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EA Sports PGA Tour Announces LPGA PlansGame Informer

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Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: EA Tiburon

EA Sports has announced a truer representation of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) in the upcoming EA Sports PGA Tour game. The next phase of the years-long partnership is said to go beyond simply character selection and instead includes in-depth female representation across all modes.

In addition to bringing more female golfers to EA Sports PGA Tour, this edition of the game features the Amundi Evian Championship, which is one of the five major championships of the LPGA Tour. That means you can tee off as a female golfer at a true representation of the Evian Resort Golf Club. Players can expect additional game modes on top of the Amundi Evian Championship from the long-term LPGA partnership, including being able to create their own female athletes in the newly overhauled create-a-player mode. Players can also expect LPGA-themed challenges, amateur tournaments, and more.

“We are also making sure that notable events produced by the leading women’s golf association were included as well; just like any of our other tours,” EA Tiburon senior producer Jenny Martin says. “One great example is our announcement today of adding the Amundi Evian Championship, one of the major championships in women’s golf, and of course where it’s played – the Evian Resort Golf Club in Évian-les-Bains, France – in high-fidelity for the next generation of female golf professionals, enthusiasts, and gamers to enjoy.”

To more realistically capture the spirit of the women’s game, the development team worked with a diverse group of professional golfers and broadcasters, including former professional golfer Iona Stephen, who not only worked with EA for over a year on the design, audio, visuals, community, and golf trends, but also joins the commentary team as the first female on-course commentator in the game. She joins the team as a member of the EA Sports Creative Council. 

“We know that women’s golf is not the same as men’s golf, and the LPGA differs from the PGA,” Stephen says. “We wanted to take the same approach in partnering with the PGA with the LPGA, which includes involvement from female professional athletes and professionals, like me, to amplify the authenticity of women’s golf and female golfers in EA Sports PGA Tour.”

The team isn’t ready to delve deeper into the LPGA-centered modes or the female golfers in the game, but EA Tiburon has revealed that the 2019 winner of the Amundi Evian Championship and current #2 ranked LPGA golfer in the world, Jin Young Ko, is on the roster. “We can’t yet share the complete list of names just yet, as this process is still ongoing,” Martin says. “Our goal is to include more female golfers than any other golf game out there. With the help of the LPGA, Creative Council, and a diverse dev team, we will be able to represent women in golf in a broader stroke.”

EA Sports PGA Tour is set to launch in spring 2022 on new-gen consoles. For more on the partnership the game has with The Masters, head here.

Original Post: gameinformer.com

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VA sets vaccine requirement for frontline health care workers

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The Department of Veterans Affairs said Monday it will require front-facing health care workers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus by the fall, the first federal agency to mandate inoculations.

The mandate includes physicians, dentists, nurses, physician assistants and other frontline medical staff at VA facilities across the country. These employees will have eight weeks to become fully vaccinated.

The rule is “the best way to keep Veterans safe,” VA Secretary Denis McDonough said in a news release announcing the move.

“Whenever a Veteran or VA employee sets foot in a VA facility, they deserve to know that we have done everything in our power to protect them from COVID-19.”

Roughly 115,000 employees will fall under the VA’s mandate, according to the New York Times, which first reported the decision.

“I am doing this because it’s the best way to keep our veterans safe, full stop,” the secretary told the Times.

The Biden administration has been grappling with how best to push up vaccination rates, which have stagnated in parts of the country despite a surge in cases tied to the highly contagious Delta variant.

Thus far the White House has been wary of top-down approaches, preferring instead to encourage local governments and private businesses to set their own rules around vaccinations.

The VA said four employees have died in recent weeks because of Covid. All of the workers were unvaccinated and at least three died because of the Delta variant. In addition, an outbreak occurred at the VA Law Enforcement Training Center, the third of its kind during the pandemic.

Last week the NFL said that teams experiencing an outbreak among unvaccinated players could be forced to forfeit games, placing a multimillion-dollar financial incentive on teams and their players to get vaccinated.

