Families of Dunblane shootings stands with American school on anniversary

‘Change can happen’. These are the words the survivors and families of those killed in the Dunblane school massacre want pupils at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to remember.

An open letter was sent to the Florida high school on the 22nd anniversary of the Dunblane murders. The parents and siblings of the victims also made a video in support of the Parkland families.

Sixteen children and their teacher were shot dead at the Scottish school on 13 March 1996 and just over a year later, handguns were banned in Britain. There has never been another school shooting in the United Kingdom since and to this day remains the deadliest firearm attack ever committed in the country.

Describing why families and survivors fought to change gun laws following the 1996 massacre, the letter explained:

“The gunman owned legal weapons and it was so easy for him to obtain these legal weapons and like you we vowed to do something about it.

“Most politicians listened and acted, laws were changed, handguns were banned and the level of gun violence in Britain is now one of the lowest in the world. There have been no more school shootings.

“We persuaded British lawmakers not to be swayed by the vested interests of the gun lobby, we asked them to put public safety first and to heed the will of the majority of the British people.”

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Class photo of Dunblane Primary School and their teacher Gwen Mayor            Image Credit: Getty Images

The rate of shooting offenses in the United Kingdom has gone down by 45% in the past decade, with Britain’s rate of fatal shootings 00.7 deaths per 100,000.

In comparison, guns kill tens of thousands of people every year in the United States at a rate of 3.86 fatalities per 100,000. According to non-profit organisation Every Town Research, there have been nearly 300 school shootings in the US since 2013. This is an average of one per week.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are now fighting for harsher gun control laws after the deaths of 17 people there last month.

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Memorial for the 17 people that dies in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting Image Credit: JOHN MCCALL/AP

Students have organised the ‘March for Ours Lives’ campaign in the wake of the 14 February mass shooting, demanding that their lives and their safety at school becomes a priority. They hope this will mark the end of gun violence in the United States.

The letter of support from Dunblane to Parkland concluded: “Tonight we will be lighting 17 candles for those who died in Dunblane and will be remembering the 17 who lost their lives in Parkland. Our thoughts will also be with every other victim of gun violence.

We offer you our total support for the March for Our Lives and sincerely hope you achieve success. It can be done. #NeverAgain.”


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Can we Trump climate change?

A 7.6 magnitude Earthquake struck the Caribbean sea on Tuesday, causing a Tsunami warning to be issued for the already disaster-struck Puerto Rico, as well as the British and US Virgin Islands.

The US Tsunami Center later cancelled this alert, although they still warn of waves of up to a metre high in parts of Honduras and Belize. The Earthquake hit at approximately 10:52pm, local time, and was felt at least as far as north of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, but no damage was immediately felt.

Aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Credit: US DoD

Further natural disasters also struck North America, with heavy rain hitting the hills of Santa Barbara prompting horrendous mudslides. At least 13 people have been killed and more than two dozen have been injured in the West of Los Angeles. One boy was swept hundreds of yards in the mud before being rescued under a freeway overpass. A 14-year-old girl was also rescued after being buried in mud. It is the area’s heaviest rainstorm in nearly a year following the state’s largest wildfire on record.

These reoccurring natural disasters have made incidents like road closures, evacuations, broken power lines, rescues and searches a routine in America. So what’s the cause and solution of these increasingly occurring natural disasters?

It’s no coincidence that the US is less than prepared for these reoccurring disasters following many republican elected officials’ wanting to stop funding climate science, meaning they won’t be prepared for these sorts of repeated environmental procedures.

I’m eager to see how Trump plans on helping the people of Puerto Rico once again after his abysmal display of throwing paper towels into a crowd of desperate, disaster stricken citizens, following Hurricane Maria. He also, ‘honoured’ the people of Puerto Rico by dedicating a golf trophy to them. Just what they needed. I’d say a golf trophy is just as essential to the people of Puerto Rico as another hurricane.

It will be interesting to see his response to the mudslides in California compared to Hurricane Maria as Puerto Ricans’ have repeatedly stated they feel like second class citizens – implying a disregard for the islands of America, not the states. The inefficiency of Trump’s aid and preparation for climate change disasters is baffling.

Research makes it very clear that the planet has reached a new threshold in which climate change has become not only a component of extreme weather disasters but an essential factor for some. Trump and the republicans are oblivious to these issues as they set out to cut funding for research.

I realise these disasters aren’t unique to the US but the amount of climate change cataclysms that have taken place in such a small amount of time in America, in addition to the ignorance of Trump, makes the US’s situation all the more prominent.  It’s as if he is trying to figure out which is worse, apathy or ignorance, but then he realised he doesn’t know and doesn’t care.

