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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.

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Image source France24

France has imposed a third national lockdown as the country battles a surge in cases of Covid-19 that threatens to overwhelm its hospitals.

All schools and non-essential shops will shut for four weeks, and a curfew will be in place from 19:00 to 06:00.

On April 2, the number of seriously ill Covid-19 patients in ICU increased by 145 – the biggest jump in five months.

President Emmanuel Macron has promised more hospital beds for Covid patients.

France is currently battling a peak of about 5,000 Covid patients in ICUs. On April 2, the country recorded 46,677 new cases and 304 deaths.

As well as the restrictions that came into force on April 3, from April 6 people will also need a valid reason to travel more than 6 miles from their homes.

President Macron had hoped to keep France’s coronavirus cases under control without having to impose another lockdown.

However, France has struggled with an EU-wide delay in the vaccine rollout, as well as several new strains of the virus.

Italy Under Partial Lockdown to Stem New Covid-19 Wave

In Germany, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier called on people to play their part and get vaccinated.

Speaking in a TV address to the nation on April 3, he said Germany was in the middle of a third wave and that it faced more restrictions.

The German also admitted that mistakes had been made – specifically in testing and in the vaccine rollout – and talked about there being a “crisis of trust” in the state.

Last month, German officials announced that the country would be placed in a strict Easter lockdown – only to reverse the decision just days later.

Chancellor Angela Merkel called the plan for a lockdown from April 1 to 5 a “mistake”, and said she took “ultimate responsibility” for the U-turn.

Italy also entered a strict three-day lockdown on April 3 in order to try to prevent a surge in Covid-19 cases over the Easter weekend.

All regions are now in the “red zone” – the highest tier of restrictions – as the country records about 20,000 new cases a day.

Non-essential movement is banned, but people are allowed to have an Easter meal in their homes with two others. Churches are also open, but worshippers are being told to attend services within their regions.

On April 4, for the second year, Pope Francis will deliver his Easter message to an empty St Peter’s Square.

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Image by tammon from Pixabay

The city of Miami has declared a state of emergency over concerns large crowds gathering for spring break pose a coronavirus risk.

A 20:00-06:00 curfew has been announced in Miami Beach and will remain in effect for at least 72 hours.

Traffic restrictions are in place during the curfew, while businesses in the busy South Beach area must close.

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said thousands of tourists had brought “chaos and disorder” to the city.

Mayor Gelber told CNN: “It feels like a rock concert, wall-to-wall people over blocks and blocks.

“If you’re coming here to go crazy, go somewhere else.”

Spring break is a holiday period for schools and universities that attracts thousands of students to Florida and other warm weather destinations around the country.

Officials warned tourists to “vacation responsibly or be arrested” prior to the holiday period, and a county-wide midnight coronavirus curfew was already in place due to the pandemic.

However, the Miami Beach area was thronged with revelers over the weekend, and many did not appear to be wearing masks or socially distancing.

George Floyd Death: US Cities Placed under Curfew Following Violent Protests

One city official described South Beach, which includes the world famous Ocean Drive, as being “overwhelmed” by crowds over the weekend.

“You couldn’t see pavement and you couldn’t see grass,” city manager Raul Aguila said.

He added that the emergency measures were “necessary not only to protect our residents but our visitors, including our spring breakers who we want to keep safe”.

On March 21, Miami Beach police told CNN they had arrested at least a dozen people after the curfew had come into force.

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?creatorScreenName=BBCWorld&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1373448655189942273&lang=en-gb&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.com%2Fnews%2Fworld-us-canada-56476904&siteScreenName=BBCWorld&theme=light&widgetsVersion=e1ffbdb%3A1614796141937&width=550px Until the measures are lifted, police will prevent pedestrians or vehicles entering the South Beach area’s main party strips.

Raul Aguila told the Miami Herald that he has recommended keeping the emergency measures in place until April 12.

However, the emergency orders will expire on March 23 unless they are extended by local authorities.

Florida continues to be a coronavirus hotspot in the US. The state has recorded nearly two million of the country’s 29 million infections since the pandemic began.

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Image source: Wikimedia Commons

According to new reports, Donald Trump’s main residence, Mar-a-Lago, has been partially closed after some staff members tested positive for Covid-19.

The Florida resort has served as President Trump’s official residence since he left office in January.

The club said in a statement that the Beach Club and a la carte dining room were closed, but did not specify how many people had tested positive.

Donald Trump had coronavirus last October, and was vaccinated in January.

At the time of his diagnosis, he was hospitalized for several days and treated with the low-dose steroid treatment dexamethasone.

His wife Melania Trump and son Barron also tested positive for the virus, as did several White House officials close to the then-president.

In an email to members obtained by the Washington Post, Mar-a-Lago said it was following “all appropriate response measures” and its banquet and event services would remain open.

In January, images surfaced from a New Year’s Eve party at Mar-a-Lago that showed a number of guests not wearing masks. The resort was handed a formal warning by Palm Beach County which said the event had violated coronavirus regulations.

The New York Times reports that the club is planning to host events during the RNC spring retreat next month.

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Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Tanzania’s President John Magufuli has died aged 61, the country’s Vice-President Samia Suluhu Hassan has announced.

John Magufuli died on March 17 from heart complications at a hospital in Dar es Salaam, the vice-president said in an address on state TV.

He had not been seen in public for more than two weeks, and rumors had been circulating about his health.

Opposition politicians said last week that John Magufuli had contracted Covid-19, but this has not been confirmed.

President Magufuli was one of Africa’s most prominent coronavirus skeptics, and called for prayers and herbal-infused steam therapy to counter the virus.

“It is with deep regret that I inform you that today… we lost our brave leader, the president of the Republic of Tanzania, John Pombe Magufuli,” Vice-President Hassan said in the announcement.

She said there would be 14 days of national mourning and flags would fly at half mast.

According to Tanzania’s constitution, VP Hassan will be sworn in as the new president within 24 hours and should serve the remainder of John Magufuli’s five-year term which he began last year.

Tanzania Elections 2015: John Pombe Magufuli Wins Presidency

John Magufuli was last seen in public on February 27, but PM Kassim Majaliwa insisted last week that the president was “healthy and working hard”.

The prime-minister blamed the rumors of the president’s ill-health on “hateful” Tanzanians living abroad.

When Covid-19 arrived in Tanzania, President Magufuli called on people to go to churches and mosques to pray.

