With his administration under fire for its questionable publicity practices, President George W. Bush explicitly forbid his Cabinet on Wednesday to pay commentators to promote his policies. \n"We will not be paying commentators to advance our agenda," Bush said at a news conference. "Our agenda ought to be able to stand on its own two feet." \nAsked whether he approved of using taxpayer money to pay commentators -- as Department of Education officials did in putting Armstrong Williams, a conservative writer and broadcaster, under contract in 2003 to advance the No Child Left Behind Act -- Bush gave his most direct condemnation to date. \n"No," he said. \nIn recent months, both the investigative arm of Congress and Democrats have objected to government-financed campaigns to promote specific policies, specifically a new Medicare bill and drug enforcement measures. \nThe criticism grew on Wednesday with news that a second columnist, Maggie Gallagher, had been under government contract. That disclosure sparked new demands for broad federal inquiries and coincided with the release of a report from House Democrats finding that federal agencies had increased their use of outside public relations firms. \nGallagher, a marriage expert who has testified before Congress, admitted she had erred in failing to disclose to her readers a US$21,500 contract with the Department of Health and Human Services for writing and advisory work about marriage policy. Her column is nationally syndicated. \nBut she drew a distinction between her work and that of Williams, saying she had been hired for her expertise, not to disseminate the views of the administration. \n"I've been a marriage expert, researcher and advocate for nearly 20 years," Gallagher wrote about her dual role, which she disclosed in her column on Tuesday after being approached on the subject by a The Washington Post reporter. \n"It is not uncommon for researchers, scholars, or experts to get paid by the government to do work relating to their field of expertise," Gallagher said. \nHer work for the department included helping on an essay that appeared in Crisis Magazine under the byline of Wade Horn, an assistant secretary at the department, and giving a talk at a lunch for department employees about her marriage research, Horn said. \n"There was never a penny that went to Maggie Gallagher that was being paid to her to utilize her role as a columnist to promote the president's healthy marriage initiative," Horn said. "Not a penny." \nIn May 2002, five months after the date shown on her contract, Gallagher mounted a strong defense of the US$300 million Bush initiative in a column posted on National Review Online. \nSeveral Democrats and advocacy groups criticized her for failing to disclose her government contracts and called for the Government Accountability Office to look into the matter.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown