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Businesses in D.C. Blame the Government for the District’s Empty Offices


Kostas Fostieris grew wistful as he remembered the workday crowds that once flocked to Greek Deli & Catering, a small restaurant a few blocks from the White House that he has operated for 35 years. At lunch, the line would stretch down the block, Mr. Fostieris said. But then the coronavirus pandemic swept the nation, and the lunch crowds vanished. They have yet to return.

“It’s like the day and night,” Mr. Fostieris lamented as he sat against a wall adorned with signed photographs of the current and former presidents as well as a plethora of framed reviews — some faded, all glowing — from newspapers, magazines and guidebooks.

When asked if business on certain weekdays was especially slow, Mr. Fostieris answered quickly: “Every day.”

But unlike the other two, Seattle and San Francisco, Washington is not a technology hub but a company town that relies on a single employer to a degree not seen elsewhere. The local economy is powered by about 160,000 federal workers in the district, who are only now slowly returning to their workplaces from their suburban home offices. Last fall, an annual survey of 625,568 federal workers found that more than two-thirds were still working remotely some of the time.

Nina Albert, the district’s deputy mayor for planning and economic development, said working with the federal government to persuade workers to return to the office was a “challenge.”

“We would like the federal government to make a more concerted effort to have people return to office because we think it’s better for the federal government — as well as better for us,” she said.

Those dynamics have put real estate companies and local businesses at odds with the federal government. The businesses said the thousands of federal workers still sitting in their suburban home offices were hastening Washington’s fiscal and social decline.

“The federal government is now a drag rather than a benefit to the district,” said Steven Teitelbaum, a former real estate lawyer who now teaches at American University.

A collapse of the commercial real estate market — vacancy rates climbed above 20 percent in Washington at the end of 2023 — would affect not only landlords and developers but also the district itself. As buildings lose value, tax revenue could decline: Last year, the city’s chief financial officer projected Washington could stand to lose $464 million from 2024 to 2026.

Executive branch agencies have issued return-to-office plans, but, in a town with strong worker protections, those directives can be difficult to enforce. Each agency has its own return-to-office rules. In September, the Department of Justice told its 115,000 employees (about 20 percent of whom work in Washington) that they were expected to work in the office for six days every two weeks. But the notice made it clear that managers could issue exceptions to the new rule. And it was unclear how the six-day minimum would be enforced.

In January, Jeff Zients, the White House chief of staff, issued a memorandum calling for “concrete plans” from agency heads to bring workers back to the office.

“Return to office is a priority for President Biden,” Mr. Zients said in an email to The New York Times.

Jacqueline Simon, the policy director for the American Federation of Government Employees, a union that represents some 750,000 federal workers, disputed suggestions that productivity was dropping. She also challenged the argument that Washington’s civic fortunes depended on union members’ office attendance.

“The federal government’s mission is not to provide customers for restaurants and stores,” Ms. Simon said.

Still, the city’s lack of office workers is pervasive and pronounced. The Public Buildings Reform Board, a federal agency created to help offload some of the government’s vast real estate holdings, used cellphone location data to track workers’ office attendance at several federal agencies. The board’s findings, published in March, revealed that those agencies were using only 12 percent, on average, of their 90 million square feet of office spaces in the Washington region.

The board called for the sale of some federal property so that the city could find new uses for it and “avoid the worst effects of its deepening economic crisis.”

Stephen Buschbom, the research director at Trepp, a firm that analyzes real estate financing, told Bloomberg in December that Washington had surpassed San Francisco for the highest share of office buildings with loans that were at risk of default, and that Washington “could be the new ground zero for office distress.”

Washington’s recovery is also complicated because the city has few live-work neighborhoods like Lower Manhattan, where some office towers were turned into apartments after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Even before the pandemic, the district had a higher ratio of daytime workers to city residents, said Tracy Hadden Loh, an urban affairs scholar at the Brookings Institution.

Muriel E. Bowser, the mayor of Washington, has a plan to invest $400 million to increase the downtown population by 15,000 as a way to resuscitate the city. The plan calls for a more pedestrian-friendly streetscape, and for easing regulations for small businesses and housing developers.

