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Diane A. Wade

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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.

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.”

Boris Johnson intends to give up American citizenship

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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

lawyer

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.

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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. 

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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.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Vice-President Kamala Harris became the first woman to – briefly – be given presidential powers while President Joe Biden underwent a regular health check.

Kamala Harris, 57, was in control for 85 minutes, while President Biden was placed under anesthesia for a routine colonoscopy on November 19.

Joe Biden’s doctor released a statement after the operation, saying he was healthy and able to execute his duties.

The medical examination came on the eve of the president’s 79th birthday.

According to officials, Kamala Harris carried out her duties from her office in the West Wing of the White House.

Kamala Harris is the first woman – and the first black and South Asian American – to be elected US vice-president.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the temporary transfer of powers in such circumstances was not unprecedented, and that it was part of the process set out in the US constitution.

“As was the case when President George W. Bush had the same procedure in 2002 and 2007,” Jen Psaki said in a statement.

Kamala Harris Becomes First Female VP-Elect

President Biden was seen smiling as he returned to the White House.

“I feel great,” he said.

“President Biden remains a healthy, vigorous, 78-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the president,” said Kevin O’Connor, the president’s physician.

Dr. Kevin O’Connor said the colonoscopy found a “benign-appear polyp” that was easily removed.

He added that the president’s gait also appeared “perceptibly stiffer and less fluid,” than in the past. This was attributed to wear and tear of the spine.

Joe Biden, the oldest US president to take office, had his last full medical examination in December 2019.

At the time, his doctor released a medical report describing him as “healthy, vigorous” and “fit to successfully execute the duties of the presidency”.

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Flag Day is celebrated on June 14 each year to honor the United States flag and to commemorate the flag’s adoption

The US is reopening its borders on November 8 to fully vaccinated visitors, ending a 20-month entry ban.

The ban was imposed by former President Donald Trump due to Covid-19.

It has affected non-US citizens from over 30 countries, including the UK and EU states, separating families and stalling tourism.

Airlines are expecting a flood of visitors as the restrictions are lifted for those who are fully vaccinated, and undergo testing and contact tracing.

In an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus, US borders were initially closed to travelers from China in early 2020. The restrictions were then extended to other countries.

The rules barred entry to most non-US citizens who had been in the UK and a number of other European countries, as well as China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil.

Under the new rules, foreign travelers will need to show proof of vaccination before flying, get a negative Covid-19 test result within three days of traveling, and hand over their contact information. They will not have to quarantine.

New Coronavirus Variant Sparks Travel Bans on UK

The US land borders with neighbors Canada and Mexico will also reopen for the fully vaccinated.

Thousands of migrants have arrived in areas along Mexico’s border with the US, hoping to take advantage of the newly-relaxed rules.

In southern Mexico, a new caravan of thousands of mainly Central American migrants – many of them children – has crossed from Chiapas to Oaxaca state, with the ultimate aim of reaching the border and being accepted into the US.

The Migrant Alliance Group, a Mexico-based advocacy group, has warned that false information is being spread about the new rules in some communities – with many asylum seekers assuming that they will now receive more favorable treatment from border officials.

Businesses in cities along the border with Mexico are hoping for a boost after struggling under America’s Covid-induced restrictions.

United Airlines says it expects a 50% rise in international inbound passengers, while Delta’s chief executive Ed Bastian warned travelers to expect queues.

The EU recommended allowing American travelers into the bloc in June, while visitors from the US have been able to travel to the UK since July 28.

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Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has told young protesters that politicians attending COP26 are “pretending to take our future seriously”.

The arrival of world leaders in Glasgow for the COP26 summit triggered a series of demos across the city.

The gathering attended by Greta Thunberg was one of dozens taking place.

She told fellow activists from “Fridays for Future” that change would not come from politicians at the summit but from individuals showing leadership.

The Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior was sailing up the Clyde, with plans to dock near the conference venue.

Demonstrations by French and Tamil groups were being held south of the River Clyde.

UK’s PM Boris Johnson welcomed world leaders to Glasgow on the first full day of the COP26 summit.

Leaders from 120 countries arrived for the talks, including US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron.

About 25,000 delegates will be attending the two-week climate conference in the UN-controlled blue zone on the north side of the River Clyde.

Many different groups from across the globe will be using the opportunity to make their voices heard as the attention of the world is on Glasgow during the pandemic-delayed summit.

