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Survivors of Deadly School Shooting Lash out at Trump

Students who escaped the deadly school shooting in Florida focused their anger Sunday at President Donald Trump, contending that his response to the attack has been needlessly divisive.

“You’re the president. You’re supposed to bring this nation together, not divide us,” said David Hogg, a 17-year-old student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida, speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“How dare you,” he added.

Hogg was responding to Trump’s tweet Saturday that Democrats hadn’t passed any gun control measures during the brief time they controlled Congress with a supermajority in the Senate. Trump also alluded to the FBI’s failure to act on tips that the suspect was dangerous, while bemoaning the bureau’s focus on Russia’s role in the 2016 election.

Trump was at his Florida estate Sunday but did not mention the attack in a series of tweets. After more than a day of criticism from the students, the White House said the president would hold a “listening session” with unspecified students on Wednesday and meet with state and local security officials Thursday.

Florida politicians, meanwhile, scrambled to produce legislation in response to the Feb. 14 attack that killed 17 people. Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old who had been expelled from the school, is being held without bail in the Broward County Jail, accused of 17 counts of first-degree murder.

In a TV interview, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio embraced a Democratic bill in the Florida legislature to allow courts to temporarily prevent people from having guns if they are determined to be a threat to themselves or others.

Gov. Rick Scott, also a Republican, attended a prayer vigil at the First Church Coral Springs, a few blocks from the shooting site. He is expected to announce a legislative package with GOP leaders of the legislature this week.

Emma Gonzalez, another student who survived the attack, cited Trump, Rubio and Scott by name in a warning to politicians who are supported by the National Rifle Association.

“Now is the time to get on the right side of this, because this is not something that we are going to let sweep under the carpet,” she said on “Meet the Press.”

The students’ pointed comments are the latest signs of increased pressure for gun control after the massacre.

The students have vowed to become the face of a movement for tighter firearm regulations and plan to visit the state capitol in Tallahassee this week to demand immediate action. They are also calling for anti-gun violence demonstrations in Washington and other cities March 24.

Organizers behind the Women’s March, an anti-Trump and female empowerment protest, called for a 17-minute, nationwide walkout by teachers and students on March 14. The Network for Public Education, an advocacy organization for public schools, announced a day of walkouts, sit-ins and other events on school campuses April 20, the anniversary of the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado that left 12 students and one teacher dead.

Not every student at the Florida school was calling for more gun control. James Ciaramello, a freshman in the school’s JROTC program, on Friday paused at a memorial in a park in front of a photo of one victim, 15-year-old Peter Wang, another JROTC student who was killed after holding open a door so others could escape.

“He’s just messed up,” Ciaramello said of Cruz, who was also in JROTC. “I mean, tighter gun control, it’s not gonna help. There’s always a way around it.”

School and government records obtained Sunday show Cruz was diagnosed as developmentally delayed at age 3 and had disciplinary issues dating to middle school. In February 2014, while in 8th grade, Cruz was transferred to a special school for children with emotional and behavioral issues. He stayed there until 10th grade, when he was transferred to Stoneman Douglas. A month after arriving, Cruz was written up for using profanity. Last year, Cruz was expelled.

On Sept. 28, 2016, an investigator from the Florida Department of Children and Families visited Cruz and his mother, Lynda Cruz, after he posted video on Snapchat showing him cutting himself. The report showed that Cruz had written a racial epithet against African-Americans and a Nazi symbol on his book bag, which his mother had forced him to erase. The investigator said Cruz was suffering from depression and on medication and had told Lynda Cruz he planned to buy a gun, but she couldn’t determine why.

She said he had been depressed after breaking up with a girlfriend who had been cheating on him, the investigator said. A school counselor told the investigator that Lynda Cruz had always tried to help her son and followed through on his therapy and medication, but the counselor was concerned about the youth’s desire to buy a gun.

A crisis counselor told the DCF investigator he had visited the school and that he did not believe Cruz was a danger to himself or others. The case was closed, with the investigator concluding that Cruz was receiving help from his mother and counselors, and “no other referrals or services were needed.”

After Lynda Cruz died in November, Cruz moved into the home of a teenage friend. The friend’s parents told the Sun-Sentinel newspaper they had no idea the extent of Cruz’s issues.

“We had this monster living under our roof and we didn’t know,” Kimberly Snead told the newspaper in an interview published Sunday. “We didn’t see this side of him.”

