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Brossard banning pit bulls in response to attack on 8-year-old girl

Story highlights

Banned breeds

Bull Terrier

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

American Pit Bull Terrier

American Staffordshire Terrier

All pit-bull mixes

BROSSARD – The city of Brossard has announced a ban on pit bull-type dogs.

No new pit bulls are allowed in Brossard but people who already own one will get to keep their dogs, under strict guidelines.

The ban is one of 20 measures aimed at protecting the public from dangerous dogs.

READ MORE: Dog attack victim calls for pit bull ban in wake of Quebec woman’s death

ChangSha Night Net


  • Dog attack victim calls for pit bull ban in wake of Quebec woman’s death

  • Pit bull attack reignites debate on banning specific dog breeds

  • Pit bulls model flower crowns in hopes of erasing bad reputation

    There are seven registered pit bulls in Brossard, but the city believes there may be others.

    The owners of pit bull-type dogs will have to register their pets with the city. They will also have to prove they’ve gotten obedience training and get insurance of up to $250,000.

    The dogs will also need a micro chip, have to be neutered and they won’t be allowed in dog parks and when in public, they must wear a muzzle.

    “These dogs being aggressive, if they’re mixed with other dogs, there could be incidents we don’t want to happen,” said Eric Boutin, Brossard’s planning director.

    The city has been working on these new rules since an eight-year-old girl, Vanessa Biron, was mauled by a pit bull-type dog last fall at a Brossard park.

    The girl was left with severe scars on her face.

    READ MORE: Pit bull attack reignites debate on banning specific dog breeds

    Her father, Bernard Biron, said he was happy with the results although he would now like to see something done at the provincial level.

    “As soon as a province-wide ban can be enabled, I think we’re gonna save lives and that’s going to save tragic accidents,” Biron said.

    “I think children have the right to play without fear a savage beast will jump on their throats, not only in Brossard but all over Quebec.”

    “According to studies consulted by the GTRAC (the Groupe de Travail sur le Réglement des Animaux de Compagnie), pit bulls are responsible for the vast majority of documented serious attacks,” Brossard Mayor Paul Leduc said.

    The mayor said the city will hire an inspector to enforce the bylaw and increase vigilance.

    There’s no word yet on the dollar amount of fines but Leduc said they will be “severe.”

    “If pit bulls are found on the territory, they are not licensed and they’re not protected with the grandfathered clause, they could be seized. But that’s an ultimate measure,” Boutin added.

    READ MORE: Pit bulls model flower crowns in hopes of erasing bad reputation

    The Montreal SPCA says this approach is too expensive for both the owner and the city and that it’s ultimately not effective.

    “We need to focus on preventative measures ensuring dogs don’t become aggressive in the first place,” said Alana Devine, a Montreal SPCA spokesperson.

    “That means addressing sterilization, addressing breeding, addressing sale of animals.”

    The bylaw will be implemented in the next couple of weeks but owners of pit bull-type dogs will have until Sept. 1 to comply with the rules.

Okanagan-Skaha School District won’t ask for special advisor

Those hoping the Okanagan-Skaha School District would call in a special advisor won’t get their wish.

After a lengthy discussion at their board meeting Monday night, the school board voted 6-1 against asking for a special advisor.

Some had hoped an advisor could provide an outside opinion on the way the decisions were made to close three schools.

ChangSha Night Net

Last week, MLA Dan Ashton wrote to the board asking them to look at bringing in a special advisor and specifically mentioned the controversy over the decision to close Trout Creek Elementary.

“Parents in School District 67 and even Summerland Municipal Council are expressing their wishes for an oversight into this closure. Surely their concerns should be worthy of a second look by an individual who can possibly provide additional advice to the issue,” wrote Ashton.

However, the board chair Linda Van Alphen defended the decision not to ask for a special advisor. She argues the board feels the investigation by an ombudsperson, that is already going ahead, will provide a third party, objective investigation and there is no need to duplicate that process.

