Biden says he will travel to Texas to visit families of school shooting victims ‘in the coming days’


“Jill and I will be traveling to Texas in the coming days to meet with the families and let them know we have a sense of their pain, and hopefully bring some little comfort to a community in shock, in grief and in trauma,” Biden said at the White House during a signing event for an executive order on police reform.

“As a nation, I think we all must be for them. Everyone,” he added. “And we must ask: When in God’s name will we do what needs to be done to, if not completely stop, fundamentally change the amount of the carnage that goes on in this country?”

Echoing remarks he made Tuesday night in a national address, Biden said he was “sick and tired of what’s going on.”

He said “common sense” gun reform wouldn’t “prevent every tragedy,” but would still “have significant impact, and have no negative impact on the Second Amendment.”

“The Second Amendment is not absolute,” Biden said. “When it was passed you couldn’t own a cannon. You couldn’t own certain kinds of weapons. There’s just always been limitations.”

“The idea an 18-year-old can buy weapons of war designed and marketed to kill is, I think, just wrong. It just violates common sense,” the President continued.

“Where’s the backbone?” he asked. “Where’s the courage to stand up to a very powerful lobby?”

The President said on Wednesday that “one modest step” Congress could take immediately would be to confirm his nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Steve Dettelbach, who vowed earlier Wednesday at a Senate confirmation hearing that he would not be influenced by political considerations if he secures the job.

“The Senate should confirm him without delay, without excuse,” Biden said. “Send the nomination to my desk. It’s time for action.”

With 21 dead and 17 others injured, the attack at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde was the deadliest school shooting in almost a decade, shaking a nation still reeling from a mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, just 10 days ago.

Details about how the shooting unfolded have continued to be released by law enforcement officials on Wednesday as more is learned about the crime. The suspect shot his grandmother, drove to the nearby school, forced his way inside adjoining classrooms and opened fire at a group of kids and faculty. Officers eventually forced their way into the barricaded room and a Border Patrol officer fatally shot him.

Tuesday’s massacre is the second-deadliest school shooting since 2012, when 26 children and adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, and it was at least the 30th shooting at a K-12 school in 2022, according to a CNN tally.

Biden, in his national address Tuesday night, recalled the Sandy Hook shooting, which happened when he was vice president.

“I had hoped when I became President I would not have to do this again,” he said. “How many scores of little children who witnessed what happened — see their friends die as if they’re in a battlefield, for God’s sake? They’ll live with it the rest of their lives.”

Biden signs executive order on police reform

Biden’s comments on Wednesday took place during a ceremony for the signing of an executive order aimed at federal policing reforms.

The order, signed on the second anniversary of the police killing of George Floyd, is more limited than the sweeping legislation that has been blocked by Republican opposition in Congress.

Members of Floyd’s family, the families of other individuals killed by police, members of Congress, members of the law enforcement community and members of the Cabinet were also present.

Vice President Kamala Harris addressed the families in the room at the ceremony, saying that though the order to address police reform will not take away their pain, the new action is “a long overdue, critical step forward.”

The order takes several actions that will be applied to federal officers, including efforts that ban chokeholds, expand the use of body-worn cameras and restrict no-knock warrants.

The order also mandates that the Justice Department create a new national database of police misconduct, which will be used by all federal law enforcement agencies and required for federal personnel screenings. The database will also be used to screen state and local officers who participate in federal joint task forces.

Biden’s order also brings back and enhances Obama-era limitations on the transfer of military equipment to local police departments, which had been rolled back by the Trump administration.

During his speech on Wednesday, Biden again promised to do “everything” in his power to pass police reform and again urged Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

“George’s name is not just going to be a hashtag, your daddy’s name is going to be known for a long time. As a nation, we’re going to ensure his legacy and the legacy of so many others remembered today. It’s not about their death, but what we do in their memory, that matters. Purpose,” Biden said, addressing Floyd’s daughter, Gianna.

After signing the order, Biden invited Gianna to sit at the signing desk.

Harris, who had received the pen Biden used to sign the order moments earlier, then leaned over and gifted it to her.

