A top aide to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vacationed in Florida after the governor urged residents against traveling amid worst-in-the-nation Covid transmission rates in the state.
Tricia Foster, the governor’s chief operating officer, posted photos to Facebook of herself vacationing in Siesta Key earlier this week.
Screenshots of the post, obtained by The Detroit News, show Foster confirming she was in Siesta Key. “Are you in Siesta Key? I swear I saw you walking today,” one Facebook friend commented on Foster’s post. “Likely,” Foster replied.
After Breitbart first reported on the trip, Foster deleted the post.
In another comment, Foster wrote that someone, who Breitbart reports is “apparently” her son, had missed the trip and was “home with covid.” Whitmer has said that family members of someone who tests positive for Covid should self-quarantine and avoid travel.
“Where’s [redacted]?” one Facebook user commented on Foster’s post. “[Redacted] home with covid. Missing his [senior] trip to Bahamas planned girls plan b 24 hrs before flight,” Foster replied.
A Whitmer spokesperson said that Foster had “fully recovered” from Covid-19 and was fully vaccinated. Foster’s post includes photos of a number of people who appear to be in their teens on the trip. Michiganders 16 and up have only been eligible to receive the vaccine since April 5. The governor’s office could not immediately be reached to confirm whether these were Foster’s children and if they had also been vaccinated.
“This is a partisan attack from a garbage white nationalist website,” spokesman Bobby Leddy said in a statement. “Trish Foster is fully recovered from COVID and fully vaccinated.”
He pointed to new Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines stating that fully vaccinated people can travel within the U.S. without quarantining or getting tested after.
During remarks on April 2, Whitmer recommended that everyone get tested after any kind of travel, even in-state. Michigan has led the nation in Covid-19 cases for seven consecutive weeks, and is now reporting over 7,000 coronavirus infections per day.
Whitmer has repeatedly expressed concern about Spring Breakers traveling to Florida. She urged people returning from the Sunshine State to work from home for a week or have their children learn remotely for a week.
When considering where to go and what to do in France your choices add up to an embarrassment of riches. While France is one of the safer countries it’s important when planning a trip as a solo lady traveler or with a group of women to keep safely and security top of mind. Personally I’ve walked through Paris completely alone late at night and have not been at all worried, but as a solo female traveler it is always a bit safer to travel in a group. After deciding whether you’ll go solo or in a group, then you have the difficult decision of deciding where in this great country to land. I have compiled, in no particular order, what I believe to be 12 of the best trips for women traveling together (or solo) to France.
When one thinks of Normandy, particularly as a Brit or an American, D-day probably comes instantly to mind. However, Normandy is so much more than the Normandy Invasion and Omaha Beach. But that piece of history is just the tip of the iceberg.
Normandy produces some of the most delicious French food products; creamy Pont L’Eveque cheese comes to mind first, followed closely by cidre (alcoholic apple cider) and Calvados (an apple brandy). Then there is the lesser known pommeau, which is basically a combination of Calvados and apple juice which is incredibly delicious and refreshing.
One can’t get through a sentence about Normandy without mentioning one of the most visited places in France, Mont St. Michel, the stunning abbey on a hill set on an island in the English Channel. But have you heard of Etretat? This rocky geological formation will take your breath away as well as the outstanding gardens which can be visited nearby. A group of women traveling together are heading to Normandy in September of 2021 assuming France has opened and you’ve been vaccinated. My company, Girls’ Guide to Paris, offers risk-free booking on all trips, so if things are not where they need to be Covid-wise you’ll be safe….we’ll postpone and you can always go in 2022. But I’m keeping my fingers crossed!
2. Provence & the Riviera
These illustrious areas of France are well known the world over, however a girl’s trip must include some shopping and something a bit out of the ordinary… n’est-ce pas? Our excursion to this part of the Hexagon includes not only the tried and true but in addition we’ll escort you on our women-only tour to the seaside town of Marseille to check out its new avant-garde Mucem, now one of the top 50 most visited museums in the world which has helped revitalize the entire city.
