Qatar has re-opened its borders to international travellers who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
A new set of measures designed to make travelling to Qatar as easy as possible, while maintaining the necessary precautions to continue to protect against the spread of the virus, have also been implemented.
The new measures will allow people who are fully vaccinated to visit Qatar without the need for quarantine.
Arrangements will also make it easier for citizens and residents of the country to travel in and out of the country, enabling fully vaccinated people to bypass the quarantine requirement when returning to Qatar.
All visitors – vaccinated or non-vaccinated – will be required to undertake a PCR test up to 72 hours prior to travel.
However, travellers are advised to check the entry requirements of the country they are travelling from and will return to from Qatar, before booking any flights and should understand that those policies can change with very little notice, a statement from the local tourism body said.
In order to visit Qatar – international visitors, citizens and residents – must register and upload required documentation such as a vaccination certificate, valid PCR test up to 72 hours prior to travel and personal details through the Ehteraz website.
In addition, visitor visa rules apply for certain nationalities, however, over 80 nationalities can visit Qatar with a free visa on arrival.
The White House is expected to reopen the U.S.-Mexico border in the coming weeks, and even President Joe Biden’s allies are worried he’s not ready for the logistical and political impact, including an avalanche of Republican attacks that will follow.
In a series of phases,the Biden administration is expected to lift the public health authority, Title 42, invoked by former President Donald Trump at the start of the pandemic. Trump cited the risk of spreading coronavirus to argue that the government needed to quickly kick out migrants arriving at the border without allowing them to seek asylum. The phased-in approach means Biden could first end the practice of turning away families and then, later this summer, for single adults, according to people familiar with the discussions.
Given the country’s reopening and Biden’s promise for a fair and humane immigration system, immigrant advocates say the move is long overdue. But administration officials and immigration experts expect that lifting the order will result in a spike in the number of migrants arriving at the border — at least in the short term.
Even with the phased-in approach, a sharp increase in migrants poses a major challenge for the administration over how to handle their arrival — hold them in detention centers or release them as they await their court proceedings, which can take years given a long backlog of cases. And Republicans plan to highlight any increase in migrants or delays in processing them in campaign ads, mailers and debates in races all over the country as part of a long-planned strategy to use immigration to try to retake Congress in the midterm elections next year.
“The administration is repeating the mistakes of 2015 by underestimating the power of a border security argument,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, an immigrant advocacy group. “And, as a result, they run the risk of losing the moderate voters who said, ‘You know what, I want a more rational approach to immigration, but still one that keeps us safe.’”
53 percent of voters say they are less likely to support Democrats for Congress because of the increase in migrants at the border, according to a new poll by the National Republican Senate Committee and the Republican Governors Association. 23 percent say they’re more likely.
Republican National Committee spokesperson Emma Vaughn described the expected lifting of Title 42 as “dangerous” following other border policies that she said have already contributed to an increased number of migrants along the border.
“As Republicans at the local, state, and federal level are stepping up to lead our nation through this growing crisis, Americans are taking note — voters across the country have rejected Biden’s failed leadership at the border,” she said.
Immigrant advocates and public health experts for months have said the politics around lifting Title 42 is irrelevant: Use of the order is unlawful, inhumane and not justified by public health.
“If the Biden administration believes there’s another rationale for denying asylum seekers the right to a hearing, then they need to invoke that. But they cannot use Title 42 as a pretext to regulate migration flows,” said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.
“That’s a political position, not a legal position,” said Gelernt, who is the lead lawyer in the ACLU’s case challenging the legality of the U.S. using Title 42 to expel families.
But Democrats acknowledge that the politics surrounding the likely move are tricky, at best.
A former Obama immigration official who is close to the Biden administration acknowledged Biden is vulnerable on the border. “His immigration number is low, there’s no doubt about it,” the person said. But in order for it to drag his overall approval rating down, the person said, lifting Title 42 would need to lead to “visual chaos on the border.”
Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), who has been critical of the Biden administration’s immigration policy, said he’s looking forward to seeing the border closure lifted for nonessential travel, which has crippled towns along the Mexican and Canadian borders accustomed to tourism, but knows there will be major challenges with lifting Title 42.