In the past, the Presidents’ responses to these sorts of tragedies have been vital in deciding their overall approval ratings. So Mr. Trump, stop implying that people trying to rebuild their country are lazy, stop playing golf (the only sport with an actual assistant) and grasp this opportunity to improve your disgraceful approval rating, sincerely aid the increasingly deprived victims of these natural disasters and actually fund climate science so you’re more prepared for these catastrophes – and perhaps even decrease their occurrences.

President Trump addresses UN General Assembly

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President Donald Trump has addressed the UN General Assembly for the first time today.

Speaking about North Korea’s nuclear threat, he threatened to “totally destroy” the country if the situation arises in which they are forced to defend themselves and their allies. Trump stated that North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, is on a suicide mission and warned that the nuclear weapons program will lead to the loss of many innocent lives worldwide.

Addressing the room full of world leaders, Trump admitted that whilst the nation will remain loyal to its allies, the US will always be his primary responsibility:

“All responsible leaders have an obligation to serve their own citizens. Our government’s first duty is to its people. As president, I will always put America first, just like you as the leaders of your countries will always — and should always — put your countries first.”

Following his comments about North Korea, Trump labelled Iran a “murderous regime” and spoke of his embarrassment regarding the nuclear deal negotiated by President Obama with the nation. The deal, which aims to stop the Iranians developing nuclear weapons, was labelled by the President as one of the worst one-sided deals the United States has ever entered into.

President Trump also said that whilst many terrorist organisations around the world are gaining strength and power, peace is possible. He promised the US military will be the strongest they have ever been and spoke of his plan to combat terrorism and instability worldwide through this.

Concluding his speech at his first ever UN Assembly, Trump said: ” Now, we are calling for a great reawakening of nations. For the revival of their spirits, their pride, their people and their patriotism. History is asking us if we are up to the task. Our answer will be a renewal of will, a rediscovery of resolve and a rebirth of devotion. We need to defeat the enemies of humanity and unlock the potential of life itself.”

 

Womanhood and Donald Trump’s presidency

“Nobody has more respect for women than I do,” Donald Trump told voters during first presidential debate.

However, he has been accused of sexual assault from more than a dozen women – which Trump has denied, and he has threatened to sue them once the election is over, along with publications such NBC that have printed the allegations.

Trump has called them “sick” and “liars” who were only hungry for fame.

The brand new American President has also been widely condemned for making crude jokes about Hillary Clinton’s personal life, insulting his former rival Carly Fiorina’s looks, and joking it would be a “pretty picture” if Celebrity Apprentice contestant Brande Roderick was to “drop to her knees.”

Kathrine Razai and Jaine Haggie, strong opinionated feminists from Edinburgh, fear for women’s future with Trump as new U.S. President.

“He openly jokes about a woman’s ‘place’ – he has repeatedly stated that women should stay at home, look after the household and other old fashioned and hurtful stereotypes. After everything we (women) have fought for, we are going back in time.” said Kathrine.

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The election of Donald Trump is cause for concern for not only women, but the LGBT community, people of colour, and Muslims.

“His victory puts so many people in danger and encourages ever growing hatred. It promotes the idea that you can be accused of rape and sexual assault and still be a viable candidate to hold one of the most powerful positions in the world. It is an indication to young girls across the U.S. that no matter how hard they work, they will never be good enough and they will be objectified and criticised at all points throughout their lives,” added Jaine.

Sam Smethers, Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society women’s right and equality, agrees that Trump’s victory is a massive backwards step for women and for equality. 

“Those who think misogyny played no part in the vote are kidding themselves. The fact that such a high percentage of white women voted for Trump also speaks volumes about internalised misogyny. Not only does Trump plan to build a wall, he had reinforced the glass ceiling.”

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 Most people think that this vote suggests that people either overlooked and underestimated Trump’s behaviour and beliefs, or thought it was OK. Both of these suggestions implies that women’s rights are in jeopardy. Women all over America now have to focus on defending their rights and freedoms.

 

 

 

 

Scotland empathises with disappointed Americans following Trump’s election

“Today we make America great.”

This is what Donald Trump posted on his twitter page, 22 hours ago.

Today Scotland, along with the rest of the world, wakes to a new US President. Donald Trump is victorious against his rival Hilary Clinton.

Scottish political leaders have expressed their shock and disappointment after Donald Trump took a surprise victory earlier today.

Kezia Dugdale, leader of Scottish Labour and strong Clinton’s supporter, wrote a comment piece published on The Times website a few days ago. She said “Yes, Clinton can – if she withstands the crazy”.

