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Diane A. Wade

Diane is a perfectionist. She enjoys searching the internet for the hottest events from around the world and writing an article about it. The details matter to her, so she makes sure the information is easy to read and understand. She likes traveling and history, especially ancient history. Being a very sociable person she has a blast having barbeque with family and friends.

Rescue efforts continue in Turkey following February 6 deadly earthquake that killed more than 24,000 people.

Among those rescued on February 11 were a family of five pulled from the rubble in Turkey’s Gaziantep province.

AP news agency reported the parents, two daughters and son were brought to safety after five days under their collapsed home, to cries of “God is great”.

The same outlet reported that a seven-year-old girl was pulled from the debris in the province of Hatay after almost 132 hours under the rubble.

Turkey and Syria Earthquake Death Toll Surpasses 28,000

Another remarkable rescue of two sisters in Antakya, southern Turkey, took place on February 8.

The quake was described as the “worst event in 100 years in this region” by the United Nations aid chief, who was in the Turkish province of Kahramanmaras on February 11.

The border crossing between long-feuding Armenia and Turkey reopened on the same day for the first time in 35 years to allow aid through.

And there are reports that the Syrian government has agreed to let UN aid into areas controlled by opposition groups, with whom they have been engaged in a bitter civil war since 2011.

Image source: Reuters

The death toll in Syria from the earthquake now stands at more than 3,500, according to AFP – but new figures have not been publishes since February 10.

There has been criticism that the international effort to send aid to Syria has not been fast enough.

Sivanka Dhanapala, the Syria representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told AlJazeera that as many 5.3 million Syrians may be homeless following the quake.


The death toll in Turkey and Syria from the quake has surpassed 28,000, and hope of finding many more survivors is fading despite some miraculous rescues.

German rescuers and the Austrian army paused search operations on February 11, citing clashes between unnamed groups.

Security is expected to worsen as food supplies dwindle, one rescuer said.

And nearly 50 people have been arrested for looting, with several guns seized, local media reported.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would use emergency powers to punish anyone breaking the law.

An Austrian army spokesperson said that clashes between unidentified groups in the Hatay province had left dozens of personnel from the Austrian Forces Disaster Relief Unit seeking shelter in a base camp with other international organisations.

Photo by Eren Bozkurt/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Hours after Austria paused its rescue efforts, the country’s ministry of defense said that the Turkish army had stepped in to offer protection, allowing the rescue operations to resume.

The German branch of the search and rescue group ISAR and Germany’s Federal Agency for Technical Relief (TSW) also suspended operations, citing security concerns.

The Vice President of Turkey, Fuat Oktay announced on February 11 the death toll in Turkey has risen to 24,617.

While President Erdogan hasn’t commented on the reported unrest in Hatay, he did reiterate that the government would take action against those involved in crimes in the region.

“We’ve declared a state of emergency,” he said during a visit to the disaster zone today.

“It means that, from now on, the people who are involved in looting or kidnapping should know that the state’s firm hand is on their backs.”

State media reported that 48 people had been arrested for looting, according to AFP. Turkish state media reported several guns were seized, along with cash, jewellery and bank cards.

Turkish police have also reportedly detained 12 people over collapsed buildings in the provinces of Gaziantep and Sanliurfa. They included contractors, according to the DHA news agency.

At least 6,000 buildings collapsed in Turkey, raising questions about if the large-scale tragedy could have been avoided and whether President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government could have done more to save lives.

With elections looming, the president’s future is on the line after spending 20 years in power and his pleas for national unity going unheeded.

President Erdogan has admitted shortcomings in the response, but he appeared to blame fate on a visit to one disaster zone: “Such things have always happened. It’s part of destiny’s plan.”

The death toll in Syria from the earthquake now stands at more than 3,500, according to AFP – but new figures have not been publishes since February 10.

There has been criticism that the international effort to send aid to Syria has not been fast enough.

Sivanka Dhanapala, the Syria representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told AlJazeera that as many 5.3 million Syrians may be homeless following the quake.


Rescuers are desperately searching for survivors in southern Turkey and northern Syria after two huge earthquakes on February 6.

Nearly 8,000 people have lost their lives in Turkey and Syria following the earthquakes.

More than 7,800 people have been killed, but there are warnings the death toll could continue to surge. Thousands of buildings have been destroyed and among the buildings damaged by the earthquake is Gaziantep Castle.

As search efforts continue into a second freezing-cold night, time is running out for rescuers to find survivors under the rubble.

Relatives of victims who lived in collapsed buildings have joined frantic rescue efforts in one of the worst-hit Turkish cities, using pickaxes and crowbars.

Some anguished families have said rescue services took too long to respond in some areas.

Photo by Eren Bozkurt/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Turkey: 7.2 earthquake strikes the province of Van. 50 people injured and several buildings collapsed

The first 7.8 magnitude quake struck near Gaziantep in the early hours of February 6, followed by a 7.5 magnitude tremor hours later.

The death toll from the devastating earthquake has now jumped to more than 7,800 people. A breakdown of the figures by AFP news agency says 5,894 people died in Turkey and at least 1,932 are reported dead in Syria.

The north-west region of Syria is home to millions of refugees displaced by civil war since 2011.

Control of the area is divided between the Syrian government, Kurdish-led forces and other rebel groups, hugely complicating the distribution of aid.

The United Nations says damage to roads is also hindering the aid effort.

President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, is urging an investigation into those he accuses of trafficking in stolen material from his laptop.

In letters filed on February 1, lawyers representing Hunter Biden named a computer repair shop owner and Rudy Giuliani as among those who they say had broken the law.

He also threatened to sue Fox News’ Tucker Carlson for defamation.

It’s a shift in strategy for Hunter Biden to hit back after years of scrutiny, a source close to him told CBS News.

The laptop’s existence was first brought to the public’s attention by the New York Post less than one month before the 2020 presidential election.

It had allegedly been left by Hunter Biden in a repair shop and never collected.

The Post alleged that emails found on the computer’s hard-drive suggested Hunter Biden’s business dealings abroad were influencing US foreign policy while his father was vice-president.

Former president Donald Trump seized on the laptop as a campaign issue, saying it was evidence of corruption.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Hunter Biden, 52, is a lawyer and lobbyist who has worked abroad including in China and Ukraine.

The FBI has been investigating his business dealings since 2018 and has gathered enough evidence to charge him with tax crimes, and CBS News claim that they appear to have gathered enough evidence suggesting tax crimes may have been committed.

Republicans have vowed to investigate him and the family business now they have control of the House of Representatives.

President Biden and his family have denied any wrongdoing in overseas business dealings.