Davos 2020: Greta Thunberg Attacked By Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin

Greta Thunberg was one of the environmental activists speaking at the “Fridays for Future” meeting of young activists at Festival Park, near the COP26 campus.

The activist said: “This COP26 is so far just like the previous COPs and that has led us nowhere. They have led us nowhere.”

“Inside COP there are just politicians and people in power pretending to take our future seriously, pretending to take the present seriously of the people who are being affected already today by the climate crisis.

“Change is not going to come from inside there. That is not leadership – this is leadership.”

The Swedish teenager led cries of “climate justice” and “no more blah, blah, blah”.

“We’re sick and tired of it and we’re going to make the change whether they like it or not,” she added.

Protesters from Extinction Rebellion made this point directly at Glasgow Central Station, where a small group welcomed conference delegates arriving by train.

The group held up large eyes with signs warning the delegates that they represented the “world’s eyes on you”.

The Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior traveled up the Firth of Clyde, carrying youth climate activists from Mexico, Uganda, Bangladesh and Namibia.

The Erskine Bridge was closed at short notice, stopping traffic for 90 minutes, to allow the vessel to pass.

After uncertainty over whether it would be allowed to enter the city, Greenpeace said the vessel was given permission to dock at Govan.

It eventually moored at the King George V docks at Shieldhall, downriver from the summit venue.

Assistant Chief Constable Gary Ritchie of Police Scotland said it was outside of the exclusion zone, and the ship had not breached any COP26 restrictions.

Activists travelling on the ship, including Edwin Namakanga from Uganda, hope to send a message to world leaders.

In Royal Exchange Square, UK charity Oxfam organized a Scottish pipe band protest, with participants dressing up as 10 leaders from the world’s “highest-emitting” countries.

Angela Merkel, Boris Johnson, Emmanuel Macron, Joe Biden were all caricatured in the band which Oxfam said was guaranteed to produce a “lot of hot air”.

Image source: www.g20.org

G20 leaders have approved a global agreement that will see the profits of large businesses taxed at least 15%.

It follows concern that multinational companies are re-routing their profits through low tax jurisdictions.

The pact was agreed by all the leaders attending the G20 summit in Rome.

Climate change and Covid are also on the agenda of the summit, which is the leaders’ first in-person gathering since the start of the pandemic.

Leaders of the world’s 20 major economies – made up of 19 countries and the EU – is short by two, however, with China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin choosing to appear via video link.

The tax deal, which was proposed by the US, is expected to be officially adopted on October 31, according to Reuters, and will be enforced by 2023.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the historic agreement was a “critical moment” for the global economy and will “end the damaging race to the bottom on corporate taxation”.

Janet Yellen tweeted that US businesses and workers would benefit from the deal even though many US-based mega-companies would have to pay more tax.

Kerch Strait Clash: Donald Trump Cancels Meeting with Vladimir Putin at G20 Summit

The G20 summit comes ahead of the much-anticipated COP26 summit on climate change in Glasgow which begins on November 1. What happens at the G20 may set the tone for COP26, with sharp divisions remaining between countries on their commitments to tackling climate change.

Italy’s PM Mario Draghi opened the two-day G20 summit with a message of unification, telling world leaders that “going it alone is simply not an option. We must do all we can to overcome our differences”.

There are increasingly dire warnings from experts for the future if urgent action is not taken to cut carbon emissions.

According to Reuters, a draft communiqué outlines a promise from the G20 to work towards limiting the rise in temperatures to 1.5C (2.7F), saying it “will require meaningful and effective actions by all countries”.

The draft also notes the need for “developed countries to mobilize $100bn annually from public and private sources through to 2025 to address the needs of developing countries” so they can tackle climate change – a promise richer countries have failed to keep since 2009, when it was initially pledged.

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Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Hillary Clinton’s former aide Huma Abedin has reportedly written in a new memoir how she was sexually assaulted by a US senator.

According to the Guardian, Huma Abedin said the unnamed politician pounced on her on a couch in the mid-2000s after inviting her into his home.

Huma Abedin says she rebuffed him as he tried to kiss her and escaped.

The claim is detailed in her new book, Both/And: A Life in Many Worlds, which is being published next week.

Huma Abedin was one of 2016 Democratic presidential nominee and former Obama-era secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s most trusted aides, and was once described by her as her “second daughter”.

She describes the assault while recounting her work for Hillary Clinton when she was a senator for New York between 2001and 2009.