Also on Monday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio separately announced that all municipal employees will have to either be vaccinated or undergo weekly Covid-19 testing. That rule goes into effect citywide on Sept. 13, though it kicks in earlier for public health workers and staff in congregate living facilities.

Similarly, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that all state employees and health care workers will be required to be vaccinated or face regular testing.

Original Article: politico.com

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Cheney-McCarthy war of words heats up over Jan. 6 investigation

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Liz Cheney is already taking public heat from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy — and dishing it back — over her Democratic appointment to the select panel investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

The relationship between McCarthy and Cheney has steadily deteriorated throughout the year, with an apparent peak coming when the California Republican helped oust Cheney from the House GOP’s No. 3 leadership spot. But tension is spiking again now that Cheney and Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger — Donald Trump’s two most vocal GOP critics in Congress — are serving on the select panel thanks to Speaker Nancy Pelosi. McCarthy dubbed Cheney and Kinzinger “Pelosi Republicans” on Monday.

Cheney, as she walked into a prep session meeting with her fellow committee members shortly after McCarthy’s remark, told reporters she found it “pretty childish.”

“We’ve got serious business here. We have important work to do,” she added.

The back-and-forth comes after a series of clashes last week following Pelosi’s veto of two of McCarthy’s GOP picks to serve on the Jan. 6 investigation: Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana and Jim Jordan of Ohio, both of them avid Trump defenders. The move prompted McCarthy to withdraw all of his appointees to the select committee in protest, describing the investigation as a partisan effort designed to hurt Trump and the party ahead of next year’s midterms. Republicans, however, largely opposed a bipartisan Jan. 6 commission earlier this year.

Cheney was part of Pelosi’s initial wave of names tapped to serve on the panel that will examine the deadly events of Jan. 6, when Trump supporters breached the Capitol in an attempt to disrupt certification of the ex-president’s election loss, forcing lawmakers and then-Vice President Mike Pence to flee.

Following the GOP boycott, Pelosi on Sunday named Kinzinger to the Jan. 6 committee, giving Democrats two House Republican members who they say boost their panel’s bipartisan credibility.

Kinzinger, wearing a tie patterned with elephants, also called McCarthy’s comments “childish” during a break in the select panel prep session.

“He can call me whatever names he wants,” Kinzinger said, adding that the bottom line is “I’m a Republican.”

Still, McCarthy’s jab signals a remarkable shift from earlier this year. Cheney once served as his leadership partner before her frequent Trump criticisms prompted her colleagues and fellow leaders to eject the Wyoming Republican from a role that is responsible for the conference’s messaging.

These days, some of Cheney and Kinzinger’s fellow Republicans are openly speculating about their future in the House GOP conference. Asked whether the duo should face sanctions from their party for accepting Pelosi’s appointment to the inquiry, McCarthy said only that “we’ll see.”

But Kinzinger shrugged off the subtle threat on Monday: “If the conference decides” to punish him and Cheney, he said, it “says more about them than it does about us.”

Kinzinger also didn’t rule out calling his fellow Republican members to testify before the select panel, saying it was “important” to hear from them if they had relevant information. Discussions are still ongoing about the scope of Republican staff for the inquiry, he added, but he lauded former Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.) as a model for those hires.

No matter how actively McCarthy tries to tether Cheney and Kinzinger to Pelosi, who frequently appears in GOP attack ads, they both have strong conservative voting records to counter his attacks. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer noted as much, while arguing Monday that Cheney and Kinzinger are “real Republicans.”

“If anybody looks at the voting records of Mr. Kinzinger and Ms. Cheney, they will know that they haven’t voted with Speaker Pelosi except on the most bipartisan of bills,” Hoyer said. “These are people who come from conservative Republican districts who have represented Republican values. The difference is, and this is the key, they both believe in the truth. That ought not to be a partisan issue.”

Nick Niedzwiadek contributed to this report.