“Coronavirus, which is a devil, cannot survive in the body of Christ… It will burn instantly,” the president said.

John Magufuli declared Tanzania “Covid-19 free” in June 2020, saying the virus had been eradicated by three days of national prayer.

He also mocked the efficacy of masks, expressed doubts about testing, and teased neighboring countries which imposed health measures to curb the virus.

“Countries in Africa will be coming here to buy food in the years to come… they will be suffering because of shutting down their economy,” President Magufuli said, according to the Associated Press.

Tanzania has not published details of its coronavirus cases since May 2020, and the government has refused to purchase vaccines.

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Image source Wikipedia

Donald Trump has urged his Republican supporters to be vaccinated against Covid-19, saying he would recommend it.

In a TV interview, the former president said the vaccine was “safe” and “something that works”.

Donald Trump’s conservative fan base has been one of the main groups resistant to the vaccine program.

The former president himself was criticized during his time in office for playing down the seriousness of the pandemic.

As the vaccination program has been rolled out across the United States, all other living ex-presidents have spoken out, urging Americans to get the jab.

However, Donald Trump has remained largely quiet on the subject.

The former president and his wife, Melania, were vaccinated at the White House in secret in January.

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Donald Trump said during an interview on Fox News Primetime on March 16: “I would recommend it.

“I would recommend it to a lot of people that don’t want to get it and a lot of those people voted for me, frankly.”

He added: “It’s a great vaccine, it’s a safe vaccine and it’s something that works.”

A recent poll by CBS News suggested that a third of Republican supporters would not have the vaccine when it was available to them, compared to 10% of Democrats.

Donald Trump’s comments came a day after his successor, President Joe Biden, expressed frustration at the reluctance among some conservatives to get the shot.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on March 15: “If former President Trump woke up tomorrow and wanted to be more vocal about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, certainly we’d support that.”

She added: “Every other living president… has participated in public campaigns. They did not need an engraved invitation to do so.”

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Italy will close shops, restaurants and schools across most of the country on March 15, with PM Mario Draghi warning of a “new wave” of the coronavirus outbreak.

For three days over Easter, April 3-5, there will be a total lockdown.

Italy, which one year ago imposed one of the first national lockdowns, is once again struggling to contain the rapid spread of infections.

The country has reported more than 100,000 Covid-related deaths, Europe’s second-highest tally after the UK.

Its vaccination campaign has been hit by delays, as has been seen elsewhere in the EU.

AstraZeneca has announced a further shortfall in the amount of its vaccine it can supply to the EU, blaming export restrictions imposed by some countries. It did not elaborate.

In January, the pharmaceutical company announced a large cut in the 100 million doses it had originally expected to deliver to the EU by March, sparking a public spat with European Commission.

Last week, the Italian government blocked the export of 250,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to Australia to address shortfalls of vaccines.

Covid-19: Italy Stops AstraZeneca Vaccine Export to Australia

Elsewhere, Bulgaria, Denmark and Norway have all halted the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine over fears it causes blood clots.

On March 12, the WHO said there was no indication this was true, stressing that countries should not stop using the vaccine.

From March 15, schools, shops and restaurants will shut in more than half of Italy, including the two most populous regions containing Rome and Milan.

Residents will be required to stay at home except for work, health or other essential reasons.

The extra restrictions would last until Easter, PM Draghi’s office said, and over the Easter weekend the whole country would be turned into the high-risk “red zone”.

Cases have been rising across Italy for the past six weeks, exceeding 25,000 a day.

In a majority of Italy’s regions “hospitals and above all intensive care units are already overloaded”, the GIMBE health think-tank warned this week, the AFP reported.

The island of Sardinia is the only region where infection rates are low.

Italy has had nearly 3.2 million confirmed infections since the outbreak began last year.

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Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Bolivia’s former interim president Jeanine Áñez and several ex-ministers have been arrested over a 2019 coup.

Prosecutors say Jeanine Áñez and the ministers took part in a coup against the then President Evo Morales in 2019.

Evo Morales resigned and fled Bolivia after protests and allegations of electoral fraud.

Jeanine Áñez has said she is the victim of a political vendetta by Evo Morales’s Mas Socialist party, which has since returned to power.

The party won a landslide victory in presidential and congressional elections in October 2020, paving the way for Evo Morales to return to Bolivia from Argentina and take over the leadership of the Mas party.

His colleague Luis Arce was elected president.

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As the most senior senator, Jeanine Áñez became caretaker president after Evo Morales fled. But members of the Mas party accused her, in cahoots with police and military figures, of engineering his overthrow.

Jeanine Áñez was detained in the early hours of March 13 in the city of Trinidad, government minister, Eduardo Del Castillo Del Carpio, announced on Facebook. She was then taken by plane to the city of La Paz.

She earlier tweeted “the political persecution has begun” and said an arrest document listed charges of terrorism, sedition and conspiracy.

Bolivian TV also aired images of former energy minister Rodrigo Guzman and former justice minister Alvaro Coimbra being detained.

Evo Morales fled Bolivia in November 2019 after weeks of violent protests and after losing the backing of the military over his controversial re-election to a fourth term in office.

Several of his allies in senior posts also left the country.

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Image source: Wikimedia Commons

The city of Minneapolis has reached a $27 million settlement with the family of George Floyd, the unarmed black man whose death in May 2020 sparked protests worldwide.

George Floyd’s death after being trapped under the knee of former police officer Derek Chauvin was captured on camera.

Lawyers for the Floyd family said the footage created “undeniable demand for justice and change”.

Jury selection for Derek Chauvin’s murder trial is currently under way.

Six out of 12 jurors have been selected for hearings beginning on March 29.

The Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously to approve the pre-trial settlement, the largest ever awarded in the state of Minnesota.

“That the largest pre-trial settlement in a wrongful death case ever would be for the life of a black man sends a powerful message that black lives do matter and police brutality against people of color must end,” said Floyd family attorney Ben Crump.

In a video of George Floyd’s death that went viral on social media, four police officers confront the man for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill at a local shop.

They drag him to the ground and Derek Chauvin places his knee on George Floyd’s neck, even as he begs for his life and says “I can’t breathe”. He was later pronounced dead in hospital.

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Lawyers for the Floyd family filed a civil suit one month later, in June 2020.

