Saturday, February 17, 2018

Video Report - Yogurt may reduce heart disease risk.

Video Report - Homeless in the US

Video Report - #FloridaSchoolShooting #FloridaShooting - The calls for action get louder as the Parkland community grieves

Video Report - FBI & police knew the Florida shooter posed a threat, but ‘protocol wasn't followed’

#FloridaSchoolShooting - Obama on Florida shooting: We are grieving, 'but we are not powerless'


Former President Barack Obama said Thursday that "we are not powerless" against gun violence in the wake of the deadly shooting at a Florida high school.
"We are grieving with Parkland. But we are not powerless. Caring for our kids is our first job," Obama tweeted.
We are grieving with Parkland. But we are not powerless. Caring for our kids is our first job. And until we can honestly say that we're doing enough to keep them safe from harm, including long overdue, common-sense gun safety laws that most Americans want, then we have to change.

At least 17 people died and more than a dozen were wounded after a gunman opened fire Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
Since the shooting, multiple lawmakers have called for Congress to act to prevent another tragedy.

#FloridaSchoolShooting - Clinton urges political action in response to Parkland shooting

By Dan Merica

Hillary Clinton urged political action Friday in response to the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, pushing her followers to "remember these feelings in November, and VOTE."
"This week we lost 17 Americans in Parkland - the deadliest school shooting since Sandy Hook in 2012. Since then, 438 people have been shot and 138 killed in over 230 school shootings," she wrote. "Now is the time to listen to the students, teachers, and parents demanding that we end this carnage once and for all with gun safety laws that keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn't have them."
Clinton tweeted about David Hogg, a student at the high school, who urged Congress to take action during an interview with CNN.
    "Please! We are children. You guys are, like...the adults," Hogg said. "Take action, work together, come over your politics, and get something done."
    Clinton retweeted the video of Hogg's comments, adding: "We owe it to this young man who lost classmates."
    Clinton continued: "Mass shootings are not inevitable. The majority of Americans support common sense gun reform. Though we feel angry, heartbroken, even helpless now, we have the power to elect people who will protect lives, not gun sellers' profits. Remember these feelings in November, and VOTE."
    The messages came soon after the Department of Justice announced that a federal grand jury has indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities for allegedly meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Clinton, through a spokesman, declined to comment on the indictments.

    #FloridaSchoolShooting - After Florida school shooting, thousands demand change at anti-gun rally

    Victims of the recent Florida school shooting have called out politicians for their lack of action after yet another deadly massacre. "Shame on you!" the crowd said to President Trump and the National Rifle Association.

    Thousands of students, parents and gun control advocates rallied in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Saturday to demand changes in legislation after 17 people were shot and killed at a high school in the nearby town of Parkland.
    "They say a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun," said student Emma Gonzalez on the steps of Fort Lauderdale's federal courthouse. "We call BS."
    The students also excoriated President Donald Trump and the National Rifle Association (NRA) for creating an environment in the United States where even the smallest gun control proposals come up against fierce resistance.
    "Shame on you!" the crowd chanted.
    Gonzalez also gave voice to a question many in the US have been asking since Wednesday's shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School: How did 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, a former student who was known to be mentally ill and exhibit erratic behavior, come to legally purchase an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle?
    FBI admits mistakes
    The FBI has admitted that it received two tips about Cruz, but failed to act. One came last September, when a man reported a disturbing comment left by someone named Nikolas Cruz on his YouTube channel. "I'm going to be a professional school shooter," the user proclaimed. The agency was unable to pinpoint the source of the comment.
    Then, in January, a person close to Cruz called the FBI with information about Cruz's firearms and disturbing behavior, but the agency failed to follow up on the tip. The FBI has acknowledged that the information should have been shared with its local office in Miami, where it could have been investigated.
    Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel has also said his office received more than 20 calls about Cruz in the past few years. At least two of these calls reportedly came from his own mother, before her death in November.
    Cruz's mental health was also a matter of public record, as he has been diagnosed with autism and ADHD and had undergone psychological evaluation by state authorities. However, he was able to pass a background check to purchase his AR-15, which despite being designed for military use is easier to get in Florida than a handgun.
    During her speech, Emma Gonzalez slammed the reasoning used by many conservative politicians that school shootings are usually the product of mental health issues and would not be prevented by tightened gun control laws.
    "He wouldn't have harmed that many students with a knife," she pointed out.
    Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of murder. According to police, he confessed to the crime while in custody.

    Video Report - #FloridaSchoolShooting - Don Lemon: Gun violence is a sickness

    Video Report - #FloridaSchoolShooting - Gun control rally held near Parkland school shooting

    How can a disturbed young man buy an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle before he's old enough to buy a beer?

