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Maryland lawmakers take up police reform after Baltimore unrest

People gather at city hall in Baltimore, MarylandBy Ian Simpson WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Baltimore rioting over the death of a black man from injuries in police custody is spurring Maryland lawmakers to take action on criminal justice reform after legislation stalled in the statehouse. Legislators hope that the death of Freddie Gray, 25, can galvanize the Democratic-controlled state Assembly after bids for reforms, especially one that would alter a state law giving police special rights, went nowhere in the last legislative session. "Unfortunately for Freddie Gray, he becomes symbolic of similar type of issues facing police departments across the nation," said state Senator Catherine Pugh, co-chair of a 20-member bipartisan working group appointed this month to study police issues.


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Australia looks to scrap tampon tax after student protest
The Australian government on Tuesday bowed to pressure and took the first step to end a controversial sales tax on women's sanitary products, a day after a student carrying a giant tampon confronted him on television with a petition demanding change. Other products like condoms and sunscreen are exempt from the 10 percent goods and services tax which is otherwise added to all items sold in Australia from day-to-day groceries to large-scale building materials. On Monday, university student Subeta Vimalarajah presented Treasurer Joe Hockey on a television panel discussion with the result of an online petition which found that 90,000 people supported cutting the tax on sanitary items.
Governor says deadly flooding is worst ever seen in Texas area

An intersection is flooded near the headwaters of the San Marcos River that flooded in San Marcos TexasBy Jim Forsyth SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) - Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Monday likened the ferocity of flash flooding that killed at least three people to a tsunami, and authorities said a dam had given way in a state park. Abbott declared states of disaster in 24 counties and flew over the area south of Austin to assess the damage caused by tornadoes, heavy rainfall, thunderstorms and flooding that forced evacuations and rooftop rescues and left thousands of residents without electricity. "This is the biggest flood this area of Texas has ever seen," Abbott said.


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