Article: politico.com

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Bipartisan infrastructure talks in dire state ahead of pivotal week

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The bipartisan infrastructure negotiations entered their darkest phase in more than a month on Monday, with the parties openly feuding over policy and former President Donald Trump urging Republicans to drop the effort altogether.

Democrats and the White House on Sunday night offered a proposal to Republicans proposing a deal on highway and public transit funding, as well as several other unresolved areas. That offer was intended to address all outstanding disputes — and was immediately rejected by Republicans.

The GOP sent out a list of areas where that Democratic offer broke from previous agreements among the bipartisan senators writing the bill on Monday afternoon, the latest in a running list of bleak sign for the talks ahead of another pivotal week of negotiations in the Senate.

The comprehensive offer “we received from the White House and [Majority Leader] Chuck Schumer was discouraging since it attempts to reopen numerous issues the bipartisan group had already agreed to,” said a GOP source familiar with the negotiations. “If this is going to be successful, the White House will need to show more flexibility as Republicans have done and listen to the members of the group that produced this framework.”

Two additional sources close to the talks, one in each party, confirmed the dire state of negotiations on a signature priority of President Joe Biden. Each blamed the other side for reopening debate on items once considered settled.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said she is “confident” an agreement can be reached. But many struck a more dour tone in private. And Democrats said the frantic past few days was kicked off by Republicans rejecting an increase in IRS enforcement to pay for the bill.

“It takes a lot of chutzpah for Republicans to make accusations about keeping words when the biggest hole blown in the [financing] was made by them reneging on their agreement about enforcing the law on wealthy tax cheats,” said a Democrat familiar with the negotiations.

The talks seem in danger of collapse given the public acrimony and finger-pointing on Monday, after a fruitless weekend of discussions. The group of 10 senators leading the talks will huddle again on Monday evening, in an attempt to rescue the fragile negotiations.

The bipartisan group of lawmakers hoped to reach a final agreement by early this week after a vote to advance undrafted legislation failed last week. But that appears unlikely, with several issues outstanding. Among the biggest sticking points is transit, but broadband has also become a point of contention. The bill’s finances are also viewed as shaky.

A Democratic source familiar with the bipartisan discussions said that Democrats’ counteroffer included accepting the GOP proposal for highways in exchange for the Democratic proposal on transit. But Republicans dispute that characterization. A GOP source familiar with the negotiations said the choice isn’t binary and that the GOP offer on transit “was met with silence for three days.”

Funding for water infrastructure also remains unresolved, according to a Democratic source familiar with the talks, who accused Republicans of backing away from the original agreement. That source said that Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) had reneged on a deal and “proposed something completely unworkable.”

A spokesperson for Romney called that “laughably false” and said Schumer is seeking $15 billion more than a previous agreement.

Senate Environment and Public Works Chair Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) both raised concerns about the funding last week, with Carper suggesting he would have a hard time supporting the package unless certain funding conditions were met. The snafu illustrates the tricky challenge the group of rank-and-file senators led by Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) has in navigating around committee chairs.

As bipartisan negotiators aim to finalize an agreement, Trump said that Senate Republicans “are being absolutely savaged by Democrats on the so-called ‘bipartisan’ infrastructure bill’” and urged them to wait until they take back the Senate in 2022 to “regain a strong negotiating stance.” Trump tried unsuccessfully to cut a deal with Democrats on infrastructure, sidelining negotiations once his impeachment investigation began.

Although the bipartisan group and the White House announced an agreement last month on a bipartisan framework, translating it into legislative text is proving difficult. Schumer wants to pass the bipartisan bill and begin the process for Democrats’ $3.5 trillion social spending package before the Senate leaves for the August recess.

Eleven Senate Republicans wrote Schumer last week to tell him they’d be ready to move forward as soon as Monday, provided the bill was mostly completed and its finances were in order. Neither condition was met as of midday, with senators convening late in the afternoon.

Source: politico.com

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