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The USA finally, new President Joe Biden

Heralding in first woman of colour Vice President Kamala Harris

By Bennette Roach from reports

President and Vice President electJoe Biden and Kamala Harris

Besides not having the resources to publish a print copy of the newspaper, publishing the news of the result of the US 2020 Presidential election online was difficult. This was particularly so because of the uncertainty created by the outgoing president’s ability to bring reality to his threats whereby he promised he will not accept his loss at the polls.

Before going further and pulling quotes from 2016 we invite readers to follow this link where we headlined Donald Trump – new USA president: https://www.themontserratreporter.com/donald-trump-new-usa-president/

Joe Biden was elected president of the United States, after his projected victory in Pennsylvania took him over the winning line.

With all states projected, President-elect Biden has 306 electoral college votes and Donald Trump has 232. A candidate needs 270 or more to win.
Mr. Biden will become the 46th president in January, following the outcome of all legal challenges.

Joe Biden and wife Dr. Jill Biden

Even requested recounts in some areas, such as Georgia, where Mr. Biden had a lead of almost 15,000 votes did not change the outcome for the winners.

Kamala Harris, Vice President elect

Mr. Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, will make history as the first woman vice-president, as well as the first black and the first Asian American vice-president.

Continuing, And, so it was! Although President Donald Trump and his wild lawyers, republicans, and supporters, seemingly exhausted every means of reversing what the majority of the voters (via the electoral college) had overwhelmingly decided, today the US Supreme Court once again in a ruling denied their efforts.

Quickly, so sure was the people living the reality that Joe Biden was indeed the president-elect, with Trump’s White House officials afraid of Trump’s, call it anything, from ire, selfishness to wickedness and stupidity, based on all the reports, debunked where necessary, the processes leading up to the inauguration of the new president Joe Biden, four years ago Obamas Vice President, will be sworn in.

US Election 2020: Results and exit poll in maps and charts – BBC News

It cannot be news to anyone by now, who must have heard, read or seen the news on TV or online, certainly at www.themontserratreporter.com and our social media platforms, Facebook, etc. that history was made at the end of the long counting of the votes, caused by pandemic, with Kamala Harris as America’s first Black, Indian and female vice president.

Writer Andrew Naughtie of the Independent records, “Despite Donald Writer Andrew Naughtie of the Independent records, “Despite Donald Trump’s furious insistence to the contrary, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have won the US election, far surpassing the 270 electoral votes needed to carry them to the White House.

Theirs is an unprecedented election victory in an unprecedented year. But Mrs. Harris, the California senator whose parents immigrated to America from Jamaica and India, will make a particular kind of history as the first woman, and the first person of color, to be elected as vice-president of the United States.”

Naughtie writes further about Harris: “The vice president-elect was born to an Indian mother, Shyamala Gopalan, and Jamaican father, Donald Harris, in 1964 and spent her early years in Berkeley, California.

After her early childhood in California, she moved to Canada when her mother took a job at McGill University in Montreal. She went on to attend Howard University in Washington, DC before returning to San Francisco for law school, passing the bar in 1990.

While her career as a prosecutor, district attorney, and state attorney general in California has drawn criticism from portions of the progressive left, her family background has thrilled many Black Americans and Indian-Americans – helping drive a massive fundraising haul for the ticket. 
She has also received a warm reception in her mother’s homeland. In the days before the election, residents of her ancestral village of Thulasendrapuram, in Tamil Nadu in India, prayed for her success.

Harris was the second black woman [not too long ago] to be elected to the senate after Illinois’s Carol Moseley Braun, who served one term in the 1990s.

Looking back, and on, everything about Trump’s presidency will be remembered, soon by all, was dishonest – wreaking Trumpism, cultism… Words now thrown around, but would not have if a little decency or willingness to do what he claims, upholding the American Constitution, all of which is only more evidence of those choice words.

James Wagstaffe wrote a week after the November 3 polling, “Bottom line: you must have specific and credible evidence before you can file a lawsuit. And no surprise that the judges hearing these cases almost uniformly have and will continue to say “show me” or you’re out of here.”

And, even then, when SCOTUS continued or expectedly ended the fraud and evidenceless claims, “The president further declared, in an all-caps tweet that “WE HAVE JUST BEGUN TO FIGHT!!!”

Early Follow-up: https://www.justsecurity.org/73367/trump-has-a-right-to-pursue-legal-challenges-to-election-but-not-without-the-facts/

Showing hope for ‘Democracy’, Americans by electing Joe Biden or removing Trump, Justice Security has presented this week articles mostly on issues (Constitutional some) affecting changes following ‘Trumpism’. https://www.justsecurity.org/73830/recap-of-recent-articles-on-just-security-dec-5-11/

US Election 2020: Results and exit poll in maps and charts – BBC News

Posted in Elections, Featured, International, Local, News, Politics0 Comments

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Ministers mull ‘Tier 4’ crackdown after Christmas with commuting banned, non-essential shops shut and schools closed an extra week – after Boris Johnson plunged 38 million into Tier 3 AND warned No Deal is ‘very likely’

MailOnline - news, sport, celebrity, science and health stories

Friday, Dec 18 2020

6 AM 11°C 9 AM 11°C 5-Day Forecast

  • Tier Three restrictions extended yesterday, plunging 38 million people into the new year under the toughest curbs
  • Swathes of the Home Counties will join London in Tier 3 tomorrow along with Manchester and the North East
  • Experts fear decisions will not be enough to avert more draconian measures due to Covid surging in England
  • It comes as Boris Johnson warned a No Deal Brexit is ‘very likely’ if the EU does not budge overfishing rules 

By James Robinson for MailOnline and Jason Groves And Claire Ellicott For The Daily Mail and James Tapsfield Political Editor For Mailonline and Jack Maidment, Deputy Political Editor For Mailonline

Ministers are mulling over a ‘Tier 4’ crackdown after Christmas, with commuting banned, non-essential shops shut and schools closed an extra week, as officials search for new plans to keep Covid case numbers under control.