Lifting the rule is “going to provide another incentive and the drug cartels are going to start saying [to potential migrants]: ‘Hey, you can come in,’” Cuellar said, adding that Border Patrol agents and law enforcement along the border have told him they expect it to be lifted soon and are prepared to handle a new rush of migrants coming to seek asylum.
“It’s kind of a double edged sword,” the Texas border Democrat said.
Biden has vowed to create a fair and humane immigration system but his aides have found that quickly reversing Trump’s policies can create logistical — and political — problems. Record numbers of unaccompanied children at the border led to enormous attention on immigration at the start of his presidency. However, in recent weeks, the border has been overshadowed by other issues, including Biden’s spending plans and voting restriction laws pushed in several states.
A White House spokesperson declined to comment on Title 42 except to say the administration is working to rebuild the dilapidated asylum system and to process certain groups of people, including those who had been forced to wait in Mexico for their cases to be heard under a separate Trump-era policy.
The Department of Homeland Security referred questions about Title 42 to comments Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas made earlier this week. In an interview with CBS, Mayorkas reiterated that Title 42 is “not an immigration policy” and its use is determined by the Centers for Disease Control.
“It’s driven by what is in the best public health interest of the American people,” Mayorkas said.
Border agents have expelled migrants more than 867,000 times using Title 42 since March 2020, according to figures from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Immigration experts, however, have made clear that the 867,000 number is not necessarily individual migrants; There has been a high rate of recidivism, which is when migrants are expelled and then try to cross again into the U.S.
In May, the most recent statistics available, more than 180,000 migrants were apprehended along the border with 112,302 expelled under Title 42, according to CBP. Of those, 38 percent were individuals who had already attempted to cross at least once in the previous 12 months. The average one-year reencounter rate was 15 percent for fiscal years 2014 through 2019, CBP said.
Earlier this year, the Biden administration was more vocal in its discussions around immigration — holding regular media calls to discuss the spike in the number of migrants arriving at the border. In early April, for example, the White House organized a media call with administration officials to discuss CBP’s monthly release on numbers of apprehensions. Since then, CBP has released April and May apprehension numbers in the late afternoon without a press call to roll out the details.
Republicans, however, have made sure to highlight the monthly topline numbers without mentioning that a majority of migrants apprehended are being quickly expelled under the Trump-era order. And with an eye on 2022, they are likely to make an even greater push as soon as Biden lifts the order, according to interviews with more than half a dozen political operatives involved in midterm elections.
“If Biden and Harris lift the highly effective Title 42 restrictions entirely, which have already been rendered far less effective since they took office, then expect a tsunami of illegal migrants, and perhaps at the worst time of summer heat,” said Steve Cortes, a former Trump campaign aide who remains close to the former president. “It could be substantially worse than it already is now.”
In recent weeks, Republicans have stepped up their attacks, traveling to the border, writing letters and calling for investigations. The RNC purchased a mobile billboard to highlight the increase in migrants to coincide with Vice President Kamala Harris’s trip to the border last week. The NRSC ran one of its few ads so far against Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) arguing his votes don’t match his tough talk against Biden’s immigration policy. And the National Republican Congressional Committee has targeted a trio of House Democrats in border states, Cuellar and Vicente Gonzalez of Texas and Tom O’Halleran of Arizona.
Republicans say they have already seen some success — believing immigration played a role in flipping the mayoral seat in Hidalgo County, home of McAllen — and they are buoyed by new polling showing Biden receives some of lowest marks on the issue.
Trump first cited the little-known and sweeping Title 42 statute in March 2020, directing federal officials to expel migrants who crossed the northern and southern borders instead of detaining and processing them — an effort that was said to be aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus in holding facilities.
Biden continues to turn away most of the migrants encountered at the border, including single adults and most families, but has made exceptions for unaccompanied children to stay for humanitarian reasons.
Democratic lawmakers and public health experts have urged the administration to rescind the policy, arguing that migrants could be tested and isolated when they enter the country to help stop the spread of Covid-19. Even immigrant advocates who support Biden accuse the administration of continuing the use of Title 42 to restrict immigration, a charge the administration denies.