Huma Abedin reveals she was aware of Anthony Weiner’s relapse

Sydney Leathers Inside Edition interview: “Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin have more of a business relationship than a marriage”

Huma Abedin, now 45, does not reveal the senator’s identity or even his party.

She says that after a Washington dinner she walked out with the politician and when they stopped in front of his home he invited her inside for coffee. She accepted.

According to the Guardian, which has seen an advance copy of the memoir, Huma Abedin writes: “Then, in an instant, it all changed. He plopped down to my right, put his left arm around my shoulder, and kissed me, pushing his tongue into my mouth, pressing me back on the sofa.

“I was so utterly shocked, I pushed him away. All I wanted was for the last 10 seconds to be erased.”

Huma Abedin says the senator apologized and said he had “misread” her, before asking if she wanted to stay.

She writes: “Then I said something only the twentysomething version of me would have come up with – ‘I am so sorry’ – and walked out, trying to appear as nonchalant as possible.”

She says she bumped into the senator a few days later on Capitol Hill, and he asked if they were still friends.

Huma Abedin also details in the book her anger at her ex-husband, former Democratic New York congressman Anthony Weiner, whose career was destroyed by sex scandals.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Secretary of State Colin Powell has died of Covid-19 complications at the age of 84.

The former top military officer died on October 18, his family said. He was fully vaccinated.

Colin Powell became the first African-American secretary of state in 2001 under Republican President George W Bush.

He also sparked controversy for helping garner support for the Iraq War.

“We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father, grandfather and a great American,” the family said in a statement, thanking the staff at the Walter Reid Medical Center “for their caring treatment”.

Colin Powell had previously been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer which may have made him more susceptible to Covid-19 symptoms, according to media, as well as Parkinson’s disease.

President Joe Biden, calling Colin Powell a “dear friend”, said he had embodied the “highest ideals of both warrior and diplomat”.

Former President George W. Bush was among the first to pay tribute to “a great public servant” as well as “a family man and a friend” who “was such a favorite of presidents that he earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom – twice”.

Colin Powell admits to exchanging “very personal” emails with Corina Cretu

President Bush’s vice-president Dick Cheney saluted Colin Powell as “a man who loved his country and served her long and well” while also being “a trailblazer and role model for so many”.

Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell’s successor as secretary of state and the first black woman in the role, called him “a truly great man” whose “devotion to our nation was not limited to the many great things he did while in uniform or during his time spent in Washington”.

“Much of his legacy will live on in the countless number of young lives he touched.”

Current secretary of state Antony Blinken called Colin Powell’s life “a victory of the American Dream”.

Remembrances also poured in from prominent African-American leaders. Civil rights activist Al Sharpton called him “a sincere and committed man”, while members of the Congressional Black Caucus praised his “legacy of valor and integrity”.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, the first black man to serve in that role, hailed Colin Powell as “a tremendous personal friend and mentor” who would be “impossible to replace”.

Once a moderate Republican, Colin Powell became a trusted military adviser to a number of leading politicians.

However, he broke with his party to endorse Barack Obama in 2008, as well as Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Joe Biden in 2020. A sharp critic of Republican president Donald Trump, Powell said he could no longer call himself a Republican after the violent January 6 riot at the US Capitol.

Image source Wikimedia

Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has resigned, after pressure triggered by a corruption scandal.

Sebastian Kurz has proposed Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg as his replacement.

The chancellor and nine others were placed under investigation after raids at a number of locations linked to his conservative ÖVP People’s Party.

Sebastian Kurz denies claims he used government money to ensure positive coverage in a tabloid newspaper.

The allegations this week took his coalition government to the brink of collapse after its junior partner, the Greens, said Sebastian Kurz was no longer fit to be chancellor.

The Greens began talks with opposition parties, who were threatening to bring a vote of no confidence against the chancellor next week.

Greens leader and Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler welcomed Sebastian Kurz’s resignation and indicated he would be willing to work with Alexander Schallenberg, saying they had a “very constructive” relationship.

“What’s required now is stability. To resolve the impasse I want to step aside to prevent chaos,” Sebastian Kurz said as he announced his resignation.

He said he would remain leader of his party, and continue to sit in parliament.

“First and foremost, however, I will of course use the opportunity to disprove the allegations against me,” he added.

Sebastian Kurz became leader of the ÖVP in May 2017 and led his party to victory in elections later that year – becoming, at the age of 31, one the world’s youngest ever democratically-elected heads of government.

The corruption allegations relate to the period between 2016 and 2018, when finance ministry funds were suspected to have been used to manipulate opinion polls in favor of the ÖVP that were then published in a newspaper.

