Survivors of Florida School Shooting Promise Fight Against Gun Violence

Rabat – Emma Gonzalez and fellow survivors of the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida have been determined since the incident to make their voices heard and to fight against gun violence that has been claiming the lives of innocent people in the United States.The student, who is now leading the students demanding action following the tragedy, took on a National Rifle Association spokesperson at a CNN town hall meeting on February 21.Gonzalez was provided with the opportunity to question gun rights advocate Dana Loesch about her opinions regarding gun control in the US. Addressing Dana Loesch, who is a mother of two, Gonzalez said: “I want you to know that we will support your children in the way that you will not.”The teenager also said, “the shooter at our school obtained weapons that he used on us legally. Do you believe that it should be harder to obtain the semi-automatic and fully automatic weapons and the modifications for these weapons to make them fully automatic like bump stocks?”The NRA spokeswoman has been at the center of the gun control debate. “Well first off Emma, I want to applaud you for standing up and speaking out,” said the spokeswoman, adding that “none of the students should be criticized for speaking out.”“Now, I want to answer your question, and I want to be allowed the opportunity, which is why I am here, to talk and have this discussion with you all and answer these questions.”Defending the NRA, the organization she represents, Loesch said that “none of us support people who are crazy, who are a danger to themselves, who are a danger to others, getting their hands on a firearm.”However, the spokeswoman did little to win Gonzalez or the audience’s approval.According to the British news outlet, Telegraph, numerous American companies have severed their ties with the National Rifle Association (NRA) after public outrage against the gun lobby spread.The February 15 shooting in Parkland, Florida claimed 17 lives while many others were injured. The shooting was the deadliest U.S school shooting since 2012On February 17, a massive rally in Florida was attended by survivors of the Florida school shooting. Together with parents and numerous local politicians, the crowd, visibly angered by the death toll, protested the president’s stance on gun control and the lack of political dialogue on the issue in Congress. The crowd chanted “shame on you” as they attacked politicians and lawmakers said to have links with the NRA, one of the country’s most powerful interest groups. The gun rights group advocates for gun rights and opposes gun ownership restrictions.The crowd, singling Donald Trump out as one of the politicians receiving huge financial support from the NRA, called for tougher restrictions on guns, with Gonzalez telling the press that gun control is a “matter of life and death”, and “not a political question.” read more

UN emergency teams on the ground in the Caribbean to help respond

Help respond to Hurricane Matthew In the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew in the Caribbean region Brazilian Marines with the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) clearing the roads is Haiti ‹ › Further, in the statement from his office, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed his solidarity with the people and Governments of Haiti, Cuba and other countries in the hurricane affected region. It added said that the UN chief lauded the preparedness efforts of the Cuban authorities, media, and civil society to protect people’s lives and economic assets. In Cuba, more than 377,000 people were evacuated, 1,640 metric tonnes of food was pre-positioned in safe areas, and measures were taken to protect communities and infrastructure threatened by strong winds, rains, storm surge and floods. In a separate statement today, President of the General Assembly Peter Thomson also expressed deep concern for the people of Haiti, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Bahamas and other countries in the Caribbean as they struggle to cope with the effects of the hurricane and offered his condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives as a result of the storm. “As a Fijian who has witnessed first hand the power and devastation of such destructive tropical cyclones, I fully empathise with those facing up to the damage,” he said, adding: “The world must stand with the victims at this time as people of goodwill everywhere recognise their suffering and stand ready to offer a helping hand.” According to a statement issued by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson, though the full extent of the impact remains unclear, the Haitian Government has reported that a number of lives have been lost and at least 350,000 people need immediate assistance. The statement also noted that the UN is in contact with the authorities across the region and stands ready to assist with response and recovery if required. Also today at a regular briefing at UN Headquarters in New York, a UN spokesperson told journalists that the entire southern part of the country, including capital Port-au-Prince have been affected and the south-east tip of the island suffered the brunt of the hurricane. A main bridge connecting the capital to the south was also swept away this afternoon cutting off access. The teams have been deployed from the UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC), which is managed by the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). On the ground, they are logistically supported by the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). UNDAC is part of the international emergency response system for acute emergencies. It was created in 1993 to help the UN and governments of disaster-affected countries during the first phase of a sudden-onset emergency. read more