The President then told the crowd: “You know what she told me when I saw her? … Seriously, she pulled me aside and said, ‘My daddy’s going to change the world.'”

This story has been updated with additional developments on Wednesday.

CNN’s Sam Fossum contributed to this report.



Source link

Biden Says He Will Travel to Texas in Coming Days | Top News


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden said on Wednesday he and first lady Jill Biden will travel to Texas in coming days to meet families of the young shooting victims killed at an elementary school.

Biden also urged the Senate to quickly confirm his nominee to head the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agency, Steven Dettelbach.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal and Steve Holland; Editing by Chris Reese)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.



Source link

Expat says relocating to dream country ‘wasn’t so fun’ – 365 days of sun can be ‘surreal’ | Travel News | Travel


“If you can secure yourself a good job with a good package then I don’t see why you wouldn’t take the advance of 365 days of the year of sun, tax free salary in a country with endless opportunities.

“Things to consider: relocation costs, price of housing ie rent, school fees and utility bills.”

She also shared some of the best things about Dubai: “The country is safe and extremely clean, endless things to do whether your single or a family, sunshine 365 days (even though last year and this year we have had some amazing rain), you make great friendships – near enough everyone arrives knowing no one with no family – and lots of opportunities.”

Lauren explained their personal experience is “really positive” as they have a very similar life to the one they would have back in the UK.





Source link

How to get a brand new passport in just TWO DAYS


SUMMER holidays could be at risk, with the Passport Office struggling to keep up with a surge in demand.

Ministers this week warned people to get their passport applications sorted as soon as possible.

With no travel restrictions in place for those returning to the UK, the summer holidays will see many families take their first trip abroad in two years - here's how you can ensure your holiday goes smoothly

5

With no travel restrictions in place for those returning to the UK, the summer holidays will see many families take their first trip abroad in two years – here’s how you can ensure your holiday goes smoothlyCredit: Shutterstock

It follows chaos at Easter as airlines axed thousands of flights, leaving travellers facing long delays.

With no travel restrictions in place for those returning to the UK, the summer holidays will see many families take their first trip abroad in two years.

So, how can you ensure your summer break stays safe? And what should you do if it all goes wrong?

We answer all of your travel questions.

The cheapest all-inclusive holidays in Turkey - from £33pp a night in 5* resorts
Top 5 cheapest holiday destinations for Brits- where beer is £1.47 a pint

What’s going on with passport applications?:

A staggering five million people have delayed renewing their passports because of the pandemic, according to government figures

5

A staggering five million people have delayed renewing their passports because of the pandemic, according to government figuresCredit: Alamy

New EU travel rules have come into play since Brexit, which mean all travellers must have at least three months left on their passports at the end of their trip, plus all passports need to have been issued within the past ten years.

On top of this, a staggering five million people have delayed renewing their passports because of the pandemic, according to government figures.

This, alongside post-Brexit rules, has led to chaotic delays at the Passport Office, with a huge influx of holidaymakers suddenly renewing.

If you’re unsure when your passport expires, check it now.

How long is the wait?

For new passports it is ten weeks, but if yours needs renewing, do it now.

There are fears among MPs that this ten-week target isn’t being met, so the sooner you apply for a new one, the less you’ll be at risk.

The easiest way to apply is online at gov.uk. It will cost £75.50 for an adult and £49 for a child.

Can I get one quicker?

If you’re in a sticky situation and can’t wait ten weeks, the only way around it is to pay more.

You’ll need to book an appointment at your nearest passport office — there are only seven in the UK: London, Newport, Peter­bor­ough, Durham, Belfast, Glasgow and Liverpool.

Depending on how quickly you need it, you can use the One Week Fast Track service which will set you back £142 for an adult and £122 for a child, or the Online Premium service, which can get you a new passport in two days, but costs a whopping £177.

Leaving it late is risky though, and emergency applications can’t always be relied upon as recent reports claim there are very few appointments available.

I heard flights are being cancelled?

