A survivor of the Florida shooting has denied he is a “crisis actor” after Donald Trump Jr appeared to endorse an article which labelled the student a “Trump-hater”.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High student David Hogg, who witnessed the massacre in which 17 students and teachers were killed, is one of a number of youngsters to have called for tougher gun control laws in the wake of the latest mass shooting at a US school.
Directly addressing Donald Trump during an interview with Sky News in the aftermath of the massacre, the 17-year-old told the President to “realise the true gravity of the situation”.
Since then he and several of his classmates have continued to speak out, notably Emma Gonzalez, who questioned the $30m Mr Trump’s election campaign received from the National Rifle Association.
The students have become the subject of online conspiracy theories which claim they are working for a group that travel across the country planting “actors” at the scene of crises.
On Tuesday, the President’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr, ‘liked’ a tweet linking to an article which claimed Mr Hogg was an “outspoken Trump-hater” who should have told his father, a retired FBI agent, that he knew the Florida gunman “would snap”.
It added: “Oh but wait, his father was in the FBI. It would not have mattered anyway.
“That’s the funny thing about the limelight, kid. Often the lights can come crashing down on your head.”
Speaking to CNN, Mr Hogg said it was “disturbing” that Mr Trump Jr had appeared to endorse the claim.
He said: “I’m not a crisis actor. I’m someone who had to witness this and live through this and I continue to be having to do that.
“I’m not acting on anyone’s behalf. Unlike the people who are tweeting that stuff about me and my dad, I haven’t lost hope in America and my dad hasn’t either.”
Republican Florida Senator Marco Rubio is among those to have come to the students’ defence, describing the claims against them as “the work of a disgusting group of idiots with no sense of decency”.
Students and teachers who survived the shooting will meet the President at the White House on Wednesday to discuss ways of improving school safety and addressing gun violence.
On Tuesday, Mr Trump signed an order recommending a ban on bump stock gun modifications, and is said to be supportive of proposals to improve background checks.
But Florida’s House of Representatives has voted down a motion to take up a bill that would ban assault rifles by 36-71, despite gun owners campaigning to prevent civilians from possessing such weapons.
According to a Quinnipac University poll, voters support stricter gun laws by 66% to 31%
Tiger Woods was unaware of his ‘grave’ injuries after car crash, says first officer on scene | US News
Tiger Woods did not appear to be “aware of how gravely he was injured” after his car crash in California, the first officer on the scene has said.
The 45-year-old golf star suffered serious leg injuries when his car hit a kerb and then a tree before rolling several times on the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes in Los Angeles on Tuesday morning.
No other cars were involved.
Carlos Gonzalez, a deputy from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, told NBC News he arrived within minutes of a 911 call from a member of the public.
Asked if Woods was aware of his injuries, the officer said: “He didn’t mention anything. I don’t think he was aware of how gravely he was injured at the time.
“It could be a mixture of adrenaline. It could have been shock.
“Again, it was very quick – the moment I arrived from the moment he rolled over – so I don’t know if he had time to fully assess his injuries.”
Woods’s 2021 Genesis SUV was found 12m (40ft) from the road. Aerial footage showed the car on its side, with its front end heavily damaged and its airbags deployed.
Asked if Woods was saying anything at that point, the officer replied: “He wasn’t. I saw his eyes, because it was dark in there, and my first role as a first responder is to assess the passenger, the occupants of the vehicle, and I want to keep them calm as well.”
He asked Woods if he could tell him his first name: “He looked at me and he said, ‘Tiger’.”
“It took me a half second, but I saw his face and I thought, oh yeah, you’re Tiger Woods,” continued the officer.
He asked the sportsman questions to assess his physical and mental state.
“He seemed calm. He didn’t seem like he was in distress, and he was able to kind of talk to me a little bit,” the officer said.
“I noticed the passenger compartment seemed mostly in tact and he didn’t seem like he was in any further danger.
“I did consider pulling him out myself, but I decided it would be better to wait for the fire departments since they have the specialised tools and training to remove people safely from vehicles like that.”
Carlos Gonzalez said earlier that Woods was “very fortunate” to survive the crash.
Authorities investigating the incident have said there is no evidence Woods was impaired at the time.
Asked if a toxicology report was ordered at the scene, the officer said he was “unaware” of one.
“At the scene we are looking for evidence of intoxication, like if there is an odour of an alcoholic beverage or if there is an open container, or prescription medication.
“At this time we didn’t see any evidence of impairment, and anything beyond that, in terms of medical or toxicology, I wouldn’t be aware at this time.”
He suggested Woods’s injuries may have been more severe if he had not been wearing a seat belt.
“This accident was traumatic in many ways. There is a lot of energy that went into the speeds that made the vehicle travel the distances that it did, the fact that it rolled, the injuries that Mr Woods sustained, and I’ve seen collisions that didn’t look as serious where the occupants were injured much more severely,” he said.
“I think that is a testament to the fact that he was wearing a seat belt, the airbags worked as intended and modern vehicles are much more safe than they used to be.”
Woods, a 15-time major champion, was cut free from the vehicle and rushed to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center where he underwent significant surgery and is recovering from his injuries.
A statement from his TGR foundation said he is “currently awake, responsive and recovering in his hospital room”.
The officer added: “I have a lot of sympathy for Mr Woods because I’m sure he’s going through something traumatic and I’m sure he’s going through a lot of pain, so I’m hoping for a speedy recovery for him.”
