Secret Service reportedly had to use Obama’s bathroom after being barred from Ivanka Trump’s

Facebook is evidently now looking to minimize politics on its platform, as CEO Mark Zuckerberg says the company hopes to “turn down the temperature.”

Zuckerberg during an earnings call Wednesday announced Facebook will stop recommending political and civic groups to users, which he described as a “continuation of work we’ve been doing for a while to turn down the temperature and discourage divisive conversations,” Politico reports.

The social media company has long faced criticism over the amount of misinformation and polarization on its platform, with its recommendations being a frequent target of these complaints. Facebook previously said it would be putting these recommendations on pause in the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election, Politico notes. Additionally, Zuckerberg said Wednesday the company plans to take action to reduce the amount of politics in users’ news feeds, Axios reports, but he didn’t offer any further information on that effort.

“There has been a trend across society that a lot of things have become politicized and politics have had a way of creeping into everything,” Zuckerberg said. “A lot of the feedback we see from our community is that people don’t want that in their experience.”

Zuckerberg added that if users do want to discuss politics or join political groups, “they should be able to,” but “we are not serving community well to be recommending that content right now.”

The company by looking to “downplay politics” on the platform was “backing away from arguments it’s long made that political speech is vital to free expression,” Axios wrote. The decision came after various companies have taken steps to either ban political ads or limit them in certain situations, not to mention after numerous platforms suspended former President Donald Trump, leading Axios to conclude, “The social platforms that profited massively on politics and free speech suddenly want a way out — or at least a way to hide until the heat cools.” Brendan Morrow

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White House staff, Secret Service eye virus with fear, anger

WASHINGTON — The West Wing is a ghost town. Staff members are scared of exposure. And the White House is now a treatment ward for not one — but two — COVID patients, including a president who has long taken the threat of the virus lightly.

President Donald Trump’s decision to return home from a military hospital despite his continued illness is putting new focus on the people around him who could be further exposed if he doesn’t abide by strict isolation protocols.

Throughout the pandemic, White House custodians, ushers, kitchen staff and members of the U.S. Secret Service have continued to show up for work in what is now a coronavirus hot spot, with more than a dozen known cases this week alone.

Trump, still contagious, has made clear that he has little intention of abiding by best containment practices.

As he arrived back at the White House on Monday evening, the president defiantly removed his face mask and stopped to pose on a balcony within feet of a White House photographer. He was seen inside moments later, surrounded by numerous people as he taped a video message urging Americans not to fear a virus that has killed more than 210,000 in the U.S. and 1 million worldwide.

White House spokesman Judd Deere said the White House was “taking every precaution necessary” to protect not just the first family but “every staff member working on the complex” consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and best practices. He added that physical access to the president would be significantly limited and appropriate protective gear worn by those near him.

Nonetheless, the mood within the White House remains somber, with staff fearful they may have been exposed to the virus. As they confront a new reality — a worksite that once seemed like a bubble of safety is anything but — they also have been engaged in finger-pointing over conflicting reports released about the president’s health as well as a lack of information provided internally.

Many have learned about positive tests from media reports and several were exposed, without their knowledge, to people the White House already knew could be contagious.

Indeed, it took until late Sunday night, nearly three full days after Trump’s diagnosis, for the White House to send a staff-wide note in response. Even then, it did not acknowledge the outbreak.

“As a reminder,” read the letter from the White House Management Office, “if you are experiencing any symptoms … please stay home and do not come to work.” Staff who develop symptoms were advised to “go home immediately” and contact their doctors rather than the White House Medical Unit.

Even when Trump was at the hospital, his staff was not immune to risk.

Trump had aides there recording videos and taking photographs of him. On Sunday evening, he took a surprise drive around the hospital to wave to supporters from the window of an SUV. The Secret Service agents in the car with him were

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House Committee Wants Briefing on Secret Service: Trump Update

(Bloomberg) — The House Homeland Security Committee wants a briefing on safeguarding Secret Service personnel from the coronavirus. White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany and two other officials in her office tested positive for the coronavirus.



Lizzie Grover et al. walking down the street: Kayleigh McEnany walks toward the West Wing of the White House after speaking to reporters.


© Bloomberg
Kayleigh McEnany walks toward the West Wing of the White House after speaking to reporters.