The Biden administration is also navigating whether or not to pursue a phased-in approach given that there isn’t a public health justification for letting in families and not single adults.
“There is no public health rationale for distinguishing between single adults and families,” said Eleanor Acer, senior director of the refugee protection program at Human Rights First.
Lifting Title 42 for families and keeping it in place longer for single adults, Acer said, would disproportionately impact African asylum seekers, many of who are not traveling with their families given the long distances from their home countries, and LGBTQ asylum seekers who may be traveling alone or with people not recognized as their family by the Department of Homeland Security.
In the end, Acer said, advocates support the administration’s discussions around improving the immigration system, but that doesn’t mean they can keep Title 42 in place while they figure it out.
“Yes, they want to further improve the asylum system,” she said. “But you can’t simply stop upholding our existing laws because you want to make some systems stronger and you want to staff them better and get them moving quickly.”
The screening of Chappelle’s movie marks the beginning of a big weekend for Radio City, and the beginning of reopening in New York City.
NEW YORK — Fifteen months after shuttering for the pandemic, New York’s Radio City Music Hall reopened its doors Saturday for the Tribeca Festival premiere of a new Dave Chappelle documentary for a full-capacity, fully-vaccinated audience.
The debut of “Dave Chappelle: This Time This Place,” which chronicles Chappelle’s pandemic stand-up series held in rural Ohio cornfields, marked the first time the hallowed midtown hall was yet again packed since closing in March 2020 — a shutdown that put a year-plus’s worth of concerts, including Radio City’s famous Rockettes, on ice for easily the longest spell since the Art Deco venue first opened in 1932.
The premiere Saturday evening, the closing night gala for the 20th Tribeca Festival, was seen as a symbolic reawakening of the arts in New York, where many of the world’s most famous stages — Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Broadway theaters — remain dark.
But after so many pandemic months of silence, that’s quickly changing. On Sunday, Madison Square Garden will host its first full-capacity concert with the Foo Fighters. “Springsteen on Broadway” is set to resume performances on June 26.
After the screening, Chappelle dramatically took the stage to a thumping beat from DJ Clark Kent and a raucous standing ovation. The comedian paused for a moment to apologize for those who lost someone during the pandemic before signaling a note of revival.
“But, man, let’s get up,” said Chappelle. He soon after introduced a New York feast of hip-hop acts who performed according to their native borough, including Q-Tip, Talib Kweli, Fat Joe, A$ AP Ferg, Redman, Ghostface Killah and De La Soul.
Masks weren’t required inside Radio City but proof of vaccination was. In announcing the event in May, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said it would “go a long way towards bringing back this state, overall.”
Directed by Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar, makers of the Oscar-winning “American Factory” (and fellow Ohioans whom Chappelle called his neighbors), “This Time This Place” shows Chappelle realizing his quixotic vision for keeping stand-up and live performance going through the summer of 2020 and beyond.
In the rural town of Yellow Springs (population 3,700), Chappelle mounted a stage on a friend’s farm and flew in a parade of comics, some of whom showed up dying for an audience, others who were rusty from months of quarantine. Among them: Chris Rock (who was in attendance Saturday), Jon Stewart and Tiffany Haddish — along with regulars Michelle Wolf, Donnell Rawlings and Mo Amer.
The film captures an uncharacteristically nervous Chappelle before his first appearance, the considerable safety precautions taken (including Chappelle and others wincing at a swab up their nose), their battles with the local zoning board, the protest and pain that followed the death of George Floyd, and, ultimately, the profound benefits of comedy and community.
“Look at what we did,” Chappelle said on stage at Radio City. “lmagine what we can do together.”
The Tribeca Festival, mostly canceled last year, held its 20th edition largely in-person by relying mainly on outdoor screenings. It opened last week with the New York premiere of “In the Heights,” the acclaimed adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway musical and an ode to the north Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights. It debuted with screenings held in all five boroughs of New York.
