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  1. Florida Governor Rick Scott listens during a meeting with law enforcement, mental health, and education officials ? about how to prevent future tragedies in the wake of last week's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School ? at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida, US, February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Colin Hackley PARKLAND: Florida Governor Rick Scott, a loyal ally of the U.S. gun lobby under mounting pressure to act in the aftermath of last week?s deadly mass shooting, urged state lawmakers on Friday to tighten access to firearms for young people and the mentally disturbed. Scott said he would work with the Republican-controlled legislature over the next two weeks to raise the minimum legal age for buying any gun in Florida from 18 to 21, with some exceptions for younger individuals serving in the military or law enforcement. That proposal put the Republican governor at odds with the National Rifle Association, which has opposed higher age limits in Florida, where a person must be at least 21 to buy a handgun but can be as young as 18 to purchase an assault rifle. But Scott, who has been endorsed by the NRA and received its highest rating for supporting the rights of gun owners, said he opposed an outright ban on assault rifles, as some gun control advocates have demanded. His plan closely mirrored proposed measures unveiled on Friday by leaders of the state legislature. The 17 people slain on Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in the Fort Lauderdale suburb of Parkland were shot with a semiautomatic AR-15-style assault weapon, which authorities say was purchased legally last year by the accused gunman, Nikolas Cruz, when he was 18 years of age. Cruz, now 19, a former Stoneman Douglas student who authorities said had a history of run-ins with the law and was expelled from school for disciplinary problems, has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Broward County Sheriff?s Office have since acknowledged receiving several tips over the past two years from callers saying they had reason to believe Cruz was inclined to commit a school shooting. In addition to age limits, Scott said he wanted to change state laws to make it ?virtually impossible for anyone who has mental issues to use a gun,? echoing similar calls by U.S. President Donald Trump. The governor called in particular for a new program allowing a family member, police officer or community welfare expert to seek a special court order barring the purchase or possession of a firearm by anyone shown to pose a safety threat due to mental illness or violent behavior. Scott also urged that state laws on involuntary commitment of the mentally ill be amended so that anyone hospitalized by court order is stripped of all access to firearms, with a court hearing required before their gun rights could be restored. Renewed focus on background checks Federal law bars possession of firearms by anyone found by a court or other legal authority to be a danger to themselves or others. Convicted felons, fugitives and people with a record of drug addiction also are banned from owning guns. But many states have been slow in furnishing mental health records to the FBI database used in flagging prospective buyers who are supposed to be prohibited from owning a weapon. The governor?s proposals come amid a reignited national debate on gun rights, led in part by some of the student survivors of last week?s massacre, ranked as the second deadliest U.S. public school shooting on record. Students and parents calling for tougher gun controls traveled earlier this week to meet with politicians in Tallahassee, the state capital, and with Trump at the White House. Trump has suggested arming teachers as a way of curbing gun violence in schools, as advocated by the NRA. He has also called for raising the legal age for buying rifles nationally to 21, and for beefing up background checks on prospective gun buyers. On Capitol Hill on Friday, a group of 18 House Republicans urged House Speaker Paul Ryan to schedule a vote on legislation strengthening background checks. The legislation already passed the House in December. But it was coupled with a controversial measure aimed at significantly expanding permits for carrying concealed weapons. The group of House Republicans urged Ryan to bring it to the House floor as a stand-alone bill so that it will have a greater chance of approval by the Senate and enactment into law. Scott also called for a mandatory law enforcement officer in every public school and for mandatory ?active shooter training? for students and faculty. He spoke as staff members were returning to Stoneman Douglas High School for the first time since the massacre. ?Everything was quiet, and looked like it was frozen in time,? said Greg Pittman, a social studies teacher. Some colleagues were still too shaken to return, he said. Outside the school, some teachers gazed at the flowers and makeshift memorials to the victims. One woman who brought balloons to add to the memorials fell to her knees in tears. Students are due to return to class next Wednesday, two weeks after the shooting. The building where the shooting occurred will remain closed. In remarks to reporters on Friday, Trump criticized the armed sheriff?s deputy assigned to the school for doing a ?poor job.? The deputy, Scot Peterson, resigned after an internal investigation found he failed to go inside and confront the shooter, the Broward County sheriff said on Thursday. ?When it came time to get in there and do something, he didn?t have the courage or something happened,? Trump said. Gun control advocates welcomed Scott?s steps to tighten laws, but some wanted more. Julie Kessel, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida, told reporters that Scott?s proposals were ?very small, incremental changes.? ?None of them gets to the heart of what would really change gun violence, which is to ban assault weapons and close these loopholes immediately in background checks,? Kessel said.
  2. US President Donald Trump bows his head during a prayer as he sits between Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivors and students Jonathan Blank, his mother Melissa Blank, Julia Cordover, and Carson Abt (R), as the president hosts a listening session with high school students and teachers to discuss school safety at the White House in Washington, US, February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that arming teachers could help prevent massacres like last week?s mass shooting at a Florida high school, voicing support for an idea backed by the National Rifle Association gun rights group. Trump made the comment during an emotional hour-long White House meeting with students who survived the Florida shooting and a parent whose child did not. Hundreds of students joined scattered protests across the country on Wednesday, including in Washington, Chicago and Pittsburgh. The Republican president, who has championed gun rights and was endorsed by the NRA during the 2016 campaign, said he would move quickly to tighten background checks for gun buyers and would consider raising the age for buying certain types of guns. He spoke at length about how armed teachers and security guards could frighten off potential school shooters and prevent student deaths. ?If you had a teacher ... who was adept at firearms, it could very well end the attack very quickly,? said Trump. The attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 students and educators were slain on Feb. 14 by a gunman with an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle in the second-deadliest shooting at a US public school, has revived the long-running US debate over gun rights. The US Constitution protects the right of Americans to bear arms, a right fiercely defended by Republicans. But Trump has been under pressure to act. Some of the participants at the meeting indicated support for Trump?s idea of arming teachers. Others were opposed. 'Nobody wants to see a shootout' Mark Barden, whose son was killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut, said his wife, Jackie, a teacher, ?will tell you that school teachers have more than enough responsibilities right now than to have to have the awesome responsibility of lethal force to take a life. ?Nobody wants to see a shootout in a school,? Barden said. After the Sandy Hook shooting, a task force backed by the NRA recommended more armed guards and teachers in schools. Trump listened intently to ideas from about 40 people, including those from six students who survived the Florida shooting. ?I don?t understand why I can still go in a store and buy a weapon of war, an AR,? said Sam Zeif, 18, sobbing after he described texting his family members during the attack. ?Let?s never let this happen again, please, please,? Zeif said. Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow Pollack, 18, was killed, shouted: ?It should have been one school shooting and we should have fixed it. And I?m pissed - because my daughter - I?m not going to see again.? Trump sat in the middle of a semi-circle in the White House State Dining Room. Photographers captured images of his handwritten note card with questions like ?What would you most want me to know about your experience?? and ?I hear you.? Protests Before Trump?s meeting, students across the United States walked out of classes in sympathy protests, including hundreds of teens from the Washington suburbs who gathered at the White House. ?I came out here because I don?t feel safe in my school,? said Allyson Zadravec, 15, of Northwood High School in Silver Spring, Maryland. ?I want to make sure that everyone who can do something about it hears that I don?t feel safe in my school.? In the Florida state capital, Tallahassee, students demanded that lawmakers restrict sales of assault rifles. Some wore T-shirts and carried signs reading: ?We call B.S.,? one of the slogans of the movement started by the survivors. Investigators said the assault was carried out by 19-year-old former Stoneman student Nikolas Cruz, who purchased an AR-15 nearly a year ago. Police charged Cruz, who had been kicked out of the school because of disciplinary problems, with 17 counts of premeditated murder. ?Nikolas Cruz was able to purchase an assault rifle before he was able to buy a beer,? said Laurenzo Prado, a Stoneman student, referring to a Florida law that allows people as young as 18 to buy assault weapons. ?The laws of the country have failed.? Lawmakers in Tallahassee said they would consider raising the age limit to 21, the same standard for handguns and alcohol, although the state Senate on Wednesday opted not to take up a gun control measure. Trump also said he was open to looking at age limits, among other measures, and lamented the closure of many mental institutions to help assess violent people. ?There?s no ... middle ground of having that institution where you had trained people that could handle it and do something about it and find out how sick he really is,? Trump said. Trump on Tuesday directed the Justice Department to work on a regulation that would effectively ban ?bump stocks,? an accessory that enables a rifle to shoot hundreds of rounds a minute. Last October, a retired real estate investor and high-stakes gambler used multiple assault rifles equipped with bump stocks to kill 58 people at a Las Vegas outdoor concert, the deadliest attack by a single gunman in US history. Bump stocks have not played a prominent role in other recent US mass shootings. The NRA opposes an outright ban on bump stocks but has said it would be open to restrictions on the devices. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer urged Trump to back legislation, instead of a regulation, on bump stocks.