Tier Three restrictions were extended yesterday so that two thirds of homes in England ¿ and 38million people ¿ can now expect to go into the new year under the toughest curbs. Pictured: Boris Johnson yesterday speaking with Ursula von der Leyen
Pictured: Boris Johnson yesterday speaking with Ursula von der Leyen. Tier Three restrictions were extended yesterday so that two-thirds of homes in England – and 38 million people – can now expect to go into the new year under the toughest curbs.

As Boris Johnson last night gave the green light to plunge large swathes of England’s Home Counties into Tier 3 – bringing the number of people living under the toughest restrictions to 38 million – Government officials revealed even tougher measures could be on the way. 

The areas of southern England will join London in the highest tier tomorrow, while Manchester and the North East were told they could not move down a grade despite recording fewer cases. 

Tory MP Rob Butler said yesterday’s tier moves heralded ‘the bleakest of midwinters, especially for hospitality businesses’.

His comments came as Prime Minister last night warned a No Deal Brexit is ‘very likely’ unless the EU gives ground on trade talks. 

Despite yesterday’s announcement of increasing restrictions on large parts of the country, experts fear the decisions will not be enough to avert more draconian measures because Covid is surging nationally.   

A Whitehall official told the Times: ‘There is a case for going further than Tier 3 and it is getting stronger.

‘[That could mean] closure of non-essential retail, stay-at-home orders. That would have to be actively considered in conversation with the local authority.’

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has previously endorsed a ‘Tier 4’ as a way of tightening restrictions in order to control the virus.

Wales meanwhile is going into another lockdown on December 28 and Northern Ireland last night backed plans for a six-week shutdown starting on Boxing Day.

Scottish leaders said that tougher virus restrictions after Christmas – including a lockdown – were a ‘possibility’. 

Teachers were last night told that they will have to help mass test millions of secondary school pupils – while in other developments:

Pictured: A map of England’s tiers: Swathes of the Home Counties will join London in the highest tier tomorrow while Manchester and the North East were told they could not move down a grade despite recording fewer cases.
  • Rishi Sunak extended until May the £5billion-a-month furlough scheme amid fears that tough virus restrictions could extend beyond Easter;
  • Fears of a third wave mounted as daily Covid cases jumped again to 35,383, although this included 11,000 from Wales which were not recorded earlier this month because of a computer glitch;
  • London emerged as the new Covid hotspot with 319.3 cases per 100,000 people in the week to December 13, up more than 50 percent from 199.9 in the previous week;
  • Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty warned that the combined impact of Covid and lockdowns would have a ‘substantial’ impact on health, education, and poverty for years;
  • Mr. Johnson warned that Brexit talks were now in a ‘serious situation’ following a phone call with European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen – although fishing rights now seem to be the only major sticking point;
  • Priti Patel urged families to cancel Christmas plans that involve traveling long distances, as Labour called for the five-day festive amnesty to be axed altogether;
  • Matt Hancock said the situation in Kent had become so dire that everyone in the county should now ‘behave as if they have the virus and are trying not to pass it on to somebody else’;
  • Former minister Tobias Ellwood apologised after Downing Street criticised him for breaching Covid restrictions by speaking at a Christmas dinner attended by 27 people.

Read full click here: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9065485/Boris-Johnson-warns-No-Deal-likely-plunging-38-million-Tier-3-lockdown-misery.html?ito=push-notification&ci=61134&si=21848963

And, BREXIT update: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9064869/Boris-Johnson-Ursula-von-der-Leyen-set-Brexit-call-tonight.html?ito=push-notification&ci=61071&si=21848963

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, COVID-19, Featured, Health, International, Local, News, Politics, Regional, UK - Brexit0 Comments

Electoral College elector Robin Smith, left, and others clap after casting their votes for President of the United States at the state Capitol, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020 in Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, Pool)

A historic moment, like many others – electors cast their votes…

TMR: The day regarded in several states as historic, culminating a historical election, though not yet quite complete and still among threats of ‘civil war’.

Electoral College elector Robin Smith, left, and others clap after casting their votes for President of the United States at the state Capitol, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020 in Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, Pool)
© Provided by Associated Press Electoral College elector Robin Smith, left, and others clap after casting their votes for President of the United States at the state Capitol, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020 in Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, Pool)

See more of the process…

Joe Biden (left) – Donald Trump (right)

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Columns, Elections, Featured, International, Local, News, Politics, Regional0 Comments

Receiving-Vaccine

Covid vaccine: How does a vaccine get approved?

Receiving The Vaccine

– BBC News

The NHS is carrying out the biggest mass vaccination campaign in its history with a jab that protects against Covid-19. Some people have been surprised to learn how a process which usually takes at least ten years could have been done in less than one.

Posted in Announcements/Greetings, COVID-19, Featured, Features, Health, International, Local, News, Regional, Science/Technology0 Comments

BBC-News

Electoral College: The people who ultimately pick the US president

BBC

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By Sam Cabral
BBC News, Washington

Electors meet to cast their electoral college votes

The US presidential election was five weeks ago, but the votes that officially anoint the next president are just about to be cast.

When Americans go to the polls in presidential elections, they are not directly voting for president. They are actually voting for a group of 538 “electors” that make up the Electoral College.

Electors cast their vote on Monday 14 December, after all, 50 states and the District of Columbia have certified their election results.

We’ll introduce to some of these electors in a moment – two ordinary Americans and another who everyone knows – but first, let’s remind you how this all works.

Who can be an elector?

The US Constitution only states that electors cannot be members of Congress or others who currently hold federal office. So they can be:

  • Retired politicians – former president Bill Clinton cast an electoral vote for his wife Hillary in 2016.
  • State and local elected officials – New York governor Andrew Cuomo was a Democratic elector in 2016
  • Grassroots activists, lobbyists, or other figures from a state – we have two examples below
  • Personal or professional connection to the candidate – Donald Trump Jr. was an elector for his father last time

How are electors chosen?