In the latest development, Hunter Biden’s lawyers wrote letters to the Justice Department, the attorney general of Delaware and the Internal Revenue Service.

They asked them to investigate former computer repair shop owner John Paul Mac Isaac, former Trump advisers Rudy Giuliani and Steve Bannon and their lawyer, Robert Costello.

Lawyers said they believed various Delaware laws were breached “in accessing, copying, manipulating, and/or disseminating Mr. Biden’s personal computer data”.

But Abbe Lowell, an attorney for Hunter Biden, said in a statement to CBS News that the letters “do not confirm Mac Isaac’s or others’ versions of a so-called laptop.”

In response to Hunter Biden’s new suite of legal threats, a lawyer for Mr Isaac said “the only thing I see is a privileged person hiring yet another high-priced attorney to redirect attention away from his own unlawful actions”.

Mac Isaac also claims that the laptop was left with him for repair in April 2019, and Hunter Biden never returned to collect it.

He said he reviewed the laptop files shortly after receiving it and discovered information about Hunter Biden’s personal finances. After waiting 90 days – the amount of time that had to pass before something could be considered abandoned property – Mac Isaac considered it abandoned.

He turned the laptop over to the FBI and provided a copy of the contents to Rudy Guiliani, who later would pass it along to the New York Post.

Robert Costello, a lawyer for both Rudy Giuliani and Steve Bannon, told CBS News the letters to the Justice Department and Delaware were a “frivolous legal complaint trying to intimidate”.

Nearly three months after announcing his campaign, Donald Trump made his first campaign foray out of his adopted home state of Florida on January 28.

In New Hampshire, he addressed a meeting of the Republican Party and announced the outgoing state party chair would be a senior adviser to his campaign. And at the state capitol in Columbia, South Carolina, he received the endorsements of the state’s governor, Henry McMaster, and Senator Lindsey Graham.

Lindsay Graham, a Trump confidante who expressed some disillusionment after the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, is now back firmly in the fold.

Donald Trump once again denied his 2020 defeat and told supporters that he – unlike any possible Republican alternatives – would be the most effective nominee in 2024.

“To change the whole system, you need a president who can take on the whole system and a president who can win,” he said from the state capitol’s main hall.

In both stops, the former president touted what he said was his record of success during his presidency and attacked President Joe Biden’s record on crime, immigration and the economy.

Image source Wikipedia

Across the street, Todd Gerhardt, a Republican district executive committee member from nearby Charleston, sold honey in Trump-shaped plastic bottles.

Todd Gerhardt was an early supporter of Donald Trump’s first presidential campaign, organized a 2016 rally for him on South Carolina’s posh Kiawah Island, and recently visited the former president’s Mar-a-Lago estate for a fundraiser and to provide his honey for the campaign’s gift bags.

It’s no coincidence that the first two stops of Donald Trump’s third presidential campaign were South Carolina and New Hampshire. The two states could prove to be central to Trump’s strategy to retake the White House.

While Iowa is the first state to hold a Republican presidential nomination contest in 2024, Donald Trump finished third there in 2016 and the evangelical Christians who dominate the state’s Republican electorate could be eying other possible candidates, like former Vice-President Mike Pence and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

New Hampshire and South Carolina, however, provided Donald Trump with a one-two punch that catapulted him to the front in 2016 – a lead he never relinquished.

They could do the same in 2024. In fact, every Republican presidential nominee since 1980 has won the South Carolina primary, making it unique among the traditional early-voting states.

South Carolina could prove to be a unique challenge for Donald Trump this time around, however. He faces potential challenges from Senator Tim Scott as well as the state’s former governor, Nikki Haley.

An Emerson Poll conducted earlier this week found 55% of Republican voters supporting Donald Trump, well ahead of the 29% for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has not announced a presidential bid but is viewed to be the former president’s most formidable rival. A Monmouth poll in December had Mr DeSantis ahead by double-digits.

Earlier this week, Meta announced that it was lifting the suspension it had placed on Donald Trump’s accounts in the aftermath of the attack on the US Capitol by his supporters. Although the former president has yet to resume posting to his accounts, his return could provide yet another opportunity for voter outreach – and fundraising – as his still minimally staffed campaign gears up for its 2024 run.

If rallies and Facebook donations were the fuel for Donald Trump’s past White House bids, his South Carolina stop was a different kind of operation.

With only 300 announced attendees, it was a decidedly low-key event compared to his typical arena gatherings, with their carnival atmosphere. Attire tended toward sport coats and dresses, not Make America Great Again hats and Let’s Go Brandon t-shirts.

To win a third Republican presidential nomination, however, Donald Trump will need the support of the political rank-and-file in states like New Hampshire and South Carolina, as well as his rally-going loyalists. And while Donald Trump’s national polls show continued strength, a recent South Carolina survey had nearly half of Republican voters expressing a preference for “someone else” besides Donald Trump.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has died at the age of 95, almost a decade after he resigned because of ailing health.

Former Pope Benedict XVI led the Catholic Church for fewer than eight years until, in 2013, he became the first Pope to resign since Gregory XII in 1415.

He spent his final years at the Mater Ecclesiae monastery within the walls of the Vatican where he passed away at 09:34 on Saturday, December 31.

His successor Pope Francis will lead the funeral on January 5.

The Vatican said the body of the Pope Emeritus will be placed in St Peter’s Basilica from January 2 for “the greeting of the faithful”.

Bells rang out from Munich cathedral and a single bell was heard ringing from St Peter’s Square in Rome after the former pope’s death was announced.

Benedict XVI was already 78 when he became Pope in 2005. Age and ill health quickly took their toll, prompting his resignation less than eight years later.

No other pope had stepped down since Gregory XII in 1415 and Benedict was the first to do so voluntarily since Celestine V in 1294.

Pope Benedict XVI has announced today his resignation after nearly eight years as the head of the Catholic Church, saying he is too old to continue at the age of 85

When he became 265th Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church it was the culmination of the rapid, and highly controversial, rise of Joseph Ratzinger.

Supporters portrayed him as a highly intellectual man who laboured to protect the spiritual inheritance bequeathed to him by Pope John Paul II.

To his critics Benedict XVI was the ultimate exponent and guardian of the Church’s dogmatic approach to issues like abortion and contraception. The outrage he sometimes caused seemed typical of a man who was never afraid of upsetting people – if he believed something had to be said or done.

Joseph Aloysius Ratzinger was born into a profoundly Catholic family on 16 April 1927, in the southern German state of Bavaria. He was the son of a police officer with, as he later put it, “simple country roots”.

His youth was indelibly marked by World War Two. Forced to join the Hitler Youth, he served in an anti-aircraft unit which defended a BMW plant outside Munich.

