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US saw 204 mass shootings in 2015: Report

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Washington:  As yet another mass shooting in the US put the spotlight back on the contentious issue of gun control, media reports said that there have been 204 mass shootings in as many days in 2015 so far. President_Obama_Speaks_on_the_Shooting_in_Connecticut_(2012-12-14)

Thursday night’s shooting by a white man at a Lafayette, Louisiana, movie theatre showing the comedy “Trainwreck”, that left two women killed and nine injured was the third deadly mass shooting in six weeks.

The alleged shooter John Russell “Rusty” Houser, 59, using a handgun he legally purchased from an Alabama pawn shop methodically shot 11 people by firing off one 10-round clip, according to Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craig.

“This was slow and methodical,” as the State’s Indian-American Governor Bobby Jindal put it. “This was not a single burst.”

The Mass Shooting Tracker, a crowd-sourced project of the anti-gun folks at the Guns Are Cool subreddit, according to the Washington Post, had listed 203 mass shooting events so far in 2015 before the Louisiana movie theatre shooting.

This year there were 18 mass shootings in April, 39 in May, 41 in June, and 34 so far in July, the Post said.

The theatre shooting was Louisiana’s eighth this year. There have been 10 in Ohio, 14 in California and 16 in New York.

“Will anything change?” the Post asked and itself answered “Probably not” noting the reaction to the shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, where a white young man shot and killed nine black worshipers at a historic church.

It “did produce a fruitful national conversation — not on guns, but on the symbolism of the Confederate flag, which the shooter adopted as a banner of his racist beliefs,” the Post noted.

“The morning after the third deadly mass shooting in six weeks, the presidential candidates acted as though they hadn’t seen the news,” the New York Times suggested looking at their reactions.

Though most denounced the shootings and called for prayers for the victims, “none of the presidential contenders offered policy solutions to address gun violence”, it noted describing it as a “reflection of the fact that gun laws are politically radioactive”.

Even “Jindal, who is mounting a long-shot candidacy for the Republican nomination, completely deflected questions on tougher gun laws, saying he would talk about ‘policy and politics’ another time”, Times said.

The leading Republican presidential candidates are overwhelmingly opposed to any effort to restrict access to guns, it noted.

The Democratic hopefuls have proposed gun control measures, but they too have been generally more focused on issues of economics, race and gender than gun violence, according to the Times.

Although President Barack Obama said this week that the failure to convince Congress to pass “commonsense gun safety laws” was one of the great regrets of his presidency, Times said “Congress is unlikely to close any of the loopholes in federal gun laws exposed by the recent shootings”.

(IANS)

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China, US Set To Take Action Against Each Other

US business executives are now bracing for further retaliation from China due to Meng's arrest

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President Donald Trump with China's President Xi Jinping during their bilateral meeting, Dec. 1, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. VOA

China and the US are set to take action against each other as tensions escalate over trade, cyber hacking and espionage as senior American law enforcement officials identified Beijing as the most serious threat to Washington’s national security, officials said.

China’s methods of non-traditional espionage, including their use of ordinary Chinese expatriates instead of spies at universities and businesses, and intellectual property theft, were explained by the officials from the FBI and Departments of Justice and Homeland Security who briefed US lawmakers on Wednesday, CNN reported.

“As the US proceeds a whole of society response to this threat, we must address the vulnerabilities within our system while preserving our values and the open, free and fair principles that have made us thrive,” E.W. Priestap, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Assistant Director of Counter-intelligence told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“What hangs in the balance is not just the future of the US, but the future of the world.”

The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) top national security official told lawmakers on Wednesday the administration was reacting to China’s “steadily increasing” economic espionage activity, which costs the US an estimated $225 billion a year.

From 2011 to 2018, more than 90 per cent of the DOJ’s cases alleging economic espionage by a state have involved China, and more than two-thirds of trade secret thefts have a nexus to China, Assistant Attorney General John Demers said.

Donald Trump, democrats, government,, pakistan
U.S. President Donald Trump. VOA

“From underwater drones and autonomous vehicles to critical chemical compounds and inbred corn seeds, China has targeted advanced technology across sectors that align with China’s publicly announced strategic goals,” Demers said. “The play book is simple: rob, replicate and replace.”

Priestap and his colleagues testified hours after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed in an interview with Fox News that the US believes Beijing was behind the massive cyber-attack on the Marriott hotel chain, CNN reported.

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that the assault was part of a broader Chinese operation that also targeted health insurers and the security clearance files of millions of Americans.

Also Read- Bug Spotted in Microsoft Office 365, Outlook

Those disclosures came a day after President Donald Trump said that he would be willing to use Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Meng Wanzhou who was arrested in Canada for violating US sanctions on Iran as a bargaining chip in his trade war with Beijing, which for now is in a 90-day pause.

A Canadian judge on Tuesday night granted Meng a $7.5 million bail, while she awaits extradition to the US.

US business executives are now bracing for further retaliation from China due to Meng’s arrest. (IANS)