Building owners are also getting creative. A vacant building on M Street was recently the site of an art fair.

But absent what Nathan J. Edwards, a senior real estate analyst at Cushman & Wakefield, called “a serious capital infusion,” he estimated that half of Washington’s unwanted office stock was headed for a date with the wrecking ball as soon as interest rates fell, making new construction more feasible.

Some blue-chip tenants are continuing to reduce their footprints or move their offices out of the city. The mortgage giant Fannie Mae said in January that it would end its lease early at Midtown Center, a gleaming new tower it has occupied since late 2017. The consulting firm Chemonics International said in March that it was preparing to sublease 153,000 square feet, or about half the space it leases in a New Jersey Avenue building. And the real estate data giant CoStar Group is moving its headquarters and about 500 employees to Arlington, Va., from downtown Washington.

“We are in a long and slow transition process,” said Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, a professor of real estate at Columbia University, speaking broadly about the office sector. “The demand is very weak and continues to weaken.”

George Marinakos sees this pain on a daily basis. His bar, the Exchange Saloon, is near the White House and opposite the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on G Street. He pointed to the agency’s windows, almost uniformly dark early on a recent Friday afternoon.

“It’s been brutal,” Mr. Marinakos said. “I think with the days that they do come in, they’re just leaving early.”

Before the pandemic, he said, he served 200 lunches on an average day. Now, he dishes out 40 on the best days. Mr. Marinakos said he wished that federal employees saw the remote work debate as more than a personal cost-benefit calculation.

“It’s not just me struggling,” he said.

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Missouri attorney general requests records from Kansas City related to Harrison Butker doxing post


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Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey is following through on his vow to pursue action against the city of Kansas City after a social media account run by the city revealed the residence of Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker, in what Bailey says was an act of “retaliation” for his religious beliefs. 

Speaking to “OutKick the Morning” with Charly Arnolt, Bailey said his office has requested records and documents related to the management of the city’s social media account after a post on X last week revealed the city where Butker lives. 

Harrison Butker, #7 of the Kansas City Chiefs, arrives at Allegiant Stadium before Super Bowl LVIII against the San Francisco 49ers on Feb. 11, 2024 in Las Vegas. (Luke Hales/Getty Images)

The post came amid a wave of backlash Butker faced after he gave a commencement speech at a private Catholic school in Missouri, where he spoke from his position as a Catholic. 


“We have demanded certain records from the city related to their management of that social media account that doxed Harrison Butker in retaliation for his free expression of religious beliefs,” Bailey told Arnolt in an episode aired on Thursday. 

“Let’s paint this with the proper brush – that is government retaliating against an individual for the expression of their sincerely held religious beliefs. That could not be more of a clear case of a violation of his constitutional freedoms and the Missouri Human Rights Act.” 

missouri attorney general andrew bailey

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey listens during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024. (Graeme Sloan/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Butker, 28, has come under fire following his commencement speech at Benedictine College. In his address, he made specific references to female graduates embracing their “vocation” as a “homemaker” and President Biden’s stance on abortion as a Catholic. He also made references to the LGBTQ community as it relates to Pride month. 


“At the end of the day, I support his right to free expression of religion. If you listen to what he said and you actually drill down on the words he used  – this is a man of Catholic faith, speaking to a Catholic audience at a Catholic university, expressing his sincerely held religious beliefs,” Bailey continued. 

“I’m always going to stand up and fight for athletes or anyone else who wants to express their religious beliefs and are protected by the constitutional law to do so.” 

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas addressed the controversy after the post was deleted last week, calling it “clearly inappropriate.” 

“A message appeared earlier this evening from a City public account. The message was clearly inappropriate for a public account. The City has correctly apologized for the error, will review account access, and ensure nothing like it is shared in the future from public channels.” 

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas talks about a ballot measure to determine funding of the Kansas City Police Department on Oct. 20, 2022, in his office at City Hall. (Emily Curiel/Kansas City Star/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)


Bailey expressed concern that the review by the mayor’s office could be an attempt to close the records to the attorney general’s office. 