  3. File photo KANO: Fears grew in northeast Nigeria on Wednesday about the fate of potentially scores of girls who have not been seen since a Boko Haram attack on their school two days ago. Militants stormed the Government Girls Science Secondary School in Dapchi, Yobe state, on Monday evening. Locals initially said the girls and their teachers fled the attack. The militants gained worldwide notoriety in April 2014 when they abducted 276 girls from their school in Chibok, in neighbouring Borno state. Fifty-seven escaped in the immediate aftermath and since May last year, 107 have either escaped or been released as part of a government-brokered deal. A total of 112 are still being held. Monday's incident sparked fears of a repeat of Chibok and on Wednesday morning some 50 parents and guardians gathered at the school demanding information. "Our girls have been missing for two days and we don't know their whereabouts," Abubakar Shehu, whose niece is among those missing, told AFP. "Although we were told they had run to some villages, we have been to all these villages mentioned without any luck. We are beginning to harbour fears the worst might have happened. "We have the fear that we are dealing with another Chibok scenario." Confused picture According to school staff, there were 710 students at the state-run boarding school, which caters for girls aged 11 and above. Inuwa Mohammed, whose 16-year-old daughter, Falmata, is also missing, said it was a confused picture and that parents had been frantically searching surrounding villages. "Nobody is telling us anything officially," he said. "We still don´t know how many of our daughters were recovered and how many are still missing. "We have been hearing many numbers, between 67 and 94." Police in the state, which is one of three in the northeast Nigeria worst-affected by the Boko Haram insurgency, said they had no reports of abductions following the attack. Yobe's education commissioner, Mohammed Lamin, said the school had been shut and a rollcall of all the girls who have returned was being conducted. "It is only after the head-count that we will be able to say whether any girls were taken," he said. Some of the girls had fled to villages up to 30 kilometres away through the remote bushland, he added. Weapon of war Boko Haram has used kidnapping as a weapon of war since its insurgency began in 2009, seizing thousands of women and young girls, as well as men and boys of fighting age. Some 300 children were among 500 people abducted from the town of Damasak in November 2014. Getting accurate information from the remote northeast remains difficult. The army still largely controls access and infrastructure has been devastated by nine years of conflict. In Chibok, the military initially claimed the students had all been found but was forced to back-track when parents and the school principal said otherwise. As the issue gained world attention, spawning the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, the then president Goodluck Jonathan was increasingly criticised for his lacklustre response. The mass abduction and Jonathan's handling of it was seen as contributing to his 2015 election defeat to Mohammadu Buhari, who promised to bring the Boko Haram insurgency to an end. But despite Buhari's repeated claims the group is weakened to the point of defeat, civilians remain vulnerable to suicide attacks and hit-and-run raids in the remote northeast. No-one from Buhari's administration has yet commented on Dapchi. Security analysts told AFP on Tuesday that government ransom payments to secure the release of the Chibok girls could have given the under-pressure group ideas for financing. "They need money for arms, ammunition, vehicles, to keep their army of fighters moving across the borders," said Amaechi Nwokolo, from the Roman Institute of International Studies. "They're spending a lot of money on arms and logistics."
  4. US President Donald Trump said Saturday the FBI was so caught up in the Russia probe that it failed to heed signs which could have prevented the Parkland school shooting. Photo: AFP file FORT LAUDERDALE: US President Donald Trump said Saturday the FBI was so caught up in the Russia probe that it failed to heed signs which could have prevented the Parkland school shooting. His comments came as he faces criticism from survivors of the attack over his ties to the powerful National Rifle Association, and after several thousand rallied in Florida to demand urgent action on gun control. "Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable," he wrote on Twitter. "They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign - there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!" US authorities have come under mounting scrutiny for failing to act on a series of warning signs ahead of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in which 17 people were killed. The FBI admitted Friday it received a chilling warning in January from a tipster who said the gunman Nikolas Cruz could be planning a mass shooting, but that agents failed to follow up. But the attack, the 18th school shooting this year alone, has also renewed calls for greater gun control with several survivors leading the charge. One of them, 18-year-old Emma Gonzalez delivered a fiery address to a crowd of students, parents and residents in Ft. Lauderdale. "To every politician taking donations from the NRA, shame on you!" she thundered, assailing Trump over the multi-million-dollar support his campaign received from the gun lobby. The crowd chanted in turn: "Shame on you!" "We are going to be the last mass shooting... We are going to change the law," she vowed -- slamming the fact 19-year-old Cruz was able to legally buy a semi-automatic firearm despite a history of troubling and violent behavior. "The question on whether or not people should be allowed to own an automatic weapon is not a political one. It is question of life or death and it needs to stop being a question of politics," Gonzalez told AFP following her speech. In Washington, the political response has made clear that the powerful NRA pro-gun lobby remains formidable, while Trump himself suggested the root cause of mass shootings was a crisis of mental health -- making no mention of gun control. "If the president wants to come up to me and tell me to my face that it was a terrible tragedy and... how nothing is going to be done about it, I´m going to happily ask him how much money he received from the National Rifle Association," Gonzalez said in her impassioned address. "It doesn´t matter because I already know. Thirty million," she said, citing the sum spent by the NRA to support Trump´s election bid and defeat Hillary Clinton. She then ran through a list of the pro-gun lobby´s talking points -- for example, that "a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun," that no law could ever stop a madman intent on killing -- answering each argument with "We call BS." The young woman´s powerful address immediately went viral, with her name a top trending topic on Twitter. Missed warnings In addition to the FBI´s missteps, Cruz was also known to local police after his mother repeatedly reported him for violent outbursts, while records obtained by the South Florida Sun Sentinel show authorities investigated Cruz in 2016 after he cut his arms on messaging app Snapchat and threatened to buy a gun. The newspaper, citing Department of Children and Family Services documents, said the investigation came four days after Cruz turned 18 -- legally an adult, and thus able to buy a firearm. Investigators said there were "some implications" for the teen´s safety, but concluded that his "final level of risk is low as (he) resides with his mother, attends school and receives counselling" as an outpatient at a mental health centre, the Sun Sentinel said. Cruz later passed a background check, allowing him in February 2017 to buy the AR-15 rifle used in the massacre. Russia probe Trump spoke by phone Saturday with the Parkland mayor, the county commissioner and the principal of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to express his condolences and offer his support. He then pivoted to politics late Saturday with his allegations against the FBI -- though the federal government´s investigation into allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race and collusion with the Trump campaign has been led by special prosecutor Robert Mueller since last May. There was no immediate response from the FBI to Trump´s latest allegation. Mueller´s investigation has so far swept up four members of Trump´s campaign, with two agreeing to work for the probe under a plea deal. On Thursday Mueller indicted 13 Russians for allegedly running a secret campaign to tilt the vote, but did not accuse any Americans of knowingly participating in that effort.
