June sentence set for Ghislaine Maxwell in sex traffic case


A late-June sentencing date has been set for British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell after her conviction last month on sex trafficking charges

NEW YORK — A late-June sentencing date was set Friday for British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell after her conviction last month on charges including sex trafficking and conspiracy relating to the recruitment of teenage girls for financier Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse.

U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan announced the June 28 date even as she waits to resolve defense claims that a new trial should be ordered after a juror’s public admissions after the verdict about his childhood sexual abuse.

The juror, who has never been fully publicly identified, told media outlets last week that he told other jurors during a week of deliberations that he was sexually abused as a child and used what he learned about the subject to persuade others to convict Maxwell.

Defense lawyers say the revelations warrant a new trial. The juror has retained a lawyer. And Nathan said she’ll rule at a future date what will happen as a result of the revelations.

Maxwell, 60, was convicted after a month-long trial in which prosecutors maintained that she recruited and groomed teenage girls for Epstein to sexually abuse from 1994 to 2004. Maxwell once had a romantic relationship with Epstein, but later became his employee at his five residences, including a Manhattan mansion and a large estate in Palm Beach, Florida.

Epstein, 66, took his own life at a Manhattan federal jail in August 2019 as he awaited a trial on sex trafficking charges.

Maxwell’s lawyers argued at trial that she was made into a scapegoat by federal prosecutors after his death.

Prosecutors say that they’ll drop perjury charges against Maxwell if she is sentenced on schedule.



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TUI scraps trips to amber countries until late June | News


TUI Group has cancelled trips to a number of red and amber list destinations out of the UK until late next month.

The holiday giant will no longer be offering departures to Mexico, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Turkey, Egypt, Cape Verde, Morocco, Tunisia and Bulgaria until at least June 27th.

A statement explained: “We want to offer our customers flexibility and choice this summer, so where borders are open and Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice allows travel, we will operate to those destinations as planned.

“We are constantly reviewing our holiday programme and cancellations in line with the government updates every three weeks, with the next update due in early June.”

TUI said all customers impacted by the latest cancellations will be contacted directly and will be able to request a full cash refund, or to change to a later date or alternative holiday and receive a booking incentive.

“We would like to thank our customers for their understanding at this time,” the statement concluded.





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Travel latest: Spain expects to be added to green list on June 7


The traffic light system intended to simplify the resumption of overseas travel has only led to more confusion. 

With tour operators running trips to destinations on the amber list, against the advice of the Department for Transport (DfT), but in line with guidance from the Foreign Office (FCDO), choosing where to go on holiday has never been so complicated.

Below we have tried to cut through the noise to tell you what exactly you are allowed to do when it comes to a summer break, and what is forbidden by law. 

Am I allowed to go on holiday to an amber list country?

By law, yes. If the country is accepting entry for leisure purposes, there is no legal barrier to stop you from going on holiday to an amber list country, provided you are happy to quarantine on return. 

But Grant Shapps said I shouldn’t go on holiday to an amber list country?

That’s right, he did. And the Department for Transport says “you should not travel” to these countries. However, you can. It is guidance and not law. 

Read the full article. 





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U.S. Covid cases hit lowest level since June 2020


People crowd outdoor dining at a restaurant as coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions are eased in Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S., April 4, 2021.

Emily Elconin | Reuters

Covid cases in the U.S. have dropped to their lowest level since June as the nation prepares for Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of the summer travel season.

The seven-day average of new infections is about 26,000 as of Sunday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. That is the lowest number since June of last year.

The decline of cases is a hopeful sign, especially as many Americans plan to travel, spend days at the beach and gather with friends and family over the summer. It is the latest in a series of milestones that signal a reopening economy and a gradual return to a more typical way of life.

Cases of Covid have fallen as more people across the country get vaccinated. About 49% of the U.S. population has received at least one shot of a vaccine, and 39% of the population is fully vaccinated as of Saturday, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of those age 18 and older, 61% are at least partially vaccinated, according to the CDC.

Retailers, including Target, Walmart and Macy’s said this week that consumers’ purchases reflect that people are becoming more mobile and social again. They said a growing number of customers have returned to stores to browse or bought merchandise they previously skipped over, from new outfits to from teeth whitener.

The CDC’s new public health recommendations also ushered in change earlier this month for Americans who had been wearing masks for months. The federal agency said people who are fully vaccinated do not need to cover their face in most indoor and outdoor settings. That prompted many retailers and some states, including New York, to drop mask requirements for those vaccinated and align with the new policy.



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US, Canada, Mexico non-essential travel restrictions extended to June 21


You’re going to have to wait a little longer for that vacation to Canada. 

This week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) tweeted that the land border closure for non-essential travel between the U.S. and both Canada and Mexico has been extended through June 21.

“To fight #COVID19 spread and protect our citizens, the U.S. is continuing restrictions on non-essential travel at land borders through June 21, while allowing essential trade & travel,” the DHS wrote on Twitter. “We’re working closely with Canada & Mexico to safely ease restrictions as conditions improve.”

FAA TO BAR MEXICAN AIRLINES FROM ADDING NEW US FLIGHTS OVER SAFETY CONCERNS

Those restrictions were first put in place at the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020. According to Reuters, officials have extended the restrictions on a monthly basis.

Though it is unclear when the restrictions would be lifted, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggested this week that it could be until at least 75% of Canadians are vaccinated, according to a report from Forbes.