We’ll wander down the streets of the Noailles area which has been spiffied up and is now terribly posh with darling shops and cafés. Of course we’ll have some bouillabaisse to round out the experience. Then we’ll venture over to Cassis. Beyond being a black current liqueur it is also what many believe to be the most picture-perfect seaside town on the entire riviera. Everyone knows of Cannes, Nice & St. Tropez, but Cassis is infinitely more charming than all of those.
I have a real soft spot for Bordeaux. After several visits to the region and subsequently falling head over heals in love with this sunny part of France, we bought a home on the Dordogne river in the Gironde region over a decade ago. We are just 15 minutes east of the legendary and idyllic medieval village of St. Emilion, the ancient town which has one of only two underground churches in France. At the end of the summer we have a writing retreat with three well known lady writers, who specialize in fiction, travel writing and non-fiction. The exciting part is that we will be staying at a Chateau for extra inspiration during the week. I believe there’s just one space left.
Curiously Corsica isn’t on the top of everyone’s list but let me tell you why it should be. The birthplace of Napoleon, it’s both wild and rugged yet home to some of the most posh resorts on the Med. It’s an island which belongs to France but has an Italian soul – this means for women traveling together you’ll find outstanding French and Italian food as well as gorgeous unctuous wines and beautiful beaches. Like many islands it has an independent character and culture all to its own.
One of the most amazing things about this stunning island lying in the Mediterranean Sea is the way it smells. When you step off the plane or your ferry you’ll smell a delightful herbal concoction, something you can’t quite pinpoint. You’ll soon discover that it’s the maquis, a mix of herbs that grow wild all over the island. This is what Mother Earth Magazine said about this odiferous place. “Imagine standing on a fragrant hillside surrounded by eucalyptus, juniper, laurel, rosemary, highly scented shrubs of the rock rose family, heather, myrtle, sage, mint, thyme and lavender. Add to that more than a dozen aromatic flowers that grow only in Corsica and you’ll get an idea of the heady, clean aroma that infuses the island’s air. More than 2,500 species of wildflowers grow in Corsica, and about 250 of these are native to the island.” That alone is reason to go.
The Aveyron in the middle of France is not known to the masses; the lucky few have kept it a secret destination for their pleasure only. Some hearty English have discovered it and the French adore it, but why? I believe it is because it’s truly unspoiled. Rolling hills, rivers and valleys carpet the region as do ancient medieval towns. Part of the pilgrimage route to Compostelle comes through these parts and the food is rich and hearty, filling enough to feed a hard-working farmer. Aligot, a mixture of whipped potatoes and cheese, is something that dreams are made of.
The area boasts many a plus beaux village as well as castle ruins, 1000-year old bridges, tales of Cathars, and prestigious Chateaux. But its not all history, on our tour of the region we’ll visit one of the top chefs in France and one of the oldest and most important still-living artists in the country. I’ve not yet met one person whom I introduced to this area who didn’t fall completely in love.
6. The Loire
Visiting the most beautiful Loire Chateaux is a chance to bring out your inner princess. As we romp from chateau to castle we always stop and smell the flowers. One of the most stunning gardens in all of Europe lies in the Loire and some of the best whites and red in all of France are made here. We take tasting to another level as we set out on a classic flat bottomed boat with the only wine-maker/captain on the Loire River. On this excursion we stay in 3 exemplary hotels, one which is part of a nearly 1000 year old abbey, the next which is a Chateau and the third which stares down the largest Chateau of all. If there ever was a region built for women to explore, the Loire surely would win the contest.
7. Paris & Versailles
Of all the women one thinks of when you think of France, Marie Antoinette remains at the top of the list. Brought over to marry the prince at the tender age of 14….I’d venture to guess that most of you know the rest of the story. But the interesting part is always in the details, n’est-ce pas?