Trump has been at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center since Friday, after announcing that he had been infected with Covid-19. Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Monday morning the White House was “optimistic” Trump will be released, but the decision won’t be made until later in the day. Tuesday is the earliest likely release day, according to people familiar with the matter.

Key Developments:

Trump Recuperates Amid Questions About His Health and CampaignTrump Campaign Hobbled by Virus as Biden Starts to Pull AwayMcConnell’s Plan for Quick Barrett Vote Threatened by OutbreakFrom Bereaved Dads to CEOs: Trump Encounters Spark Covid Fears

House Wants Briefing on Safeguarding Secret Service Personnel (1:21 p.m.)

House Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie Thompson called for a briefing from the Secret Service on the measures it’s taking to keep staff, including those on the president’s protective detail, safe from coronavirus threats.

Thompson made the request after video footage Sunday showed Trump waving at supporters from behind the closed windows of a black SUV, sparking questions over the potential exposure of Secret Service agents sharing his vehicle.

“The height of reckless disregard for others was the president’s ‘joyride’ yesterday where Secret Service agents were required to drive him around in a hermetically sealed vehicle,” Thompson said in a statement. “Exposing Secret Service personnel to the virus does not just put them at risk, it puts their families and the public at risk.”

Two More White House Press Officials Test Positive (12:37 p.m.)

White House press aides Chad Gilmartin and Karoline Leavitt have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to people familiar with the matter. The duo add to a rapidly expanding group of people in Trump’s orbit who have contracted Covid-19.

The group also includes three reporters who cover the White House, the director of Oval Office operations, the chair of the Republican National Committee and Trump’s campaign manager, along with at least three Republican senators.

White House Press Secretary Joins Ranks With Covid-19 (11:26 a.m.)

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a tweet that she tested positive for coronavirus Monday morning. She said she has had no symptoms and had tested negative consistently since Thursday, when she briefed the press.

McEnany also said that she “definitively” had no knowledge of Trump aide Hope Hicks’s infection with the coronavirus prior to holding the Thursday briefing.

Video: White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tests positive for Covid-19 (TODAY)

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tests positive for Covid-19

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First Lady Melania ‘Feeling Good,’ Resting at Home (10:45 a.m.)

First Lady Melania Trump, who unlike her husband wasn’t taken to the hospital after her diagnosis with Covid-19, tweeted

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Melania Trump didn’t visit husband to avoid exposing Secret Service and medical staff to COVID-19

Doctors and infectious disease experts were highly critical of President Trump’s decision to get driven in a hermetically sealed SUV around Walter Reed Medical Center to wave to supporters while he is contagious with COVID-19, endangering his Secret Service detail, photographed wearing the wrong type of personal protective equipment. The Secret Service has noticed.

Somebody at the White House had considered the safety of Secret Service agents. On Saturday, a White House official told NBC News’ Peter Alexander that first lady Melania Trump would not leave her isolation in the White House residence to visit her husband because “she has COVID” and “that would expose the agents who would drive her there and the medical staff who would walk her up to him.”

The White House defended what spokesman Judd Deere called Trump’s “short, last-minute motorcade ride to wave to his supporters outside.” Deere told Axios‘ Alayna Treene, the White House pool reporter on duty, that “appropriate precautions were taken in the execution of this movement to protect the president and all those supporting it, including PPE. The movement was cleared by the medical team as safe to do.” Deere did not, Treene note, “answer additional questions, such as whether the drive-by happened at the president’s request.”

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Doctor slams Trump for leaving hospital to drive by supporters: ‘The irresponsibility is astounding’

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Lowe’s NFL “Home Team Roster” Is Doing Amazing Community Service Projects Across the Country

Lowe’s

During these tough times of the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve been amazed at how many people—celebrities and regular folks alike—have devoted themselves to helping those in need. Now, we’re happy to hear this piece of feel-good news from Lowe’s, the home improvement store, which has just launched the “Home Team Roster,” a lineup of players from all 32 NFL teams working on various community impact projects in their respective NFL hometowns.

For the partnership, each player will volunteer on a project ranging from affordable housing repairs and small business support to veterans’ outreach and disaster recovery. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens’ quarterback and 2019 NFL MVP, is serving as “captain” for Lowe’s Home Team, and is very much looking forward to making a difference in Charm City.