Each political party with a candidate on the presidential ballot nominates or votes on its own slate of electors in the months prior to election day. States have their own rules for choosing electors.

Roughly in line with the size of its population, each state gets as many electors as it has lawmakers in the US Congress (representatives in the House and Senate).

Once we know who won a state’s popular vote, we know which party will appoint the electors for that state.

Electors are like rubber stamps that formalise how their state voted, so they are usually loyal supporters of their party.

What role do electors play?

Electors have already pledged their support for a certain candidate, so they almost always vote as pledged.

This changed in 2016, when a historic number of so-called “faithless electors” – seven in total – voted for candidates other than those they had pledged to support (five turned against Clinton, two against Trump). It was the first election since 1948 to feature more than one faithless elector.

States have since looked to strengthen their rules against faithless electors, pushing laws to remove them and have their votes retracted if they do not vote as pledged, a move backed by the US Supreme Court.

What is happening in 2020?

With the backing of several high-profile supporters, President Trump has called on Republican state legislatures in states he lost to throw out their popular vote results and appoint their own set of electors. Election law experts are skeptical that this is possible and Republican state leaders have pushed back against this suggestion.

A successful presidential candidate must get at least 270 out of the 538 votes that make up the electoral college.

If electors vote based on the certified results of their states, they will give Joe Biden 306 votes and Donald Trump 232, thus officially handing the presidency to Mr. Biden.

‘I’m an elector in New York’

By far the most famous elector this year is Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton

The former secretary of state and first lady lost the 2016 presidential election to Mr. Trump, but she gets the last laugh as an elector this year from her adopted home state of New York.

In announcing that she was an elector, Mrs. Clinton said it would be “pretty exciting” to cast her vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the next president and vice-president, respectively.

Mrs. Clinton has previously called for the abolition of the Electoral College, arguing presidents should instead be selected by popular vote. In 2016, she was defeated in the Electoral College despite winning nearly three million more votes than Mr. Trump.

‘This is real change’

Khary Penebaker

Khary Penebaker is a father of three, a small business president, and a proud Democrat. He will be one of 10 electors from the state of Wisconsin, casting his electoral college vote for Mr. Biden and Mrs. Harris.

Mr. Penebaker has been one of the state’s elected Democratic National Committee representatives since 2017 and ran for Congress in 2016, so he is a familiar face in the party politics of Wisconsin.

“In 2016, I was an elector for Hillary Clinton, but didn’t get a chance to cast my electoral ballot for America’s first female president,” said Penebaker. “At least now, I can cast my ballot for Joe Biden, who is going to restore some semblance of civility and decency.”

He will be one of two black electors in his state and is thrilled by the prospect of Vice-President Harris: “For people of colour, we don’t want to be seen as the enemy. With our first black female vice-president, we have someone who can see us as equal and as human beings.”

‘This is a very honourable position’

Naomi Narvaiz

Naomi Narvaiz is a mother of five, a community activist and a staunch Republican. She will be one of 38 electors from the state of Texas, casting her electoral college vote for President Donald Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence.

In addition to being a Republican Party official in Texas, Narvaiz has been actively involved at various levels in her community, from her school district’s health advisory council to her city’s ethics review commission. She was nominated as an elector by her sister-in-law, a former local elected official, and was selected at the state party convention earlier this year.

“This is a very honourable position to hold,” said Narvaiz, “and I’m very grateful that the people in my congressional district honoured me with their votes to do that for them.”

Texas is one of 17 states that does not bind its electors to vote for the person who won the state’s popular vote. Two Texans were among the seven faithless electors in the 2016 election, casting their votes for former presidential candidates John Kasich and Ron Paul.

Narvaiz says her support for President Trump is rock solid: “I wanted to make sure our congressional district was well-represented and that we would have a faithful elector to vote for President Donald J Trump, and I knew that person would be me.”

Posted in Elections, Featured, International, Local, News, Politics, Regional0 Comments

Recap of Recent Articles (Dec 5-11)

National Security Policymaking

Human Rights Post Trump Administration

Authoritarianism/Democratic Backsliding

Accountability

Biden Nominations

Counterterrorism & Women in Conflict

International Law of Cyberspace

Refugees, Asylum Seekers, and Other Migrants

Social Media

Presidential Powers: International Executive Agreements

Nuclear Weapons

Supreme Court: Nestlé & Cargill v. Doe Series

COVID-19 and International Law Series

Saudi Arabia

Poland

Ethiopia

Supreme Court: Collins v. Mnuchin

United Nations

  • National Security Last Week at the United Nations (Dec 4-Dec 11)
    by Lyes Jalali (@LyesMauni)
Images [from left to right]: Michele Lapini/Getty; Nathan Howard/Getty; YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP via Getty;
GUILLERMO ARIAS/AFP via Getty; SAFIN HAMED/AFP via Getty; Etelle Higonnet/Mighty Earth

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, COVID-19, Elections, Featured, Features, International, Local, News, Opinions, Politics, Regional, Science/Technology0 Comments

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Policy paper UK-Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council 2020

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-overseas-territories-joint-ministerial-council-november-2020-communique/uk-overseas-terrirtories-joint-ministerial-council-2020-communique

Communiqué: Published 27 November 2020

Governor’s Office describes: OTs familyMontserrat Premier (c) top row

Contents

  1. The Minister for the Overseas Territories (OTs), Minister for European Neighbourhood and Americas, elected leaders, and representatives of the Overseas Territories met virtually as the Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) from 23 – 26 November 2020. Ministerial colleagues from across the UK Government, including the Home Office, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Justice, Department of Health and Social Care and Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, and the Department for Transport also participated.
  2. Ministers, Territory leaders, and elected representatives were also pleased to welcome Children’s Commissioners for England and Jersey, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, and senior officials representing the UK Government.
  3. Ministers, Territory leaders, and elected representatives gave particular thanks to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales for his message of support. They also thanked the UK Prime Minister for addressing the Conference and welcomed the Prime Minister’s commitment to intensifying the partnership between the Territories and the UK Government.
  4. The JMC is the highest forum for political dialogue and consultation between the UK and elected leaders and representatives of the OTs for the purposes of providing leadership and promoting cooperation in areas of mutual interest. It provides a forum for the exchange of views on political and constitutional issues between the governments of the Overseas Territories and the UK Government; to promote the security and good governance of the Territories and their sustainable economic and social development; and to agree priorities, develop plans and review implementation.
  5. We continue to share a vision for the Territories as vibrant and flourishing communities, proudly retaining aspects of British identity and generating wider opportunities for their people.

