Defense Secretary: Trump Has Ordered U.S. Troops To Leave Northern Syria

Defense Secretary Mark Esper isn’t saying how many U.S. troops will leave the north, but he says they represent most of the 1,000 troops in Syria.
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Trump orders US troops to withdraw from Northern Syria

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Mourne to be wild: an activity holiday in Northern Ireland

The mountains of Mourne are now famous for playing Westeros – but it’s also the ideal location for adventurers, with hikes, climbs, kayaking and more

The Mourne Mountains have inspired writers, musicians and adventurers for centuries. The literary connections – the mountains sweeping down to the sea in the songs of Percy French, or inspiring CS Lewis’s Narnia – have given way in recent years to the TV titan that is Game of Thrones. Much of the series was filmed around these mountains, making them, in the space of a decade, Northern Ireland’s most valuable tourist draw.

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U.S. Begins Pullback From Northern Syria, Clearing Way for Turkish Offensive

Convoys of American military personnel began pulling back from the Syria-Turkey border, after President Trump ordered the Pentagon to clear the way for Ankara to launch an offensive against Kurdish fighters who spearheaded the U.S.-campaign against Islamic State.
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Kaiser Permanente increases health care access in northern Virginia

ROCKVILLE, Md. — Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest not-for-profit integrated health care system, continued its commitment to northern Virginia by opening another state-of-the-art medical center. The Colonial Forge Medical Center, which is located on the Stafford Hospital campus, is the second of 3 new medical centers that Kaiser Permanente will open in Virginia this year.

The 40,000-square-foot Alexandria Medical Center opened in April, and the 36,423-square-foot Haymarket Crossroads Medical Center, which will be conveniently located near I-66, will open later in 2019. 

Kaiser Permanente also recently announced that it will open a new 5-story, state-of-the-art multispecialty medical center in Woodbridge, Virginia., in 2021.

“The Colonial Forge Medical Center is an important piece of our larger commitment to increase access to our award-winning medical care in northern Virginia,” said Kim Horn, regional president for Kaiser Permanente. “Our new wave of medical centers is equipped with advanced health care technology and a complete suite of telehealth services so our members can receive the best care possible in the most convenient way.”

The 3-story Colonial Forge Medical Center, located at 125 Hospital Center Blvd., in Stafford, Virginia., offers an array of primary and specialty medical care services, including dermatology, sleep medicine, podiatry, optometry, on-site pharmacy, and lab and imaging services — all located under one roof.

The 38,375-square-foot medical center features innovative design features, including large common areas, express check-in kiosks, and exam rooms where members can better interact with their caregivers. Some exam rooms have wide-screen video monitors, which allow direct telemedicine consultations with specialists in other locations.

“We proudly provide our patients with the highest quality of care in the nation,” said Richard McCarthy, MD, associate executive director of the Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group, which provides care for Kaiser Permanente members in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. “Patients who come to the new Colonial Forge Medical Center will be amazed by the breadth of care their physicians are able to provide at this incredible facility.”

Medicaid beneficiaries in our service area can get access to doctors, pharmacy, lab, and more at Colonial Forge Medical Center by choosing Virginia Premier. Medicaid members have access to Kaiser Permanente’s award-winning care and physicians.

Kaiser Permanente is also committed to improving the health of the communities where its members and employees live and work. In 2018 alone, Kaiser Permanente invested more than $ 10.4 million in northern Virginia, through community health grants, donations, sponsorships, and charitable care programs.

Year over year, Kaiser Permanente has achieved outcomes that are unmatched by other health systems in the nation, according to the National Committee for Quality Assurance’s Quality Compass. These accolades include being among the most successful health systems in the nation for breast cancer screening, colorectal cancer screening, and cervical cancer screening.

Potential members can learn more about Kaiser Permanente’s outstanding care at the Clinical Excellence website. Information is available about Kaiser Permanente’s health system, and the award-winning physicians and the care they provide in areas like maternity, pediatrics, oncology, neurology, and cardiology.