  5. Participants hold placards with the names of victims of the shooting in Parkland, Florida, during a candlelight vigil at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida, US, February 16, 2018. REUTERS/Joe Skipper PARKLAND: The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said Friday it had failed to act on a tip warning that the man now accused of killing 17 people at a Florida high school possessed a gun, the desire to kill and the potential to commit a school shooting. The disclosure sparked angry disbelief from residents of the Miami suburb of Parkland still reeling from Wednesday?s massacre ? the deadliest shooting ever at a US high school ? and led Florida?s governor to call for the FBI chief to resign. A person described as someone close to accused gunman Nikolas Cruz, 19, called an FBI tip line on January 5 ? weeks before the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School ? to report concerns about him, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a statement. ?The caller provided information about Cruz?s gun ownership, desire to kill people, erratic behavior, and disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting,? it said. That information should have been forwarded to the FBI?s Miami field office for further investigation, but ?we have determined that these protocols were not followed?, the agency said. US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he has ordered a review of FBI procedures following the shooting, carried out by a gunman armed with an AR-15-style assault rifle and numerous ammunition cartridges. ?We have spoken with victims and families, and deeply regret the additional pain this causes all those affected by this horrific tragedy,? FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement. The mishandled information followed a tip to the FBI in September about a YouTube comment, in which a person named Nikolas Cruz said, ?I?m going to be a professional school shooter.? The FBI said it investigated that comment but was unable to trace its origins, closing the inquiry until Cruz surfaced in connection with Wednesday?s mass shooting. The FBI?s lapse regarding the January 5 tip was met with anger in Florida after US President Donald Trump made remarks seeming to chastise local residents for failing to alert authorities to Cruz?s sometimes erratic and violent behaviour prior to Wednesday?s shooting rampage. Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. Florida Governor Rick Scott said Wray ? appointed to head the FBI by Trump last year after the president fired James Comey ? should step down over the agency?s blunder. ?The FBI?s failure to take action against this killer is unacceptable,? Scott, a Republican, said in a statement. ?We constantly promote ?See something, say something,? and a courageous person did just that to the FBI. And the FBI failed to act.? The FBI separately has been criticized by some Republicans over its investigation of issues relating to Russia and the 2016 presidential election. At the funeral on Friday for massacre victim Meadow Pollack, an 18-year-old senior, family friend Jeff Richman expressed dismay at the FBI?s failure. ?The FBI apologized? Tell that to families,? said Richman, 53, an advertising executive who lives in Parkland. Broward County?s chief public defender, Howard Finkelstein, was quoted by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel newspaper as saying that Cruz?s legal team planned to meet with prosecutors to offer a guilty plea in exchange for a life prison term. ?There is only one question: ?Should this young man live or die by execution?'? Finkelstein told the Sun Sentinel. ?We believe it?s in nobody?s best interest to go through a circus of a trial.? The public defender?s office could not immediately be reached by Reuters for comment. 'Kids don't need guns' The massacre has raised concerns about potential lapses in school security and stirred the ongoing US debate pitting proponents of tougher restrictions on firearms against advocates for gun rights, which are protected by the US Constitution?s Second Amendment. Authorities acknowledged that the tips to the FBI were not the only indications that Cruz was troubled. Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel told a news conference his office had received about 20 ?calls for service? in the last few years regarding Cruz and would scrutinize all of them to see if they were handled properly. Israel indicated law enforcement should not be held responsible for Wednesday?s tragedy. ?The only one to blame for this killing is the killer himself,? he said. Some political leaders including Trump have said mental illness prompted the shooting. Cruz had been expelled for undisclosed disciplinary reasons from the school where the attack occurred. Former classmates have described him as a social outcast trouble-maker with a fascination for weaponry. Some relatives and friends of shooting victims blamed Florida?s lenient gun laws, which allow an 18-year-old to buy an assault rifle. Outside a vigil on Friday, a sign read: ?Kids don?t need guns. No guns under 21.? The outpouring of grief was reflected in a multitude of prayer services and vigils on Friday - a total of six at various places of worship in and around Parkland. Funerals for at least two victims were also held. Late in the day, the Republican president and first lady Melania Trump visited a hospital where survivors from the shooting were treated, meeting privately with victims and medical staff. ?The job they?ve done is incredible and I want to congratulate you,? the president said as he shook one doctor?s hand in front of reporters afterwards. Trump did not respond when asked if the nation?s gun laws needed to be changed, then walked into another room. He later appeared at the Broward County Sheriff?s Office, along with the governor and other politicians, offering praise to first responders for the ?great job you?ve done.? The vice mayor of Broward County, a strongly Democratic area, earlier blasted any visit by Trump, saying Republicans had failed to back common-sense gun laws and rolled back measures restricting severely mentally ill people from buying weapons.
  6. People attend a candlelight vigil the day after a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, February 15, 2018. Photo: Reuters FLORIDA: As families prepared on Friday to bury victims of another US mass shooting, grief mixed with anger amid signs of possible lapses in school security and indications that law enforcement may have missed clues about the suspected gunman?s plans. One distraught mother who said she had just spent two hours making funeral preparations for her 14-year-old child expressed disbelief that a gunman could just stroll into school and open fire, and she appealed to President Donald Trump to take action. Nikolas Cruz, 19, identified as a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, who had been expelled for disciplinary problems, walked into the school on Wednesday and opened fire with an assault rifle, killing 17 students and facility members and injuring 15 others, police said. The shooting has raised questions among anguished parents about the adequacy of school security measures and renewed a national debate on Capitol Hill and elsewhere about the epidemic of gun violence in American schools. 17 killed in Florida school shooting; suspect in custody Live television showed dozens of students running and walking away from the school ?How do we allow a gunman to come into our children?s school? How did they get through security? What security is there?? Lori Alhadeff shouted into the camera in an emotionally raw appearance on CNN. ?The gunman, the crazy person, just walks right into the school, knocks down the window to my child?s door and starts shooting, shooting her ...,? cried Alhadeff, whose daughter Alyssa was among the dead. Cruz, charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder, made a brief initial court appearance on Thursday, in which he was ordered held without bond. ?He?s a broken human being,? his lawyer, public defender Melissa McNeill, told reporters. ?He?s sad, he?s mournful, he?s remorseful.? 'Professional school shooter' Cruz may have foreshadowed the attack in a comment on YouTube, investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The FBI disclosed it received a tip in September about the message that read: ?I?m going to be a professional school shooter,? by a user named Nikolas Cruz. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Photo: Reuters However, FBI agents had no information pointing to the ?time, location or true identity? of the person behind the message, Robert Lasky, special agent in charge of the FBI?s Jacksonville office, told reporters. YouTube ultimately removed the material in question, and the FBI?s inquiry was dropped until the name Nikolas Cruz surfaced again in connection with Wednesday?s massacre. Authorities say Cruz, identified as a former student at Stoneman Douglas High who had been expelled for disciplinary problems, walked into the school shortly before dismissal time, pulled a fire alarm and opened fire as students and teachers streamed out of classrooms into the halls. The sheriff said Cruz arrived at the school by way of the Uber ride-sharing service and left the scene on foot, mixing in ?with a group that were running away, fearing for their lives.? He walked into a Walmart, bought a beverage at a Subway outlet inside the store, then visited a McDonald?s before he was spotted and detained by a police officer in the adjacent town of Coconut Creek, Israel said. Former classmates have described Cruz as a social outcast with a reputation as a trouble-maker, as well as someone who was ?crazy about guns.? The sheriff has said some of the online and social media activity Cruz engaged in was ?very, very disturbing.? Former student confesses to Florida school shooting The FBI earlier admitted it had received a tip-off about the 19-year-old gunman yet failed to stop him Wednesday?s shooting ranks as the greatest loss of life from school gun violence after the 2012 shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, that left 20 first-graders and six adult educators dead. ?It is not enough to simply take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference,? Trump said at the White House in a speech that emphasised school safety and mental health while avoiding any mention of gun policy. ?We must actually make that difference.? Democrats in the US House of Representatives criticised the Republican leadership on Wednesday for refusing to take up legislation on tightening background checks for prospective gun buyers. For school gun massacre survivors, fear and grief takes hold In the morning the school had conducted a fire drill, and the school´s approximately 3,000 students had been told at the beginning of the year that a simulation shooting might be held Some gun control proponents and legal experts said Wednesday?s shooting might have been averted if Florida were among the handful of US states with laws allowing police and family members to obtain restraining orders barring people suspected of being a threat from possessing guns. Cruz had recently moved in with another family after his mother?s November death, said Jim Lewis, a lawyer representing the family, bringing his AR-15 along with other belongings. The family believed Cruz was depressed, but attributed that to his mother?s death, not mental illness, Lewis said.