Read More: Summerland parents seeking injunction on school Closure

“We know that the one big question that the parents have is one process. We already have an ombudsman who is going through two claims that we have not done due process. We are waiting for the results of what the ombudsman says,” said Van Alphen.

“I hate to say this, but it is not a very large group of people anymore that are saying that they don’t trust us. The larger group are the people who say go ahead you’ve done the right job and keep going with what you are doing.”

Van Alphen stands behind the procedure used to close Trout Creek Elementary and says the process to close the school was “solid.”

– with files from Angela Jung

MH35 group reveals new plans for library in public information sessions

In the first of several public information sessions held today in Moncton, MH35 presented its updated plans for the former Moncton High School.

MH Renaissance Inc., or MH35, is the group hoping to turn the old Moncton High School into an arts and cultural centre.

READ MORE: Future of former Moncton High School still undecided

The group’s idea of moving the city library from its current location in Moncton’s downtown core to a refurbished 81-year-old school has been the source of some controversy.

“We just met with the library this morning so we have not heard their reaction yet,” MH35 President Dennis Cochrane said Tuesday.

Cochrane says after the meeting with library officials, who were against the move, MH35 had an architect alter the layout of the proposed space to better accommodate the library’s needs.

Proposed layout for library in former Moncton High School

Shelley Steeves/Global News

Former Moncton High librarian, Catherine Cox attended the information sessions to see the latest plans. She thinks the proposal is a good option for expanding the library.

“With the renovations that they are planning it’s lovely. They fill in the quad and make a big new square space you can see —; there is lots of room for a library, the children’s library at the present library isn’t big enough.”

MH 35’s proposed layout for library at former Moncton High School

Shelley Steevesw

ChangSha Night Net

Cox says having the library in the old, historic building would add charm to the library space, comparing it to Harry Potter’s School of Hogwarts.

“It’s a stone building with nooks and crannies and little windows to sit in,” she said.

MH35 claims it will cost the library the same amount of money to operate out of the former school, however the library board claims it will cost more.

READ MORE: Plans brewing for future use of old Moncton High School

Moncton’s new mayor, Dawn Arnold, who sat on the library board, has said publicly that she is not convinced the library should move. Dawn wasn’t available for comment Tuesday.

“We have said to the city all along, ‘if you don’t want to put the library there, what other space do you have that you could possibly move in?’” Cochrane said.

Tim Bosma’s accused killers also face charges in death of Toronto woman Laura Babcock

HAMILTON —; The accused killers of a Hamilton man whose remains were found burned beyond recognition face another murder trial next year in the death of a young woman.

But a judge in Hamilton did not allow any mention of the upcoming proceedings during the lengthy trial of Dellen Millard and Mark Smich, who are accused of killing Tim Bosma and torching his body in an animal incinerator three years ago.

ChangSha Night Net

Both Millard, 30, of Toronto, and Smich, 28, of Oakville, Ont., have pleaded not guilty to the murder charges in the death of Bosma, who disappeared on May 6, 2013 after taking two men for a test drive in a truck he was trying to sell online.

READ MORE: Jury deliberations continue in murder trial of Tim Bosma’s accused killers

The two men – who court heard first met via drug dealing and later committed “missions” together, code name for thefts – are also charged with first-degree murder in the death of Laura Babcock, a 23-year-old woman from Toronto who disappeared in the summer of 2012.

Police says Babcock, whose body was never found, was romantically involved with Millard. The trial into her slaying is expected to begin early next year.

Smich’s lawyer, Thomas Dungey, said his client intends to plead not guilty to those charges. Millard did not respond to a request for comment, but at a court appearance for that case early this year, he said he intends to represent himself at trial.

Millard also faces first-degree murder charges in the death of his father, Wayne Millard, in November 2012, which was initially deemed a suicide. A date for that trial hasn’t been set yet.

READ MORE: Judge tells jury to disregard some comments from key players in Tim Bosma murder trial

The circumstances of Bosma’s disappearance and the massive search for the married father of a two-year-old girl made headlines across the country. The graphic testimony during the trial, which often prompted Bosma’s widow and other family members to burst into tears or rush out of the courtroom, hogged headlines in Ontario for months.

