Black Congresswoman Pepper-Sprayed By Police During Ohio Demonstration

Ohio Rep. Joyce Beatty was pepper-sprayed by police in Columbus on Saturday during a protest decrying police brutality and demanding justice for George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis after an officer knelt on his neck. 

Beatty, who is Black, denounced the violence perpetrated by both demonstrators and police in Columbus and elsewhere in the aftermath of Floyd’s death.

Violence “doesn’t work — violence either way,” she told NPR’s “Weekend Edition” on Sunday. 

“We have to somehow make sure that we get the word out that you cannot come in and tear up buildings,” said Beatty, a Democrat. “When you break windows and destroy businesses and people get hurt, that’s not going to resolve the problem of why George Floyd died.”

Beatty said in an earlier interview that she’d attended the protest to stand “in solidarity” with demonstrators. 

“You know, I’m a grandmother, I’m an elected official, but I’m a black woman first and I felt the pain,” she told NBC 4.

Beatty was with Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin and Kevin Boyce, a member of the Franklin County Board of Commissioners, when she was pepper-sprayed by police.

Columbus Dispatch photojournalist Kyle Robertson captured the violent encounter in a series of photos, which he shared on Twitter. 

Politico also shared a video of the incident. 

Dominic Manecke, a spokesman for Beatty, told CNN the lawmaker had been trying to mediate between demonstrators and police when she was pepper-sprayed. 

“People are angry. Tensions are very high and she went down there as a voice of reason. She has a very good connection with the community and was trying to be a mediator,” Manecke said, adding that Beatty got caught in a “melee” as tensions flared between the two sides.

Following the incident, Beatty, Hardin and Boyce urged calm in a video posted to Twitter. 

“Too much force is not the answer to this,” Beatty said. 

Protests, some of them violent, have rocked the nation for days since Floyd’s death. 

In Columbus on Sunday, hundreds took to the streets again for what was largely a peaceful demonstration. At around 8 p.m., two hours before the city’s curfew was set to kick in, Columbus police ordered protesters ― some of whom threw water bottles at officers ― to disperse immediately. Officers then used wooden projectiles and tear gas against demonstrators, WOSU Public Media reported. 

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Trump took shelter in White House bunker as protests raged

Rioters set fire to Minneapolis police station during George Floyd protests

The National Guard was called into Minneapolis after protests intensified overnight. FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo with more.

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Secret Service agents rushed President Donald Trump to a White House bunker on Friday night as hundreds of protesters gathered outside the executive mansion, some of them throwing rocks and tugging at police barricades.

Trump spent nearly an hour in the bunker, which was designed for use in emergencies like terrorist attacks, according to a Republican close to the White House who was not authorized to publicly discuss private matters and spoke on condition of anonymity. The account was confirmed by an administration official who also spoke on condition of anonymity.

The abrupt decision by the agents underscored the rattled mood inside the White House, where the chants from protesters in Lafayette Park could be heard all weekend and Secret Service agents and law enforcement officers struggled to contain the crowds.

Friday’s protests were triggered by the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after he was pinned at the neck by a white Minneapolis police officer. The demonstrations in Washington turned violent and appeared to catch officers by surprise. They sparked one of the highest alerts on the White House complex since the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001 .

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“The White House does not comment on security protocols and decisions,” said White House spokesman Judd Deere. The Secret Service said it does not discuss the means and methods of its protective operations. The president’s move to the bunker was first reported by The New York Times.

The president and his family have been shaken by the size and venom of the crowds, according to the Republican. It was not immediately clear if first lady Melania Trump and the couple’s 14-year-old son, Barron, joined the president in the bunker. Secret Service protocol would have called for all those under the agency’s protection to be in the underground shelter.

Trump has told advisers he worries about his safety, while both privately and publicly praising the work of the Secret Service.

Trump traveled to Florida on Saturday to view the first manned space launch from the U.S. in nearly a decade. He returned to a White House under virtual siege, with protesters — some violent — gathered just a few hundred yards away through much of the night.

Demonstrators returned Sunday afternoon, facing off against police at Lafayette Park into the evening.

Trump continued his effort to project strength, using a series of inflammatory tweets and delivering partisan attacks during a time of national crisis.

As cities burned night after night and images of violence dominated television coverage, Trump’s advisers discussed the prospect of an Oval Office address in an attempt to ease tensions. The notion was quickly scrapped for lack of policy proposals and the president’s own seeming disinterest in delivering a message of unity.

