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    IT is very easy to spot people who don’t know what they’re talking about with the Northern Ireland Protocol. Politicians in the US and EU constantly talk about it as though what is at issue is “peace” within Northern Ireland. And that anyone who wants to repeal it is risking the peace. 3The UK only signed the protocol (which effectively put a customs border down the Irish sea) because we had no other optionCredit: EPA 3Boris Johnson meets with Mary Lou McDonald of Sinn Fein while visiting Northern IrelandCredit: Andrew Parsons / No10 Downing Street What they seem not to realise is that the Northern Ireland Protocol (signed in 2019) and the Good Friday Agreement (signed in 1998) are not the same thing. It was the 1998 agreement that assured peace on the island of Ireland. Whereas the 2019 protocol was something signed in order to ensure that this country actually acted on the 2016 Brexit vote. I can usually clear a room in about five minutes by talking about Northern Ireland. But it is important. And here’s the crucial...
    (CNN)The bill is so popular that President Joe Biden and 424 members of the bitterly divided House back it.But the Senate is sputtering, struggling to find the time and consensus to suspend normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus -- and show that the United States is speaking with one voice in condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine.The reason for the delay: An upcoming recess, competing priorities on the Senate floor, scheduling decisions by the Senate majority leader and one GOP senator who refuses to let the bill quickly pass without some changes to the measure.The Senate's struggle to quickly pass the overwhelmingly popular bill underscores how difficult it is for Congress to unite behind even the most straightforward measure, when lawmakers on both sides of the aisle continue to call for the US to do more to help Ukraine during its deepening crisis."Obviously, we are dealing with -- guess what -- procedure in the United States Senate," said Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat. "Unless you follow this regularly, it's hard to appreciate the fact...
    WASHINGTON (AP) — Just days before Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, President Joe Biden quietly dispatched a team to European Union headquarters in Belgium. These were not spy chiefs or generals, but experts in reading fine print and tracking the flow of money, computer chips and other goods around the world. Their mandate: inflict maximum pain on Russian President Vladimir Putin, making it harder, if not impossible, for him to fund a prolonged war in Ukraine and denying him access to technologies at the core of modern warfare. There were intense meetings in February in Brussels, Paris, London and Berlin, often running six hours at a time as the allies tried to craft the details of a historic economic blockade, according to Biden administration officials. Some of the exports the U.S. wanted to ban were met with reluctance by the Europeans, who would essentially be telling their own companies to forgo several billion dollars in annual revenues from Russia. When there was a deadlock, U.S. negotiators would put Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on the phone. “You can say ‘no’...
    NATO sending weapons to Ukraine NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg revealed on Friday that the military alliance would be sending weapons to Ukraine – including air defenses. Reuters reported, "He said some of the 30 allies announced the type of weapons that they would supply Ukraine, including air defenses, without giving details. 'Allies are very committed to continue to provide support,' he said." Stoltenberg commented on Russia attempting to take out the Ukrainian government during a press conference, "We see rhetoric, the messages, which is strongly indicating that the aim is to remove the democratically-elected government in Kyiv." NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said some of the 30 allies announced the type of weapons that they would supply Ukraine, including air defenses, without giving details https://reut.rs/33UTwgY\u00a0pic.twitter.com/Q6MO0QQKwB — Reuters (@Reuters) 1645835100 JUST IN - Large convoy of lethal NATO supplies crossed the border into Ukraine. Poland's Minister of Defence Mariusz B\u0142aszczak shared this picture.pic.twitter.com/4BQI6bituH — Disclose.tv (@Disclose.tv) 1645813550 NATO also activated its response force for the first time in its history. On Thursday, all 30 NATO members agreed to activate the multinational...