They argued the city of Minneapolis had been negligent for failing to train officers in proper restraint techniques and for not dismissing officers with a poor track record. Dozens of complaints had previously been filed against Derek Chauvin, who had been serving on the city police force for 19 years.

Speaking after the settlement was announced, Ben Crump said it was but “one step” on the journey to justice. George Floyd’s death was a catalyst for reckoning on race and bias, he said.

The civil settlement comes at the end of the first week in criminal court proceedings over Derek Chauvin’s murder trial.

Derek Chauvin is facing charges of second and third degree murder and second degree manslaughter. If found guilty on all counts, the former officer could face a maximum sentence of 65 years in prison. He has pleaded not guilty.

Six jurors have been selected for the trial so far.

The final bench will require 12 jurors and four alternates – or substitutes – but suitable jurors have been hard to find in this emotionally charged and high-profile case.

The three other officers involved in George Floyd’s death – J Alexander Keung, Tou Thao and Thomas Lane – were charged with aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter, and will be tried separately later this year.

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Myanmar’s military rulers have accused the ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi of illegally accepting $600,000 and 11kg of gold.

The allegation is the strongest yet leveled by the military since it overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi and Myanmar’s democratic leadership on February 1.

No evidence was provided. A lawmaker from Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD party denied the allegation.

Meanwhile a UN human rights investigator accused the military of committing “crimes against humanity.”

Thomas Andrews told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that Myanmar was currently being “controlled by a murderous, illegal regime” which was likely perpetrating “widespread” and “systematic” killings, torture and persecution.

His claims were supported by the rights group Amnesty, which accused the military of going on a “killing spree”.

Thomas Andrew also called for sanctions on junta leaders and on the military-owned Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise, which is set to reach $1 billion in revenue this year.

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The US has already announced 10 coup leaders including Myanmar’s acting president, and three companies.

At least seven more people were killed by security forces on March 11, taking the total death toll to more than 70. Witnesses said some protesters had been shot in the head.

Six of those deaths took place in the central town of Myaing.

Meanwhile, a senior official said the military had been “exercising utmost restraint” and accused the protesters of violent behavior.

The accusation that she accepted $600,000 in cash and 11kg of gold was made by a former chief minister of Yangon, Phyo Mien Thein, who said he had given her the payments, junta spokesman Brig. Gen. Zaw Min Tun said. The anti-corruption committee was investigating, he added.

Gen. Zaw Min Tun also accused President Win Myint and several cabinet ministers of corruption.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD won a landslide victory in the polls last year, but the military now claims the election was fraudulent.

Independent international observers have disputed the military’s claim – saying no irregularities were observed.

Aung San Suu Kyi has been held for the past five weeks at an undisclosed location and faces several charges including causing “fear and alarm”, illegally possessing radio equipment, and breaking Covid-19 restrictions.

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The Dalai Lama says he will give away to charity $1.7 million Templeton Prize money awarded to him

The Dalai Lama has received his first dose of the coronavirus vaccine while urging others eligible to “take this injection”.

“This is very very helpful, very good,” he said as he was given the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine at a facility in the Indian city of Dharamsala on March 6.

The Tibetan spiritual leader had enrolled himself to be vaccinated, officials said.

India launched its vaccination drive on January 16, but it was limited to healthcare workers and frontline staff.

Since March 1, however, the scheme has been extended to people aged over 60 and those between the ages of 45 and 59 with underlying illnesses.

Receiving his first shot in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh, the Dalai Lama said people needed to be vaccinated to “prevent some serious problems”.

The chief medical officer of Himachal Pradesh’s Kangra district, Dr. Gurdarshan Gupta, said the Dalai Lama had offered to visit the vaccination centre “like a common man”, Reuters reported.

“We arranged the session in the morning, considering the security concern,” he added.

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India aims to cover 300 million “priority people” with its vaccination drive by the end of July.

Its drugs regulator has given the green light to two vaccines – one developed by AstraZeneca with Oxford University (Covishield) and one by Indian firm Bharat Biotech (Covaxin).

Indian PM Narendra Modi, 70, was among the first to get his vaccine shot.

Since the pandemic began, India has confirmed more than 11 million cases and over 157,000 deaths.

Much of the country has reported a sharp fall in cases recently – with daily infections for the county falling to less than 20,000 from a peak of over 90,000 in September.

However, a handful of states have recently reported a sharp increase in the number of cases.

Image source: AP

President Joe Biden’s $1.9tn Covid-19 relief plan was approved in the Senate on March 6 despite every Republican senator voting against.

This is President Biden’s third major relief bill aimed at helping Americans deal with the impact of the coronavirus.

The House of Representatives – controlled by Democrats – is expected to approve it on March 9.

President Biden described the Senate vote as “one more giant step forward” in delivering the promise to help people.

America’s worst public health crisis in a century has left nearly 523,000 people dead and 29 million infected, with a current unemployment rate of 6.2%.

The package envisages one-off payments worth $1,400 to be sent to most Americans.

Republicans, who have criticized President Biden’s plan as too costly, forced a number of compromises, notably the lowering of federal unemployment benefit from $400 to $300 a week. The benefit would be extended until September 6 under the plan.

The president said: “It obviously wasn’t easy. It wasn’t always pretty. But it was so desperately needed, urgently needed.”

He added he hoped for a quick passage of the bill in the House so that he could sign it into law.

The so-called American Rescue Plan allocates $350 billion to state and local governments, and some $130 billion to schools.

It would also provide $49 billion for expanded Covid-19 testing and research, as well as $14 billion for vaccine distribution.

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The $1,400 stimulus cheques will be quickly phased out for those with higher incomes – at $75,000 for a single person and for couples making more than $150,000.

The extension of jobless benefits until September, meanwhile, would mark a key reprieve for millions of long-term unemployed Americans whose eligibility for benefits is currently due to expire in mid-March.

The bill also includes grants for small businesses as well as more targeted funds: $25 billion for restaurants and bars; $15 billion for airlines and another $8 billion for airports; $30 billion for transit; $1.5 billion for Amtrak rail and $3 billion for aerospace manufacturing.

While Republicans broadly backed two previous stimulus plans, passed when they controlled both the White House and the Senate under President Donald Trump, they have criticized the cost of President Biden’s bill.

There was a marathon 27-hour session before the final vote on March 6, and the 50-49 tally along party lines was indicative of the widespread Republican opposition.

The even split between the parties in the Senate meant that every Democratic senator needed to support the party’s plans.