“We’re not going to be stonewalled by the city in our demand for accountability in this instance.”   

Bailey called for anyone involved in posting the message to be “fired and terminated immediately.” 

“We’ve demanded certain records and documents in relation to how that account is managed and intend to look into that matter and hold any wrongdoers accountable. I think Harrison Butker himself has a cause of action against the city and I’m deeply concerned that they don’t have sufficient controls in place to prevent government from being weaponized to violate individual rights.” 

The mayor’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment. 

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Tories call for cut to interest rates despite market gloom over rising prices – live


Hunt attacks Labour and says he refutes ‘myths’ the economy is worse under Tories

Tories are calling for the Bank of England to cut interest rates despite market gloom over new inflation data.

Analysts say the chances of a cut in June are now slim after inflation fell to 2.3 per cent in April from 3.2 per cent in March – the lowest level in nearly three years – but above the 1.9 per cent to 2.1 predicted by some analysts.

But Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, the former Conservative business secretary, argued the Bank should have cut rates already because “inflation is a lagging indicator.”

Paul Scully, a former minister, said cutting the rate would “bring relief to many who are fixing their mortgages for the next few years”.

Paula Bejarano Carbo, NIESR economist, added said persistent core inflation and strong wage growth data suggested the Bank “may exert caution at its upcoming meeting and hold interest rates, despite today’s encouraging fall in the headline rate.”

Suren Thiru, economics director at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, said a June cut was now “unlikely”.


We’re finishing our live coverage of the latest inflation data.

The rate dropped to 2.3 per cent in April from 3.2 per cent in March – the lowest level in nearly three years – but remained above what some analysts had predicted.

Thanks for reading and join us again soon for all the latest updates on the economy.

Have a good rest of morning.

Matt Mathers22 May 2024 11:38



Good evening, and welcome to our inflation blog that will cover analysis and reaction to the figures that are due to be released on Wednesday.

Joe Middleton21 May 2024 19:30


What is inflation?

The Bank of England (BoE) defines inflation simply as a term used by economists to “describe the increase in prices over time”.

Rising costs of goods and services on the UK high street indicate that the value of the British pound is in decline, which in turn means a reduction in consumers’ purchasing power and therefore their quality of life, as they are discouraged from spending more than they can afford.

This in turn eats into national economic growth.

Joe Middleton21 May 2024 20:30


April’s data could be ‘make or break’ for the Bank of England

Experts said April’s data could be “make or break” for the Bank, which has been waiting for firm evidence that CPI has reached its target level before it can cut interest rates.

James Smith, a developed markets economist for ING, said: “It’s no exaggeration to say that this week’s UK inflation data will make or break a June rate cut from the Bank of England.

“The result is that headline inflation will, we think, dip below the Bank of England’s 2% target in May’s data due in June and stay there for most – if not all – of this year.

“But in the very short term, there’s still some uncertainty over services inflation.

Joe Middleton21 May 2024 21:30


NewsBusiness UK inflation predicted to drop close to Bank of England’s 2% target

UK inflation could get close to the Bank of England’s target of 2 per cent when the latest figures are released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Wednesday.

The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) dropped to 3.2 per cent for March, compared with the previous year, and forecasters polled by Reuters think inflation will drop to 2.1 per cent for April.

Pantheon Economics predicts a slightly lower figure of 2 per cent and Capital Economics thinks that it could dip even lower to 1.9 per cent. The Bank of England’s (BoE) own forecast is 2.1 per cent.

Joe Middleton21 May 2024 22:30


Watch: What is inflation?

What is inflation? | Decomplicated

Joe Middleton21 May 2024 23:30


How much is inflation expected to fall by?

CPI inflation is expected to fall to 2.1% in April from 3.2% in March, according to a consensus compiled by Pantheon Macroeconomics.

This would mark the lowest level since July 2021 when inflation was recorded at 2% – the Bank of England’s target level.

Lower gas and electricity prices compared with the prior year are expected to be the key driver behind price rises cooling last month.

Joe Middleton22 May 2024 00:30


What will happen to services inflation?