1. Self determination

  1. The principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, as enshrined in the UN Charter, applies to the peoples of the Overseas Territories. We reaffirmed the importance of promoting the right of self-determination for the peoples of the Territories, something which is a collective responsibility of all parts of the UK Government. We committed to explore ways in which the Overseas Territories can maintain international support in countering hostile sovereignty claims. For those Territories with permanent populations who wish it, the UK will continue to support requests for the removal of the Territory from the United Nations list of non-self-governing Territories.

2. COVID-19 and the global health crisis

  1. The UK Government recognised the significant global impact and shared challenges of COVID-19, and congratulated the Territories on their handling of the response to the pandemic so far. The Territories thanked the UK for its outstanding support received both at the Ministerial and official level throughout the pandemic. The UK and Territories had worked together closely to tackle COVID-19 and this had underlined their strong links based on partnership, shared values, and mutual respect. The UK Government reaffirmed its continued support to the Territories during the pandemic and committed to supplying the Territories with COVID-19 vaccines. The UK and Territories shared information about challenges and successes around COVID-19 and committed to continue to work collaboratively to combat health crises, both now and in the future.

3. Economic resilience

  1. The UK is committed to supporting the Overseas Territories in building successful and resilient economies, and promoting the development and the wellbeing of its inhabitants. We recognise that although all are unique, the Overseas Territories, as small and open island economies, are particularly vulnerable to external shocks. Clear economic development plans, underpinned by strong public financial management, can help to create diverse and resilient economies in which people, businesses, and governments can look ahead to the future with confidence. The UK will support the Overseas Territories to increase their economic resilience through technical support and encouraging best practices in financial management.

The UK remains committed to meeting the reasonable assistance needs of Territories where financial self-sufficiency is not possible, as a first call on the aid budget. The UK will also consult the Overseas Territories on support programmes for the next financial year. In times of crisis, the UK stands ready to support the Overseas Territories, as happened following the hurricanes in 2017 and during the COVID-19 crisis. As a first step, the UK will look to the Overseas Territories to make full use of their financial resources to address their needs and will consider further requests for financial support on a case-by-case basis.

4. Exit from the European Union (EU) and trade

  1. The UK Government acknowledges that the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU) will impact on the Overseas Territories, particularly in the areas of eligibility for and access to funding, and trade.
  1. The UK Government has and continues to represent the interests of the Overseas Territories in the UK-EU negotiations, in particular on trade and funding programmes. The UK Government will also continue to engage meaningfully with the Territories and take their interests into account when negotiating new trading relationships with other partners around the world
  2. The UK Government will, in consultation with Territory Governments, take their interests and needs into account when designing future funding streams, programmes, and policies to promote the sustainable economic development of the Territories.
  3. The Territories’ links with the Commonwealth and United Nations will continue to be important. The UK is committed to strengthening these links. The UK also welcomes initiatives to develop links with regional organisations and with Territories and countries neighbouring the Overseas Territories.
  4. The UK Government and the UK’s devolved administrations confirm that students from the Overseas Territories will continue to be eligible for Home Student fee rates on the same basis as now, based on three years’ ordinary residence in an Overseas Territory or the UK.

5. Mental health

  1. The UK Government and the Overseas Territories re-affirmed their commitment to addressing mental health, recognising that “there is no health without mental health”. The importance of raising the awareness and understanding of mental health in our communities was discussed along with tackling the stigma that persists around mental health. We recognise that mental health affects all stages of life and that experiences in childhood can affect mental health in adulthood. It was also recognised that there is already work being done in this area in most OTs. Support from the UK is being provided through Public Health England and the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF). The United Kingdom Overseas Territories Association (UKOTA) will host a webinar on mental health in December 2020 for Territory and UK leaders and experts. It will provide an opportunity to have an open discussion on priority issues around stigma, mental health systems, and awareness campaigns. Overseas Territories and the UK committed to continuing the work to strengthen mental health systems to improve the lives of people with mental health problems, including children and young people, those with severe mental illness, and those in the criminal justice system.

6. Children

  1. We discussed the progress that has been made by Territories in relation to child safeguarding. We acknowledged that we cannot be complacent and that there is always more that can be done to ensure that children can grow up in an environment where they can be free from harm, flourish and meet their potential. We therefore re-affirmed our previous commitments to the highest standards of protection for children and a zero-tolerance approach to abuse. We heard from the Children’s Commissioners for England and Jersey about their roles in speaking up for children, influencing policy, assisting Governments and promoting children’s rights. We committed to consider exploring whether a Children’s Commissioner function or similar role might be appropriate for each Territory.

7. Domestic abuse

  1. We noted the increased incidence of domestic abuse globally, and the damaging effects both for individuals and for society. We acknowledged that tackling domestic abuse requires a holistic approach, including law enforcement, education, and medical professionals, and the criminal justice system. We spoke about the importance of challenging negative attitudes and behaviours and ensuring that victims are able to access the services that they need, when they need them. We heard about initiatives which our Territories are taking in this regard. We committed to identify opportunities and to take measures to tackle domestic abuse and to strengthen our system-wide response.

8. Prisons

  1. The Overseas Territories and UK recognise the unique context and needs of prisons in the Territories. We discussed shared challenges on prison reform and opportunities to work together for common objectives. The OTs and UK are committed to ensuring Territory prisons are safe, decent, and secure places of rehabilitation, compliant with human rights obligations that reduce reoffending and contribute to the security of local communities. Through the Ministry of Justice, the UK will continue to support Territories by providing expertise, project support, and by facilitating a network of experts across the Territories to support the development of tailored Territory prison standards.