Sebastian Kurz becomes Europe’s youngest foreign minister at 27

Austria Elections 2017: Sebastian Kurz Set to Become World’s Youngest National Leader

While no newspaper was named by prosecutors, the tabloid daily Oesterreich put out a statement on October 6 denying media reports it had taken taxpayers’ money for advertising in exchange for publishing the favorable polls.

Sebastian Kurz, nine other individuals, and three organizations, have been placed under investigation “on suspicion of breach of trust … corruption … and bribery … partly with different levels of involvement,” the Prosecutors’ Office for Economic Affairs and Corruption said in a statement on October 6.

Earlier in the day, prosecutors carried out raids at the chancellery, the finance ministry and homes and offices of senior aides to the chancellor.

Sebastian Kurz has called the allegations against him “baseless”. He also denies wrongdoing in a separate investigation he was placed under in May over allegations that he made false statements to a parliamentary commission.

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Image source: ICIJ

Several world leaders have denied wrongdoing after featuring in the Pandora Papers, a huge leak of financial documents from offshore companies.

The 12 million files constitute the biggest such leak in history.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Jordan’s King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein are among some 35 current and former leaders linked to the files.

Both have issued statements saying they have done nothing wrong.

Jordan’s royal palace said it was “not unusual nor improper” that King Abdullah owned property abroad.

Leaked documents show King Abdullah secretly spent more than £70 million ($100 million) on a property empire in the UK and US since taking power in 1999.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov meanwhile questioned the reliability of the “unsubstantiated” information, after it detailed hidden wealth linked to President Putin and members of his inner circle.

The data was obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in Washington DC, which has been working with more than 140 media organizations on its biggest ever global investigation.

Other leaders linked to the leak include:

  • Czech PM Andrej Babis, who allegedly failed to declare an offshore investment company used to purchase two villas for £12 million in the south of France;
  • Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who – along with six members of his family – has been linked to 13 offshore companies;
  • Chile’s President Sebastián Piñera, a billionaire businessman, who is accused of selling a copper and iron mine in an environmentally sensitive area to a childhood friend;
  • Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, whose family and close associates have allegedly been secretly involved in property deals in the UK worth more than £400 million.

Panama Papers: Vladimir Putin Apologizes for Sueddeutsche Zeitung Remarks

Panama Papers Posted Online

In a tweet thread, the Czech prime minister said the allegations are an attempt to influence elections scheduled for this week and insisted he has “never done anything wrong or illegal”.

president Kenyatta said the investigation “will go a long way in enhancing the financial transparency and openness that we require in Kenya and around the globe”, and promised to “respond comprehensively” to the leak once he returned from a state visit abroad.

The Pandora Papers show no evidence that the Kenyatta family stole or hid state assets in their offshore companies.

A statement from President Piñera’s office said he denied taking part in or having any information on the sale of the Dominga mining project.

The Pandora Papers is a leak of almost 12 million documents and files exposing the secret wealth and dealings of world leaders, politicians and billionaires. The data was obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in Washington DC which has led one of the biggest ever global investigations.

More than 600 journalists from 117 countries have looked at the hidden fortunes of some of the most powerful people on the planet.

Image source Wikimedia

Germany’s center-left Social Democrats (SPD) have won the federal election over outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party.

SPD leader Olaf Scholz said he had a clear mandate to form a government, while his conservative rival Armin Laschet remains determined to fight on.

The two parties have governed together for years.

However, Olaf Scholz says it is time for a new coalition with the Greens and liberals.

Preliminary results gave SPD a narrow election win over the conservatives who suffered their worst-ever performance.

The Greens and pro-business FDP attracted the most support from the under-30s, in an election dominated by climate change and by differing proposals on how to tackle it. The Greens made history with almost 15% of the vote, even though it was well short of their ambitions.

It was the tightest race in years, bringing an end to the post-war domination of the two big parties – Olaf Scholz’s SPD and his rival’s conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

Exit polls predicted a dead heat, but this election was unpredictable from the start, and the result was never going to be the end of the story. For one thing, the outgoing chancellor is going nowhere until the coalition is formed – and that may have to wait until Christmas.

The main parties want a new government in place by the time Germany takes over the leadership of the G7 group of nations in January.

The next chancellor’s task is to lead Europe’s foremost economy over the next four years, with climate change at the top of voters’ agenda.