Out of more than 1,000 health plans evaluated this year, Kaiser Permanente’s Private and Medicare plans in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia all received the highest possible rating (5 out of 5) from the National Committee for Quality Assurance. The organization’s Medicaid plans in Maryland and Virginia received the highest rating as well. According to the NCQA’s Health Insurance Plan Ratings 2018-19 national report, Kaiser Permanente’s health system in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia is among the top 1% of plans in the nation as evaluated by NCQA’s rigorous review process.

Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States also received the highest possible rating of 5 out of 5 stars from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for quality and service. This is the seventh year in a row the organization has received 5 out of 5 stars.

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 12.3 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health.

Contact

Scott Lusk
202-288-3233
scott.lusk@kp.org

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Panniers and pasta: a foodie cycling tour in northern Italy

In 2018, our writers cycled from Bristol to Bangkok, staying with locals in 22 countries. They remember Italy fondly for its warm hospitality – and fabulous carb-rich cuisine

We had been on the road for a month. Our final descent out of Switzerland was breathtaking and, as we raced down the mountain, it felt like we were leaving winter behind us. Road markings flashed beneath us. We were fast; the weight of loaded panniers adding momentum. Thawing snow lined our route, glistening as it melted on either side of the tarmac. We shared the road with drivers who passed leaving plenty of room to spare, some acknowledging us with a polite nod or raised palm.

Italy was now visible. Our fifth country in as many weeks. As we freewheeled, we chatted about how cycling across borders reduces culture shock: you travel so slowly that countries simply dissolve into one another. That theory was instantly shattered as we crossed into Italy. Everything transformed within metres. The energy of the traffic around us changed: horns blared as drivers sped out of Como in the early evening light, some offering a cheery shout of “bravo” or “buon viaggio”. But, after an initial jolt at the border, it only took a day or two to adjust to local driving styles, something that was repeated in all the countries that we would later pass through.

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Travel | The Guardian

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Visiting Westeros: Northern Ireland Gets Tourism Boost From Game Of Thrones | NBC Nightly News

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Tourism is coming… Northern Ireland turns into a Game of Thrones hotspot

Tourism boon for country as fans flock to visit sets and locations of the award-winning fantasy saga

The group, tourists from Britain, Germany, the US and half a dozen other countries, followed the guide deep into Tollymore Forest and gathered around a tree stump.

“Ladies and gentlemen, cameras ready,” said Eric Nolan, who had chaperoned them from Dublin to this state park in Northern Ireland this week. “This,” he said pointing, “is where Kit Harington’s arse sat.”

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Travel | The Guardian

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Northern Might: The Maple Leafs’ Homegrown Quest to Bring the Stanley Cup Back to Toronto

No NHL franchise matters more in Canada than the Maple Leafs (sorry Canadiens), and as Brendan Shanahan and his team of local stars look to end a 51-year Stanley Cup drought, the passion in Toronto feels renewed. 

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The best places to see the Northern Lights

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Have you heard or read about the Northern Lights? The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, are one of the greatest shows displayed by Mother Nature. They occur when there is a collision between solar particles and gases in the atmosphere. They may last for a few minutes or even several days. Many people dream of viewing this incredible spectacle, and choose a vacation destination for this purpose. Does this sound like you?

Check out some of the best places to see the Northern Lights below.

1. Fairbanks, Alaska

This is one of the best places from which you can view the Northern Lights. The dark nights, clear skies, and cold weather offer you ideal aurora viewing conditions.

If you are worried about the cold temperatures, you can view the lights near the steaming hot springs. You can often see the aurora from anywhere in Alaska. However, the best viewing site is at Fairbanks which is located in the “auroral oval”.

The Northern Lights are available for your viewing pleasure throughout the year. However, the best time is during the winter months.

2. Reykjavik, Iceland

This is one of the cheapest and most accessible sites for you to view the Northern Lights. However, you may need to leave the cities to get dark skies. This offers you a clear, uninterrupted view.