9. Border security

  1. We noted the challenges faced globally, including in some Territories, of rising levels of illegal migration and border security issues and the subsequent impacts on society. We welcomed the ongoing work by the UK Government, through the new CSSF funded Border Security Programme, to help build capacity and capability in these areas. We discussed opportunities to build upon cross/multi-agency working to enhance cooperation and increase capability within the Territories. We committed to sharing best practices and lessons learned. We reaffirmed our shared interest in combating threats to our borders by working in partnership across the Territories and with the UK Government.

10. International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Instruments and Implementation (III) Code

  1. The UK reiterated that the representation of the UK and Overseas Territories in the international maritime arena is undertaken as a single entity by the UK on behalf of all and compliance with conventions is a shared collective responsibility.
  2. We recognise that a well-administered maritime infrastructure minimises the risks of a maritime incident in territorial seas and an up-to-date legislative framework provides the legal authority and enforcement powers to pursue the polluter to recover the high-level costs associated with such incidents. We continue to maintain our outstanding reputation for clean clear waters and promote our tourism with confidence. A successful III Code audit outcome will lay the foundations for future opportunities for the Territories through Blue Economies, for the Red Ensign Group to become a global leader on solutions for alternative marine technologies, and to share its expertise with others to drive forward improvements worldwide.
  3. The UK welcomed the ongoing commitment by the Territories to achieving III Code compliance and noted the investment in people and projects so far, whilst recognising the individual challenges. The UK reiterated its continued commitment to assisting the Territories through technical support and capacity building.

11. Environment/COP 26

  1. The Overseas Territories are the custodians of internationally important habitats, with rich and varied biodiversity, from Antarctica to the tropical oceans. Climate change and biodiversity loss has had, and will have, profound impacts on our natural environments, on our economies, and on our societies. Together we must act to tackle climate change and the loss of biodiversity.
  2. As coastal and island communities, our economies rely upon healthy and abundant marine environments. This year, Tristan da Cunha has put in place a vast marine protection zone, supported by the Blue Belt programme which now protects over 4 million square kilometers of ocean around the Territories. Building on the good work already undertaken, we will continue to enhance protection for our environments, both marine and terrestrial. The UK Government will meaningfully engage with the Overseas Territories to achieve local objectives that contribute to global targets for the environment, consistent with Sustainable Development Goals. Commitments to environmental funding such as Darwin Plus will support joint objectives to preserve the wonderful array of biodiversity across the Territories for generations to come, and to be an example to other communities in responding to the global biodiversity emergency.
  3. The Overseas Territories and the UK Government also pledged to work together to secure agreement on ambitious action to tackle climate change on a global scale at the COP26 Summit in Glasgow. By the time of the COP26 Summit, each government endeavours to communicate a territory-led plan for climate change adaptation and mitigation, which contributes towards global carbon emission reductions. The UK Government and Overseas Territories will continue to work together closely in the lead up to COP26, to ensure the Overseas Territories’ interests are represented. As the host of COP26, the UK Government endeavours to offer the Overseas Territories opportunities to showcase their environmental initiatives at the summit, including in areas such as transitioning to renewable sources of energy and disposal of waste. For both biodiversity and climate change actions, the UK Government commits to provide the Overseas Territories with technical and financial assistance where this is required.
  4. The UK Government and Overseas Territories welcomed the opportunity to come together as a Joint Ministerial council as a virtual forum and the opportunity this afforded all to have frank and open discussions on areas of mutual interest. We reiterated our commitment to deepening our unique partnership and looked forward to meeting together in person when the opportunity allows.

Posted in Announcements/Greetings, Business/Economy/Banking, Court, COVID-19, Crime, Featured, Features, General, International, Local, News, Politics, Regional, Security, UK - Brexit0 Comments

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CCRIF SPC Provides US$250,000 (J$35 Million) to The University of the West Indies for Scholarships and Tuition Fees

The following is a release from CCRIF SPC as dated, that is of particular interest, to the left behind students from Montserrat, those with the desire to move up with higher education, but cannot because of the absence of the necessary resources so to do.

Kingston, Jamaica, December 1, 2020. On November 26, CCRIF SPC (formerly the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility) presented a cheque for US$250,000 (J$35 million) to The University of the West Indies (The UWI) for scholarships and for covering the tuition fees of students who are in need of financial support this academic year.

L-R: Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor Dale Webber; UWI Mona Guild President Sujae Boswell; University Registrar Dr. Maurice Smith; CCRIF Scholar Matthew Arnold; CCRIF Technical Assistance Manager and Corporate Communications Manager Elizabeth Emanuel; and CCRIF Board Member Mrs. Saundra Bailey at the handing over of US$250,000 (J$135 million) for scholarships and tuition support to The UWI

Approximately US$108,000 or J$15 million of the US$250,000 (J$35 million) is already allocated for scholarships for 2020/21 at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels and this is about the usual amount that CCRIF has been providing to The UWI annually since 2010 and can be considered merit scholarships since they are based largely on the performance of students. The remaining US$142,000 or J$20 million has been provided to cover the tuition fees of the most needy students, who due to the COVID-19 pandemic are finding it difficult to pay tuition and who are at risk of either being de-registered or not completing their studies. This latter support is part of the Facility’s COVID-19 response geared to supporting our members and other key stakeholders.

According to Saundra Bailey, CCRIF Board Member “Since 2010, CCRIF has provided The UWI with 71 scholarships totalling US$761,230 or almost J$107 million. CCRIF continues to view its investments in scholarships as critical to building a cadre of individuals who possess the knowledge and skills to advance the resilience of the small island and coastal states of our region.”

Outside of support to students at The UWI, graduates of The University also have benefited from CCRIF scholarships to study for postgraduate degrees in the USA and the UK as well as internships at national and regional organizations involved in disaster risk management and meteorology and at a number of departments and centres of The University itself such as the Disaster Risk Reduction Centre, Climate Studies Group Mona, and the Seismic Research Centre.

