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NY's New Gun Law

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Sweeping Limits on Guns Become Law in New York

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Nathaniel Brooks for The New York Times

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo at a bill-signing ceremony on Tuesday with, in foreground from left, Leah Gunn Barrett of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence; Senator Jeffrey D. Klein; Sheldon Silver, the Assembly speaker; and Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

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ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law a sweeping package of gun-control measures on Tuesday, significantly expanding a ban on assault weapons and making New York the first state to change its laws in response to the mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.

Hans Pennink/Reuters

Opponents of increased restrictions on guns demonstrated Sunday in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., before the bill was passed.

Mr. Cuomo signed the bill less than an hour after the State Assembly approved it by a 104-to-43 vote on the second full day of the 2013 legislative session. The State Senate, which had in the past resisted more restrictive gun laws, approved the measure 43 to 18 on Monday night.

“I am proud to be part of this government, not just because New York has the first bill, but because New York has the best bill,” the governor, a Democrat, said at a news conference. “I’m proud to be a New Yorker because New York is doing something — because we are fighting back.”

The expanded ban on assault weapons broadens the definition of what is considered an assault weapon and reduces the permissible size of gun magazines to 7 rounds, from 10. It also includes provisions to better keep firearms away from mentally ill people and to impose stiffer penalties on people who use guns in the commission of crimes.

Gun-rights advocates denounced the measure. The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association said New York gun owners “should be ashamed and afraid of our state,” and the National Rifle Association said, “These gun-control schemes have failed in the past and will have no impact on public safety and crime.”

“The Legislature caved to the political demands of a governor and helped fuel his personal political aspirations,” the N.R.A. said.

But Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York City, a vocal advocate of gun control, hailed the legislation, saying it “protects the Second Amendment rights of people, and at the same time it makes all New Yorkers safer.”

“We have some of the toughest gun laws in the country, and this just strengthens them,” Mr. Bloomberg said.

Elected officials in New York and around the nation have been debating how to respond to gun violence since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. As the New York Legislature was voting for the new gun-control measures, the state’s comptroller, Thomas P. DiNapoli, said that he would freeze investments by the state’s pension fund in firearm manufacturers. The pension fund sold holdings in Smith & Wesson after the Newtown shooting; the fund continues to hold about $2 million worth of shares in Sturm, Ruger & Company.

Mr. Cuomo, saying that gun violence constituted an emergency requiring immediate action, waived a constitutionally required three-day waiting period between the introduction of legislation and a vote to allow speedy action on the gun-law package. But during the Assembly debate, which lasted nearly five hours, a number of Republicans criticized both the bill’s content and the lack of public hearings or other public processes for considering the proposals.

“Why are we being bullied into voting on this bill without our proper, responsible due diligence?” asked Assemblyman Steve Katz, a Hudson Valley Republican. “Solely due to the governor’s misguided, egotistic notion that this will advance his presidential aspirations.”

Assembly Democrats, who have pushed for new gun-control laws for years, hailed the legislation as long overdue.

“It’s taken far too many deaths to get us to this point,” said Assemblyman Thomas J. Abinanti, a Democrat from Westchester County. “The Second Amendment does not guarantee the right to bear arms to kill innocent firefighters, teachers and children, and that’s the message we have to send.”

The expanded ban on assault weapons takes effect immediately; New Yorkers who already own guns that are banned under the new law can keep them, but will have to register them with the state within a year. Other provisions of the bill take effect at later dates.

Palm Scanners Take Over

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alt At schools in Pinellas County, Fla., students aren't paying for lunch with cash or a card, but with a wave of their hand over a palm scanner.

"It's so quick that a child could be standing in line, call mom and say, 'I forgot my lunch money today.' She's by her computer, runs her card, and by the time the child is at the front of the line, it's already recorded," says Art Dunham, director of food services for Pinellas County Schools.

Students take about four seconds to swipe and pay for lunch, Dunham says, and they're doing it with 99% accuracy.

