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Headlines UK London

RAF veteran, 99, is STILL waiting for vaccine appointment a month after scheme began

An RAF veteran who is about to turn 100 says he is still waiting for his Covid vaccination a month after the scheme started, as a Sage adviser calls on Number 10 to make it compulsory for NHS staff to get the jab.

Arthur Clark, a widower and great-grandfather of four said he had been trying to get an appointment since Christmas, leading his local MP to brand the vaccination roll out ‘shambolic’.

Speaking to MailOnline from his home in Beckenham, south east London, 99-year-old Mr Clark said: ‘It’s very annoying, I thought I’d been lost in the system.’ He added: ‘I appreciate it takes a while to get round to everyone, but I would have thought they’d have tried to give people of my age priority.’

The Government is aiming to get the first dose of the vaccine to 13million Britons – all over 70s, care home residents and frontline healthcare workers – by mid-February, before rolling it out to other age groups. 

Only 1.5million have received at least one dose so far — meaning there are another 11.5million to dish out in 39 days, or around 300,000 a day.

Boris Johnson yesterday announced he will bring in the Army to bolster the UK’s vaccination drive and claimed the NHS will be able to give 200,000 jabs every day by next Friday.

With the administration of vaccines the only light at the end of the tunnel, the Prime Minister yesterday reassured the public there are enough doses available. He also pledged to offer every care home resident a jab by the end of January and announced a new national online booking system that is hoped will be speed up the process.

Ministers are aiming to ramp up vaccinations to a mammoth two million a week, with NHS England boss Sir Simon Stevens yesterday praising the UK for its ‘strong start’ but admitting there will be ‘difficulties’ and ‘bumps along the road’ as they scramble to hit the target. 

It comes as Professor Michael Parker, on the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), calls for mandatory jabs for NHS staff which could slash the risk of the virus spreading through hospitals, meaning fewer NHS workers would need to self-isolate and fewer patients would catch the disease on the wards. 

But, he warned, the programme may be derailed in the early stages because of mounting hospital admissions, with more than 10,000 Covid patients being admitted since Christmas Day – enough to fill 20 hospitals. 

The number of doctors and nurses off sick or self-isolating due to the coronavirus has quadrupled since September, leaked NHS England figures reveal. As many as 46,400 doctors and nurses are unable to attend shifts, reports The Independent, which is almost four times as high as the 12,382 reported on September 2.

Arthur Clark, 99, an RAF veteran, says he is yet to receive his Covid vaccination despite the programme starting a month ago

Arthur Clark, from Beckenham in south east London, with his family

Mr Clark pictured in his RAF uniform

Speaking to MailOnline from his home in Beckenham, south east London, the great grandfather of four said he had been trying to get an appointment since Christmas. Pictured, left, is Arthur with his family and, right, as an RAF serviceman

Professor Michael Parker suggested it should be made mandatory for frontline NHS staff to get the jab. Above is nurse Sue Toye, 51, being vaccinated at Coventry Health Centre yesterday

Professor Michael Parker suggested it should be made mandatory for frontline NHS staff to get the jab. Above is nurse Sue Toye, 51, being vaccinated at Coventry Health Centre yesterday

The number of doctors off due to the virus has quadrupled since September. Above are Covid-19 absences as a proportion of all absences registered at the NHS since the pandemic began

The number of doctors off due to the virus has quadrupled since September. Above are Covid-19 absences as a proportion of all absences registered at the NHS since the pandemic began

PFIZER’S VACCINE IS EFFECTIVE AGAINST COVID SOUTH AFRICAN AND UK MUTATION

Pfizer/BioNTech’s Covid vaccine appears to be effective against the super-transmissible UK and South African strains of the virus, according to a study by the US drugmaker. 

The research – which hasn’t been peer reviewed yet – will calm international fears about the new variants, which top experts said had the potential to evade the current wave of jabs.

Pfizer and scientists from the University of Texas Medical Branch indicated the vaccine was effective in neutralizing virus with the so-called N501Y mutation of the spike protein.

The mutation could be responsible for greater transmissibility and there had been concern it could also make the virus escape antibody neutralization elicited by the vaccine, said Phil Dormitzer, one of Pfizer’s top viral vaccine scientists.

The study was conducted on blood taken from people who had been given the vaccine. Its findings are limited, because it does not look at the full set of mutations found in either of the new variants of the rapidly spreading virus.

Dormitzer said it was encouraging that the vaccine appears effective against the mutation, as well as 15 other mutations the company has previously tested against.

‘So we’ve now tested 16 different mutations, and none of them have really had any significant impact. That’s the good news,’ he said. ‘That doesn’t mean that the 17th won’t.’

As Britain prepared to ramp up vaccinations:

  • As many as 100,000 Britons abroad have five days to get home or face being banned without a negative Covid test;
  • Drivers are turned away from England’s beauty spots while police question parents with pushchairs;
  • Welsh lockdown is extended for three more weeks with schools and colleges shut until February;
  • Care home workers with Covid are told to stay in work due to mounting staff shortages;
  • Pfizer’s vaccine does work against the South African and UK strains of coronavirus, study finds;
  • National Express suspends all coach services due to new lockdown and plummeting passenger numbers;
  • Stanley Johnson reveals he is due to get his second Covid jab today after getting the first before Christmas;

Mr Clark told MailOnline: ‘Every night on the TV and the radio the government are telling everyone what a great job they’re doing, but it doesn’t feel that way from where I’m sitting.’