There are many Northern Lights tours available. You can opt for a tour in a four-wheel drive vehicle or a boat cruise, from which you can admire the Aurora, in all its glory.

3. Canada

Most of Canada falls under the “auroral oval”. However, you will be guaranteed the best Northern Lights view in the sparsely populated province of Yukon. There is virtually no light pollution in this area, thus offering you a fantastic view of the lights.

To avoid the harsh winter conditions, it would be best if you go during the autumn season. You can also try visiting during the March equinox. During this time, there is an increase in solar activity and this will give you an unforgettable view of the lights.

4. Norway

This is one of the most magical places you can check out the Northern Lights. Norway is a comfortable place to view them, and you can choose from a variety of aurora viewing options. It is also quite easy for you to get around this beautiful country.

The best place to view the aurora is Tromso. Other places you can try out include Harstad and the Lofoten Islands. An ideal time to visit would be between October and March.

5. Finland

From September to March, the lights shine almost every other night in Finland. You can view the aurora from just about anywhere, so long as you are away from the cities. However, be warned as, during these months, it can get quite cold.

You can even opt to view the lights from a glass igloo as you keep warm in bed.

The Northern Lights are a sight to behold. If you get the chance, you can visit any one of these places to see this amazing natural spectacle.

So go on ahead and plan that well-deserved vacation. Make a point of visiting the best places to see the Northern Lights.

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Best cities around the globe to witness the Northern Lights

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Few sights are more beautiful than the Northern Lights. Caused by the collision of solar particles and gases, they will easily take your breath away. However, finding somewhere to see them can be tricky. You have to be in the right part of the world to get a good view of them. Luckily, we know exactly where these places are.

Kakslauttanen (Finland)

Finland sits in a perfect location to see the Northern Lights which is why the locals have cashed in on the phenomenon. There are specially designed glass igloos in Kakslauttanen that allow tourists to gaze up at the Lights without having to bear the brunt of the country’s cold weather. Although the light show is impossible to miss in the winter, Finland isn’t exactly known for being warm.

Tärendö (Sweden)

Considering parts of Sweden don’t see sunlight for days at a time, the country makes an ideal choice for viewing the Northern Lights. Places like Tärendö top the list as the best locations to set up camp and do some stargazing, though you can see the Lights in most parts of the north. The benefit of traveling to Sweden for the phenomenon is that temperatures don’t drop as much as other places during the winter. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not cold there – you’ll still need to wrap up warm.

Tromsø (Norway)

Northern Lights or not, you should visit Norway anyway. The country is one of the most beautiful in Europe, and it’s bursting with natural wonders. It’s simple to navigate and full of towering mountains and peaceful fjords that will look great on your camera roll. Once the sun sets and the night is in full swing, you can get great shots of the vibrant Lights from all over the country. Why not stop off in somewhere like Tromsø for a few hours of stargazing. As long as it’s winter, you should have a perfect view of one of nature’s greatest wonders.

Fairbanks (Alaska)

If you want to see the Northern Lights, you don’t even have to leave the US. All you’ve got to do is get yourself over to Alaska where conditions are optimal for seeing the Lights. Although it can be chilly here at night, the prevalence of hot springs means you can enjoy the wonder of nature while staying nice and warm. While Fairbanks is generally considered the best place in the state to see the show, you can glimpse the Northern Lights from almost everywhere in Alaska.

Nuuk (Greenland)

If you want to enjoy the Northern Lights somewhere that isn’t a tourist trap, then you might want to consider visiting Nuuk in Greenland. It’s less popular with visitors, mainly because it’s not as developed as other countries. However, if you don’t mind more rural living, then this might be the place to go. Plus, with all the icebergs in the ocean, there’s plenty more to see here than just the Lights.

Natural wonders don’t get much more beautiful than the Northern Lights. If you’re desperate to see them, you’ll need to add one of these cities to your travel list.

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