"We just love it. No one wants to go back," Dunham says.

Palm-scanning technology is popping up nationwide as a bona fide biometric tracker of identities, and it appears poised to make the jump from schools and hospitals to other sectors of the economy including ATM usage and retail. It also has applications as a secure identifier for cloud computing.

Here's how it works: Using the same near-infrared technology that comes in a TV remote control or Nintendo Wii video game, the device takes a super high-resolution infrared photograph of the vein pattern just below a person's skin. That image, between 1.5 and 2.5 square inches, is recorded and digitized.

The PalmSecure device is made by document-scanning manufacturer Fujitsu. So far, no other company has a palm scanner on the market — though at least one other company is working on the technology.

My Hero

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Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- A Pakistani teen activist shot by the Taliban was moved to a military hospital in Rawalpindi Thursday in critical condition.

Malala Yousufzai, 14, was flown by helicopter from the military hospital in Peshawar to one in Rawalpindi.

The latter city houses the headquarters of the Pakistani military, three officials said. They did not want to be identified because they are not authorized to speak to the media about the matter.

Malala is in "critical" condition, said Lt. Col. Junaid Khan, the head of neurosurgery at the Peshawar hospital. A day before, surgeons removed a bullet lodged in her neck.

She is also suffering from severe edema, the doctor said.

Edema is the abnormal accumulation of fluid in part of the body that results in swelling. Doctors said late Wednesday that Malala's condition was "satisfactory."

altTaliban gunmen shot teen activist
alt14-year-old activist wounded by Taliban

As she struggled to recover Thursday, the United Nations was marking International Day of the Girl, which is aimed at "highlighting, celebrating, discussing, and advancing girls lives and opportunities across the globe" -- goals that Malala risked her life to pursue.

Malala's uncle, Faiz Muhammad, said his niece hadn't been conscious or responsive since the surgery to remove the bullet more than 24 hours ago.

"Doctors say she needs 48-hours' rest," he said.

Muhammad, who is in the hospital with Malala, said the family was "very worried" about her condition.

Opinion: Cowards shot this brave girl

"We are counting on all the prayers of the nation," he said. "The prayers are with us, so, God willing, everything is going to be fine."

An angry chorus of voices in social media, on the street, in newspapers and over the airwaves decried the attack against Malala as cowardly and an example of a government unable to cope with militants.

I was afraid going to school because the Taliban had issued an edict banning all girls from attending school.
Malala Yousufzai blog post

On Tuesday, Taliban militants stopped a van carrying three girls, including Malala, on their way home from school in northwestern Pakistan's conservative Swat Valley.

One of the gunmen asked which one was Malala Yousufzai. When the girls pointed her out, the men opened fire. The bullets struck all three girls.

The injuries from the shooting were not life-threatening for the two other girls. But the attack put Malala in intensive care.

On Wednesday, police took the van driver and the school guard into custody for questioning. They also said they'd identified the culprits.

Meanwhile, the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack and vowed to kill her if she survives. The group defended its attack against the girl on religious grounds.

Anyone who "campaigns against Islam and Shariah (Muslim law) is ordered to be killed by Shariah," the group said in a statement Thursday.

The group cites precedents for taking such action against children and women.

"It's a clear command of Shariah that any female that by any means plays a role in war against mujahedeen, should be killed," the Taliban said.

Opinion: Make schools safe for girls everywhere

Malala "was playing a vital role in bucking up" the Pakistani government and was "inviting Muslims to hate mujahedeen."

"If anyone thinks that Malala is targeted because of education, that's absolutely wrong, and a propaganda of media, Malala is targeted because of her pioneer role in preaching secularism and so-called enlightened moderation," the group said.

Pakistan's picturesque Swat Valley was once one of the nation's biggest tourist destinations.

The valley, near the Afghanistan border and 186 miles (300 kilometers) from the capital city of Islamabad, boasted the country's only ski resort. It was a draw for trout-fishing enthusiasts and visitors to the ancient Buddhist ruins in the area. But that was before militants -- their faces covered with dark turbans -- unleashed a wave of violence.

