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British army helps clear backlog of virus-stranded drivers LONDON — Around 1, British soldiers were spending Christmas Day trying to clear a huge backlog of truck drivers stuck in southeast England after France briefly closed its border to the U. Even though an estimated 4, or so international truck drivers are spending yet another day cooped up in their cabs, some progress was evident Friday, with traffic around the English Channel port of Dover moving in an orderly fashion towards the extra ferries that were put on to make the short crossing across to Calais in northern France. Rail operator Eurotunnel was also back in action, offering a way back into France. The military personnel were directing traffic and helping a mass testing program for the drivers, who must test negative to enter France.

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British army helps clear backlog of virus-stranded drivers LONDON aigustine Around 1, British soldiers were spending Christmas Day trying to clear a huge backlog of truck drivers stuck in southeast England after France briefly closed its border to the Bbeach. Even though an estimated 4, or so international truck drivers are spending yet another day cooped up in their cabs, some progress was evident Friday, with traffic around the English Channel port of Dover moving in an orderly fashion towards the extra ferries that were put on to make the short crossing across to Calais in northern France.

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Rail operator Eurotunnel was also saibt in action, offering a way back into France. The military personnel were directing traffic and helping a mass testing program for the drivers, who must test negative to enter France. French firefighters have also been drafted to help the military test drivers for coronavirus. Poland's Territorial Defence Force also sent reinforcements to help with testing and food distribution. Those testing positive are being offered accommodation.

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Most of the testing is being conducted at a disused airfield at Manston Airport, 20 miles 33 kilometres from Dover. France closed its border for 48 hours to the U. As a result, the capital and many other parts of England have seen lockdown restrictions tightened and family holiday gatherings cancelled.

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Free food and drink was being sent to the stranded truck drivers and more than portable toilets were put in at Manston, with 32 others placed along the gridlocked Beacu highway. Britain's coast guard said its teams in the Dover area had so far delivered 3, hot meals, pizzas and 2, packed lunches. The mood among the stranded drivers appeared to be mostly sanguine, especially compared to their anger earlier this week at the situation and the lack of facilities.

The virus has been blamed for over 1.

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On Saturday, Britain is extending tighter lockdown restrictions to more areas as authorities try to stem the spread of the new variant. Over the past two days, the U. That is stoking fears that the country's beloved National Health Service will face acute capacity issues in its hospitals soon and thousands more people will die from the virus.

Johnson said Thursday that more thanpeople in Britain have received the first dose of the vaccine developed by American pharmaceutical firm Pfizer and German biotechnology company BioNTech. The U.

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The rare Christmas Eve session of the House xdult just minutes, with help for millions of Americans awaiting Trump's ature on the bill. Steny Hoyer, D-Md.

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With its fate still up in the air, the bill arrived Thursday night in Florida, where the president has been spending the holiday s golfing and tweeting, a person familiar with its movement said. The optics appear terrible for Republicans, and the outgoing president, as the nation suffers through the worst holiday season many can remember. Families are isolated under COVID precautions and millions of American households are devastated without adequate income, food or shelter.

The virus death toll of ,plus is rising. Trump is ending his presidency much the way he started it — sowing confusion and reversing promises all while contesting the election and courting a federal shutdown over demands his own party in Congress will not meet.

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He has been lashing out at GOP leaders for refusing to his efforts to overturn the election that Joe Biden won when the Electoral College votes are tallied in Congress on Jan. Roy Blunt of Missouri said Thursday. They are also considering a Monday vote on a stop-gap measure to at least avert a federal shutdown. It would keep the government running until Biden is inaugurated Jan.

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Lawmakers will also be asked to override Trump's veto of a must-pass Defence bill. After presiding over the short House session, an exasperated Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich.

All is not calm. For too many, nothing is bright," she said on Capitol Hill. One father recently told her he had to tell his children there would be no Santa Claus this year. On a conference call Wednesday House Republican lawmakers complained that Trump threw them under the bus, according to one Republican on the private call and granted anonymity to discuss it. Most had voted for the package and they urged GOP leaders to hit the cable news shows to explain its benefits, the person said.

Democrats only settled for the lower to compromise with Republicans.

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They are being forced to choose whether to back or buck Trump, potentially angering voters on all sides. Instead, the minute House session morphed into a procedural brawl as Hoyer, the No. House Republicans then tried, and failed, to win unanimous approval of their own proposal to revisit routine foreign aid funding, which Trump had cited as one of his key objections to the overall spending package. Trump took aim at foreign aid funds in the package he has agreed to in the past and asked for in his yearly budget.

The year-end timing complicates the schedule ahead. The Senate cleared the huge relief package Monday by a vote after the House approved it by Those votes totals would be enough to override a veto should Trump decide to take that step.

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