5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • Massive protests led by teen survivors call for gun control reform

  • Florida legislature nixes assault weapons ban

  • U.N. chief calls bombardment of Syria's Eastern Ghouta a 'human tragedy'

  • Influential evangelical pastor Billy Graham dead at 99

  • U.S. on track for worst Winter Olympics medal performance in 2 decades

Hundreds of people arrived at Florida's Capitol Building on Wednesday to demand gun control reform in the wake of the shooting last week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 students and teachers dead. The rally was led by teen survivors. Florida police estimated the crowd in Tallahassee could swell to as many as 2,500 people by noon. A tandem protest, at Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., also saw students march in demand of action on gun control, with one student telling Mother Jones' Kara Voght, "I feel unsafe at school." President Trump also met Wednesday with survivors of shootings including Parkland, Newtown, and Columbine for a "listening session," in which he expressed support for strengthening background checks and arming teachers with concealed weapons.

Source: WCTV, Tallahassee Democrat

Florida lawmakers denied a motion to bring an assault weapons ban to a vote Tuesday night, less than a week after 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, by a teenager armed with a semiautomatic rifle. The effort failed to pass Florida's House by a 71-36 margin. The proposed assault weapons ban had previously stalled in committee, but Democratic state Rep. Kionne McGhee pushed the state legislature to allow the bill to be considered anyway. Republicans control the Florida legislature, and Gov. Rick Scott (R) has an A+ rating from the NRA. According to a Quinnipiac University poll published Tuesday, 67 percent of Americans favor banning the sale of assault weapons.

Source: The Associated Press, Spectrum News

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday called for an "immediate suspension" to the bombardment of Eastern Ghouta, Syria, where hundreds of civilians have died as the Syrian military fights to regain control of the country's last rebel stronghold. Nearly 350 people have been killed over the last few days in Eastern Ghouta, the United Nations reports, while nearly 900 more have been injured. Guterres issued the plea so that humanitarian aid could reach the devastated region. "I believe Eastern Ghouta cannot wait," he said. "This is a human tragedy that is unfolding in front of our eyes." Activists say this is the worst violence in Syria since a chemical attack in 2013.

Source: BBC News

Rev. Billy Graham, a Christian evangelist known as "America's Pastor," has died at the age of 99. Over the course of his more than 70-year career, Graham preached to an estimated 200 million people across 185 countries, and was granted personal audiences with several U.S. presidents and world leaders. Rev. Martin Luther King credited Graham's influence, saying: "Had it not been for the ministry of my good friend Dr. Billy Graham, my work in the Civil Rights Movement would not have been as successful as it has been." Long a presence on television and radio, Graham retired in 2005, citing his health. Graham was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease 25 years ago.

Source: The Huffington Post, NBC News

Team USA is on track to have its worst medal performance at the Winter Olympics in two decades. Norway leads the count with 29 medals, followed by Germany with 23, and Canada with 19. The U.S. has tallied 16 medals. On Wednesday in Pyeongchang, U.S. women marked their worst short program performance since its inception in 1976. "I am pretty disappointed in myself," said American Karen Chen. "I definitely felt the pressure. I felt the nerves. I wanted this moment to be special and to skate so well." Russia's Evgenia Medvedeva and Alina Zagitova are the favorites for the women's single short program gold, which will be determined by the free skate final at 8 p.m. ET Thursday.

Source: Business Insider, Bleacher Report
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