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US Maintains Entry Restrictions Due To Rising Delta COVID-19 Cases

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The United States said Monday it would maintain restrictions on international travel into the country, sidestepping European pressure, as cases rise of the Covid-19 Delta variant.

“We will maintain existing travel restrictions at this point,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.

“The more transmissible Delta variant is spreading both here and abroad,” she said.

She said the trend of rising cases appeared likely to continue “in the weeks ahead,” although she repeated that it mostly affected unvaccinated people.

The United States has restricted travel from the European Union, Britain, China and Iran for more than a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, later adding other countries including Brazil and India.

The European Union in June opened up to travelers from the United States, typically requiring proof of vaccination or negative tests, under pressure from tourism-dependent nations such as Greece, Spain and Italy that feared another troubled year.

EU leaders have asked the United States to show reciprocity and President Joe Biden on July 15 said he would have an answer on the issue “within the next several days” after appeals by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

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Terrorists Who Launched Coup Against Me Are In Nigeria, Says Turkish President

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Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on Wednesday, revealed that members of a terrorist organization, called FETO, which attempted to push him out of power in 2016, via a failed coup, are currently in Nigeria.

President Erdogan, who is on a four-day official visit to Nigeria, made the revelation on Wednesday at a joint press conference with President Muhammadu Buhari.

During his speech, President Erdogan solicited corporation from Nigeria as his country battle terrorism, stressing tyatbhis country has been battling with terrorism for many years.

He said: “Distinguished members of the press, as Turkey, we have been closely monitoring the developments unfolding in Nigeria, our brotherly and friendly nation.

“So, in order to cooperate further in the fields of military, defense, and security, we are doing everything that will be available

“As we’re probably aware of the fact that Turkey has been fighting against terrorist organisations for many decades, such as the PKK, PYD, FETO, DASH and other terrorist organisations.

“The perpetrator of the heinous failed coup of July the 15th, FETO, is still illegally active in Nigeria, and we are continuously sharing our intelligence with the Nigerian interlocutors and authorities.

“I hope and pray that our Nigerian brothers will forge a closer solidarity in this field with us, the Republic of Turkey.

The Turkish President expressed hope that their visit to Nigeria would yield “the most auspicious results and I would like to thank my distinguished brother, President Buhari, for being such a gracious host for me and for my delegation.”

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Colin Powell Was A Patriot Of Unmatched Honour, Dignity’, Biden, Obama, Bush Mourn

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President Biden and first lady Jill Biden on Monday mourned the death of their “dear friend” Gen. Colin Powell, calling him a “patriot of unmatched honor and dignity.”

Powell died Monday at 84 from complications related to COVID-19, his family announced. He was fully vaccinated.

Biden remembered Powell in a statement Monday, saying he “worked closely” with him while he was in the Senate, and while Powell served as national security adviser, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and as secretary of state.

“Over our many years working together – even in disagreement – Colin was always someone who gave you his best and treated you with respect,” Biden said, adding that Powell “embodied the highest ideals of both warrior and diplomat.”

“He was committed to our nation’s strength and security above all,” the president said, adding that his military experience gave him the perspective “better than anyone that military might alone was not enough to maintain our peace and prosperity.”

“From his front-seat view of history, advising presidents and shaping our nation’s policies, Colin led with his personal commitment to the democratic values that make our country strong,” Biden continued. “Time and again, he put country before self, before party, before all else – in uniform and out – and it earned him the universal respect of the American people.”

Powell was the first Black secretary of state and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Biden said he “repeatedly” broke “racial barriers” and blazed “a trail for others to follow in Federal Government service.”

“Colin was committed throughout his life to investing in the next generation of leadership,” Biden said. “Whether through his care for the women and men serving under his command and the diplomats he led, or through the work he shared with his wife Alma at the America’s Promise Alliance to lift up young people, or through his years leading the Eisenhower Fellowships, Colin’s leadership always included a focus on future.”

