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Thousands rally across the US to demand tighter gun laws

Gorkha Post

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PARKLAND — Tens of thousands of Americans have gathered across the country at March For Our Lives rallies on Saturday to demand tighter gun laws, led by survivors of last month’s Florida school massacre.

Students from the Parkland, Florida, high school where 17 people were killed on February 14 called on politicians and US President Donald Trump to confront the issue.

One of 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.”

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The protests aim to break a legislative gridlock that has long stymied efforts to increase restrictions on firearms sales in a nation where mass shootings at schools and colleges have become a frighteningly frequent occurrence.

Organisers said as many as 500,000 people were expected to demonstrate near the Capitol in Washington and call on Congress to fight gun violence.

“I don’t want any child to be seen as another statistic,” Ashley Schlaeger, an 18-year-old freshman at Ohio State University who drove to the Washington rally with friends, said.

Parkland student Emma Gonzalez also addressed the masses.

“Six minutes and about 20 seconds. In a little over six minutes, 17 of our friends were taken from us, 15 were injured and everyone, absolutely everyone in the Douglas community, was forever altered,” she said.

With Reuters Inputs

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China conduct live fire drill along southeast coastline

Thompson Reuters

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BEIJING — China’s military has conducted live-fire drills along the southeast coastline, state television reported, but it was unclear if these were the same exercises that had been flagged as taking place in the sensitive Taiwan Strait.

The government had said the drills would happen on Wednesday off the city of Quanzhou, in between two groups of islands close to China’s coast but that Taiwan has controlled since 1949 when defeated Nationalist forces fled to the island at the end of the Chinese civil war.

Chinese state media has said the drills were a direct response to “provocations” by Taiwan leaders related to what China fears are moves to push for the self-ruled island’s formal independence. China claims Taiwan as its sacred territory.

Late on Wednesday, Chinese state television showed footage of helicopters firing missiles during an exercise it said was happening on China’s southeast coast.

State television only showed pictures of helicopters, with no mention of ships or other military equipment such as tanks or amphibious assault vehicles.

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The exercises took place from 8 a.m. (0000GMT) until midnight, the report said, giving the same time frame for the previously announced drills in the Taiwan Strait.

The Defence Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the exercise, and whether it was the same ones previously reported to be happening in the Taiwan Strait.

Taiwan on Wednesday denounced the exercises, saying Beijing was using “cheap verbal intimidation and saber rattling” to threaten the island.

Taiwan is one of China’s most sensitive issues and a potential military flashpoint. China has ramped up military exercises around Taiwan in the past year, including flying bombers around the island.

Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said on Wednesday afternoon two Chinese H-6K bombers had flown around the island, passing first through the Miyako Strait to Taiwan’s northeast and then back to base via the Bashi Channel between Taiwan and the Philippines.

The latest Chinese military movements come during a time of heightened tension between Beijing and the island and follows strong warnings by Chinese President Xi Jinping against Taiwan separatism last month.

China claims Taiwan as its own and considers it a breakaway province.

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