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    GOP candidate in Maryland raffles off AR-15 in fundraiser

    A Republican running for a Maryland legislative seat raffled off an AR-1 5 semiautomatic rifle at a Saturday night fundraiser — only days after the same type of weapon was used to kill 17 people at a Florida high school.

    The Baltimore Sun reported that about 15 people comprised a peaceful vigil outside, reading off the names of the 17 victims, as well as others killed in American mass shootings, before the fundraiser for sheriff’s deputy Aaron Penman, a Harford County Republican who is running for a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates.

    The Sun said the sold-out “gun/ cash bingo” event Saturday evening was held at the Jarrettsville Volunteer Fire Company.

    Penman, a Christian and a former Marine, told Fox News on Sunday that the fundraiser “was months in the planning.”

    The Facebook posting for Penman’s event said gun wins would have to complete background checks.

    On his website, Penman said he is running for agency because of his lifetime of service to family and community: “Standing up to do the’ right thing’ is how I have lived my life and why I have chosen to run as Delegate for Maryland’s 7th District.”

    He said his mission is “working together to keep our community and schools safe.”

    Penman, who said he is an ardent advocate of the Second Amendment, likewise told Fox News: “I belief law-abiding citizens have the constitutional right to own firearms, and I respect that some in the community might have a difference of opinion. I believe we must ever ensure that all of our constitutional rights are upheld to ensure we continue to have a strong and free democracy. Accordingly, I support their First Amendment right to express their point of view, but building employ of a schemed fundraiser utilizing the main victims in Florida to push an anti-gun agenda by a few is distasteful.”

    Democrat Allison Berkowitz, likewise operating to represent House District 7, took a turn sharing the stories of killing victims over a megaphone at Saturday’s vigil opposite Penman’s fundraiser. She said: “We merely want things to be safer for all of our children.”

    Last week in Florida, 19 -year-old Nikolas Cruz was accused of opened fire inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, killing 17 people, Fox News previously reported. Cruz walked into the high school with an AR-1 5 rifle, and fired at students and faculty members while strolling through the hallways, examiners said.

    Cruz was caught subsequently in the afternoon and was charged with 17 countings of premeditated assassination in the deadly shooting. He induced his first tribunal appearance Thursday and was ordered held without bond.

    He later admitted to the shooting, according to court documents.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

    Read more: http :// www.foxnews.com/ politics/ 2018/02/ 18/ gop-candidate-in-maryland-raffles-off-ar-1 5-in-fundraiser. html

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    New 50p Beatrix Potter coins released

    Image copyright Royal Mint Image caption The Royal Mint’s Beatrix Potter range was launched in 2016

    Four new 50 p coins featuring some of Beatrix Potter’s favourite fictional characters are to be released, the Royal Mint has announced.

    Peter Rabbit, Mrs Tittlemouse and Flopsy Bunny will feature on the coins, which will enter general circulation for a limited time later this year.

    Coloured collectable versions will be available to buy for either PS10 or PS60.

    They will be added to the Beatrix Potter collection, launched in 2016 to celebrate 150 years since her birth.

    The new designs will also include a helpful mouse from the story of the Tailor Of Gloucester.

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    Rapid fire rifle device on special offer in salute to Donald Trump

    Bump stock used by Las Vegas shooter in promotional tie in with presidential campaign slogan

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    Fergie’s national anthem at NBA All-Star Game draws laughs

    Former “Black Eyed Peas” singer Fergie sang “the member states national” anthem at the NBA All-Star Game Sunday night — and even the all-stars couldn’t disguise their laughter.

    The singer’s rendition of America’s beloved “Star-Spangled Banner” had her own notable spin on it, which one Twitter user said was “in the key of’ Happy Birthday Mr. President.'”

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    Singapore Plans to Boost Goods and Services Tax to 9%

    Singapore Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced a variety of taxation increases in his budget, including a astonish hike in property levies, as he seeks to shore up savings to cope with a rapidly aging population.

    The stamp duty on residential properties in excess of S$ 1 million ($ 761,600) was increased to 4 percent from 3 percent, effective from Tuesday, Heng said in a speech in Parliament. The government likewise plans to raise the goods and services taxation by 2 percentage points to 9 percent sometime from 2021 to 2025, he said.

    ” There is a need to strengthen our fiscal footing ,” Heng said.” In the next decade, between 2021 to 2030, if we do not take measures early, we will not have enough revenues to satisfy our growing wants .”