Millard chose not to testify, so the jury didn’t hear him talk about his friend and co-accused. Smich, who did take the stand, described the relationship in detail.

The two first met after Millard called Smich looking to buy drugs, Smich testified, describing himself as a small-time drug dealer.

“As time went on, our bond was stronger and I felt like he was a brother to me,” Smich said of Millard.

On the surface, the two had vastly different backgrounds.

READ MORE: Tim Bosma’s accused murderers killed ‘for the thrill of it’: Crown

Millard was the heir to an aviation empire – Millardair – that his grandfather started more than 50 years ago. He owned numerous real estate properties in and around Toronto, several cars, trucks, planes and a helicopter. Court heard Millard travelled the world – and once competed in the famous Baja off-road race in Mexico.

Smich testified he was broke, sold drugs as his only means of income and held odd jobs throughout his life. He said he also worked for Millard in odd jobs that ranged from painting his friend’s house in western Toronto to doing manual labour at the hangar in Waterloo, Ont.

Millard would sometimes pay him in weed, shoes or would cover his cellphone bills, Smich said. The two bonded over video games, he added, and would play Halo for hours on end with other friends at Millard’s house. They often partied together.

“We both liked to smoke weed and hang out,” Smich testified.

READ MORE: Tim Bosma’s accused killer too smart to commit such a dumb crime, says lawyer

Smich also told court they stole together, from trees to trailers to a “skid steer” – a small loading vehicle used in construction. One time, he said, after the two enjoyed chicken wings and beer in a restaurant, they stole a floor polisher that was in the bed of a pickup truck in the parking lot. Smich said neither knew what it was, but they stole it anyway.

The tight friendship changed at some point after Bosma’s death, court heard.

Smich testified it was Millard who shot and killed Bosma in his truck and then burned his body. He said he helped cover the crime because he was terrified of his “lunatic” friend. Millard’s lawyer, meantime, says Smich accidentally killed Bosma while he was trying to steal his truck.

Millard didn’t mince words in secret jailhouse letters that he sent to his girlfriend, Christina Noudga. In one letter from the summer of 2013, read out in court, Millard said Smich screwed up the truck robbery and he only helped clean up his mess.

In another letter, Millard wrote: “And treacherous Mark; got himself charged by trying to put it on me.”

Pipeline support strong at East Coast Energy Connection Conference

The kickoff to Saint John’s two-day East Coast Energy Connection Conference served mostly as a support summit for the proposed Energy East Pipeline.

Both New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant as well as former Manitoba Premier Gary Doer touted the benefits of the controversial pipeline during the event’s kickoff luncheon.

ChangSha Night Net

“Not only will it stimulate the economy in the short term and create many jobs, it will also help us be prosperous in the long term,” Gallant said, adding that he’ll do whatever it takes to make sure the pipeline comes to Saint John.

“It’ll help an industry that’s very important to the Canadian economy and an industry that’s very important to the New Brunswick economy.”

The hydraulic fracturing moratorium that was recently extended in the province was done so due to safety concerns. Gallant and his government doesn’t have the same concerns about the project, though.

READ MORE: Business and energy leaders upset over extension of fracking moratorium

That falls in line with Doer’s stance —; he says during his time in office he approved the method and says science shows it’s the safest way to transport oil.

“I preferred to have oil in a pipeline than on rail, I prefer to have the safety factor that scientists have agreed on,” Doer said.

Pipeline talks are expected to remain at the forefront of the conference on day two, when vocal supporter Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is scheduled for a keynote address.

The proposed Energy East pipeline route.

Courtesy: TransCanada

Surviving the Slump: Travel Alberta without breaking the bank

The repercussions of economic decline can hit home the hardest during the holidays. Christmas, birthdays, and summer vacations all become exponentially more challenging to manage, and rather than being a source of bliss and relaxation, they can actually be a huge source of stress and frustration.

With layoffs across the province and a weak Canadian dollar, making travel plans–especially beyond our borders–may be out of the question for many Albertans this summer.

