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Australia advises caution overseas when border opens Monday******
Australia advised its nationals traveling overseas yesterday to "exercise a high degree of caution" as it prepares to open its borders for the first time in 19 months.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade reinstated its travel advice for 177 countries and territories ahead of fully vaccinated Australians becoming free to travel from Monday.
No destination has been given a risk assessment lower than the second-tier warning: "Exercise a high degree of caution."
The vast majority of Australian permanent residents and citizens have been stranded in the island nation since March last year by some of the most draconian pandemic restrictions of any democracy. They had to request exemptions from the ban and demonstrate exceptional circumstances. Most requests were rejected or approved too late for Australians to reach death beds or funerals. Travel to and from Australia for tourism has not been allowed.
A few categories of citizen, including public servants on government business, were exempt from the international travel ban.
International travel will be initially restricted to Sydney's airport because New South Wales has the highest vaccination rate of any state. More than 86 percent of the population of Australia's most populous state aged 16 and older are fully vaccinated, and over 93 percent of the target population had received at least a single shot.
Initially only Australian permanent residents and citizens will be free to travel. Fully vaccinated foreigners traveling on skilled worker and student visas will be given priority over international tourists.
Former Pentagon chief sues to publish material in memoir******
Former US Defense Secretary Mark Esper claims in a lawsuit against the Defense Department that material is being improperly withheld from his use as he seeks to publish an "unvarnished and candid memoir" of his time in President Donald Trump's Cabinet.。
The lawsuit, which was filed on Sunday in the US District Court in Washington, describes the memoir, "A Sacred Oath," as an account of Esper's tenure as Army Secretary from 2017 to 2019 and his 18 months as Defense Secretary, which ended when Trump fired him in a tweet just days after the president lost his- reelection bid.。
The period in which Esper was Pentagon chief was "an unprecedented time of civil unrest, public health crises, growing threats abroad, Pentagon transformation, and a White House seemingly bent on circumventing the Constitution," the lawsuit says.。
Esper and Trump were sharply divided over the use of the military during civil unrest in June 2020 following the killing of George Floyd.。
Other issues led the president to believe Esper was not sufficiently loyal while Esper believed he was trying to keep the department apolitical.。
Firing a defense secretary after an election loss was unprecedented.。
But the opening allowed Trump to install loyalists in top Pentagon positions as he continued to dispute his election loss.。
The lawsuit contends that "significant text" in the memoir, scheduled for publication by William Morrow in May, is being improperly held under the guise of classification and that Esper maintains it contains no classified information. The suit notes that Esper is restricted by his secrecy agreements from authorizing publication without Pentagon approval, or face possible civil and criminal liability.。
The lawsuit quotes from a letter Esper sent to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin criticizing the review process. He wrote that he had been asked not to quote Trump and others in meetings, not to describe conversations he had with Trump, and not to use certain verbs or nouns when describing historical events.。