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  1. What is the most benevolent act of kindness you've performed recently? Most people like to make donations to equal out their part of service to society and that, indeed, is quite benevolent in itself. In Gwalior, India, though, things are a bit different. Here, if you make a donation, you get something in return. Not only is there apt validation for your benevolence upon making a donation, but there is also flawless cultural identification of the political structure existing in that state currently, which is quite visible too. What am I talking about? Well, in simpler words, if you want to attain a gun license in Gwalior, all you have to do is donate at least ten blankets to cows in any of the state-provided shelters. So, if you think the unabashed appreciation for cows by certain party's politicians couldn't get any worse, well, it already has. Anurag Chaudhary, the man behind this legendary 'exchange' offer, is the District Collector of Gwalior, incidentally a city which is infamous for having a history of dacoits and bandits. © Twitter So, what made the DC realise that cows needed protection from the cold as much as people needed a gun license in the city? Well, it was brought to Chaudhary's notice that six cows had died due to excessive cold, when he attended a meeting of cow vigilantes (gaurakshaks) last week. He then thought the best way to protect the most sacred animal considered in Hinduism and restore and make compassion mandatory, was to start a fair and civil gun license exchange for some warm blankets, for the cows. Because why else would people donate blankets, without any incentive, right? And since Gwalior has been the hotbed of violent activities in the past, the best thing to do would be to propagate more violence, by making firearms easily available. Because that's the only way people will truly care. About cows, at least. “People in Gwalior have a craze for arms. They need it for self-defence. Hence, once they donate blankets to get preference in getting arms licenses we will have more blankets for cows in the shelters. Earlier, our decision to ask such applicants to plant saplings yielded good results and as many as 17,000 saplings were planted for arms license seekers.” Anurag Chaudhary told a popular publication in an interview. © Twitter/New Indian Express Earlier, he had asked people to plant saplings and take selfies with their saplings, along with taking care of it for a month and in exchange, people would acquire a gun license. And since people are easily drawn into weaponry talks, they planted around 17,000 saplings and got a gun license as a reward for doing so. The same thing is now being repeating and it makes us wonder if the only way Gwalior knows how to progress socially is by normalising incentives that promote gun violence. Is that how functionality dwells in that part of the country? Which TBH is quite scary. © Twitter/New Indian Express The fact of the matter is that violence and arms have normalised their existence in the state of Madhya Pradesh and not because the government uses it as an incentive to work on different social causes for the upliftment of the state, but because in the Gwalior-Chambal area, keeping a gun is a way to flex one's power and respect in society. It's something that was inbred with the historic dacoit battles that lasted there for decades, and like any heroic norm, keeping a weapon became a sign of strength. But, politicians today access that piece of history to use gun license as a pawn to further the cause they care about and, of course, win a section of their incoming vote bank. While some authorities practice this so-called compassionate exchange offer, there are others in the state, like the electricity department in the neighbouring Morena, who don't encourage such practices. The electricity department in Morena has asked for guns to not be given to those who default on their electricity bill, as they often threaten power officials and continue to not pay them. So, you see, there is always a flipside and it will always be the case if you hand any violent form of power to people. © RSVP movies While saving animals and planting trees is the need of the hour and we're glad the city of Gwalior is doing their bit, we are sure incentives toward executing these causes can change. They can be more naturally driven than desensitising people towards violence in general. We really hope the government realises the tragic fallacy of this incentive and changes the way socially-relevant activities are conducted in the state, hereon. View the full article
  2. Arguably one of the most exciting young talents in the country, Shubman Gill had garnered all the limelight with a potential debut on cards in the 4th One-Day International (ODI) between India and New Zealand on 31st January. For someone who boasts of 1,089 runs in nine first-class games and another 1,529 runs in 36 List A matches, Shubman understandably came highly recommended. Virat Kohli had already lauded the youngster, claiming that he was not even 10 per cent of the kind of player Gill is when he was 19. Then, the likes of Sourav Ganguly and Sunil Gavaskar, too, sang Gill's praise and stressed on the importance of his debut for India. Early on Thursday, Shubman finally realised his dream of featuring in the senior team after he was handed his cap by MS Dhoni, becoming the 227th player to represent India in ODI cricket. But, the day Shubman must've been dreaming of as a kid, soon turned into a nightmare as the youngster was sent back into the hut for a mere nine runs. Proud moment for young @RealShubmanGill as he receives his #TeamIndia cap from @msdhoni ðð #NZvIND pic.twitter.com/2oRc4ozwZq — BCCI (@BCCI) January 31, 2019 Coming out to bat, with India reeling at 21/1, the 19-year-old got a chance to partner Rohit Sharma in a bid to stabilise the innings. With Trent Boult breathing fire with his swing bowling, Shubman was a mere spectator as Rohit, Ambati Rayudu and Dinesh Karthik got dismissed one after another at the other end. While the right-hander, himself, became the next victim of Boult, his stay at the crease for 21 balls was nervy, but still gave a glimpse of his capabilities. The first six balls he faced, didn't yield a single run. But, the application of the young batsman made it good to watch. There were solid defences, played with confidence. And, a beautiful cover drive that went straight to the fielder. Rather than getting frustrated with the dot balls, Shubman showed great maturity in waiting for the right delivery to strike. And, he finally opened his account with a wristy clip off the toes through square leg for a boundary - his first runs in international cricket. On the very next ball, the right-hander, once again, showed great presence of mind as he pushed the drive with soft hands in a bid to keep the ball along the ground. AP The 10th over saw Shubman getting struck on the helmet on Boult's fiery bouncer. But, the youngster didn't lose his composure and carried on like a pro. His stint was eventually cut short when he played a length ball on the up, sending it straight into the hands of Boult who claimed his third scalp of the game. While some thought that the youngster wasted an opportunity, others gave him the benefit of the doubt and backed him to come good in future. But, how did young Shubman really fare on his debut? Let's put things into perspective. Despite scoring just nine runs off 21 balls, the debutant, in his shot selection and approach to the game, showed signs of maturity and confidence. But, is that enough? Well, we tried to compare Shubman's ODI debut with his idol Kohli and there was not much difference. The debutant @RealShubmanGill all smiles with his teammates ðð#TeamIndia pic.twitter.com/8xusQXbaoh — BCCI (@BCCI) January 31, 2019 Just like Shubman, Kohli had a triumphant run in the 2008 U-19 World Cup when he was fast-tracked into the Indian team. The same year, he was handed his ODI debut against Sri Lanka in Dambulla and asked to open the innings alongside Gautam Gambhir when Virender Sehwag was rested in the first match. With Chaminda Vaas sending Gambhir back into the pavilion on the second delivery of the match, Kohli was watchful in his approach and began really slow. In fact, he had scored 12 runs off 21 balls he faced till the seventh over. The Delhi lad was finally dismissed by Nuwan Kulasekara after being wrapped on the pads in front of the stumps. And, his ODI debut came to an end at a score of 12 runs off 22 balls. Kohli's maiden outing in ODI cricket was not really different than Shubman. Both the cricketers played their shots and approached with caution against a fire-breathing left-armer. Despite their mediocre debut scores, both Shubman and Kohli, with their sensible approach, showed they belong to the big stage. Both of them played goo-looking shots and held his own against a dangerous bowling attack in conditions which aided seamers. AP Giving perspective to Gill's outing, Gavaskar made a fair point. "Well, for whatever little time he was there, he was a little bit tense, nervous. That's understandable because he is playing for the country for the first time. Even then, when Boult was swinging the ball, he was able to get in line, yes...he was hit by the short ball as well. I think this guy's got a future, you have got to be patient with him," Gavaskar told Star Sports. Gill, in his brief debut, showed that he has a great technique (something a batting sensation like Kohli approves of). On a surface that had plenty of bounce, the young gun had the ability to punch the ball off the backfoot. It was also great to see him picking up the length nicely. And, just like Kohli, it looks like this youngster has got a lot of time to play his shots and a bright future going forward.