James Snead added: “Everything everybody seems to know, we didn’t know. It’s as simple as that.”

The Sneads said Cruz seemed unable to do even simple tasks like laundry or use the microwave.

He kept the AR-15 he allegedly used in the massacre locked in a gun safe with a few other firearms. James Snead thought he had the only key to the cabinet but says Cruz must have had another key. The family kept their own rifles, bought after a burglary a few years ago, in a separate locked cabinet.

They told Cruz he needed to ask permission to take out the guns. He had asked only twice since November. They said “yes” once and “no” once.

On Wednesday morning, Cruz told them he didn’t need a ride to school: “It’s Valentine’s Day and I don’t go to school on Valentine’s Day,” he said.

Cruz sent their son a few texts that day. In one, he asked what classroom the boy was in. He said he was going to see a movie.

Later he texted he had “something important” he wanted to tell the teen. Then he wrote: “Nothing man.”

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Survivors of Deadly School Shooting Lash out at Trump

Students who escaped the deadly school shooting in Florida focused their anger Sunday at President Donald Trump, contending that his response to the attack has been needlessly divisive.

“You’re the president. You’re supposed to bring this nation together, not divide us,” said David Hogg, a 17-year-old student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida, speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“How dare you,” he added.

Hogg was responding to Trump’s tweet Saturday that Democrats hadn’t passed any gun control measures during the brief time they controlled Congress with a supermajority in the Senate. Trump also alluded to the FBI’s failure to act on tips that the suspect was dangerous, while bemoaning the bureau’s focus on Russia’s role in the 2016 election.

Trump was at his Florida estate Sunday but did not mention the attack in a series of tweets. After more than a day of criticism from the students, the White House said the president would hold a “listening session” with unspecified students on Wednesday and meet with state and local security officials Thursday.

Florida politicians, meanwhile, scrambled to produce legislation in response to the Feb. 14 attack that killed 17 people. Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old who had been expelled from the school, is being held without bail in the Broward County Jail, accused of 17 counts of first-degree murder.

In a TV interview, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio embraced a Democratic bill in the Florida legislature to allow courts to temporarily prevent people from having guns if they are determined to be a threat to themselves or others.

Gov. Rick Scott, also a Republican, attended a prayer vigil at the First Church Coral Springs, a few blocks from the shooting site. He is expected to announce a legislative package with GOP leaders of the legislature this week.

Emma Gonzalez, another student who survived the attack, cited Trump, Rubio and Scott by name in a warning to politicians who are supported by the National Rifle Association.

“Now is the time to get on the right side of this, because this is not something that we are going to let sweep under the carpet,” she said on “Meet the Press.”

The students’ pointed comments are the latest signs of increased pressure for gun control after the massacre.

The students have vowed to become the face of a movement for tighter firearm regulations and plan to visit the state capitol in Tallahassee this week to demand immediate action. They are also calling for anti-gun violence demonstrations in Washington and other cities March 24.

Organizers behind the Women’s March, an anti-Trump and female empowerment protest, called for a 17-minute, nationwide walkout by teachers and students on March 14. The Network for Public Education, an advocacy organization for public schools, announced a day of walkouts, sit-ins and other events on school campuses April 20, the anniversary of the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado that left 12 students and one teacher dead.

Not every student at the Florida school was calling for more gun control. James Ciaramello, a freshman in the school’s JROTC program, on Friday paused at a memorial in a park in front of a photo of one victim, 15-year-old Peter Wang, another JROTC student who was killed after holding open a door so others could escape.

“He’s just messed up,” Ciaramello said of Cruz, who was also in JROTC. “I mean, tighter gun control, it’s not gonna help. There’s always a way around it.”

School and government records obtained Sunday show Cruz was diagnosed as developmentally delayed at age 3 and had disciplinary issues dating to middle school. In February 2014, while in 8th grade, Cruz was transferred to a special school for children with emotional and behavioral issues. He stayed there until 10th grade, when he was transferred to Stoneman Douglas. A month after arriving, Cruz was written up for using profanity. Last year, Cruz was expelled.

On Sept. 28, 2016, an investigator from the Florida Department of Children and Families visited Cruz and his mother, Lynda Cruz, after he posted video on Snapchat showing him cutting himself. The report showed that Cruz had written a racial epithet against African-Americans and a Nazi symbol on his book bag, which his mother had forced him to erase. The investigator said Cruz was suffering from depression and on medication and had told Lynda Cruz he planned to buy a gun, but she couldn’t determine why.