    Arsenal: This picture shows the wide variety of weaponry owned by Nikolas Cruz - including an AR-15 - center and what appears to be a handgun on the right of the picture 
    Police investigates gun store where Nikolas Cruz purchased AR15
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  • Weak federal law on long-gun ownership has created an inconsistent system

  • In some states, like Florida, it is relatively simple to buy an AR-15 assault rifle 

  • No federal age restriction on buying a long-gun from an unlicensed dealer

  • Florida shooter Nikolas Cruz, 19, purchased his own AR-15 and killed 17 

  • After yet another mass shooting carried out using an AR-15, critics of the nation's uneven gun laws have called for change to a system which allows an American to buy an assault rifle before a beer.
    Indeed, following the rampage of Nikolas Cruz on Wednesday during which he killed 17 with a legally obtained weapon at a Florida high school, many are asking why a liquor store is stricter than a gun store?
    Federal law dictates that you have to be 21 to buy a handgun from a licensed dealer, but 18 to purchase one from an unlicensed dealer who operates online or at a registered gunshow.
    However, for long guns such as AR-15s and shotguns, while the federal age is 21, there is essentially no minimum age to legally buy one from an unlicensed dealer.
    Some gun-shy states such as California and New York impose their own stricter regulations ontop of the federal law, so even though they will sell hunting rifles to 16-year-olds, assault rifles such as the AR-15 are totally banned. But some states like Kentucky and Kansas do not bolster the bare federal law at all, meaning that legally it would be up to the conscience of the dealer to sell or not to sell to anyone old enough to exchange money and buy an AR-15. Despite the mishmash of gun laws across the nation according to the Giffords Law Center there are 30 states that have 18 as a minimum age to buy an AR-15.
    But of course the United States has a drinking age of 21, meaning that a teenager can legally arm himself with enough weaponry to kill 17 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, but to drink one can of beer is breaking the law.
    Furthermore, in Florida, a 21-year-old buying a handgun would have had to wait three-days for the weapon but could have picked up an assault rifle that afternoon.
    The only thing stopping the sale of the AR-15 to Cruz would have been if the dealer thought he was of 'unsound mind' or a criminal conviction for assault or domestic abuse.
    However, despite the FBI receiving two reports that Cruz was threatening a school shooting online, the teen was never placed on a watchlist.
    But that still may not have mattered, because in Florida, the stricest definition of the law says that anyone can buy an assault rifle unless 'adjudicated mentally defective or involuntarily committed by a judge'. The family of Cruz knew he kept a small arsenal and according to their attorney Jim Lewis, he was forced by them to keep it under lock and key.
    And Peter Forcelli the special agent in charge for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Miami added that all the weapons Cruz purchased were bought legally.
    'No laws were violated in the procurement of this weapon', said Forcelli according to the New York Times.

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    #Pakistan - Tackling child sexual abuse: awareness, identification and prevention

    Child sexual abuse is a critical issue that we need to be discussing in schools and at home.
    These articles have been produced in partnership with Aahung, a non-profit organisation that has been working since 1994 to improve sexual and reproductive health and rights of people in Pakistan.
    Aahung works extensively on child sexual abuse through its Life Skills Based Education curriculum implemented in about 400 primary and secondary schools around the country.
    The organisation works closely with teachers and caregivers on helping children stay safe and runs media campaigns to raise awareness.

    Following is an account, as told to Sadia Khatri, by two para-counsellors who teach grades 4 and 5 in Karachi and have implemented Aahung’s Life Skills curriculum at their school.