  3. You have to be either really brave or really dumb to try and mug a professional MMA fighter, who is known as 'The Iron Lady', with a fake gun made up of cardboard. Yes, you read that right. When Polyana Viana was standing by herself waiting for a cab in a remote corner of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, a mugger believed he had found an easy target to rob. Little did he know that the apparently helpless lady was a professional strawweight UFC fighter with a 10-2 MMA winning record. According to Viana, when the thief saw her all alone he sat next to her and asked her for the time. “I said it (the time), and I saw he wasn't going to leave. So I already moved to put my cell phone in my waist. And then he said, 'Give me the phone. Don't react, because I'm armed.' Then he put his hand over (with a gun), but I realised it was too soft,” Viana told the 'de Janeiro police. © Polyana Viana Judging by how close the robber was to her, Viana knew that he wouldn't have enough time to reach for the gun even if he was indeed packing. She quickly stood up, threw a couple of punches and a kick to his head, and once the stunned man fell to the ground, she wrapped him in a rear-naked choke from behind. The robber's face had multiple fractures and when the police arrived, they had to take him to a medical faculty to fix him up a bit before escorting him to the police station. When word about the incident broke out, the Iron Lady became an instant hit with people from all over the world commending her for her valour, some even showing sympathy towards the poor thief who made the worst mistake of his life and regretted almost instantaneously. On the left is @Polyana_VianaDF, one of our @UFC fighters and on the right is the guy who tried to rob her #badfuckingidea pic.twitter.com/oHBVpS2TQt — Dana White (@danawhite) January 7, 2019 Competition and fitness are great reasons to train in the #martialarts but #selfdefense is an even better one. #PolyanaViana #selfdefense #mma #martialarts #hardtargethttps://t.co/VI4m6yBtG0 pic.twitter.com/VLQ0hpvYLU — The Dojo (@The_Dojo_FC) January 7, 2019 You should never mug people! You should especially never mug women!! And definitely make sure you never ever mug a female UFC fighter!!! https://t.co/jdCfX9oxCn #PolyanaViana — Perez (@ThePerezHilton) January 8, 2019 So this piece of trash decides he's so pathetic he's going to threaten a woman and steal her phone. Thing is... that woman was Polyana Viana... a UFC fighter. This is the result. God I love stories like these. pic.twitter.com/0QA8TzMEya — John Campea (@johncampea) January 7, 2019 I mean, if you're going to run around trying to mug people in Brazil, you'd better have a strong rear-naked choke defense. That's just a given. https://t.co/zBlvK7QQmS — Ben Fowlkes (@benfowlkesMMA) January 6, 2019
  4. Bollywood cops taught us that everytime a gun is being fired, the gunshot sounds like 'dhishkiyaoon', but the UP cops taught us that the original sound is actually 'THAIN THAIN'. If you don't believe my words, check out this video of UP cop Manoj Kumar in action in Sambhal district. When the cops were chasing the criminals they realised their pistol got jammed. So to scare the criminals, the cop started shouting 'maaro maaro, ghero ghero' and 'thain thain' to scare the criminals. #WATCH: Police personnel shouts 'thain thain' to scare criminals during an encounter in Sambhal after his revolver got jammed. ASP says, 'words like 'maaro & ghero' are said to create mental pressure on criminals. Cartridges being stuck in revolver is a technical fault'. (12.10) pic.twitter.com/NKyEnPZukh — ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) October 13, 2018 The cop's 'presence of mind' make him an overnight sensation on social media and a fodder for viral memes as well, that we are still tripping over. While the internet was busy cracking jokes over the cop, who has now been nominated for a bravery award for his quick thinking and successfully catching the criminals, this guy was busy preparing a special surprise for every CS (Counter-Strike) fan out there. People who have spent hours playing 'Counter-Strike' will agree that its not just a game, its a cult, an obsession and an addiction that grows on you with each day. While we claim to be the biggest fans of this game, this YouTuber just took home the cake by mixing 'Counter-Strike' with the UP cop's 'thain thain'. This genius replaced all the gun sounds in the game with 'thain thain' and the result is priceless and hilarious. The guy even explained on Reddit how he did it, "I edited most of the sounds featured in the clip individually in audacity to replace with the game sound files and it can be a very time intensive process." Kudos to this guy for even thinking about something like this, let alone making it happen. People, as expected, areabsolutely in love with this, and at the same time, are impressed with his ingenuity. © Reddit © Reddit If a desi version of 'Counter-Strike' is ever created, this is how we want it to be.
