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A chaotic campaign helped save Rhode Island’s House speaker in 2016. Now it threatens to end his political career

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“I used to joke with people, ‘Are you sure you want to be seen with me? Because the speaker could be watching.’” Frias recalled in an interview last week.

Turns out, even that was true.

Last week’s criminal trial of former Mattiello campaign consultant Jeffrey T. Britt was meant to determine whether Britt laundered $1,000 to help pay for a postcard mailer designed to boost Mattiello during that 2016 campaign. But it also offered a rare glimpse into the win-at-all-costs culture of politics, as witness after witness detailed the strategies employed to help defeat Frias.

Those tactics included surveillance conducted on Frias by a semi-retired private investigator who was seeking a state job, a mail-ballot operation run by a veteran operative who had previous tours of political duty with some of the state’s most corrupt politicians, and the mailer that Britt orchestrated to try to convince a handful of Republicans to back the Democrat in the race.

In the end, Mattiello won the race by 85 votes, a razor-thin margin where almost any maneuver could have tipped the scales in the speaker’s favor.

Now, with early voting scheduled to begin Wednesday, Mattiello’s back is against the wall again as he faces a serious challenge from Barbara Ann Fenton-Fung, the Republican wife of Cranston’s popular mayor, who is eager to capitalize on the seedy details that came out during last week’s trial.

But Mattiello, who was never charged, testified that he knew nothing about the controversial mailer until it hit mailboxes in his district, and a key campaign aide described the mailer as “Jeff Britt’s project.”

The judge has said he won’t issue a ruling for five to seven weeks. So that means voters will render their decision first, in the Nov. 3 general election.

“I think it clearly crossed a

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Boris Johnson urged to intervene to ‘save outdoor education’

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Children in canoesImage copyright
PGL

Boris Johnson is being urged to end a lockdown block on residential school visits or risk destroying the “great British tradition” of outdoor education.

Schools have reopened, as have hotels, but official guidance still advises against overnight educational trips.

Outdoor learning “faces an existential threat”, providers have told the Prime Minister in a letter.

The rules are under review, governments in England, Wales and Scotland say.

But according to the letter from UK Outdoors, which represents 15,000 people and organisations, the continuing freeze on residential school trips could cost almost 6,000 jobs before January.

The letter adds: “We cannot warn the government in strong enough terms that any decision to prevent residential trips for the rest of the academic year, without support, will permanently close the whole sector.”

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Kris Shipway and Kristina Timms are the only two staff members at PGL Marchants Hill, who have not been furloughed

PGL, perhaps the best known company in the business, has announced 670 job losses, a quarter of its workforce.

Its Marchants Hill centre in Surrey would normally be buzzing with the excitement of more than 750 school children and their teachers – but last Friday, as on every day since the start of the lockdown, it was eerily silent.

Most of the 160 staff have been furloughed, leaving managers Kris Shipway and Kristina Timms to keep the site ticking over, ready to reopen.

“The sadness, that’s the biggest thing,” says Kris.

“It’s about the experiences we’re able to give to children… and not to be able to do that has been really hard.”

It’s a similar story at Rhos y Gwaliau, in Snowdonia, North Wales.

“We’ve been completely empty for six months now. We’ve had no children at the site and we’ve really missed having them here,”

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The Battle To Save The World’s Rarest Species From Extinction Following Mauritius Oil Spill

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On Monday September 24, at a virtual meeting hosted by the UN Headquarters in New York, 60 world leaders signed a ‘Leaders Pledge for Nature’ to stop the loss of biodiversity. Heads of State from France, Germany, UK, Netherlands, Panama signed.

Noticeably, the embattled political leaders from Japan and Mauritius were not signatories.

The Leaders Pledge in New York was part of an important UN Summit to avoid the world heading into a major period of biodiversity collapse, as planet Earth grapples with the highest extinction rates since homo sapiens became a distinct species, in what has been called the Sixth Mass Extinction. Rather than being caused by colliding asteroids or other natural phenomenon, this new age of extinction is being caused by man.

The front lines of this extinction battle is happening live on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, which is still battling the effects of a major oil spill.

Effects of oil spill disrupting entire island nation

Two months on from the major shipping incident in the Indian Ocean, islanders on Mauritius are still reeling from its effects.  Life is far from returning to normal.

The large Japanese bulk carrier, the Wakashio, hit an important barrier coral reef in the South East of the country, and started spilling heavy ship engine fuel into the pristine coral lagoon and into a network of historic and unique biodiversity sites.