In the same vein, former President Obama called Colin Powell an “exemplary soldier and an exemplary patriot” in a statement honoring the former general following his death from COVID-19 complications on Monday.

“Years ago, when he was asked to reflect on his own life, General Colin Powell described himself as ‘first and foremost a problem-solver,'” Obama said. “It was true, of course. But he was far more than that.”

“Powell helped shape American policy for decades, he added. “And although he’d be the first to acknowledge that he didn’t get every call right, his actions reflected what he believed was best for America and the people he served.”

“He never denied the role that race played in his own life and in our society more broadly,” Obama noted. “But he also refused to accept that race would limit his dreams, and through his steady and principled leadership, helped pave the way for so many who would follow.”

Also, former president George W. Bush, who Powell served as secretary of state under, expressed his sadness at the sudden loss of Powell, along with a statement on Powell’s longtime service to the nation.

“Laura and I are deeply saddened by the death of Colin Powell. He was a great public servant, starting with his time as a soldier during Vietnam.” – President George W. Bush

 

Credit: New York Times

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First US Black Secretary Of State, Colin Powell, Dies Of COVID-19 Complications

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Colin Powell, the son of Jamaican immigrants who became a US war hero and the first Black secretary of state but saw his legacy tarnished when he made the case for war in Iraq in 2003, died on Monday of Covid-19 complications. He was 84.

The retired four-star general and former head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who served four presidents made his reputation as a man of honor distant from the political fray — an asset in the corridors of power.

“General Powell is an American hero, an American example, and a great American story,” George W. Bush said as he announced Powell’s nomination as secretary of state in 2000.

“In directness of speech, his towering integrity, his deep respect for our democracy, and his soldier’s sense of duty and honor, Colin Powell demonstrates … qualities that will make him a great representative of all the people of this country.”

But he found it hard to live down his infamous February 2003 speech to the United Nations Security Council about the alleged existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq — the evidence he presented was later proven to be false.

“It’s a blot… and will always be a part of my record. It was painful. It’s painful now,” Powell said in a 2005 interview with ABC News.

Born April 5, 1937 in Harlem, Powell’s “American Journey” — the title of his autobiography — started in New York, where he grew up and earned a degree in geology.

He also participated in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) in college, and upon his graduation in June 1958, he received a commission as a second lieutenant in the US Army, and was posted in what was then West Germany.

Powell completed two tours of duty in Vietnam — in 1962-63 as one of John F Kennedy’s thousands of military advisors, and again in 1968-69 to investigate the My Lai massacre.

He earned a Purple Heart, but also faced questions about the tone of his report into the hundreds of deaths at My Lai, which to some seemed to dismiss any claims of wrongdoing.

“I was in a unit that was responsible for My Lai. I got there after My Lai happened,” he told interviewer Larry King in 2004.

“So, in war, these sorts of horrible things happen every now and again, but they are still to be deplored.”

Back in Washington, he quickly rose through the ranks to the pinnacle of the national security establishment, serving Ronald Reagan as national security advisor, and both George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton as chairman of the Joint Chiefs from 1989-93.

Powell’s experiences in Vietnam as a young soldier led him to develop the so-called “Powell Doctrine,” which said that if the United States must intervene in a foreign conflict, it should deploy overwhelming force based on clear political objectives.

For many Americans, he was the public face of the 1991 Gulf War against Iraq.

Powell was initially lukewarm about going into the country, but his reputation soared in the aftermath of the blitzkrieg that ejected Saddam Hussein’s forces from Kuwait.

For a while, he even considered a run for the presidency.

But after retiring from the army in 1993, Powell devoted himself to working on behalf of disadvantaged young people as chairman of America’s Promise, a youth advocacy group.

For a while, he fended off new questions on his desire for public office, until George W. Bush came calling for the popular military man to lead the State Department as the 65th secretary of state.

 

Credit: Reuters.com

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