For his specific project, the star quarterback will work with Lowe’s and Baltimore’s Southwest Partnership to help with the opening of the United Way Family Center in Poppleton at Excel Academy. The center provides quality early childhood education and daycare, as well as support for student parents. The United Way Family Center is part of Lowe’s broader commitment to support housing and workforce needs in Southwest Baltimore.

“It’s important for me to be able to give back to the community and support the people that have supported me,” Jackson said in a Lowe’s press release. “Being a part of the Lowe’s Home Team is special for me because it gives me the chance to bring people together and give back.” The soon-to-open family center is pictured below, and we’re hopeful it will be a very special addition to the community.

Julie Filderman (United Way of Central Maryland)

Julie Filderman (United Way of Central Maryland)

The Home Team roster also includes fellow ‘co-captain’ Carolina Panthers’ Christian McCaffrey, Pittsburgh Steelers’ James Conner, Atlanta Falcons’ Calvin Ridley, New York Giants’ Will Hernandez, and Dallas Cowboys’ CeeDee Lamb.

WATCH: Texans’ DeAndre Hopkins Has a Sweet Tradition With his Mom at Football Games

Texans’ DeAndre Hopkins Has a Sweet Tradition With his Mom at Football Games

Sabrina Greenlee sits as close as she can to the field where her son DeAndre Hopkins plays football.

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Clintons wish Trumps speedy recovery, hopes for safety of White House staff and Secret Service

Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonICE launching billboard campaign highlighting ‘at-large immigration violators’ Congress can’t stop QAnon but combatting abuse and trauma can Majority of Americans concerned about potential foreign election interference: poll MORE on Friday night sent wishes of a speedy recovery to her 2016 opponent President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump campaign manager tests positive for COVID-19 Trump given Remdesivir as treatment for COVID-19 infection ICE launching billboard campaign highlighting ‘at-large immigration violators’ MORE and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpTrump given Remdesivir as treatment for COVID-19 infection Kellyanne Conway tests positive for COVID-19 Trump to Woodward in April: I’m ‘just not’ worried about contracting COVID-19 MORE after their coronavirus diagnosis, as well as hopes “for the safety of the White House staff, the Secret Service, and others putting their lives on the line.”

“This pandemic has affected so many. We must continue to protect ourselves, our families, and communities,” wrote the former first lady and her husband, former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonArizona Mirror editor says changing demographics could shift battleground state in Biden’s favor Clinton says debate made her worry ‘what the next month is going to be like’ New poll finds Biden narrowly leading Trump in Georgia MORE.

The Trumps revealed their coronavirus diagnosis early Friday morning, sending a shock through Washington and the rest of the world.

In the afternoon, Trump traveled to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center where he will remain “for the next few days. White House officials have said that Trump’s symptoms are mild and he remains in good spirits.

The announcement came after news broke that White House adviser and top aide to the president Hope HicksHope Charlotte HicksTrump campaign manager tests positive for COVID-19 Trump given Remdesivir as treatment for COVID-19 infection Kellyanne Conway tests positive for COVID-19 MORE tested positive for the disease

Both Hicks and the president had been together on Air Force One in Cleveland for the presidential debate as well as a campaign rally in Minnesota on Wednesday.

Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayTrump given Remdesivir as treatment for COVID-19 infection Kellyanne Conway tests positive for COVID-19 Special counsel investigating DeVos for potential Hatch Act violation: report MORE, Trump’s former longtime adviser, also tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday.

Last Saturday, Conway attended a ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White

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Outbreak at Secret Service Training Center Underlines Proximity of Virus to White House

Rick Nelson, a former official on the National Security Council under the George W. Bush administration who dealt with homeland security issues, said few other law enforcement agencies faced such pressure to continue operations while at the whims of political candidates prone to travel.

“They have a relatively small work force that doesn’t allow them to absorb and respond to the fluctuation,” said Mr. Nelson, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “They’re at higher risk than the general public because they can’t do their job if they’re social distancing.”

The Secret Service trains its officers and agents at a sprawling campus in Laurel, Md. The center has mock versions of Air Force One, Marine One, the president’s helicopter and the White House grounds. There is a large parking lot where agents learn how to drive the hulking armored limousine the president is driven in, which is known as the Beast. A nearby garage houses many of the older limousines that the agency has used in recent decades.

