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Over 200 black bears killed in US

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Miami: More than 200 black bears were killed in the first day of an authorised hunt in Florida, a state where hunting the animals was banned for 21 years, officials said.

A total of 207 bears were killed on Saturday, the first day of the seven-day season, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, or FWC, said on Sunday.

Hunters killed nearly two-thirds of the maximum of 320 black bears authorised by the FWC for the entire state of Florida in just one day.

The limits were reached in two of the four districts approved for hunting in the first day of the hunt and no more bears would be allowed to be killed in those areas.

Hunting will continue on Sunday in the southern and northern parts of the state.

Environmentalists and animal rights groups oppose the planned hunt, which the FWC justified on the grounds that black bears had become a nuisance in many areas, attacking people and pets, and scavenging for food around homes.

The FWC said hunting would be allowed for at least two days, with officials evaluating the results on the third day before deciding whether to continue or call off the one-week hunt.

Officials estimate that about 3,100 bears live in Florida, with the animals moving into areas where they did not have a presence in the past.

Some 1,900 hunters obtained permits from the FWC, raising concerns among environmentalists that the hunt would get out of control.

The permits, which allow hunters to kill only one bear, cost just $100 for Florida residents and $300 for non-residents.

The hunt will stabilise Florida’s bear population, which was nearly wiped out in the 20th century and has recovered from about 300 animals in 1974 to 3,100 today, making the big predators a conservation success story, the FWC said.

Conservation groups and animal rights organisations criticised the hunt but were unable to keep the 1994 ban on bear hunting in place.

(IANS)

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Trump meets Florida school shooting survivors, suggests arming teachers

The President also called for more mental institutions and hospitals in addition to the idea of arming teachers

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The President also called for more mental institutions and hospitals in addition to the idea of arming teachers.
The President also called for more mental institutions and hospitals in addition to the idea of arming teachers. Wikimedia Commons

US President Donald Trump met survivors and families of the victims that were killed in the Florida school shooting and suggested that teachers and staff members should be provided with arms to avert such massacres, the media reported.

Trump’s comment came during a White House “listening session” on Wednesday which was attended by families and students including six survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a 19-year-old man Nikolas Cruz armed with an assault rifle killed 17 people on February 14, reports CNN.

The event brought Trump face-to-face with students and parents who have demanded action on gun violence.

“If you had a teacher who was adept with the firearm, they could end the attack very quickly,” he said, stating that schools could arm up to 20 per cent of their teachers to stop “maniacs” who may try and attack them.

Also Read: Is Donald Trump’s presidency turning out to be a reward for Trump Jr.?

“This would be obviously only for people who were very adept at handling a gun, and it would be, it’s called concealed carry, where a teacher would have a concealed gun on them. They’d go for special training and they would be there and you would no longer have a gun-free zone,” Trump said. “Gun-free zone to a maniac — because they’re all cowards — a gun-free zone is ‘let’s go in and let’s attack because bullets aren’t coming back at us’.”

The event brought Trump face-to-face with students and parents who have demanded action on gun violence.
The event brought Trump face-to-face with students and parents who have demanded action on gun violence. Wikimedia Commons

Acknowledging that the idea was controversial, Trump said that his administration would give it serious study.

The President also called for more mental institutions and hospitals in addition to the idea of arming teachers.

Trump’s idea of arming teachers and school staff was met with support from many of the attendees, CNN reported.

Fred Abt, the father of Parkland shooting survivor Carson Abt, said he had discussed with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos that rather than waiting for first responders to arrive, it would be more efficient to have firearms locked on school campuses.

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“One possible solution, which may not be very popular, would be to have people in the school, teachers, administrators who have volunteered to have a firearm safely locked in the classroom who are given training throughout the year,” he said.

“There are plenty of teachers who are already licensed to carry firearms, have them raise their hands to volunteer for the training, and when something like this starts, the first responders are already on campus.

Andrew Pollack, a father of one of the 17 victims who died in the Florida shooting, said he was speaking because his daughter couldn’t.

“We as a country failed our children…

This shouldn’t happen.”

The President, flanked by the students, went around the room and shook hands before commencing the session.

Also Read: DACA is a Bold Welcome Step by President Trump

Trump also later tweeted he would “always remember” the event, adding “we must keep our children safe”.

“I will always remember the time I spent today with courageous students, teachers and families,” he tweeted, along with a link to the full event.

“So much love in the midst of so much pain. We must not let them down. We must keep our children safe!!” (IANS)

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