On Saturday, some entered Radio City a little hesitantly. But most seemed invigorated by being back in Radio City for a much-anticipated movie. Joel and Abby Ralph, who wed a handful of months before the pandemic began, were excited to be out together and not in their Upper West Side apartment. “It feels normal-ish,” said Abby.
Kyra Houston, a regular festivalgoer, came with her more reticent friend, Renee Cassell. “I feel happy. I was going through a funk,” said Houston, gazing around. It was her second movie of the day. “I feel like a haze is being lifted.”
Before the elbow-to-elbow audience, Tribeca co-founder Jane Rosenthal celebrated the occasion. “We’re fully vaxed and socially squeezed together,” said Rosenthal, introducing the film. “Isn’t that great?”
AUSTIN (KXAN) — Barton Springs Pool in Zilker Park will reopen for the first time Friday since last week’s floods forced it to close for more than a week. But perhaps the more notable announcement Wednesday was that Barton Springs Pool will discontinue its brand new reservation system and move back to in-person sales by July.
Barton Springs Pool started requiring reservations on May 21, saying people needed to sign up ahead of time for a two-hour swim period. Those reservations will continue for most of June, but Austin Parks and Rec said it will offer more reservations after hiring new open water lifeguards.
“Due to a lifeguard shortage caused by a year-long hiring freeze and disruption to training, pools will continue to operate with modified hours and capacity,” Austin Parks and Rec said in a statement.
It announced the pool will reopen Friday after staff finish cleaning up from the floods. Barton Springs Pool has been closed since June 3.
During the closure, Deep Eddy Pool expanded its hours, but it will return to its regular modified hours on Saturday.
Reservations to enter Barton Springs Pool cost $ 5 for Austin residents. Season pass holders, people 80 or older and veterans or active duty military can enter the pool without a reservation.
Barton Springs Pool operating hours
Daily from 5 a.m. – 8 a.m. – Free swim at your own risk (no reservations needed)
Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays from 8 a.m. – 10 p.m. – Swim with lifeguards watching (reservations required until end of June)
Deep Eddy Pool operating hours
Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays from 9 a.m. – noon – Lap swim only (shallow side closed)
Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays from noon – 7 p.m. – Recreation swim (minimum of two lap lanes available)
Sundays, Tuesdays, Fridays closed
Author: Wes Wilson
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin
AUSTIN (KXAN) — Expect Texas parks to have the cleanest restrooms around now. Gov. Greg Abbott named two people to new posts on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, including the president and CEO of Buc-ee’s.
Arch “Beaver” Aplin, the leader of the popular gas station and convenience store chain known for its immaculate restrooms and Beaver Nuggets corn puffs is now the commission’s chair. Aplin has been on the commission since November 2018, most recently serving as the vice-chair.
Author: KXAN Staff
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin
PETER RABBIT 2: THE RUNAWAY – MAY 17. Peter, voiced by James Corden, finally has a home with all his furry friends and the McGregors (Domnhall Gleeson and Rose Byrne) but can’t help making mischief all over again. CRUELLA – MAY 22. The latest Disney reworking of a classic villain’s origin story, starring Emma Stone as the titular fur-obsessed fashion designer, will be available simultaneously in cinemas and for a surcharge on premium Disney Plus.
A QUIET PLACE 2 – JUNE 3: The sequel will pick up the pieces of Emily Blunt and her children fighting to survive after sound-sensitive aliens have devastated Earth. But this time humans have a chance to fight back.
LUCA – JUNE 18: Disney and PIXAR’s latest animated treat follows two adventurous young boys (who might also have a fishy secret) as they set out to explore life beyond the sea. The film will stream direct to Disney Plus as part of the standard subscription.
FAST & FURIOUS 9 – JULY 9: After a brief detour with Hobbs & Shaw it’s back to the main franchise as Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese GIbson and Helen Mirren rev their engines to take on John Cena plus Charlize Theron’s returning cyber-terrorist.
BLACK WIDOW – JULY 9: Currently, this is will be the clash of the year as Scarlett Johansson’s Marvel hero attempts to outrace the Fast gang.
Like Cruella, this will also be out in cinemas and simultaneously released on Disney Plus with a premium charge.