PROTESTERS START FIRES NEAR WHITE HOUSE 

Trump did not appear in public on Sunday. Instead, a White House official who was not authorized to discuss the plans ahead of time said Trump was expected in the coming days to draw distinctions between the legitimate anger of peaceful protesters and the unacceptable actions of violent agitators.

On Sunday, Trump retweeted a message from a conservative commentator encouraging authorities to respond with greater force.

“This isn’t going to stop until the good guys are willing to use overwhelming force against the bad guys,” Buck Sexton wrote in a message amplified by the president.

In recent days security at the White House has been reinforced by the National Guard and additional personnel from the Secret Service and the U.S. Park Police.

On Sunday, the Justice Department deployed members of the U.S. Marshals Service and agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration to supplement National Guard troops outside the White House, according to a senior Justice Department official. The official could not discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

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How to get rid of a bees nest in your home – experts issue important warning

Bees nests are very common in properties during the warmer months of the year. With there being various different types of bees visible in the UK, it can be tricky to know how to remove a nest if you find one in your home. Here is how to remove nests depending on the type of bee it is.

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Nests normally survive for about two to three months before the original queen dies. However, if the nest is successful this can cause multiple problems if you find one in your home.

There are more than 250 species of bee in the UK but the most common include the Honey Bee, the Bumblebee, Tree bees and Masonry bees.

Honeybees are the providers of honey in the UK and rarely present problems as pests.

However, feral swarms can set up in your home in locations like chimneys and wall cavities.

They are very small and vary in colour from golden brown to almost black.

The most common problem they can present is when they swarm. They typically home in trees before swarming off again within a day or two to find a more suitable home.

Bumblebees are often larger and fluffier than other bees and come with different colours on the end of their tails.

Their nesting sites are normally underground, in places like under the shed and in compost heaps. Some make nests in thick grass, while others can make nests in bird boxes, trees and lofts.

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Tree bees are often brown in colour while their abdomen is black and their tail is white.

This type of bee commonly establishes a nest in bird boxes, parts of buildings, and the sound of these bees can be very loud.

So how do you get rid of a bees nest in your home?

The British Pest Control Association (BPCA) advises to leave bees nests alone because they are endangered. Therefore, they suggest different avenues before considering eradication.

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Leave them alone

They say that bees don’t cause a problem to your property, nor will you be in danger of being stung if you do not get close to them.

After the summer season, most bees will go away and not return to the same nesting site again.

Relocation

The BPCA recommends leaving a rest if it is outside or underground as they shouldn’t cause a problem there.

In places like bushes, trees and sheds then you should contact a local beekeeper or pest controller to relocate the nest.

If you suspect you have honeybees and they are causing you problems then they recommend you use a swarm collector. In most cases, they will come and collect the swarm free of charge.

Eradication

Only if the location of a nest is dangerous and removal not possible, should you consider this option.

This decision will depend if it is possible to close the entrance to the nest after treatment. You should use a trained professional in this scenario and they will have the knowledge and access to a range of insecticides.

For bumblebees and tree bees, blocking up access points will help other bees from entering and getting contaminated.

For honey bees, it is essential that entrance points are blocked off, and if possible remove all the honeycomb. Failure to do so will cause robber bees to find the infected honey and take it back to their hive, which will contaminate it.

If you do have a bees nest present in your home then it is advised to keep your distance but also enjoy them, as they are endangered and BPCA suggest that they are fascinating creatures, especially while working.

You can’t prevent a bees nest appearing but you should keep an eye out as catching them in the early stages will help methods of removal become much easier.

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Trump Says Antifa Will Be Designated A Terrorist Organization

President Donald Trump on Sunday said the U.S. will designate anti-fascist protesters known as antifa as a terrorist organization amid nationwide protests over the recent death of unarmed Black man George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody.

Trump, who announced his intentions on Twitter, blamed “radical left anarchists,” as well as the media, for stirring up trouble in various cities and urged local leaders to shut their demonstrations down “before it is too late!”

“It’s ANTIFA and the Radical Left. Don’t lay the blame on others!” he tweeted Saturday after demonstrators gathered outside the White House over Floyd’s death and the president’s response to it. Many chanted “Black lives matter,” “I can’t breathe” and “No justice, no peace.” Some threw items at police and destroyed local property. 