ChangSha Night Net

This week’s guest on Surviving the Slump, Tamara Elliott, is a Calgary-based travel writer and the founder of Globe Guide. Elliott is a long-time resident of Calgary and came by the station to offer her expertise on how to get the most out of a summer vacation spent in Alberta.

“I think a lot people are just kind of watching the bottom lines,” Elliott said, “and rethinking their grand vacation plans that they usually have and thinking, ‘how can we make our money go a little bit further and perhaps stay in our own backyard this year?’”

Driving just an hour outside the City of Calgary can take you to some stunning locations, where there are seemingly countless options for entertainment, relaxation or adventure.

There are also numerous offers, packages and deals available that can help get you the most out of those places while minimizing the strain on your finances.

For example, this summer the Calgary Zoo and Telus Spark have joined forces to offer a flex pass, giving visitors the chance to purchase passes for both locations at a savings of 40 per cent. General admission passes are available for $34.

Similarly, if you want to travel up to Edmonton, you can get the Edmonton Attractions pass, which also allows you access to multiple attractions like the Valley Zoo or Jurassic Forest, among many others. There are two options with this offer, you can either get an ultimate pass for access to all attractions or choose four with the U-Pick Pass.

The City of Calgary is also offering “unlimited summer fun” for only $50 with their new concept, the Youth Passport. 

Calgary Attractions are offering coupons with discounted rates for tons of great attractions across the city.

Another one is the Experience Alberta’s History Pass which is an affordable way to get an educational experience of some of the historic sites around the province. A family pass goes for $12, adults for $50, seniors for $40, youth for $30, and kids under seven can get in for free. Check out sites like Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, the Royal Tyrrell Museum or the Brooks Aquaduct.

Dinosaur Provincial Park is offering visitors the chance to create their own unique adventure in the badlands, pick from a number of discounted activities and save up to 15 per cent with Heritage Inn and Suites. Adventure options include the Fossil Safari Tour, Explorer’s Bus Tour or Centrosaurus Quarry Hike. Dino-enthusiasts eat your hearts out!

If you’re up for a quick visit to Calgary’s neighbour to the east, Medicine Hat, there are numerous hotel offers giving guests the chance to save over 50 per cent, with packages that include Fast & Curious, a local culture package, or 18 holes of golf.

For even more budget-wise adventures, check out all of the different options offered on Travel Alberta’s website.

And of course, as our guest adamantly attested to, there are also many ways to enjoy the city or province with little to no expenditures.

“That’s the great thing about our city, is that we don’t need to even travel at all during the summer,” Elliott said. “There’s so much going on.”

There is, of course, the Calgary Stampede, but Elliott touched on some more simple locations around town that merit a summertime visit.

The newly redeveloped East Village, for example, with its riverside art, numerous food and beverage options and plethora of live music events makes it an ideal spot to check out.

“There’s some really great options within the city that you can still have a really nice getaway,” Elliott said, mentioning the Kensington Riverside Inn, the sister hotel to Hotel Arts. It has a stunning location and offers spa packages among numerous other offers.

“It’s a nice way to indulge a little bit while still staying close to home.”

Calgary’s close proximity to the Rocky Mountains allows easy access to incredible natural beauty.

“We’ve got a lot of fantastic campgrounds obviously within an hour or two drive from Calgary or even closer,” Elliott said. “So you really don’t need to break the bank to have a nice weekend away.”

Whether it be Grassi Lakes near Canmore, or a little farther to the gorgeous, turquoise Peyto Lake or northwest of the city to the Sundre area.

“There’s horseback riding adventures, there’s rafting,” Elliott explained. “You could take an easy hike from what’s called the Ya Ha Tinda area and there’s a beautiful waterfall there called Big Horn Falls. Again that’s a really easy hike, it only takes five or ten minutes walking along a creek-side to get to a beautiful big waterfall, so there’s all these sorts of places around the province that people don’t necessarily realize that we have and they’re totally free to go to. You’ve just got to go find them and find the time.”

