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Florida Republican's aide sacked after suggesting shooting survivors are actors

Yahoo Top Stories Feed - 13 hours 4 min ago

A Florida congressman's aide has been fired after spreading a conspiracy theory that some of the Flordia school shooting victims calling for gun control were actors. Benjamin Kelly, an aide to Republican state representative Shawn Harrison, sent an email to a Tampa Bay Times journalist claiming that two survivors of the Parkland tragedy, speaking up after 17 of their classmates were killed in a school shooting, were not real students. The 61-year-old wrote: "Both kids in the picture are not students [at Stoneman Douglas] but actors that travel to various crisis when they happen." The newspaper reported that after it asked for evidence for this allegation, the aide sent a YouTube conspiracy video targeting one of the students. After publication of  Kelly's claims, he was fired. Harrison said he was “appalled at and strongly denounce his comments”, adding that he was “sorry for any pain this has caused the grieving families of this tragedy”. He tweeted: "I do not share his opinion and he did so without my knowledge." Here's the email. I asked for more information to back up the claim and was sent another email that linked to a YouTube conspiracy video. pic.twitter.com/VRSVOcjj3E— Alex Leary (@learyreports) February 20, 2018 Kelly apologised for his actions, saying that he "made a mistake whereas I tried to inform a reporter of information relating to his story regarding a school shooting". He added: "This was not my responsibility. I meant no disrespect to the students or parents of Parkland." Tonight Mr. Kelly was terminated from his position as my District Secretary. I am appalled at and strongly denounce his comments about the Parkland students. I am again sorry for any pain this has caused the grieving families of this tragedy.— Shawn Harrison (@Shawnfor63) February 21, 2018 Robert Runcie, Broward County school superintendent, told CNN: “These are absolutely students at Stoneman Douglas. They’ve been there. I can verify that.” He said the comments were "outrageous and disrespectful" and "part of what's wrong with the narrative in this country". Jaclyn Corin, the school's 11th-grade class president, wrote on Twitter: "We are KIDS — not actors. We are KIDS that have grown up in Parkland all of our lives. We are KIDS who feared for our lives while someone shot up our school. We are KIDS working to prevent this from happening again. WE ARE KIDS." Republican Senator Marco Rubio condemned the conspiracy theorists, tweeting: "Claiming some of the students on tv after #Parkland are actors is the work of a disgusting group of idiots with no sense of decency."


Duterte slammed for barring Philippine news site from his events

Yahoo Top Stories Feed - February 20, 2018 - 10:01pm

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's move to ban a critical news website from covering the presidential palace is a threat to press freedom, rights and media groups said on Wednesday. Rappler, set up in 2012, is among a clutch of Philippine news organisations that have sparred with Duterte over their critical coverage of his drug war which the government says has claimed the lives of nearly 4,000 suspects. Human rights groups charge that thousands more have been killed by shadowy vigilantes.


Syria's Child Death Toll Prompts Scathing 1-Sentence Statement From UN Agency

Yahoo Top Stories Feed - February 20, 2018 - 8:12pm

The United Nations agency that helps the world’s needy children issued a terse statement on Tuesday about the escalating death toll in Syria as pro-government forces hammer rebel-held areas.


Democrats Flip Kentucky State House Seat Where Trump Won Overwhelmingly

Yahoo Top Stories Feed - February 20, 2018 - 6:30pm

Democrats flipped a GOP-held Kentucky state House seat on Tuesday, handing the party its 37th state legislative pickup nationwide since Donald Trump won the presidency.


Chris Cornell's Widow Says Singer Would 'Never Have Ever Left This World'

Yahoo Top Stories Feed - February 20, 2018 - 5:46pm

Vicky Cornell, the widow of rock singer Chris Cornell, believes a prescribed medication is the reason her husband of 13 years killed himself in a Detroit hotel room last May.


Trump (Keeps) Struggling With This Russia Thing

Yahoo Top Stories Feed - February 20, 2018 - 4:08pm

President Trump says he never doubted that Russia meddled in the 2016 election, despite repeatedly casting doubt on allegations of Russian meddling.


The Latest: Group says Syria death toll tops 100 for the day

Yahoo Top Stories Feed - February 20, 2018 - 2:36pm

BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on the conflict in Syria (all times local):


Florida lawmakers refuse to consider assault weapons ban despite call for tougher gun control laws

Yahoo Top Stories Feed - February 20, 2018 - 2:31pm

Florida state lawmakers have rejected a bill that would ban assault rifles, less than a week after 17 people were killed in a shooting at a Florida high school. The Florida House voted 36-71 against a motion to consider legislation to outlaw assault rifles and large capacity magazines, effectively killing the bill for the time-being, according to the Associated Press. The vote came as members of Congress, state legislators, governors and student survivors of the Parkland shooting called for tougher gun control laws.


Dad Arrested for Impregnating Daughter Granted Bond; She Remains Jailed

Yahoo Top Stories Feed - February 20, 2018 - 1:23pm

A father who impregnated and married his biological, adult daughter was granted bond Tuesday in Henrico County, Virginia.