They demanded veils for women, beards for men and a ban on music and television. They allowed boys' schools to operate but closed those for girls.

International Day of the Girl: Advice from leading women

It was in this climate that Malala reached out to the outside world through her blog posts.

She took a stand by writing about her daily battle with extremist militants who used fear and intimidation to force girls to stay at home.

Malala's online writing led to her being awarded Pakistan's first National Peace Prize in November.

The Taliban controlled Malala's valley for years until 2009, when the military cleared it in an operation that also evacuated thousands of families.

But pockets remain, and violence is never far behind.

"I have the right of education," Malala said in a CNN interview last year. "I have the right to play. I have the right to sing. I have the right to talk. I have the right to go to market. I have the right to speak up."

Malala also encouraged other young people to take a stand against the Taliban -- and to not hide in their bedrooms. "God will ask you on the day of judgment where were you when your people were asking you, when your school fellows were asking you, and when your school was asking you that I am being blown up?"

Read more: 14-year-old girl wins Pakistan's first peace prize

Mian Iftikhar Hussein, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa information minister, said he was declaring a bounty of $100,000 for the capture of the culprits in the attempt on Malala's life.

The attack was criticized by governments around the globe.

"Directing violence at children is barbaric, it's cowardly and our hearts go out to her and the others who were wounded as well as their families," Jay Carney, the White House spokesman, said Wednesday.

The U.S. government has offered to "provide air ambulance and medical treatment at a facility suitable for her condition if it becomes necessary," he said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the act "heinous and cowardly" on Wednesday and said the attackers must be brought to justice.

"The secretary-general, like many around the world, has been deeply moved by Malala Yousufzai's courageous efforts to promote the fundamental right to education -- enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights," a representative for Ban said.

iReport assignment: Girls + Education = ...

Setback for Pakistani teen facing blasphemy charges

Explainer: Pakistan's blasphemy laws

Pakistan's top court investigates use of girls to settle tribal dispute

Hear This: F-U to all Jews

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Even this tolerant town has its limits.

You simply do not invite Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a pure evil crackpot Holocaust denier who wants to see Israel obliterated from planet Earth, to the United Nations on Yom Kippur, a Day of Atonement, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.

This is not just an affront to the Jews.

This is a spit in the face to all the tolerant people of this big-hearted city that plays host to the United Nations because no other city on the planet has a citizenry patient and worldwise enough to put up with the theater of the absurd that usually plays out there.

We put up with the United Nations because we are the capital of the world.

But even New York has to stop and shout that inviting Ahmadinejad to the UN on Yom Kippur explodes the envelope.

This is a vile, disgusting, detestable publicity stunt.

Inviting Ahmadinejad to the UN on Yom Kippur is a treacherous piece of stagecraft designed to promote hate for a particular people who helped make this city great — a meanspirited gimmick that desecrates the memory of 6 million murdered Jews with the histrionic antics of the world’s best-known anti-Semite on the holiest day of the Jewish year.

For shame.

The United Nations, created as a body to promote world peace, has gone out of its way to create disharmony and division by inviting Ahmadinejad, who will inject more venom into the bloodstream of the world on American shores during a presidential campaign, hoping to poison even the forgiving spirit of Yom Kippur.

This is a purely hostile political act.

The best way to deal with this hateful publicity stunt would be, of course, to ignore this monster. It would be perfect justice if all the editors in this media capital simply spiked all stories about this repulsive creep at this miserable event. It would be a perfect antidote if we aired no TV news footage and rendered what’s his face insignificant.

But that’s not gonna happen.

Ahmadinejad has a loud and unforgiving voice in Iran, which is the latest hot-button country in the Middle East, the country that Israel sees as its greatest threat, the nation that both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have drawn a nuclear red line in front of in the sand.

Ahmadinejad, a megalomaniacal tyrant, loves being the center of attention, and what better way to grab the world spotlight than to spread hate about the Jews in the UN on Yom Kippur?