  7. [embed_video1 url=http://stream.jeem.tv/vod/f7072551930376a5823318133f56ea0a.mp4/playlist.m3u8?wmsAuthSign=c2VydmVyX3RpbWU9Mi8xNi8yMDE4IDU6MTQ6NDUgQU0maGFzaF92YWx1ZT0xZU1lNHoyeVZJSmxzUGtDNEptZllnPT0mdmFsaWRtaW51dGVzPTYwJmlkPTE= style=center] PARKLAND: A troubled teen has confessed to gunning down 17 people at his former high school in Florida, court documents showed Thursday, as the FBI admitted it had received a tip-off about the 19-year-old gunman yet failed to stop him. As Americans reeled from the country´s worst school massacre since the horror at Sandy Hook six years ago, President Donald Trump suggested the root cause of the violence was a crisis of mental health -- and defied calls to address gun control. Terrified students hid in closets and under desks on Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, texting for help as the gunman, Nikolas Cruz, stalked the school with a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle. Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder, appearing Thursday afternoon via video link before a judge who ordered him held without bond. More than a dozen other people were injured in the shooting spree. "Today is a day of healing. Today is a day of mourning," Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said. After being read his legal rights, "Cruz stated that he was the gunman who entered the school campus armed with a AR-15 and began shooting students that he saw in the hallways and on the school grounds," court documents showed. Cruz also admitted to police that he discarded his rifle -- which he bought legally in Florida -- and tactical gear in order to blend in with the crowd to flee the campus, the documents showed. After the shooting, he stopped at a Wal-Mart and then McDonald´s, Israel told reporters. He was detained 40 minutes later, after police identified him using school security camera footage. In a somber televised address to the nation in response to the 18th school shooting so far this year, Trump vowed to make mental health a priority -- after tweeting about the "many signs" the gunman was "mentally disturbed" -- while avoiding any talk of gun curbs. Earlier in the day, Trump had asserted that "neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!" Expelled from school for disciplinary reasons, Cruz was known to be fixated on firearms -- and had reportedly been identified as a potential threat to his classmates. But US authorities themselves were under scrutiny, after the FBI confirmed it was alerted last September to a message posted on YouTube, in which a user named Nikolas Cruz vowed: "I´m going to be a professional school shooter." In a statement, the FBI said it had carried out "database reviews and other checks" but was unable to identify the person who made the post. ´Something was off´ A mugshot of Cruz depicts an ordinary-looking young man -- cleanly-cut chestnut hair, hazel eyes, his face speckled with freckles. But the information emerging since his attack suggests there were red flags that should have set off danger alerts. "I met him last year, he was in my class at the beginning of the year and when I first met him, I knew that something was off about him and he was kind of weird," Manolo Alvarez, 17, told AFP. Fellow students knew he posted violent messages online, and on Thursday the Anti-Defamation League reported he was a member of a white supremacist group and had taken part in military-style training exercises. White supremacist says Florida shooter was group member Expelled from school for disciplinary reasons, Cruz was known to have firearms at home Fifteen people were killed at the high school, and two later died in hospital. One of those killed was Aaron Feis, a well-loved football coach in Parkland, a city of about 30,000 people located north of Miami where Trump was due to travel to meet the shocked community. Many others were first-year students at the school like Gina Montalto, who was a member of the school´s winter color guard squad. Thousands of people turned out at numerous vigils throughout the day. Officials released silver balloons in honor of the 17 victims. "President Trump, please do something. Do something. Action. We need it now. These kids need safety now," an emotional Lori Aldaheff, whose daughter Alyssa was among the dead, told CNN. ´We have to change´ While the latest shooting reignited questions about America´s gun laws, Trump -- the first president to have addressed the powerful National Rifle Association gun lobby -- staunchly opposes any additional controls. Opponents of gun curbs have sought to steer public debate onto the motives -- and mental health -- of people using the weapons. Former Democratic president Barack Obama issued a new appeal for action Thursday, insisting "we have to change" and calling for "long overdue, common-sense gun safety laws that most Americans want." But many have given up hope of meaningful reform in a majority-led Republican Congress driven by partisan rancor. Since January 2013, there have been at least 291 school shootings across the country -- an average of one a week, according to the non-profit group Everytown for Gun Safety. "It is pretty clear that we´re failing our kids here," said Melissa Falkowski, a teacher who squeezed 19 students into a closet at the high school to shield them from harm.
  8. Nikolas Cruz (C) appears via video monitor with his public defender Melisa McNeill (R) at a bond court hearing ? after being charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder ? in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US, February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Susan Stocker/Pool PARKLAND: The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was warned in September about an ominous online comment by the 19-year-old man accused of killing 17 people at his former high school but was unable to locate him, an agent said on Thursday. Authorities said the ex-student, identified as Nikolas Cruz, walked into the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, near Miami, on Wednesday and opened fire with an AR-15-style assault rifle in the second-deadliest shooting at a public school in US history. Cruz may have left warning signs on social media in the form of a comment on a YouTube video that read ?I?m going to be a professional school shooter.? That comment troubled the person whose video Cruz commented on, Mississippi bail bondsman Ben Bennight, who passed it on to the FBI, according to a video he posted online late Wednesday. ?No other information was included with that comment which would indicate a time, location or the true identity of the person who made the comment,? FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert Lasky told reporters. Investigators were unable to find the commenter, he added. The FBI is conducting an extensive review of how it handled that tip to see if mistakes were made, a federal law enforcement official told Reuters. Wednesday?s shooting was the 18th in a US school this year, according to gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety. It stirred the long-simmering US debate on the right to bear arms, which is protected by the Second Amendment of the US Constitution. President Donald Trump addressed the shooting in a White House speech that emphasized school safety and mental health while avoiding any mention of gun policy. ?It is not enough to simply take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference,? Trump said at the White House. ?We must actually make that difference.? Broward County schools superintendent Robert Runcie called for action on gun laws. ?Now is the time for this country to have a real conversation on sensible gun control laws,? Runcie told a news conference. Democrats in the US House of Representatives criticized the Republican leadership for refusing to take up legislation on tightening background checks for prospective gun buyers. ?It?s appalling,? Representative Mike Thompson told reporters. ?Thirty people every day are killed by someone using a gun, and the best we can do is say we need more information?? The Republican-controlled Congress last year revoked Obama-era regulations meant to make it harder for those with severe mental illness to pass FBI background checks for guns, saying the rule deprived the mentally ill of their gun rights. At least one member of Trump?s cabinet called for action. ?Personally I think the gun violence, it?s a tragedy what we?ve seen yesterday, and I urge Congress to look at these issues,? Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told lawmakers. Fifteen people were injured in Wednesday?s shooting, according to local hospital officials. ?Broken human being? Cruz?s court-appointed lawyer said he had expressed remorse for his crimes. ?He?s a broken human being,? public defender Melisa McNeill told reporters. ?He?s sad, he?s mournful he?s remorseful.? Cruz had done paramilitary training with a white nationalist militia called the Republic of Florida, a leader of the group said. ?He had some involvement with the Clearwater Republic of Florida cell at some point,? Jordan Jereb said in a telephone interview. Reuters could not immediately verify the claim. Cruz loved guns and had been expelled from high school for disciplinary reasons, police and former classmates said. Authorities said he marched into the school wearing a gas mask and tossed smoke grenades, as well as pulling a fire alarm that sent students and staff pouring from classrooms as he began his rampage, according to Florida?s two US senators, who were briefed by federal authorities. In a brief court appearance, Cruz spoke only two words, ?Yes ma?am,? when a judge asked him to confirm his name. He was ordered held without bond. Cruz had recently moved in with another family after his mother?s death in November, according to Jim Lewis, a lawyer representing the family and local media, bringing his AR-15 along with his other belongings. The family believed Cruz was depressed but attributed that to his mother?s death, not the mental illness. Victims included an assistant football coach who sheltered students, a social science teacher and multiple students. People who live on the same street as Cruz said he alarmed them by shooting squirrels and rabbits in the neighbourhood as well as chickens being raised in a nearby backyard. Several times a year, they observed law enforcement officials at his house. ?Killing animals was no problem for this young man,? said Rhoda Roxburgh, 45, who lived on the block for several years and whose parents continue to live there.