    As many as 10,000 US Marines are expected to miss the branch's mandate to be fully vaccinated by Sunday as the branch and the Pentagon weigh how to deal with the service members who don't get the jab. The Marines' vaccination rate, 94 percent, is the lowest among the military, raising questions about what it means for safety and readiness for the branch that is often the US's first line of defense. The Navy, in comparison, has a 99.7 percent vaccination rate ahead of the same Sunday deadline.  It is unclear what will happen to Marines that refuse the jab.  'We will be addressing each case on a case-by-case basis is what we’re going to be doing,' Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro said last week.  'We’re just not going to all kick them out on the day of the deadline itself.'   Only 94 percent of US Marines are vaccinated ahead of Sunday's mandate deadline As many as 10,000 Marines are expected to miss the deadline to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as the death toll doubles from last year's Marines...
    Dear Amy: My brother married “Martha,” a woman 15 years older than he. Amy Dickinson  She has never made any attempt to be a part of our family. In fact, she said her goal was to alienate him from us because he was a Mama’s boy. Over the years we have had some very public meltdowns. She has a habit of posting everything on Facebook. When that happens, my mother and I feel the need to retaliate. Now they have newborn babies and will not let us be a part of their lives. I have apologized to her for the things I’ve said and done in the past, but she took it as a chance to make a fight about it. I honestly believe she is a narcissist. Related Articles Ask Amy: I thought I cut ties to my mom, but here she is again Ask Amy: I found a long-forgotten treasure but it’s not mine to keep Ask Amy: She found out about the wedding, and she’s devastated Ask Amy: I’ve...
    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday she will take no further action against Rep. Ilhan Omar for comparing the US and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban - and insisted she has 'the right to make that point'. 'I think that she clarified her remarks and we accept that, and she has a point that she wanted to make and she has a right to make that point,' Pelosi said at a press conference. 'There's some unease about how it was interpreted.'  'She made her clarification', Pelosi insisted before moving onto the next question. After her appearance, she posed for a photo and bashed Republicans by saying: 'Can you imagine those people though? How awful they are?'  The Democratic speaker responded after Omar said the US and Israel had committed 'unspeakable atrocities' like terrorist groups and sparked an intense battle within the party. The party has been thrown into disarray at the start of President Joe Biden's eight-day trip to Europe.  Rep. Rashida Tlaib blasted Pelosi and Democratic leadership for a statement they put out Thursday saying Rep. Omar was...
    Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy refused to apologize for bringing up lynching during a Washington hearing on anti-Asian violence and claims he is defending free speech.   Roy was speaking at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on anti-Asian violence after an uptick in attacks all over the country and just two days after a gunman in Georgia killed six Asian women in at three-different massage parlors.  He said the shootings were 'evil', and said there ought to be more justice all round but that China are 'the bad guys'.   'There’s an old saying in Texas about find all the rope in Texas and get a tall oak tree. You know, we take justice very seriously. And we ought to do that. Round up the bad guys,' he said.  He then went on to say that he believes the 'China Comms' are 'the bad guys', and that the country is 'engaging in modern day slavery'.  'I am predisposed and wired to take out bad guys. That's bad guys of all colors.. we need to be mindful of that.  'Now we're talking about whether...
    Secretary of State Antony Blinken has signaled to European allies that the transatlantic powers should move in concert to punish Russia’s abuse of imprisoned dissident Alexei Navalny, according to a top European Union official amid a report the Biden administration is preparing new economic penalties of its own. “Blinken asked us to coordinate our actions against Russia for the Navalny case,” EU high representative Josep Borrell told the Atlantic Council during a Tuesday event. European officials agreed on Monday to impose sanctions on a handful of Russian officials implicated in the “persecution,” as Borrell put it, of the poison survivor and anti-corruption activist whose reports on corruption allegations centered on Russian President Vladimir Putin won him the Kremlin’s enmity. Blinken participated in the EU virtual conference meeting Monday as the Biden team prepares additionally to punish Moscow for a recent cyberattack that staggered U.S. and allied intelligence officials when it was discovered last year. “We are still in the process of working through that now, but it will be weeks, not months before we respond,” White House...
