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CDC Readies Cruises, Complete with Human Guinea Pigs

Fingers crossed!

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As the world prepares for its grand reopening, there are a number of high value industries that are eagerly awaiting permission from medical authorities to resume operations.

First and foremost, there are the service industries:  Places like restaurants, bars, music venues, and sports arenas whose entire livelihood depends on whether or not people are being allowed to gather in public.  While many of these venues are now beginning to ramp up their capacity, there are issues bringing some of these workers back into the fold thanks to the enhanced unemployment benefits provided by the federal government.

And then there’s the tourism industry, whose regulatory structure is far more susceptible to interference by government agencies.

Now, after over a year of stagnation, it appears as though at least one facet of this wide-ranging corporate amalgam will be given a chance to sail on.

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Cruise lines can soon begin trial voyages in U.S. waters with volunteer passengers helping test whether the ships can sail safely during a pandemic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave ship operators final technical guidelines Wednesday for the trial runs. The CDC action is a step toward resuming cruises in U.S. waters, possibly by July, for the first time since March 2020.

A spokeswoman for the cruise industry’s trade group said the group was reviewing the CDC instructions.

So, how will this work?

Each practice cruise — they’ll run two to seven days — must have enough passengers to meet at least 10% of the ship’s capacity. Volunteers must be 18 or older and either fully vaccinated or free of medical conditions that would put them at high risk for severe COVID-19.

The ship operator must tell passengers that they are simulating untested safety measures “and that sailing during a pandemic is an inherently risky activity,” the CDC guidelines state.

This will likely come as a major relief to cruise operators, who have long railed against the CDC’s unwillingness to even discuss a reopening plan with them.

There is also little doubt that this could help fuel economic recovery in the travel sector, pushing the possibility of a new “roaring twenties” every closer to reality.

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Brian Laundrie’s Notebook Contains Details of Gabby Petito’s Death

Perhaps some closure can finally be afforded to Gabby’s family.

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At long last, some form of closure could be coming to the family of Gabby Petito.

Petito was at the center of one of the most bizarre crime stories of 2021, after her fiancé Brian Laundrie returned home from a joint cross-country road trip without her and immediately refused to cooperate with authorities who were investigating her disappearance.  Then, shortly after arriving back in Florida, Laundrie himself went missing.

Weeks late, Laundrie’s partial remains were found in a nature preserve near this family home along with a notebook.  Laundrie was determined to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Now, after months of waiting and wondering, the contents of the aforementioned notebook have been revealed.

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Petito’s family was in Florida on Thursday morning, roughly four months after their daughter was found strangled to death in Wyoming. An attorney representing Laundrie’s family said they had reached an agreement about how the couple’s property – including a notebook found with his remains – will be distributed.

The notebook contained “written statements by Mr. Laundrie claiming responsibility for Ms. Petito’s death,” according to the FBI.

“Gabby’s family would like to thank the FBI, specifically the Wyoming, Denver, New York and Tampa offices, all of their task force members and their assisting agencies,” Petito/Schmidt family lawyer Rick Stafford said in a Friday statement. “Gabby’s family would like to thank the FBI’s Victim Services Department for all they have done for them. Victim Services has been there for support from the earliest stages of this investigation and helped their entire family navigate through the worst moments of their lives.”

The story had captured the attention of world, and while this is undoubtedly a heartbreaking end to the tale, perhaps the Petito family can now take the next steps in their recovery.

At long last, some form of closure could be coming to the family of Gabby Petito. Petito was at the center of one of the most bizarre crime stories of 2021, after her fiancé Brian Laundrie returned home from a joint cross-country road trip without her and immediately refused to cooperate with authorities who were investigating her disappearance.  Then, shortly after arriving back in Florida, Laundrie himself went missing. Weeks late, Laundrie’s partial remains were found in a nature preserve near this family home along with a notebook.  Laundrie was determined to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Now, after months of waiting and wondering, the contents of the aforementioned notebook have been revealed. Petito’s family was in Florida on Thursday morning, roughly four months after their daughter was found strangled to death in Wyoming. An attorney representing Laundrie’s family said they had reached an agreement about how the couple’s property – including a notebook found with his remains – will be distributed. The notebook contained “written statements by Mr. Laundrie claiming responsibility for Ms. Petito’s death,” according to the FBI. “Gabby’s family would like to thank the FBI, specifically the Wyoming, Denver, New York and Tampa offices, all of their task force members and their assisting agencies,” Petito/Schmidt family lawyer Rick Stafford said in a Friday statement. “Gabby’s family would like to thank the FBI’s Victim Services Department for all they have done for them. Victim Services has been there for support from the earliest stages of this investigation and helped their entire family navigate through the worst moments of their lives.” The story had captured the attention of world, and while this is undoubtedly a heartbreaking end to the tale, perhaps the Petito family can now take the next steps in their recovery.

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US Ponders Diplomatic Evacuation as Putin Moves on Ukraine

Sign #475 that things are going south in Ukraine…

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The way Vladimir Putin tells it, we’re all just overreacting to his placement of hundreds of thousands of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border.

Of course, this is classic Putin.  The Russian President has long understood the ins-and-outs of the antagonization game, and is likely just pushing buttons for the sake of pushing buttons…at least in his recent diatribes.

But there is little doubt that he’s up to something, and the US isn’t going to take any chances when it comes to innocent Americans who are now in the line of potential fire.

The U.S. is weighing whether to evacuate family members of diplomats stationed in Ukraine as Russia masses more than 100,000 troops on its borders, according to people familiar with the matter.

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Under the plan, family members would be ordered to return home while non-essential employees would be able to leave voluntarily. An announcement may come within days, according to the people, who asked not to be identified before a decision is reached.

The ruble erased gains on the news, falling 0.1% against the dollar. Yields on most Russian local currency sovereign bonds rose on Friday.

The operation would be no small task.

The U.S. employs about 180 American citizens and 560 Ukrainians at its embassy in Kyiv, according to the embassy website. That doesn’t include family members, so the number of U.S. citizens living in embassy housing is probably much higher.

While Putin has consistently suggested to the global media that this whole thing is getting blown out of proportion, these actions by the US State Department speak volumes.

The way Vladimir Putin tells it, we’re all just overreacting to his placement of hundreds of thousands of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border. Of course, this is classic Putin.  The Russian President has long understood the ins-and-outs of the antagonization game, and is likely just pushing buttons for the sake of pushing buttons…at least in his recent diatribes. But there is little doubt that he’s up to something, and the US isn’t going to take any chances when it comes to innocent Americans who are now in the line of potential fire. The U.S. is weighing whether to evacuate family members of diplomats stationed in Ukraine as Russia masses more than 100,000 troops on its borders, according to people familiar with the matter. Under the plan, family members would be ordered to return home while non-essential employees would be able to leave voluntarily. An announcement may come within days, according to the people, who asked not to be identified before a decision is reached. The ruble erased gains on the news, falling 0.1% against the dollar. Yields on most Russian local currency sovereign bonds rose on Friday. The operation would be no small task. The U.S. employs about 180 American citizens and 560 Ukrainians at its embassy in Kyiv, according to the embassy website. That doesn’t include family members, so the number of U.S. citizens living in embassy housing is probably much higher. While Putin has consistently suggested to the global media that this whole thing is getting blown out of proportion, these actions by the US State Department speak volumes.

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