  9. PARKLAND: Physically, Nicole Suarez is fine -- but she can´t sleep, and from now on, she´ll be afraid to go to school. Suarez and fellow students heard a "bap, bap, bap" before fleeing back into their classroom and squeezing against the wall to hide as a 19-year-old gunman began unleashing terror at her Florida high school. As shooter Nikolas Cruz carried out a bloody Valentine´s Day rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, a city some 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Miami, Suarez´s father begged her to text even a single letter, just so he would know she was okay. "There were about 40 kids in there with a teacher on top of a desk; everybody freaking out, calling their parents, calling police," she said. "We could hear the guy outside our door." "One teacher who died, he was in the classroom two doors from us when he got shot." In the morning the school had conducted a fire drill, and the school´s approximately 3,000 students had been told at the beginning of the year that a simulation shooting might be held. So maybe, they thought, it was a test. But shots and fearful cries from students told another story. From her locked-down classroom Suarez texted a chilling message to her parents: "Call the police there is a shooting at the school." "I love you," she added, after warning her parents not to call. ´Please answer me´ Her father replied with a string of texts that went unanswered: "Nicole are you okay?" "Please answer me." "Nicole where are you?" "Please just write me with something to know you´re okay." "Even if it´s just a letter." Her daughter is now safe at home in Coral Springs, a wealthy town near Parkland, but Suarez´s mother Mavy Rubiano recalled the "distressing" wait on Wednesday to hear from her daughter. "You send your child to school sure that she will be protected!" said Rubiano, a 47-year-old of Colombian origin. As her parents waited in anguish, Suarez felt her legs fall asleep, her circulation cut off from squatting as she hid from the heavily armed Cruz. "Obviously you´re going to feel fear," she said. "I´m 15 years old! You would never expect this." When a SWAT team found the group, she was one of the first evacuated. "Do not look. Just keep running -- do not stop running no matter what," an officer told her. But when she got into the hallway, Suarez saw the bodies: "I don´t know if they were alive or dead," she said. "But they looked pretty, like, stone cold to me." Finally, she met her father at a hotel near the school, where authorities had set up a meeting zone for parents and kids. "I didn´t cry the whole time," Suarez said. "Until you see your parents -- it´s a feeling, like, ´ahh.´" "It´s relief but sad," she said. "I didn´t even know whether to cry or to be happy -- because I was out."
  10. Pakistan Army troops deployed along the LoC. -File RAWALPINDI: Indian forces deployed along the Line of Control (LoC) on Thursday targetted a school van and martyred its driver in the Battal sector, said the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR). The act was condemned by the Army spokesman. "Indian unethical and unprofessional approach across the LoC continues terrorising civilians." Major General Asif Ghafoor reiterated that such attacks are a violation of the Geneva Convention and a clear violation of the 2003 ceasefire agreement between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
  11. Pakistan Peoples Party Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari. Photo: FIle KARACHI: Pakistan Peoples Party Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has expressed grief over the Florida school carnage, saying there is a strong need for United States and it administration to search for undetected reasons that lead to such massacres. "Our hearts go out to the victims and their deeply bereaved families," the PPP chairperson said, adding that such cowardly attacks in schools in the developed states of America have sent shock waves across the world. The people of Pakistan equally share the pain and grief of their American brothers and sisters and were praying for the victims of the Florida school attack. A former student at a Florida high school opened fire in the institute on Wednesday, causing numerous fatalities and wounding at least 50 before he was arrested by police, authorities said. 17 killed in Florida school shooting; suspect in custody Live television showed dozens of students running and walking away from the school At least 17 people were reported dead, according to Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Nikolaus Cruz, 19, the gunman, surrendered to police quietly, Israel said. ?There was a time when he did attend the school,? Israel said. ?I don?t know why he left, I don?t know when he left.? "We have already begun to dissect his websites and things on social media that he was on and some of the things... are very, very disturbing," Israel said. "If a person is predisposed to commit such a horrific event by going to a school and shooting people... there's not anybody or not a lot law enforcement can do about it." A teacher at the school said Cruz had been identified previously as a potential threat to his classmates. "We were told last year that he wasn't allowed on campus with a backpack on him," math teacher Jim Gard said in a Miami Herald interview.
  12. Police officers stand guard outside the New York Port Authority Bus Terminal after reports of an explosion in New York City, New York, US, December 11, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/Files A shooter opened fire at a Florida high school on Wednesday, killing 17 people and sending hundreds of students fleeing into the streets before being taken into custody by law enforcement, authorities said. The bloodshed was the latest outbreak of gun violence that has become a regular occurrence at US schools and colleges. Below are some of the worst US school shootings in the last 20 years: BENTON, Kentucky January, 23, 2018 A 15-year-old boy kills two fellow students, both also 15, at Marshall County High School in western Kentucky with a pistol and wounds 14 others. Four other high schoolers suffered non-gunshot wounds in the ensuing panic. AZTEC, New Mexico December 7, 2017 A 21-year-old man disguised as a student enters the local high school, kills two students and then shoots himself to death. SAN BERNARDINO, California April 10, 2017 A man dies of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after killing his estranged wife at North Park Elementary School. An 8-year-old student is also shot to death. ROSEBURG, Oregon October 1, 2015 A man opens fire on the campus of Umpqua Community College, killing nine people before he is shot dead by police. MARYSVILLE, Washington October 24, 2014 A freshman at Marysville-Pilchuck High School fatally wounds four students in the cafeteria before killing himself. SANTA MONICA, California June 7, 2013 A onetime digital media student fatally shoots his father and brother, sets their house on fire, and then kills three people at Santa Monica College. The gunman kills himself. NEWTOWN, Connecticut December 14, 2012 A man fatally shoots his mother, then kills 20 children and six adults before killing himself at Sandy Hook Elementary School. OAKLAND, California April 2, 2012 A former nursing student kills seven people and wounds three at Oikos University, a Korean Christian college. CHARDON, Ohio February 27, 2012 Seventeen-year-old student at Chardon High School kills three students and wounds three in school cafeteria. HUNTSVILLE, Alabama February 12, 2010 A biology professor at the University of Alabama at Huntsville opens fire during a staff meeting, killing three faculty members and wounding three. DEKALB, Illinois February 14, 2008 A former graduate student kills five students and wounds 16 at Northern Illinois University before taking his own life. BATON ROUGE, Louisiana February 8, 2008 Nursing student at Louisiana Technical College kills two classmates and herself in a classroom. BLACKSBURG, Virginia April 16, 2007 A gunman slaughters 32 people and kills himself at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, popularly known as Virginia Tech. NICKEL MINES, Pennsylvania October 2, 2006 A gunman kills five girls in a one-room Amish schoolhouse, before killing himself. SHEPHERDSTOWN, West Virginia September 2, 2006 A 49-year-old man shoots himself and his two sons to death during a visit to the campus of Shepherd University. RED LAKE INDIAN RESERVATION Minnesota, March 21, 2005 A 16-year-old high school student kills seven people and wounds several others in a shooting rampage after killing two people off-campus. He then kills himself. COLD SPRING, Minnesota September 24, 2003 Fifteen-year-old student fatally shoots a freshman and a senior at Rocori High School. TUCSON, Arizona October 29, 2002 A failing student shoots and kills three professors and then himself at the University of Arizona School of Nursing. GRUNDY, Virginia January 16, 2002 A recently dismissed graduate student kills a dean, a professor and a student at the Appalachian School of Law and wounds three others. SANTEE, California March 5, 2001 A student at Santana High School kills two students, wounds 13. LITTLETON, Colorado April 20, 1999 Two teenagers rampage through Columbine High School, fatally shooting 12 students and a teacher and wounding more than 20 others before killing themselves. JONESBORO, Arkansas March 24, 1998 Two boys, ages 11 and 13, fire on their middle school from woods, killing four girls and a teacher and wounding 11 others.