Joseph Ratzinger became a prime candidate for rapid advancement and it was no surprise when his ideological soul-mate Pope Paul VI appointed him Archbishop of Munich, and then cardinal, in 1977.

The call to Rome was not long in coming. In 1981, Pope John Paul II appointed Ratzinger as prefect of the Vatican’s office to protect the purity of Church theology – once known as the notorious Holy Inquisition.

Ratzinger had criticised the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith as “an all too smoothly functioning [body] which prejudged every question almost before it had come up for discussion”.

But he took to his work with typically energetic enthusiasm.

Image source: PxHere

A massive winter storm left more than one million Americans and Canadians facing Christmas Day without power.

A bomb cyclone, when atmospheric pressure plummets, has brought snow, strong winds and freezing temperatures.

Nearly 250 million are affected, and at least 19 deaths have been linked to the storm that extends more than 2,000 miles from Quebec to Texas.

Thousands of flights have been cancelled during the festive period.

The western US state of Montana is the worst hit by the cold, with temperatures dropping to -50F.

Near white-out conditions have been reported in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan. In the city of Buffalo, New York state, the US National Weather Service (NWS) reported “zero mile” visibility.

In the Pacific Northwest, some residents ice-skated on frozen streets in Seattle and Portland.

Coastal flooding has been seen in America’s north-eastern New England region, inundating communities and downing power lines.

Even the usually milder southern states of Florida and Georgia are experiencing hard-freeze warnings.

The only region that has largely been spared the cold weather is California where continental mountain ranges are helping to protect the Golden State.

In Canada, the provinces of Ontario and Quebec were bearing the brunt of the Arctic blast.

Much of the rest of the country, from British Columbia to Newfoundland, was under extreme cold and winter storm warnings.

A number of the storm-related fatalities have involved road traffic accidents, including a 50-car pile-up in Ohio that killed four motorists. Another four died in separate crashes in the state.

Travel problems across the country were being exacerbated by a shortage of snowplough operators, with low pay rates being blamed.

The NWS says more than 100 daily cold temperature records could be tied or broken over the next few days.

Former President Donald Trump has announced his presidential candidacy on November 15, declaring: “America’s comeback starts right now.”

At his Mar-a-Lago estate, Donald Trump, 76, said: “We have to save our country.”

His announcement comes as some fellow Republicans blame him for the party’s lacklustre performance in last week’s midterm elections.

President Joe Biden, who defeated Donald Trump two years ago, has said he may run for re-election in 2024.

Speaking to an invited crowd from the ballroom of his Mar-a-Lago private club in Palm Beach, Donald Trump said: “We are a nation in decline.

“For millions of Americans, the past two years under Joe Biden have been a time of pain, hardship, anxiety and despair.”

He continued: “In order to make America great and glorious again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States.”

“Donald Trump” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Gage Skidmore

Shortly before the speech, the former president filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission formally declaring his presidential candidacy and setting up a fundraising account.

Meanwhile, outside Mar-a-Lago, supporters gathered to wave Trump 2024 flags.

Donald Trump’s speech lasted for more than an hour and touched on many of the same themes he has been repeating on stage for months.

These included border security, energy independence and crime, as well as attacks on Joe Biden’s record in office.

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His wife, Melania Trump, joined him on stage at the end of the speech. But there were fewer family members present than at some of his past events and Ivanka Trump and Donald Jr did not attend.

At the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, President Biden was asked whether he had a reaction to Donald Trump’s announcement.

“No, not really,” he said. Last week, he was filmed laughing when a reporter suggested Donald Trump’s support base remained strong.

Donald Trump’s unusually early declaration for the election of November 5, 2024 is being seen as a tactic to steal a march on potential rivals for the Republicans’ White House nomination.

Although he is the first to enter the race and instantly becomes the front-runner, he is expected to face challengers.

They may include his own former VP Mike Pence, 63, and rising star Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, 44.

In his remarks, Donald Trump largely steered clear of rehashing his baseless claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him by mass voter fraud.

He left office after one term in 2021, refusing to acknowledge his defeat by seven million votes.

His debunked conspiracy theories riled up supporters who rioted at Capitol Hill in the final days of his presidency as lawmakers met to certify President Biden’s victory.

Donald Trump became the first president ever to be impeached twice, although congressional Democrats were thwarted in their bid to remove him from office by Senate Republicans.

Image source Wikimedia

Queen Elizabeth II of United Kingdom has died at her Scottish estate, Balmoral, at the age of 96 after reigning for 70 years.

The UK’s longest-serving monarch died peacefully on September 8 at Balmoral, where she had spent much of the summer.

The Queen came to the throne in 1952 and witnessed enormous social change.

Her son King Charles III said the death of his beloved mother was a “moment of great sadness” for him and his family and that her loss would be “deeply felt” around the world.

King Charles said: “We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished sovereign and a much-loved mother.

“I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.”

During the coming period, the king said he and his family would be “comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which the Queen was so widely held”.

The King and his wife, Camilla, now Queen Consort will return to London on September 9, Buckingham Palace said.

Senior royals had gathered at Balmoral after the Queen’s doctors became concerned about her health earlier in the day.

All the Queen’s children travelled to Balmoral, near Aberdeen, after doctors placed the Queen under medical supervision.

Her grandson and now heir to the throne, Prince William, and his brother, Prince Harry, also gathered there.

PM Liz Truss, who was appointed by the Queen on September 6, said the monarch was the rock on which modern Britain was built, who had “provided us with the stability and strength that we needed”.

Speaking about the new King, she said: “We offer him our loyalty and devotion, just as his mother devoted so much, to so many, for so long.

“And with the passing of the second Elizabethan age, we usher in a new era in the magnificent history of our great country, exactly as Her Majesty would have wished, by saying the words ‘God save the King’.”

Queen Elizabeth II’s reign spanned 15 prime ministers starting with Winston Churchill, born in 1874, and including Liz Truss, born 101 years later in 1975.

She held weekly audiences with her prime minister throughout her reign.

At Buckingham Palace in London, crowds awaiting updates on the Queen’s condition began crying as they heard of her death.

The Union flag on top of the palace was lowered to half-mast at 18:30 BST and an official notice announcing the death was posted outside.

On the Queen’s death, Prince William and his wife, Catherine, became the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Cornwall.

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The Queen was born Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, in Mayfair, London, on April 21, 1926.

Few could have foreseen she would become monarch but in December 1936 her uncle, Edward VIII, abdicated from the throne to marry the twice-divorced American, Wallis Simpson.

Elizabeth’s father became King George VI and, at age 10, Lilibet, as she was known in the family, became heir to the throne.