So while it is true that our economy is a hindrance on many Albertans’ travel plans, by looking into some of these many offers, you can craft unique, personalized, fun trips for yourself or your family, without added financial stress and guilt.

RCMP say Fort McMurray wildfire likely ‘result of human activity,’ investigate if blaze was criminal

Mounties said for the first time Tuesday the Fort McMurray wildfire was “most likely the result of human activity” and is now asking the public for assistance as they investigate what caused the massive blaze.

ChangSha Night Net


  • Northern Lights centre begins offering core health services in Fort McMurray

  • Workers wanted for Fort McMurray cleanup

  • First commercial flight back to Fort McMurray touches down Friday morning

  • Wood Buffalo Food Bank re-opens after Fort McMurray wildfire

  • Beacon Hill School in Fort McMurray to remain closed for at least a year

    “That doesn’t mean that that’s necessarily arson,” RCMP Insp. Gibson Glavin said Tuesday before adding that if the fire does turn out to have been deliberately set, the RCMP could pursue charges. “If we do find a criminal cause, and if we do identify the person or persons who deliberately caused it, arson is a charge within the Criminal Code of Canada, a very serious charge, particularly if it potentially puts live and property at danger.

    “We’ve been really lucky in this fire – nobody lost their lives or (was) seriously injured directly as a result of the fire – that’s extraordinary,” Glavin said, pointing out things could easily have turned out differently.

    The fire has been burning for over six weeks as of Tuesday and RCMP said a joint investigation with wildfire investigators has ruled out lightning as a probable cause.

    Watch below: Global News’ ongoing coverage of the Fort McMurray wildfire.

    Raw video: First look at the devastated Abasand neighbourhood of Fort McMurray


    Raw video: First look at the devastated Abasand neighbourhood of Fort McMurray


    Fort McMurray wildfire: Residents begin returning home


    Fort McMurray wildfire spreads into Saskatchewan


    Fort McMurray fire flares up again


    Fort McMurray wildfire puts Noralta Lodge at risk


    Fort McMurray wildfire evacuation order continues to expand


    Viewing traumatic pictures of Fort McMurray could lead to PTSD


    Government of Alberta about to release more detailed satellite images of Fort McMurray


    Fort McMurray wildfire: satellite maps show the damage


    Darby Allen shows Justin Trudeau around ruins of Fort McMurray


    Fort McMurray firefighter forced to watch as fire consumes his own home


    Fort McMurray wildfire: Firefighters still fighting flames a week after evacuation


    Fort McMurray wildfires continue scorching new ground


    Incredible view of helicopter fighting Fort McMurray wildfire


    Fort McMurray wildfire destroys 2,400 structures, but 85% of city still stands


    How the Fort McMurray hospital was evacuated


    A look inside Fort McMurray


    Southern Albertans experience Fort McMurray wildfires first hand


    Parts of Fort McMurray left in ruins following wildfire

    RCMP are involved in the investigation in order to establish whether or not a criminal offence took place with regard to the start of the fire.

    According to police, the blaze, officially referred to as “MWF-009”, broke out about 15 kilometres southwest of Fort McMurray and was first spotted from the air on May 1 by a forestry crew.

    Police are looking to speak with anyone who was using the Horse River Trail System between April 29 and May 5.

    Glavin said many people may think they have no meaningful information to offer police, but highlighted the importance of calling the RCMP anyway.

    “That would be completely natural, to think, ‘I don’t have anything to offer. I don’t really know what I saw.’ No, you’re exactly who we want to talk to.”

    Ed Rostalski, a veteran fire investigator who worked on the Slave Lake fire and now works for Global Forensics Inc., said whether the investigation reveals the fire was deliberately set or simply the result of human error – like carelessly tossing a cigarette – minute pieces of evidence could be crucial in breaking the case.

    “They’ll be looking for glass, they’ll be looking for debris…they may even find something as simple as a cigarette,” he said. “When you’re putting a puzzle together, the smallest little piece of information could be the key to everything.”

    Anyone with information is asked to call the RCMP’s wildfire investigation phone line at 1-844-620-9826 or to submit an anonymous tip by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

    Earlier this month, the province completed the voluntary, phased re-entry into Fort McMurray after the fire forced over 80,000 people from their homes last month.