  13. SWAT and police are seen in Coral Springs, Florida, US, February 14, 2018. Image obtained from social media/Twitter/@Grumpyhaus At least three people died and 50 were wounded when a gunman opened fire at a Florida high school on Wednesday, local media reported, with dozens of police and emergency officials surrounding the building while students fled. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland ? about 72 kilometres (45 miles) north of Miami ? had been placed on a ?code red? lockdown but had no information on victims, a spokeswoman for the county sheriff?s office said. SWAT and police are seen in Coral Springs, Florida, US, February 14, 2018. Image obtained from social media/Twitter/@Grumpyhaus The sheriff?s office said on Twitter that the shooter was still at large. Florida?s WSVN-TV reported at least 20 people were injured. Live television showed dozens of students running and walking away from the school, weaving their way between large numbers of emergency vehicles including police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks. Image Courtesy: CNN/Screenshot Others, in the television images, were being led out of the school by heavily-armed police officers and an armoured vehicle filled with a SWAT team arriving at the scene. One injured victim was seen being placed into an ambulance on a stretcher. Local FOX-10 TV reported that five people were seen being treated by paramedics.
  14. [embed_video1 url=http://stream.jeem.tv/vod/50d88e7ba28422ec3335be978b06f2fa.mp4/playlist.m3u8?wmsAuthSign=c2VydmVyX3RpbWU9MS8zMC8yMDE4IDI6NTA6MDcgUE0maGFzaF92YWx1ZT1GQ0l5MlJncUN3QU83eXhxNUJFQThRPT0mdmFsaWRtaW51dGVzPTYwJmlkPTE= style=center] KARACHI: Sindh Education Foundation?s Naheed Durrani gave a deadline of two-days to close a street school educating underprivileged children for free since the last three years in Karachi. The alleged threats to close the school were made to the school's administrator Syeda Anfas Ali Shah Zaidi, who is president of the Ocean Welfare Organisation. Zaidi has been running the school for street children near Abdullah Shah Ghazi?s shrine in the metropolis' upscale Clifton locality. While speaking to Geo News, she said an initial meeting was held with Sindh Education Foundation and claimed she was addressed in an inappropriate tone during the meeting. ?The way we are running the school, the entire world is watching,? said Anfas. She added that the school's students have refused to be moved to any other institution. However, Naheed Durrani, while speaking to Geo News, said there are other venues present for collaboration between the civil society and the government on social issues. She further said the issue is about protecting street children, who are already vulnerable and are near to a shrine. Durrani maintained the entire matter was to mainstream the children and rehabilitate them. Helping street-children dream big in Karachi The Footpath School has changed many lives. It's students have gotten off drugs, given up pickpocketing, and learnt to dream big. She further said her organisation is a part of the government and not an NGO, and is only trying to merge the school. While responding to a question, Zaidi said that they are ready for any kind of audit, adding that the school?s administration is "on the roads and working in front of everyone on a daily basis". Earlier, Geo News English also made a video on the street children, which can be viewed here:
  15. Akshay Kumar is the kind of celebrity who inspires people. He was the embodiment of the tough, masculine action hero throughout the 90's, and it hasn't changed one bit even after two decades. Apart from the fact that he clearly is one of the fittest actors in the country, he makes it count by doing his own stunts. Add to that his good looks and it's only legit that fans across the country can't stop admiring the man. He recently met the students of Delhi University wearing tracksuits, and we're all for it. © Viral Bhayani Let's analyze the look. Do you remember your favourite PT teacher from school? The rough, no-nonsense guy, who despite being intimidating, was always admired and looked up to by the students? Akki just reminded us of him. He is wearing this tracksuit with side stripes, that we all are just a little too familiar with from our school days. © Viral Bhayani The young crowd evidently is as enamoured by him as their older counterparts. But who wouldn't be, really? Look at him all fit and chiselled at the age of 50. Somehow that is being accentuated by the relaxed fit of his jacket and trousers. He totally reminds us of that mature coach who does not look like a gym bunny, but can school you with his knowledge and his rock-hard core. © Viral Bhayani We couldn't help but notice the super cool buttoned feature in the trousers, that allows it to convert them to a pair of shorts as well. Usually, they are tacky, but not this pair here for sure. Akshay is the definition of coolness here with one of his trouser legs pulled up. © Viral Bhayani The beige sneakers are an unusual choice, but they go with his outfit seamlessly. The white detailing is complementing the detailing on the tracksuits perfectly. Also, we love how he has chosen to sport a green-tinted pair of Aviators. Their inclusion as an accessory gives the look a cool, cohesive edge. The buzz cut is doing wonders for his chin and jawline, making him appear even fitter (if that is possible). © Viral Bhayani We can't help but think that we would probably be as fit today if we had a PT teacher like Mr Funnybones in school. Keep inspiring us, Akshay. We need it.
  16. The scene of shooting in Marshall County High School, Benton, Kentucky, US, January 23, 2018. Reuters TV/CBS /via REUTERS1 BENTON: A 15-year-old boy opened fire with a handgun inside his high school in rural western Kentucky on Tuesday, killing two fellow students and wounding a dozen other youths before he was arrested, the state?s governor and police said. The shooting began shortly before 8 AM CST at Marshall County High School in Benton, a small farming town about 210 kilometres (130 miles) northwest of Nashville, Tennessee, according to Kentucky State Police and Governor Matt Bevin. Authorities declined to discuss possible motives for the shooting. There was no immediate indication of how well the suspect knew the victims, but officials said he was believed to have acted alone and faces multiple charges of murder and attempted murder. ?There?s no good answer for it,? Bevin told reporters at a news conference. ?There?s 1,000 hypotheses we?re not going to go into.? The bloodshed at the school, where nearly 1,150 students are enrolled, was the latest outbreak of gun violence that has become a regular occurrence at schools and college campuses across the United States over the past several years. Tuesday?s rampage occurred just 52 kilometres (32 miles) from Heath High School in West Paducah, Kentucky, where, in 1997, a 14-year-old boy opened fire on a group of students, killing three. At Marshall County High, 14 students were hit by gunfire, two of them fatally, officials said. A 15-year-old girl was pronounced dead at the scene, and a 15-year-old boy died at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center?s trauma unit in Nashville, Bevin and hospital officials said. Four of the other gunshot patients brought to Vanderbilt were expected to survive, doctors said. Less severely wounded students were taken to nother hospitals in the area. Another five students suffered non-gunshot injuries, Bevin said, bringing the total number of injured to 17. The 15-year-old suspect walked into the school armed with a handgun and started shooting, Kentucky State Police Commissioner Richard Sanders said at the news conference. Bevin said the youth was apprehended at the school ?in a nonviolent? manner, but the governor did not elaborate. Sanders said students followed training they had recently received from state police in how to respond to such incidents. No further details of the circumstances of the shooting were immediately released by authorities. None of the students involved were being publicly identified, Bevin said. Agents from the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Federal Bureau of Investigation joined in the investigation, officials said at the news conference. The school serves Marshall County, which has a population of about 31,000. During the news conference at the county Board of Education, Bevin paused to collect himself as his voice choked with emotion, asking members of the news media to exercise restraint in dealing with the families of victims. ?I beg of you again ? respect the fact that these children belong to this community and to specific families in this community. And this is a wound that is going take a long time to heal. And for some in this community it will never fully heal.? White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said President Donald Trump had been briefed on the shooting, adding, ?Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and the families there.?