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Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Italy has blocked the export of an Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid vaccine shipment to Australia.

The decision affects 250,000 doses of the vaccine produced at an AstraZeneca facility in Italy.

Italy is the first EU country to use the bloc’s new regulations allowing exports to be stopped if the company providing the vaccines has failed to meet its obligations to the EU.

Australia said losing “one shipment” would not badly affect its rollout.

However, it has asked the European Commission, which reportedly backs Italy’s move, to review the decision.

AstraZeneca is on track to provide only 40% of the agreed supply to member states in the first quarter of the year. The company has cited production problems for the shortfall.

In January, then Italian PM Giuseppe Conte described delays in vaccine supplies by both AstraZeneca and Pfizer as “unacceptable” and accused the companies of violating their contracts.

The EU has been widely criticized for the slow pace of its vaccination program.

Under the EU vaccine scheme, which was established in June 2020, the bloc has negotiated the purchase of vaccines on behalf of member states.

There has been no official comment on the Italian move by the EU or AstraZeneca.

Australia began its vaccination program last week using the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. It was due to start inoculations with the AstraZeneca vaccine on March 5.

Italy approached the European Commission last week to say that it was its intention to block the shipment.

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In a statement on March 4, the foreign ministry explained the move, saying it had received the request for authorization on February 24.

It said that previous requests had been given the green light as they included limited numbers of samples for scientific research, but the latest one – being much larger, for more than 250,000 doses – was rejected.

It explained the move by saying that Australia was not on a list of “vulnerable” countries, that there was a permanent shortage of vaccines in the EU and Italy, and that the number of doses was high compared with the amount given to Italy and to the EU as a whole.

Australia’s Health Minister Greg Hunt said: “Australia has raised the issue with the European Commission through multiple channels, and in particular we have asked the European Commission to review this decision.”

Australia had already received a shipment of 300,000 doses and planned to begin local production next month.

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Prince Philip has been admitted to hospital for an exploratory operation

Prince Philip has undergone a successful procedure for a pre-existing heart condition, Buckingham Palace has announced.

Buckingham Palace said he would remain in hospital for treatment, rest and recuperation for a number of days.

The Duke of Edinburgh, 99, has already spent 16 nights in hospital.

The duke was being treated for an infection and moved to St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London on March 1 for tests and observation on his heart condition.

Buckingham Palace said the procedure took place on March 3.

In 2011, Prince Philip was taken to hospital by helicopter from Sandringham after suffering chest pains as the royal family was preparing for Christmas.

The prince was treated for a blocked coronary artery at Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire and had a stent fitted.

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Prince Philip hospitalized for exploratory operation

Queen Elizabeth’s husband, who turns 100 in June, travelled by car from Windsor to King Edward VII’s hospital in Marylebone, central London, on February 16 as a precaution after feeling unwell.

The exact reason for his initial admission was not disclosed, but it was not related to coronavirus.

On March 1, Buckingham Palace announced the prince had been transferred to Barts by ambulance.

St Bartholomew’s Hospital in the City of London is an NHS hospital and home to Europe’s largest specialized cardiovascular unit.

Prince Charles visited his father at King Edward VII’s Hospital, the weekend after his admission.

Members of the Royal Family, including the Queen, have continued with their official duties during Prince Philip’s hospital stay.

Camilla Parker gave an update on Prince Philip’s condition when she visited a Covid vaccination centre in Croydon on March 3.

When a volunteer asked about the duke, she said: “We heard today that he’s slightly improving. So, that’s very good news. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.”

Prince Philip has received treatment for other health conditions over the years, including a bladder infection in 2012 and exploratory surgery on his abdomen in June 2013.

Photo Reuters

Nicolas Sarkozy has been sentenced by a French court to three years in jail, two of them suspended, for corruption.

The former French president was convicted of trying to bribe a judge in 2014 – after he had left office – by suggesting he could secure a prestigious job for him in return for information about a separate case.

Nicolas Sarkozy is the first former French president to get a custodial sentence.

His lawyer says he will appeal.

The 66-year-old conservative politician will remain free during that process which could take years.

In the ruling, Judge Christine Mée said Nicolas Sarkozy “knew what [he] was doing was wrong”, adding that his actions and those of his lawyer had given the public “a very bad image of justice”.

The crimes were specified as influence-peddling and violation of professional secrecy.

It is a legal landmark for post-war France. The only precedent was the trial of Nicolas Sarkozy’s predecessor Jacques Chirac, who got a two-year suspended sentence in 2011 for having arranged bogus jobs at Paris City Hall for allies when he was Paris mayor. Chirac died in 2019.

If Nicolas Sarkozy’s appeal is unsuccessful, he could serve a year at home with an electronic tag, rather than go to prison.

The former president’s wife, supermodel and singer Carla Bruni, reacted by describing the case as “senseless persecution”, adding that “the fight continued, and truth would come out”.

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Nicolas Sarkozy served one five-year term as president from 2007. He adopted tough anti-immigration policies and sought to reform France’s economy during a presidency overshadowed by the global financial crisis.

Critics nicknamed him “bling-bling”, seeing his leadership style as too brash, celebrity-driven and hyperactive for a role steeped in tradition and grandeur.

Nicolas Sarkozy’s celebrity image was reinforced by his marriage to Carla Bruni in 2008. In 2012, he lost his re-election bid to Socialist François Hollande.

Since then he has been targeted by several criminal investigations.

In 2017, Nicolas Sarkozy tried to make a political comeback, but failed as his centre-right Les Républicains party chose another presidential candidate instead.

He was on trial with two co-defendants, his lawyer Thierry Herzog and Gilbert Azibert, a senior judge.

The case centered on phone conversations between Nicolas Sarkozy and Thierry Herzog that were taped by police in 2014.

Investigators were looking into claims that the former president had accepted illicit payments from the L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt for his 2007 presidential campaign.

The prosecution convinced the court that Nicolas Sarkozy and Thierry Herzog had sought to bribe Gilbert Azibert with a prestigious job in Monaco in return for information about that investigation.

French media reported that Nicolas Sarkozy was heard telling Thierry Herzog: “I’ll get him promoted, I’ll help him.”

The phone line police tapped was a secret number set up in a fictional name, Paul Bismuth, through which Nicolas Sarkozy communicated with his lawyer.

On March 1, Thierry Herzog and Gilbert Azibert were also sentenced to three years in jail, two of them suspended.