British Airways cut more than 1,000 flights to Europe and beyond in recent weeks and these cancellations are now expected to last until the end of June

5

British Airways cut more than 1,000 flights to Europe and beyond in recent weeks and these cancellations are now expected to last until the end of JuneCredit: PA

The UKs two biggest airlines have axed thousands of flights since all Covid restrictions were lifted over the last month.

British Airways cut more than 1,000 flights to Europe and beyond in recent weeks and these cancellations are now expected to last until the end of June.

Budget carrier, easyJet, has cut about five per cent of flights on some days, including some with only a few hours’ notice.

What if mine is axed?

Don’t panic, you have a few options. Anyone whose flight gets cancelled is legally entitled to either a refund, a seat on a different flight or the chance to change their departure date.

On top of that, you might even be able to apply for compensation of up to £350, but only if you’ve been given less than 14 days’ notice.

Should I expect delays at the airport?

Many major airports across the UK, especially Manches­ter, have been experiencing huge delay

5

Many major airports across the UK, especially Manches­ter, have been experiencing huge delayCredit: David Dyson – Commissioned by The Sun

Yes, many major airports across the UK, especially Manches­ter, have been experiencing huge delays.

Sadly there is no way to dodge the queues, but arriving early will help ensure you get through baggage drop and security on time.

Manchester airport is advising passengers to arrive at least three hours ahead of their flight departure time.

If you live close to the airport, you might want to consider dropping your bags off the day before you fly – this service is offered by many major tour operators, including Tui.

I want to book a holiday, what’s the best way to do it?

If you are yet to book, the safest way to jet off is with an Atol-protected package.

Any operator selling you a flight and one other element, such as a hotel, villa or even car hire MUST provide you with an Atol — you can check if it’s offered by searching for the Atol logo on the website.

This ensures your money is safe and that you are not stranded abroad if the company you booked with goes bust.

Booking your flights and hotel separately will not give you the same protection as a package does.

What about Covid rules?

Covid travel rules were scrapped on March 18 for anyone travelling to the UK

5

Covid travel rules were scrapped on March 18 for anyone travelling to the UKCredit: Getty

All Covid travel rules were scrapped on March 18 for anyone travelling to the UK.

This means you don’t need to worry about tests, forms or quaran­tine when returning from holiday, but you may still need to take a test for the destination you’re visiting.

What about other countries?

Heath­row says more than 50 per cent of destinations it serves still require some form of Covid-related admin, whether it’s a negative test, proof of vaccination or passenger locator form.

Check the rules for where you are going to ensure you have everything you need.

The best place to find the most up-to-date rules is on the Foreign Office website at gov.uk.

Do I need travel insurance?

Yes. It is a must for all holiday­makers, even if you’re staying in the UK.

Tim Westwood ‘victims reveal they felt “dirty” after he performed sex acts’
Urgent WhatsApp warning as all 2BILLION users told to delete text immediately

Go for a policy that offers Covid cover — we’re not out of the woods yet and things could still go wrong.

Bagging insurance with a decent provider is the best way to protect your cash.





Source link

10 Travel tips for days out with children with additional needs, Evangelical Focus


Longer, sunnier days are coming! The opportunity to go out for the day, perhaps to the beach or the countryside, maybe to a park or to a children’s farm, lots of places that we can take our children and young people with additional needs out to for them to enjoy.

But for many of us it might have been quite a while since we planned a day out like this, so here’s a reminder of some useful things to remember:!

Decide together where you are going to go out for a trip, and give plenty of processing time for your child with additional needs to be able to understand what is happening and where you are going.

It’s often best to avoid unexpected and impromptu trips out!

It is important when taking your child with additional needs out on a trip for them to know where you are going, what you are going to do, and when you will be returning back home again.

A visual timetable showing each stage of the day (or maybe just ‘now, next, then’ if they need it broken down into bite sized sections) will help reduce anxiety and stress about the trip.

It seems obvious, but it’s worth checking the route that you are going to take. Is it one you are familiar with, or is it new? If you use SatNav then check that you’ve got the correct details.