She said he had been depressed after breaking up with a girlfriend who had been cheating on him, the investigator said. A school counselor told the investigator that Lynda Cruz had always tried to help her son and followed through on his therapy and medication, but the counselor was concerned about the youth’s desire to buy a gun.

A crisis counselor told the DCF investigator he had visited the school and that he did not believe Cruz was a danger to himself or others. The case was closed, with the investigator concluding that Cruz was receiving help from his mother and counselors, and “no other referrals or services were needed.”

After Lynda Cruz died in November, Cruz moved into the home of a teenage friend. The friend’s parents told the Sun-Sentinel newspaper they had no idea the extent of Cruz’s issues.

“We had this monster living under our roof and we didn’t know,” Kimberly Snead told the newspaper in an interview published Sunday. “We didn’t see this side of him.”

James Snead added: “Everything everybody seems to know, we didn’t know. It’s as simple as that.”

The Sneads said Cruz seemed unable to do even simple tasks like laundry or use the microwave.

He kept the AR-15 he allegedly used in the massacre locked in a gun safe with a few other firearms. James Snead thought he had the only key to the cabinet but says Cruz must have had another key. The family kept their own rifles, bought after a burglary a few years ago, in a separate locked cabinet.

They told Cruz he needed to ask permission to take out the guns. He had asked only twice since November. They said “yes” once and “no” once.

On Wednesday morning, Cruz told them he didn’t need a ride to school: “It’s Valentine’s Day and I don’t go to school on Valentine’s Day,” he said.

Cruz sent their son a few texts that day. In one, he asked what classroom the boy was in. He said he was going to see a movie.

Later he texted he had “something important” he wanted to tell the teen. Then he wrote: “Nothing man.”

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Anti-Corruption Police Arrest Latvian Central Bank Chief

Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis assured the country and Europe “there is no sign of danger,” after anti-corruption police arrested the head of the Latvian central bank Saturday.

“For now, neither I, nor any other official, has any reason to interfere with the work of the Corruption Prevention Bureau,” Kucinskis said.

Neither Kucinskis nor the police gave any reason why central bank governor Ilmars Rimsevics was arrested. But a police spokeswoman said there will be an announcement “as soon as possible.”

The Latvian government plans an emergency meeting Monday.

Along with heading the Baltic nation’s central bank, Rimsevics is also one of 19 governors on the European Central Bank.

The U.S. Treasury Department has proposed sanctions against a major Latvian bank for alleged money laundering linked to North Korea’s weapons program.

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Anti-Corruption Police Arrest Latvian Central Bank Chief

Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis assured the country and Europe “there is no sign of danger,” after anti-corruption police arrested the head of the Latvian central bank Saturday.

“For now, neither I, nor any other official, has any reason to interfere with the work of the Corruption Prevention Bureau,” Kucinskis said.

Neither Kucinskis nor the police gave any reason why central bank governor Ilmars Rimsevics was arrested. But a police spokeswoman said there will be an announcement “as soon as possible.”

The Latvian government plans an emergency meeting Monday.

Along with heading the Baltic nation’s central bank, Rimsevics is also one of 19 governors on the European Central Bank.

The U.S. Treasury Department has proposed sanctions against a major Latvian bank for alleged money laundering linked to North Korea’s weapons program.

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Polish Embassy in Israel Vandalized After Polish PM’s Controversial Remarks

Vandals spray painted swastikas on the Polish embassy in Tel Aviv after Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki talked about what he called “Jewish perpetrators” of the Holocaust.

Israeli leaders immediately condemned his comment. The prime minister was responding to a reporter’s question about Poland’s new law punishing anyone who calls the Nazi genocide a “Polish crime.”

“Saying that our people collaborate with the Nazis is a new low,” Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said at a conference Sunday. “We stand together, hand in hand, in this fight. We have to stand strong for the memory of our brothers and sisters murdered in the Shoah (Hebrew for the Holocaust). But today, more than ever, we must work to educate the world, even some of the leaders, about that dark time.”

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said he spoke with his Polish counterpart by telephone Sunday, telling him “a comparison between the activities of Poles and the activities of Jews during the Holocaust is unfounded.”

Ronald Lauder, head of the World Jewish Congress, called Morawiecki’s comment some of the “very worst form of anti-Semitism and Holocaust obfuscation.”