Struck by Parkland Shooting Tragedy, Gun Owner Saws His AR-15 in Half

Yahoo Top Stories Feed - February 20, 2018 - 12:57pm

Scott Pappalardo's Facebook video has been viewed nearly 18 million times.


Florida Students March To Stoneman Douglas High To Show Solidarity Over School Shooting

Yahoo Top Stories Feed - February 20, 2018 - 12:47pm

Hundreds of students walked out of classes at a Florida high school on Tuesday morning and were marching nearly 11 miles to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where a mass shooting left 17 students and staff members dead last week.


Army Awards Heroism Medal To 3 Junior ROTC Cadets Killed In Florida Shooting

Yahoo Top Stories Feed - February 20, 2018 - 12:43pm

Three Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps cadets killed during last week’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida have been awarded the Medal of Heroism by the U.S. Army.


In honor of Rihanna's birthday, we're sharing our favorite Fenty Beauty products

Yahoo Top Stories Feed - February 20, 2018 - 12:30pm

It's hard to believe that it was over 10 years ago when we first heard 'Pon de Replay' on the radio by an 'unknown' Rihanna at the time.


Trump claims he 'never met' the woman who says he forcibly kissed her at Trump Tower

Yahoo Top Stories Feed - February 20, 2018 - 10:46am

President Trump turned his Twitter attention Tuesday to previously disclosed claims by Rachel Crooks, who says he forced himself on her at Trump Tower in 2006.


R. Kelly Evicted From Atlanta Homes For Unpaid Rent

Yahoo Top Stories Feed - February 20, 2018 - 10:30am

We’re not tryin’ to be rude, but ... singer R. Kelly has been evicted from two Atlanta homes for unpaid rent.


FBI charge British engineer with murdering wife on yacht in Caribbean

Yahoo Top Stories Feed - February 20, 2018 - 10:14am

  A British engineer has been charged by the FBI with murdering his wife after she disappeared at sea as they cruised around the Caribbean on a belated honeymoon. Lewis Bennett, 41, who holds dual British and Australian citizenship and is originally from Poole, Dorset, was accused of second-degree murder over the death of Isabella Hellmann, 41, on May 15 last year. He was charged in a Miami court where, according to local television station WPTV, he was also sentenced to seven months in jail for transporting valuable rare coins. After his wife's disappearance Bennett told investigators she was lost at sea when their 37ft catamaran, Surf into Summer, was struck by an unknown object near the Bahamas. According to to the FBI Bennett said he had gone below deck and left Ms Hellmann above to keep watch. He described being woken up at 1am by a jolt and the vessel was taking on water. Bennett told investigators he could not find his wife and had to abandon ship on a life raft. In an affidavit FBI special agent James Kelley said the bureau now believed Bennett "knowingly and unlawfully killed" Ms Hellmann. The FBI affidavit ​claimed ​Bennett​ ​​had damaged the inside of the boat causing it to flood. Isabella Hellman and her British husband Lewis Bennett. She went missing during a honeymoon sailing trip. When Ms Hellmann disappeared the couple, who had a daughter now aged 17 months, were sailing back from Havana, Cuba to their home in Delray Beach, Florida. The daughter was not on the boat. Bennett made an SOS call in the early hours and was later spotted by a US Coast Guard helicopter. He was rescued alone from the life raft. The search for Ms Hellmann was called off three days later and her body was never found. When Bennett was rescued nine plastic tubes of silver coins were found in the life raft. They included 158 English “Year of the Horse” one-ounce silver coins and 77 Canadian Maple Leaf coins, worth about £3,200. The coins were among a batch that had been reported stolen from another boat in St Martin the previous year. Bennett had been a crew member on that boat. According to the owner of the boat the total value of the coins stolen in 2016 was around $100,000. After he was rescued Bennett said of his wife: "She is my soulmate. I thought we were going to be together forever. "I understand why they have to investigate and that is fair enough. I have got nothing to hide. They have to do what they have to do.”​


Aurora borealis turns the sky greener than the ground

Yahoo Top Stories Feed - February 20, 2018 - 9:56am

These Northern Lights “rainbows” have turned the sky greener than the Earth below. Vitaly Istomin, 26, spent several nights in freezing conditions under the stars in northern Russia’s Khibiny Mountains to capture the aurora’s “rainbows.” (Caters News)


Hazardous effort to recover bodies from plane crash in Iran mountains

Yahoo Top Stories Feed - February 20, 2018 - 8:13am

"Deep and dangerous crevices in the area of the crash have made it impossible for helicopters to land," Ghafoor Rastinrooz, director of the regional medical centre, told official news agency IRNA. Aseman Airlines flight EP3704 disappeared from radar as it flew over the Zagros mountain range on Sunday morning, around 45 minutes after taking off from Tehran on a domestic flight.


Nigeria And Jamaica Just Made Winter Olympics History

Yahoo Top Stories Feed - February 20, 2018 - 6:03am

Bobsledders from Nigeria and Jamaica made history at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, on Tuesday.


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