The protesters had “little to do with the memory of George Floyd,” Trump said, adding that they “were just there to cause trouble.”

An American Civil Liberties Union official, responding to Trump’s terrorism call for antifa on Sunday, called it “abused and misused.”

“As this tweet demonstrates, terrorism is an inherently political label, easily abused and misused. There is no legal authority for designating a domestic group. Any such designation would raise significant due process and First Amendment concerns,” said ACLU National Security Project Director Hina Shamsi in a statement to HuffPost.

Professor Steve Vladeck of the University of Texas School of Law similarly slapped down Trump’s plans, tweeting: “The United States of America has no legal authority to designate *any* domestic entities as ‘terrorist organizations.’”

The FBI considers domestic terrorism to be “violent, criminal acts committed by individuals and/or groups to further ideological goals stemming from domestic influences, such as those of a political, religious, social, racial, or environmental nature.”

The U.S. officially designates only foreign terrorist organizations, and supporting such organizations can trigger federal terrorism charges. Domestic organizations — from antifa to the Ku Klux Klan — enjoy broader First Amendment protections unless members of those organizations violate specific federal statutes.

Still, the federal government has broad powers to investigate organizations it considers criminal enterprises if officials see evidence of a conspiracy to break federal law. The Trump administration is suggesting an aggressive approach against left-wing protesters.

Trump’s comments, which failed to acknowledge the events that sparked the nation’s ongoing upheaval, came as White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien denied that there is a problem with systemic racism in the nation’s police forces.

“There are some bad apples in there. There are some bad cops that are racist, and there are cops that maybe don’t have the right training. … And they need to be rooted out,” O’Brien said in an interview Sunday with CNN.

Attorney General William Barr also backed Trump’s depiction of the demonstrators in a statement on Sunday that accused them of “exploiting the situation to pursue their own separate, violent, and extremist agenda.

“It is time to stop watching the violence and to confront and stop it,” he said, a message that appeared to mirror the Black Lives Matter movement’s own “call to action in response to state-sanctioned violence and anti-Black racism.”

“This violence instigated and carried out by Antifa and other similar groups in connection with the rioting is domestic terrorism and will be treated accordingly,” Barr said while imploring state and local leaders to use law enforcement resources and the National Guard where warranted.

Antifa is not one organization but rather a loosely linked collection of groups of protesters who take on right-wing demonstrators, sometimes physically, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

Its participants “believe in active, aggressive opposition to far right-wing movements. Their ideology is rooted in the assumption that the Nazi party would never have been able to come to power in Germany if people had more aggressively fought them in the streets in the 1920s and 30s,” the ADL’s website said.

Ryan J. Reilly contributed reporting.

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Self-employment scheme: SEISS extended by Rishi Sunak – eligibility and how to claim

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) was established by the government and opened in mid-March to assist those who are not in PAYE employment. After much debate as to whether the scheme was to be extended, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has confirmed an extension. Those who are eligible for the scheme will now be able to claim a second and final grant in August – worth 70 percent of their average monthly trading profits.

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This will be paid out in a single instalment, which is set to cover three months’ worth of profits, and will be capped at £6,570 in total.

The government has confirmed there has so far been 2.3 million claims worth £6.8 billion on the SEISS scheme.

However, with the extension of the scheme, many people may be looking to apply either for the first time or once again.

The government has confirmed the first grant, worth 80 percent of profits, can still be applied for, however, this must be done by Monday, July 13.

It is, however, important to note that self-employed people do not have to have applied for the first grant in order to receive the second. 

Those who are eligible are likely to have been contacted by HMRC, however, it may be the case self-employed people need to check once again if they have not received correspondence.

In this case, Jim Harra, the Chief Executive of HMRC has urged those who believe they are eligible to check online.

Here, they will find the SEISS eligibility checker, which will let them know if they are entitled to receive the sum.

The government has stated eligibility is also dependent on whether a person can prove their work or business has been adversely affected by the coronavirus crisis.

A person’s average trading profit must be less than £50,000 a year, and they must earn more than 50 percent of their total income through self-employment. 

If a self-employed person believes they are eligible to claim after being rejected from the calculator, they should contact HMRC directly. 

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In order to apply, self-employed people must access the dedicated portal found on the government’s website. 