University Registrar, Dr. Maurice Smith in acknowledging CCRIF’s contributions, commented that both The UWI and CCRIF have had a longstanding relationship and today’s handing over ceremony is significant as it is an expression of support not only for the regional institution but the talented students who are pursuing programmes related to CCRIF’s mandate.

Professor Dale Webber, Principal of the Mona Campus and Pro-Vice-Chancellor with responsibility for Climate Change and Disaster Preparedness, signaled his gratitude for the tuition support for students in civil engineering, geography, and geology. He asked CCRIF to consider students pursuing programmes in actuarial science, computer science, and social work as these areas are critical to strengthening the region’s response to disaster management.

Earlier this year, CCRIF expanded its partnership with The UWI even further when the two organizations signed a new memorandum of understanding which went beyond offering scholarships and established a framework for the promotion and facilitation of disaster risk management, including modeling, disaster risk financing, and climate change adaptation as well as research, capacity-building and resilience-building initiatives that will support and advance the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM’s) ambition of making the Caribbean the world’s first climate-resilient zone.

One of the first outputs of this new MOU was the development of a new course called Fundamentals of Disaster Risk Financing for Advancing Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which is currently being offered through The UWI Open Campus. Over 30 students are members of the first cohort to take this Continuing and Professional Education Certificate course, which offers four continuing education units.

Including today’s contribution, CCRIF’s overall support to The UWI over the period 2010 – 2020 has totalled over US$1 million (J$140 million), through programmes for scholarships and internships and the current MOU as well as two grants to the departments of Food Production and Geography at the St. Augustine campus for community-based disaster risk reduction projects, support to the Seismic Research Centre towards establishing and maintaining a new accelerometric network in the Eastern Caribbean and Jamaica to enhance the capability for identifying and mitigating seismic risk in the Caribbean, and a contract with Lumin Consulting for work related to the CCRIF-Caribbean Development Bank Integrated Sovereign Risk Management Project.

CCRIF also used the occasion to launch its Technical Paper Series #4, A Collection of Papers and Expert Notes on Disaster Risk Financing and Disaster Risk Management … Highlighting academic papers prepared by a selection of CCRIF scholarship winners”. This collection of papers highlights research conducted by nine recipients of CCRIF scholarships between 2010 and 2017. The academic papers include papers completed as part of course work, extracts from dissertations, as well as complete dissertations – all submitted as part of their degree requirements. The papers demonstrate the diversity of research topics undertaken by CCRIF scholarship recipients – which range from social issues such as a discussion of whether disaster scenes should be “off-limits” to victims’ relatives, and climate and risk communication to an analysis of the financial services sector responses to climate change risks to more technical discussions such as seismic analysis.

Elizabeth Emanuel, CCRIF Technical Assistance Manager and Corporate Communications Manager presents a synopsis of the new publication, A Collection of Papers and Expert Notes on Disaster Risk Financing and Disaster Risk Management … Highlighting academic papers prepared by a selection of CCRIF scholarship winners”. Copies of the publication will be provided to all campuses of The University of the West Indies.
Mrs. Saundra Bailey, CCRIF Board Member; Pro Vice Chancellor and Principal of UWI Mona, Professor Dale Webber; and Elizabeth Emanuel, CCRIF Technical Assistance Manager and Corporate Communications Manager, peruse the publication “A Collection of Papers and Expert Notes on Disaster Risk Financing and Disaster Risk Management … Highlighting academic papers prepared by a selection of CCRIF scholarship winners”.

According to Mrs. Bailey, “During this pandemic, CCRIF has both levelled up and pivoted to ensure that our members and key partners and stakeholders are able to better confront and address the many challenges posed by climate change and COVID-19, with The UWI being one such partner.”

Website: www.ccrif.org | Email: pr@ccrif.org |  Follow @ccrif_pr |  CCRIF SPC

About CCRIF SPC:

CCRIF SPC is a segregated portfolio company, owned, operated, and registered in the Caribbean. It limits the financial impact of catastrophic hurricanes, earthquakes, and excess rainfall events to the Caribbean and Central American governments by quickly providing short-term liquidity when a parametric insurance policy is triggered. It is the world’s first regional fund utilising parametric insurance, giving member governments the unique opportunity to purchase earthquake, hurricane, and excess rainfall catastrophe coverage with the lowest-possible pricing. CCRIF was developed under the technical leadership of the World Bank and with a grant from the Government of Japan. It was capitalized through contributions to a Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) by the Government of Canada, the European Union, the World Bank, the governments of the UK and France, the Caribbean Development Bank and the governments of Ireland and Bermuda, as well as through membership fees paid by participating governments. In 2014, a second MDTF was established by the World Bank to support the development of CCRIF SPC’s new products for current and potential members and facilitate the entry of Central American countries and additional Caribbean countries. The MDTF currently channels funds from various donors, including: Canada, through Global Affairs Canada; the United States, through the Department of the Treasury; the European Union, through the European Commission, and Germany, through the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and KfW. Additional financing has been provided by the Caribbean Development Bank, with resources provided by Mexico; the Government of Ireland; and the European Union through its Regional Resilience Building Facility managed by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) and The World Bank.

Website: www.ccrif.org | Email: pr@ccrif.org |  Follow @ccrif_pr |  CCRIF SPC

About The UWI

For over 70 years The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has provided service and leadership to the Caribbean region and wider world. The UWI has evolved from a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948 to an internationally respected, regional university with near 50,000 students and five campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda and an Open Campus. As part of its robust globalization agenda, The UWI has established partnering centres with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe including the State University of New York (SUNY)-UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development; the Canada-Caribbean Institute with Brock University; the Strategic Alliance for Hemispheric Development with Universidad de los Andes (UNIANDES); The UWI-China Institute of Information Technology, the University of Lagos (UNILAG)-UWI Institute of African and Diaspora Studies; the Institute for Global African Affairs with the University of Johannesburg (UJ); The UWI-University of Havana Centre for Sustainable Development; The UWI-Coventry Institute for Industry-Academic Partnership with the University of Coventry and the Glasgow-Caribbean Centre for Development Research with the University of Glasgow.