Pantheon Macroeconomics said it expects services inflation to fall to 5.4 per cent in April from 6 per cent in March.

Luke Bartholomew, senior economist for Abrdn, said that services inflation will likely be more important for policymakers at the Bank of England than the overall inflation figure.

“While returning inflation to target is psychologically significant, and symbolic of how much progress has occurred since inflation peaked above 11%, it is unlikely to be the number watched most closely by the Bank of England and investors,” he said.

“If services inflation comes in line with expectations, this will keep a June rate cut in play.

“But a large upside surprise will likely see the market scale back its bets on a June cut, and start to look to August for the beginning of the easing cycle.”

Joe Middleton22 May 2024 01:30


Watch: What is inflation?

What is inflation? | Decomplicated

Joe Middleton22 May 2024 02:30


UK inflation predicted to drop close to Bank of England’s 2% target

UK inflation could get close to the Bank of England’s target of 2 per cent when the latest figures are released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Wednesday.

The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) dropped to 3.2 per cent for March, compared with the previous year, and forecasters polled by Reuters think inflation will drop to 2.1 per cent for April.

Pantheon Economics predicts a slightly lower figure of 2 per cent and Capital Economics thinks that it could dip even lower to 1.9 per cent. The Bank of England’s (BoE) own forecast is 2.1 per cent.

Joe Middleton22 May 2024 03:30

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Barry Bonds, despite complicated legacy, to be inducted into Pirates Hall of Fame


The Barry Bonds era in Pittsburgh did not end too well, but the two sides seem to be making up for lost time.

The Pirates announced on Tuesday that Bonds, MLB’s controversial home run king, will be inducted into the franchise’s Hall of Fame this summer.

“That’s where my career started, right? That’s who drafted me. Couldn’t have had a better manager, better team, better starting point for me. It was perfect. We built a bond that there’s no way it’s ever gonna be broken,” Bonds said in a video posted by the team on social media.


Pittsburgh Pirates Barry Bonds, #24, at bat against the Atlanta Braves in Game 3 in Atlanta on Oct. 12, 1991. (Richard Mackson /Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)

“I am honored and excited to be included in the 2024 Pittsburgh Pirates Hall of Fame class. My career started in Pittsburgh and it will forever have a special place in my heart,” he later wrote on Instagram with black and yellow hearts.

The Pirates selected Bonds in the second round of the 1982 MLB Draft, and he quickly became one of the best players in the game. During his time in Pittsburgh, he won two MVPs and finished second another year, and won three Gold Glove Awards. In his final three years with the Pirates, he hit .301 with a .990 OPS.

That stretch, though, put him into superstardom, and when he was entering his contract year, the Pirates actually agreed to trade him to the Atlanta Braves, but it was nixed after Pirates manager Jim Leyland opposed it. Bonds then left for the San Francisco Giants in free agency for what was then the richest contract in baseball. There, he won five more MVPs, five more Gold Glove Awards and nine Silver Slugger Awards.


Barry Bonds swing

Pittsburgh Pirates Barry Bonds, 24, in action against the San Diego Padres in San Diego. (Richard Mackson /Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)

However, while in the Bay Area, though, he became the arguable face of performance-enhancing drugs in the sport of baseball, despite his constant denial that he had ever taken steroids. He is also the all-time leader in walks and intentional walks, having been given a free pass more often than the entire Tampa Bay Rays franchise combined.

During his time in Pittsburgh, and even San Francisco, Bonds was notoriously disliked by the media.

Bonds was taken off the National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot last year after failing to earn the required 75% of the vote for induction.

Barry Bonds in 1992

Barry Bonds, #24 of the Pittsburgh Pirates, looks on during a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants on May 21, 1992 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. (Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)


He remains the only player in the 350-350 club (home runs and stolen bases) – he had 762 and 514.

His number 25 was retired by the Giants in 2018. He wore 24 with the Pirates, which was retired by San Francisco in honor of his godfather, Willie Mays.

Leyland and Manny Sanguillen will also be inducted with Bonds.