  5. Not all heroes wear capes, some shout 'Thain Thain' to scare the criminals when their pistol gets jammed. We're not talking about a Rajinikanth movie, this actually happened in Uttar Pradesh's Sambhal district. A team of UP cops were out on an encounter and chasing goons, when they realised their pistols were jammed. Now, this is a major problem and definitely a serious concern. But, fear not when the UP police is here. They had the perfect solution to this problem - shout 'thain thain' instead to scare the criminals. #WATCH: Police personnel shouts 'thain thain' to scare criminals during an encounter in Sambhal after his revolver got jammed. ASP says, 'words like 'maaro & ghero' are said to create mental pressure on criminals. Cartridges being stuck in revolver is a technical fault'. (12.10) pic.twitter.com/NKyEnPZukh — ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) October 13, 2018 Well, who said you need guns for gunshots when you can do the job by making the sound from your mouth? Speaking to ANI, the ASP said the pistol got jammed due to a technical glitch. He further said, words like 'maaro, maaro, ghero, ghero' create mental pressure on the criminals. Reportedly, a policeman was injured and the team managed to arrest one of the criminals after shooting him in his leg. While their mission was successful as they managed to catch the criminal, Twitter had a field day, tripping over the UP cops shouting 'thain thain'. Up police:- thain thain Salman khan :- pic.twitter.com/hrkIyhwH3u — niku (@soopervox) October 15, 2018 Thain thain ft. UP police pic.twitter.com/i3S3RpvJg9 — ADI (@kutta_kahika) October 15, 2018 UP Police: Alexa thok do. Alexa: OK.... "Thain thain". pic.twitter.com/ONAtkDae6j — Ankit Sagar (@SagarOriginal) October 15, 2018 Foreigners- Indians lack presence of mind. UP Police- Hold my beer.#uppolice #thain pic.twitter.com/SYHILoaF2d — Kishan Jhunjhunwala (@Jjworiginal) October 14, 2018 He shot me down, thain thain! I hit the ground, thain thain! That awful sound, thain thain! UP police shot me down! — Ripper (@Ace_Of_Pace) October 15, 2018 Up police:Thain Thain Thief: *running away* aaaaa lag gayi! — Anant Bhardwaj (@Frustratedladka) October 15, 2018 Ye.. hat ja re chokre Bheja na thok re Aa rela hai apun Panga nahi karna Danga nahi karna Kar dunga main warna Teri THAIN THAIN phish - UP POLICE — thewickedsunny (@pizzzzawithbeer) October 15, 2018 Kim Jong-un: I have a Nuclear button on my desk Donald Trump: I have a bigger button UP Police : Thaaye Thaaye — SAGAR (@sagarcasm) October 15, 2018 Up Police the best ðð pic.twitter.com/whiWlhUkFj — Himanshu Rawat (@Savagely_Single) October 13, 2018 Life of UP police :- pic.twitter.com/pnvJXLQkby — Dev Anandð¥ (@Devismm) October 15, 2018 Looks like the UP cops got the idea of using 'thain thain' from 'Gangland' - 'Raati 12-12 baje tak hundi than than'.
  6. PTI Chairman Imran Khan. Photo: FileISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan said on Friday that the United States of America used Pakistan as a hired gun and the bilateral relations have remained always one-sided.Speaking in an...
  7. [embed_video1 url=http://stream.jeem.tv/vod/de570f4de2a653c500c22e38d996f012.mp4/playlist.m3u8?wmsAuthSign=c2VydmVyX3RpbWU9Ny85LzIwMTggODozMzo1NCBBTSZoYXNoX3ZhbHVlPU9XSnlYaEUzT3NLQXg1WXA3THdyaHc9PSZ2YWxpZG1pbnV0ZXM9NjAmaWQ9MQ==...
  8. Photo: Geo NewsPESHAWAR: Pakistan Tehreek-I- Insaaf (PTI) co-councillor Rehman Afzal survived a firing incident after unidentified gunmen opened fire on him late Thursday night, Geo News reported.According to the police, the incident occurred in...
  9. Photo: Paramount PicturesFilming of the long-awaited sequel of Top Gun is officially underway with actor Tom Cruise sharing a picture from the set of the air force action movie.The 55-year-old actor revealed the filming for the new film had begun...
  10. COMBINATION PHOTO: (L) A rose is placed in front of a makeshift memorial left in memory of Sabika Sheikh ? who was killed in a shooting at Santa Fe High School ? in Santa Fe, Texas, US, May 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman; (R) Abdul Aziz ?...
  11. Harrison Ford?s "Han Solo" hero blaster movie prop used in the original Star Wars trilogy film Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, built on a metal working replica Mauser C96 Broomhandle with additional found parts, greblies and cast resin pieces...
  12. LITTLETON, Colorado: Thousands of students across the United States will mark the 19th anniversary of the massacre at Columbine High School by walking out of classes on Friday, in a show of unity intended to put pressure on politicians to enact...
  13. A Saudi cop is seen gesturing besides other policemen in this file photo.RIYADH: Four Saudi officers were shot dead and four others wounded Thursday when their checkpoint came under gunfire in southern Asir province, state media said citing the...
  14. QUETTA: Irani security forces on Monday opened fire on illegal migrants near Pakistan's southwestern border, killing two of them and arresting five others, Geo News reported, citing Levies officials.The migrants, who were en route to Iran via...