Mr Clark, a former RAF airman, served in the Far East during World War Two and witnessed the liberation of Burma in 1945.

He also met Lord Louis Mountbatten, then Supreme Allied Commander in SE Asia, when the pair were introduced around the time of Burma’s liberation from the Japanese. 

Mr Clark lives with his 89-year-old partner, Joyce Stewart, who likewise has heard nothing about an appointment for a jab.

He said he assumed he had ‘slipped through the cracks’ in the system, but MailOnline found he’s one of thousands of over 80s in his area alone still waiting for an appointment for their first injection.

The SE London Clinical Commissioning Group which is in charge of the roll-out programme said several thousand people are in the same situation and urged them to ‘wait for an appointment’. 

Brian Clark, 73 and Mr Clark’s son, described the process of trying to book an appointment: ‘It took ages to get through as the number was engaged, but when I did, they referred me to a local vaccination hub at the Beacon urgent care centre.

‘They in turn suggested I ring a central vaccination booking line run by the NHS, but I waited on the phone for two hours without being answered.

‘It’s unbelievable that a man of 99 years old hasn’t yet been vaccinated – or even given an appointment time – a month after they started doing it.’ 

Mr Clark’s Labour MP Ellie Reeves said: ‘This just shows the shambolic truth behind the government’s empty promises about getting 2 million people a week vaccinated.’

‘When a 99-year-old constituent can’t even find out when he’s likely to receive his vaccination a month into the roll-out programme, it is very concerning. 

‘My poor constituent is stuck at home in a very vulnerable position waiting to hear when he’ll get his first vaccination, let alone the second dose.

Professor Parker, who is also an expert in population health at the University of Oxford, cautioned NHS workers should be mandated to get the jab.

Boris Johnson has brought in the Army to turbo charge the UK's Covid vaccine roll out

Boris Johnson has brought in the Army to turbo charge the UK’s Covid vaccine roll out

He told a virtual Royal Society of Medicine briefing on vaccine hesitancy, reports The Telegraph: ‘There is a strong case for certainly saying healthcare workers working with vulnerable groups (should get the vaccine)… there is a strong case for compulsion.’

But he added the move would be ‘complicated’ because there is a ‘huge amount of stress on the NHS’.

‘The last thing we want is loads of people leaving because they don’t want a vaccination,’ he said. ‘Let’s be realistic.’

He also said it should be a disciplinary offence for doctors and nurses to try to put members of the public off the vaccine, and mentioned a situation where a nurse tried to encourage him not to get a jab.

In yesterday’s Downing St press conference Brigadier Phil Prosser, the army officer and Iraq veteran put in charge of speeding up the UK’s sluggish vaccination programme, insisted the military would use ‘battlefield techniques’ to ramp up the roll-out, adding: ‘My team are used to complexity and building supply chains at speed in the most arduous and challenging conditions.’

Ministry of Defence chiefs were instructed to devise the plans to hit the PM’s lofty target of vaccinating all over-70s, care home residents and staff, frontline NHS workers and extremely vulnerable adults of all ages to end the endless cycle of lockdowns by mid-February.

The NHS operation, considered the biggest vaccination drive in British history, will involve more than 100 soldiers next week with almost 1,500 reserve troops on standby. And as many as seven mass vaccination centres are set to open in England to aide the roll-out, set up in locations including sports stadiums and London’s ExCeL centre. 

So far the UK’s vaccination scheme has been plagued by supply and staffing shortages, logistical problems and bureaucratic barriers that have strangled its scale-up.

Hugely ambitious claims about the Government’s vaccination programme will cause worry from some corners after it failed to live up to promises on its swab-testing scheme.

Matt Hancock had promised the programme would hit 100,000 tests per day by the start of May – and claimed at the time that it did – but it later emerged the Department of Health had posted out tens of thousands and counted them, and that the number never breached six figures until three weeks later on May 21.

And Boris Johnson promised in the summer that NHS Test and Trace would scale up to get everyone who visited a major testing centre their results within 24 hours, but this target has never been achieved. 

Missing the mark on vaccinating could have far worse consequences, with Britain stuck in lockdown until the most vulnerable people can all be immunised.

Mr Johnson’s mammoth jab pledge — which critics fear he won’t be able to deliver because it is over-ambitious — came after Britain yesterday recorded 1,162 Covid deaths in the second worst day of the pandemic. Department of Health data shows only April 21 had a worse death toll than today, when 1,224 victims were declared. 

Experts fear the daily number of Covid deaths may rise further, because of the spiralling number of infections in the community. But in a slight glimmer of hope, cases dropped compared to last week as health bosses posted 52,618 infections — down 6 per cent from the same time last week.

The figures mark the tenth day in a row Britain has recorded more than 50,000 new infections, as the virus continues to spread across the country.