It’s one thing to go to Paris and Versailles and see the sights, it’s a wholly different thing to go with an expert who can provide a framework in which to see these two iconic places. I believe looking at a city through a particular lens – be that history, art, food, architecture or anything else that interests you – helps define the place in a way that it can more easily be absorbed. So we present Paris & Versailles via the life and times of Marie Antoinette.
Princess Carolyn summers here, Nostradamus was born here and Van Gogh stayed here. This small, perfect Provençal village is the ideal headquarters for your first or 10th tour of Provence.
Tiny shops abound with darling and delicious items, superb restaurants are around ever corner and there are even Roman ruins nearby. This overgrown village has it all for women traveling together to France. Our first ever trip headed here and it remains one of our most popular.
9. Finding Literary & Artistic France
So many of the great artists and writers inspired by France were men, no doubt. But what about Zelda Fitzgerald; would there have been a Great Gatsby without her? Baroness Béatrice de Rothschild was responsible for one of the greatest mansions on the Riviera, the Villa Euphrussi. The Museum of the Romantic in Paris was critical to George Sand, the writer who had to assume a male nom de plume. Calling all book-club groups and fans of literature, this special trip to Paris, Provence and the Rivera will help us all discover why France itself acted as a muse for both the great artists and writers of the day.
Many women traveling together have shopping the Christmas Markets in Europe on their bucket list. If you want to walk straight into a Christmas fairytale then come shop the markets in Alsace in December. It’s not just the shopping that attracts one to this region. The wines from Alsace are legendary and by and large they aren’t sweet, contrary to popular opinion. There is also an imposing castle to visit and picture perfect villages – many rating as the most beautiful in France (les plus beaux village de France). Especially during the holidays this part of France is a literal sugar-plum fairy dream come true.
11. Chateau de Chantilly
There’s a chateau just outside of Paris where whipped cream was invented, which has exceptional gardens designed by Le Notre and where the most prestigious horse races in France are held. Do you know it? Many do not, yet it hides in plain sight. Our in-house Garden Historian has planned this garden lovers fantasy tour for 2022 during June at the very height of the best blooms of the season. It’s also during the Prix de Diane horse race when ladies sport the most outlandish and lavish summer hats. On this garden adventure you’ll visit Claude Monet’s Giverny, the best rose garden in Paris, a private petite Chateau where Marie Antoinette used to attend illicit parties, plus you’ll explore secret gardens that I promise you’ve never heard of but which will make your jaw drop in awe.
12. Brittany Beaches
Brittany is so many things. It’s mysterious (think of the ancient stones of Carnac). It’s scrumptious (think of Kouign Aman pastries, briny oysters and buckwheat crêpes). It’s bewitching (think of the crashing sea and the charming petite Breton islands). It’s fascinating (think of Breton culture and how its unique in all of France). It’s architecturally interesting (think of half-timbered buildings, Roman cloisters and imposing forts, lighthouses and pink granite chateaux). And it’s salty – consider the salt farms of Guérande. If that’s not enough, buying the quintessential Breton striped shirt will put a smile on almost every girl’s face. Brittany must be visited in summer, and so we’re heading there in summer of 2022.
NOTE: Mention this article when you inquire to [email protected] and receive a $200 USD credit towards any trip you choose to France!
Author Doni Belau is founder of GirlsGuidetoParis.com and author of Paris Cocktails. She has an apartment in Paris as a place on the river outside of Bordeaux in Southwestern France that she shares with her husband, her two grown children and their puppy, Hugo.
After all, this time of the year marks the beginning of spring when life is renewed.
One also takes pleasure in cakes and good eats to end the sacrifice of Lent.
This year, walking around modest Swiss villages, I encounter distinctive Easter activities.
In my home town of Nyon, fountains are decorated by local school children whereas along Lake Geneva, I see trees festooned with hard-boiled eggs that are dyed and beautifully decorated.