    There are certain topics that are difficult for children to broach – the most glaring of these is child sexual abuse. But, in the past year we have noticed a shift.
    Students are becoming more vocal and are sharing their problems, both with teachers and with each other. On several occasions, students have approached us on another’s behalf.
    In 2016, our school introduced Life Skills, a single-period class dedicated to discussing a range of social and psychological issues, including gender inequality and bullying.
    Within Life Skills, we have been able to raise a conversation about child sexual abuse.
    We want to remove misconceptions around the issue of abuse, equip children how to defend themselves, and teach them how to say “No”.
    In situations where abuse is occurring, we want to encourage them to speak up about it by assuring them that there is nothing immoral about the topic.
    We started off by accommodating Life Skills during our 20-minute assembly. This proved difficult. There were too many students – we have 300 in each class – and not enough time. We had to restructure the whole programme to run it smoothly.
    Now, Life Skills is a slotted period in each grade – so the children know it is part of their time table, they are familiar with the teacher who takes their class, and they know exactly what to anticipate during the discussion.
    The first step of the programme is to build a relationship with the students based on comfort and trust. We assure them that the conversations will remain confidential.
    Before initiating the topic of abuse, we segregate the children, sending either all the boys or all the girls to art class.
    This is because there are some differences in how we contextualise the lessons, especially when talking about the body.
    It is also because children open up more when they are in the company of their own gender.
    We start by establishing the fact that there is nothing immoral in talking about abuse. It can happen anywhere, with anyone. Some of us also experienced abuse when we were children.
    If any of the students are in an unsafe situation, we encourage them to tell their parents.
    We assure them that their parents will understand and support them, and that we are available to intervene if necessary.
    At first, children hesitate: “We don’t have any issues, Miss. We have no problems.”
    But once one or two children speak up, others begin to open up as well.
    We try to create an open and safe space where they can share anything. We have to keep reminding them: our goal here is not to create fuss about your issues, or to report them anywhere.
    Our goal is to help you relax and feel better. We explain to them how some problems can be resolved just by sharing them – how speaking up can be therapeutic.
    Of course, not all children are comfortable verbalising their issues. To be inclusive, one of our activities involves handing out pieces of paper on which they can write down their thoughts.
    We want to give them a healthy outlet. Sometimes just writing on paper is a healthy way to vent.
    If they wish to share these with the teacher, they may; otherwise they are encouraged to tear up the papers and throw them away.
    The idea here is to solidify trust by assuring children that they will not be forced to do anything.
    Some incidents occur on the streets and at tuition centres but we have found that most abuse occurs in home spaces.
    Last week, a girl confided to us in writing. She had been undergoing abuse by her cousin, who came to take care of her while her mother was away. With the girl’s consent, we offered to mediate and called in her mother.
    At first, the mother was shocked. This is a common reaction – parents often find these revelations hard to believe. Sometimes they react with strong opposition, claiming that we are mistaken.
    Before initiating Life Skills, we held information sessions for all parents, to ensure that we had their support.
    Even though they were all on board and had given their consent, when it comes to confronting the truth, not all of them want to accept that their child is in danger.
    In their minds, abuse is immoral. The log kya kahein ge [what will people say]? mentality feeds their worry – they fear for their reputation in society, and if the child is a girl, they fear for her future.
    We have to assure parents that the matter will stay confidential, and that our greatest concern is their child’s safety. Eventually, they come around.
    In the case of the mother last week, she believed us only once we showed her the child’s handwritten note. She could not believe that it was happening in her house.
    Since then, she has become much more alert. Now she takes the child with her everywhere.
    Since we usually live in close-knit neighbourhoods, it’s rare for parents to confront their child’s abuser. Their intervention is limited to heightening their child’s safety – as with this mother, who cannot say anything to her child’s abuser because they are part of the same family.
    Once, another mother said to us: “I can only ensure my child’s safety. You have no idea what will happen if I take a public stand. If I accuse the abuser, he will unleash a storm in my home.”
    Often children themselves are afraid of their parents. Given the gap in communication between parents and children, their fear is not misplaced.
    It starts early on. When children start asking questions about changes in their body, they are either dismissed or given a nonsensical answer, or their prying is treated as something immoral.
    Then there is the manner in which we talk about sex. When a child is born in the family, parents offer different, misleading explanations: one says the child came in a basket, the other says it was dropped off in the night.
    Being children, they obviously consult each other and realise there are discrepancies – this heightens their curiosity and makes room for even more misleading information.
    Parents’ dismissal builds mistrust, and children do not feel fully comfortable discussing everything around them.
    A supportive outlet is shut off, and as a result, children going through trauma or abuse feel even more insecure.
    Their mental health deteriorates and they fear admonishment from their parents. Often they begin to internalise guilt and blame themselves, afraid that if their parents find out, they will be held responsible.
    There are several changes that parents must make in their behaviour.
    First, they need to talk openly with their children, and resist the impulse to sweep sensitive topics under the carpet.
    Second, parents must stay informed and involved in their children’s day-to-day activities.
    You should know where your child is going and with whom they are spending their time.
    One way to solidify trust is to create a habit. For example, ask your child how their day went before they go to sleep at night.
    Your child might not always have a lot to share, but at least they will realise that there is space for them to speak to you.
    Once they know that you care, they will begin to feel safe discussing anything with you.
    Lastly, believe your children. Your child should feel confident confiding in you.
    They should not approach you with the fear of admonishment, but with the conviction that they will be believed.
    Implementing the Life Skills programme has not been a smooth process. Selecting teachers is the key challenge.
    When the course was introduced, many teachers were initially hesitant taking it on and felt the content was too sensitive.
    Untrained teachers cannot run these classes, so all of us first have to undergo training by Aahung.
    But workshops aside, teachers first need to have the confidence that is required to discuss abuse.
    They need to be emotionally well-equipped to talk to children. This is not always the case.
    Some female teachers have trouble with boys. Others, who had received the training, backed off when it was time to deliver.
    We are six teachers handling grades 4 and 5. There are also teachers who run Life Skills sessions at the secondary school. At least through our efforts, some of the children are now safe.
    But the process does not end there. Children can be fragile even after they are out of danger. Sometimes you have to provide extra care.
    For example, there is a girl who often shows up out of nowhere to see us. We know she has been through abuse, so we never turn her away.
    Sometimes she wants to share something simple – nothing related to her trauma. But we know that she is seeking comfort and that it is important for her to be listened to.
    Furthermore, we have to ensure that students who have experienced abuse feel safe in their new classes.
    If they have a trusting relationship with a particular teacher, we try to adjust their class so they don’t have to deal with anyone new.
    At the beginning of the school year, there was a student who refused to sit in her new class. When we placed her back with her former teacher, she calmed down again.
    Delivering the Life Skills workshops can be a challenging experience, but the teachers who have been implementing the programme have seen how vital and transformative it can be for children who are being abused or are survivors of abuse.

    If you have been a victim of sexual abuse, you can contact the following organisations for counselling: AahungRozanSahilMadadgaar

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