A reporter at the Munich Security Conference Saturday asked Morawiecki if under the new law, he could be jailed for telling the story of how neighbors betrayed his mother’s family in Poland to the Nazis.

“Of course it’s not going to be seen as criminal to say that there were Polish perpetrators, as there were Jewish perpetrators, as there were Russian perpetrators, as there were Ukrainian, not only German perpetrators,”  Morawiecki replied.

He did not elaborate on who he regards as “Jewish perpetrators.” But he tweeted Sunday, “Dialogue about this most difficult history is necessary as a warning. We will conduct such dialogue with Israel.”

“The Holocaust, the genocide of Jews committed by Nazi Germans, was an extremely terrifying crime,” he further wrote. “There were also individuals who by collaborating with Nazi Germans, showed the darkest side of human nature.”

A Morawiecki spokesman said the prime minister was in no way trying to deny the Holocaust.

About 6 million Poles, half of them Jews, were murdered during World War II by Hitler and the Nazis.

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Polish Embassy in Israel Vandalized After Polish PM’s Controversial Remarks

Vandals spray painted swastikas on the Polish embassy in Tel Aviv after Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki talked about what he called “Jewish perpetrators” of the Holocaust.

Israeli leaders immediately condemned his comment. The prime minister was responding to a reporter’s question about Poland’s new law punishing anyone who calls the Nazi genocide a “Polish crime.”

“Saying that our people collaborate with the Nazis is a new low,” Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said at a conference Sunday. “We stand together, hand in hand, in this fight. We have to stand strong for the memory of our brothers and sisters murdered in the Shoah (Hebrew for the Holocaust). But today, more than ever, we must work to educate the world, even some of the leaders, about that dark time.”

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said he spoke with his Polish counterpart by telephone Sunday, telling him “a comparison between the activities of Poles and the activities of Jews during the Holocaust is unfounded.”

Ronald Lauder, head of the World Jewish Congress, called Morawiecki’s comment some of the “very worst form of anti-Semitism and Holocaust obfuscation.”

A reporter at the Munich Security Conference Saturday asked Morawiecki if under the new law, he could be jailed for telling the story of how neighbors betrayed his mother’s family in Poland to the Nazis.

“Of course it’s not going to be seen as criminal to say that there were Polish perpetrators, as there were Jewish perpetrators, as there were Russian perpetrators, as there were Ukrainian, not only German perpetrators,”  Morawiecki replied.

He did not elaborate on who he regards as “Jewish perpetrators.” But he tweeted Sunday, “Dialogue about this most difficult history is necessary as a warning. We will conduct such dialogue with Israel.”

“The Holocaust, the genocide of Jews committed by Nazi Germans, was an extremely terrifying crime,” he further wrote. “There were also individuals who by collaborating with Nazi Germans, showed the darkest side of human nature.”

A Morawiecki spokesman said the prime minister was in no way trying to deny the Holocaust.

About 6 million Poles, half of them Jews, were murdered during World War II by Hitler and the Nazis.

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Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter Recovering from Surgery

Former U.S. first lady Rosalynn Carter is recovering at Emory University Hospital from successful surgery Sunday to remove scar tissue from her lower intestine, The Carter Center said in a statement.

The scar tissue had formed in the area from where a cyst was removed several years ago, the statement said.

The former first lady, 90, who married President Jimmy Carter on July 7, 1946, in Plains, Ga., emerged as a driving force for mental health during his administration.

She is expected to be hospitalized for several days.

In August 2015, President Carter announced he had metastatic melanoma that had spread to his liver and brain. After undergoing surgery, radiation and a breakthrough treatment called immunotherapy, he was declared cancer-free in March 2016.

 

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Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter Recovering from Surgery

Former U.S. first lady Rosalynn Carter is recovering at Emory University Hospital from successful surgery Sunday to remove scar tissue from her lower intestine, The Carter Center said in a statement.

The scar tissue had formed in the area from where a cyst was removed several years ago, the statement said.

The former first lady, 90, who married President Jimmy Carter on July 7, 1946, in Plains, Ga., emerged as a driving force for mental health during his administration.

She is expected to be hospitalized for several days.

In August 2015, President Carter announced he had metastatic melanoma that had spread to his liver and brain. After undergoing surgery, radiation and a breakthrough treatment called immunotherapy, he was declared cancer-free in March 2016.

 

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