    READ MORE: Air quality advisory lifted for Fort McMurray following wildfire

    On Tuesday, Alberta Health Services lifted an air quality advisory for the community.

    On Monday, the province announced the fire is being held for the first time since it became out of control in early May.

    READ MORE: Fort McMurray wildfire classified as ‘being held’

    The fire destroyed roughly 2,400 buildings and scorched nearly 590,000 hectares of land.

‘Highly offensive:’ Republicans distance selves from Donald Trump on Orlando shooting

WASHINGTON – Dismayed Republicans scrambled for cover Tuesday from Donald Trump’s inflammatory response to the Orlando massacre, while President Barack Obama and Democrat Hillary Clinton delivered fiery denunciations that underscored the potential peril for the GOP.

Republican hopes are fading for a new, “more presidential” Trump as the party’s divisions around him grow ever more acute.

Clinton, campaigning in Pittsburgh, said, “We don’t need conspiracy theories and pathological self-congratulations. We need leadership and concrete plans because we are facing a brutal enemy.”

WATCH: Donald Trump says Hillary Clinton can ‘no longer claim to be a friend to the gay community’

ChangSha Night Net

In Washington, Obama said of Muslim-Americans: “Are we going to start subjecting them to special surveillance? Are we going to discriminate against them because of their faith?” After meeting with counterterrorism officials, a stern-faced Obama said: “We heard these suggestions during the course of this campaign. Do Republican officials actually agree with this? Because that’s not the America we want.”

Several of Trump’s fellow Republicans clearly did not agree with him. They were nearly as unsparing as the Democrats in their criticism of his boundary-pushing response Monday to the killing of 49 patrons at a gay club in Orlando, Florida, by an American-born Muslim who pledged loyalty to the Islamic State group.

READ MORE: Some on terrorist watch list can legally purchase guns in United States

Among other things, Trump suggested moderate Muslims and perhaps even Obama himself might sympathize with radical elements and expanded his call for a temporary ban on Muslim immigration to the U.S.

“Mr. Trump seems to be suggesting that the president is one of them, I find that highly offensive, I find that whole line of reasoning way off-base,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. “Mr. Trump’s reaction to declare war on the faith is the worst possible solution.”

WATCH: Donald Trumps speaks out about Orlando shooting

GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois said Trump’s comments could be used to radicalize uneducated Muslims.

“I guess I appreciate Mr. Trump’s fieriness in talking about it, and strength, but you don’t do it by alienating the very people we need and those are moderate Muslims,” said Kinzinger. “To use religion as a test, to say we’re going to discriminate against all Muslims, is so counterproductive it really almost doesn’t deserve being talked about.”

Trump responded to Obama’s criticism in a statement saying: “President Obama claims to know our enemy, and yet he continues to prioritize our enemy over our allies, and for that matter, the American people. When I am president, it will always be America First.”

WATCH: Trump angers Democrats, GOP over ‘racist’ comments about judge

House Republicans said they would meet with Trump on July 7.

The lawmakers’ reactions underscored an atmosphere of anxiety and unease among Republicans on Capitol Hill, who hoped to see Trump moderate his impulses in the weeks since clinching the nomination. The presidency and control of Congress are at stake in November.

READ MORE: ‘Blood was everywhere’: Orlando shooting survivors recall scenes of terror

Instead the opposite has occurred as the billionaire businessman has stoked one controversy after another and shows no sign of slowing down.

One senior Senate Republican, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, went so far as to suggest Trump might not end up as the party’s nominee after all.

“We do not have a nominee until after the convention,” Alexander asserted in response to a question. Reminded that Trump is the presumptive GOP nominee, Alexander retorted: “That’s what you say.”

Other congressional Republicans claimed, improbably, not to have heard what Trump said. “I just don’t know what he was talking about, I frankly don’t know what you’re talking about. I hadn’t heard it,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, in response to a question about Trump’s suggestions about Obama.