The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science & Technology, Social Sciences and Sport. 

As the region’s premier research academy, The UWI’s foremost objective is driving the growth and development of the regional economy. The world’s most reputable ranking agency, Times Higher Education, has ranked The UWI among the top 600 universities in the world for 2019 and 2020, and the 40 best universities in Latin America and the Caribbean for 2018, 2019 and 2020. The UWI has been the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists.  For more, visit www.uwi.edu.

(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)

#ccrifspc #uwi #scholarships #covid-19 #donation #disasterriskfinancing  #parametricinsurance #theuwi

Posted in Announcements/Greetings, Business/Economy/Banking, CARICOM, Education, Featured, International, Local, News, OECS, Science/Technology, Youth0 Comments

Express

Disaster for Boris as furious Tory rebels could BLOCK foreign aid spending cut

Reprint

REBEL Tories are plotting to block the Government’s bid to cut foreign aid spending from 0.7 percent of GDP a year to 0.5 percent, according to reports.

By Alex Shipman PUBLISHED: Thu, Nov 26, 2020 | UPDATED: Nov 26, 2020 114

Angry Conservative MPs, predominantly from the party’s liberal wing, are understood to be organising ahead of a vote in Parliament on the proposal. Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt and Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the Commons defense committee, have criticised the budget cut, which amounts to around £4bn less for aid spending.

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Mr. Hunt said: “To cut our aid budget by a third, in a year when millions more will fall into extreme poverty, will make not just them poorer but us poorer in the eyes of the world because people will worry that we are abandoning a noble idea that we in this country have done more to champion than anyone else.

Mr. Ellwood warned cutting the budget will “leave vacuums in some of the poorest parts of the world that will further poverty and instability”.

Andrew Mitchell, a former international development secretary, said the reduction in foreign aid “will be the cause of 100,000 preventable deaths, mainly among children”.

He added: “This is a choice I for one am not prepared to make and none of us in this house will be able to look our children in the eye and claim we did not know what we were voting for.”

Rishi Sunak

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the spending cut on Wednesday (Image: Getty)

Hunt

Jeremy Hunt is among MPs to criticise the move (Image: Getty)

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the reduction in foreign aid on Wednesday.

He said the budget would be reduced to 0.5 percent of gross domestic product from 0.7 percent, prompting the resignation of Baroness Sugg, minister for sustainable development.

Mr. Sunak said: “During a domestic fiscal emergency, when we need to prioritise our limited resources on jobs and public services, sticking rigidly to spending 0.7 percent of our national income on overseas aid is difficult to justify to the British people, especially when we’re seeing the highest peacetime levels of borrowing on record.

“At a time of unprecedented crisis, the Government must make tough choices.”

READ MORE: Foreign aid budget cut was right thing to do, say Express readers (TMR: Not surprising from Montserrat)

mitchell

Andrew Mitchell also voiced disapproval of the cuts (Image: Getty) TMR: Visited Montserrat in 2011 with Sue Wardel and laid the ground-work for the eventual May 1, 2012, MOU with Montserrat

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The Government plans to increase the figure to 0.7% “when the fiscal situation allows”, Mr. Sunak said

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Baroness Sugg, who served as Number 10’s director of operations under David Cameron, described plans to abandon the 0.7 percent spend commitment as “fundamentally wrong”.

She wrote: “This promise should be kept in the tough times as well as the good.

“Given the link between our development spend and the health of our economy, the economic downturn has already led to significant cuts this year and I do not believe we should reduce our support further at a time of unprecedented global crisis.”

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Tobias Ellwood

Tobisa Ellwood said cuts will “leave vacuums in some of the poorest parts of the world” (Image: Getty)

The Archbishop of Canterbury made a rare political intervention branding the move “shameful and wrong”

The Archbishop of Canterbury branded the move “shameful and wrong” (Image: Getty)

Backbenchers Pauline Latham and Peter Bottomley have also criticised the move.

Miss Latham said it could cause “more child marriages, more instances of early childbirth, more FGM, more domestic violence”.

However other Tory MPs, including the Conservative Party deputy chair Lee Rowley, supported the move.

Speaking to BBC Newsnight he commented: “0.5% remains a substantial amount of money, supporting the poorest around the world and helping them to grow.”

Baroness Sugg resigns after announcement of cut to foreign aid

The Archbishop of Canterbury made a rare political intervention branding the move, “shameful and wrong”.

The Most Rev Justin Welby said: “The cut in the aid budget – made worse by no set date for restoration – is shameful and wrong. It’s contrary to numerous Government promises and its manifesto.

“I join others in urging MPs to reject it for the good of the poorest, and the UK’s own reputation and interest.”

Former Prime Minister David Cameron has described the cut as a “very sad moment” for Britain.

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Rishi SunakBoris JohnsonDavid Cameron

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, CARICOM, COVID-19, Elections, Featured, International, Local, News, Politics, Regional, UK - Brexit0 Comments

PAHO-officials

Aggressively on top of COVID-19 Virus right from the beginning – but deep and destructive

Really? The chaos is felt and not unnoticeable

As of today, Montserrat would be congratulated for being COVID-19 ‘infected free’ having gone from a nonchalance and carefree approach. Many would say that the unnecessary they willfully or otherwise created a police state. It was and still is the result of the disgraceful and uncaring extreme, leading the charge of criminalising the safeguards, guidelines, and restrictions they copied and found necessary. It’s not tasting well to those who must suffer the unbelievable indifference.

We wrote many drafts written since April, all lamenting the poor extremes of a less than six-month-old Government that promised it would be different working only in the interest of the people of Montserrat (whoever those represent) have been able to deliver or not deliver. This due of course to what is considered a very poor beginning, continuing in the way they handled a pandemic that had been pointed out was likely due to happen.

