Assault weapons outlawed in Pakistan

A Ruger AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, center, the same model, though in gray rather than black, used by the shooter in a Texas church massacre two days earlier, sits on display with other rifles on a wall in a gun shop, in this Nov. 7, 2017 photo, in Lynnwood, Wash. (AP)
Updated 13 November 2017
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Assault weapons outlawed in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has officially suspended all automatic weapons licenses issued since the 1970s with immediate effect in “public interest,” except to some state security agencies. Previous attempts have failed.
Security expert Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa told Arab News that Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will face two hurdles that could cause a backlash: Canceling MPs’ licenses, and taking weapons from internationally banned militant organizations that Pakistan does not view as a threat.
Gun enthusiast Sadiqan Hyder told Arab News: “If the suspension is impartially implemented, I fully support it.”
He added: “This notification should apply to all, with no relaxation for certain influential, elite and political personalities, because if they are spared, people who own expensive weapons won’t accept turning them in. This would make the law selective and unacceptable.”
License owners have until Jan. 15, 2018, to replace their automatic weapons license with a semi-automatic one, and have an authorized dealer or authority convert their weapons to single-shot action.
The other option is to surrender their weapon to the district administration and receive 50,000 Pakistani rupees ($476) in compensation. Failure to do either will render the license void and the weapon illegal.
During his maiden speech at the National Assembly in August, Abbasi said: “There isn’t a single country in the world that allows the licensing of automatic (guns) for citizens. If you go outside Parliament right now, you’ll see a private militia.”
He added: “The federal government will seize all automatic weapons and in return, compensate the people.”


Thai cave boys to leave hospital

Updated 37 min 33 sec ago
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Thai cave boys to leave hospital

  • The “Wild Boars” football team are being discharged a day earlier than announced
  • Doctors have advised families of the boys, aged 11 to 16, that they should avoid letting them have contact with journalists for at least one month after they are discharged

CHIANG RAI, Thailand: Twelve boys and their football coach rescued from a cave in Thailand will leave hospital Wednesday and speak to the media for the first time, a government spokesman said.
The “Wild Boars” football team are being discharged a day earlier than announced and authorities hope that by holding the question and answer session before they head home it will satisfy the huge interest in their story.
“The reason to hold this evening press conference is so media can ask them questions and after that they can go back to live their normal lives without media bothering them,” Thailand’s chief government spokesman Sunsern Kaewkumnerd said.
But with experts warning of possible long-term distress from the ordeal inside the Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand, this will be no ordinary briefing.
The public relations department in Chiang Rai province solicited questions from news outlets ahead of time and they will be forwarded to psychiatrists for screening.
Called “Sending the Wild Boars Home” and broadcast on major television channels, the session will last for about 45 minutes, Sunsern said, adding that it would be conducted in an informal style with a moderator.
“They are likely to return home immediately after the press conference,” he said.
Doctors have advised families of the boys, aged 11 to 16, that they should avoid letting them have contact with journalists for at least one month after they are discharged.
Though they and their coach are all said to be in good mental and physical health, health officials say that additional psychological monitoring will be provided to detect lingering trauma.
The daring Thai-led international effort to rescue the “Wild Boars” captivated the world after they walked into the cave on June 23 and were trapped by rising floodwaters.
After nine days without a steady supply of food or water they were found emaciated and huddled in a group on a muddy ledge by British divers several kilometers inside Tham Luang.
Rescuers debated on the best plan to bring them out but ultimately decided on a risky operation that involved diving them through waterlogged passages while they were sedated to keep them calm and carrying them out in military-grade stretchers.
Not even the foreign cave diving specialists who took part were sure the mission would work and many expressed relief when it was all over after the final five were rescued on July 10.