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Petition by Walmart employee to protest gun sales gathers nearly 45,000 signatures

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A petition started by a junior Walmart Inc worker in California to protest the retailer’s sale of firearms, following two mass shootings over the weekend left 31 people dead in Texas and Ohio, has gathered nearly 45,000 signatures.

Thomas Marshall, a 23-year-old Category Manager in San Bruno began his protest by emailing fellow employees and asking them to call in sick on Tuesday, leave work early on Wednesday, and sign a “Change.org” petition.

The petition, which is open to the public, is steadily approaching its goal of 50,000 signatures.

“In light of these recent tragedies – a mere snapshot of the gun violence epidemic plaguing the United States – and in response to Corporate’s inaction, we as employees are organising several days of action, to protest Walmart’s profit from the sale of firearms and ammunition,’’ the petition says.

Earlier this week, Walmart told Reuters there had been no change in its policy on gun sales after the mass shootings, one of which took place in a Walmart store.

Years of public pressure led Walmart, the largest U.S. arms retailer, to end assault rifle sales in 2015 and in 2018 to raise the minimum age for gun purchases to 21.

Some gun-control activists and Walmart customers now want the retailer to drop sales of guns and ammunition altogether.

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Edited by Abdulfatah Babatunde

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Taiwan braces for tropical storm Bailu

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Taiwan braces for tropical storm Bailu

Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau issued a land warning for Bailu at 2:30 pm (0630 GMT), nine hours after the issuing of a sea warning for both the Bashi Channel and the Taiwan Strait.

According to the bureau, the centre of Bailu, currently 600 kilometres south-east of Taitung, a south-eastern city, is moving at a pace of about 24 kilometres per hour in a north-west direction toward the

Hengchun Peninsula in southern Taiwan.

Bailu continues to grow and intensify and the centre is expected to make landfall in Taitung on Saturday, the bureau said.

On Friday, more than 2,000 tourists were evacuated from offshore Green Island and Orchid Island, which sit off Taitung.

Ferry services between Taiwan’s main island and some offshore islets will be suspended on Saturday, state-run Central News Agency reported. (dpa/NAN)

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Global watchdog to monitor Pakistan’s progress in tackling militant funding

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Global watchdog to monitor Pakistan’s progress in tackling militant funding

Islamabad, Aug. 23, 2019 The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) will monitor Pakistan’s progress in implementing a proposed plan against financing for militant organisations, ahead of a meeting in October, the international watchdog body on Friday said.

Its Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) met in Canberra this week to discuss reports on countries, including Pakistan, which was in 2018 placed on a “gray list” of countries with inadequate controls over money laundering and terrorism financing.

The reports “will now be subject to post-plenary quality and consistency review prior to publication,” it said in a statement on its website after the meeting ended.

Final publication on the APG website is expected in early October 2019, it added.

In June, the watchdog gave Pakistan until October to improve its counter-terror finance operations or face further action.

Separately, Pakistan’s finance ministry rejected as baseless Indian media reports that Islamabad was put on FATF’s black list.

India, engaged in a standoff with Pakistan over the disputed region of Kashmir, has pressed for further sanctions against its neighbor.

Pakistan has been placed on so-called “enhanced follow-up” in line with FATF’s evaluation procedures, the ministry said in a statement.

“…Pakistan would be required to submit follow-up progress reports to APG on quarterly basis,” it added. (dpa/NAN)

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Report says insecurity triples school closures in West, Central Africa

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Report says insecurity triples school closures in West, Central Africa

School

Almost 9,300 schools are closed in Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Chad, Central African Republic, Congo, Mali, Niger and Nigeria as a result of insecurity, triple the number recorded at the end of 2017, the fund said in a new report.

Deliberate attacks on schools, pupils and teachers were denying children their right to learn and leaving them in fear for their lives, said UNICEF Deputy Executive Director, Charlotte Gornitzka, after visiting the region.

Cameroon, where clashes between the army and an English-speaking separatist movement have led to insecurity for the past couple of years, is the most affected country in the region, with more than 4,400 schools forcibly closed, the organisation found.

Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger have meanwhile witnessed a six-fold increase in school closures due to attacks and threats of violence in just over two years, from 512 in April 2017 to 3,005 in June 2019, UNICEF said.

Countries in West and Central Africa suffer from ongoing insecurity caused by various rebel, militia and terrorist groups, including Boko Haram and the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP). (dpa/NAN)

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Vietnam prosecutor imprisoned for child molestation

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Vietnam prosecutor imprisoned for child molestation

Nguyen Huu Linh, a lawyer and former Deputy Prosecutor of Da Nang, was found to have forcibly kissed and touched an eight-year-old girl in an elevator of an apartment complex in April, the People’s Court of Da Nang ruled.

He was sentenced for “lewd behaviour” toward someone under the age of 16.

The case caused a scandal in Vietnam after security footage of the incident went viral on social media, leading to calls for the former prosecutor’s indictment.

While Linh admitted to attempting to kiss the girl, he pleaded not guilty on the grounds that his behaviour did not rise to the level of criminality.

Under Vietnamese law, he could have been sentenced to up to three years imprisonment. (dpa/NAN)

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Pakistan mulling legal action over Twitter suspension of accounts

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Twitter

“A lawsuit would be an extreme step, but we have to protect our people,’’ Arslan Khalid, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s focal person for digital media, said.

Twitter suspended at least 240 Pakistani accounts that include journalists over posts related to Kashmir last week.

Only 10 accounts have been restored so far.

“We are expecting a response from Twitter today and hope our concerns are addressed,’’ Khalid said.

Pakistan formally complained on Monday and since then, instead of suspending accounts, Twitter has sent warning emails to people, including journalists.

Twitter cannot “moderate” on an issue at the behest of India, Khalid said.

“My Twitter account was suspended when I replied to a veiled nuclear threat by the Indian Defence Minister,’’ Kamran Yousaf, Defence Correspondent for English-language daily The Express Tribune, said.

India’s decision, earlier this month, to revoke the special constitutional status of its part of Kashmir and impose a security lockdown on the region has escalated tensions between the neighbours, who have previously fought two wars over Kashmir.

Tens of thousands of Pakistanis took to social media websites to express solidarity with the Kashmiri people and highlight human rights violations in the disputed region.

Pakistan and India both control parts of Kashmir, but each lays claim to the entire region since the countries gained independence from Britain in 1947. (dpa/NAN)

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