  17. File photo. -AFP CHICAGO: A gunman killed one person and wounded several others Tuesday at a high school in Kentucky before being taken into custody, officials said. The shooting occurred at the Marshall County High School in Benton, Kentucky, a small town about 120 miles northwest of Nashville. "Tragic shooting at Marshall County HS...Shooter is in custody, one confirmed fatality, multiple others wounded...Much yet unknown," Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin said on Twitter. The Kentucky Department of Education confirmed the one fatality. Local media reported that seven people also were injured. Three were airlifted to a hospital, according to local TV station WSMV. State police said the scene had been "secured," and that a sheriff´s deputy had apprehended the shooter. Students ran from the scene after hearing shots, the Marshall County Tribune-Courier newspaper reported on its Facebook page, adding that the school was placed on lockdown as the incident unfolded, Students later were bused to a neighboring school where parents could retrieve them, it said. "This is a tremendous tragedy and speaks to the heartbreak present in our communities," Bevin said in a statement. "It is unbelievable that this would happen in a small, close-knit community like Marshall County."
  18. Many foreign policy professionals have set up alerts so their phones buzz in their pockets whenever Trump insults a foreign leader or issues a vague threat of war - but not Tillerson WASHINGTON: When US President Donald Trump launches into one of his tweetstorms it sometimes seems like the diplomatic world is gasping in unison -- but not Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Many foreign policy professionals have set up alerts so their phones buzz in their pockets whenever the commander-in-chief insults a foreign leader or issues a vague threat of war. But not Tillerson, Washington´s chief diplomat and arguably the man who has the toughest job clearing the air after Trump sets off another diplomatic incident with a social media rant. Tillerson is not on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. When Trump sends a tweet on world affairs a State Department aide prints it and brings it to the secretary for later perusal. At least, that is how he explained things to his friend and predecessor Condoleezza Rice on Wednesday in a chat after a speech at Stanford University in California. Rice asked Tillerson a question he gets asked all the time: how can he handle US foreign policy with Trump constantly stirring the pot with his undiplomatic tweets? Tillerson´s reply went into more detail than usual -- although he again insisted that he has no problem with Trump´s remarks and sees them as an opportunity to communicate his vision. "He´s world class in social media, and I´m not," 65-year-old former oilman Tillerson admitted. "I have no social media account, I´ve never had any and I don´t intend to have any." "It is a great tool when it is used well. The president has used it at a great effect by by-passing the traditional means of communicating," he told the assembled policy experts. "And he absolutely thrives with his ability to instantly communicate not just to the American people but to our friends and allies or to our adversaries in the entire world." This much has been said before, but surely Tillerson receives a warning before Trump abruptly cancels a planned trip to London or threatens to pull out of the NAFTA trade pact? The answer is not, apparently. Tillerson likes it that way. "I don´t know when he´s going to do that, because that is just the way the president operates," he said. "The challenge is just getting caught up because I don´t even have a Twitter account to follow what he´s tweeting. My staff usually has to print his tweets out and hand them to me." "I´ve actually concluded that´s not a bad system." ´How do we use that?' Tillerson explained that it might be anything up to an hour post tweet that he finds out what Trump has been saying, and that means he can gauge official reaction before responding. "I already have the early reactions to that and it allows me to begin to think about: ´How do we take that?´," he said. "OK, this is information. We know what our objectives are and he didn´t change any of them. This is just the way he wants to communicate on a subject, how do we take that and use it?" Tillerson remains sanguine about Trump´s exotic online monologue, which some critics fear could alienate US allies, despite having fallen foul of it more than once himself. In October last year, Tillerson met senior Chinese leaders in Beijing and afterwards told reporters that he had back channel communications open with Kim Jong-Un´s North Korea. When Tillerson arrived back in Washington he discovered -- presumably on being handed a print out -- that Trump had disavowed his efforts to resolve the nuclear stand-off. "I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man," Trump had tweeted. "Save your energy Rex, we´ll do what needs to be done!"
  19. Shaikh Sultan Bin Ahmad Al Qasimi, The Big Heart Foundation?s Humanitarian Envoy, and Malala Yousafzai, in Oxford, London, following an agreement signed by Mariam Al Hammadi, Director of TBHF, and Farah Muhammad, CEO of Malala Fund The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), in cooperation with the Malala Fund launched by Nobel laureate and female education activist Malala Yousafzai, has donated US$700,000 to build a girls? school in Pakistan. The Sharjah-based global charity is funding the school project through its ?Girl Child Fund? in collaboration with the Malala Fund, local media reported. The school is being constructed in Swat Valley, Malala?s home district, and will open its doors to 350 girls in its 11 classrooms once completed. The school is currently in the second phase of its construction, with the project due to complete in April 2018. The donation was announced during an event in Oxford, London attended by Malala and TBHF humanitarian envoy Shaikh Sultan Bin Ahmad Al Qasimi. ?I overwhelmingly thank The Big Heart Foundation for believing in my dream of a world where girls can choose their own future path. With their support, the Malala Fund can provide education for girls in my hometown, Swat Valley in Pakistan,? said Malala on the occasion. The donation covers half the project?s financial needs and will be used to build classrooms, science and computer labs, staff rooms, principal?s room, a reception area and playground facilities. The school will also have a library, laboratory, an activity hall, and accommodation for female teachers from remote areas. The funds will also partly cover the first two years of the school?s operational costs. TBHF is a charity that aims to protect and enable vulnerable and marginalised children and their families, with primary focus on the Arab world, but it also extends support to other areas in most need.
  20. KARACHI: The husband of a school principal has confessed before a court to killing his wife and concocting the story about armed robbers killing her, Geo News reported Monday. The husband, identified as Ali Hassan, confessed before Judicial Magistrate East, adding that his second wife Sehrish and her brother Balaaj are not involved in the murder. Karachi school principal killing: Husband confesses to murdering wife Ali Hassan confessed that he had concocted the story about armed bandits shooting his wife Suspect Sehrish had said that her husband had asked her for a pistol. She accepted that she provided him with the weapon without asking why he wants to use it. On Sunday, police revealed that Ali Hassan had concocted the story about armed bandits shooting his wife, 41-year-old Ambreen Fatima, on December 10. The police revealed that Ali worked as an administrator in the same school Ambreen was working as the principal, while Sehrish was employed as a teacher there. Sehrish and Ambreen were also friends, said police, adding that Sahar and Ali had gotten married in private. Sehrish's brother, Balaaj, had been pressurising Ali for the rukhsati of his sister after which Ali made the plan to kill his wife. On December 10, it was reported that Ambreen Fatima, principal of a private school, was shot dead by robbers and the incident was linked to rising street crime in the city. According to what the suspect Ali had told the police at that time, he and his wife were driving around the city and had entered Parsi Colony, a locality within the vicinity of Soldier Bazaar police station. There, two unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle had intercepted them and demanded their mobile phones, cash and other valuables. The husband had moved a little to hand over his mobile phone when the robbers opened fire on them, shooting dead his wife, he had said.