JUNGLE CRUISE – JULY 30: Like Pirates of the Caribbean, this is another film rooted in a Disneyland ride. Dwayne Johnsons’ cantankerous riverboat captain takes Emily Blunt’s plucky explorer on a search for the mythical Tree of Life.
THE SUICIDE SQUAD – AUGUST 6: Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn is rebooting the special ops criminal gang as they join the shadey Task Force X. Margot Robbie returns as Harley Quinn alongside Joel Kinnaman, Jai Rodriguez and Viola Davies. New additions include Sylvester Stallone and Idris Elba.
SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS – SEPTEMBER 3 IN US (UK TBC): Marvel unveils its first Asian-centric superhero movie. Simu Liu takes the lead in the martial arts blockbuster, with Awkwafina and Michelle Yeoh.
WATCH MARVEL’S PREVIEW OF ITS UPCOMING MOVIES INCLUDING SHANG-CHI AND ETERNALS BELOW:
VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE – SEPTEMBER 15: Tom Hardy is back as the alien symbiote bonded with journalist Eddie Brock. Woody Harrelson will play villain Cletus Casady but all eyes are on Michelle Willaims and her expected transformation into She-Venom.
JAMES BOND NO TIME TO DIE – SEPTEMBER 30: After countless delays, Daniel Craig will finally bid farewell to the franchise, but not before encountering Lashanna Lynch’s black female 007 and Rami Malek’s villainous Safin.
DUNE – SEPTEMBER 17: Huge excitemet surrounds Denis Villeneuve’s two-part adaptation of Frank Herberts sci-fi epic about feuding noble families. And the cast boasts Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Jason Momoa and Oscar Isaac.
THE ETERNALS – NOVEMBER 5: The third Marvel blockbuster of the year packs the biggest A-list punch with Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Salma Haya and Kit Harrington introducing cinemagoers to some of the comic universe’s most powerful heroes.
TOP GUN MAVERICK – NOVEMBER 19 Tom Cruise is back after 35 years as the rebellious fighter pilot still needing speed and fighting authority while Val Kilmer’s Iceman has gone on to become a four-star admiral. Jennifer Connelly is his latest love interest while Miles Teller plays the son of Maverick’s much-missed best buddy Goose.
WEST SIDE STORY – DECEMBER 10: Steven Spielberg has remade the legendary Leonard Bernstein 1957 musical with Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler as tragic lovers Tony and Maria.
SPIDER-MAN NO WAY HOME – DECEMBER 17: Tom Holland complete his Spidey trilogy facing a world where his identity has been revealed. Far more secret, so far, are all the rumored cameos from previous Spider-Man stars Toby Maguire and Andrew Garfield. Jamie Foxx and Alfred Molina have been confirmed to return as Electro and Doctor Octopus.
DOWNTON ABBEY 2 – DECEMBER 22: The surprise smash of 2019 brought all the TV show’s beloved characters to the big screen as the Crawley family and their servants dealt with a royal visit. No word yet on the sequel’s plot but all eyes are on Maggie Smith’s terminally ill Dowager Countess.
THE KING’S MAN – DECEMBER 24: This prequel to the Kingsmen franchise is set in the early 1900s and details the formation of the secret society. The stellar line-up includes Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton, Rhys Ifans, Matthew Goode, Tom Hollander and Charles Dance.
SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — On the first day theme parks are permitted to reopen in California, Six Flags Magic Mountain will fire up its roller coasters and begin welcoming back visitors Thursday.
The park will reopen for members and pass holders Thursday and Friday, then welcome the general public starting Saturday.
Because of coronavirus concerns, tickets and reservations will be available online to California residents only.
Capacity will be limited to 15%, but will be allowed to increase to 25% on Monday, when Los Angeles County enacts loosened restrictions under the orange tier of the state’s economic reopening blueprint.
Visitors will also be limited to groups 10 or fewer, and from no more than three households. No indoor dining is permitted.
Los Angeles County’s other major theme park, Universal Studios Hollywood, will be reopening April 16. Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure theme parks in Anaheim are set to reopen April 30. Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park will reopen in May.