New Zealand cabinet to implement gun law reforms

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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern would give further details reforming gun laws following the mass shooting in Christchurch. (AFP)
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Gun City store owner David Tipple (R) with his public relation advisor David Linch speak to the media during a press conference at the Piano Event Centre in Christchurch on March 18th, 2019, after 50 worshippers were killed last week in two mosque attacks, the worst on Muslims in a Western country. (AFP / Marty Melville)
Updated 18 March 2019

New Zealand cabinet to implement gun law reforms

  • New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to give further details
  • Christchurch gun shop on acknowledges selling guns online to the attacker

CHRISTCHURCH/WELLINGTON: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday that her cabinet had made in principle decisions around the reform of gun laws following the mass shooting in Christchurch.

“I intend to give further details of these decisions to the media and the public before cabinet meets again next Monday,” she said at a press conference.

“This ultimately means that within 10 days of this horrific act of terrorism we will have announced reforms which will, I believe, make our community safer.”

She said an inquiry will look at the lead up to attack and what might have been done differently.

A Christchurch gun shop on Monday acknowledged selling guns online to the 28-year-old white supremacist accused of killing 50 people in mosque shootings that have upturned New Zealand’s reputation as among the world’s most tolerant and safe nations.
At a news conference, Gun City owner David Tipple said the store sold four guns and ammunition to Brenton Harrison Tarrant through a “police-verified online mail order process.”
He said none of the weapons were military style semi-automatic weapons.
“We detected nothing extraordinary about this license holder,” Tipple said, referring to the shooter. Tipple said he and staff are “dismayed and disgusted” by Friday’s shootings.
His store has been criticized for leaving out a roadside advertising billboard that shows a parent helping children with rifle target practice in the wake of the shootings.
Three days after the attack, New Zealand’s deadliest shooting in modern history, relatives were anxiously waiting for word on when they can bury their loved ones. Islamic tradition calls for bodies to be cleansed and buried as soon as possible after death, usually within 24 hours.
Aya Al-Umari, whose older brother Hussien Al-Umari died at the Al Noor mosque, wept as she talked about a kind man, a quintessential big brother who delighted in teasing his little sister.
Tarrant, an Australian citizen who lived in New Zealand, appeared in court on Saturday amid strict security, shackled and wearing all-white prison garb.
He showed no emotion when the judge read one murder charge and said more charges would likely follow. The New Zealand Herald reported Monday that he had dismissed his appointed lawyer and plans to defend himself.
Tarrant had posted a muddled, 74-page anti-immigrant manifesto online before the attacks and apparently used a helmet-mounted camera to broadcast live video of the slaughter.
Facebook said it removed 1.5 million videos of the shootings during the first 24 hours after the massacre. The revelation in a tweet provided a chilling snapshot of how quickly provocative and often disturbing images circulate on the Internet.


Philippine trash trawlers earn little from virus-boosted surge in plastics

Updated 10 August 2020

Philippine trash trawlers earn little from virus-boosted surge in plastics

MANILA: Virgilio Estuesta has picked through trash in the Philippines’ biggest city for four decades, and is noticing an unusually large amount of plastics during his daily trawl of about 15 km (9.3 miles).
Tough curbs re-imposed to combat a surge in daily coronavirus infections are squeezing income for the 60-year-old, as many of the junkyards and businesses in Manila that buy his recyclables have been closed since March.
Plastic items, such as bottles and containers, dominate the contents of the rickety wooden cart Estuesta pushes through the deserted streets, far more than metals and cardboard, yet the money they bring in is not enough to get by.
“It’s been really hard for us, it’s been difficult looking for recyclables that sell high,” he said.
“Recently we’ve been seeing a lot more plastics, but the problem is they don’t really sell high.”
Environmentalists say the Philippines is battling one of the world’s biggest problems stemming from single-use plastics, and ranks among the biggest contributors to plastic pollution of the oceans. It has no reliable data for its plastics consumption.
Greenpeace campaigner Marian Ledesma said consumers and businesses are now using yet more single-use plastics, in a bid to ward off virus infections.
“The pandemic has really increased plastic pollution,” she added. “Just because there’s a lot more people using disposables now, due to misconceptions and fears around transmitting the virus.”
Since March 16, Manila has experienced lockdowns of varying levels of severity, in some of the world’s longest and tightest measures to curb the spread of the virus.
They are taking a toll on Estuesta, who hopes to start earning soon.
“When you go out, the police will reprimand you,” he said. “I was stuck at home and had to rely on government aid, which was not enough. I had to resort to borrowing money from people.”