It takes at least two weeks for someone who has been infected with the virus to develop symptoms bad enough to become hospitalised, and eventually sadly die from the disease, meaning the deaths are expected to rise at a later date.

People in their 20s now have the highest rate of coronavirus infection in England, with 0.8 per cent of the population infected.

Public Health England figures show young adults – between the ages of 20 and 39 and, to a lesser extent, people in their 40s – are the worst affected groups but case numbers are surging in every age group.

In the week ending January 3 there were 843 positive tests per 100,000 people among 20 to 29-year-olds, compared to 813 per 100,000 in people in their 30s. 

The figures rose 40 per cent and 31 per cent, respectively, with the 20s age group overtaking the 30s as the one with the highest rate.

The rate for people in their 40s was 738 per 100,000, the third worst and up a quarter in a week.

Some of the lowest rates of infection were in children, ranging from 194 in under-fives to 435 in teenagers, but they were still rising despite school holidays. 

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Entertainment USA

Ashli Babbitt: 5 Things To Know About Air Force Veteran Who Was Shot & Killed During Riots At Capitol

Ashli Babbitt was identified as the woman who was shot during horrifying riots as Trump supporters overtook the nation’s Capitol. Following the terrifying events, here are five facts about her.

Ashli Babbitt was identified as the woman who was shot and killed by Capitol police during Trump supporters’ riot at the Capitol on January 6, according to the The New York Times. Ashli was among the throngs of rioters who descended on the Capitol following a rally led by President Donald Trump not far from the Capitol building. Ashli was one of four people who were died during the riot, however, Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Police Chief Robert Contee explained that the three other individuals who died experienced “medical emergencies,” which were unspecified. Here are five things to know about Ashli.

1) She attended Trump’s rally on January 6 before joining rioters at the Capitol. Ashli took to her personal Twitter account on New Year’s Day, January 1, to announce that she would be attending Trump’s rally in Washington, D.C. “I will be in DC on the 6th! God bless America and WWG1WGA,” she wrote. The acronym Ashli used is a QAnon slogan which stands for, “Where We Go One, We Go All,” according to NPR. QAnon has been described by the Anti-Defamation League as a group with a “wide-reaching conspiracy theory popular among a range of right-wing extremists.” They add that the movement has “marked undertones of antisemitism and xenophobia.”

Ashli Babbitt confirming that she would attend the January 6 rally for President Donald Trump, via Twitter.

2) Ashli was a United States Air Force Veteran. Ashli joined the military in 2004 and served until 2008, per NPR. She began her service in the Air Force reserve in 2008 and remained there until 2010, when she joined the Air National Guard until 2016. During her service, she received the Iraq Campaign Medal, which meant that she served in the Middle East country and supported the Iraq war.

U.S. Capitol Police with guns drawn stand near a barricaded door as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington [AP].

3) She was married. Her husband, Aaron spoke to KUSI News once her identity was confirmed. “She was a 14-year veteran. She served four tours with the U.S. Air Force, and was a high-level security officer throughout her time in service.” Her husband also referred to Ashli as a “patriot” and a “strong supporter of President Trump.” Ashli was previously married to Air Force veteran, Timothy McEntee, according to NPR.

Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington. As Congress prepares to affirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, thousands of people have gathered to show their support for President Donald Trump and his claims of election fraud [AP].

4) Ashli was in her mid-30s. Ashli was roughly 35 years old at the time of her death. Ashli was shot by a Capitol Police Officer wearing plainclothes as Trump supporters tried to force their way into a part of the Capitol building where members of Congress were sheltering in place, per The New York Times. The officer who shot Ashli was put on administrative leave and their police powers were suspended.

5) She was from California. Ashli was from San Deigo, CA, where she lived with her husband and their dog.

Categories
Headline USA

Last widow of a Civil War veteran dies at 101: Woman who married 93-year-old aged 17 passes away

The last known widow of a Civil War soldier has died at the age of 101, ending a remarkable life story that she had kept to herself for over 80 years.

When Maudie Hopkins of Arkansas died in 2008, it was believed that there were no known Civil War widows left in the nation.

Then, in December 2017, Helen Viola Jackson of Marshfield, Missouri, decided to tell her own astonishing tale.

‘I never wanted to share my story with the public,’ she said in 2018. ‘I didn’t feel that it was that important and I didn’t want a bunch of gossip about it.’

Helen Viola Jackson, pictured in December 2018, died on December 16, at the age of 101

Jackson, seen in an undated photo from her youth, married James Bolin when she was 17

Jackson, seen in an undated photo from her youth, married James Bolin when she was 17

Brolin was in the cavalry in the Civil War, and married Jackson from 1936 until his death in 1939

Brolin was in the cavalry in the Civil War, and married Jackson from 1936 until his death in 1939

Jackson explained that she was 17 when she married 93-year-old James Bolin, in 1936.

Bolin was a friend of her family, and the teenage Jackson was sent by her father to assist him in his old age.

He was unable to pay her for her service, and so he suggested they marry, in order for her to claim his Union pension.

Jackson, one of ten children, agreed – but on the condition she could keep her unmarried name, and continue living with her family on the farm. Bolin agreed, and they remained married until his death on June 18, 1939.