As cities began to carry out social distancing guidelines in the spring, the Secret Service closed its training facility in Maryland from March to June 1. Agency officials said it reopened after four months in part to respond to mounting pressure to add to the nearly 7,800 employees in the agency. An inspector general report in 2016 found the agency’s training “continues to be hindered by low staffing levels and high operational demands on the work force.”

The agency enacted various safety procedures, including relocating classes outdoors, instituting temperature checks and requiring agents to wear personal protective gear while participating in close-contact drills, according to Julia McMurray, a spokeswoman for the Secret Service, who declined to provide a total number of confirmed cases among agents.

“Any U.S. Secret Service employee who may have tested positive would have been immediately isolated and returned home and out of the working environment. Considerations would also be taken to ensure the least amount of contact with the public,” Ms. McMurray said. “Throughout the pandemic, the U.S. Secret Service has taken significant precautions at its training center to protect the health and welfare of its trainees and training staff.”

The agency declined to specify daily staffing levels at the facility. The service reduced the number of classes allowed to train there — normally about 10 groups — to no more than six when it reopened in June. But even those precautions could not stop a virus that has now left more than 200,000 people in the United States dead.

The covert work of agents in the Secret Service, and how it conflicts with social distancing guidelines, has not captured as much public attention as the law enforcement agencies with visible patrol officers like the New York Police Department, which has had thousands of confirmed cases of the coronavirus. But the task of serving on a protection detail, and specifically training for the job, requires coming into the exact close contact with others that the

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Ruth Bancroft Garden Honors Curator’s 40 Years Of Service

WALNUT CREEK, CA — Forty years into his dream job, Ruth Bancroft Garden & Nursery curator Brian Kemble is never entirely alone in his head as he goes about planting, hybridizing, photographing, documenting and building databases. He is still channeling, on a daily basis, the lovely, cactus-crazed lady who inspired, then hired him, back in 1980.

Kemble, 75, is the designated keeper of the flame lit by the late Ruth Bancroft, who over the course of decades turned her 3.5-acre plot of land in Walnut Creek into a world-renowned showcase for the variety, hardiness and beauty of ornamental, drought-tolerant plants.

A couple of weeks ago, Kemble’s colleagues at the garden surprised him by drilling a plaque in his honor into a large boulder on the premises. He can’t tell you what it says, exactly, because he hasn’t actually read it yet. But he was both thrilled and, yet again, a bit flummoxed by the reminder.

“It made me feel very glad that my efforts in the garden were appreciated,” he said. “And it also brought back to me the great burden that I feel, having had Ruth turn over the planting of the garden to me and my responsibility for making sure that her vision is adhered to, and the garden is in a good direction for the future.”

Gretchen Bartzen, executive director of the garden, notes that it became a nonprofit open to the public in 1992 as the first project of The Garden Conservancy, a national organization to preserve private gardens for public use that was inspired by Bancroft herself, who died in 2017 at the age of 109.

Photo courtesy of Ruth Bancroft Garden & Nursery, via Bay City News

Bartzen cites two factors that render the garden unique: “It was, as far as we know, one of the very first examples of an entirely drought-tolerant garden in the United States,” she said. “And also, her garden design was unusual at the time. She was one of the first people to ‘paint’ with plants – in other words, creating layers of textures – and she tried to imitate nature as much as possible.”

Painting with plants – really?

Kemble, now the resident “artist,” can take up that theme and run with it.

“That has to do with Ruth’s composing when she planted,” he insisted. “She would first put in the largest element, the big plants, the focal points. And then she would flesh in between them with patches of plants, and she could see it work like a mosaic, having a pool of orange over here and a pool of blue over there.

“One of the wonderful things about succulents,” he continued, “is the plants themselves often have multiple colors, not just when they’re in bloom, but the rosette that is orange or pink or blue, or what have you. And so they’re rending themselves, painting with plants.”

Kemble, a San Francisco resident, was both honoree and a presenter at Ruth Bancroft Garden’s annual fundraising

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Ruth Bancroft Garden & Nusery Honors Curator’s 40 Years Of Service

Forty years into his dream job, Ruth Bancroft Garden & Nursery curator Brian Kemble is never entirely alone in his head as he goes about planting, hybridizing, photographing, documenting and building databases. He is still channeling, on a daily basis, the lovely, cactus-crazed lady who inspired, then hired him, back in 1980.