Follow Fox News Digital’s sports coverage on X, and subscribe to the Fox News Sports Huddle newsletter.

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Peter Gallagher’s Marriage Advice? Don’t Get Divorced.


Actor Peter Gallagher (Sex, Lies, & Videotape and The O.C.) met his wife, Paula Harwood, over forty years ago in college in a stairwell meet-cute. Since then, they’ve maintained a loving marriage and managed to raise a family while navigating the world of show business.

We talked to Peter on his 41st wedding anniversary, and he read us the Modern Love essay “Failing in Marriage Does Not Mean Failing at Marriage” by Joe Blair. Despite the essayist being kicked out of the house by his wife five times, the couple managed to remain married and learn that a relationship can mean trying together and failing together. Reflecting on the essay, Peter gave us his advice for staying the course.

Peter Gallagher will be performing on Broadway this fall in Delia Ephron’s play ‘Left on Tenth.’

Links to transcripts of episodes generally appear on these pages within a week.

Modern Love is hosted by Anna Martin and produced by Reva Goldberg, Emily Lang, Davis Land and Christina Djossa. The show is edited by Davis Land, Reva Goldberg, and Jen Poyant, our executive producer. The show is mixed by Daniel Ramirez and recorded by Maddy Masiello and Nick Pitman. It features original music by Pat McCusker, Elisheba Ittoop, Dan Powell, Marion Lozano, and Rowan Niemisto. Our theme music is by Dan Powell.

Special thanks to Larissa Anderson, Kate LoPresti, Lisa Tobin, Daniel Jones, Miya Lee, Mahima Chablani, Nell Gallogly, Jeffrey Miranda, Isabella Anderson, Reyna Desai, Nina Lassam and Julia Simon.

Thoughts? Email us at modernlovepodcast@nytimes.com.

Want more from Modern Love? Read past stories. Watch the TV series and sign up for the newsletter. We also have swag at the NYT Store and two books, “Modern Love: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Redemption” and “Tiny Love Stories: True Tales of Love in 100 Words or Less.”

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Sabrina Carpenter and Chappell Roan Saw a Gap in Pop, and Filled It


Both Roan and Carpenter have taken relatively patient approaches to their careers. Carpenter, in particular, has shown a remarkable flexibility when it comes to self-promotion: She has been a constant presence on TikTok for nearly two years, adjusting her promotional strategies to the whims of the platform. She has toured basically nonstop since the release of “Emails,” generating fresh viral moments in ad-libbed live outros to “Nonsense” that are often irreverently bawdy and, in the style of “Espresso,” self-consciously stupid. (It didn’t hurt that one of her tour mates was Taylor Swift.) And “Espresso” has been inescapable on streaming, where it seems to have wormed its way into the algorithm.

Roan, like Carpenter, leveraged the spectacle of her live shows to make herself omnipresent on short-form video platforms over the past year. Her tour in support of “Midwest Princess” was filled with moments for fans to share online: dress-up themes in each city; a choreographed dance to the song “Hot to Go!”; a rousing call-and-response during the cabaret-on-crack empowerment anthem “Femininomenon.” While many members of pop’s middle class share Roan’s over-the-top aesthetics, few can approximate her powerful, operatic voice, which she’s trained to uncannily recall, at various turns, Lady Gaga, Patsy Cline and Kate Bush, giving her music an unsubtle edge over her compatriots.

Roan also fits squarely into a broad, hazily defined canon of what TikTok often refers to as “gay yearning” music, alongside artists like boygenius and Muna. Many of her songs feature lyrics about embracing her own bisexuality or feeling spurned by women ashamed of theirs. “Good Luck, Babe!” juices all these elements, tapping into a Cyndi Lauper-esque ’80s bounce and ending with cathartic, Bush-style wailing. The “Babe” of the song’s title is a former lover who leaves the song’s female narrator to be with a man; in writing an explicitly queer narrative and casting it as an ’80s-style diva ballad, Roan nods to the way L.G.B.T.Q. people have often read deeply into classic pop music in search of queer meaning.