Within three years, Britain was at war with Nazi Germany. Elizabeth and her younger sister, Princess Margaret, spent much of wartime at Windsor Castle after their parents rejected suggestions they be evacuated to Canada.

After turning 18, Elizabeth spent five months with the Auxiliary Territorial Service and learned basic motor mechanic and driving skills.

Through the war, she exchanged letters with her third cousin, Philip, Prince of Greece, who was serving in the Royal Navy. Their romance blossomed and the couple married at Westminster Abbey on November 20, 1947, with the prince taking the title of Duke of Edinburgh.

She would later describe him as “my strength and stay” through 74 years of marriage, before his death in 2021, aged 99.

Their first son, Charles, was born in 1948, followed by Princess Anne, in 1950, Prince Andrew, in 1960, and Prince Edward, in 1964. Between them, they gave their parents eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

Elizabeth was crowned at Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953, aged 27, in front of a then-record TV audience estimated at more than 20 million people.

Subsequent decades would see great change, with the end of the British Empire overseas and the swinging ’60s sweeping away social norms at home.

Elizabeth reformed the monarchy for this less deferential age, engaging with the public through walkabouts, royal visits and attendance at public events. Her commitment to the Commonwealth was a constant – she visited every Commonwealth country at least once.

King Charles,73, becomes head of state in 14 Commonwealth realms.

The Royal Family has now entered a period of mourning.

Official engagements will be canceled and Union flags will be flown at half-mast on royal residences, government buildings, across the Armed Forces and UK posts overseas.

Foreign leaders have paid tribute to the Queen, with President Joe Biden recalling how she stood in solidarity with the US in their “darkest days” after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Mikhail Gorbachev – the last Soviet leader – died on August 30 at the age of 91.

The hospital in Moscow where Mikhail Gorbachev died said he had been suffering from a long and serious illness.

In recent years, the former president’s health had been in decline and he had been in and out of hospital. In June, international media reported that he was suffering from a kidney ailment, though his cause of death has not been announced.

He will be buried in Moscow’s Novodevichy cemetery, the resting place of many prominent Russians. It is not clear whether he will receive a state funeral.

Mikhail Gorbachev became general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party, and de facto leader of the country, in 1985.

Mikhail Gorbachev is attending an event marking the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall
Image source: Reuters

At the time, he was 54 – the youngest member of the ruling council known as the Politburo, and was seen as a breath of fresh air after several ageing leaders. His predecessor, Konstantin Chernenko, had died aged 73 after just over a year in office.

Few leaders have had such a profound effect on the global order, but Mikhail Gorbachev did not come to power seeking to end the Soviet grip over eastern Europe. Rather, he hoped to revitalise its society.

The Soviet economy had been struggling for years to keep up with the US and his policy of perestroika sought to introduce some market-like reforms to the state run system.

Internationally, Mikhail Gorbachev reached arms control deals with the US, refused to intervene when eastern European nations rose up against their Communist rulers, and ended the bloody Soviet war in Afghanistan that had raged since 1979.

Meanwhile, his policy of glasnost, or openness, allowed people to criticise the government in a way which had been previously unthinkable.

But it also unleashed nationalist sentiments in many parts of the Soviet Union which eventually undermined its stability and hastened its collapse.

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In 1991, after a shambolically organised coup by communist hardliners failed, Mikhail Gorbachev agreed to dissolve the Soviet Union and left office.

Vladimir Putin and Mikhail Gorbachev had a strained relationship – their last meeting reportedly in 2006.

Most recently, Mr Gorbachev was said to have been unhappy with Vlamir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine, even though he had supported the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

The Russian leader’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Mikhail Gorbachev had “sincerely wanted to believe that the Cold War would end, and that it would usher in a period of eternal romance between a new Soviet Union and the world, the West. This romanticism turned out to be wrong”.

Dmitry Peskov then berated Western countries that have opposed the invasion of Ukraine, imposed crippling sanctions on Russia, and provided weapons to Kyiv.

US President Joe Biden called him a “rare leader”, while UN Secretary General António Guterres said: “The world has lost a towering global leader, committed multilateralist, and tireless advocate for peace.”

UK’s PM Boris Johnson has announced he is quitting as leader of the Conservative Party after a perilous few days in office.

The crisis engulfing Boris Johnson’s premiership escalated on July 5, following the dramatic resignations of Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid.

Boris Johnson intends to stay as an interim leader but pressure is mounting on him to stand down immediately.

He assured cabinet this afternoon he would only act as a caretaker PM while remaining in position, new Welsh Secretary Robert Buckland said.

Now that Boris Johnson has resigned, the Conservative Party will need to choose a new leader. The winner of that contest will become the next PM.

The new PM would not be obliged to call an early election – but could do so if they wished.

When Gordon Brown took over from Labor prime minister Tony Blair in 2007, for example, he did not hold an early election.

If a PM wants an early election they need to make a “request” to the Queen to dissolve Parliament – the official term for closing Parliament in order to hold an election.

Speaking to a crowd of supporters and onlookers at the lectern outside 10 Downing Street, Boris Johnson said: “It is clearly now the will of the parliamentary Conservative Party that there should be a new leader of that party and therefore a new prime minister.”

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Boris Johnson’s resignation brings an abrupt end to a tumultuous tenure that was distinguished by the landslide victory three years ago and a successful drive to pull Britain out of the European Union, but that collapsed under the weight of a relentless series of scandals.

The 1922 Committee, the powerful body that represents Conservative Party backbench lawmakers, is likely to use the summer vacation to complete the process of selecting the new Conservative Party leader who will become prime minister. At the very latest, they will want to have installed the person by the time of the annual party conference in the fall.

Among the potential candidates are Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid; Liz Truss, the foreign secretary; Suella Braverman, the attorney general; and Nadhim Zahawi, who briefly replaced Mr. Sunak as chancellor. There are also two outsiders: Jeremy Hunt, a former foreign secretary who challenged Boris Johnson for the party leadership in 2019; and Tom Tugendhat, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee.


Frank R. James, who is accused of unleashing a barrage of gunfire on a subway train in New York City, will be held without bail until trial on federal terror charges.

The 62-year-old appeared in court on April 14 for allegedly violating a law barring “terrorist attacks or other violence” against mass transit systems.

Frank James was apprehended following a huge manhunt for the lone suspect behind the attack, which injured 23 people.

Image source: YouTube

The suspect did not enter a plea. His lawyer requested a psychiatric report.

If convicted he faces life behind bars.

Frank James “committed a heinous and premeditated attack on ordinary New Yorkers during their morning subway commute”, said US Attorney Breon Pearce in a statement announcing the charges.