There was hope in her words, a hope that was destroyed this morning when Trump gained enough votes to defeat Clinton.  “Cannot believe my eyes-what a dismal desperate day,” Dugdale said today.

Kezia Dugdale is not the only Scottish Clinton-supporter now struggling to come to terms with the results.

Patrick Harvie, co-convener of the Scottish Greens,  tweeted: “OK America, you have had your fun now. You’ve given us all a good scare. Time to be serious, and make the bad man go away”. This morning, after finding out the official result, he simply tweets “sickening”.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said the US was “turning inwards”, and that the UK therefore has a “duty to advance Western democratic values”.

However UKIP’s leader in Scotland, David Coburn, insisted the new president would be a “good thing for Scotland” because of his long connections to the country.

Nicola Sturgeon, whilst Americans were casting their votes, said she thought Clinton had the experience, strength and resilience to make a “good president.”

After the results Sturgeon stated: “The ties between Scotland and America are long-standing, they are very deep and they are enduring. And whatever the outcome of the election I respect that outcome and will continue to work to ensure that those relationships, which are not just relationships of family and culture but also very important business and economic relationships, continue to be in good health.”

More than 1,000 students from Edinburgh’s Universities watched the battle for the White House unfold in the city centre.

Organised by Edinburgh University North American Society and the Edinburgh Political Union, the sold-out event in Potterrow had TV screens broadcast results live from across the Atlantic, with experts from the school of history providing live analysis on the results throughout the night.

The Golf Tavern extended it’s license until 5 am to broadcast the results. We asked the Scottish crowd how they think these elections are going to affect our country.

“It will affect the world’s economy” said James, “ I am afraid it will potentially affect our ability to travel.”

Andrew said this election seemed to be “a new chapter after Brexit.” Perhaps it is for this reason many Scottish people could empathise with the many Americans leaving the pub in tears early this morning.

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Here’s what the US electoral map would look like if only millennials had voted

A electoral college tracking map giving live updates on the US election results highlights the voting trends of Millennials.

The breakdown, released early this morning by data website surveymonkey showed an overwhelming majority of millennials cast their vote in favour of democrat Hillary Clinton.

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Despite the overwhelming support for Clinton, it did not translate into real life events with Trump winning over 60 electoral college votes more than the democratic party nominee.

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With some states still to declare a result, the map below shows how strong the Republican vote was across the US, pushing Democratic support back to strongholds on the west coast and the north east. Nationally, Donald Trump has won with 47.7% of the vote, with Hillary Clinton taking 47.5% – this has translated into 278 votes for the Republicans and 218 for the Democrats.

Thousands vote in US election for dead gorilla

The US Presidential Elections may have dominated headlines for months now, but for a select few, the complex voting process remains a joke.

Amid the Twitter meltdown that ensued after the news of Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, was leading by a clear margin, there was one name in particular that seemed to pop up over and over again on the microblogging site.

Harambe, the male gorilla that hit the headlines earlier this year after being shot and killed in his Cincinnati Zoo enclosure in order to save the life of a young boy who fell into the gorilla’s habitat.

By around 1:00am ET, the dead gorilla had racked up more than 11,000 write-in votes for the presidency on election night.

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In what seems to be the umpteenth time since his death in May this year, the 17-year-old male western lowland gorilla  found his name being dragged into yet another Twitter storm.

The surprise write-in candidate sparked a flurry of reactions. While some Twitter-users outraged about how voting for Harambe was an insult to democracy, others took a dig at the US elections as a whole.

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As well as over 11,000 votes for the famous gorilla, recent polls have also shown over six thousand votes for Hennessy – a brand of Cognac.

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While the surprise write-in candidate may seem humorous to some, others are distraught at the results. Many of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s losing states could have been swung by just a fraction of the 11,000 votes.

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China told to stop land reclamation

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Credit to Storm Crypt (Flickr)

President Barack Obama has spoken out against China, saying they must stop reclaiming land which they see as theirs in disputed waters in the South China Sea.

Mr Obama spoke on the sidelines of an economic summit of Asia Pacific nations, also known as APEC, which opened in Manila, the capital city of the Philippines. He pledged financial and naval assistance to the Philippines, which is in involved in a dispute with China over the ownership of the islands.

China has always maintained that its dredging work in the region is perfectly legal since it began back in 2013. Chinese activity in question involves China turning submerged reefs into islands, although the Philippines believe it is taking place in their territory.

The US Embassy in London was unable to comment on the matter.

 

 

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