  15. People across the United States came out in support of stricter gun-control laws at the March For Our Life rally on Saturday. The nationwide walk came in the light of Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Florida last month which led to the death of fourteen students and three staff members. On March 24, a series of demonstrations took place in Washington, New York City, Los Angeles along with London and Tokyo in which celebrities came out in full force along with students and parents to march for stronger gun control laws. In New York City, Paul McCartney was present in remembrance of late Beatles bandmate John Lennon who was shot outside his apartment. ?One of my best friends was killed in gun violence right around here,? McCartney said during the march. Joining him in New York City was Cynthia Nixon who will be running for the Governor of New York, Lady Gaga and Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi. George and Amal Clooney who donated 500,000 dollars to the survivors of the Parkland, Florida shooting, made an appearance at the march in Washington, DC, where they were joined by Kanye West, Kim Kardashian West, actress Julianne Moore, and singer Demi Lovato, who performed her single Skyscraper. Martin Luther King Jr's granddaughter Yolanda Renee King also spoke during the March for Our Lives Rally in Washington. Jimmy Fallon was also present with Miley Cyrus and her sister Noah Cyrus. Ariana Grande, Common, Andra Day, Lin Manuel Miranda and Ben Platt all led their voices for the march in DC. Kate Capshaw was also in DC along with husband and director Steven Spielberg. While Amy Schumer took to stage in Los Angeles. Former President Barack Obama took to Twitter to show his support for the march. Other celebrities also took to Twitter to show their support:
  16. People take part in a "March For Our Lives" demonstration demanding gun control in Seattle, Washington, US, March 24, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Redmond NEW YORK: The youth-led US gun control movement that flexed its public muscle with huge weekend rallies has already nudged Congress to enact minor firearms changes, but must remain active if it hopes to win more meaningful regulations, lawmakers said on Sunday. The movement that erupted after the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, has generated a national conversation about gun rights and has chipped away at legislative gridlock on the issue, they said. ?The activism of these young people is actually changing the equation,? Senator Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat, said a day after hundreds of thousands of protesters rallied in Washington. Tucked into a $1.3-trillion spending bill Congress passed last week were modest improvements to background checks for gun sales and an end to a ban on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studying the causes of gun violence. ?These are two things we could not have done in the past,? Kaine said on CNN?s State of the Union program. ?But the active engagement by young people convinced Congress we better do something.? The spending bill, which President Donald Trump signed on Friday, also includes grants to help schools prevent gun violence. The Trump administration also took a step on Friday to ban the sale of bump stocks ? devices that enable semi-automatic weapons to fire like machine guns ? that helped gunman Stephen Paddock massacre 58 people in Las Vegas in October. A key focus of Saturday?s march on Washington, which was duplicated in 800 cities across the country and around the world, was an effort to turn emotion into political activism by registering participants to vote. Americans will vote in November on the entire US House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate. Gun control advocates have called for universal background checks on people buying guns, bans on assault-style rifles such as the one used to kill 17 students and staff in Parkland, and large-capacity ammunition magazines. Senator Mark Warner, another Virginia Democrat, declared in the wake of the student-led movement that he would now support bans on such rifles and magazines, which he had voted against in recent years. ?I think it?s time to change our positions and re-examine them,? Warner said on the CBS News ?Face the Nation? program. ?I think this time it?s going different,? Warner said. ?I think we can actually get it done.? To win significant changes, lawmakers said the young gun control advocates need to maintain their drive in the face of powerful pro-gun lobbying by the National Rifle Association and those who see gun ownership as a right protected by the US Constitution. ?If they don?t keep it up, those that want no change will just sit on their hands,? Ohio Governor John Kasich, a Republican who formerly served in Congress, said on CNN. Two Republican senators, Marco Rubio of Florida and Joni Ernst of Iowa, said over the weekend that while they supported gun control advocates? right to protest, they opposed infringing on the constitutional right to bear arms. Meanwhile, former Pennsylvania Republican Senator Rick Santorum drew an angry response on social media for saying on CNN that, instead of agitating for change, students should ?do something about maybe taking CPR classes? or take other training to respond to school shooters.
  17. Participants hold up signs as students and gun control advocates hold the "March for Our Lives" event demanding gun control after recent school shootings at a rally in Washington, US, March 24, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis WASHINGTON: Hundreds of thousands of Americans galvanised by last month?s Florida school massacre rallied in cities across the country on Saturday to demand tighter gun laws. Carrying signs with slogans such as ?If they choose guns over our kids, vote them out,? protesters in Washington jammed Pennsylvania Avenue as students from the Parkland, Florida, high school where 17 people were shot to death called on lawmakers and President Donald Trump to confront the issue. The massive March For Our Lives rallies, some led by student survivors from Parkland, aim to break the legislative gridlock that has long stymied efforts to increase restrictions on firearms sales in a nation where mass shootings like the one on February 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have become frighteningly common. ?Politicians: either represent the people or get out. Stand with us or beware, the voters are coming,? Cameron Kasky, a 17-year-old junior at the high school, told the crowd. Another Parkland survivor, David Hogg, said it was a new day. ?You can hear the people in power shaking,? he said to loud applause. ?We?re going to make sure the best people get in our elections to run not as politicians, but as Americans. Because this ? this ? is not cutting it,? he said, pointing at the white-domed Capitol. ?We can and we will change the world!? Youthful marchers filled streets in cities nationwide including Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, San Diego, and St. Louis. An attendee holds a sign in support of teachers during "March for Our Lives", an organised demonstration to end gun violence, in downtown Los Angeles, California, US, March 24, 2018. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon More than 800 demonstrations were scheduled in the United States and abroad, according to coordinators, with events as far afield as London, Mauritius, and Stockholm. Underlining sharp differences among the American public over the issue, counter-demonstrators and supporters of gun rights were also in evidence in many cities. ?Guns don?t kill people. People kill people,? said Connor Humphrey, 16, of San Luis Obispo, California, who was visiting Washington with his family for spring break. Humphrey, wearing a red ?Make America Great Again? sweatshirt, said he owns guns for target shooting and hunting and uses them responsibly. His school had a lockdown exercise last week. ?I think teachers should have guns,? he said, echoing a proposal made by Trump after the Parkland killings. Organisers of the anti-gun rallies want Congress, many of whose members are up for re-election in November, to ban the sale of assault weapons like the one used in the Florida rampage and to tighten background checks for gun buyers. On the other side of the debate, gun rights advocates cite constitutional guarantees of the right to bear arms. ?All they?re doing is asking the government to take their liberty away from them without due process,? Brandon Howard, a 42-year-old Trump supporter, said of the protesters in the capital. He had a sign saying: ?Keep your hands off my guns.? In New York, a handful of counter-demonstrators waved placards with messages such as ?Keep America Armed? and ?Re-elect Trump 2020.? ?This is the norm for us? Among those marching nearby next to Central Park was pop star Paul McCartney, who said he had a personal stake in the gun control debate. ?One of my best friends was shot not far from here,? he told CNN, referring to Beatles bandmate John Lennon, who was gunned down near the park in 1980. Daisy Hernandez, age 22, joins students and gun control advocates for the "March for Our Lives" event demanding gun control after recent school shootings at a rally in Washington, US, March 24, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst Taking aim at the National Rifle Association gun lobby, teenagers chanted, ?Hey, hey, NRA, how many kids have you killed today?? So overcome with emotion was one of the Parkland students who was shot and survived, Samantha Fuentes, that she vomited on stage during her speech. ?I just threw up on international television and it feels great,? she said to loud cheers afterwards. The young US organisers have won kudos and cash from dozens of celebrities, with singers Demi Lovato and Ariana Grande, as well as Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, among those performing in Washington. Actor George Clooney and his human rights attorney wife, Amal, donated $500,000 and said they would be at the Washington rally. Democrats and nonpartisan groups hope to register at least 25,000 first-time voters at the rallies, potentially a boost for Democrats, who generally favour stricter gun controls. On Friday, Trump signed a $1.3-trillion spending bill that includes modest improvements to background checks for gun sales and grants to help schools prevent gun violence. White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters said the administration applauded ?the many courageous young Americans? exercising their free-speech rights on Saturday. ?Keeping our children safe is a top priority of the president?s,? said Walters, noting that on Friday the Justice Department proposed rule changes that would effectively ban ?bump stock? devices that let semi-automatic weapons fire like a machine gun. Former President Barack Obama said on Twitter that he and his wife Michelle were inspired by all the young people who made the marches happen. ?Keep at it. You?re leading us forward. Nothing can stand in the way of millions of voices calling for change,? Obama said.