    U.S. and European officials are likely to fall back on the conventional tools of sanctions and prosecutions to punish Russia for the recently discovered cyberattack while continuing to investigate the full ramifications of the hack. “We still don’t know the extent of the damage,” said Foundation for Defense of Democracies senior fellow Mark Montgomery, a retired admiral who chaired the congressionally mandated Cyberspace Solarium Commission. “It’s hard to describe the seriousness of the attack, of the incident, and discuss what’s the appropriate response without knowing what happened.” The hack went undetected for months after thousands of federal government agencies and private companies downloaded compromised software from an IT management company. That breach affected not only the United States but also “governments across the world,” according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who identified Russia as the likely culprit. The width of the net, paired with the European Union’s newfound willingness to impose sanctions for cyberattacks, raises the likelihood of a transatlantic effort to punish Moscow. “These kind of response measures have, hopefully, some deterrent effect,” said a European...
    Maddi Dale focuses on her remote French class in her bedroom in Oregon in October. AP Photo/Sara Cline Nationwide, schools have reported record numbers of students with F-grades, amid an unprecedented academic year where many schools have turned to online class because of the pandemic. The gaps in academic achievement have disproportionately struck poorer students and families of color because they disproportionately have less access to internet or connected devices. Experts are split on whether the alarming number of failing grades during the pandemic calls for schools to revisit whether they should continue using letter grades.  Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. US schools are reporting massive increases in failing grades — and experts are questioning whether it's the students who are failing, or the system that's failing students. Across the country, schools have reported alarming leaps in students with F-grades in an unprecedented academic year, where many schools have turned to online classrooms in the wake of the pandemic. In the first quarter of 2020, one school district in Charles County, Maryland, saw a 72.7% increase...
    A decade-long United Nations embargo that prohibited Iran from purchasing conventional arms like tanks and fighter jets expired on Sunday, as the Trump administration vowed to slap sanctions on any countries that sell weapons to the Islamic Republic. “The United States is prepared to use its domestic authorities to sanction any individual or entity that materially contributes to the supply, sale, or transfer of conventional arms to or from Iran, as well as those who provide technical training, financial support and services, and other assistance related to these arms,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement. “For the past 10 years, countries have refrained from selling weapons to Iran under various U.N. measures,” he said. “Any country that now challenges this prohibition will be very clearly choosing to fuel conflict and tension over promoting peace and security.” The UN instituted the ban against Iran buying foreign weapons systems in 2010 over concerns about its nuclear program. But the 2015 nuclear accord reached with Iran and a number of world powers – including Russia, China, France, the United...
    A decade-long United Nations embargo that prohibited Iran from purchasing conventional arms like tanks and fighter jets expired on Sunday, as the Trump administration vowed to slap sanctions on any countries that sell weapons to the Islamic Republic. “The United States is prepared to use its domestic authorities to sanction any individual or entity that materially contributes to the supply, sale, or transfer of conventional arms to or from Iran, as well as those who provide technical training, financial support and services, and other assistance related to these arms,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement. “For the past 10 years, countries have refrained from selling weapons to Iran under various U.N. measures,” he said. “Any country that now challenges this prohibition will be very clearly choosing to fuel conflict and tension over promoting peace and security.” The UN instituted the ban against Iran buying foreign weapons systems in 2010 over concerns about its nuclear program. But the 2015 nuclear accord reached with Iran and a number of world powers – including Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom...
    President Trump could impose sanctions on Chinese state-owned companies involved in Beijing’s establishment of military outposts in the South China Sea, according to a senior State Department official. “Yes, there is room for that,” State Department Assistant Secretary David Stilwell, who leads the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said Tuesday. “This is a language the Chinese understand — demonstrative and tangible action.” Stilwell acknowledged the possibility of new sanctions during a wide-ranging discussion of China’s attempt to assert sovereignty over most of the South China Sea. The prospect of sanctions is a step toward the kind of comprehensive response to China’s militarization of the South China Sea that security experts following the issue have hoped Trump would adopt. “The only real solutions are coordinated international diplomatic and economic pressures,” CSIS senior fellow Gregory Poling, who hosted the Tuesday event, said during a recent interview. Stilwell made his comments in the wake of a high-profile deployment of two U.S. aircraft carrier strike groups for military exercises in the South China Sea, where some officials worry a...
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