Ex-Syrian agent convicted by German court in landmark torture trial | World News
A former member of Syrian president Bashar al Assad’s secret police has been sentenced by a German court to four-and-a-half years in jail for facilitating the torture of prisoners.
Human rights activists hope the landmark ruling will set a precedent for other cases connected to the 10-year-old Syrian civil war.
Eyad al Gharib was convicted of accessory to crimes against humanity and sentenced by the Koblenz state court.
It was the first time that a court outside Syria had ruled in a case alleging Syrian government officials committed crimes against humanity.
The court heard Gharib had arrested at least 30 anti-government protesters at the start of the conflict in 2011 and sent them to an intelligence facility where he knew detainees were tortured.
The verdict gives hope to the 800,000 Syrians in Germany who say they were tortured in government facilities after attempts to establish an international tribunal for Syria failed.
Gharib’s lawyers had asked for an acquittal, saying he had carried out the arrests in and around Damascus under duress by his superiors.
The 44-year-old had asked the court to consider him a witness in broader legal efforts against the Syrian government.
Syrian government officials did not testify during the trial and the Assad regime has denied it tortures prisoners.
“This is an important step forward in the process of securing accountability for the Syrian government’s systematic use of torture against civilians,” said Steve Kostas, a lawyer with the Open Society Foundation’s Justice Initiative, which is representing Syrian plaintiffs.
Syrian human rights lawyer Anwar al Bunni said the unprecedented verdict would speed up efforts to bring charges against former members of the Syrian government suspected of war crimes who have fled to Europe.
He said: “History has been made. The first verdict against a member of the Syrian regime’s torture and murder machine is a verdict against the whole regime, not just against one individual.
“It gives hope that justice is possible.”
The same court will continue hearings in the case of a second suspect, a former intelligence officer charged with 58 murders in a Damascus prison where prosecutors say at least 4,000 opposition activists were tortured in 2011 and 2012.
COVID-19: Ghana receives 600,000 free vaccine doses as part of global scheme | World News
A flight carrying 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine has arrived in Ghana as part of a global effort to immunise the world’s poorest people.
The delivery comes eight months after the launch of the COVAX initiative – the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) sharing scheme which is aimed at ensuring global vaccine equity.
The shots will be used to kick-start a vaccination drive that will prioritise frontline health workers and others at high risk, according to a plan presented by Ghanaian health officials.
“This is a momentous occasion, as the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines into Ghana is critical in bringing the pandemic to an end,” Anne-Claire Dufay of UNICEF Ghana, and WHO country representative, Francis Kasolo, said in a statement.
“These 600,000 COVAX vaccines are part of an initial tranche of deliveries.”
They added the shots paid for by the scheme and produced by the Serum Institute of India will “represent part of the first wave of COVID vaccines headed to several low and middle-income countries”.
The roll-out in Ghana is a milestone for the initiative that is trying to narrow a politically sensitive gap between the millions of people being vaccinated in wealthier countries and the comparatively few who have received shots in less-developed parts of the world.
The scheme aims to deliver a total of 2.3 billion doses by the end of the year, including 1.8 billion to poorer countries at no cost to their governments.
Although it hopes to cover up to 20% of countries’ populations, it will not be sufficient for nations to reach herd immunity and effectively contain the spread of the virus.
The African Union (AU) has been trying to help its 55 member states buy more doses in a push to immunise 60% of the continent’s 1.3 billion people over three years.
China has donated small batches of its Sinopharm vaccine to countries including Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea.
Russia has offered to supply 300 million doses of its Sputnik V vaccine to the AU scheme along with a financing package.
But many countries are largely reliant on COVAX.
On Tuesday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged wealthy nations to share vaccine doses with COVAX, saying the goal of equitable distribution was “in jeopardy”.
Boris Johnson has said the UK will share the majority of its surplus COVID-19 vaccines with COVAX, but has not said how many.
CIA nominee Burns calls China an ‘authoritarian adversary’
Brexiteer John Redwood issues warning to Rishi Sunak: ‘Tax rises will backfire horribly’
Biden admin sending 25M masks to community centers, food pantries in bid to help the poor
Tech pessimism founded on ‘real concerns’
'Dear Britain, we envy you!' German newspaper congratulates UK in bitter attack on Merkel
Public support for Covid vaccines rises but skepticism remains: study
EU free movement on brink as France begs Germany to open borders: 'People need to work!'
Klarna CEO ‘deeply worried’ about tweets promoting BTC
Tony Blair's sneaky plot to adopt euro even after it was panned – new explosive revelation
Fed Chair Powell testifies before House panel
World1 week ago
Dow futures up 180 points as stocks look to add to record levels
Politics2 days ago
Biden marks 500,000 Covid-19 deaths with poignant address to the nation
Politics1 week ago
Trump’s impeachment trial shows why Presidents Day should only honor Washington
Politics2 days ago
End in sight! Boris to unveil major changes to UK lockdown – PM to address nation in hours
World1 week ago
Epic Games files EU antitrust complaint against Apple over App Store
Politics2 days ago
Not good enough! Fury as Boris told £23m crisis Brexit fishing fund adds insult to injury
Politics1 week ago
EU scared of Brexit Britain as UK proves worthy competitor after vaccine rollout success
World1 week ago
Targeting Dubai? Saudi Arabia’s ultimatum to pull HQ offices to kingdom