  18. Huge crowds of Americans took to the streets from coast to coast on Saturday to demand gun control at emotional protests fueled by teenagers who survived a mass shooting last month at a Florida high school. Photo: AFP file WASHINGTON: Huge crowds of Americans took to the streets from coast to coast on Saturday to demand gun control at emotional protests fueled by teenagers who survived a mass shooting last month at a Florida high school. Bundled against the cold but fired up with passion, hundreds of thousands gathered in Washington for the biggest US rally for gun reform in a generation. "Stand for us or beware the voters are coming," Cameron Kasky, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School ? where 14 students and three adults died last month ? told the crowd packing the streets of the capital. "We are going to make this a voting issue. We are going to take this to every election, to every state, and every city," said another Stoneman Douglas student leader, David Hogg. "We can and we will change the world!" Large crowds turned out in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, Nashville, Seattle and other cities. In New York, former Beatle Paul McCartney showed up at a march wearing a shirt reading "We Can End Gun Violence" and spoke of bandmate John Lennon, who was shot dead in the city in December 1980. Thousands gathered in a park in Parkland, Florida, to pay tribute to the 14 students and three adults killed by a troubled 19-year-old gunman on February 14 at Stoneman Douglas. "I March Because I Was Almost Silenced," read a sign carried by Samantha Mayor, 17, who was shot in the knee and wears a heavy brace on her leg as she recovers. Samantha?s mother, Ellyn, held a sign reading "I?m Marching So No Other Parent Has to Hear ?Mom, I?ve Been Shot.?" Hundreds of thousands were attending the student-led "March For Our Lives" in Washington within sight of the US Capitol -- whose lawmakers the protesters hope to influence. "This is an historic event," said Elijah Schneider, 15, who came to the nation?s capital from Long Island, New York, with his mother, Giokazta. "I want to be here for this new thing that?s going to happen, this change that I hope to make," said the high school freshman, who came bearing a sign that read "Protect Kids, Not Guns." ?Let Our Votes Be Our Best Weaponry? Stoneman Douglas students have been the driving force behind the march, badgering US lawmakers to enact a ban on assault rifles and to expand background checks to cover all gun purchases, even private sales. March organizers included a link for people to register to vote on their website as they seek to transform the gun control movement into a potent political force. "Let Our Votes Be Our Best Weaponry," read one sign. Singer Andra Day kicked off the rally in Washington with a rousing version of the song "Rise Up." Other performers include Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, Common, Miley Cyrus and Demi Lovato. Many protestors had posters critical of the National Rifle Association (NRA), the powerful US gun lobby. "Who?s Afraid of the NRA? Republicans," said a sign carried by Jeff Turchin, a 68-year-old retired garment manufacturer who came to Washington from New York. "We shouldn?t have guns in our society. These kids are right," Turchin said. "They?re basically saying the NRA is paying off these Republicans," the party of President Donald Trump, which controls the Senate and House of Representatives. Crowds of demonstrators poured out of the Washington subway and filled Constitution Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue, which links the White House with the Capitol, making it difficult to get close to the main stage. ?We don?t know if we are next? The area was closed to traffic in order to hold the tide of protesters squeezing into streets flanked by giant video screens proclaiming their slogan, "March For Our Lives." Lauren Tilley, 17, told AFP she came from El Dorado County, California, with seven other teens and three adults to attend the march in Washington. "We are the people who are scared to go to school every day because we don?t know if we are next," Tilley said. "Our main message is we are not going to be quiet, we will keep fighting," she said. "We will be voting in 2020. Our generation wants change." A large peace sign decorated with flowers called for a ban on assault rifles, such as the type used in the Florida shooting. Since the Parkland attack, the state of Florida and the US Congress have made only modest tweaks to gun laws and President Donald Trump?s proposal to arm teachers has met with widespread resistance. Although the Florida shooting triggered the movement, it has embraced the entire problem of gun violence in a nation that sees more than 30,000 gun-related deaths a year. Most of those fatalities do not come from mass shootings but from neighbourhood homicides and suicides. Organizers say more than 800 marches are being held across the country and around the world under the slogan #NeverAgain. Trump was in Florida as the march took place in Washington but the White House issued a statement. "We applaud the many courageous young Americans exercising their First Amendment rights today," it said. "Keeping our children safe is a top priority of the President?s."
