President Obama announced executive actions on gun control Tuesday, skirting unresolved congressional gridlock that began three years ago following the Newtown elementary school shooting.
Obama’s measures include background checks for all gun sales, allowing more mental health records to be submitted to the background registry, requirements for reporting lost or stolen weapons, and increasing the number of FBI agents processing background checks. “We are not inherently more prone to violence, but we are the only advanced county on Earth that sees this kind of mass violence with this kind of frequency,” Obama said. Quoting Martin Luther King, he added, “We need to feel the fierce urgency of now.” CNN, Politico via The Week
President Barack Obama’s critics Tuesday savaged his gun control steps as an unlawful assault on Americans’ constitutional rights, with Republican White House hopefuls pledging to immediately repeal the orders if they are elected in November.
Obama, wiping away tears as he pleaded for citizens and lawmakers to be more resolute in tackling gun violence, announced measures to tighten federal background checks for gun sales, require those in the business of selling guns to be licensed or face criminal prosecution, and expand mental health treatment.
Republicans, in the heat of a presidential campaign, immediately balked, with White House candidate Jeb Bush warning that Obama was “trying to do an end-run” on the US Constitution despite an increased terrorism threat. He said he will repeal Obama’s anti-gun executive orders on day one of his administration if he is elected.
Republican hopeful Marco Rubio pledged the same, while long-shot candidate Mike Huckabee offered a stinging rebuke to Obama, linking the gun control fight to another hot-button battle in America’s culture wars: abortion.
Former business executive Carly Fiorina slammed Obama’s move as “lawless unconstitutional overreach,” while retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson warned the president was merely “advancing his political agenda.” AFP
North Korea says it successfully tested a hydrogen bomb
Shortly after a 5.1 magnitude earthquake was detected in North Korea Wednesday, the country announced it successfully tested a hydrogen bomb. “If there’s no invasion on our sovereignty, we will not use nuclear weapon,” the state news agency said.
“This H-bomb test brings us to a higher level of nuclear power.” North Korea said the test took place at 10 a.m. local time in the northeast part of the country. Earlier, officials in South Korea declared that the earthquake was “artificial,” and the foreign ministry called an emergency meeting to discuss the possibility of a nuclear test. Hydrogen bombs are more powerful than plutonium weapons, and if North Korea has one in its arsenal, it would be a significant advancement, CNN reports. North Korea conducted its last nuclear test in February 2013. CNN
Donald Trump said in an interview that rival Ted Cruz’s Canadian birthplace was a “very precarious” issue that could make the senator from Texas vulnerable if he became the Republican presidential nominee.
Trump said if Canadian-born Ted Cruz becomes the Republican presidential nominee, he could find himself “tied up in court” for years. “That’d be a big problem,” he said. “It’d be a very precarious one for Republicans because he’d be running and the courts may take a long time to decide.
Cruz was born in Calgary in 1970 to an American mother; under the U.S. Constitution, the president must be a “natural-born citizen,” and anyone born to a U.S. citizen is granted citizenship regardless of where the birth occurs. Trump made his comments before a rally Monday in Iowa, a state where polls are showing Cruz closing in on frontrunner Trump. The Washington Post
British lawmakers have scheduled a debate for later this month on a petition signed by more than 500,000 people seeking to ban U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump from Britain.
Last month Trump, a billionaire real estate developer and frontrunner among Republican candidates, prompted international outrage by calling for a ban on all Muslims entering the United States “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”
He proposed the ban after a December 2 mass shooting that killed 14 people in California by two Muslims whom the FBI said had been radicalized.
The debate, called by the Petitions Committee of the lower house of parliament, will be held on January 18 but any conclusion reached by the lawmakers will not be binding, The Associated Press reported. VOA
Larycia Hawkins, a professor at Wheaton College, caused a stir last month when she donned a Muslim head covering at the Christian school. Now the Illinois college has begun what’s known as a “Notice of Recommendation to Initiate Termination-for-Cause Proceedings” against her.
The associate professor of political science was placed on administrative leave December 15 “to explore significant questions regarding the theological implications of her recent public statements, including but not limited to those indicating the relationship of Christianity to Islam,” the school said at the time.
“Wheaton College faculty and staff make a commitment to accept and model our institution’s faith foundations with integrity, compassion and theological clarity,” the school said. “As they participate in various causes, it is essential that faculty and staff engage in and speak about public issues in ways that faithfully represent the college’s evangelical Statement of Faith.” CNN
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