Might also be worth having a good old-fashioned map with you too, just in case of signal failure etc. Is your car ready for a longer journey? When was the last time you checked the tyres, oil etc. Have you filled up with petrol?

We rely more and more on cards and our phones to pay for things these days, but there are still lots of places that only take cash.

Make sure you have what you need for car parks, ice cream vendors, swimming pool lockers, amusement arcades, or anywhere else that you might need cash.

Don’t assume that you can buy something to eat while you are out. If you get stuck in a good old British traffic jam, that will be the time that someone says that they are hungry.

Pack some snacks for when you might need them. Have some drinks with you too, especially if it is a hot day. You may not be able to easily access drinks where you are going, so ensure that you have enough fluids to keep you all going.

Remember to take any medication that you need with you. It is always worth taking some on the trip, even if you think you will be back in plenty of time.

Delays can happen, time can slip by, and suddenly you’re late for some vital medication.

Useful in lots of ways. To sit on for a picnic, to wrap around someone if they are cold, to pull over someone if they are needing to shut the world out for a bit, to use for comfort if hurt.

Even the spring sunshine can be stronger that it looks, and a cloudy day can turn hot and sunny very quickly, so being prepared with sun protection is important.

We can have all four seasons in a day, so hope for the best, but plan for the worst by having waterproofs at the ready just in case!

What toy can your child not do without when you are out of the house? Make sure you have it with you, to play with, as a comfort, to be a part of the day out.

If it’s a soft toy or similar then you could take photo’s of the toy at various places on your trip. And make sure you know where this precious toy is at all times!

And while we are thinking of taking photos, make sure you capture the memories from the day by taking some photos and writing down some of the things that you did together.

You could even scrapbook the day out together by adding some items from your trip so that you can look back on the day again.

There are lots of other things that you could add to this list, a simple first-aid kit for example, but I hope these reminders will help you to plan for, and have, some wonderful days out in the longer, lighter, sunnier days ahead.

Enjoy!

Mark Arnold, Director of Additional Needs Ministry at Urban Saints. Arnold blogs at The Additional Needs Blogfather. This article was re-published with permission.



Source link

Can I cycle 200 miles around Puglia in six days? I can on an e-bike | Italy holidays


It was only as I wiped a hunk of bread around my plate that it dawned on me that the lunch we’d just eaten was entirely vegan. A plate of beans slowly stewed in a ceramic pot with onions, herbs, tomato and a whack of peperoncino (chilli) came with a slice of focaccia rustica (crusty pie filled with wild greens) and the world’s tastiest salad: fresh leaves, celery, carrots and tomatoes made toothsome with fennel flowers, capers, more fresh chillies, chives, gherkin and fruity olive oil.

map

But far from being some hip, plant-based city joint, the Caroppi cafe in the Puglian village of Specchia Gallone is an old-school bakery, run by the sort of large, welcoming family that might feature in your dream version of Italy’s south. Talkative Donato Caroppi showed us around – letting us peek at a sourdough “mother” more than 20 years old – then explained that in this region with too little rainfall for pasture, a mainly vegan diet was the norm for centuries.

Sea views from Santa Cesarea Terme, in Puglia’s south-east
Sea views from Santa Cesarea Terme, in Puglia’s south-east. Photograph: Ragemax/Alamy

We were on day two of a week’s e-bike tour of Salento, the southern tip of Puglia, and enjoying the way cycling took us deep into the folds of this ancient land, yet still allowed us to cover plenty of ground – and work up an appetite for meals like that.

And as well as getting a warm glow from exercise and sunshine, we could tell ourselves that our holiday was helping preserve the character of this area – because we were travelling with Salento Bici Tour, run by Carlo Cascione and Giulia Tenuzzo, who are as unabashed a pair of right-on lefties as you could wish to meet.

Both in their late 30s, they returned to Puglia after studying and working in Italy’s more prosperous north, and started the business to combine their twin passions – cycling and social enterprises, particularly ones involved in slow food – using tourist euros from one to bring extra income to the other. And being a pair of eco-minded foodies, my husband and I were very happy to mix organic wineries, sustainable farms and artisanal cheesemakers into our tour of coasts and historic hinterland.