Jackson never remarried, and had no children. She also never claimed his pension, after Bolin’s step-daughter threatened to smear her reputation if she did so.

‘All a woman had in 1939 was her reputation,’ she said.

‘I didn’t want them all to think that I was a young woman who had married an old man to take advantage of him.’

Jackson’s death, and her story, was confirmed by the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War 

Jackson, who never remarried and had no children, was a local hero, pictured in March 2019

Jackson, who never remarried and had no children, was a local hero, pictured in March 2019

Jackson in January 2019 examining an exhibit dedicated to her at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Museum in Mansfield, Missouri

Jackson in January 2019 examining an exhibit dedicated to her at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Museum in Mansfield, Missouri

The exhibition detailed Jackson and Bolin's unusual story

The exhibition detailed Jackson and Bolin’s unusual story

Jackson's death, and her story, was confirmed by the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War

Jackson’s death, and her story, was confirmed by the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War

The story began with Bolin’s signing up for his military service at the age of 18, according to military records, as the war was breaking out.

He fought with both the 13th and 14th Cavalry, ending the war with F Company.

Missouri had both Confederate and Union forces, but Jackson spoke of his Union pension, suggesting he fought with the Missouri State Militia 14th Cavalry.

Members of the Missouri State Militia were recruited from the state of Missouri, but armed by the federal government. They had to provide their own horses in the cavalry regiments, and were given sporadic bonuses for doing so.

They fought almost exclusively in the state of Missouri, most notably in the Battle of Westport – one of the largest battles west of the Mississippi, sometimes referred to as the Gettysburg of the West.

The battle was fought on October 23, 1864, in modern Kansas City, Missouri, and saw a decisive defeat of Confederate forces.

The Missouri State Militia also fought in the Battle of Mine Creek, the largest cavalry battle west of the Mississippi river, involving approximately 10,000 troops.

Jackson kept her story to herself for 80 years, until finally telling her tale in December 2017

Jackson kept her story to herself for 80 years, until finally telling her tale in December 2017

Bolin married Elizabeth Davenport Bolin – the date of their wedding is unknown – and the couple settled in Niangua and had five children, born in the decade after 1869.

Elizabeth died in 1922, aged 79.

The Jackson family – James Washington Jackson, his wife Thursa Arizona Shelby Jackson, and their 10 children – farmed just outside Niangua, and began to assist the elderly widower.

Helen Jackson met Bolin at church, during the height of the Great Depression, and her father volunteered her to stop by his house each day and assist him with chores as she headed home from school.

Bolin, who did not want to be seen as a charity case, came up with the idea of marrying Helen, as a way of securing her financial future.

‘He said that he would leave me his Union pension,’ Jackson explained, in an interview with Hamilton C. Clark, a historian.

‘It was during the Depression and times were hard. He said that it might be my only way of leaving the farm.’

The couple married in front of a few witnesses at his Niangua home on September 4, 1936.

‘Mr Bolin really cared for me,’ she said in an interview for Our America Magazine.

‘He wanted me to have a future and he was so kind.’

Bolin recorded the wedding in his personal Bible, which is now part of a rotating exhibit on Jackson that has traveled to several museum locations, including the Laura Ingalls Wilder Home and Museum in Mansfield, Missouri.

The Daughters of the Union Veterans confirmed Jackson’s marriage using historical documents, including a signed affidavit from the last living witness to the nuptials.

After the wedding Jackson remained on the family farm, and few knew of the arrangement.

Jackson was an honored guest at the Memorial Day celebration at the National Cemetery in Springfield, MO, in November 2018

Jackson was an honored guest at the Memorial Day celebration at the National Cemetery in Springfield, MO, in November 2018

Jackson's 100th birthday celebration at the Elkland Independent Methodist Church

Jackson’s 100th birthday celebration at the Elkland Independent Methodist Church

Jackson celebrated her century with a party, balloons - and vivid green nail varnish

Jackson celebrated her century with a party, balloons – and vivid green nail varnish

Speaking at the 2018 Missouri Cherry Blossom Festival – which she helped found – she gave her reasons for keeping the marriage a secret.

‘How do you explain that you have married someone with such a difference in age,’ she said.

‘I had great respect for Mr Bolin and I did not want him to be hurt by the scorn of wagging tongues.’

In a remarkable twist, after his death she never did claim his pension: one of Bolin’s daughters threatened to make the arrangement public, and ruin her reputation.

Jackson received numerous accolades, including serving as grand marshal in her hometown’s annual Independence Day Parade.

Jackson (center) with other members of the congregation at the Methodist church

Jackson (center) with other members of the congregation at the Methodist church

Jackson died in her nursing home at the age of 101, outliving all other Civil War widows

Jackson died in her nursing home at the age of 101, outliving all other Civil War widows

James Bolin is buried in Niangua cemetery, in the town where he and Jackson both lived

James Bolin is buried in Niangua cemetery, in the town where he and Jackson both lived

She was active in her Methodist church, where the ladies’ ministry was named in her honor, and in her local gardening club.

She also received an honorary high school diploma from Niangua High School, courtesy of the class of 1937.

