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New gun laws will make New Zealand safer after mosque massacre, says PM Ardern

CHRISTCHURCH: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday she would announce new gun laws within days, after 50 people were killed in mass shootings at two mosques in the city of Christchurch.

Tarrant was remanded without a plea and is due back in court on April 5 where police said he was likely to face more charges.Fifty people were killed and dozens wounded at two mosques in Christchurch on Friday.Gun City owner David Tipple said the alleged gunman bought four weapons and ammunition between December 2017 and March 2018.“The MSSA, military-style automatic, reportedly used by the alleged gunman was not purchased from Gun City.Gun City did not sell him an MSSA, only A-category firearms,” Tipple told a new conference in Christchurch.Under New Zealand gun laws, A-category weapons can be semi-automatic but limited to seven shots.
Video of a gunman in one mosque showed a semi-automatic with a large magazine round.Tipple said the online purchases followed a police-verified online mail-order process and A-category firearms were bought in three or four purchases.“We detected nothing extraordinary about the license holder. He was a brand new purchaser, with a brand new license,” he said.Tightening New Zealand’s gun laws was at the top of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s agenda as she met with her cabinet on Monday for the first time since the massacre.The shock of the attacks has led to calls for an immediate tightening of laws to restrict access to some firearms, particularly semi-automatic weapons.“What the public rightly are asking right now is why is it and how is it that you are currently able to buy military style semi-automatic weapons in New Zealand, and that’s the right question to ask,” Ardern told TVNZ earlier on Monday.“There are ways we can bring in affective regulation of firearms that actually target those we need to target and that is our focus.”Gun City owner Tipple said he supported Ardern’s call for gun law reforms as the Christchurch shootings had raised legitimate concerns.New Zealand, a country of only 5 million people, has an estimated 1.5 million firearms. The minimum age for a gun license is 16, and 18 to own a semi-automatic weapon.A Radio New Zealand report, based on police data secured through an Official Information Act request, said more than 99 percent of people who applied for a firearms license in 2017 were successful.A New Zealand standard A-category firearm license is issued after a police and background check.No license is required to buy a large round magazine, which can be illegally modified for use in such a weapon.Only firearm owners are licensed, not weapons, so there is no monitoring of how many weapons a person may possess.
New Zealand’s top online marketplace Trade Me Group said it was halting the sale of semi-automatic weapons in the wake of Friday’s attack.BURIAL Frustration was the first signatory of a national condolence book for the country’s worst mass killing that she opened in the capital Wellington on Monday.
“On behalf of all New Zealanders, we grieve together.
They are us,” she wrote in the book.Deputy Police Commissioner Wally Haumaha said the first body was approved for release on Sunday night, but the family was yet to take the body because another relative was also killed and they wanted to collect them together. He said there would be no burials on Monday.
‘NZ attack grim reminder of Islamophobia sweeping the world’“We’ve been working fairly hard through the night to ensure the process of returning the deceased to their loved ones is taking place expediently,” he said.The burial process, which usually involves washing with three kinds of water, salving wounds and scrubbing skin, would be complicated, volunteers in Christchurch said.
Mo, a volunteer who had flown in from Brisbane to wash the bodies, said the people who died in the mosques were classified as martyrs. That meant there were different views as to whether they would be washed or not because he said Islamic jurisprudence said martyrs are not to be washed as their blood was witness to their martyrdom.“But some people have said because it was not a battlefield it is okay to wash the body. But it is at the discretion of the family,” said Mo.
He asked to be identified by just one name.Death toll of Pakistanis martyred in NZ mosques massacre rises to nineThe two mosques involved in the shootings have been closed since the massacre, but are expected to reopen by Friday prayers after cleansing blessings were carried out, said Haumaha.“This morning we conducted two important blessings at the Deans Avenue mosques and the Linwood mosque,” he said.“This blessing this morning gave them (the Muslim community) huge confidence.We hope to have those premises in place by the end of the week to allow our Muslim community to go back and undertake prayer.

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Asian markets swing on tempered trade hopes, weak data

HONG KONG: Asian markets fluctuated Thursday as optimism over China-US trade talks was tempered by Donald Trump’s top negotiator, while investors also digested weak factory data from Beijing and fresh geopolitical tensions in Kashmir.
The global rally that has characterised most of this year took a knock after US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told lawmakers that real progress had been made with China, but a lot of work was still needed before a pact is signed.
While his comments did not derail expectations of an agreement at some point with both sides reporting good progress and Trump delaying a deadline for a deal it did give traders pause for thought, observers said.Lighthizer said a trade deal hasnt been agreed yet, bringing some reality back to euphoric markets post-Trumps tariff extension, despite the fact Lighthizer also announced both sides had agreed on an enforcement process, said OANDA senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley.
After a negative lead from Wall Street, Asian markets swung Thursday and Tokyo went into the break 0.4 percent lower.Hong Kong was up 0.4 percent mid-morning, Shanghai gained 0.3 percent, Sydney put on 0.2 percent and Wellington was up 0.4 percent.But Singapore slipped 0.5 percent and Seoul shed 0.2 percent, while Jakarta retreated 0.5 percent and Manila lost 0.7 percent.
Also fuelling selling pressure was figures showing Chinese manufacturing activity contracted for a third straight month in February, with factories hit by the long Lunar New Year break, concerns about slowing growth and uncertainty from the trade row. Better sense-However, Zhou Hao, a senior emerging markets economist at Commerzbank AG, said the results were likely not as bad as they seemed and the outlook could be positive.
I think we still want to wait for the next months reading as this months is distorted by the holiday, he said.Also the economy could stabilise this month.
Rising input prices suggest that there is no need to worry about deflation, so the question now rests on whether the economy has enough impetus.Nervousness continues to stalk trading floors after Pakistan and India said they had shot down each others fighter jets on Wednesday, fuelling worries of a conflict between the nuclear-armed neighbours.
The developments followed the February 14 suicide bombing by militants in the disputed Kashmir region that that killed 40 Indian troops.Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan called for better sense to prevail.With politicians on both nuclear-armed sides making soothing comments overnight, the trick will be finding a mutually face-saving path to de-escalate the situation. Of course, this will be much easier said than done, and the potential for hostilities to ratchet higher remains very high, Halley added.
On currency markets the pound held gains after touching a near eight-month high earlier Thursday after MPs gave Prime Minister Theresa May more time to work on her EU withdrawal deal after she promised they could delay Brexit if necessary.Sterling was also given a boost after the opposition Labour Party said it would back a second referendum, having lost a vote on its own Brexit plan Wednesday.

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