Police alleged Frank James donned a gas mask and threw two smoke grenades on the floor of a Manhattan-bound N train before opening fire around 8:30AM local time on April 12.

Frank James is accused of shooting 10 people and injuring at least another 13.

The suspect escaped after the attack, police said, but left behind several personal items connected to Frank James, including a key to a U-Haul van that he had rented, and a bank card with his name on it. There was also a Glock 9mm handgun legally purchased in Ohio under the name “Frank Robert James”.

Frank James reportedly called police himself to report his whereabouts on April 13, media said, citing sources in law enforcement.

The suspect, who had recent addresses in Philadelphia and Milwaukee, had nine prior arrests in New York and three in New Jersey, police said on April 13.

No details about Frank James’ alleged motive have yet been provided.

According to prosecutors, Frank James published a variety of videos online making statements about the New York City subway system, occasionally addressing New York City Mayor Eric Adams as he complained about the “homeless situation” on subway cars.

In one video, prosecutors said, Frank James said: “And so the message to me is: I should have just gotten a gun, and started shooting.”

Official White House Photo Shealah Craighead

Saudi Arabia has executed 81 men on March 12, 2022- more than during the whole of 2021.

The group – including seven Yemenis and one Syrian national – were convicted of “multiple heinous crimes”, including terrorism, state news agency SPA said.

Some were charged with belonging to the Islamic State group (ISIS), al-Qaeda or the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Rights organisations say many do not receive fair trials in Saudi Arabia, an allegation the government rejects.

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According to SPA, the latest group had been tried by 13 judges and gone through a three-stage judicial process.

They were accused of plotting attacks on vital economic targets, killing or targeting members of the security forces, kidnapping, torture, rape and smuggling weapons into Saudi Arabia.

The country has one of the highest execution rates in the world – fifth in a list compiled by Amnesty International, the other four being China, Iran, Egypt and Iraq.

Saudi Arabia executed 69 people in 2021.

Image source Public Domain Pictures

Australia is now reopening its borders tot the rest of the world for the first time in nearly two years, bringing joyful family reunions and a boost to tourism.

Australia imposed some of the world’s strictest travel bans after shutting itself off in March 2020 due to coronavirus pandemic.

Australians and some others were allowed to return from late last year, but most foreigners have had to wait.

On February 21, there were tearful reunions at Sydney Airport as hundreds of people began arriving on flights.

Double-vaccinated visitors do not need to quarantine, but unvaccinated travellers must do so in a hotel for up to 14 days at their own expense.

Novak Djokovic Set to Be Deported from Australia After Loosing Visa Battle

More than 50 international flights were due to land on February 21. Travellers can enter all states except Western Australia, which remains closed until March 3 and will require three jabs.

“What wonderful, wonderful news for our tourism industry and the 660,000 people employed in it,” said Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan

Australia had about 9.5 million overseas visitors in 2019.

Dan Tehan said he hoped for a strong rebound in the tourism sector, which has been hit by domestic travel bans too.

Australia’s strict measures drew criticism for separating families and stifling businesses, but they were also credited with preventing many deaths before vaccines were available.

Australia has had about 4,900 Covid deaths.

Photo Getty Images

Mike Pence has dismissed claims by Donald Trump that he could have stopped Joe Biden becoming president.

In his strongest rebuttal yet, the former vice-president said Donald Trump was wrong to suggest he had had the right to overturn the election.

Separately the Republican Party censured two of its top lawmakers for investigating the Capitol riots.

A mob stormed the Capitol as lawmakers met to confirm President Joe Biden’s poll win on January 6, 2021.

Four people died during the riots, and a police officer who suffered two strokes while defending the building died the following day.

The two legislators, Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, are the only Republicans on a congressional select committee investigating the riots.

The statement by the Republican National Committee (RNC) accused Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger of helping to persecute “ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse”.

The RNC appeared to suggest rioters had been involved in legitimate political actions but RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel clarified that it was a reference to “legitimate political discourse that had nothing to do with violence at the Capitol”.

Who Stormed Capitol Building?

According to recent reports, the vote was passed by an overwhelming majority of the 168 RNC members at their winter meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The committee said it would “immediately cease any and all support of them” as party members without removing them from the party.

Both lawmakers issued statements in advance of the vote.

“The leaders of the Republican Party have made themselves willing hostages to a man who admits he tried to overturn a presidential election and suggests he would pardon January 6 defendants, some of whom have been charged with seditious conspiracy,” Liz Cheney said.

They also received support from other opponents of Donald Trump in the party. 

Senator Mitt Romney tweeted: “Shame falls on a party that would censure persons of conscience, who seek truth in the face of vitriol.”

Speaking in Orlando, Florida, Mike Pence was responding to Donald Trump’s comments on January 30 that he could have overturned the election if he had wanted to.

Donald Trump has falsely claimed that the election was stolen by Joe Biden.

Days later Donald Trump said the select committee should be investigating Mike Pence instead of the rioters.

Mike Pence responded: “President Trump is wrong. I had no right to overturn the election. The presidency belongs to the American people, and the American people alone.

“And [current Vice-President] Kamala Harris will have no right to overturn the election when we beat them in 2024.”

Tennis star Novak Djokovic is set to be deported from Australia after losing a last-ditch court bid to stay in the country.

Judges rejected the Serbian’s challenge to the government’s decision to cancel his visa on “health and good order” grounds.

The world number one’s hopes of defending his Australian Open title and winning a record 21st Grand Slam in Melbourne are over.

Novak Djokovic, 34, said he was “extremely disappointed” but accepted the ruling.

He said in a statement: “I will co-operate with the relevant authorities in relation to my departure from the country.”

It was not immediately clear when he would leave.

Novak Djokovic’s supporters fell silent outside the courtroom as the decision was announced.

Australian PM Scott Morrison welcomed “the decision to keep our borders strong and keep Australians safe”.

“Australians have made many sacrifices during this pandemic, and they rightly expect the result of those sacrifices to be protected,” he said.

Novak Djokovic launched the case after Immigration Minister Alex Hawke used his ministerial powers to cancel the unvaccinated player’s visa, arguing that his presence in the country risked fanning anti-vaccine sentiment.

It was the second time Novak Djokovic’s visa had been revoked, after a first cancelation over not following Covid entry rules was overturned by a different judge.

Image source Reuters

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During January 16 court hearing before a three-judge panel, Novak Djokovic’s defense unsuccessfully argued that the grounds given by the government were “invalid and illogical”.

Chief Justice James Allsop said the federal court’s ruling was based on the lawfulness and legality of the minister’s decision, not on the “merits or wisdom of that decision”.

Full reasoning for the ruling will be made public in the coming days, he said.