Kemble, 75, is the designated keeper of the flame lit by the late Ruth Bancroft, who over the course of decades turned her 3.5-acre plot of land in Walnut Creek into a world-renowned showcase for the variety, hardiness and beauty of ornamental, drought-tolerant plants.

A couple of weeks ago, Kemble’s colleagues at the garden surprised him by drilling a plaque in his honor into a large boulder on the premises. He can’t tell you what it says, exactly, because he hasn’t actually read it yet. But he was both thrilled and, yet again, a bit flummoxed by the reminder.

“It made me feel very glad that my efforts in the garden were appreciated,” he said. “And it also brought back to me the great burden that I feel, having had Ruth turn over the planting of the garden to me and my responsibility for making sure that her vision is adhered to, and the garden is in a good direction for the future.”

Gretchen Bartzen, executive director of the garden, notes that it became a nonprofit open to the public in 1992 as the first project of The Garden Conservancy, a national organization to preserve private gardens for public use that was inspired by Bancroft herself, who died in 2017 at the age of 109.

Bartzen cites two factors that render the garden unique: “It was, as far as we know, one of the very first examples of an entirely drought-tolerant garden in the United States,” she said. “And also, her garden design was unusual at the time. She was one of the first people to ‘paint’ with plants – in other words, creating layers of textures – and she tried to imitate nature as much as possible.”


Painting with plants – really?

Kemble, now the resident “artist,” can take up that theme and run with it.

“That has to do with Ruth’s composing when she planted,” he insisted. “She would first put in the largest element, the big plants, the focal points. And then she would flesh in between them with patches of plants, and she could see it work like a mosaic, having a pool of orange over here and a pool of blue over there.

“One of the wonderful things about succulents,” he continued, “is the plants themselves often have multiple colors, not just when they’re in bloom, but the rosette that is orange or pink or blue, or what have you. And so they’re rending themselves, painting with plants.”

Kemble, a San Francisco resident, was both honoree and a presenter at Ruth Bancroft Garden’s annual fundraising gala, held virtually on Sept. 19. An art lover and an accomplished photographer whose camera skills developed in

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Complimentary Interior Design Hong Kong Service Launched By BoConcept Hong Kong

Press release content from Marketers MEDIA. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

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Taking advantage of the free BoConcept interior design services available in-store at all Hong Kong branches enables you to enhance the interior of your home without spending a fortune on overpriced interior design consultants. There are many benefits to taking up a no-obligation booking with one of the interior design team members, and their help is especially useful if you don’t know where to start when thinking about designing or redesigning the interiors of your home. For more information on BoConcept visit https://www.boconcept.com/en-hk/interior-design-service

While for some people, making over their home can be a very fun and creative thing to do, many others will struggle with the task and can quickly feel overwhelmed by the challenge. This is why it pays you to have an informal talk with a professional interior designer about your home and what you want it to look and feel like. Whether you are looking to have a major overhaul of your interior rooms or you simply want to refresh just one room in your house, booking a chat with one of the BoConcept interior designers will get you off to a good start. Your home is very much a reflection of your personality, taste and style, so you must choose a designer that listens to what you want.

By working with an experienced BoConcept interior designer they will make sure that your personal tastes are reflected in your design. This means you will be guaranteed to end up with an interior design layout that fits your lifestyle and will remain strikingly beautiful for years to come. To learn more about BoConcept head to https://www.boconcept.com/en-hk/interior-design-service

The great thing about choosing to work with a BoConcept designer is that they can help you to make just a few simple tweaks to your interior design by changing just a few key elements. This can help to keep your makeover costs down while giving your home a whole new look and feel. Whether you are looking for a few on-trend changes to revive a tired-looking room, or you want to completely re-design a room to give it a brand-new function, having an experienced interior designer on hand to guide you will prove to be invaluable.

An important element of working with an interior designer is that you get exactly what you need and not what the designers think you need. When you work with a BoConcept designer you can get everything from simple style advice for coordinating a room to an in-depth service that includes a personal mood board, 3D visualizations of a home, a visit to your home to take measurements, product samples, and more.

It all starts with

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