  19. Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida -- where 17 people were shot dead on February 14 by a 19-year-old former classmate -- have been the driving force behind the march WASHINGTON: Galvanised by a massacre at a Florida high school, hundreds of thousands of Americans are expected to take to the streets in cities across the United States on Saturday in the biggest protest for gun control in a generation. The student-organised "March For Our Lives" is to feature rallies from coast to coast, with the main event scheduled to take place in Washington within sight of the US Capitol. "The kids are leading the movement," said Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, where 20 children aged six and seven years old were killed in December 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida -- where 17 people were shot dead on February 14 by a 19-year-old former classmate -- have been the driving force behind the march. With a mixture of outrage and passion, they have been relentlessly badgering US lawmakers to enact a ban on assault rifles and to expand background checks to cover all gun purchases, even private sales. "The march is just the start," said Aalayah Eastmond, a 17-year-old junior who took shelter beneath the body of a classmate during the Stoneman Douglas shooting. "Columbine happened -- nothing´s changed. Sandy Hook happened -- nothing´s changed. Parkland happened -- nothing´s changed," Eastmond said. "We will fight for this until change happens," she said at an event with members of US Congress. Since the Parkland shooting, the state of Florida and the US Congress have made only modest tweaks to gun laws and President Donald Trump´s proposal to arm teachers has been met with widespread resistance. Organizers say more than 800 marches are being held across the country and around the world under the slogan #NeverAgain, with the Washington event alone anticipated to attract at least 500,000 people. The protests are expected to be the largest for gun control in the United States -- which has more than 30,000 gun-related deaths a year -- since the Million Mom March in May 2000. ´Electoral force´ The appeals for stricter gun regulations have drawn the backing of Democratic lawmakers, and a slew of American celebrities have pledged $500,000 donations to support the protests. They include actor George Clooney and his wife, Amal, a human rights lawyer; actress and media mogul Oprah Winfrey and director Steven Spielberg and his actress wife, Kate Capshaw. Performing at the rally in Washington are Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Platt, Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Common, Andra Day and Vic Mensa. The marchers have also attracted the support of former president Barack Obama, who tried but failed to reform gun laws following the Sandy Hook slaughter. Obama and his wife, Michelle, released a letter to the "Students of Parkland" praising their "resilience, resolve and solidarity" and saying they have helped "awaken the conscience of the nation." Former president Billl Clinton said America "owes its gratitude to the students of Stoneman Douglas and their peers across the country who have joined their cause." Murphy, the Connecticut senator, told AFP the student-led movement needs to become an "electoral force, and this march may be the beginning of that." Conscious of their growing political power, March For Our Lives organizers provided a link on their website for supporters to register to vote. They have also called on supporters to vote against lawmakers who receive money from the National Rifle Association, the powerful US gun lobby that fiercely defends the Second Amendment´s "right to bear arms." "Either you stand with the kids or you stand with the NRA," said David Hogg, a Stoneman Douglas student. Meanwhile, Lyft, the ride-hailing service, said it would offer free rides to 50 marches around the United States. Several restaurants in Washington said they would hand out free lunches to high school students. Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, sent the American football team´s plane to Parkland to fly the families of the 17 people killed at Stoneman Douglas to Washington along with injured students. According to a Quinnipiac University poll, 63 percent of American voters approve of the march in support of tougher gun laws but are not optimistic it will lead to new legislation.
  20. At least one California high school student was injured superficially when a teacher accidentally discharged a gun in class during a firearms safety course, police said on Wednesday. Photo; file LOS ANGELES: At least one California high school student was injured superficially when a teacher accidentally discharged a gun in class during a firearms safety course, police said on Wednesday. The incident, which occurred Tuesday, came as a police officer assigned to a school in the state of Virginia accidentally fired his service weapon inside his office and was placed on administrative leave. The massacre of 17 students and staff in Parkland, Florida, last month has ignited a nationwide debate over whether some teachers should be armed, with President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in favour. Dennis Alexander, a teacher at Seaside High School in California´s Monterey County and a reserve police officer, fired a semiautomatic handgun as it was pointed at the ceiling, police chief Abdul Pridgen said in a statement. Pridgen said no one was hit by gunfire or seriously hurt and police registered one injury in the incident, although local media reported that three teenagers were struck by falling masonry. "One student had an abrasion on his neck, a red mark. When the bullet stroked the ceiling some debris came down. We didn´t confirm two others," Seaside police commander Judy Veloz told AFP. "There was no panic in the school. The teacher has been put on administrative leave. We´re still investigating, interviewing students. The school is open as usual." Fermin Gonzales, the father of the 17-year-old boy to whom police were referring, told NBC affiliate KSBW Alexander had informed the class he was going to demonstrate how to disarm someone and was checking if the weapon was loaded. "It´s the craziest thing," said Gonzales, who added that bruising to his son's neck appeared to have been caused by a bullet fragment. A spokeswoman for the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District said in a statement education officials and police began interviewing students immediately after the alarm was raised. "It was determined that there was no immediate threat to students or staff, and school remained in session," she said. She added that the district allows only authorised law enforcement or security personnel to possess weapons on school property or transport. Students would be offered counselling, she said. Alexander, who also teaches math, has been placed on leave both as a teacher and in his position as a reserve officer for the Sand City Police Department. He could not immediately be reached for comment. The Alexandria Police Department in Virginia meanwhile said it was investigating after an officer accidentally discharging his weapon at George Washington Middle School on Tuesday morning. "At approximately 9:10 am, a School Resource Officer accidentally discharged his service weapon inside his office at the middle school," the police said in a statement. "He immediately checked for potential injuries in the area. No one was injured. The officer then contacted his supervisor and school staff. All students and staff are safe and classes continued as normal." The officer was placed on administrative leave pending the probe. Students across the United States walked out of classes on Wednesday in a nationwide call for action against gun violence, many gathering outside the White House and chanting "Never again!" and "Enough is enough!" Concealed carry at colleges and schools has been banned since 2015 in California and police are understood to be establishing whether Alexander violated any regulations by bringing a gun onto campus. "I think a lot of questions on parents´ minds are, why a teacher would be pointing a loaded firearm at the ceiling in front of students," Superintendent PK Diffenbaugh told CNN affiliate KSBW. "Clearly in this incident protocols were not followed."