Those who are able to receive the grant will be required to use their Self Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference alongside National Insurance number.

Also needed is a Government Gateway User ID, UK bank details including sort code and account number, alongside name and address.

Those eligible should have the money paid into their selected bank account within six working days of submitting a claim. 

The government has said further guidance on the second grant is set to be published on Friday, June 12, so self-employed people should mark this date in their diary. 

Chancellor Rishi Sunak commented on the extension to SEISS and the changes to government schemes.

He said: “Our top priority has always been to support people, protect jobs and businesses through this crisis. The furlough and self-employment schemes have been a lifeline for millions of people and businesses.

“We stood behind Britain’s businesses and workers as we came into this crisis and we stand behind them as we come through the other side.

“Now, as we begin to re-open our country and kickstart our economy, these schemes will adjust to ensure those who are able to work can do so, while remaining amongst the most generous in the world.”

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Orban Opens Old Wounds in Town Targeted by Neo-Nazis

Geza Csemer will never forget how a group of men clad in black uniforms charged at his family outside his home in eastern Hungary.

Hundreds of far-right vigilantes occupied the tiny town of Gyongyospata, tucked away amid rolling hills and vineyards an hour’s drive from Budapest. They marched through the neighborhood dominated by the Roma minority, vowing to paint their houses red with their blood.

“My three children were clutching my hands tightly,” Csemer, 45, who now leads the town’s Roma community, recalled during a recent visit. “Then I saw they had all wet their pants, that’s how scared they were.”

The chilling events of 2011 were the start of what would turn Gyongyospata into a symbol of the ethnic tension that’s rarely far from the surface in so many parts of eastern Europe. With growing evidence that the coronavirus pandemic is disproportionately hitting marginalized communities across the continent, Roma groups are fearful that wounds are being opened up again.

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A decade ago, anti-Roma extremism was flourishing in the wake of the global financial crisis. A spate of murders targeting the minority had shaken the nation. Viktor Orban, Hungary’s authoritarian prime minister, had returned to power and vowed to crush vigilantism and improve the prospects of regions hit hardest by the economic meltdown.

By that time, Gyongyospata’s primary school was already segregated—in practice—along ethnic lines, like an estimated hundreds of others across Hungary. Roma students were largely bunched in remedial classes, often with several grades lumped together. Most non-Roma were on the upper floor, off-limits to those below. It lasted until 2014.

A court case over compensation for Roma pupils in the town was only settled this month, awarding about $5,000 to each of 60 students. Yet instead of some sort of catharsis, the ruling brought the ethnic tension that boiled over in 2011 back to the surface—only this time the town’s Roma residents blame Orban for fanning the flames rather than cooling emotions.

Already before the coronavirus arrived in Hungary, Orban focused attention on Gyongyospata as he looked for a bump in the polls after a rare political setback in local elections.

In a televised press conference in January, Orban said the town’s Roma stood to gain “free money while the rest of us toil.” This month, as tens of thousands of people lost their jobs in the first wave of the pandemic, Orban reacted to a supreme court verdict that rejected a challenge to scrap cash compensation for segregated students.

“We can’t have a situation where in order for the minority to feel at home, those from the majority should have to feel like foreigners in their own cities, villages and homeland,” Orban told state radio on May 15. “This can’t happen and won’t happen as long as I am the prime minister. This country, after all, belong to the natives.”

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It was all too familiar for the Roma, a group whose roots often trace back more than 1,000 years to northern India. They have traditionally borne the brunt of prejudice in modern day eastern Europe as far-right groups regained a foothold following the collapse of communism 30 years ago. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Slovakia and Bulgaria sought to quarantine Roma areas.

Orban had pledged to tame those forces, establishing law and order and accelerating an economic recovery. The popularity of far-right parties in Hungary indeed receded, paramilitary groups were disbanded and Orban—before the coronavirus pandemic hit—was on his way to meeting a pledge to create a million new jobs by this year, benefiting Roma who lost out when industries collapsed with the demise of the communist regime.

But in their place came a powerful government that harnessed militant nationalism as Orban built what he calls his “illiberal democracy” within the European Union. Dissenters, whether political parties, civil society groups or even universities, were soon investigated, sidelined or ousted.

