There's a call to end 'gun violence' at this year's Teen Choice Awards

The ongoing issue of gun violence in the US was raised at the Teen Choice Awards in Los Angeles.

Hollywood actress Jessica Alba was joined on stage by teenagers who've been directly affected by recent shootings in America.

She asked viewers to use the hashtag #StopTheViolence, saying: "It keeps happening, and it has to stop.

"Tonight we stand together with these teens united in a call for peace and an end to this violence."

Ne-Yo's performance also highlighted the controversial issue by performing Marvin Gaye's What's Going On.

The Dolan Twins
The Dolan Twins won Choice web stars award and Choice YouTuber

And the award goes to...

  • Published in Culture

One Dead, Four Wounded in Shootings in Texas

WASHINGTON – One person was killed and four other people were wounded in separate shootings in downtown Austin, Texas, media reports said on Sunday.

“Separate shootings within the same area. Both scenes are secure at this time,” the Austin Police Department said in a Twitter post.

A 30-year-old woman was killed, CNN reported, citing Austin-Travis County emergency services officials.

Three people – two women and a man – were wounded in the shootings, emergency services officials said, adding that a fourth person declined to be treated by paramedics.

A few hours before the shootings, police had asked the public to stay away from downtown Austin due to an “active shooter incident.”

The motive for the shootings has not been determined and police did not say whether any suspects were under arrest.

  • Published in World

Supreme Court makes major rulings on abortion, gun rights, corruption

The US Supreme Court struck down abortion restrictions in Texas, ruled that domestic violence misdemeanor convictions are grounds to lose gun ownership rights, and raised the bar for prosecuting public officials on corruption charges.

In the Texas abortion law case, known as Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the Court threw out a previous ruling by an appellate court in a 5-3 decision. Justices Breyer, Kennedy, Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan were in the majority, while Thomas, Alito and Roberts dissented.

The Texas law, known as HB2, required abortion providers to have facilities similar to surgical outpatient centers. While the state said that the requirement was necessary to protect women’s health, abortion right groups argued that the law was crafted to make it more difficult for women in Texas to obtain abortions.

The decision was immediately hailed by the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

@HillaryClinton SCOTUS's decision is a victory for women in Texas and across America. Safe abortion should be a right—not just on paper, but in reality. -H

Justice Clarence Thomas was the only member of the court who would have upheld the Texas statute outright. Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito, two other conservative-leaning members of the Court, said that they favored require more analysis, according to SCOTUSblog.

The Court also ruled against two plaintiffs in Voisine v. United States, a case with implications for gun ownership rights. Stephen Voisine and William Armstrong had argued that a federal law that barred them from owning firearms because of misdemeanor domestic violence convictions violated their constitutional rights.

In a 6-2 ruling, the court upheld the opinion that domestic violence convictions can result in gun ownership restrictions, even if the misdemeanor is only the result of recklessness rather than intent. Justices Roberts, Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer and Alito were in the majority, with Thomas and Sotomayor dissenting.

Unanimous ruling makes it harder to prosecute elected officials accused of bribery

The Supreme Court also announced its unanimous decision to vacate the conviction of former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell on corruption charges.

“There is no doubt that this case is distasteful; it may be worse than that. But our concern is not with tawdry tales of Ferraris, Rolexes, and ball gowns,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote. “It is instead with the broader legal implications of the government’s boundless interpretation of the federal bribery statute.”

For something to qualify as political corruption, the government official would have to take formal action on a pending matter, not just set up meetings, the court ruled. A lower court will decide whether to set a new trial for McDonnell.

Monday's announcements were the last opinions to be issued by the Supreme Court this term.

  • Published in World

US Supreme Court turns down challenge to assault weapons ban in 2 states

The US Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to laws in two states that restrict ownership of semi-automatic firearms.

On Monday, justices rejected an appeal of an October decision by the Second US Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld laws in Connecticut and New York that prohibit civilians from owning certain semi-automatic rifles and high-capacity magazines.

The laws bar access to the same gun used by Omar Mateen, the man who killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in a terrorist attack on an Orlando nightclub last week.

A federal ban enacted in 1994 had similar prohibitions on certain semi-automatic firearms and magazines that were defined as high-capacity, but that law expired in 2004.

The bans in Connecticut and New York were enacted in response to the Sandy Hook massacre, where a shooter with a semi-automatic rifle killed 20 children and six teachers at an elementary school in 2012.

Five other states and Washington, DC also have bans on semi-automatic rifles.

The two states’ gun laws were originally challenged in two cases from gun rights organizations and individual gun owners. The appeals courts consolidated the cases into one and upheld the law.

The Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that individuals have a right to possess guns in their home for self-defense, but has since refused to strike down state and local laws that enact restrictions on activities. Those restrictions include requiring guns to be locked or disabled when not in use, banning ownership for those under age 21, and bans on carrying firearms in public.

The US Senate is currently expected to vote on a set of competing gun control measures in response to the Orlando mass shooting, two proposed by Democrats and two proposed by Republicans.

The four bills address changes to the federal background checks systems and restrictions on gun sales to those on terror watch lists. All of them are expected to fail, however.

  • Published in World
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