Image source Flickr

Donald Trump is giving his first speech since leaving office as president at the Conservative Political Action Conference (C-PAC).

His public appearance comes just weeks after he was acquitted during an impeachment trial which saw some members of his own Republican Party vote against him.

The former president is expected to attack the actions being taken by successor Joe Biden in the Florida speech.

The C-PAC appearance represents his continued influence over Republicans.

The mood of the conference so far has been extremely pro-Trump, with loyalists including Texas Senator Ted Cruz and his son Donald Trump Jr. among the speakers confirmed.

Donald Trump’s speech was hotly anticipated by his supporters, given his relative absence from the political spotlight since leaving office.

He remains banned from social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, over his response to January’s deadly riot at the US Capitol.

He has been living at his Mar-a-Lago Florida golf resort since leaving the White House.

According to prepared script excerpts sent by his office ahead of time, Donald Trump will attack early actions by President Joe Biden during the speech – especially on immigration.

He is also set to focus on what he will describe as the future of “our movement” during the speech, amid a divide among some Republicans over the party’s future political direction.

He is expected to say that the “incredible journey” that he and supporters “began together four years ago is far from over”. But Donald Trump is not expected to confirm another presidential run in 2024 yet, according to a senior adviser quoted by CBS.

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Donald Trump Jr. trailed his father’s appearance during his own speech on February 26.

He told the audience: “I imagine it will not be what we call a low energy speech, and I assure you that it will solidify Donald Trump and all of your feelings about the MAGA [Make America Great Again] movement as the future of the Republican party.”

Members of the Republican Party remained largely loyal to Donald Trump during his time in office but 10 voted to impeach him in the House of Representatives last month and seven voted to convict him in the subsequent Senate trial. The overall tally, 57-43 in favor of his guilt, fell short of the two-thirds margin needed to convict Donald Trump.

The schism in the party has remained since, with those who have broken rank against him notably absent from the CPAC stage.

The C-PAC, which began in 1974, is seen as the most influential gathering of conservatives and a barometer of the Republican party’s political direction.

Despite losing November’s presidential election and being deeply criticized over the January riot by some of his supporters, reports suggest Donald Trump remains extremely popular among his voting base.

Last week, one poll suggested 46% of surveyed Trump voters would vote for him on a third-party ticket rather than another Republican candidate.

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Photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is facing a second claim of harassment coming from his former aide Charlotte Bennett.

Charlotte Bennett, a health policy adviser to Governor Cuomo until November, told the New York Times that he had harassed her last year.

Andrew Cuomo, 63, has denied any inappropriate behavior and ordered an independent inquiry into the allegations.

Another former aide, Lindsey Boylan, has previously accused the governor of harassing her.

The 63-year-old, who has been governor for more than a decade, has found himself under pressure on several fronts in recent weeks.

Andrew Cuomo is under scrutiny from the Democratic Party – of which he is a member – for allegedly hiding the true number of Covid-related deaths in New York care homes.

He has also faced allegations of bullying, including from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Charlotte Bennett, 25, told the New York Times that Andrew Cuomo had asked her numerous questions about her personal life including whether she believed that age made a difference in romantic relationships.

She said he had also suggested that the governor was open to relationships with women in their 20s. Charlotte Bennett said she believed the comments were clear overtures to a sexual relationship.

In the interview, she said that in June last year Governor Cuomo had talked about feeling lonely during the pandemic and had asked her whom she had last hugged.

She said she dodged the question by saying she missed hugging her parents, but she believed the conversation had been another overture.

Charlotte Bennett said: “I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me, and felt horribly uncomfortable and scared and was wondering how I was going to get out of it and assumed it was the end of my job.”

She said she informed Governor Cuomo’s chief of staff, Jill DesRosiers, after the interaction and less than a week later was transferred to another job.

She said she had decided not to seek a formal investigation because she “wanted to move on”. No action was taken against Andrew Cuomo.

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In a statement released on February 27, Governor Cuomo said he believed he had been acting as a mentor to Charlotte Bennett.

He said he had “never made advances toward Ms Bennett, nor did I ever intend to act in any way that was inappropriate”.

He said: “The last thing I would ever have wanted was to make her feel any of the things that are being reported.”

Governor Cuomo said he had authorized an external review of the matter.

“I ask all New Yorkers to await the findings of the review so that they know the facts before making any judgements,” he said.

Earlier this month, Lindsey Boylan published an essay detailing her claims of harassment.

She accused Governor Cuomo of kissing her on the lips and asking her to play strip poker while on his private jet.

She also claimed that he touched her without consent and frequently made inappropriate comments to her and other women about their appearances.

Andrew Cuomo had denied the accusations when they emerged late last year and reiterated those denials after the essay was published.

New York was one of the states worst hit by the pandemic and the governor won widespread praise for his response.

However, in January a report about New York’s response to Covid-19 in care homes – and the handling of related data – said it appeared a complete tally had not been provided to state lawmakers.

More than 15,000 New Yorkers in care homes have died since the start of the pandemic – believed to be the highest of any state in the US.

But until January, New York’s health department had logged just over 8,500 fatalities.

Andrew Cuomo acknowledged “a delay” in the reporting of some nursing home deaths but said the overall Covid-19 death count had always been accurate.

However, in a private conversation leaked to the New York Post, a top aide to Governor Cuomo confessed to covering up the real numbers and withholding the information out of concern the data “was going to be used against us”.

Andrew Cuomo has also faced accusations of bullying.

After Democratic New York Assemblyman Ron Kim criticized Andrew Cuomo over the nursing home issue, Governor Cuomo allegedly rang him and threatened his career.

Ron Kim accused his fellow Democrat of “verbal abuse” as other officials rushed to his defense.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called the account “classic Andrew Cuomo,” adding that “the bullying is nothing new”.

Andrew Cuomo became one of the nation’s most influential Democrats during the early days of the pandemic.

The governor’s briefings, TV live, sometimes received more attention than appearances by the then-presidential Democratic candidate Joe Biden.

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Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Spain has removed the last statue of General Francisco Franco on its soil, after the tiny enclave of Melilla voted to take down its monument to the fascist dictator.

Workers destroyed the brink plinth and carried away the statue, which had stood at the gates of the city on the north-west coast of Africa.

Only the far-right Vox party in Melilla had voted against its removal.

Francisco Franco ruled Spain from 1939 until his death in 1975.