Orban turbo-charged his influence by starting to rule by decree for an indefinite period in late March, ostensibly to fight the virus, triggering alarm in Brussels that the country was descending into a de-facto dictatorship. Orban this week said he would end emergency rule in June, though his parliamentary super-majority means his agenda is unlikely to be affected.

Hungary this year became the first EU nation to be downgraded from a democracy to a “hybrid” regime, somewhere between a democracy and an autocracy, in an annual report by Washington-based group Freedom House.

Gyongyospata’s Roma community is worried they have become a political punchbag again. Csemer compared their situation to refugees, whom Orban shunned as a centerpiece of his political agenda over the past five years. The policy turned him into Europe’s ringleader for nativist forces across Europe. 

“We feel like we’re the new targets, the new ‘immigrants,’” Csemer said.

Barnabas Maka, the owner of the pub next to the post office, echoed Orban’s rhetoric. He blamed “the liberal world and its values that dominate in the west” for magnifying the conflict. When it comes to the school, he said Roma children “can’t behave in a classroom.”

Beatrix Csemer, a relative of Geza, was one of the students who said she suffered discrimination in the town’s primarily school. She said it came in many forms, from Roma being deprived of IT classes to being barred from using the school’s indoor swimming pool.

“They took my childhood away and no one can return that to me,” said Beatrix, 28. She said the feeling of being unwanted in school led her to terminate her studies after finishing primary school in 2006.

Her predicament is all too common among Hungary’s estimated 900,000 Roma, whose pre-virus jobless rate was already almost five times that of the rest of the population in the country of just under 10 million people.

Many work in the informal labor market, with little hope of receiving government assistance as the economy heads toward a recession this year. Four-fifths of employed Roma only had a primary-school education, compared with one-fifth for non-Roma, according to the statistics office in Budapest, making them among the most vulnerable in an economic downturn.

In Gyongyospata, many of the Roma live in ramshackle homes along a potholed street in the lower section of the sloping village. Orban’s successive administrations did manage to improve livelihoods largely through the trickle-down effects of one the continent’s highest economic growth rates.

An EU report on May 20, though, said policies favoring the more well-off magnified disparities. Any gains may be quickly reversed during the pandemic, it said.

Education remains a particular concern. As schools switched to distance-learning during the pandemic, many Roma households found themselves facing the choice of paying bills or putting food on the table, according to Vivien Brassoi, a researcher at the European Roma Rights Center in Brussels. Buying a laptop or upgrading an Internet connection, if there was one to begin with, wasn’t the priority, she said.

“The danger is that authorities will now say that the Roma just couldn’t keep up with schoolwork and recommend that they repeat grades or be taught separately in remedial classes, reinforcing segregation that’s already prevalent at many schools,” Brassoi said.

As rights activists hailed the supreme court ruling as a model for seeking reparations and eliminating segregation at other schools, Orban simultaneously pledged to craft legislation making it impossible for other victims of alleged school discrimination to receive monetary compensation.

Meanwhile in Gyongyospata, the fight for equal rights has come full circle.

Despite an official end to segregation six years ago, many non-Roma parents decided to take their children out of the local school, which was recently renovated with the help of EU funds. The new academic year may be the first to have a first-grade class of only Roma, according to Geza Csemer.

“The ethnic divide is only getting deeper,” he said. “I’m afraid things are only going to get worse.”

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Some unemployed people could receive extra funds from the government in one simple way

Unemployment throughout the UK has grown with figures now reaching almost 2.1 million as the coronavirus crisis has wreaked havoc on work across the country. Research from the Institute for Employment Studies has also shown particular areas of the UK – such as Blackpool, Liverpool, Hull and Belfast- have been adversely affected by unemployment during this crisis. Across the country, the Office for National Statistics also reported 856,500 people signed up for Universal Credit and Jobseeker’s Allowance within April.

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It is feared that as the Treasury moves to begin to wind down its supportive schemes in the next few months, that many Britons could be left worse off or even unemployed. 

There have already been reports of companies making employees redundant, despite the government-backed furlough scheme. 

And there are concerns these cases could grow as Britain returns to work in the coming weeks and months. 

However, for those who received their P45 before April 5, 2020, there is one way to potentially claim extra funds from the government.

Joseph Ivory, Personal Tax Manager at Dyer and Co has explained the process of tax relief for those who have recently left work.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said: “If a person is not employed at the end of the tax year, it may suggest they have ceased employment earlier in that tax year.

