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Florida House Votes Not To Ban Assault Weapons [Video]

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Days after 17 people were killed in a Florida high school shooting, the state’s House overwhelmingly voted not to ban assault weapons, effectively halting the measure this session.  

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were in the gallery when lawmakers voted 36-71 against a motion to consider banning assault weapons and large capacity magazines. 

Police say the 19-year-old arrested in connection with the shooting used an AR-15 rifle.

The news comes as President Donald Trump announced he directed Attorney General Jeff Sessions to ban “all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns.” That would include bump stocks, which make it easier to fire rounds more quickly. 

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN

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Palestinian Leader Doesn't Want US To Lead Peace Process [Video]

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The Palestinian Authority president says the U.S. can’t go it alone anymore with the peace process between his people and the Israelis.

Mahmoud Abbas told the United Nations Security Council the U.S. has a pro-Israel bias and should stop leading peace negotiations. Instead, Abbas wants a new multination conference to jump-start the long-stalled peace talks and recognize a Palestinian state.

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner joined U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley to hear Abbas’ speech. Kushner has been leading the White House’s efforts to create a new Middle East peace plan for months, but there’s no firm timetable for its release just yet.

But Palestinians are skeptical of President Donald Trump’s commitment to the peace process. He decided to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel into the contested city of Jerusalem and slash funding for a Palestinian refugee agency.

And Kushner himself has been scrutinized for the extensive financial ties between his family’s businesses and Israel. Critics argue those connections affect Kushner’s ability to be impartial in negotiations.

After Abbas spoke, he left and missed the rest of the speeches, something the Israeli and U.S. ambassadors to the U.N. didn’t like.

Even though Abbas wasn’t there, Haley still addressed him during her speech, saying: “Our negotiators are sitting right behind me, ready to talk. But we will not chase after you.”

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Trump Tells Jeff Sessions To Try To Ban Bump Stocks And Similar Items [Video]

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President Donald Trump announced he directed Jeff Sessions to look into banning bump stocks and similar devices. 

“Moments ago, I signed a memorandum directing the attorney general to propose regulations to ban all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns,” Trump said.

In October, the Las Vegas shooter used a bump stock to increase the fire rate of his weapons.

It’s illegal for private citizens to own fully automatic guns made after 1986.

A bump stock effectively turns a semi-automatic — or single-fire weapon — into a rapid-fire weapon by making the gun “bump” against the shooter’s shoulder and trigger finger. 

Trump said he’s meeting with governors next week to discuss ways to keep students safe following the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. 

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1 number that explains the total madness of gun politics [Video]

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That’s the percentage of people in a new Quinnipiac University national poll who say they support “requiring background checks for all gun buyers.”
If you asked people whether water is wet, you might not get 97% of them to say that it is. 
Democrats (99%), Republicans (97%), independents (98%), men (96%), women (98%), 18- to 34-year-olds (99%) and those 65+ (98%) all overwhelmingly support making a background check a requirement for anyone trying to purchase a gun.
And yet, attempts to provide legislative fixes to some of the issues with the background check system have run aground in years past.
The biggest failure came in 2013, following the murder of more than two dozen people, including schoolchildren, in late 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School. A bill that would have expanded background checks failed to gain the 60 votes required in the Senate. Ditto a bipartisan compromise bill offered by Sens. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, and Pat Toomey, R-Pennsylvania.
In 2017, following a shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, along with Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, offered legislation that would force states to comply with regulations for updating the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. It went nowhere.
That bill appears to have gained a second life over the weekend, with President Donald Trump seemingly signaling support for it — or something very like it.
If past is prologue, however, you would be right to be leery that last week’s shooting in Parkland, Florida — and even the outspoken calls to action from students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School — will prompt significant action from Congress.
Which is, if you stop and think about it, totally baffling.  
Politicians are in the business of getting re-elected every two or six years. One way to do that is to take actions that are broadly popular with the public. And you don’t get much more popular than 97% of people supporting something — like requiring background checks.
So why doesn’t anything get done?  Because of the National Rifle Association’s striking success in selling the slippery slope argument. The NRA has convinced its members — and the many members of Congress the organization donates to — that allowing any sort of movement toward more gun control is an inevitable step to someone from the government coming along to collect your guns.
The Point: The all-or-nothing dynamic that has dominated gun politics for the past two-plus decades ill serves a public that clearly is able to differentiate between gun collection and requiring background checks. It’s a depressing reality of our politics.