  21. File MEXICO CITY: A journalist was shot dead on Tuesday in the Mexican state of Veracruz as he attended a Christmas celebration at his son?s school, the latest murder in the country?s deadliest year on record for media workers. Gumaro Perez, 35, who regularly wrote about security and drug trafficking, was shot at four times and killed in the Acayucan municipality of Veracruz, making him the third journalist to be killed in the state and twelfth overall in Mexico this year. Perez worked for Golfo Sur and Voz del Sur, among other media organizations. ?We?re in shock, waiting for them to hand over the body and see what we?re going to do together with his family,? the journalist?s group Asociacion de Periodistas Independientes de Acayucan said. A lone gunman entered Perez?s 6-year-old son?s classroom, where the Christmas celebration was being held, and fired at Perez, the group said, citing witnesses. Perez was a member of the same journalist?s association. The organization Reporters Without Borders said on Tuesday that at least 65 media workers around the world were killed doing their jobs this year, including 50 professional journalists. Mexico was one of the most dangerous places to be a journalist, according to the report. [ Since 2000, at least 111 media workers have been killed in the country, with 38 deaths occurring since Enrique Pena Nieto became president in December 2012, according to advocacy group Article 19.
  22. At least four children were killed and seven people were seriously injured on Thursday after a train crashed into a school bus at a level crossing in southern France, police sources said. The bus, which was carrying mainly junior high school students, was struck by the train in Millas about 18 kilometres west (11 miles) of the city of Perpignan, close to the Spanish border. A rescue operation was under way. The head of security for the Pyrenees area, where the collision took place, confirmed the accident involving a train travelling west from Perpignan to the town of Villefranche de Conflent. The bus was transporting mainly junior high-school students. The BFMTV channel said it was struck in the rear. President Emmanuel Macron in a tweet wrote: "All my thoughts for the victims of this terrible accident involving a school bus, as well as their families. The state is fully mobilised to help them." Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne were on their way to the scene from a meeting in the south-central city of Cahors. "It's a terrible event," Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said, expressing "profound sadness".
  23. File photo/Reuters PARIS: A train collided with a school bus outside the town of Perpignan in southern France on Thursday and emergency services were at the scene, a local official said. ?All emergency services have been mobilized and a crisis coordination unit set up,? an official at the local Millas townhall told Reuters. There was no immediate word on casualties. The Pyrenees-Orientales prefect confirmed the accident in a statement on Twitter.
  24. At an age when kids meet new people and make friends at school, Tennessee middle schooler, Keaton Jones is afraid to go to class or even go for lunch. Reason? Because Keaton was constantly bullied by other kids at school. Keaton's mother, Kimberly recently posted a heart-wrenching video, where Keaton broke down in tears while narrating the pain of being bullied at school. In the video, Keaton talks about how other kids poured milk on him during lunch, threw food on his clothes, and mocked him for being who he was. Why? What joy does anyone get by bullying someone? Even as kids, mocking or targeting someone is not okay. Keaton's mother Kimberly shared this message along with the video, “My kids are by no stretch perfect, and at home, he's as all boy as they come, but by all accounts he's good at school. Talk to your kids. I've even has friends of mine tell me kids were only nice to him to get him to mess with people. We all know how it feels to want to belong, but only a select few know how it really feels not to belong anywhere.” © Twitter Ever since the video surfaced, Keaton has found enormous support from across the world, with more and more people using the hashtag “standwithkeaton” to stand in solidarity with him. Especially our Hollywood actors and celebrities are going all out to support Keaton. Captain America aka Chris Evans too tweeted in support of Keaton and invited him and his mother for the Avengers premiere in LA next year. Stay strong, Keaton. Don't let them make you turn cold. I promise it gets better. While those punks at your school are deciding what kind of people they want to be in this world, how would you and your mom like to come to the Avengers premiere in LA next year? https://t.co/s1QwCQ3toi — Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) 10 December 2017 Captain America's superhero comrade Hulk i.e. Mark Ruffalo too tweeted in his support and wrote, “Keaton, will you've my guest at the premiere of #InfinityWar too? I think you are about one of the collest kids I have ever seen! Can't wait to meet you in person, pal. Forget those ignorant kids. One day, very soon, they are going to feel pretty stupid for this.” Keaton, will you've my guest at the Premiere of #InfinityWar too? I think you are about one of the coolest kids I have ever seen! Can't wait to meet you in person, pal. Forget those ignorant kids. One day, very soon, they are going to feel pretty stupid for this. https://t.co/BqJLxu25GN — Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) 11 December 2017 It's an incredible gesture from Evans and Ruffalo. They turned out to be superheroes in real life as well. Soon enough, other stars too started coming out in support of Keaton. Hailee Steinfeld posted this video and invited Keaton to the premiere of 'Pitch Perfect 3'. Hi @Lakyn_Jones, could you pass this message along to Keaton? ⤠pic.twitter.com/3l8P4fKAqW — Hailee Steinfeld (@HaileeSteinfeld) 10 December 2017 Hip Hop Cardi B also tweeted in support of Keaton. I can't get that boy Iï¸n that video out my mind ðªI wish i can give him a hug and beat the shit out them kids that pick on him .I don't care if they kids ðð½ðð½FUCK YOU !! — iamcardib (@iamcardib) 10 December 2017 UFC President Dana White too tweeted in support of Keaton and said he wants to bring him Vegas and hang out at the UFC Headquarters. Meet Keaton Jones a very smart little boy who is being bullied at school. This video is heartbreaking!! I want to bring Keaton to Vegas and hang out at UFC Headquarters. If anyone knows how i can reach the family please let me know. Thank u everyone pic.twitter.com/BR8c4ldDFc — Dana White (@danawhite) 10 December 2017 Here's how other celebrities reacted. @DonteStallworth @Lakyn_Jones hopefully my video and the tweets that Keaton have been getting brings awareness to bullying and how serious it is in our school system pic.twitter.com/1Dujv3RxA5 — Delanie walker (@delaniewalker82) 9 December 2017 Keaton, this is so accurate. Why do people do this? I think your sooo cool Keaton! I wanna be your friend ( but srsly) ur freakin awesome â¤ï¸ https://t.co/LD7Q762bL9 — Millie Bobby Brown (@milliebbrown) 9 December 2017 Let's take care of this kid's college tuition. The world's dumped enough on his plate. Click and blast past the funding goal on this one, guys. Thank you. https://t.co/hLdgpaBINE — Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) 10 December 2017 I #StandwithKeaton. Keaton baby, just know you're not alone. There are so many people who come out of bullying so much stronger and you will be one of them!! God bless you sweetheart. https://t.co/LdCAy2lDHu — Demi Lovato (@ddlovato) 11 December 2017 Say lil Man U gotta friend in me for life hit me on dm so we can chop it up love is the only way to beat hate ðð¾âð¾ A post shared by snoopdogg (@snoopdogg) on Dec 10, 2017 at 7:50am PST Listen to Justin Bieber's heartfelt message on Instagram for #KeatonJones who was bullied. Keaton's message has now gone viral bringing awareness across the world. #StandwithKeaton pic.twitter.com/3TvlKQfkc4 — Glitter Magazine (@glittermagazine) 11 December 2017 This broke my ð today. Please be kind to one another. #standwithkeaton https://t.co/8XBbFmnuc1 — KATY PERRY (@katyperry) 10 December 2017 Despite being heartbroken and upset with bullying, Keaton tried to encourage others who were being bullied similarly. He said, “People that are different don't need to be criticized about it. It's not their fault. But if you are made fun of, just don't let it bother you. Stay strong, I guess.” We just want to know, what exactly are we trying our kids? That it's fine to bully your classmates in the name of 'fun'? Folks, bullying is NOT ok, not today, not as kids, never.
  25. All public and private educational institutions across Sindh would remain closed from December 22 to December 31. Photo: file KARACHI: The Sindh government announced on Sunday that all educational institutions will remain closed for winter vacations for 10 days, starting December 22. All public and private educational institutions across the province would remain closed from December 22 to December 31, according to a notification. The vacations have been announced due to cold and dry weather in the province. Many schools and colleges across Sindh lack heating arrangements due to which students have to suffer from seasonal diseases.