“Normally, if you cease employment part way through the tax year, you are likely to be in a repayment position because of tax codes. 

“Tax codes operate on the basis that you will be in employment for the whole tax year so your allowances are often spread over 12 months.

“But say, for example, your employment ended eight months into the tax year, you have effectively not claimed enough allowances because it has been spread over the whole year. That would also generate a refund.

“If anyone is currently out of work, and has received their P45 prior to April 5, then that is always worth checking and having a look. They are likely to have overpaid tax, which would generate a tax payment.”

Mr Ivory highlighted that the amount people receive will always depend on their tax code and their salary level.

There is no given formula for how much a recently unemployed person can receive, but it is based on personal tax allowances.

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In the most recent tax year, the standard personal allowance stood at £12,500, spread over the 12 month tax period.

Working on this figure, Britons could effectively earn just over £1,000 per month tax free.

For those who do not work the full tax year, they will not have claimed their allowance, despite being eligible for it.

Mr Ivory added: “The Revenue will eventually pick up these allowances and repay that to them.

“However, it might be six or seven months down the line, whereas if they approach someone to sort this out, it can be pretty instant.”

To claim tax relief, Britons must have paid tax within the year, and will receive tax relief based on what is spent, and their personal tax rate.

Claimants must submit a claim within four years of the end of the tax year where the money was spent.

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Trump Plans Expanded Fall G-7 Meeting With Russia, Others

President Donald Trump said he’s planning an expanded Group of Seven leaders meeting in the autumn, potentially even after the November election, postponing efforts to hold the event in June at Camp David.

Trump, speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One, said he’d like to extend an invitation to leaders from Russia, Australia, India and South Korea as well the current participants, calling the setup “outdated” at the moment.

Trump wants to supplement the gathering of traditional G-7 allies with those impacted by Covid-19, and also to discuss the future of China, said White House spokeswoman Alyssa Farah, traveling with the president.

China, the world’s No. 2 economy, wasn’t among Trump’s proposed attendees as tensions between Washington and Beijing run high over the coronavirus and Hong Kong.

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Instead, Trump would bring in Australia, which has joined with the U.S. in criticizing China about the spread of coronavirus around the world, and has faced economic reprisals as a result.

A move to invite Russia would be controversial. Russia was suspended from what was then the Group of Eight major economies in 2014 after its annexation of Crimea. Trump has mused before about bringing Moscow back into the fold.

Merkel, Johnson

Trump said the meeting could be held the weekend before or the weekend after the UN General Assembly, which is scheduled to open -- potentially virtually, not in person -- on Sept. 15 and run through Sept. 30.

“Maybe I’ll do it after the election,” Trump said. “I think a good time would be before the election.” The U.S. presidential election is Nov. 3.

“So it might be a G-10, G-11, and it could be after the election is over,” Trump said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel indicated this weekend that she was hesitant to travel to the U.S. in June for a physical G-7 meeting, one that Trump saw as a sign of normalization after the coronavirus pandemic shut down major economies.

“She’s unable to confirm her personal participation,” a German government spokesperson said of Merkel in an emailed statement on Saturday.

Trump spoke to U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron in recent days about progress on convening the G-7 in person. It’s unclear if either committed to a June gathering or encouraged a postponement.

Current G-7 members apart from the U.S., Germany, France and the U.K. are Japan, Canada and Italy.

— With assistance by Virginia Van Natta

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Maryland’s GOP Governor Rips Trump For ‘Inciting Violence With Twitter’ In Minneapolis

Maryland’s Republican governor on Friday slammed President Donald Trump for using Twitter for “inflammatory rhetoric” and “inciting violence” in Minneapolis amid outrage over the death of African American George Floyd during a violent arrest by four police officers.

Gov. Larry Hogan criticized the president for turning up the heat when he was asked on NBC’s “Today” show about Trump’s threats amid the protests and mounting turmoil in the city over Floyd’s death.

Trump called the protesters “THUGS” and warned: “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” That’s the same threat used by a Miami police chief about young Black men in 1967.

Twitter posted a warning on the tweet for “glorifying violence.”

“I don’t think it’s helpful,” Hogan said of Trump’s tweet. A better tactic is “lowering the temperature, trying to stop the violence and … bring about calm and restore peace and law and order.”

