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Emotional Obama unveils actions to curb gun violence

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US President Barack Obama  unveiled some executive measures on gun control, including expanding background checks, calling for “a sense of urgency” about gun violence.

Anybody in the business of selling firearms must get a license and conduct background checks or be subject to criminal prosecutions, Obama said at the White House, joined by gun control activists and the families of gun victims.

He said his administration will hire more people to process background checks to make the system more efficient and add 200 more agents and investigators to ensure the “smart and effective” enforcement of gun safety laws, Xinhua news agency reported.

The administration will also invest $500 million to expand access to the treatment of mental illness across the country, he said.

Every year, more than 30,000 Americans lose their lives by guns, Obama said, adding that the US is “the only advanced country on the Earth that sees this kind of mass violence erupt with this kind of frequency”.

“We do have to feel a sense of urgency about it,” he said. “In Dr (Martin Luther) King’s words, the fierce urgency of now, because people are dying.”

Obama became emotional and shed tears when he talked about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, when 20 children and six adult staff members were fatally shot.

“Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad,” the president said, wiping away tears as he pleaded for citizens and lawmakers to be more resolute in preventing gun violence.

Obama’s gun-control measures are seen as an attempt to sidestep Congress on an issue that is increasingly partisan.

Obama emphasised that the new measures are “actions within my legal authority that we can take to help reduce gun violence”, calling on Congress to get on board with common sense gun safety measures.

“The gun lobby may be holding Congress hostage right now but they can’t hold America hostage,” Obama said.

Politics

Court mulls moving Netanyahu’s trial to new location

Netanyahu, who denies wrongdoing, faces charges of fraud and breach of trust in all the cases, as well as bribery in one of them.

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Netanyahu Israel

Jerusalem, May 26 : Officials were considering moving the corruption trial of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from the Jerusalem District Court to a different location due to the turmoil caused by having to secure the site for the premier, it was reported.

Netanyahu was required to attend the opening hearing of his trial on Sunday, which involved a major security operation and the closure of roads in the area around the courthouse.

The court was not able hear any other cases at the time, The Times of Israel reported on Monday citing the Hebrew language Channel 12 as saying.

In a meeting on Monday, the court officials reviewed the events of the previous day and in the coming weeks the administration, together with Jerusalem District Court President Aharon Farkash and the three judges presiding over the trial, will decided whether to relocate for the rest of the proceedings, the Channel 12 report said.

Netanyahu on Sunday became the first serving Israeli premier to stand trial.

The Prime Minister, who was sworn back into office as head of a rare national unity government last week, will be allowed to skip the next hearing, which will take place on July 19, with the judges saying he would not have to return to court until the evidence stage, said The Times of Israel.

Netanyahu, who denies wrongdoing, faces charges of fraud and breach of trust in all the cases, as well as bribery in one of them.

Before entering the courtroom on Sunday, he told the media that the cases against him were fabricated and part of an attempted “political coup” to oust him from power.

According to Israeli law, a Prime Minister charged with a crime is not required to resign.

Even if he is convicted, Netanyahu will not be required to resign unless and until any appeals are exhausted, reports the BBC.

Under the unity government deal with former political rival Benny Gantz, a new role of “alternate prime minister” was created, which means when the two men switch positions in 18 months’ time.

Netanyahu will still occupy a prime ministerial office and stay on as Gantz’s deputy.

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Disaster

Indian COVID-19 survivor falls to death in Dubai

The victim had tested positive for COVID-19 on April 10. On May 7, he was discharged from a Dubai hospital after clearing all tests.

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Coronavirus Death US

Dubai, May 26 : An Indian expat, who recently recovered from COVID-19, fell to his death from a building in Dubai, police said.

The 26-year-old Indian national from Kerala, fell from the seventh floor balcony of his building where he stayed with six others, including a relative.

A Dubai Police official confirmed the incident to Gulf News on Monday and said it had been a suicide.

“He was suffering from a mental disorder and there is no criminal suspicions behind his death,” said the official.

“The incident happened on Sunday,” the official confirmed.

The victim’s relative said: “(He) awoke early to perform prayers and everyone was getting on with their daily morning chores when he walked to the balcony and jumped.

“He was suffering from a mental disorder and had been disturbed for some time. He thought everyone was out to attack him and had stopped eating his food as he thought people were feeding him poison. He was refusing to even take water from us.”

The victim had tested positive for COVID-19 on April 10. On May 7, he was discharged from a Dubai hospital after clearing all tests.

The relative told Gulf News that he had registered the victim in the Department of Non-Resident Keralites Affairs (NORKA) last month in order to repatriate him, however he was unsuccessful in procuring a ticket.

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World

Sourth Korea’s 2nd phase of school reopening set for Wednesday

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South Korean Kids

Seoul, May 26 : South Korea is on track for its second phase of school reopening on Wednesday, bringing back more than 2 million students to their schools nationwide amid the new coronavirus pandemic.

School reopening is considered one of the most important steps in the government’s “everyday life quarantine” scheme, which was introduced on May 6, Yonhap News Agency reported on Tuesday.

The scheme is designed to help people learn to live with the virus and resume normal life amid relaxed social distancing.

Under the government’s phased school reopening plan, schools are scheduled to resume in-person classes for the two lowest grades of elementary school, kindergarten students, middle school seniors and second-year high school students.

The estimated number of affected students amounts to 2.37 million.

About 440,000 high school seniors returned to school last week after more than two months of delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The resumption of in-person classes, however, has faced hurdles.

The latest came on Monday when a six-year-old kindergarten boy tested positive for COVID-19.

Last week, dozens of schools in Incheon and Daegu were also closed following several infections involving high school students.

To monitor and tackle potential outbreaks at schools, the Education Ministry is in close coordination with the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) and provincial education offices, said the Yonhap News Agency report.

The government is also expected to unveil a set of revised quarantine and disinfection guidelines on Wednesday in time for the second phase of the reopening.

It reassured the public that the second phase will go off without a major hitch.

As of Tuesday, South Korea has 11,225 COVID-19 cases, with 269 deaths.

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