More than 30,000 people were killed in the 1936-1939 Spanish Civil War, which saw Franco’s Nationalist forces defeat the Republican government.

The general then presided over a regime of state terror and national brainwashing through the controlled media and the state education system.

It was not until 2007 that a Law of Historical Memory was passed that attempted to recognize the suffering of victims of Francoism.

Under that law, symbols of the dictatorship have slowly been removed, including other high-profile statues around Spain.

King Juan Carlos of Spain abdicates

Elena Fernandez Trevino, of the Melilla assembly, described the removal of the enclave’s Franco statue as an “historic day”.

She said it was the “only statue dedicated to a dictator still in the public sphere in Europe”.

Members of the Vox party had argued against its removal, saying that the statue – erected in 1978 – commemorated Franco’s role as commander of the Spanish Legion in the Rif War, a conflict Spain fought in the 1920s against Berber tribes in Morocco.

General Franco was buried in a vast mausoleum called the Valley of the Fallen, just outside Madrid, alongside tens of thousands of people who lost their lives in the civil war.

The mausoleum was partly built by political prisoners, whom Franco’s regime subjected to forced labor, and had become a shrine for the far right.

In 2019, Francisco Franco’s remains were moved to a low-key grave. Deputy PM Carmen Calvo said: “The more than 30,000 victims of both sides will have peace and respect from all there.”

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Image source: AP

President Joe Biden has addressed the nation as the United States passed 500,000 Covid-related deaths, the highest number of any country.

He said: “As a nation, we can’t accept such a cruel fate. We have to resist becoming numb to the sorrow.”

The president and vice-president, and their spouses, then observed a moment of silence outside the White House during a candle-lighting ceremony.

According to recent reports, the number of confirmed US infections now stands at 28.1 million, also a global record.

President Biden ordered all flags on federal property to be lowered to half mast for the next five days.

At the White House, the president opened his speech by noting that the number of American deaths from Covid-19 was higher than the death toll from World War One, World War Two, and the Vietnam War combined.

He said: “Today we mark a truly grim, heartbreaking milestone – 500,071 dead.”

“We often hear people described as ordinary Americans,” President Biden went on to say.

“There’s no such thing, there’s nothing ordinary about them. The people we lost were extraordinary. They span generations. Born in America, emigrated to America.”

“So many of them took their final breath alone in America.”

President Biden drew on his own experience with grief – his wife and daughter were killed in a car crash in 1972 and one of his sons died from brain cancer in 2015.

He said: “I know what it’s like to not be there when it happens. I know what it’s like when you are there holding their hands; there’s a look in their eye and they slip away.

“For me, the way through sorrow and grief is to find purpose.”

Joe Biden’s approach to the pandemic is different to his predecessor, Donald Trump, who cast doubt on the impact of the deadly virus and was viewed as having politicized the wearing of masks and other measures needed to prevent the spread of the virus.

On January 19, one day before Joe Biden took office, he held an event to mark 400,000 Americans dying of the disease.

February 22 event, marking the latest death toll, comes about one month later.

Elsewhere in Washington, the bells at the National Cathedral tolled 500 times, once for every 1,000 Americans lost during the pandemic.

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Image source: AP Photo/David J. Phillip

President Joe Biden has declared a major disaster in Texas, clearing the way for more federal funds to be spent on relief efforts in the state.

Power is returning across Texas and temperatures are set to rise, but some 13 million people are still facing difficulties accessing clean water.

President Biden has said he will visit Texas as long as his presence is not a burden on relief efforts.

Nearly 60 deaths have been attributed to cold weather across the US.

In a statement released by the White House, President Biden said he had “ordered federal assistance to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by severe winter storms”.

“Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster,” the statement said.

President Biden has been in touch with the mayors of some of Texas’ biggest cities, such as Houston, Austin and Dallas, to ensure they have access to government resources, an administration official said.

Several other southern states hit by snow and ice storms this week have also reported water service outages.

Winter weather has also cut off water in the city of Jackson, Mississippi – home to around 150,000 people – as well as the largest county in Tennessee that includes the city of Memphis, with more than 651,000 residents.

Across the South, a region unaccustomed to such frigid temperatures, people whose pipes have frozen have taken to boiling snow to make water.

Texas’s energy grid has been overwhelmed by a surge in demand for heat as temperatures plummeted to 30-year lows, hitting 0F earlier this week.

As of February 19, about 180,000 homes and businesses in Texas still had no electricity. Amid freezing temperatures earlier this week, as many as 3.3 million were without power.

Around 13 million people – close to half of Texas population – have faced some disruption of water services as hundreds of water systems have been damaged by the freeze.

Austin lost 325 million gallons of water when pipes burst, the city’s water director told reporters on February 18.

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Polar Vortex freezes parts of US

Texas’ largest city, Houston, is under a so-called “boil water notice”, with the CDC advising that all water planned for consumption – even if filtered – must be boiled as it may be contaminated.

Officials there say they are working to rapidly distribute bottled water, as well as power generators, to people in need. Breweries and other local businesses have also assisted with efforts to supply drinkable water.

On February 19, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said the state was providing “any and all resources to assist and to accelerate the response at the local level”.

State officials could not offer a timeline for exactly when the water would come back on, saying it was a question for local water providers – and many have not yet fully assessed the damage to their systems.

Governor Abbott also said more plumbers are headed to the state. Water pipes have been bursting across Texas due to the freeze, and local plumbers have struggled to meet demand.

Over 320 plumbers have renewed their licenses, and the state agencies are working with out-of-state plumbing companies to secure additional help, he said.

As of February 19, storm warnings are still in place across much of Texas, but temperatures will rise in the coming days, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

The forecaster has also warned of dangerous travel conditions and power outages in eastern parts of the US as another winter storm system is expected to bring heavy snow, freezing rain and ice.

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Image source Wikimedia

Alexei Navalny has lost an appeal against his jailing for violating the terms of a suspended sentence.

The Russian opposition leader was detained last month after returning to Russia from Germany, where he was being treated for a near-fatal nerve agent attack.

Alexei Navalny has blamed President Vladimir Putin for the attack and says the charges against him are fabricated.

However, the Kremlin denies any involvement in his poisoning.

Alexei Navalny was accused of breaking the terms of a 2014 suspended sentence for embezzlement that required him to report regularly to Russian police.

In court, in a speech that referenced both the Bible and the Harry Potter series, the activist argued the charges were “absurd” as he was unable to report to the police while recovering from the nerve agent attack.

