing requirements for arrivals from the UK to Spain no longer apply,” states the FCDO.

There are some exceptions to this, however, including if a traveller has been in a “risk” country within the previous 14 days.

Despite this, the laws around wearing face masks in public places are gradually being relaxed.

“From June 26, it will no longer be mandatory to wear a face mask outdoors where social distancing of 1.5 metres is observed,” explains the FCDO.

However, face mask use remains mandatory for anyone over the age of 6 years in the following circumstances:

In any enclosed space open to the public.

In any indoor space where people who are not from the same household mix

In any outdoor space where it is not possible to observe social distancing of 1.5m.

On all forms of public transport including planes, trains, trams, buses and metro, as well as all transport stations, platforms and airports.

Specific mask rules vary between regions, and penalties may be imposed for those who do not comply.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Travel Feed

Woman drives off from armed man who impersonated a deputy, Waller Co. Sheriff's Office says

WALLER COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) — Law enforcement officials in Waller County believe someone driving an unmarked sedan with red and blue emergency lights on top of its roof is not one of their own.

The county’s sheriff’s office is trying to make that clear in the wake of the mystery driver reportedly pulling a gun on a woman over the weekend, as well as a possible second encounter early Wednesday morning in Brookshire.

According to the Waller County Sheriff’s Office, the vehicle, which is possibly a Dodge Charger, equipped with the emergency lights, pulled another driver over in the 25000 block of Joseph Road, near FM 1488, in Hockley at about 10 p.m. on June 19.

Deputies said the operator of the sedan approached the female victim’s vehicle with a gun drawn and pointed at her while he ordered her to get out.

The woman instead took off and drove to a family member’s home.

The victim may have been followed, but deputies add the mystery driver didn’t follow her all the way to the home.

“We know that it was not a WCSO vehicle and believe that it could possibly be someone impersonating a police officer. Please be aware that the WCSO does not conduct traffic stops using unmarked vehicles,” the sheriff’s office said of the incident on its Facebook page.

Deputies add their vehicles are “clearly and plainly marked” and personnel “will be in clearly identifiable uniforms.”

The sheriff’s office is also looking into another report out of Brookshire involving a vehicle with the same characteristics described in the Hockley incident.

Deputies posted on Facebook about the possible encounter in the area of FM 362 and FM 359. However, the Waller County sheriff told Eyewitness News on Wednesday that it’s not being considered an official incident due to the driver in this latest report not yet submitting a complaint.

Waller County is asking others to remain vigilant. If you are pulled over and are unsure of who it is, deputies advised you to call 911 or dispatch at 979-826-8282.

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Copyright © 2021 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.

Author: Erica Simon

This post originally appeared on ABC13 RSS Feed