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Ben Carson’s HUD cancels order for $31G dining room set after complaint

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The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Thursday that is canceling an order for a $31,561 dining set purchased for a costly makeover of Secretary Ben Carson’s office after a whistleblower’s complaint.

“At the request of the Secretary, the agency is working to rescind the order for the dining room set,” HUD spokesman Raffi Williams said in a statement.

The move comes after Helen Foster, HUD’s former chief administrative officer, complained that she was retaliated against for objecting to the cost of the set, saying that $5,000 was the statutory max. The New York Times reported on the decision, made in late 2017, on Tuesday.

The agency had previously called the dining room set a decoration rather than a building expense, and said it was not ordered by Carson. HUD told the Associated Press that only blinds were purchased for Carson’s office and were within the $5,000 limit. The dining set is in a room adjoining Carson’s office.

Foster said she was demoted for refusing to bankroll the remodelling, and claims it was requested by Carson’s wife amid an environment where top officials told her to skirt or break the rules. Foster says she was told the department “has always found money for this in the past” and that “$5,000 will not even buy a decent chair.”

The department said in response to that report that Carson decorated his office mainly with furniture from the agency’s basement and did not ask for a new dining set. Instead, the HUD blamed it on “career staffers.”

The department also denied retaliation, saying that Foster is still a HUD employee and that it is customary for staffers to be rotated.

HUD’s Office of the Inspector General said it would not confirm or deny whether it had opened an investigation into Foster’s allegations.

Foster’s complaint asks for a public apology, and that she be reinstated to her original position.

Fox News’ Peter Doocy and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

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U.S. has administered over 309 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, CDC says

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The United States had administered 309,322,545 doses of Covid-19 vaccines and distributed 374,398,105 doses in the country as of Sunday morning, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Those figures were up from the 308,112,728 doses of vaccine that the CDC said had been administered as of Saturday, out of 374,397,205 doses delivered.

The agency said 173,840,483 people in the United States had received at least one dose of a vaccine, while 143,921,222 people were fully vaccinated as of 6 a.m. ET on Sunday.

The CDC tally includes the two-dose vaccines from Moderna Inc and Pfizer Inc/BioNTech/ as well as Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine.

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Nigel Farage SHOULD be honoured for 'services to EU exit' – 'He's the man of the Century!'

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DOZENS of influential figures have been rewarded in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for their services to Brexit – but one former MEP has pointed out that Nigel Farage has been excluded.

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Queen Elizabeth II hosts Bidens at Windsor Castle

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LONDON — They met Friday at the Group of Seven summit, but President Joe Biden and the first lady had an altogether more private meeting with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II on Sunday, at her home in Windsor Castle.

The monarch, 95, received the Bidens for tea at her historic residence, about 30 miles west of London. On arrival they were greeted with an official Guard of Honor military parade, which gave a royal salute and played the American national anthem.

Biden stood next to the queen in the sunshine, wearing his aviator sunglasses, before inspecting the troops in the quadrangle of Windsor Castle, last seen on television during the somber funeral ceremony of her husband, Prince Philip, who died aged 99 in April.

The queen has stoically continued with her official duties since then and met Biden alongside other world leaders and their spouses on Friday at the G-7 summit, by the seaside in Cornwall, southwest England.

There, she amused leaders when she quipped during a photo-call: “Are you supposed to be looking as if you’re enjoying yourselves?”

Biden first met the queen in 1982 as a Democratic senator for Delaware but this time he joined her as president. He is the 13th serving president the monarch has met. She has met every serving American president since Dwight Eisenhower — except Lyndon Johnson who did not travel to Britain while in office.

As a 25-year-old princess in 1951, she also stayed with President Harry S. Truman and his family in Washington, D.C.

The queen has hosted four other American presidents at Windsor Castle in recent years, including former-President Donald Trump in 2018, who shocked press and palace pundits when he breached royal protocol by walking ahead of the queen, at times blocking her view and giving her his back.

After a state visit in 2019, Trump told Fox News: “There are those that say they have never seen the queen have a better time.”

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On arrival to England last week, first lady Jill Biden told reporters that meeting the queen was “an exciting part of the visit for us.”

She also undertook a separate engagement with Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, when the two visited a school on Friday.

Kate told NBC News during the visit that she was looking forward to meeting her new niece, Lilibet Diana, born in California earlier this month.

Britain’s royal family have had a turbulent year in the public eye following a bombshell interview given by the queen’s grandson Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.

The couple stunned viewers with allegations of royal racism — denied by the palace — while Meghan also spoke publicly about how royal life and media pressure had taken its toll on her mental health.

After taking private afternoon tea with the queen on Sunday, Biden will then travel to nearby Brussels for a NATO summit, before heading to Switzerland on Wednesday for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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