A play about Jackson’s life, The Secret Veil, was written in 2019 and performed at the Missouri Cherry Blossom Festival as a fundraiser for the Randy Travis Foundation, set up by the country music star for stroke victims.

Jackson died on December 16 at Webco Manor Nursing Home in Marshfield, Missouri, where she had been a resident for many years.

She was working on her funeral arrangements in 2017, when she finally decided to open up about her life.

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Headlines UK

Army veteran climbs first of 50 mountains in memory of brother shot dead by Taliban in Afghanistan

An ex-serviceman has climbed the first of 50 mountains in 2021 in memory of his brother who was killed serving in Afghanistan.  

John Davies, 31, from St Helens, Merseyside, is taking on the challenge in memory of his brother Chris, who died in action in 2010.

The veteran kickstarted the endeavour on New Years Day when he trudged 25 miles up and down the tricky Yorkshire Three Peaks. 

John Davies, 31, (pictured) from St Helens, Merseyside, climbed the first of 50 mountains in 2021 in memory of his brother who was killed serving in Afghanistan

The veteran (pictured left) is taking on the challenge in memory of his brother Chris (pictured right), who died in action in 2010

The veteran (pictured left) is taking on the challenge in memory of his brother Chris (pictured right), who died in action in 2010

Over the next 12 months the veteran will conquer dozens of peaks across Britain including Scafell Pike in the Lake District and Snowdon in Wales. 

He is undertaking the epic challenge to raise money for the armed force’s charity Veterans’ Lifeline, which helps support struggling ex-serviceman. 

His brother Chris, 22, was on patrol in Helmand Province when he was ambushed by Taliban insurgents and shot at, suffering a fatal bullet wound to his chest.

Both men were serving with the Irish Guards (pictured), and John is undertaking the challenge to raise money for the armed force's charity Veterans' Lifeline

Both men were serving with the Irish Guards (pictured), and John is undertaking the challenge to raise money for the armed force’s charity Veterans’ Lifeline

The veteran kickstarted the endeavour on New Years Day when he trudged 25 miles up and down the tricky Yorkshire Three Peaks (pictured)

The veteran kickstarted the endeavour on New Years Day when he trudged 25 miles up and down the tricky Yorkshire Three Peaks (pictured) 

John was in Helmand at the time of his brother’s death and both men were serving with the Irish Guards.  

He said traversing the mountains of Whernside at 2,415ft, Ingleborough at 2,372ft and Pen-y-ghent at 2,277ft was ‘much harder’ than he had imagined.

He added: ‘It was really good but definitely much harder than I thought it would be.

‘The first 20 miles were fine but then my feet started killing me an I thought, “I would love to give up now”, but that was never going to happen.

‘I’m doing this for a great charity and also for my brother so there will definitely be no giving up.’

John said: ‘Chris will be in my thoughts a lot while I’m climbing. They won’t be sad thoughts but how he’d be laughing at me as I struggle along.

‘He’d have been the first person to come and do it with me though.’

John served with the Irish Guards for a decade before retiring at the rank of Guardsman in 2018.

Chris Davies, 22, (pictured) was on patrol in Helmand Province when he was ambushed by Taliban insurgents and shot at, suffering a fatal bullet wound to his chest

Chris Davies, 22, (pictured) was on patrol in Helmand Province when he was ambushed by Taliban insurgents and shot at, suffering a fatal bullet wound to his chest

He did three tours in the Middle East. It was during his second in 2010 when his brother Chris, who was undertaking his first tour, was killed.

John, now a warehouse worker, said the idea to do a mountain challenge came to him last summer after he decided to get back into fitness training.

He added: ‘I then decided to do it all in my brother’s name as a bit of added motivation. I can’t let him down now.’

John expects to climb a mountain almost every weekend in 2021.

John said the idea to do a mountain challenge came to him last summer and expects to climb a mountain almost every weekend in 2021

John said the idea to do a mountain challenge came to him last summer and expects to climb a mountain almost every weekend in 2021

He’s working his way up to doing the National Three Peaks Challenge, in which participants attempt to climb the highest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales within 24 hours.

Charity Veteran’s Life was set up by one of John’s old superiors in the army.

He said that after his brother was killed he ‘kept sane’ thanks to the support of the fellow serviceman around him.

He added: ‘A lot of veterans don’t have this sort of support and struggle with a wide range of problems whilst still serving and even more so once they’ve left.

‘Veteran’s Life do amazing work.’ 

Categories
UAE

Mohammed bin zayed mourns the death of Emirati veteran Aqeeda Ali Al Muhairi

Mohammed bin zayed mourns the death of Emirati veteran Aqeeda Ali Al Muhairi

Abu Dhabi: His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has expressed his sorrow over the death of Aqeeda Ali Al Muhairi, a veteran Emirati who spent his life treating people using traditional medicines for free.

On his twitter page, Sheikh Mohammed said: “Aqeeda Ali Al Muhairi was a loyal and honorable son of the UAE, who served his country with distinction for decades. My heartfelt condolences go to his family and relatives. May God have mercy on him”.