Olaf Scholz’s SPD supporters greeted him in raptures, but it was only later when his party edged into the lead that he told a TV audience the voters had given him the job of forming a “good, pragmatic government for Germany”.

His conservative rival has dug in, arguing it was about forging a coalition, not about getting “an arithmetic majority”. Winner doesn’t take all, in other words.

CDU General Secretary Paul Ziemiak did not gloss over the defeat but said that was not the point: “In the end the question is going to be can you create a genuine project for the future?”

“Two maybe-chancellors and two kingmakers” – was one of the headlines summing up Sunday night’s rather scrappy result, but that is what it looked like.

Because it’s not just the Social Democrat and conservative leaders fighting for power. The two kingmakers are open to offers and planning to talk to each other to explore common ground.

Together the liberals and the Greens make up over quarter of the vote and would carry both of the big parties over the line.

They may be more popular with younger voters than any other parties, but it would take some skill to bring them under the same roof.

Coronavirus: Germany Protests Against Restrictions

On September 27, a Greens spokesman said it was no big secret that they were not close to the liberals.

Greens leader Annalena Baerbock wants to loosen Germany’s debt brake that stops a big jump in public debt. FDP leader Christian Lindner has little time for her party’s “ideas of tax hikes, or softening the debt brake”.

So of all the possible coalitions, the Greens and the liberals feature in the two that are most likely to form.

One is the so-called traffic-light coalition, made up of the parties’ colors – red (SPD), yellow (FDP) and the Greens – or there’s the Jamaica alternative, black (CDU), yellow (FDP) and the Greens.

It is the first time that Germany is facing a three-way coalition, but this country has entered a new political era and the talking is yet to begin.

Beyond the four mainstream parties, it was a bad night for the radical left and a patchy night for the far right.

Left-wing Die Linke fell below the 5% threshold required to get into parliament but survived because it secured three direct mandates.

Although the far-right AfD’s share of the vote appears to have slipped nationally, it’s set be the largest party in the eastern states of Saxony and Thuringia.

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The rescuers at 9/11 WTC are at 19% higher risk of cancer as a result of exposure to toxic fumes, according to a study published in a special The Lancet series to mark the 10th anniversary of the atrocity.

Relatives of people who died on 9/11 have read out victims’ names, as America marks 20 years since the deadliest terror attacks on its soil.

Many struggled to hold back tears at the ceremony held at Ground Zero, the site of the Twin Towers destroyed in the attacks by al-Qaeda militants.

A minute’s silence was held at the exact time each hijacked plane crashed.

George W. Bush, who was the president at the time, gave a speech in Pennsylvania, where one of the planes crashed into a field after passengers overpowered the hijackers.

The official memorial started with a minute’s silence at 08:46 – the exact moment the first plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center in 2001.

All morning, roses continued to be placed beside the names of the 2,977 victims etched into the Ground Zero memorial.

There were five more moments of silence over the next few hours – marking the time when the second plane crashed into the South Tower, when a third jet struck the Pentagon just outside Washington DC, when the fourth plane crashed in Pennsylvania, and finally when each tower collapsed.

The tributes will continue into the night, when two beams of light will shine 4 miles into the sky where the towers stood.

With thousands of names to read out, the list took hours to get through.

At the memorial in New York, President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden were joined by former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, as well as former First Ladies Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama.

President Biden traveled to all three attack sites on September 11 – New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

In a video released on the eve of the anniversary, he paid tribute to the victims.

“No matter how much time has passed, these commemorations bring everything painfully back as if you just got the news a few seconds ago,” the president said.

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VP Kamala Harris spoke in Shanksville, Pennsylvania after George W. Bush.

“We must challenge ourselves to look back, to remember, for the sake of our children… and for that reason, we must also look forward,” she said.

In the morning, former President Donald Trump released a video statement, praising first responders – and adding it was a “sad time for the way our war on those that did such harm to our country ended last week” – referring to the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.

However, Donald Trump planned to take part in something quite different later in the day – providing commentary for a boxing match in Florida with his eldest son, Donald Jr.

Other ceremonies included a vigil at the New York Fire Department’s memorial wall – a 56-foot bronze wall that honors the 343 firefighters who died on the day of the attacks.

In total, 441 first responders were killed, the largest loss of emergency personnel in US history.

At the Pentagon outside Washington, a dawn service was held.

Two pipers played Amazing Grace as a small group of military leaders looked on in solemnity, the building bathed in blue light.

A chapel of remembrance now marks the spot where American Airlines flight 77 crashed into the US defense building.