“Inflammatory rhetoric, I just don’t think is helpful on either side,” Hogan said. “I do believe you’ve got to have law and order, that you’ve got to stop the burning and looting — but inciting violence with Twitter is not the way to go about it.” 

Floyd, 46, was pronounced dead Monday after an arrest for alleged fraud over a possibly counterfeit $20 bill. Video taken by a bystander shows Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, pressing his knee to Floyd’s neck as he’s restrained on the ground and pleading for he can’t breathe.

Chauvin was arrested and charged Friday with third-degree murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death. The other three officers had not been arrested or charged as of Friday night.

Hogan was governor in 2015 when violence and arson broke out in Baltimore after days of largely peaceful protests triggered by the death of Freddie Gray, who was fatally injured in police custody after an arrest on a minor charge. None of the police officers charged in Gray’s death was convicted.

A Minneapolis prosecutor initially cautioned against a “rush” to press charges against police in the death of Floyd, and he pointed to the Gray case.

Hogan said he didn’t think it was a “fair comparison.” The “evidence” in Minneapolis “seems overwhelming and clear to me,” he added. “You have a video of exactly what happened.”

Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said Friday that he’d call Floyd’s death a “murder.”

Trump insisted Friday on Twitter that only “the haters” would have trouble with his looting and shooting tweet. 

Check out Hogan’s interview in the video up top. His comments on Trump’s tweet begin at 2:38.

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State pension: Experts warn that inflation figures could put triple lock under threat

State pension payments can be paid to anyone who has at least 10 years of National Insurance contributions and has reached state pension age. Current triple lock rules ensure that the payments will rise every year but some detail that the systems stability could come under threat.

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  • State pension: Triple lock rules explained

Recently, the latest inflation figures revealed that the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) 12-month rate was 0.8 percent in April 2020, down from 1.5 percent in March.

When these figures were released they came under intense scrutiny as they were the first to be released post lockdown.

Steve Cameron, a Pensions Director at Aegon, commented on how the figures, while being unsurprising, illuminated how the economy is reacting to a world dominated by coronavirus: “Today’s figures were not unexpected, but all eyes will be on the continuing trend as the impact of the coronavirus tightens its squeeze on the economy.

“The reality of lockdown is that many of the products and services that make up the basket of goods used to calculate inflation can’t be accessed or demand has fallen to near zero, meaning changes to the way inflation is calculated may be needed if the situation persists for any length of time.

“The inflation figure comes a day after Labour Market Statistics showed that the average earnings for the three months to the end of March dropped to 2.4 percent from 3.9 percent only nine months ago”

Somewhat worryingly, Steve theorises that with all of this troubling economic news the affordability of the triple lock system could be called into question: “Taken together, these figures are likely to increase pressure to review the ‘triple lock’ increases to the state pension.

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“Under current rules, the state pension is increased by the highest of earnings growth, price inflation or 2.5 percent a year. However with likely dramatic changes and significant variability in both price inflation and earnings growth in the coming months, there is a question over whether the Government will see it as both fair and affordable to guarantee state pension increases of at least 2.5 percent a year”

While it’s not possible to predict the future, there is a real risk that disinflation could continue, especially if coronavirus continues to impact the economy.

Anna Murdock, the Head of Wealth Planning at JM Finn, also commented on the added pressure this will put on triple lock rules, highlighting the need for affective private pension arrangements: “Disinflation poses a risk to those approaching retirement, as the cost of buying an annuity is likely to become even greater in a low inflation, low interest rate environment.

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“Now, more than ever, is a time for retirees to consider alternative methods of drawing a retirement income, such as flexi access drawdown that allows retirees to access cash when the need arises, with the added benefit of the upside potential market exposure provides.

Anna went on to detail that low inflation could actually benefit some retirees already taking advantage of annuities: “For annuitants with level annuities already in payment, a reduction in inflation benefits those as they retain greater spending power in a low inflation environment.

“A more worrying risk if this trend prevails for those embarking on later life is that low inflation also means added pressure to the triple-lock on the State Pension.

“Under the current system the provision increases by the highest of growth in wages, inflation as measured by the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) or 2.5 percent.

“Due to the triple lock guarantee, the government is obliged to offer a 2.5 percent increase even when inflation and wage growth is lower than this.

“This highlights the importance of having your own pension provision if the Government opts to remove the triple-lock on the State Pension to recoup some of the costs of the current lockdown.”

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