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Why Thomas Friedman issued a 'code red' warning to America [Video]

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In tweetstorm, Trump goes after everyone but Russia

In tweetstorm, Trump goes after everyone but Russia

Thomas Friedman doesn’t scare easily.

The New York Times op-ed columnist is best known for his sober columns about foreign policy and technology.

That’s why his Monday column stood out. “Our democracy is in serious danger,” he wrote in the opening line. “President Trump is either totally compromised by the Russians or is a towering fool, or both, but either way he has shown himself unwilling or unable to defend America against a Russian campaign to divide and undermine our democracy.”

There was something about his last paragraph, in particular, that struck a chord. “This is code red,” he wrote. “The biggest threat to the integrity of our democracy today is in the Oval Office.”

Friedman’s column lit up on social media when it was posted on NYTimes.com on Sunday night. Thirty six hours later, it is still No. 1 on the site’s “most emailed articles” list. It is also No. 1 on the site’s “most shared articles on Facebook” list. There have been more than 2,700 comments so far.

“That’s a personal record,” Friedman told CNN.

He said he was taken aback by the intensity of the reactions.

After all, his column normally appears in print on Wednesdays. This was just a bonus column for the web. He just felt compelled to write it after Trump went on a tweetstorm over the weekend.

“Not my day. Not in print. And it may be the most widely circulated column I’ve ever written,” Friedman said.

He titled the column “Whatever Trump Is Hiding Is Hurting All of Us Now.”

Friedman felt compelled to write it on Sunday morning while driving from Washington to Baltimore for a golf lesson. On the drive, he said he was thinking about Trump’s Twitter reaction to the newest indictments in Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation.

He said “there was something in Trump’s reaction to Mueller that was deeply off.” He called it “so unpresidential, it was frightening.”

Trump’s erratic tweets had assailed the FBI, the media, Democrats — but not Moscow. “To me, it really crossed a line,” Friedman said. While Trump has “broken many norms as president,” these tweets were different. “He’s no longer violating norms of the presidency, he’s actually violating his oath to defend and protect the Constitution.”

“Mueller told us the core of our democracy — our electoral system — had been attacked by Russia,” Friedman added. “And Trump was focused exclusively on what Mueller’s report said, or did not say, about him.”

So he emailed a paragraph-long pitch to Times op-ed editor Jim Dao and editorial page editor James Bennet — saying he had to write a column, just for the web, to express himself — something he’s done from time to time. “Hey, go for it,” was the response from the editors, he said.

Later in the day, back at home, he wrote the column in an unusually speedy two hours and ten minutes. “What I’ve learned as a columnist over the years is, when you write the right column at the right time, articulating a feeling that many people have but maybe didn’t know quite how to express, you can get a big reaction,” he said, adding, “This doesn’t happen very often.”

James Fallows of The Atlantic tweeted that the piece was “remarkable, and admirable.” Frank Rich of New York magazine called it the “most uncompromising column of Tom Friedman’s career.”

David Corn of Mother Jones responded to Rich and said “Friedman is too late. Some of us have been saying this for a year and a half. Some of us warned of this before the election. Now he is merely stating the obvious.”

But that’s “what’s interesting” about the column, Jim Edwards, founding editor of Business Insider UK, tweeted: “It simply describes the big picture in plain English, which many of us forget to do.”

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Eduardo Padró — A Witness Of The Criminal Justice System [Video]

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By Newsy Staff
February 20, 2018

The U.S. criminal justice system affects people from almost every walk of life. Newsy has partnered with The Marshall Project to share a series of stories about the criminal justice system and how it impacts average Americans. Here, Eduardo Padró shares his story.