As we’re older and less fit than Carlo and Giulia, we opted to use e-bikes – so we could ride 30-40 miles each day and still have energy to enjoy villages, lakes, castles, beaches. What a splendid invention the e-bike is: you’re still cycling, but have an invisible giant on hand to give you a push whenever you’re struggling.

Salento Bici Tour also runs group trips, but we were on a self-guided tour, made easier with directions in a handlebar-mounted GPS. We were soon pedalling out of Lecce, the “Florence of the South”, towards the Adriatic. Quiet, mostly well-surfaced narrow lanes between olive farms made perfect cycling terrain.

On our last visit to Puglia, six or seven years earlier, the olive groves had been glorious, but the tragedy that has hit southern Europe was now obvious. This is a region of 60m olive trees (to 4 million people), and the xylella fastidiosa bacteria has infected most of them. All around were dead and dying branches, some trees cut almost to a stump in an attempt to see off the bug, some groves newly planted.

Cyclists were an unusual enough sight for grizzled farmer Pasquale to stop his car and ask what we were doing in his olive groves. He was amazed to find people all the way from London in his remote corner. I asked about the trees. He spread his hands: “We do what we can. I have 40,000 trees – all for the cemetery.” But with admirable resilience he had replanted 10,000.

Otranto cathedral, with its mosaic floor.
Otranto cathedral, with its mosaic floor. Photograph: Hemis/Alamy

Each evening we would arrive in a spectacular coastal town – Otranto, with graphic mosaic floors in its Romanesque cathedral; or Leuca, with rows of art nouveau villas on Puglia’s tip. Gallipoli, on the Ionian coast, is less famous than its namesake in Turkey, but both come from Greek kalli polis, or beautiful city. Puglia’s version, on its own little island, lived up to the name as we cycled across its six-arch stone bridge at sunset, with buildings glowing pink, white and gold.

Each morning we’d slot the recharged batteries back into our bikes and pedal off, sometimes stopping for a seaside swim or picnic (wild Punta della Suina beach was idyllic, as was fjord-like Porto Badisco, said to be where Aeneas landed after escaping from Troy). But the most memorable stops were in sleepy inland spots chosen by Carlo. Near Otranto, by the Idro River, we sneaked through a metal fence into one of the area’s most evocative ancient places: a 1,000-year-old cripta (shallow cave) used by followers of Saint Basil fleeing persecution in the east in the ninth century. Their frescoes could still be made out on the stone walls.

The centre of ancient Nardò
The centre of ancient Nardò, near the Ionian coast

Several days included lunch with a slow food partner. I Contadini preserves Salento produce using only what is at hand – salt and sunshine. In season, its fields are aglow, with sliced tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, courgettes and onions drying in the sun. A jar of pasta sauce made from yellow tomatoes shone like fresh orange juice, and I felt almost drunk on the aroma from a 1kg bag of freshly dried tomatoes.

We nearly missed lunch at Celacanto, part of a sustainable social enterprise near the east coast, because despite the GPS we’d gone sailing past it up a long hill. On ordinary bikes I’d have balked at the idea of toiling up that hill a second time, but on my e-bike it was no problem. We freewheeled back down and feasted on roasted and preserved vegetables, pecorino cheese from a small partner farm and glasses of astringent reddish-pink rosé wine.

Puglia is not all about tradition, though. At Cantine Menhir near Specchia Gallone, we saw how the region’s future is, well, rosé. Until the late 20th century, Salento wineries were by the station, for transporting strong plonk in bulk to the north or to France for blending. Menhir, started in 2002, is one of a new breed, now selling more than a million bottles a year of labelled organic wine. Its Pietra rosé is made to modern tastes, pale and aromatic (like Adele’s favourite, Whispering Angel); other triumphs were a complex Physis white, made with classic grillo grapes, and a velvety deep red negroamaro.