As I sit in my tiny apartment waiting for the world to open up, I think about other Easter traditions that make the world a more vivid place to live in.
With its optimistic spirit, Easter is a good time to anticipate better days after the pandemic.
No meal in Sweden is complete without pickled fish and potatoes, so for Easter, Swedish families enjoy the same dishes as an elaborate smorgasbord.
Traditional dishes include pickled herring, cured salmon and also Jansson’s Temptation, which is potato, onion and pickled anchovies baked in cream. The meal is enjoyed with shots of alcohol (schnapps), which are spiced with seasonal ingredients.
The Swedes also enjoy paskmust, a dark-brown soft drink infused with spices and malt extract.
Egg-cellent tip: Children may not be able to indulge in schnapps and spiced lager, but they do take centre stage during Easter and dress up as Easter witches (paskkarring) who ask friendly neighbours for candy in exchange for handmade Easter letters.
Throughout Latin America, Easter is a time to cleanse the soul and be rid of evil.
On Holy Saturday, re-enactments of events such as the burning of the disciple Judas who betrayed Jesus and the resurrection of Christ take place, with passionate performances by kids in many villages.
The largest theatrical play is in Iztapalapa, Mexico City. More than 5,000 people take part in this play that dates back to 1843.
Food plays a huge role during the two-week Easter celebrations. Fish replaces red meat, with fish soup and lima beans (pipian) being a popular dish.
Also well-loved is a bread-and-butter pudding made with dried fruit and a creamy custard (capirotada). The sweet symbolises crucifixion, with cinnamon sticks forming a cross.
Egg-cellent tip: Aguas frescas, which is a zesty and fruity tamarind mocktail, is served on the streets during the warm Easter days.
The architectural wonders of cathedrals in both cities and villages form the perfect backdrop for Easter celebrations.
I remember being in Tuscany during Easter and not being able to enjoy one of its greatest dishes, wild boar, because it was Good Friday.
But this is also the best time to enjoy a traditional Easter cake called colomba di pasqua. Shaped like a dove – the bird which flew to the Biblical character Noah after a global flood, with an olive branch in its beak – the cake is similar to the Christmas panettone studded with candied fruit and almonds.
Egg-cellent tip: Enjoy Italy’s best colomba from Tiri Bakery. It is created with a 60-year-old recipe in the region of Basilicata, where the Cathedral of San Gerardo stands.
Eggs symbolise new life and in the tiny south-western village of Bessieres, people gather with huge paddles in the early morning to cook an omelette with more than 15,000 eggs, a dozen chefs at the helm. In my favourite region, Alsace, Easter markets sell chocolate and gingerbread sweets. For lunch on Easter Sunday, an Easter pate (pate de paques berrichon, right) is served alongside spring lamb.
Egg-cellent tip: For dessert, the French go for either a buttery brioche (mouna) or a “little bird’s nest” cake made of chocolate (petit nids de paques), which I enjoy.
The lively people of Bermuda celebrate Easter on the beach.
The Sargasso Sea, with its sandy pink beaches and blue waves, is a lovely place to gather on Good Friday and fly kites.
The Bermuda kites are structured with a cross, while their flight represents the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday.
After all the fun, families go home and feast on hot cross buns – and these are my favourite when lightly toasted and served with lashings of butter.
Egg-cellent tip: Try another Easter speciality – cod fish cakes.
With 26 cantons in Switzerland, there are myriad Easter traditions to be savoured.
Easter brunch on Sunday after church includes zopf, a buttery brioche usually formed in a twisted braid, but appears as a bunny during Easter. This is served alongside cheese and sausages.
Easter in this chocolate-loving country is extra indulgent with chocolate bunnies. The Swiss queue up at their favourite chocolatiers for marzipan-filled bunnies.
Egg-cellent tip: Ski resorts were the only destinations open during the pandemic and locals – and future tourists – will no doubt travel to Zermatt, where the ski season extends into summer.