Deportation orders usually include a three-year ban on returning to Australia, though this can be waived in certain circumstances.

The January 16 decision marks the end of a 10-day saga over Novak Djokovic’s Australian visa.

There has been much public anger in Australia over the player’s attempt to enter the country unvaccinated. The federal government has repeatedly said people must comply with the strict laws in place to deal with the pandemic, and that no-one is “above the law”.

Novak Djokovic was originally granted a medical exemption to enter Australia by two different independent health panels – one commissioned by Tennis Australia, the other by the state government of Victoria – after testing positive for coronavirus in mid-December.

However, the Australian Border Force detained him on January 5 for not meeting federal coronavirus requirements.

A judge later overturned that decision, but the government stepped in on January 14 to revoke the visa again, saying doing so was in the public interest.

Although Novak Djokovic is not vaccinated against Covid-19, he has not actively promoted anti-vax disinformation. However, Australian anti-vaxxers have been using the hashtag #IStandWithDjokovic on social media.

Australian opposition politician Kristina Keneally accused the government of a “litany of failures” in dealing with Djokovic’s visa application, as she questioned why the tennis player was granted a visa to begin with.

The government “mishandled Novak Djokovic’s case, undermined Australia’s border security settings, and provided a lightning rod for the anti-vaccination movement”, she argued.

In his statement on January 16, Novak Djokovic said he was “uncomfortable” with the focus placed on him because of the visa row.

“I hope that we can all now focus on the game and tournament I love,” he said.

Italy’s Salvatore Caruso, who is ranked 150th in the world, will now replace Novak Djokovic in his match against Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic on January 17.


Pope Francis has said during a general audience at the Vatican in Rome that choosing pets over children is selfish.

The Pope’s comments came as he was discussing parenthood.

He told the audience: “Today … we see a form of selfishness.

“We see that some people do not want to have a child.

“Sometimes they have one, and that’s it, but they have dogs and cats that take the place of children.

“This may make people laugh, but it is a reality.”

Image source AP

The practice “is a denial of fatherhood and motherhood and diminishes us, takes away our humanity”, Pope Francis added.

The 85-year-old pontiff said that people who are unable to have children for biological reasons should consider adoption, urging people “not to be afraid” in embarking on parenthood.

He also spoke of a “demographic winter” – possibly referring to countries with declining birth rates – in which “we see that people do not want to have children, or just one and no more”.

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It is not the first time Pope Francis has taken aim at people who choose pets over children.

In 2014, he said that having pets instead of children was “another phenomenon of cultural degradation”, and that emotional relationships with pets was “easier” than the “complex” relationship between parents and children.

The Pope has been photographed petting animals ranging from dogs to panthers in the past, but he is not thought to have a personal pet.

His 2015 visit to the US was marked by dog owners dressing their pets in canine papal outfits with the hashtag #popedog on Instagram.

Asked at the time if the Pope was aware of the trend, a Vatican spokeswoman said: “I imagine he has more important things to think about.”


As countries around the world begin to welcome in the New Year, there were muted celebrations in cities across Australia.

Many nations have re-imposed coronavirus restrictions as Covid cases continue to soar – with major cities, including London and Paris, canceling or curtailing their traditional NYE fireworks.

In Sydney, the world-renowned fireworks went ahead but city centers across Australia were expected to be much quieter than previous years, amid fears over the spread of the Omicron variant.

New Zealand marked the start of 2022 with a light show at Auckland’s harbor front, with Auckland Harbor Bridge and Sky Tower lit up in different colors.

The US CDC has said that coronavirus hospitalizations among children have reached record levels in recent weeks, as a new wave of infections sweeps across the country.

During the week of December 22-28 an average of 378 children under the age of 17 were admitted to hospitals each day with the virus, an of 66% increase from the week before.

The previous high over the course of the pandemic was in early September, when child hospitalizations averaged 342 admissions per day, the CDC said.

The FDA approved vaccinations for children aged 5-11 in October, but so far just 14% of those eligible are fully vaccinated. However, the inoculation rate is higher for 12 to 17-year-olds, at about 53%.

Coronavirus case have been surging across the US since mid-December as the new Omicron variant takes hold. The highly contagious variant accounted for 59% of new cases last week, according to the CDC.

South Africa has lifted a midnight to 04:00 curfew on people’s movement with immediate effect, after government officials announced on December 30 they believed the country has passed the peak of new coronavirus infections.

Figures released by the Department of Health showed a 29.7% decrease in the number of new cases detected in the week ending December 25.

Israel has started to administer fourth Covid vaccine shots to people with weakened immune systems, amid a surge in cases driven by Omicron.

It is one of the first countries in the world to do so.

Heart transplant patients at a hospital near Tel Aviv were among the first to get the jab.

The Israeli health ministry has also approved the fourth shot for residents in retirement homes and geriatric patients.

Israel rolled out its Covid-19 vaccine program at the world’s fastest rate and was the first country to routinely offer a booster shot in the summer.


Confederate monuments taken down in Richmond will likely be moved to a black history museum and cultural center, Virginia officials have said.

An imposing statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee that was removed in September is expected to be among the monuments being transferred.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Memorials to leaders of the pro-slavery, Confederate states in the southern US have been controversial.

A community-led process will decide the fate of the memorials, officials say.

As part of the plan announced on December 30 by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, the monuments will be handed over to the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia (BHMVA).

The museum will also coordinate with the city’s Valentine museum – which focuses on Richmond’s history – and the local community to determine how the monuments are used going forward.

The plan, however, still requires the approval of the local city council – which Levar Stoney will seek in January.

“Entrusting the future of these monuments and pedestals to two of our most respected institutions is the right thing to do,” Mayor Stoney said in a statement.

“They will take the time that is necessary to properly engage the public and ensure the thoughtful future uses of these artifacts.”

The collection includes monuments to a number of other prominent Confederate figures – including former Confederate president Jefferson Davis – as well as a ceremonial cannon and a monument to Confederate soldiers and sailors.

Richmond was the capital of the Confederate states during the US Civil War.

Governor Northam said that the monuments “celebrate our country’s tragic division and the side that fought to keep alive the institution of slavery by any means necessary”.

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The BHMVA’s interim executive director, Marland Buckner, said in a statement to local media that a handover of the monuments will present “opportunities to deepen our understanding of an essential element of the American story: the expansion of freedom”.

Mayor Stoney ordered that the city’s remaining Confederate monuments, including a 21 ft statue of Robert E. Lee erected in 1890, be removed amid national protests over the murder of George Floyd.

Plans to remove the Lee statue were initially delayed by two separate lawsuits by Richmond residents opposed to its removal.

