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Biden calls for tougher gun laws on Parkland massacre anniversary

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Biden calls for tougher gun laws on Parkland massacre anniversary

President Biden on Sunday issued a call for tougher gun laws on the anniversary of the Parkland school shooting massacre that left 17 dead, insisting the “time to act is now.”

“In seconds, the lives of dozens of families, and the life of an American community, were changed forever,” Biden said in a statement.

He urged Congress to propose and pass gun reform legislation, including requiring background checks on all gun sales and banning assault weapons.

“We owe it to all those we’ve lost and to all those left behind to grieve to make a change. The time to act is now,” said Biden, who is spending the weekend at Camp David.

Biden’s plea comes three years after a former student, Nikolas Cruz, opened fire with an AR-15 rifle at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

The gunfire killed 14 students and three staffers, while leaving 17 others wounded.

“Over these three years, the Parkland families have taught all of us something profound,” the president said.

“Time and again, they have showed us how we can turn our grief into purpose – to march, organize, and build a strong, inclusive, and durable movement for change.”

In addition to calling for background checks and an assault-weapons ban, Biden also pushed for lawmakers to ban high-capacity magazines and hold gun manufacturers liable for the role their weapons play in violence.

“This Administration will not wait for the next mass shooting to heed that call. We will take action to end our epidemic of gun violence and make our schools and communities safer,” the president said.

Parents of those slain and wounded in the massacre have been divided on gun control.

Ryan Petty, whose 14-year-old daughter Alaina died in the shooting, responded to Biden in a tweet Sunday.

“Mr. President, thank you for remembering the loved ones taken from us 3 years ago,” he wrote. “Alaina loved this country and the freedoms it guarantees. Common sense tells us that honoring her life does not require infringement on the rights of law-abiding citizens.”

Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter Jaime was also killed, vowed Sunday to hold the new administration accountable in passing gun laws.

“I will work with our new President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, to ensure that we do all that we can to stop this violence,” he wrote on Twitter.

“If it does not happen, then you and I together will keep working to elect new people who want to do this. We worked hard to elect those in place now, and I expect this to be done or we will hold them accountable.”

With Post wires

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Idaho protesters burn masks at state capital

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Idaho protesters burn masks at state capital

Protesters in Idaho staged a mask burning event at the state capital on Saturday, as frustration over coronavirus-related disruptions to daily life continue to fester.

At least three lawmakers from the state legislature and the Lt. Gov Janice McGeachin were there to cheer them on, according to local media reports from the scene.

Video posted to Twitter suggests that most of the actual burning of masks took place inside small, self-contained fires lit in garbage bins. At least one person was filmed burning a picture of Joe Biden.

Many protesters, often with children in tow, displayed signs reading “I will not self-suffocate,”

“We’re standing here today to rein back government. To reestablish our Republican form of government, a government that has balance between the branches,” said Daar Moon, a protest organizer, in a Twitter video. “It’s a widespread grassroots movement, an uprising in that regard, it’s come off very well today here in Boise.”

Last week Idaho legislators introduced a bill to make mask mandates illegal. Though there is no current statewide requirement, mask mandates are in force in seven of 11 Idaho counties, according to the Associated Press.

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Biden cheers passage of $1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid bill in White House speech

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Biden cheers passage of $1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid bill in White House speech

President Biden celebrated the party-line passage of his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill Saturday, saying the measure is another step for the country’s return to normalcy.

The bill will “get the country in a place to get back to normal” Biden said in a 9-minute address in the White House State Dining Room.

The rescue plan includes $75 billion for pandemic-related medical costs, such as vaccine production.

“I believe we’ll have enough by the middle of May to vaccinate — it’s going to take longer to get it in their arms, but that’s how much vaccine we’ll have,” Biden said.

He appealed to the House of Representatives — which the Democrats control by a slim 10-vote margin — to pass the Senate-revised bill in the next few days.

“By passing this plan we’ll have proved that this democracy, this government, can still work,” he said.

The House is expected to take up the bill on Tuesday.

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You can now be a ‘millionaire’ in Venezuela for 50 cents

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You can now be a ‘millionaire’ in Venezuela for 50 cents

All it takes to be a millionaire in Venezuela is a few American pennies: the beleaguered South American country’s economy is so bad, they’re introducing a million bolivar note worth roughly 53 cents.

According to a statement from the country’s central bank, Venezuela will also be printing 200,000 and 500,000 bills along with the 1,000,000 bills.

The move comes as hyperinflation has made smaller bills superfluous and worthless – and most citizens are “turning to the U.S. dollar for everyday transactions,” Bloomberg notes, adding “About 66 percent of transactions across the country are (now) estimated to be made in foreign currency.”

Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro has claimed he is going to make the country the world’s first fully digital economy, in an attempt to fight the inflation which ballooned to more than 3000 percent last year.

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