•Based in Geneva, the Australia-born writer is the author of Chefs Collective and writes on food, wine and travel.
Getting around Disney Property can be harrowing! When free options like buses, monorails and watercraft are matched against the possible speed of cars, which do you choose? How do you know which will be the fastest for your destination, or if you should splurge on a fancy Minnie Van? We break down when and how you should use each transportation option while traveling on Disney Property. Hakuna Matata!
When to Take a Disney Bus
Buses are quite ubiquitous on Disney Property. Buses connect each Park, Resort, and attraction point like supreme ant tunnels. Buses are plentiful, but most routes are running on a 20-minute circuit. So if you see a bus at your stop, take it! There are going to be fewer ways quicker (or cheaper!) to get from one place to another than jumping on a Disney bus right at your stop.
That being said, there will be times when a bus leaves full of passengers and another busload of Guests in line in front of you. When that happens, there might be faster ways to get where you’re going. Check the options below for alternatives to buses or connect a few to get you to your magical destination. Completely lost? Visit the folks at planDisney for a full, free, personalized answer to get you back and forth during your Disney vacation.
When to Use Your Own Car
Many Disney Guests opt to drive to Walt Disney World Resort and park for free using their Annual Pass in the Disney Theme Park lots (yup, it’s included, no matter how many times you visit). It’s certainly a much faster way to arrive at a theme park for Rope Drop (no waiting in the bus lines or at the TTC) and you’ll have very little hassle. However, keep in mind that parking at your Disney Resort hotel will have a nightly fee based on your Resort. This added cost keeps many from driving as transportation.
Speed over to Disney Springs and park at no fee (unless you choose valet) for quick shopping or dining trips. The bus service can lack at Disney Springs, leaving guests to wait for much longer than 20-30 minutes.
Visit the Mini Golf Courses via car (or rideshare) as there is no other way to access them easily while traveling on Disney Property.
Likewise, if you choose to rent a car after you arrive at Walt Disney World Resort, you’ll have the same benefits or driving around on your own schedule, but you’ll face a few more fees. The Car Care Center offers Guests rentals through Alamo Rent-A-Car and National Car Rental, along with offering car seats and a complimentary shuttle. Dial (407) 824-3470 ext. 1. to connect to the Car Care Center.
When to RideShare
An Uber or Lyft (Lyft is the official Orlando rideshare service of Walt Disney World Resort) can take you almost anywhere on the property, except to the front of Magic Kingdom. Because Minnie Vans and bus service are the only vehicles allowed to this point, all rideshares will drop you to the Ticket and Transportation Center for Magic Kingdom service. Rates will vary, as using Uber or Lyft on Disney property works the same as it does off-property. Uber and Lyft are great options for Disney Hotel & Resort hopping or Park Hopping without waiting for a Monorail, Bus or Boat.
Rideshare vehicles can also take you to Disney Springs (there are two drop locations, each at the far west and far east side of the shopping district), but if you are not near a pickup location, it can be quite a trek to return to the rideshare lot. Think about where you are visiting when using rideshares at Disney Springs.
When (and How) to Call A Minnie Van
If you aren’t familiar with Minnie Vans, they are Chevy Traverse and Suburban vehicles that seat 6 guests and offer two Graco Forever Car Seats to Disney Guests looking to travel around on Disney property. The Minnie Vans cost a premium and are priced based on distance traveled from pick-up location to your requested destination within Walt Disney World Resort, alongside a base fee. As of 2019, the base rate was at least $15 with a $2.75 PER MILE charge. You’ll see the total cost before you call the car and be able to pay for the service conveniently through the Lyft app on your Smartphone. Don’t have a smartphone? A concierge can also call the van for you.