Hundreds of statues of Lee and other Confederate figures still exist throughout the southern US.


A caller has pranked President Joe Biden by dropping anti-Biden “Let’s go, Brandon” taunt into their chat during a White House Christmas event.

President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden were hosting the festive call for families when a father told the president: “Let’s go, Brandon.”

Apparently unaware of the gibe, President Biden said he agreed.

The term, which has become a rallying cry for many conservatives, is code for a profane insult directed at Joe Biden.

The first couple were speaking virtually with children for a White House custom, tracking the journey of Santa’s sleigh via the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

Photo AP

During Christmas Eve’s event in the South Court Auditorium of the executive mansion, the Bidens spoke with a family from Oregon: Griffin, 11, Hunter, three, Piper, four, Penelope, two, and their father, Jared.

“I assume you’re dad,” the president said.

“Hi. Yes sir,” replied Jared.

“OK, Dad, what do you want for Christmas?” asked Presidnet Biden.

“Maybe a quiet night,” he replied laughing.

The president said: “You know, Dad, we have a Hunter, too. We have a son named Hunter and a grandson named Hunter.”

“I didn’t know you had a grandson named Hunter, that’s cool,” said Jared.

The president asked how old was Griffin.

“I’m 11,” Griffin said. He said he wanted a piano.

Jared interjected: “I was going to say he has to cut some trees down to get a piano!”

Hunter wanted a Nintendo Switch, Piper wanted a Barbie.

The president reminded the children to be in bed by nine o’clock otherwise Santa might not show up.

The first lady said: “Have a merry Christmas, have a wonderful Christmas.”

President Biden told Jared: “I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.”

The father replied: “Yeah, I hope you guys have a wonderful Christmas as well. Merry Christmas and let’s go, Brandon.”

The president replied: “Let’s go, Brandon. I agree.”

There was silence.

President Biden added: “Hey, by the way, are you in Oregon? Where’s your home? I think we lost him.”

According to a recent Gallup poll, only 5% of voters who identify as Republican currently approve of the president’s performance.

That same poll shows President Biden’s overall approval rating has dipped to 43%.

How did ‘Let’s go, Brandon’ start?

It all began at the end of a televised Nascar stock car race in Talladega, Alabama, on October 2. NBC reporter Kelli Stavast was interviewing the winner, driver Brandon Brown, when members of the crowd in the grandstand behind them began chanting an obscenity directed at the president.

It was clearly picked up on the broadcast’s audio.

Whether by mistake or as an attempt to deflect from the swearing on live television, Kelli Stavast told Brandon Brown the crowd was cheering him on with chants of “Let’s go, Brandon.”

A meme was born.

Former President Donald Trump has sued New York state Attorney General Letitia James, seeking to block her from continuing to investigate his company.

He argues the state attorney has violated his constitutional rights by pursuing a politically-motivated probe.

Letitia James says the investigation “will continue undeterred”.

She opened a civil inquiry in 2019 into claims that – before he took office – Donald Trump had inflated the value of his assets to banks when seeking loans.

The lawsuit comes less than two weeks after Letitia James, a Democrat, indicated that Donald Trump, a Republican, could be questioned under oath next month as part of the inquiry.

The former president is also suspected of understating his assets to lower his taxes.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

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Letitia James’ office has been seeking documents on four Trump Organization properties in Manhattan, upstate New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Donald Trump has described the inquiry as a witch hunt.

Throughout his presidency from 2017 to 2021, Donald Trump resolutely refused to reveal his tax returns, despite coming under great pressure to do so.

Civil cases usually have to do with injury to individuals or other private parties, including businesses; criminal law applies in cases where the damage is thought to affect society at large, including the state.


More than 70 people were killed by tornadoes on Friday night, December 10, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear has said.

Governor Beshear said the figure could rise to more than 100 in what he called the worst tornadoes in Kentucky’s history.

Dozens are feared dead inside a candle factory in the town of Mayfield.

At least five people died as tornadoes wreaked havoc in other states, including one in an Amazon warehouse in Illinois.

Andy Beshear has declared a state of emergency in Kentucky.

He said the tornado system was the deadliest to ever run through the state.

Mayfield and everywhere along the 227-mile path of the tornado – almost all in Kentucky – was devastated, he said.

“It’s indescribable, unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” he said.

“You see parts of industrial buildings, roofs, or sightings in trees, if trees are lucky enough to stand.

“Huge metal poles bent in half if not broken, buildings that are no longer there, huge trucks that have been picked up and thrown. And sadly far too many homes that people were likely in, entirely devastated.”

“There are a lot of families that need your prayers,” he added.

Deaths had been reported in several counties, but the loss of life in the Mayfield factory could exceed that of any tornado event in a single location in state history, the governor added. More than 100 people were inside when it hit.

Governor Beshear said 40 people had been rescued at the factory and he was praying for more survivors, but it was a “very dire situation”.

Local officials who visited the scene spoke of heavy machinery displaced by the storm, as well as drums leaking corrosive liquid.

President Joe Biden tweeted that he had been briefed about the tornadoes on Saturday morning.

“To lose a loved one in a storm like this is an unimaginable tragedy,” he said.

“We’re working with Governors to ensure they have what they need as the search for survivors and damage assessments continue.”

Police said the tornado caused “significant damage” across the western parts of the state. A train was derailed during extreme winds in Hopkins County, Sheriff Matt Sanderson told WKYT-TV.

He also described how two children were reported missing during a tornado but were then found in a bathtub that had been pulled outside by the force of the wind.

“There were two children in the Barnsley area that were missing and they were actually found in a bathtub not where the house was originally standing,” he said.

The Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville in southern Illinois was damaged during a tornado on Friday night, the authorities said.

It is not yet clear how many people were hurt by the roof collapse, but local emergency services have called it a “mass casualty incident” on Facebook.

Illinois police chief Mike Fillback said at least one person had died.

Sarah Bierman said her partner was still missing.

Later reports said 30 people had been rescued and two were airlifted to hospital in St Louis, in neighboring Missouri. Rescue teams are still sorting through the rubble.

Tennessee state Emergency Management Agency spokesman Dean Flener said three people had been killed in the northwest of the state. No further details were given.

In north-eastern Arkansas, one person died, five were seriously injured and 20 people were trapped inside in a nursing home after it partly collapsed, local official Marvin Day said.

The trapped people were rescued but the building was “pretty much destroyed”, he added.


A parent should not move his or her child to a foreign country without a court order and a detailed co-parenting plan.


Why Is a Court Order so Important?