We made one lunch ourselves – at a cooking lesson in Tenuta DonnAnna, Carlo’s parents’ guesthouse. At a table in the garden we made orecchiette pasta, instructed by a central casting nonna called Teresa, barely 4ft 6in, but with powerful arms for pummelling dough into stretchy silkiness.

The author learns cooking techniques from Teresa
The author learns cooking techniques from Teresa.

The following day was our last – a 32-mile hop back to Lecce – and I didn’t want it to end. We dawdled for the last few miles, relishing the silence, the lizards darting up drystone walls, the sun on our backs. We’d ridden almost 200 miles in six days but our batteries felt fully charged.

The trip was provided by Salento Bici Tour (UK tel 020-33 000794) whose one-week self-guided tours cost from €630pp, inc B&B, tastings, baggage transport and GPS guide. E-bike extra



Source link

Sydney commuters to travel for free on public transport network for 12 days during Easter holidays


Public transport will be free across Sydney’s entire network for 12 consecutive days during the Easter holidays.

Free public transport will begin on April 14 and run for 12 days and will include Anzac Day.

The free travel comes after weeks of tense negotiations between the state government and rail union over pay and workplace conditions which culminated in a 24-hour shutdown of the train network last month.

NSW Transport Minister David Elliott this morning said the move was “not just a union versus Transport for NSW initiative”.

“We need to stimulate economic activity and Business Sydney were advocating in favour of these fare free days as a means to get people into the city, into Parramatta,” he said.

Mr Elliott said the free transport would be available “from Newcastle to the Blue Mountains to the South Coast”.

The free travel will include trains, buses and ferries, but not private ferries, the airport line and Point to Point bus service.

Mr Elliott said it would be a “wonderful opportunity for families to save money”, with the free transport taking place during school holidays and including events such as the Royal Easter Show and NRL matches.

The Transport Minister said he had spoken to the union over the free travel and hoped it would “set aside” its threat of further industrial action as a sign of “good faith”.

The NSW Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) earlier said it would use industrial action to “force” the state government to offer free fares to commuters every Friday until June.

RTBU secretary Alex Claassens said the move was fallout from the government’s decision to shut down the train network without warning last month, locking out workers and leaving thousands of commuters stranded.

The union confirmed that the industrial action planned would be similar to that taken in the lead-up to February 21, when Transport NSW took the eleventh-hour decision to shut down the entire network due to “safety concerns”.

Mr Elliott said part of the reason for the 12 days of free travel was to compensate commuters for the disruptions on the rail network.

“The shutdown of the network last month was something that needed to be compensated,” he said.

“To commuters affected by recent rail disruptions, I want to say a heartfelt thank you for your patience.”



Source link

Hawaii’s indoor mask mandate, Safe Travels program nears final days


KAHULUI (HawaiiNewsNow) – Starting Saturday, masks will no longer be required indoors in Hawaii. Along with that, the state’s Safe Travels program will come to an end, signifying one of the most historic days of the two-year pandemic in the islands.

Maui tattoo artist Desmond Alexander said it has been a long two years and he is excited to take off his mask and travel without restrictions once again.

“It’s been a long time coming and everyone’s excited about it for a bunch of reasons…traveling, restaurant, sports, activities,” the owner of Sacred Ties Tattoo said.

Alexander said prior to the pandemic, about 80% of his customers were visitors. He is hoping business will finally get back to normal.

“That’s everyone’s goal,” Alexander said. “But you never know. Just go day by day, that’s all you can do.”

Pennsylvania resident Eric Kadel said he too is looking forward to hopping on a plane without the extra steps.

“The hoops you have to go through to get the QR code. If you needed to get a test that had to be within 72 hours, and then you’re sweating whether or not you’re going to get the results, and then hope that you’re negative,” Kadel said.

While Safe Travels will be going away, federal regulations still require masks inside of airports and airplanes until April 18.

“We want to thank the traveling public. We want to thank the local community and everybody else who helped make this possible to keep us safe as a community. Was it a headache? Yes, it was. Was had a challenge? Yes, it was. But at the end of the day, I think it made Maui a safer community,” said Maui Airport District Manager Marvin Moniz.

Copyright 2022 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.



Source link