The main advantage of calling for a Minnie Van is arrival at Magic Kingdom. A long haul ride from a distant Resort Hotel like Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge to Magic Kingdom for either early dining reservations or a rope drop with Extra Magic Hours on Dapper Day is made easier with a pickup from a Minnie Van. They are the only rideshare vehicles that can arrive right at the touchpoint gates, cutting transport time in half!
Here’s a short tutorial on how to call for a Minnie Van and what you can expect to see inside!
When to Take the Disney Monorail
Many Disney Guests will talk about the “Monorail Loop”! There are 3 Resort Hotels (Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and Disney’s Contemporary Resort) on this loop, the Ticket and Transportation Center, and Magic Kingdom on the main Monorail Loop. Guests can transfer to the EPCOT line at the TTC. Traveling to and from any of these destinations? The Disney Monorail makes quick work of these destinations.
When to Take the Watercrafts
Using Disney’s Watercrafts for transportation depends on where you are and where you’re going. Not all of Disney’s bodies of water are connected, leaving some guests at a loss when using the system. There are few circuits on Bay Lake. One includes Magic Kingdom to TTC exclusively with large Riverboat-like transfer vehicles. The second connects Magic Kingdom to Disney’s Grand Floridian and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, going in a constant triangle. The third goes in another triangle between Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground. The fourth, lesser-used option is a connection between Disney’s Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground and Magic Kingdom, for which Guests bound for Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue utilize.
None of these routes will change, but you can see how a Disney Guest might go from the TTC to Magic Kingdom, and either walk to Disney’s Contemporary Resort and boat to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge or take a watercraft to Disney’s Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground and then transfer from that dock.
On to the other side of Disney Property, there is another circuit of boats connecting EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, stopping at Disney’s Beach Club, Disney’s Yacht Club, Boardwalk Inn and Villas and the Swan and Dolphin Hotels. This separate Crescent Lake circuit doesn’t cross over to the Bay Lake boats.
Lastly, there is a Resort boat service to Disney Springs from Disney’s Port Orleans Resorts, as well as Saratoga Springs Resorts and Disney’s Old Key West. The “Sassagoula River Cruise” is a 20-minute boat ride from the Port Orleans Riverside Resort’s dock to the Disney Springs shopping district, and should be experienced at least once rather than the bus line, which can be infrequent.
When to use the Skyliner
The new and shiny Disney Skyliner is a ski-resort style gondola system that transports guests to and from select resort hotels, EPCOT, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The best use of the Skyliner is park hopping between these two parks, as waiting for the watercraft (and it’s many subsequent stops) can be a lengthy process. It takes about 12 minutes to travel from Disney’s Pop Century Resort at one end of the line to EPCOT at the other end.
Smoothly passing through Disney Resorts such as Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and Disney’s Riviera Resort or passing through Grand Central to Disney’s Art of Animation Resort or Pop Century Resort is another option for those Guests traveling in the air.
How do you hope from place to place when Traveling on Disney Property? Leave us a comment below about your favorite travel tip!