This cheap, evil gimmick will get global media saturation, showing this twisted little man grinning on the world stage, spreading his invective like a global flu.

The United Nations loses what little credibility it had left with this latest affront to human decency.

Even New York, the most tolerant city in the world, has its limits.

It is also a slap in the face to this great city that Ahmadinejad has been invited to speak at the UN on Yom Kippur.

If the UN has a shred of guts or decency left, it will postpone his address. If it doesn’t, we might consider an eviction notice.



Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ahmadinejad-yom-kippur-speech-outrage-new-york-city-article-1.1167560#ixzz27UYKblvnAhmadenijad

Violent protests target embassies, Thousands in Kashmir protest anti-Islam film

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Thousands of angry Kashmiri Muslims protested Friday against an anti-Islam film, burning U.S. flags and calling President Barack Obama a "terrorist," while the top government cleric here reportedly demanded Americans leave the volatile Indian-controlled region immediately.

In the southern Indian city of Chennai, protesters threw stones at the U.S. Consulate, shattering some windows and burning Obama in effigy. Police quickly cleared the area, arresting more than 100 protesters. U.S. Embassy officials in Delhi did not immediately comment.

In Bangladesh, about 5,000 hard-line Muslims marched through the streets of the capital, Dhaka, after Friday prayers, burning U.S. and Israeli flags and calling for the arrest and death of the filmmaker. Police prevented them from marching toward the U.S. Embassy, which was several miles away.

The low-budget film "Innocence of Muslims," produced by a filmmaker in the United States, ridicules Islam and depicts the Prophet Muhammad as a fraud, a womanizer and a madman. American and Middle Eastern leaders have denounced the film and condemned acts of violence by protesters. In Libya, the American ambassador and three other staff members were killed when the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was attacked.

Authorities in Indian-controlled Kashmir have asked the Indian government to block online clips from the film, the region's top police official Ashok Prasad said Friday.

Across Kashmir, at least 15,000 people took part in more than two dozen protests, chanting "Down with America" and "Down with Israel" in some of the largest anti-American demonstrations against the film in Asia.

U.S. and Israeli flags were burned at many of the protests across the Muslim-majority region. Hundreds of lawyers in the main city of Srinagar stopped work and marched out of court and into the streets in protest. One protester held a poster with Obama's picture and the words "real terrorist."

"The U.S. citizens visiting Kashmir should leave immediately as the sentiments of the Muslims have been hurt by these pictures," Mufti Bashiruddin Ahmad, Kashmir's state-appointed cleric, was quoted as telling the Kashmir Reader, an English daily.

In response to the statement, U.S. Embassy officials sent out a message reiterating its call for citizens to stay away from Kashmir, a volatile territory where many oppose India's rule. Police said they were investigating the cleric's statement.

Though many local separatists groups disavowed the threat to Americans, local authorities put five top separatist leaders under house arrest, a common action when protests or violence is expected.

Jamat-e-Islami, Kashmir's biggest Islamic party, demanded the U.S. government crack down on the filmmakers.

"If America is true in its claim of being against any kind of religious blasphemy, then it should lose no time in taking stern action against these enemies of humanity," a statement from the party said.

Meanwhile, in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, about 200 protesters in Jakarta chanted slogans and held up signs in a largely peaceful protest outside the heavily guarded U.S. Embassy. American diplomatic outposts increased security worldwide this week after clips of the film went viral online and sparked violent protests in the Middle East.

"We came here because we want the U.S. to punish whoever was involved with the film," protester Abdul Jabar Umam said. "They should know that we are willing to die to defend the honor of our Prophet."

About 20 protesters outside the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, shouted "Allahu akbar!" and handed reporters a letter addressed to the U.S. ambassador expressing their anger over the movie and calling for greater respect for religions.

Indonesia's government has been working to block access to clips of the film online, and a prominent cleric has urged calm. But others are calling for Muslims worldwide to defend the dignity of the Prophet Muhammad.

Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia, a branch of the international network that advocates a worldwide Islamic state and the ones who organized the protest, on its website blamed the U.S. government for allowing the film to be produced and released, calling it "an act of barbarism that cannot go unpunished."

"Why do these people seek problems by disturbing our peace? They knew the risk they were facing by angering people," said Muhammad Al-Khaththath, leader of another hardliner group. "There's only one way to stop our anger: Give the death penalty to the filmmaker and the actors."Meanwhile, in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, about 200 protesters in Jakarta chanted slogans and held up signs in a largely peaceful protest outside the heavily guarded U.S. Embassy. American diplomatic outposts increased security worldwide this week after clips of the film went viral online and sparked violent protests in the Middle East.

"We came here because we want the U.S. to punish whoever was involved with the film," protester Abdul Jabar Umam said. "They should know that we are willing to die to defend the honor of our Prophet."

About 20 protesters outside the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, shouted "Allahu akbar!" and handed reporters a letter addressed to the U.S. ambassador expressing their anger over the movie and calling for greater respect for religions.

Indonesia's government has been working to block access to clips of the film online, and a prominent cleric has urged calm. But others are calling for Muslims worldwide to defend the dignity of the Prophet Mohammed.

Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia, a branch of the international network that advocates a worldwide Islamic state and the ones who organized the protest, on its website blamed the U.S. government for allowing the film to be produced and released, calling it "an act of barbarism that cannot go unpunished."

"Why do these people seek problems by disturbing our peace? They knew the risk they were facing by angering people," said Muhammad Al-Khaththath, leader of another hardliner group. "There's only one way to stop our anger: Give the death penalty to the filmmaker and the actors."

In Egypt, riot police clashed with protesters angry over an anti-Islam film blocks away from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo as the president went on state TV and appealed to Muslims to protect embassies, trying to patch up strained relations with the United States.

Several hundred protesters massed in Cairo's Tahrir Square after weekly Muslim Friday prayers and tore up an American flag, waving a black, Islamist flag. When protesters tried to move toward the embassy, several blocks away, they were confronted by lines of police who fired tear gas.

"With our soul, our blood, we will avenge you, our Prophet," they chanted.

Ahead of the clashes, Islamist President Mohammed Morsi spoke for more than seven minutes on state TV, his most direct public move to contain protests since an angry crowd assaulted the embassy Tuesday night, scaling its walls and tearing down the American flag.

"It is required by our religion to protect our guests and their homes and places of work," Morsi said. "So I call on all to consider this, consider the law, and not attack embassies, consulates, diplomatic missions or Egyptian property that is private or public."

He denounced the killing of the American ambassador in Libya, who died in an attack Tuesday night on the U.S. Consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi along with three other Americans.

"This is something we reject and Islam rejects. To God, the attack on a person to Allah is bigger an attack on the Kaaba," he said, referring to Islam's holiest site in Mecca.

Morsi's own Muslim Brotherhood group has called for peaceful protests to denounce the film.

Protesters have been clashing in Cairo with police since the unrest Tuesday night. More than 240 people have been injured in the clashes, including a number of policemen, and 31 people have been arrested.

In Sudan, a prominent sheikh urged people on state radio to protest outside the main mosque in Khartoum. Sheikh Mohammed Jizouly said protesters would then move to the German Embassy in the city center to protest alleged anti-Muslim scrawling on mosques in Berlin and then to the US embassy, just outside the capital, to protest the film.

"America has long been an enemy to Islam and to Sudan," Jizouly said.

In Israel, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said police have boosted the number of officers patrolling east Jerusalem and Jerusalem's old city to thwart potentially violent protests following Muslim prayers at the Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam's third holiest site. Protesters are expected to march to the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, a Libyan airport official said all flights to and from the eastern city of Benghazi were canceled due to security concerns. The nearest airport is 200 kilometers away. The airport official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.

Benghazi is where the attack on the U.S. consulate took place Tuesday.

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Associated Press

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