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“We’re all eager to get back to normal but we know that before we get back to normal, cases need to be under control, and over 75% of people need to be vaccinated for us to start loosening things in Canada,” Trudeau said, per Forbes. “We’ll see what framework we apply to ensure we’re keeping Canadians safe, even as we look to eventually changing the restrictions and the posture at the border.”

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said this week that the land border closure for non-essential travel between the U.S. and both Canada and Mexico has been extended through June 21. (iStock)

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said this week that the land border closure for non-essential travel between the U.S. and both Canada and Mexico has been extended through June 21. (iStock)

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According to Reuters, Canada requires travelers flying into the country to have a negative COVID-19 test within three days of their departure and again when they arrive. 

Mexico’s foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, said he hopes restrictions between the U.S. and Mexico are lifted before summer is over, Reuters reported.



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Travel restrictions extended through June 21 | Local News Stories


Travel restrictions at the U.S.-Mexico border aren’t going anywhere for at least another month, the Mexican Foreign Secretariat (SRE) announced in a tweet on Tuesday morning.

“The restrictions on non-essential land crossings from Mexico to the United States will stay in place until 11:59 p.m. on June 21, 2021,” SRE tweeted, citing information it had apparently received from the United States.

Websites and twitter accounts for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security didn’t have an official statement by early afternoon on Tuesday, but a U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman confirmed to the NI that the travel restrictions are remaining for another month.

“Mexico and the United States are in conversation to make the border-crossing restrictions more flexible beginning June 22,” SRE added in its tweet, indicating that changes would be related to the level of COVID-19 spread and vaccination on both sides of the border.

The restrictions generally prohibit Mexican citizens with a tourist visa from crossing into the United States, but U.S. citizens and permanent residents are free to enter Mexico and return home through the U.S. ports of entry.

The announcement came days after leaders in several Arizona border communities, including Nogales, sent letters calling for an end to the travel restrictions. The Greater Nogales-Santa Cruz County Port Authority, the City of Douglas and the City of San Luis all sent letters to President Biden in the past week.

On Tuesday morning, after the extension had already been announced, the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors approved its own letter asserting that the travel restrictions served their purpose in slowing the spread of COVID-19, but it’s time to move on.

“We are now ready to focus on the reactivation of our local and regional economy – something we cannot do if the border remains closed to regular travel,” the letter reads.

15 months of restrictions

The land border travel restrictions were first implemented in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They were initially imposed for one month and have now been extended for 15 consecutive months.

The latest extension comes as life begins to return to normal in the United States, with a significant portion of the population vaccinated. But vaccination rates remain lower throughout Mexico, which doesn’t manufacture its own vaccines and where fewer doses have been available.

In a news conference on Sunday, Mexican health authorities said about 15.5 million people had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine – that’s in a country of approximately 128 million people. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported on Monday that a total of 157 million people had received at least one dose in the United States, where the population is approximately 330 million.

In Santa Cruz County, with a population of roughly 46,500, nearly 30,000 people have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to information from the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Aside from the vaccine disparity, official numbers for both Santa Cruz County and for Nogales, Sonora (from the Sonora state government) indicate that new infections have slowed significantly in recent weeks on both sides of Ambos Nogales.

Two weeks ago, the State of Sonora reached the “green light” – the lowest level of risk classification by Mexican authorities. The city of Nogales, Sonora has been in the green light category for more than a month.

In March, a month when Sonora also reached the green light category before returning to higher-risk classifications, Mexican officials reportedly asked the United States to scale back the travel restrictions. The mayor of Puerto Peñasco, Sonora even suggested in a tweet that a U.S. official had told him that travel would restrictions would probably end that month.

But on March 18, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said restrictions would go on. They were extended once again in April, with DHS saying in an April 20 tweet that the department was engaged in discussions with Canada and Mexico about easing restrictions as health conditions improve.”

Numbers from the Bureau of Transportation statistics show that cross-border travel fell off dramatically in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, though that decrease was likely due to individual choices as well as border travel restrictions.

In the 12-month period from April 2020 to March 2021, fewer than half as many pedestrians and personal vehicle passengers crossed the local border as did in the same 12-month period from 2019-2020. Commercial truck crossings, however, increased over the same period.



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La Compagnie Plans for June Return


All-business-class carrier La Compagnie plans to resume operations between New York and Paris next month after more than a year’s hiatus, the carrier announced.

La Compagnie’s daily operations have been suspended since March 2020, when the U.S. first imposed restrictions on non-resident travel from Europe. The carrier has stayed afloat in the meantime by operating charter flights and withba €10 million loan guaranteed by the French government last June, at which time it expected to be back with regular service by the end of 2020. More recently, La Compagnie secured a second €10 million government-guaranteed loan and “renewed financial support from its shareholders,” as it expects restrictions will lift in the coming weeks with increasing vaccination rates in the United States and Europe, according to the carrier.

While a confirmed flight schedule will depend on those restrictions lifting, La Compagnie said its flights between Newark Liberty International Airport and Paris Orly Airport should resume in June. The carrier also plans to restart its seasonal service between Newark and Nice in July.

La Compagnie, which launched in 2013, flies Airbus A321neo aircraft with 76 full-flat seats.



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Tourism minister says Spain will be ready for COVID travel certificate in June


Spain will be ready in June to use COVID certificates that would facilitate travels, Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto said on Thursday, urging the European Union to adopt this measure quickly. read more

The European Commission expects to finish work soon on a COVID-19 certificate that could allow citizens to travel more easily this summer in the 27-nation bloc, the EU executive said on Tuesday after a meeting with European affairs ministers. read more

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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