The 100-year-old Al Muhairi died today (Saturday) and his death was announced by his son on twitter. The cause of death is still unknown and the funeral prayers is yet to be announced. Al Muhairi was one of the exceptional individuals who were honoured by the Abu Dhabi Awards in 2015.

Sheikh Mohammed used to visit Al Muhairi at his residence to check on his health.

Born around 1920 in Al Ain, Aqeeda Ali Al Muhairi was independent from a young age due to the passing of his parents. As a young man, he tried his hand at a number of jobs such as pearl diving and agriculture, before deciding on the profession of traditional medicine, at the age of 20.

In the past, without the option of hospitals and general healthcare, even the simplest diseases were capable of destroying people’s lives. At that time, the need for traditional folk medicine was of paramount importance.

Learning the art of traditional medicine from his grandmother, he has since dedicated the last 70 years to healing people from across the community. Significantly, he always offered his services for free, only accepting donations from those who could afford to do so.

Over the years, Aqeeda formed an intimate knowledge of treatments for more than 50 different diseases, and he has cared for thousands patients in that time.

Aqeeda is also considered to have a wide knowledge of the sciences, culture and society. In particular, he is well recognized for his foremost knowledge of the familial and tribal roots of the Emirates and the geography of the land of Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Dubai.

Entrusted by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Aqeeda also did a great deal to support the discovery and maintenance of the local Falajs, providing a reliable source of water for communities and for irrigation in Al Ain.

Categories
UAE

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed mourns the death of Emirati veteran Aqeeda Ali Al Muhairi

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed with Emirati veteran Aqeeda Ali Al Muhairi
Image Credit: Twitter/

Abu Dhabi: His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has expressed his sorrow over the death of Aqeeda Ali Al Muhairi, a veteran Emirati who spent his life treating people using traditional medicines for free.

On his twitter page, Sheikh Mohamed said: “Aqeeda Ali Al Muhairi was a loyal and honorable son of the UAE, who served his country with distinction for decades. My heartfelt condolences go to his family and relatives. May God have mercy on him”.

The 100-year-old Al Muhairi died today (Saturday) and his death was announced by his son on twitter. The cause of death is still unknown and the funeral prayers is yet to be announced. Al Muhairi was one of the exceptional individuals who were honoured by the Abu Dhabi Awards in 2015.

Sheikh Mohamed used to visit Al Muhairi at his residence to check on his health.

Born around 1920 in Al Ain, Aqeeda Ali Al Muhairi was independent from a young age due to the passing of his parents. As a young man, he tried his hand at a number of jobs such as pearl diving and agriculture, before deciding on the profession of traditional medicine, at the age of 20.

In the past, without the option of hospitals and general healthcare, even the simplest diseases were capable of destroying people’s lives. At that time, the need for traditional folk medicine was of paramount importance.

Learning the art of traditional medicine from his grandmother, he has since dedicated the last 70 years to healing people from across the community. Significantly, he always offered his services for free, only accepting donations from those who could afford to do so.

Over the years, Aqeeda formed an intimate knowledge of treatments for more than 50 different diseases, and he has cared for thousands patients in that time.

Aqeeda is also considered to have a wide knowledge of the sciences, culture and society. In particular, he is well recognized for his foremost knowledge of the familial and tribal roots of the Emirates and the geography of the land of Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Dubai.

Entrusted by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Aqeeda also did a great deal to support the discovery and maintenance of the local Falajs, providing a reliable source of water for communities and for irrigation in Al Ain.

Categories
Delhi The Buzz

BJP ropes in party veteran Saudan Singh to look after Punjab, Haryana affairs


Mukesh Ranjan

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 31

Feeling the political heat amid farmers’ protests, as it received a setback in the recent mayoral polls in Haryana, the BJP has brought in key party veteran Saudan Singh to shoulder organisational responsibilities in Punjab and its neighboring states, besides beefing up party’s Dalit outreach.

The saffron party today appointed Singh as the vice president of the orgainsation with the responsibilities of giving “special attention” to Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh.

The decision appeared to be in line with an assessment of the tough political challenges posed by the farmers’ protests. Singh, who will now have his base in Chandigarh, was the joint general secretary (organisation) earlier, and was mostly seen in action in Rajasthan.

The BJP has also appointed the party veteran V Satish as a “Sangathak (organiser)”, with the responsibilities, including SC-ST Morcha coordination, as he will look after the Parliamentary office coordination. Additionally, the national joint general secretary of BJP Shiv Prakash, with base in Bhopal, will look after the party’s affairs in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and West Bengal.  

Saudan Singh’s task has been cut out as the ripple effect of the farmers’ agitation is also showing impact in Haryana where the saffron outfit is in power in an alliance with the Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) led by the deputy chief minister Dushyant Chautala.

In Himachal Pradesh, the BJP will be bracing up for the Assembly elections in 2022 amid the recent trends of the incumbent governments voted out by the people.   

Hathras gangrape incident in western Uttar Pradesh had for a while shown the BJP’s weakness in lacking credible Dalit leadership. The western UP has also been seen emerging as a laboratory of young Dalit leadership, which is seen in the rise of Chandrashekhar Azad Ravan.