  21. Students from Washington-area schools carry signs during a protest for stricter gun control during a walkout by students at the US Capitol in Washington, US, March 14, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts PARKLAND: US students spilt out of classrooms by the thousands on Wednesday, chanting slogans like ?No more silence? and ?We want change?, as part of a coast-to-coast protest over gun violence prompted by last month?s massacre at a Florida high school. The #ENOUGH National School Walkout was intended to pressure federal and state lawmakers to tighten laws on gun ownership despite opposition by the National Rifle Association (NRA), the powerful gun rights advocacy group. With some students dressed in orange, the colour adopted by the gun control movement, the walkouts began at 10 AM local time in each time zone and were scheduled to last 17 minutes, though many rallies went longer. The duration was a tribute to the number of students and staff killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14. It was the latest in a series of shootings that have plagued US schools and colleges over the past two decades. While many school districts gave their blessings to the walkouts, others said anyone who participated would face discipline. Many students defied the warnings and left school anyway. In Parkland, thousands of students slowly filed onto the Stoneman Douglas school football field to the applause of families and supporters beyond the fences as law enforcement officers looked on. News helicopters hovered overhead. Ty Thompson, the principal, called for the ?biggest group hug,? and the students obliged around the 50-yard line. ?We want change!? students chanted on the sidewalks outside the school. ?Can you hear the children screaming?? read one of the signs. But not all students in Florida were in favour of more gun control. Around 129 kilometres (80 miles) north of Parkland at Vero Beach High School, chants of ?No More Silence, end gun violence,? were countered by shouts of ?Trump!? and ?We want guns? from other students, according to a video posted by local newspaper TCPalm. At New York City?s Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School, crowds of students poured into the streets of Manhattan, many dressed in orange, symbolic of the bright colour worn by hunters to avoid being shot by accident. ?Thoughts and prayers are not enough,? read one sign at LaGuardia, a jab at a response often uttered by lawmakers after mass shootings. Hundreds of students wearing orange t-shirts with black targets on the front walked out of Firestone High School in Akron, Ohio. One student used a bullhorn and recited an anti-violence poem as parents stood on the sidewalks in solidarity. At Granada Hills Charter High School in Los Angeles, students laid prone on the field of a football stadium to form a giant #ENOUGH, symbolizing the thousands of youth who die of gun violence every year in the United States. Lobbying lawmakers The walkouts were part of a burgeoning, grassroots movement prompted by the Parkland attack. Survivors have lobbied lawmakers and even talked with President Donald Trump, in a push for new restrictions on gun ownership, a right protected by the US Constitution?s Second Amendment. ?We don?t feel safe in schools anymore,? said Sarah Chatfield, a high school student from Maryland, standing with hundreds of other protesters outside the White House. Chanting ?Hey hey, ho ho, the NRA has got to go!? some of the students marched to the US Capitol, where Democratic lawmakers emerged from the white-domed landmark to praise them. The student-led initiative helped bring about a tightening of Florida?s gun laws last week when the minimum age of 21 for buying any handguns was extended to all firearms. But lawmakers rejected a ban on the sort of semiautomatic rifle used in the Parkland attack. In Washington, however, proposals to strengthen the background-check system for gun sales, among other measures, appear to be languishing. Schools vary in response Students from more than 2,800 schools and groups joined the walkouts, many with the backing of their school districts, according to the event?s organizers, who also coordinated the Women?s March protests staged nationwide over the past two years. In districts where school authorities warned against joining the demonstrations, some students protested anyway. More than 100 students walked out of the Council Rock High School North building in Newtown, Pennsylvania, despite warnings from school administration that doing so would bring discipline. ?Students deserve the right to go to school feeling safe and comfortable, not feeling scared that their school will be the next target,? a student said into a megaphone to the group outside. At Norton High School in the rural-suburban district in northeastern Ohio, a small group of students, including a teenage boy with an American flag draped over his shoulder, stood apart from a larger gathering of nearly 300 students who walked out of class. One of the students also flew a large Trump flag at the end of his truck. Ryan Shanor, the school?s principal, said the small group wanted to honour the victims but disagreed with sentiment they considered to be against the Second Amendment. ?They did not agree with everything they thought the protest was about,? he said.
  22. Activists install 7000 shoes on the lawn in front of the US Capitol on Capitol Hill in Washington, US, March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Eric Thayer WASHINGTON: Tom Mauser came to the US Capitol on Tuesday dressed in grey Vans sneakers, the same ones his 15-year-old son Daniel wore when he was killed by two gunmen at Colorado?s Columbine High School in 1999 along with a dozen other people. Mauser was one of a handful of gun control activists and volunteers who braved a frigid March morning to lay out about 7,000 pairs of shoes on the US Capitol lawn as a makeshift memorial to American children killed by gun violence. Their aim, like the thousands of students across the country who plan to walk out of their classrooms for 17 minutes on Wednesday morning, was to put more pressure on state and federal lawmakers to tighten rules on gun ownership. ?There?s nobody in those shoes, it?s like the emptiness in our hearts from gun violence,? said Mauser, 66, of Littleton, Colorado. The memorial, organized by Avaaz, a US-based civic organization, and the National School Walkout, organized by the activists behind the Women?s March in Washington, are part of a grass-roots movement that grew out of the killing of 17 students and staff at a Florida high school a month ago. ?I think we?re in the middle of a cultural change in the United States. The majority of Americans want a change in gun laws, and a majority of gun owners want change,? said Emma Ruby-Sachs, deputy director of Avaaz. Many of the proposals favoured by gun control advocates, including a ban on assault-style weapons and the closing of loopholes on requiring background checks before gun purchases, are fiercely opposed by the National Rifle Association and its supporters. The 7,000 pairs of donated footwear, arranged side by side in a trapezoid shape outside the Capitol, represent every person younger than 18 who has been killed by a firearm since the 2012 massacre at the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Actresses Susan Sarandon and Bette Midler, and talk show host Chelsea Handler were among shoe donors. National walkout About 1,300 people below the age of 18 are killed by gunfire in the United States every year, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On Wednesday, students will again take centre stage in the political theatre over guns that has gripped the country since the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The national walkout will last 17 minutes, beginning at 10 a.m. local time, to commemorate the 17 victims who lost their lives in the Florida massacre. It was the deadliest school shooting since 20 children and six adults were shot dead at Sandy Hook more than five years ago. The walkout has won the support of many school districts and civil rights organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union. More than 2,500 walkouts are scheduled across the country, according to the organizer?s website, including at Marjory Stoneman and Columbine high schools. Mauser, a retired Colorado Department of Transportation employee, has attended dozens of gun-control demonstrations since the Columbine massacre. But he has grown cautiously optimistic about the prospects for change because of the new student involvement. ?These kids, it?s their lives. They?re not going to be distracted about Russia, about other things,? Mauser said. The shoe memorial is reminiscent of a monument on the Danube River near the Hungarian Parliament in Budapest commemorating thousands of people, including Jews, killed by fascists in the 1940s. Many Canadian cities have marked the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women on Dec. 6 with similar ?shoe memorials.?
  23. 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.