    Key Highlights from Budget

    GST to be increased to 9% from 7% sometime from 2021 to 2025

    Budget surplus for FY2017 estimated at S $9.6 billion versus previous projection of S $1.9 billion; deficit of S $0.6 billion realise for FY2018

    Tax on imported services, such as online video and music streaming websites, with influence from 2020

    Carbon tax of S$ 5 per ton from 2019

    Infrastructure spending created to S $20 billion in FY2018

    Top marginal stamp duty for properties created to 4% from 3%

    Policy makers had warned of higher taxes to balance a budget that they see as too reliant on investment returns, and that will see new strainings in the years to come. Spending on health and retirement benefits are set to grow over the years as the elderly population climbs, while the administration has scheming on higher expenditure on infrastructure, security and education.

    ” The message is that the economy is maturing, specific populations is aging ,” said Irvin Seah, an economist at DBS Group Holdings Ltd.” In order to cater to the needs to various sectors of the society going forward — corporations, individuals young and age-old — this budget is about re-balancing .”

    While Singapore has substantial reserves that it draws on to help fund the budget, Heng said the government must act prudently as the economy matures and specific populations ages. Income from reserves and investments be administered by GIC Pte, Temasek Holdings Pte and the Monetary Authority of Singapore is already the largest benefactor to the government’s overall revenue, estimated at nearly S $16 billion in the fiscal year begin April 1.

    The hike in GST is set to boost revenue by nearly 0.7 percent of GDP a year. Heng said the timing of the increase will depend on the state of the economy, how much expendings develop and how buoyant the existing taxes are, but added that he expects” we will need to do so earlier rather than subsequently in the period .”

    Stiff Competition

    Even with increase, Singapore boasts sales tax that’s on the lower side in Asia

    Source: Ernst& Young, Singapore Ministry of Finance

    Notes: Singapore Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said Feb. 19 that government plans to raise GST to 9% “sometime in the period from 2021 to 2025. ” Other country “standard rates” for GST as reported in Ernst& Young 2017 tax guidebook. India GST varies depending on region.

    ” The GST increase is necessary because even after exploring various options to manage our future expenditures through prudent spending, saving and borrowing for infrastructure, there is still a gap ,” the minister said.” This boost in revenues will be vital in closing this gap .”

    The budget includes planned offsets to cushion the jolt to lower-income customers from higher taxes, while the postponement of the implementation of the tax increases will allow inhabitants to ease into the changes.

    Singapore is facing a serious aging crisis. The share of the population that’s 65 years and older is set this year to match those younger than 15 for the first time. The fertility rate remains half the world median, at 1.2 births per woman in 2015, according to World Bank data. And the government has maintained moderately strict immigration policies to ensure locals have enough job opportunities.

    For now, Singapore’s economic outlook for 2018 remains bright. The boom in global trade last year that’s helped spur manufacturing, especially in semiconductors, is spreading to other sectors of the economy. The government realise growing at somewhat above the centre of its forecast range of 1.5 to 3.5 percent this year, moderating from last year’s expansion of 3.6 percent.

    ” As a small and open economy, we will always be vulnerable to fluctuations in the global economy and financial markets ,” Heng said.” We can never predict where or when the next crisis will come. But we know, when the next crisis hits, we will be able to weather the storm because we have our reserves .”

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    Murdered MP’s widower quits charities

    The husband of slaughtered MP Jo Cox, Brendan Cox, has quit two charities he set up in her remembrance after allegations of sex crime were made public.

    Mr Cox denied assaulting a woman in her 30 s at Harvard University in 2015 – but admitted to “inappropriate” behaviour while working for Save the Children.

    He has left posts at More in Common and the Jo Cox Foundation a week after the Mail on Sunday published the claims.

    Mr Cox apologised for the “hurt and offence” can be attributed to his past behaviour.

    In a statement issued on Saturday, he said: “While I do not accept the allegations included as part of the 2015 grievance to the police in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I do acknowledge and understand that during my time at Save the Children I attained mistakes.”

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    Tweeters Rip Trump Over ‘Tone Deaf’ Thumbs-Up Pose With Florida First Responders

    President Donald Trump triggered some online rage when he committed a thumbs-up while posing for a photo with law enforcement officers who’d responded to Wednesday’s deadly school hitting in Parkland, Florida.

    Many people called out Trump over the gesture, which he reportedly made during a visit to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office on Friday. Washington Post reporter Mark Berman noted how the president had also updated his personal Twitter account’s banner with the image 😛 TAGEND

    Tweeters accused Trump of being “tone deaf” and lacking empathy and compassion.

    A sampling of the responses below 😛 TAGEND

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    Former Mexican President: Mass Shootings Are Consequence Of Racism Like Trump’s

    Vicente Fox proposed Friday that this week’s deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, was a byproduct of the various kinds of racism gushed by President Donald Trump.