Well placed professionals and concerned persons aided by TMR publicity had documented to Governor Pierce and Premier Farrell, suggesting and asking: whether St Patrick’s Week should be celebrated this year in the teeth of a deadly virus that may be on the verge of becoming a global pandemic.  Should our visitors introduce the virus to Montserrat both of you will have to face some very hard questions over any deaths that may ensue.”

That was not even met with an acknowledgement far less a response. In April we reported already that the Government may have missed the boat, having ignored completely the warnings and suggestions to cancel or postpone the large gatherings and visitors from areas where COVID-19 was already a great concern and people being infected.

Instead, we were to learn of comments and worse than Trump-like suggestions, “Oh this is just going to be like a (normal) flu…nothing to worry about…”, coming from top government officials including those who would have enormous powers and responsibilities in these matters.

Premier Easton Farrell with Dr. Dorothea Hazel-Blake during a virtual press conference responding a Nerissa Golden (inset) at bottom

Meantime, on March 5, 2020, we were told that “On Monday, March 2, the National Influenza Pandemic and Preparedness Committee

(NIPPPC) met to review the government’s action plan and risk mitigation for COVID-19, and to recap the evolving global and regional situation.”

Now could be that, that the Premier and his team at a press conference took issue with me when told that there was a lack of seriousness early as February about the seriousness of this potential pandemic. The Premier with verbal support and head-nodding said: “Montserrat did take it seriously. No one can accuse this administration of not acting aggressively….We were on top of this right from the beginning.”

Premier Farrell-made weekly statements and held virtual press conferences. two at the end of March, April, May; he was accompanied by his ministerss members and other health officials. The Governor seen (left) on two occasions, but Minister Kirnon (left) below ceased to attend, wants to have nothing to do with the media. Mrs. Hazel Blake now takes questions dealing directly with COVID. There will be more on the press conferences

The question must be, “when was that beginning? Indeed at that meeting, we were told in a release, “The islands Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and Quarantine Authority, Dr. Sharra Greenway-Duberry, and other senior Health Officials presented updated information on the spread of the COVID 19 and the Ministry of Health’s plans related to screening, isolation and quarantine.”

Great! But the timing and the urgent seriousness was lacking for reasons noted; because at that time as I learned later from participating in regional PAHO/WHO/CARPHA press briefings, Montserrat was part of their excellent and tremendous support.

I attended a regional MEDIA briefing by PAHO/WHO/CARPHA, I asked the question, how come with all the support they had just boasted to the region, that Montserrat ended up with the highest per capita number of cases as early as April, embarrassing the region and its mother country, with a threat of being taken over. The response was though true and not surprising, heard by the entire region, exposed a situation that has plagued us, certainly more so, the past 10 years.

What ensued after mid-March into May/June, the height of ignorance, and foolish and dishonest utterances; the poor way Montserrat has handled its finances, exposing the obvious lack of proper financial planning, exposing the worst kind of governance, management and lack of knowledge of really what is Montserrat, with ultimately the need now to cover it all up is setting us so far back, must be discussed. In time, or else.

A report following that briefing included this: “Leveraging PAHO’s long-standing working relationship with the Barbados Defense Force (BDF) and the Regional Security System (RSS), especially in response to public health emergencies, Barbados worked with both the BDF and RSS to facilitate the distribution of critical COVID-19 related supplies and equipment, procured by PAHO, and destined to its 10 countries and territories in the Caribbean: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.”

It can be seen right away one reason we might not have benefited as we ought to. No wonder there is no longer the ferry and why Premier Farrell is adamant that Prime Minister Gaston Browne should be the one to take the initiative to improve our transportation to Montserrat from the outside world? What a way to love Montserrat.

On 17 January, 2020 the Pan American Sanitary Bureau activated an organization-wide response to provide all 51 of its Member States and territories with technical cooperation to address and mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. PAHO’s work to date falls under the following four key objectives from its regional response strategy delivering resources in different forms:

Ensure real-time information to countries and efficient coordination of national and regional response operations;

Limit human-to-human transmission, including reducing secondary infections among close contacts and healthcare workers, and preventing transmission amplification events;

Identify, isolate, and care for patients early, including providing optimized care for infected patients;

Communicate critical risk and event information to all communities, and counter misinformation.

We would learn that as far back as January 2020, PAHO/WHO/CARPHA had been already holding training sessions, logistics, communicating and distributing equipment, PPE and equipment (testing machines and masks) educational materials, posters, and pamphlets throughout the region. What did Montserrat to this day have to show they participated in anything from these organisations, except maybe some posters and pamphlets? They waited for the UK to deliver, then waited for training; and was it in May, June or even later when this equipment arrived, delivered to other OTs months earlier?

We had seen reports of some islands, such as Dominica included, had received testing machines since mid-late March, while Montserrat was busy importing the virus, misleading people about the non-existent screening they had touted in the March 5 release. I looked for it when at the seaport, asking questions discreetly, but only saw it quietly being done in Antigua. In fact, questions were being asked when it was not seen at the airport with the belief it was being done at the seaport.

Other OTs had already received the UK funding planned months ago while Montserrat was still thinking about asking at the end of March. In October members of the Legislative Assembly as well as the rest of Montserrat are still waiting for a clear explanation about the unprecedented deficit budget and how some people/businesses received in April were not able to benefit from the UK $8.5 million ring-fenced for COVID-19 related support.

What exactly was contained in the request that should have been sent since the end of March, but did not leave Montserrat until well after the £2.5 million was received?

The question about the difficulties the people (mostly disenfranchised through one means or the other and for reasons not unknown but will be dealt with at different times.

The moneys! That they should refuse some people/businesses who applied for the relief, they anticipated and supplied by the UKG, under some concocted ‘criteria’! Many seek answers as to some accounting to the people, but many listened to the deplorable time and again in the Legislative Assembly. Where is that accounting? Then there are the sufferings during the lockdown, arrests, and more.

Posted in COVID-19, Featured, Health, Local, News, Police, Regional0 Comments

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