The BJP leadership will be counting upon the veteran Satish, who has vast experience in the RSS and the party, to work on the strategy to consolidate support base among the Dalit, which is seen electorally formidable in the western UP, while the state will go to the Assembly elections in 2022.





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Delhi The Buzz

Defence Accounts Department felicitates WW-II tri-service veteran on turning 100


Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, December 17

The Controller General of Defence Accounts (CGDA), New Delhi, on Thursday felicitated Colonel Prithipal Singh Gill (retd), a World War-II veteran and the only Indian to have served in the Army, Navy and Air Force, on attaining 100 years of age.

Sahil Goyal, Deputy Controller General of Defence Accounts, Western Command, along with two officers visited the veteran at his residence in Chandigarh and presented him the revised pension orders and a plaque on behalf of the CGDA.

Col Gill and his wife also interacted with the CGDA representatives in a jubilant mood and said they take regular morning walk and like home cooked food and recalled that during service, their tenure at Manipur was the most memorable.

The couple was accompanied by their grandson and granddaughter-in-law.

Col Gill had turned 100 on December 11. Joining the erstwhile Royal Indian Air Force in 1942, he left it at his father’s behest and joined the Navy, serving on ships detailed for escort duties in the Second World War.

He then moved to the Army, seeing action in the 1965 Indo-Pak war with the regiment of artillery. During his final days in the service, he was posted with the Assam Rifles. 

 





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Headline USA Minnesota

Harrowing picture shows veteran, 54, with COVID before his death in Minnesota hospital

Harrowing picture shows veteran, 54, struggling to breathe with COVID-19 before his death in Minnesota hospital

  • Michael Wright was pictured on his stomach to try and improve his lung capacity
  • His condition was described as ‘improving’ when the image was taken last month
  • Wright had been admitted to the Regions Hospital in St. Paul on November 10 
  • It was announced that Wright had later died from the virus on December 8
  • ‘This pain is unlike anything my mom has ever felt’, his stepdaughter said  

A veteran pictured struggling to breathe with COVID-19 has died in a Minnesota hospital, his family have announced. 

The harrowing image of Michael Wright taken at the end of last month showed him on his stomach in the prone position to try and improve his lung capacity. 

His condition had been described as ‘improving’ when it was published by The Star Tribune on November 22.  

But in a GoFundMe page set up to help his family it was announced that Wright had later died from the virus on December 8. 

Michael Wright has died in a Minnesota hospital his family announced. This harrowing image of Wright taken at the end of last month showed him on his stomach in the prone position to try and improve his lung capacity

In a GoFundMe page set up to help his family it was announced that Wright had later died from the virus on December 8. He is pictured with his wife Lynn

In a GoFundMe page set up to help his family it was announced that Wright had later died from the virus on December 8. He is pictured with his wife Lynn 

Wright had been admitted to the Regions Hospital in St. Paul on November 10, his stepdaughter Miranda Carlson said. 

She wrote: ‘He has a history of chronic bronchitis, which of course made him high risk. He had developed pneumonia and eventually his organs began to fail. 

‘On December 8th, 2020 – the Lord carried Michael home to heaven. Thankfully, my mom was able to be by his side while the Lord took him home to heaven.’

Wright was described by Carlson as a ‘veteran, husband, son, father, bonus father, and grandfather’.

Wright was described by Carlson as a 'veteran, husband, son, father, bonus father, and grandfather'. He is pictured with his wife

'This pain is unlike anything my mom has ever felt', his stepdaughter said

Wright was described by Carlson as a ‘veteran, husband, son, father, bonus father, and grandfather’. He is pictured with his wife 

She added: ‘This pain is unlike anything my mom has ever felt. 

‘On top of grieving a pain so incredibly raw, she faces worries about the expenses that she will now face on her own. Michael was only 54 and my mom only 48, they never planned for this, they planned a long & beautiful life together.’

Sharing the image CNN’s Jake Tapper said: ‘One of the difficulties in conveying how horrible this pandemic is continues to be the inability to consistently do so visually.’

The photographer who took the image, Leila Navidi, tweeted: ‘For those who remember my photo of Michael Wright struggling to breathe in the ICU last month, an update: He tragically lost his battle with COVID earlier this week. 

‘I hope that Michael’s photo saved lives.’

Minnesota health officials on Saturday reported 67 additional COVID-19 deaths and more than 4,400 coronavirus cases.   

There were 1,354 new cases per 100,000 people in Minnesota over the past two weeks, which ranks second in the country for new cases per capita, according to Johns Hopkins University researchers. One in every 175 people in Minnesota tested positive in the past week, according to The COVID Tracking Project.

Residents of long-term care and assisted-living facilities accounted for 37 of the newly announced deaths, and 2,856 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Since the virus started infecting Minnesota residents in March, the state has reported 375,398 positive cases, 19,428 hospitalizations and 4,359 deaths.

That death count is the 21st highest in the country overall and the 27th highest per capita at 79 deaths per 100,000 people, according to The COVID Tracking Project.

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Headline USA North Carolina

Soldier and veteran found dead at Fort Bragg were BOTH ‘being investigated for drugs’

The Special Forces soldier and the Army veteran both found dead at Fort Bragg in a suspected double homicide were each facing criminal charges, it has been revealed.