    On “Real Time with Bill Maher, ” Mexico’s former chairwoman said the “very sad event” in Florida was “what you get” when “you speak out of the White House this aggressive, violent speech, when you discriminate, when you’re a racist.”

    Fox then highlighted the necessity of achieving more “harmony, ” “love” and “happy communities.”

    “And those concepts don’t come out of his[ Trump’s] mouth, ” Fox added.

    Check out the full clip above.

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    Trump: FBI ‘spending too much time’ on Russia inquiry and missed Florida shooter signs

    The chairmen attempt to use the shooting to make a political level about the Russia inquiries drew swift criticism

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    Harry Potter star gives 1m to campaign

    Image copyright PA/ Getty Image caption Emma Thompson, Keira Knightley and Emma Watson signed the letter to show “solidarity and unity”.

    Harry Potter star Emma Watson has donated PS1m to a new campaign aimed at helping individuals affected by harassment.

    The donation comes as more than 200 female British and Irish suns have signed an open letter calling to putting an end to sexual harassment at work.

    Emma Thompson, Keira Knightley and Emma Watson are among the actors to sign the letter, published in the Observer.

    Women attending the Bafta Awards in London on Sunday night say they will wear black on the red carpet.

    The move is a show of solidarity with the Hollywood-based motion Time’s Up, launched in the wake of sexual abuse allegations by high-profile actresses against cinema producer Harvey Weinstein.

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    Trump Makes America Great Again For Foreign Workers At Mar-A-Lago

    While President Donald Trump rails at American corporations that hire foreign workers, he’s not following his own advice. Of 144 openings at three of his properties, including Mar-a-Lago, merely a single one went to an American, according to Department of Labor records. The remainder went to seasonal foreign workers in the U.S. on special visas required under the Trump Organization, reports Vox.

    An examination of filings by the Trump Organization with the Labor Department from 2016 to 2017 reveals that a lone American worker, a cook, was hired in August 2016 among 144 open positions for servers, cooks, housekeepers and bartenders, Vox found. Most of the jobs were at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, Trump’s favorite weekend getaway. The others were the National Golf Club in Briarcliff Manor, in New York, and Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida. The chores generally pay $10 to $13 an hour.

    Mar-a-Lago was awarded 70 visas to bring in foreign workers just last year for the winter season beginning in October. That was a 9 percent increase over the previous year.

    Since 2010 Mar-a-Lago alone has obtained a total of 500 H-2B visas for seasonal workers, many of them from Haiti and Romania, sources have told The New Yorker.

    In January Trump’s Department of Homeland Security removed Haiti from the list of more than 80 countries eligible for those visas as well as for the H-2A farmworker visas, quoting “high levels of fraud and abuse” and a “high rate of overstaying the terms” of their visas. Fortune magazine warned that the crackdown on Haitian employees could “cripple” Mar-a-Lago since the resort has long are dependent upon Haitians. DHS took specific actions just days after Trump complained about immigrants from what he reportedly called “shithole countries, ” referring to Haiti and African nations.

    The H-2B visa program lets non-agricultural, seasonal employers — such as hotels — to hire foreign workers but only when the businesses can’t find Americans to fill the jobs. The Trump administration temporarily expanded the program in 2017, which benefited Trump industries. At the same day, the president limited the H-1B program for highly skilled immigrants.

    Companies are required to run two want ads in local newspapers before applying for foreign laborer visas. Mar-a-Lago placed two hard-to-find classified ad in tiny type with no telephone number or email information, according to a Washington Post report last year. Laborers could apply for the jobs merely by fax or mail.

    CareerSource Palm Beach County, a nonprofit placement agency, told The Palm Beach Post at the time that they had thousands of Americans eager to work at Mar-a-Lago.

    Trump has blamed Ford Motor Co ., Carrier Corp. and others for moving inventing occupations to Mexico. Mar-a-Lago was applying for the foreign laborer visas last July at the same hour the president launched “Made in America Week” at the White House.

    Trump said then: “We believe chores must be offered to American workers first. Does that make sense? ”

    CNN reported in 2016 that Trump businesses had employed at least 1, 256 foreign workers in the previous 15 years. Trump Vineyard Estates filed requests for visas to bring in foreign farmworkers at its Virginia winery in 2016 and 2017.

    Read more: http :// www.huffingtonpost.com/ enter/ mar-a-lago-foreign-worker-visas_us_5a 8797 d1e4b004fc31923884

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    Should we give up half of the Earth to wildlife?

    Populations of all kinds of wildlife are declining at alarming hasten. One radical solution is to build 50% of countries around the world a nature reserve

    Should we give up half of the Earth to wildlife?

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