  24. Bob Ossler ? a chaplain with the Cape Coral volunteer fire department ? places seventeen crosses for the victims of yesterday's shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on a fence a short distance from the school in Parkland, Florida, US, February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake NEW YORK: More than half a dozen US companies have abruptly cut ties with the National Rifle Association (NRA) as gun safety activists on Friday intensified calls for a boycott in the wake of last week?s Florida high school massacre. The social media-fueled campaign has led a range of corporations, from a major insurer to three car rental brands, to sever relationships with the gun rights advocacy group. Amazon.com Inc and other online streaming platforms are also facing demands to drop the online video channel NRATV, featuring programming produced by the group. Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America ? founded after 20 first-graders were shot and killed at a school in Connecticut in December 2012 ? sent letters to Apple Inc, AT&T Inc, Amazon, Alphabet Inc?s Google, and Roku Inc on Friday, asking them to drop NRATV from their products. None of the companies immediately responded to requests for comment on the letters. ?We have been just disgusted by NRATV since its beginning,? Shannon Watts ? the founder of the Moms Demand Action group ? told Reuters. ?It really propagates dangerous misinformation and inflammatory rhetoric. It tries to pit Americans against one another, all in an attempt to further their agenda of selling guns.? The US Constitution?s Second Amendment protects the right to bear arms. The NRA, which has long used campaign donations and effective lobbying to hold outsized political influence, argues that stricter gun control would erode individual rights. The group has not commented on companies cutting ties. The question of gun control, and the NRA?s role in opposing it, became the focus of national debate on February 14, when Nikolas Cruz ? a 19-year-old former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida ? returned there and killed 17 people, mostly students, with a legally purchased AR-15 rifle, according to authorities. Trending on Twitter Nearly two dozen corporations nationwide offer incentives to NRA members, according to ThinkProgress.com, a news site owned by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Symantec Corp said on Friday it ended an NRA discount program for its LifeLock identity theft product, while Boston-based home security company SimpliSafe also said it terminated its discount program for NRA members. Insurer Chubb Ltd said on Friday it would stop underwriting an NRA-branded insurance policy for gun owners that covers legal costs in self-defence shootings. Insurance company MetLife Inc also said it had ended an auto and home incentive program for NRA members. Rental car company Hertz said on Twitter it had told the NRA it was eliminating a discount program for members. Those decisions came a day after three rental car brands owned by Enterprise Holdings Inc said they were ending discount programs for NRA members. First National Bank of Omaha also said on Thursday it would not renew a contract with the organization to issue an NRA-branded Visa card. The hashtag #BoycottNRA was the top trending topic on Twitter on Friday morning. The campaign is the latest effort by activists to deploy social media and use economic pressure to force change. Similar drives helped convince Fox News to terminate television host Bill O?Reilly after sponsors dropped his show in the wake of sexual harassment allegations, and the National Football League bowed to improve its handling of domestic violence accusations against players. David Hogg ? one of the student survivors of last week?s attack who launched the #NeverAgain anti-gun violence movement ? said the students would target any company with ties to the NRA, in addition to lawmakers who accept donations. Florida Governor Rick Scott, who has been endorsed by the NRA, announced a proposal on Friday to increase restrictions on buying guns and to strengthen school safety measures. Activists have also called on public pension funds to divest from gun maker stocks. Shares of gun makers were broadly lower on Friday. Approximately a dozen companies with marketing ties to the NRA ? including FedEx Corp, which offer discount programs ? did not respond to requests for comment on Friday. ?Bad business? NRATV ? which describes itself as ?America?s Most Patriotic Team on a Mission to Take Back The Truth? ? features programming that leans heavily on speeches by NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre and spokeswoman Dana Loesch. An online campaign using the Twitter hashtag #StopNRAmazon has also begun to pick up steam, applying pressure on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to drop the channel. Many of those tweeting are in the entertainment industry. ?Ironic how the @NRA likes to point a finger at what kids watch on TV ... while they spew vile rhetoric on NRAtv, streamed on @Amazon and aimed solely at boosting gun sales,? wrote screenwriter Randi Mayem Singer. Moms Demand Action posted an online petition using the hashtag #DumpNRATV. ?To be affiliated with them, whether you are a company or a lawmaker, it is not going to pay off in the long run,? said the Moms Demand Action founder Watts, signalling the start of a broader campaign. ?Doing business with the NRA is clearly bad business.? Angry student survivors of the shooting have confronted politicians from state lawmakers to US President Donald Trump himself, demanding stricter gun control laws. In response, the NRA and Trump have suggested arming teachers who have received training to deter attackers, a proposal that has been met with scepticism by teachers unions and gun violence experts.
  25. The loss of a loved one is the hardest thing to deal with and get through and it's also a sad reality that no one knows how to deal with loss better than our military officers. You may have heard of the tragedy that occurred in Assam last week. Two Indian Air Force pilots lost their lives after a microlight helicopter in which they were travelling crashed in Majuli island on February 15. It was a tragic accident and the aftermath of it was equally sad. A heart-wrenching picture of the family of Wing Commander D Vats, one of the pilots who last his life, from his funeral is going viral on the internet. The picture shows his wife Major Kumud Dogra, an officer herself, walking up and paying her last tributes to her late husband while carrying their five day old child. People on the internet can't help but praise the young officer for her strength at a time like this and are showing their love for the new born baby who never got to see her father. Here's what everyone is saying: People sent their best in the comments. So much courage, we salute you as well. This is heartbreaking yet reinstate the emotion of courage in me, both at the same time. This is Maj Kumud Dogra and her five day old baby is in her arms and she is feet marching towards the dead body of her husband Wng Cmdr D Vats. Not only is she strong but courage epitomizes her too. #Salute pic.twitter.com/aZxZF1IZsl — Parul Mathur (@Parul_RajeevM) February 22, 2018 Is it okay to cry now? #Major #Kumud Dogra... In her arms is her five day old baby and her feet marching towards the dead body of her husband Wng Cmdr D Vats... A rare epitome of courage... Salute you #Major #Dogra JAI HINDð pic.twitter.com/NXYwuDTX1q — Shweta (@ShwetaS13301723) February 22, 2018 A big salute. Major Kumud Dogra...in her arms is her five day old baby and her feet marching towards the dead body of her husband Wng Cmdr D Vats... a rare epitome of courage... A very big SALUTE to you Major Dogra ð®ð³ð®ð³ pic.twitter.com/ZtDfrfKTP1 — HFF Pandari Shetty (@bigbullq8) February 23, 2018 This pic is worth a million heartbreaks and a billion salutes to this dedicated family! As an ordinary Indian all I can say is Thankyou! Jai Hind! — Farooq Ahmed (@FarooqAhm) February 22, 2018 What a tragedy. Major #KumudDogra on her way to offer last tribute to her husband Late #WgCdr D. Vats, who lost his life in a Microlight crash in Majuli, Assam. On that fateful day their baby was only 4 days old. We SALUTE the courage, determination and dedication of this young lady officer. pic.twitter.com/hZxOLuP2yd — Shivang Tiwari (@tiwari7_tiwari) February 21, 2018 It's a sad day. So how's the life of an army wife you ask? Major Kumud Dogra on her way to pay last tributes to her husband Wing Commander D. Vats who lost his life in a micro flight crash in Majuli, carrying her 5 days old daughter. That's the life of an #Army wife. SALUTE the courage!ð®ð³ pic.twitter.com/0Z9mi559yM — Nausheen Khan (@DrNausheenKhan) February 22, 2018
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