The bodies of Master Sgt. William Lavigne II, 37, and Army veteran Timothy Dumas, 44, were both discovered on the North Carolina base on December 2, sending shockwaves through the military. 

Now, new details about the case are coming to light, amid revelations that both men were due to appear in court and had reportedly been under investigation for selling drugs. 

According to the Fayetteville Observer, Dumas was ‘supposed to appear in Forsyth County District Court on December 17 for charges of breaking and entering, communicating threats and impersonating a law enforcement officer.’

In that case, Dumas allegedly kicked down the door of an apartment before he told the male occupant that he was a police officer and made a series of threats. 

Meanwhile, Lavigne ‘was supposed to appear in Cumberland County District Court on January 15 for a hit-and-run charge.’

The two cases have not been linked by reporters or law enforcement officials, and it is unknown how close Lavigne and Dumas actually were to one another. 

No other military members have come forward detailing the relationship between the pair, which remains clouded in mystery.  

However, the fact that both men have had recent brushes with the law has led some to suspect that they were involved in shady dealings together prior to their deaths. 

An Army official told CBS News that ‘investigators suspect that it [their deaths] was a double homicide resulting from a drug deal gone wrong’. 

Another defense official told the network that both Lavigne and Dumas had both ‘been under investigation for using and selling drugs’

Veteran Timothy Dumas is pictured

The bodies of Master Sgt. William Lavigne II (left) and Army veteran Timothy Dumas (right) were both discovered on the North Carolina base on December 2, sending shockwaves through the military

Earlier this week it was also revealed that Lavigne was allegedly responsible for the fatal shooting of Green Beret Mark Leshikar during an altercation back in 2018

In a report with Connecting Vets and Radio.com, Leshikar’s family revealed how Lavigne had allegedly shot Leshikar dead inside his home two years ago but was never charged, despite inconsistencies in his account of the incident. 

Lavigne had claimed that 33-year-old Leshikar, with whom he had been good friends, came at him with a screwdriver.

Yet he initially told cops that Leshikar had killed himself, and in another version of events, said that he could not see Leshikar’s hands and would not have known if he had a screwdriver, according to Connecting Vets.

An investigating officer from the 1st Special Forces Command wrote in a memorandum that Lavigne was not credible in his retelling of the incident. However, the command still ruled that Leshikar’s death was in the line of duty.

Sgt. First Class Mark Leshikar (pictured) was shot dead by Lavigne in March 2018 by Lavigne Cops said the shooting was justifiable despite inconsistencies in Lavigne's story

Sgt. First Class Mark Leshikar (pictured) was shot dead by Lavigne in March 2018 by Lavigne Cops said the shooting was justifiable despite inconsistencies in Lavigne’s story

The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office also declared Leshikar’s death as a ‘justifiable homicide’.  

Leshikar’s sister Nicole Rick told Connecting Vets that Lavigne and Leshikar were best friends but would often argue and both were involved in taking drugs

Leshikar had a desk job in Fort Bragg after suffering from a traumatic brain injury due to an improvised explosive device detonating near him. He had served in Afghanistan and Tajikistan. 

His family said that he became addicted to Tramadol which he was prescribed to treat his brain injury and began to self-medicate with Valium.

Both men allegedly used cocaine.

‘I knew about Mark’s drugs, I knew about Billy’s drugs,’ Leshikar’s mother Tammy Mabey told Connecting Vets. 

Lavigne would go on to have another brush with the law the following year.

In February 2019, he was charged with a felony for allegedly harboring an escapee but his court date, and the charge, later disappeared from the records.

In February 2019, Lavigne was charged with a felony for allegedly harboring an escapee but his court date, and the charge, later disappeared from the records (pictured above)

In February 2019, Lavigne was charged with a felony for allegedly harboring an escapee but his court date, and the charge, later disappeared from the records (pictured above)

Fort Bragg, covering nearly 172,000 acres, is one of the world's largest military complexes, according to its website. It has approximately 57,000 military personnel, 11,000 civilian employees and 23,000 family members

Fort Bragg, covering nearly 172,000 acres, is one of the world’s largest military complexes, according to its website. It has approximately 57,000 military personnel, 11,000 civilian employees and 23,000 family members

Lavigne enlisted in the Army in 2001 and deployed multiple times to Afghanistan and Iraq in support of the Global War on Terrorism.

In 2007, he graduated from the Special Forces Qualification Course and was assigned to the 1st Special Forces with a follow-on assignment to US Army Special Operations Command.

Dumas served in the Army from 1996 to 2016. 

Lavigne and Dumas’ deaths were discovered earlier this month after their bodies were found in the training area of Fort Bragg.

WRAL reported, citing an unnamed source familiar with the matter, that one body was found lying flat on the ground. The other was wrapped in a blanket near a pickup truck.

The deaths are being investigated by special agents from the Army Criminal Investigation Command. 

Fort Bragg, covering nearly 172,000 acres, is one of the world’s largest military complexes, according to its website. It has approximately 57,000 military personnel, 11,000 civilian employees and 23,000 family members.