Alan Crowhurst/Getty ImagesQueen Elizabeth’s tenth great-grandchild was born Sunday—on the bathroom floor.Princess Anne’s daughter, Zara Tindall, and her husband, the former England rugby player Mike, had not been planning a home birth but were unable to make it in time to the hospital when the baby, a boy who is 22nd in line to the throne, arrived with a minimum of pomp and circumstance.The unusually informal circumstances of the latest royal birth were disclosed by Mike Tindall on the sports podcast The Good, The Bad and The Rugby.Mike said that after watching rugby matches all weekend: “Sunday got even better because a little baby boy arrived at my house.”As his co-hosts showered him with congratulations, Tindall said he was feeling “brilliant” after the birth at 6 p.m. Sunday.At the time the podcast was recorded, the couple had not chosen a name, with Tindall saying, “We always struggle with that, we have never picked one before they arrive.” However, a spokesperson for the couple subsequently said Wednesday, “Zara and Mike Tindall are happy to announce the birth of their third child, Lucas Philip Tindall.” The baby’s second name is a tribute to Prince Philip, who is due to turn 100 in June. He will have no title as Princess Anne’s children were not given “HRH” styling at her request to enable them to lead more normal lives.A Buckingham Palace spokesman said, “The queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are delighted with the news and look forward to meeting their 10th great-grandchild when circumstances allow.”Asked if the baby was “bonny,” Tindall said he weighed eight pounds four ounces and arrived “very quickly.”“We didn’t make it to hospital. On the bathroom floor,” he said.Asked if he was hands-on at the birth, Tindall revealed that a friend of Zara’s who had been present at the birth of the couple’s previous children was on hand again.“She was there and recognized that we wouldn’t have got to hospital in time, so yeah, it was running to the gym, get a mat, get into the bathroom, get the mat on the floor, towels down, brace, brace, brace.”Tindall added, “Fortunately the midwife who was going to meet us at the hospital wasn’t that far away so she drove up, and got there just as we’d assumed the position. The second midwife arrived just after the head had arrived!”Mike said, “As every man would say, she was a warrior, they always are, we can never judge a woman in terms of what they have to go through in childbirth. She was back up, we went for a walk this morning with him and it’s all good.”Tindall said he cut the cord: “I was literally like, ‘Snip. Snip-snip. I got a boy, I’m out of here.’Tindall added, “The best thing about being at home was, as soon as he’s wrapped up, skin on skin, [we went] straight downstairs, TV room, golf on, and I’m like, ‘This is what you and me are doing.’”He said he also watched a vintage rugby game from 1996 with his newborn son.“The training has begun already, twelve hours in,” his co-host joked.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is considering expanding efforts to monitor possible domestic terrorism threats through surveillance of travel patterns of individuals, it said on Wednesday.
“Domestic violent extremism poses the most lethal, persistent terrorism-related threat to our homeland today. DHS is committed to improving security and is reviewing options for enhancing screening and vetting protocols and travel pattern analyses, consistent with privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties,” a DHS spokesperson told Reuters.
Precise details were unclear for how the DHS is going to step up screening of domestic travelers for possible extremist ties or intentions. The Biden administration has emphasized in recent weeks the threat that homegrown, violent individuals, including white supremacists, present to the country.
Department of Homeland Security chief Alejandro Mayorkas told lawmakers this month that domestic violent extremism is the “greatest threat” to the United States.
U.S. intelligence agencies also warned in a report https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/21_0301_odni_unclass-summary-of-dve-assessment-17_march-final_508.pdf that domestic violent extremists, or DVEs “motivated by a range of ideologies” pose an elevated threat in the United States in 2021, including “lone offenders,” who pose significant challenges, “because of their capacity for independent radicalizationto violence, ability to mobilize discretely, and access to firearms.”
Founded after the Sept. 11 attacks, the vast, 240,000 employee DHS is tasked with everything from immigration policy to airport security.
DHS’s moves, first reported by Politico, are likely to attract skepticism from the FBI, which is principally responsible for tracking and investigating domestic terrorism threats and cases, and from members of Congress and civil libertarians concerned about government spying.
A spokesperson for the Justice Department referred requests for comment to the FBI, which declined to comment.
Two sources familiar with Congressional scrutiny of intelligence agencies said that key Congressional oversight officials had not been informed of DHS’s plans to expand domestic counter-terrorism surveillance.
(Reporting By Mark Hosenball and Ted Hesson; Editing by Heather Timmons and David Gregorio)
CHICAGO — Chicagoans should reconsider any travel plans they had for Thanksgiving, the city’s top doctor warned Tuesday.
COVID-19 is surging throughout the United States, and the majority of the country is now on Chicago’s Emergency Travel Order. Chicago’s own outbreak is considered out of control, with new cases doubling every nine days. Hospitalizations and deaths are quickly climbing throughout Illinois.
That means anyone coming to or from Chicago carries a risk of spreading coronavirus, Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said at a Tuesday coronavirus update.