As he has in the past, House Speaker Paul Ryan denounced Trump’s call for an immigration ban for Muslims, saying: “I do not think a Muslim ban is in our country’s interest. I do not think it is reflective of our principles not just as a party, but as a country. And I think the smarter way to go in all respects is to have a security test and not a religious test.”

Ryan, who endorsed Trump only recently after a lengthy delay as he grappled with the implications of the celebrity businessman’s candidacy, ignored shouted questions about whether he stood by his support. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters he would not be commenting Tuesday about Trump.

READ MORE: Orlando shooting: Gay MPs shocked, saddened and ‘shattered’ by massacre

“I continue to be discouraged by the direction of the campaign and comments that are made,” said Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, Republican chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. Monday’s Trump address was not “the type of speech that one would give that wants to lead this country through difficult times.”

For many Republicans the prospect of continually facing questions about Trump was plainly wearing thin.

“I’m just not going to comment on more of his statements. It’s going to be five months of it,” said Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming.

Said Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina: “What Trump does or says, every time he says something doesn’t mean I have to have an answer for it.”

Orlando shooting: Pulse owner says club will honour lives lost in massacre

The Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla, the site of the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history, was named in honour of owner Barbara Poma’s late brother — and she’s vowing the club will “continue to be the heartbeat of Orlando.”

Poma, along with business partner Ron Legler, established Pulse in 2004 as a way of mourning her brother John, who died from AIDS-related illness in 1991.

ChangSha Night Net


  • Orlando shooting: Gay MPs shocked, saddened and ‘shattered’ by massacre

  • Orlando shooting: Obama slams Donald Trump’s ‘shameful’ anti-Muslim rhetoric

  • Orlando shooter frequented gay nightclub before killing spree

    She came up with the name Pulse as a nod to “John’s heartbeat” — to have a place where he could be “kept alive in the eyes of his friends and family.”

    READ MORE: ‘Blood was everywhere’: Orlando shooting survivors recall scenes of terror

    She wanted it to be a “safe, fun place to come and be who you are.” And it was, until early Sunday morning when gunman Omar Mateen opened fire inside Pulse just before the club was set to close.

    Speaking to NBC News in an interview that aired Tuesday morning, she said the club’s name will now honour the heartbeats of the 49 victims of Sunday’s massacre.

    Poma recounted how she screamed in disbelief when she learned of the attack and was overwhelmed as the death toll kept rising — one of her employees was among the dead.

    Security guard Kimberly “KJ” Morris, 37, had only recently started working at Pulse. The Orlando Sentinel reported she moved to Orlando from Hawaii to be closer to her mother and grandmother.

    “She was really good. She was a good fit for our family,” Poma told NBC‘s Matt Lauer.

    READ MORE: Pro-ISIS group identifies Toronto Pride Parade as ‘excellent target’ for attack

    Poma described the staff and customers at Pulse as “family.”

    “It’s not to just honour my brother anymore. It is to honour all the families affected. It is to honour the true spirit of Orlando,” Poma told NBC News.

    She said the club will be rebuilt and will be a part of the collective healing process the city and its LGBTQ community have ahead of them.

    “We weren’t just a place to work. You know, we worked together toward one certain goal, a certain mission, and we have to do it together, and now we mourn together,” Poma said.

    According to her story on the Pulse website, Poma’s older brother introduced her to the gay scene — which was still very much secretive and underground — when she was a teenager growing up in Fort Lauderdale.

    READ MORE: Why LGBTQ pride and gay bars still matter

    “To Barbara, John wasn’t gay. John was simply her loving brother that did her makeup, put highlights in her hair, and taught her EVERYTHING she need to know about fashion,” the story on the website reads.

    Their family accepted John when he came out, something that “allowed Barbara to create unforgettable (and sometimes blurry) moments with her older brother.”

    Poma said she has to return to Pulse and carry on with the club’s mission — to continue to be there for the community, the victims of the shooting and their families.

    “We just welcome those families into our family and we just have to move forward and keep their [the victims’] hearts beating.”