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Army awards medals to students killed in Florida shooting [Video]

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Watch CNN’s town hall “Stand Up: The Students of Stoneman Douglas Demand Action” live on Wednesday, February 21, at 9 p.m. ET on CNN TV and CNNGo.
Alaina Petty, Peter Wang and Martin Duque, all students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, were also cadets in the school’s Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program and will receive the Medal of Heroism for their actions in last Wednesday’s shooting.
Petty’s family was presented with her medal at her funeral service Monday, and Wang’s family was due to receive his medal at his service Tuesday morning, where Wang was to be buried in his JROTC uniform, according to Army spokesman Michael Maddox.
“The JROTC Heroism medal will be on his uniform, but a second ‘keepsake’ medal,” will be given to the Wang family, Maddox said.
Duque’s family will be presented with his medal during a service on Saturday.
Separately, the United States Military Academy at West Point announced Tuesday it would posthumously offer acceptance to Wang, according to a statement from the academy.
“Peter Wang, an Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadet at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, had a lifetime goal to attend USMA and was posthumously offered admission for his heroic actions on Feb. 14, 2018,” the statement said.
Wang was shot repeatedly while holding a door open to let other people escape. “He died a gentleman holding the door for other students,” his classmate Kelsey Friend told CNN after the shooting.
Awards for other possible cadets are going through the review process. Maddox said the current focus is on “supporting the funerals and dignity and honor, so deserved by these cadets and their families.”
Teens hold 'lie-in' outside White House to demand gun reformTeens hold 'lie-in' outside White House to demand gun reform
According to the Army, the Medal of Heroism is awarded to a JROTC cadet “who performs an act of heroism.”
“The achievement must be an accomplishment so exceptional and outstanding that it clearly sets the individual apart from fellow students or from other persons in similar circumstances,” according to the criteria laid out by the Army. “The performance must have involved the acceptance of danger and extraordinary responsibilities, exemplifying praiseworthy fortitude and courage.”
Seventeen people were killed in the shooting.

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Can Mitt Romney win in Utah? [Video]

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Suspected North Korean Hacking Group Grows To Multinational Threat [Video]

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A suspected North Korean hacking group is now a multinational threat, according to a new report.   

Cybersecurity research firm FireEye reports a cyber espionage group dubbed “Reaper,” which primarily focuses on targets in South Korea, has expanded its scope beyond the peninsula.

FireEye says in 2017 Reaper started going after sectors in Japan, Vietnam and the Middle East. It also reportedly broadened its targets to include entities in the chemical, electronics and aerospace sectors.

FireEye says Reaper has likely been active since at least 2012 and that it has “high confidence” the attacks are carried out on behalf of the North Korean government.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.

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Amazon's latest Prime perk: 5% cash back at Whole Foods [Video]

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Why Amazon is buying Whole Foods

Why Amazon is buying Whole Foods

Amazon Prime credit card holders just bagged a new reward.

Beginning Tuesday, Whole Foods shoppers who use the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa card will get 5% cash back on purchases. Cardholders who aren’t members of Amazon’s $99 yearly subscription service will get 3% cash back.

“We are excited to launch the Amazon Rewards Visa Card in our stores, offering benefits to our customers on all of their purchases at Whole Foods Market,” said Whole Foods CEO John Mackey in a release.

Amazon already offers the same cash back reward to cardholders for purchases from its website. Card holders also get 2% back at restaurants and gas stations and 1% on all other purchases.

Amazon Prime members can get free two-hour delivery from Whole Foods

Amazon hopes the change will entice shoppers to choose Whole Foods over its rivals. It’s yet another example of Amazon’s $13.7 billion acquisition in action.

Last week, Amazon announced it will offer free two-hour delivery of Whole Foods groceries in four U.S. cities. The plan is to expand delivery nationwide later this year. Whole Foods also occasionally sells some items to Prime members with a steeper discount.

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