“As you’re thinking ahead — perhaps to Thanksgiving — please keep this map in mind,” Arwady said while showing a map of all the states on Chicago’s quarantine list. “Traveling is a concern right now.
“When we are coming from Chicago or from Illinois and traveling out, we are bringing a potential risk of COVID. When people are coming to Chicago from most of the country at this point, they’re bringing an elevated risk of COVID.”
Thanksgiving falls on Nov. 26 this year, meaning it’s less than a month away.
Arwady said she hopes Chicago can regain control of its COVID-19 outbreak before then — but that seems unlikely due to how quickly Chicago is surging. New cases are growing as quickly as they did during the deadly first wave in the spring.
“I am not planning to travel this Thanksgiving unless we see significant improvements in this map,” Arwady said. “And I would encourage you — especially if you normally are getting together with people who are older or have underlying health conditions — to think seriously about whether this is the year for travel.”
Families and friends traditionally gather on Thanksgiving, eating and spending time together. But as with Halloween, Easter, Rosh Hashanah and other holidays this year, gathering has proven dangerous due to the pandemic.
Arwady, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and state officials have urged people to stop gathering in groups and to stop inviting people into their homes. They’ve said most of Chicago’s COVID-19 spread is happening in small groups at home, here people let down their guards and don’t wear masks or keep 6 feet of distance.
Arwady said city officials are especially concerned about college students who tend to travel a lot between their families and schools during Thanksgiving. That creates “the potential for seeing even more surge,” she said.
While city and state officials have urged people not to have holiday gatherings or have people over, Arwady said people should, at the least, wear masks and keep 6 feet of distance if they do invite non-household members into their homes.
And people should be particularly thoughtful about gatherings if any people are more at risk of COVID-19 — like those who are elderly or have underlying health conditions — or if members of their households are more at risk, Arwady said.
“My hope is that a month from now, we’ll be in a better place,” Arwady said. “But that’s not the way the numbers are heading now. And I want to be honest with you about what that risk is looking like.”
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Prince Harry has reportedly spoken with both his brother and father following his recent bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey. But apparently, they didn’t make a lot of progress. Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, recently sat down with Winfrey for a jaw-dropping interview, in which they spoke out about their decision to step back from the royal family, and on Tuesday, CBS News’ Gayle King revealed new details about the aftermath. King, who said she called Harry and Meghan over the weekend to find out how they were doing, reports that Harry has spoken with his brother, Prince William, and his father, Prince Charles, since the interview. “The word I was given was that those conversations were not productive,” King said, “but they are glad that they have at least started a conversation.” Prince William responded to his brother’s interview for the first time last week, saying “we are very much not a racist family” and that he planned to speak with Harry. One of the most stunning claims from the interview was that there were allegedly “concerns” in the royal family about how dark the skin color of Meghan’s baby Archie would be when he was born. Though the Duke and Duchess of Sussex didn’t reveal who made these remarks, Harry told Winfrey that Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip weren’t involved. Buckingham Palace released a statement on behalf of the queen after the interview aired, promising that Meghan’s allegations “will be addressed by the family privately.” King said Tuesday, though, that what’s “still upsetting” to Harry and Meghan is that “the palace keeps saying they want to work it out privately, but yet they believe these false stories are coming out that are very disparaging against Meghan still.” King added that no one in the royal family has spoken with Meghan since the interview at this time. .@GayleKing checked in with Prince Harry & Meghan this weekend: “Harry has talked to his brother and he has talked to his father, too. The word I was given was those conversations were not productive. But they are glad that they have at least started a conversation.” pic.twitter.com/fe0ATukkYw — CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) March 16, 2021 More stories from theweek.comCuomo vs. Inslee: A COVID-19 tale of two governorsTenet was robbedTrump urges his supporters to get inoculated with the ‘great’ and ‘safe’ COVID-19 vaccines