    Follow @nick_logan

Some on terrorist watch list can legally purchase guns in United States

WASHINGTON – Omar Mateen, investigated twice by the FBI, was on the government’s terrorist watch list for 10 months before being removed. Yet even had he remained on that listing, it wouldn’t have stopped him from buying the firearms he used in Sunday’s Orlando shooting rampage.

Senate Democrats are hoping to use that little-known fact and the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history to pressure Republicans to take what could be a politically painful election-year vote to curb gun sales.

The FBI investigations, in 2013 and 2014, closed with no charges against Mateen, 29. Yet the day after the American-born Muslim killed 49 people and wounded more than 50 others in a gay nightclub, President Barack Obama and FBI director James Comey said he was probably inspired by foreign terrorist groups. Mateen died in a gunfight with a SWAT team.

WATCH: Moment of silence for Orlando victims turns controversial after some lawmakers walk out

ChangSha Night Net

A look at the intersection between the terrorist list, guns and the Orlando bloodbath:

Q: What is the terrorist watch list?

A: The FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, created in 2003 following the 9-11 attacks on the U.S., maintains the terrorist watch list, a database of people known or suspected of being involved in terrorist activities. Federal agencies used to keep nearly a dozen separate listings but shared them only occasionally.

READ MORE: ‘Blood was everywhere’: Orlando shooting survivors recall scenes of terror

The list has around 420,000 people on it, according to FBI figures from 2011, with records updated daily and shared with state, local and foreign agencies. Some 16,000 of its names comprised the government’s no-fly list in 2011, the FBI says.

Q: That’s a lot of people.

A: It is. But the FBI notes that only about 2 per cent of them are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents allowed to buy guns. The rest are foreigners, many of whom are not permitted to purchase firearms here.

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Q: Why can people on the terrorist watch list buy guns?

A: That’s the law. Being on a terrorist watch list is not “in and of itself a disqualifying factor” for people purchasing firearms and explosives, according to a 2013 report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.

People purchasing guns from federally licensed firearms dealers must undergo background checks, and they can be denied if they fall into any of 10 categories. These include convicted felons or drug abusers, people found by courts to have certain mental problems and immigrants in the U.S. illegally.

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The FBI is notified when someone on a list applies to purchase a gun, often resulting in increased surveillance of a suspect. But being a suspected or known terrorist is not one such category.

People don’t need background checks to buy guns from unlicensed sellers, such as from some who offer firearms at gun shows or online. It’s unclear exactly how many guns are sold that way.

The FBI also conducts background checks on people applying for licenses to ship or receive explosives.

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Q: Are there many sales to people on the terrorist watch list?

A: Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chief sponsor of legislation that Democrats are pushing following Orlando, got numbers in March from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office, Congress’ investigative arm.

GAO said from February 2004, when the background check system began monitoring the terror watch list, through 2015, 2,477 names of would-be gun and explosives buyers were on the watch list. Nearly all were for gun purchases.

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Of those, 91 per cent, or 2,265, of the transactions were permitted.

For comparison, the FBI and states conducted more than 23 million background checks last year for gun purchases, the most ever.

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Q: What would Feinstein’s bill do?

A: It would let the attorney general deny firearms and explosives to people known or suspected of being involved in terrorist activities. It’s not necessarily based on the government’s terrorist list.

The Senate rejected it last December by a near party-line vote, and barring an unexpected compromise the same fate likely awaits it.

Last year’s vote occurred a day after an extremist couple killed 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif. Nearly all Republicans opposed Feinstein’s proposal, saying owning guns is a constitutional right and noting that some people have been erroneously suspected as terrorists.

That same day, senators derailed a proposal by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, that was opposed by most Democrats and would have let the government delay firearms sales to suspected terrorists for up to 72 hours. The transaction could be halted permanently if officials could persuade a judge to do so.

Democrats said clever lawyers could easily delay court action for 72 hours, rendering the proposal toothless.

Democrats say they intend to try forcing a vote on the Feinstein measure again soon. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Republicans would find opposition difficult “in a political season” as presidential and congressional elections approach.