He said: “The whole world knew where I was.

“Once I’d recovered, I bought a plane ticket and came home.”

However, the judge rejected Navalny’s case and he will return to the penal colony where he is serving his time. The judge did, though, cut his six weeks off the nearly three-year sentence imposed.

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Alexei Navalny faces another appearance in court on February 20, on charges of slandering a World War Two veteran who praised Vladimir Putin.

The European Court of Human Rights, of which Russia is a member, says Alexei Navalny should be released out of concern for his life. But Russia said the call was “unlawful”.

Alexei Navalny’s supporters see the charges as an attempt to silence him and thwart his political ambitions.

The activist has been a persistent thorn in the side of President Putin, making allegations of corruption including a claim the president owns a lavish palace by the Black Sea.

Navalny’s allies are seeking to challenge pro-Kremlin parties in parliamentary elections this year, and President Putin warned on February 18 against foreign interference.

European foreign ministers are set to meet on February 22 to discuss imposing further sanctions on Russia over the case.

There are divisions among EU members, with Germany going ahead with the Nord Stream 2 project which would transfer gas directly from Russia to Germany.

The Nord Stream 2 project is opposed by Poland and the Baltic states. On February 19, Lithuania said it should be paused until after September’s parliamentary elections in Russia.

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According to new reports, Texas Senator Ted Cruz flew to Mexico with his family amid a winter weather crisis that has left millions in his state without power.

In a statement on February 18, Senator Cruz said that he planned the trip for his daughters, “wanting to be a good dad”.

Photos of the high profile Republican senator at an airport emerged on Twitter on February 17, fuelling reports that he had left Texas amid the energy crisis.

Texas has seen power and water outages due to the uncommonly cold weather.

Ted Cruz has drawn quick criticism for taking an international trip amid the weather emergency in his state.

Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal tweeted: “People in Texas are literally freezing to death and yet Ted Cruz went on vacation to Cancun.”

In a written statement released on February 18, Ted Cruz described an “infuriating week for Texans”.

With Texas schools closed, Senator Cruz said he booked the vacation for his young daughters who “asked to take a trip with friends”.

He did not apologize for making the trip amid the state of emergency in Texas, but said that he and his staff “are in constant communication with state and local leaders to get to the bottom of what happened in Texas.”

The Republican will be returning to Texas on February 18, according to his statement. It is not clear if his return flight was originally scheduled for February 18 or is a change in plans.

As a federal lawmaker, Ted Cruz does not have a direct role in Texas’ emergency response, but residents often reach out to their elected officials – like Senator Cruz – during natural disasters for help accessing resources.

Texas Cold: Residents Told to Boil Tap Water as Power Outages Continue

The Houston Police Department told CBS News that a member of Ted Cruz’s staff contacted authorities on February 17 to request assistance upon Senator Cruz’s arrival at Houston’s international airport.

The senator arrived at the airport on February 17, Chief Art Acevedo said, and officers “monitored his movements through the terminal”.

The senator’s travel plans amid the crisis in Texas drew immediate criticism online.

Progressive rights activist Charlotte Clymer on Twitter: “Ted Cruz not only fled the state while millions of vulnerable Texans are without heat and water but specifically diverted police resources to get him through security and crowds faster for his outgoing vacation flight.”

Image source: David Shuster Twitter

Journalist David Shuster shared a photo of a man who appears to be Ted Cruz boarding a plane, noting that millions of Texans “remain without electricity/water and are literally freezing”.

He tweeted: “Just confirmed @SenTedCruz and his family flew to Cancun tonight for a few days at a resort they’ve visited before. Cruz seems to believe there isn’t much for him to do in Texas for the millions of fellow Texans who remain without electricity/water and are literally freezing.”

Others suggested the added scrutiny may hurt Ted Cruz as he reportedly contemplates a second presidential bid in 2024. Ted Cruz’s current Senate term will expire in early 2025.

However, some conservatives came to Ted Cruz’s defense – author and activist Brigitte Gabriel wrote: “Senator Ted Cruz is one of the hardest working men in the country, he deserves a vacation.”

The news comes as hundreds of thousands of Ted Cruz’s fellow Texans woke up to a fourth day without power, after extreme winter weather overwhelmed the state’s energy grid.

At least 24 people have died amid the winter storms. Outages are expected to continue for days.

Texas officials have also ordered seven million people in the state to boil tap water before consuming it due to damaged infrastructure and pipes.

And with the sustained frigid temperatures, frozen pipes have caused a drop in water pressure in homes and hospitals.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has now asked residents to shut off water to their home if possible to help keep pressure up.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Congress will establish an “outside, independent” commission to investigate the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

In a letter to lawmakers, Nancy Pelosi said the commission would be modeled on the inquiry into the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and the Pentagon.

She said: “We must get to the truth of how this happened.”

Former President Donald Trump was acquitted by the Senate of inciting the violence.

However, Democrats and some Republicans have backed an independent investigation into the riots, which left five people dead.

Nancy Pelosi said that retired US Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré had, over the past few weeks, been assessing the security needs of the Capitol in light of the attack.

The commission, Nancy Pelosi said, “would investigate and report on the facts and causes” of the attack; “the interference with the peaceful transfer of power”; and the “preparedness and response” of both the Capitol police and other branches of law enforcement.

She also said that, based on Lt. Gen. Honoré’s initial findings, Congress needed to allocate additional funding to “provide for the safety of members and the security of the Capitol”.

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Pro-Trump Protesters Storm Capitol Building

A group of House Republicans wrote to Nancy Pelosi on February 15 complaining that their party had not been consulted about the general’s security review.

In the letter, they also demanded to know what Nancy Pelosi knew and the instructions she gave to secure the Capitol ahead of January 6.

House Republican Adam Kinzinger, who called for Donald Trump’s removal after the riots, was condemned by 11 members of his family in a handwritten letter, in which they said he was in cahoots with “the devil’s army”.

Donald Trump survived his second impeachment trial on February 13, after Democrat prosecutors failed to secure the two-thirds majority needed to convict him. He is the only president to have faced the process twice.

The vote split largely along party lines, with seven Republicans joining the Senate’s 48 Democrats and two independents in voting to convict.

The senior Republican in Congress, Senator Mitch McConnell, had voted against conviction on constitutional grounds, but after the vote declared Donald Trump “responsible” for the assault on the Capitol.