Filing for divorce is a big decision for any couple. However, couples with children have even more to consider when divorcing. They have to work together to create a workable co-parenting plan that outlines custody, visitation, and communication plans. Typically, a couple files a custody agreement with the family court that states which parent is the primary custodial parent. However, custody agreements are state-specific. A judge needs to agree and enter an order before a parent can move children across state lines. If one member of the couple is considering immigrating as a single parent, he or she must receive permission from the family court.

Even if the custodial parent has sole custody of the children, he or she must have a court order before leaving the country with the children. A parent who relocates a child to a foreign country without a court order and the other parent’s consent has committed parental kidnapping. If the parent’s new home participates in the Hague Convention, the authorities in the United States and the new country will work together to return the child.

What Does a Court Consider When Deciding Whether to Allow Relocation?

If both parents agree to the move, a judge is likely to agree to the arrangement. However, absent an agreement, the parents will have to petition the family court to enter an order either allowing or disallowing relocation of the children. When determining whether to allow relocation, a family court judge will consider:

·         Which parent has primary custody

·         The country to which the parent wishes to relocate

·         Whether the parent is relocating for a new job

·         The immigration status of the parent after relocation

·         What type of support system the child will have (extended family and friends, for example)

·         The care the child will receive, including education, medical, and shelter

·         How convenient it will be for the co-parent to visit

·         Quality of life

·         The feasibility of the child maintaining a healthy relationship with both parents

How Can Parents Make a Workable Long Distance Co-Parenting Plan?

It can be difficult for a divorcing couple to agree to and stick with a co-parenting plan. Both parents have to commit to the work and cooperation needed to make it successful. If both parents agree to an overseas move or a judge enters an order allowing the custodial parent to move, they will need to create a strong parenting plan that considers the difficulties added by extreme distance. The Co-Parenting plan should include:

·         Accommodations for healthy communications between parents and children

·         Plans for regular, consistent communication between the non-custodial parent and the children

·         An agreement for respectful communication between the two parents

·         A calendar that outlines visitations between the non-custodial parent and the children, including holidays and extended visitation periods

As in any situation involving children, the parents and family court’s top priority should be the well-being of the children. When an overseas move benefits the children, all parties should work together to ensure the children can maintain a happy, healthy, and meaningful relationship with both parents.


A Las Vegas jury dealt a unanimous verdict against the nation’s largest health insurance company on November 29, ruling UnitedHealthcare cheated out-of-network emergency room doctors out of millions of dollars in proper reimbursements for the lifesaving work they performed.

The month-long trial featured revelations that United had gutted reimbursements to doctors handling heart attacks, strokes, and gunshot wounds to less than $200, all so the company could generate another billion dollars in profits.

“To look at the scheme they had to underpay and underpay us to protect our community was a shot in the gut,” said Sunrise Medical Center Doctor Scott Scherr, an emergency room doctor who helped saved many lives the night of the deadly Las Vegas mass killings in 2017.

“This sends a message to insurance companies that you know we need to be compensated fairly for the emergency care that we provide.”

Jury Deliberations in Las Vegas Trial against UnitedHealthcare

Houston Attorney John Zavitsanos said United had treated life savers as third-rate citizens for the past three years to feed the greed of an insurance company and he praised the jury for sending a clear message.

“They found by clear and convincing evidence that their conduct, and I am going to steal one of their words, that their conduct was egregious, and the jury will return to make an example out of them to other insurance companies of how health care professionals should not be treated,” said Zavitsanos.

The jury ruled United and other defendants had to pay a little more than $2 million in damages to doctors for the payments they were cheated out of, but United may see a much bigger punishment when the jury returns December 7th to decide on the amount of punitive damages the insurance giant now owes these doctors.

The court victory in Las Vegas sets the stage for similar lawsuits in 10 states over the conduct of United Healthcare. 

Image source: AP

Kyle Rittenhouse, a teenager who shot dead two people during Wisconsin racial unrest last year, was cleared of all charges.

The 18-year-old argued he was acting in self-defense when he shot the men and injured a third in Wisconsin.

The verdict on November 19, which followed a high-profile trial that divided the US, sparked protests in some cities.

However, politicians, including President Joe Biden, and families of the victims have urged restraint.

“What we need right now is justice, not more violence,” lawyers for the family of Gaige Grosskreutz, who was shot and injured by Kyle Rittenhouse, said in a statement.

“I urge everyone to express their views peacefully, consistent with the rule of law,” President Joe Biden told reporters outside the White House.

Despite the calls for calm, a riot was declared by police in the city of Portland, Oregon, on Friday evening as some 200 people broke windows and threw objects.

There were also protests in Chicago and New York, but they were relatively low-key compared to the widespread civil unrest that the US had seen previously.

Kyle Rittenhouse said he was acting in self-defense when he fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and injured Gaige Grosskreutz, 28, in August 2020 in the city of Kenosha, Wisconsin.

The teenager and the men he shot are all white. The incident happened during violent protests over the shooting of a black man, Jacob Blake, by a white police officer.

Jacob Blake’s uncle was outside the court when Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted.

“We’re going to continue to fight and we’re going to continue to be peaceful. Let freedom ring,” Justin Blake said.

Anthony Huber’s family said the verdict “sends the unacceptable message that armed civilians can show up in any town, incite violence, and then use the danger they have created to justify shooting people in the street.”

Kyle Rittenhouse is now in an undisclosed location, a spokesman for his family told CBS.

“In this whole situation there are no winners, there are two people who lost their lives and that’s not lost on us at all,” they said.

The verdict has prompted strong reactions from both sides.

Derrick Johnson, the president of the civil rights organization NAACP, tweeted that the verdict “is a reminder of the treacherous role that white supremacy and privilege play within our justice system”.

Prominent civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton said the “outrageous and dangerous” verdict will encourage vigilantes to use violence to assert their power.

“These continue to be dark days for black people killed at the hands of people that believe our lives do not matter,” he said in a statement.

There are also concerns about the legal precedence the verdict could set for future cases.

California’s Governor Gavin Newsom wrote: “America today: you can break the law, carry around weapons built for a military, shoot and kill people, and get away with it.”

President Biden said he was “angry and concerned” at the verdict, but that “the jury has spoken”.

Conservatives argue Kyle Rittenhouse asserted his right to bear arms and defended himself.

Former President Donald Trump congratulated him in a statement emailed to his supporters.

“If that’s not self-defense, nothing is!” he wrote.

Several Republican lawmakers said they would like to offer a congressional internship to Kyle Rittenhouse.

One of them was the representative of North Carolina, Madison Cawthorn, who on an Instagram story said: “You have a right to defend yourself, be armed, be dangerous and be moral.”

Following the verdict, right-wing Fox News host Tucker Carlson posted a clip of an exclusive interview with the teenager, to be broadcast on November 22.