Both songs are endearing, idiosyncratic pop breakouts during a time in which such a thing is increasingly rare. With the exception of Swift, who has commanded a good chunk of the Hot 100 for multiple weeks now, pop by women has been failing to crack through: Singles from Dua Lipa’s “Radical Optimism,” an album it was initially thought might dominate the summer, have fizzled; Ariana Grande released her seventh album, “Eternal Sunshine,” in March and then seemingly dived straight back into promoting her big project of the year, an adaptation of the musical “Wicked.”

As they’ve made clear over the past year, Roan and Carpenter seem poised to fill the void.

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From contraction to growth: Pakistan GDP grows 2.09% on the back of healthy growth in agriculture – Times of India


Pakistan GDP: The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics reported on Tuesday that the country’s economy expanded by 2.09% in the third quarter of the 2023-2024 financial year, driven by robust growth in the agricultural sector. The provisional estimate for GDP growth in the fiscal year ending June 2024 stands at 2.38%.
According to a Reuters report, this GPP growth in Pakistan comes after a revised contraction of 0.21% in the 2023 fiscal year, which was marked by political instability, tax and gas tariff increases, import restrictions, and a significant depreciation of the rupee, leading to a rapid rise in inflation.
The State Bank of Pakistan, in its half-yearly report last week, forecasted real GDP growth of 2-3% for the 2024 fiscal year.
Pakistan started releasing quarterly GDP data in November to meet the structural benchmarks of the recently completed $3 billion IMF bailout program.
Also Read | India to become world’s 4th largest economy by 2025 by overtaking Japan, predicts Amitabh Kant
The bureau revised its estimates for the first and second quarters of the 2023-2024 financial year to 2.71% and 1.79%, respectively, from the previous estimates of 2.5% and 1%.
The provisional growth in agriculture for the 2024 financial year is estimated at 6.25%, while both industry and services are expected to grow by 1.21%. “The healthy growth of agriculture is mainly due to double-digit growth in important crops,” the bureau said, attributing the positive outcome to bumper wheat, cotton, and rice crops.
Furthermore, the central bank reported a current account surplus of $491 million in April 2024, with the July-April current account deficit improving significantly to $0.2 billion from $3.9 billion in the corresponding period of the previous year.

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My limbs were amputated after sepsis, says MP Craig Mackinlay


“None of this would be possible without my wife… I wouldn’t be where I am today without her.

“We [MPs] probably spend too much time in Westminster, away from our families, chasing this, that and the other.

“You now realise the important things are family, friends, children.”

Mr Mackinlay said when he returned to work he would campaign to make sure “the health service recognises sepsis at the earliest opportunity”.

He said: “It would have done nothing for me, mine was unusual.

“But for many people, there should be a recognition that you’ve got something severely wrong.

“A broad spectrum of antibiotics could stop you from losing limbs.”

An NHS spokesperson said it provided a “comprehensive package” of care and support for people who have lost limbs, including a range of prosthetics.

“But there is more to do,” the spokesperson said.

“All trusts should ensure patients are appropriately screened and receive antibiotics within an hour of a diagnosis of sepsis, and while delays linked to serious harm are relatively rare, trusts are required to have comprehensive plans for how they will respond to and learn from patient safety incidents.”

Before entering Parliament, Mr Mackinlay worked as a chartered accountant. Originally a member of the pro-Brexit UK Independence Party, he was elected as a Conservative MP for South Thanet in 2015.

Despite what he has gone through, Mr Mackinlay stills plans to fight the next election in his Kent constituency, due to be renamed Thanet East.

He also says he wants to become the “bionic MP”.

“When children come to Parliament’s fantastic education centre I want them to be pulling their parents’ jacket or skirts or their teacher and saying: ‘I want to see the bionic MP today’.”

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Police looking into origin of ketamine that killed Matthew Perry


The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating the source of the ketamine drug that killed actor Matthew Perry last year.

L.A. police said Tuesday that they were still looking into Perry’s death with assistance from the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Postal Service. The probe, which has been ongoing since an autopsy was released last year, is focused on “the source of the ketamine” associated with Perry’s death, Capt. Scot Williams said in an email.

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