Other Republicans have also expressed support for an independent inquiry into the riots, including a close ally of Donald Trump, Senator Lindsay Graham.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Former Argentine President Carlos Menem died on February 14 at the Los Arcos Sanatorium in Palermo. He was 90 years old.

He served as the country’s president for 10 years, between 1989 and 1999.

Carlos Menem was a politician known for his dashing good looks and extravagant lifestyle.

He was a far cry from the military dictators he preceded and a throwback to the glamour of his political hero, Juan Perón.

After years of political instability Menem hoped to rescue Argentina from economic abyss, restoring its financial prosperity by seducing it away from isolationism and protectionism.

He opened the country to foreign investment, re-established relations with Britain and shifted its antagonistic relationship with the United States to one of almost unconditional support.

However, Carlos Menem’s administration was battered by financial scandal, rampant corruption, spiraling unemployment and irresponsible borrowing which sowed the seeds for a further, catastrophic economic collapse shortly after he left office.

Carlos Saúl Menem was born on July 2, 1930, in Anillaco – a small town in the north west of Argentina.

His parents were both immigrants from Syria. Born a Muslim, he became a Roman Catholic in his youth, but retained strong ties to his parents’ homeland.

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After studying law at the University of Córdoba, Carlos Menem became active in the campaign to free political prisoners and was a supporter of the country’s former authoritarian president, Juan Perón.

In 1956, the year after Juan Perón was toppled in a military coup, Carlos Menem was arrested for attempting to foment violent opposition to the government and was briefly imprisoned. The following year he formed a provincial branch of the Peronist Youth movement.

Carlos Menem was elected as the local representative for his region in 1962, but yet another military coup prevented him from taking his seat. He travelled to Spain, where he met the exiled Perón, who gave Menem his blessing and predicted him a great future.

He was imprisoned by the military junta, this time for two years – accused of corruption and links with guerrilla movements. He was banished from the capital and restrictions placed on his political involvement until Argentina’s defeat in the Falklands and the collapse of the regime of Gen Leopoldo Galtieri.

With the country’s economy in tatters and the annual rate of inflation running at 5,000%, Carlos Menem’s government faced a crisis from the start.

He set out to convince the international financial community that he was capable of turning his country’s fortunes around. He pegged the peso to the US dollar, privatized public utilities and introduced a more market-based economy – a far cry from Peronism.

Additional foreign investment gave the country a much needed financial boost, reducing inflation and increasing output, but it came at the cost of mass unemployment.

Even so, Carlos Menem was re-elected in 1995 after he had amended the constitution to allow a second presidential term. But the glitz and glamour of the jet-setting, philandering, sports-mad president could not mask increasing problems with the economy.

He was close to both US President George W. Bush and President Bill Clinton. He was invited to address a joint session of the US Congress and helped to found Mercosur, the South American customs union.

Former President Donald Trump has been acquitted of inciting mob to attack the Capitol after the Senate voted 57 to 43.

Seven Republicans (Senators Sasse, Romney, Burr, Collins, Murkowski, Toomey and Cassidy) joining Democrats on the charge of incitement.

Democrats needed two-thirds of the Senate to vote guilty to convict.

Impeachment charges are political, not criminal. An impeachment acquittal essentially means the Senate did not find cause to remove a president from office.

If DonaldTrump had been convicted, the Senate could also have voted to prevent the former president from ever holding office again.

The Democratic-led House of Representatives approved the article of impeachment on January 13, with the support of 10 Republicans.

It was the verdict everyone expected, but the day was not without its drama. Seven Republicans voted along with Democrats to convict Donald Trump of inciting the violent attack on the Capitol last month.

In the end, they didn’t get the two-thirds majority they needed.

Donald Trump is the first president to be impeached twice and has set a record with the most votes to convict by members of his own party.

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After Donald Trump was acquitted, first up was the leader of the Democrats in the Senate.

New York Senator Chuck Schumer: “January 6 will live as a day of infamy in the United States. The failure to convict Donald Trump will live as a vote of infamy in the history of the United States Senate.”

He criticized the 43 senators who voted to acquit Donald Trump who effectively “signed their names alongside his” in the history books.

The Democratic senator insisted one thing is certain – that Trump’s legacy will be embroiled in this scandal forevermore, making it nearly impossible for him to ever hold elected office again.

As the senator spoke, however, the Trump team released a statement promising a future for the Make America Great Again movement. Without a conviction, there is nothing barring Donald Trump from holding office again.

Whether Donald Trump runs again remains to be seen. But he will certainly wield his influence in other ways.

Donald Trump once again avoided conviction by the Senate because his fellow Republicans, by and large, stuck by his side.

He did not emerge from this impeachment trial unscathed, however.

One of the most memorable portions of the prosecution case by House managers were the new videos of Trump’s supporters, wearing Make America Great Again hats and waving Trump flags, ransacking the Capitol.

Those images will forever be associated with the Trump brand. Every rally he holds from here on will evoke memories of that riot.

Image source: Twitter

President Joe Biden’s deputy press secretary TJ Ducklo has been suspended for a week without pay after allegedly threatening to “destroy” a female reporter who was asking questions about his private life.

The White House spokesman reportedly threatened Politico reporter Tara Palmeri, who was investigating his relationship with another journalist.

On February 12, White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced that TJ Ducklo had apologized to Tara Palmeri.

TJ Ducklo has not commented independently.

Some observers have criticized President Biden for failing to take stronger action. He has previously said he would fire “on the spot” any staff speaking disrespectfully to colleagues.

The suspension of TJ Ducklo came after Vanity Fair magazine reported on his alleged threats to Tara Palmeri.

The Politico reporter had been investigating TJ Ducklo’s relationship with Alexi McCammond, a journalist with Axios who had covered Joe Biden’s election campaign.

He allegedly rang her and said: “I will destroy you.”

TJ Ducklo also made other derogatory and misogynistic comments, Vanity Fair reports.

Jen Psaki tweeted on February 12 that TJ Ducklo was “the first to acknowledge this is not the standard of behavior set out by the President”.

The White House spokeswoman said that as well as being suspended without pay for a week, TJ Ducklo would no longer work with Politico reporters when he returned to the White House.

President Biden told his staff on his first day in office that he would not tolerate bullying behavior.

He said: “I’m not joking when I say this: If you ever work with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I will fire you on the spot. No ifs, ands or buts.”