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21 dead: First child victims named after Texas school shooting

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The first photographs of the first child victims have been released after a teen gunman rampaged through an elementary school yesterday in Uvalde, Texas.

The children shot at Robb Elementary School were all aged between seven and 10 and the motive for the horrific attack is still unclear.

Fourth grade student Xavier Lopez, 10, was killed as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos opened fire with an AR-15 assault rifle while clad in body armour.The boy’s mother had attended his awards ceremony just hours earlier, completely unaware it would be the last time she saw her child. A GoFundMe page to raise money for his funeral has already raised nearly $43,000 in the space of four hours.

Also among the dead is nine-year-old Uziyah Garcia, who was reported missing before his family were broken the devastating news. ‘My nephew was a victim of a school shooting today,’ his uncle Mitch Renfro wrote on Facebook, adding that he ‘was killed by a crazy man.’

The parents of 10-year-old Makenna Lee Elrod, feared she may not have survived the massacre, and a family friend confirmed late last night that she’d died. Her dad, Brandon Elrod, told KTRK he was ‘on the way to the funeral home’ because ‘we can’t find my daughter. It’s pretty sad what this world’s coming to.’

Pilar Newberry, whose daughter was in a tumbling class with Makenna, confirmed her death on Facebook hours later. She wrote: ‘Sweet Makenna Rest in Paradise!! My heart is shattered as my daughter Chloe loved her so much!! I’ll never forget how excited she was to meet a new friend from a different school!

Just a few weeks ago she got a friendship bracelet from her at the ballpark and she wears it everyday! When she wakes up tomorrow she’s going to be devastated. Praying so hard for her sweet family!!!!’

Nevaeh Bravo, Eliahana Torres (also known as Elijah Cruz Torres), Ellie Garcia, Amerie Jo Garza and Tess Marie have also since been confirmed among the child victims.

The first teacher to be killed at Rob Elementary School yesterday was 43-year-old Eva Mireles. Chillingly, her police officer husband, Ruben Ruiz held an active shooter drill at Uvalde High School just two months ago. The teacher’s aunt Lydia Martinez Delgado told ABC News: ‘I’m furious that these shootings continue. These children are innocent. Rifles should not be easily available to all.

‘This is my hometown, a small community of less than 20,000. I never imagined this would happen to especially loved ones … All we can do is pray hard for our country, state, schools, and especially the families of all.’

The second teacher to be named is mother-of-four Irma Garcia, 46, who had been teaching for 23 years and spent her entire career at Robb Elementary.

The gunman, whom officials identified as Salvador Ramos, died at the scene. A 66-year-old woman who officials said was the gunman’s grandmother had been shot at her home in Uvalde shortly before the massacre and was also in critical condition.

As well as wearing body armour, law enforcement officials told CBS Ramos had a handgun, an AR-15 assault weapon and high capacity magazines. However other sources said he had two military style rifles that he’s purchased as soon as he became a legal adult.

‘That was the first thing he did on his 18th birthday,’ said state senator Roland Gutierrez.

Condemning the shooting last night, President Joe Biden said: ‘I had hoped when I became president I would not have to do this — again. Another massacre. Uvalde, Texas. An elementary school. Beautiful, innocent second, third and fourth graders.

‘And how many scores of little children who witnessed what happened — see their friends die, as if they’re in a battlefield, for God’s sake. They’ll live with it the rest of their lives.’

In the years since Sandy Hook, the gun control debate in Congress has been raised many times. Efforts by politicians to change US gun policies in any significant way have consistently faced roadblocks from Republicans and the influence of outside groups such as the NRA.

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Ex F1 chief executive would “take a bullet” for “friend” Vladimir Putin

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Bernie Ecclestone Putin

Formula 1 have issued a statement following comments by their former chief executive, Bernie Ecclestone, in an interview with Good Morning Britain on Thursday morning, in which he praised “sensible” Vladimir Putin who he would “still take a bullet for”.

 

The 91-year-old businessman said that “unfortunately he’s like a lot of business people, certainly like me, that we make mistakes from time to time and when you make the mistake, you have to do the best you can to get out of it.”

 

These comments come amidst the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine following President Putin’s authorisation of a “special military operation” in the east, after intense diplomacy and the imposition of Western sanctions on Russia failed to deter him.

 

Ecclestone simultaneously criticised the Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy for not making a “big enough effort to speak to Putin”, whom he described as a “sensible person” who “would have listened to him and could have probably done something about it.”

 

He went on to confirm that he believed that if Zelenskyy had done more to avert war, as opposed to any change in Putin’s actions, the conflict that has taken the lives of thousands of innocent Ukrainian people could have been averted. “I’m quite sure Ukraine, if they’d wanted to get out of it properly, could have done.”

 

A Formula One spokesman has said: “The comments made by Bernie Ecclestone are his personal views and are in very stark contrast to the position of the modern values of our sport.”

 

What are your thoughts – Join us on Facebook to join in the conversation..

 

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British Airways staff to strike over summer holidays

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A total of 700 British Airways workers at Heathrow Airport have voted in favour of and are set to go on a strike during the summer holidays in a dispute over pay, where demand is at its highest.

 

Unite and GMB union members have backed industrial action due to a 10% pay cut which was imposed at the peak of the pandemic, and is not to be reinstated. 94.7% of Unite members and 95% of GMB members voted in favour of the walkouts.

 

It is understood that these proposed strikes will only be undertaken by fewer than 50% of British Airways staff at Heathrow Airport. Nevertheless, if these strikes go ahead, there will no doubt be disruption for passengers and possible cancellations of flights.

 

Some members of BA staff, such as ground operations and engineers, have had their pay cuts reversed, however the GMB claim that check-in staff “have had nothing”. Unite have called this an insult. BA have issued a statement claiming that they are “extremely disappointed” with the decision made and are committed to finding a solution with the unions.

 

The exact strike dates are to be confirmed in the next few days.

 

What are your thoughts on the strikes, join us on Facebook to join the conversation…

 

Follow us at @GBToday for updates.

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Biggest Rail Strikes in 30 years to go ahead as talks fail

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Britain is braced for the biggest rail strikes in 30 years after last-ditch talks failed to resolve a row over pay and conditions.

Thousands of staff affiliated to the Rail, Maritime and Transport union at Network Rail and 13 other train operators will walk out tomorrow, Thursday and Saturday.

The RMT says plans by Network Rail – the body which owns stations, track and signals – to cut 2,500 jobs, will put safety at risk. But the industry says it has to modernise and safety will not be compromised.

The Rail Delivery Group – which represents train firms – says the Covid pandemic has led to a decline in passenger numbers and while it wants to offer a pay rise to staff, the way the network operates has to change. But the RMT says it is prepared to take industrial action “for as long as it takes to get a settlement” and warned strikes could take place for the next six months.

It says train operators have now made an offer, but there is no further offer from Network Rail, after one was rejected last Friday. General secretary Mick Lynch said: “The RMT National Executive Committee has now found both sets of proposals to be unacceptable and it is now confirmed that the strike action scheduled this week will go ahead.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, whose department oversees the operation of the network, described calls by the RMT for ministers to intervene as a “stunt” and accused the union of “gunning” for industrial action. He said the strike was orchestrated by “union barons” and will cause misery and chaos to millions of commuters.

Services have begun to be affected this evening, and are likely to be disrupted throughout this week as the impact of the staggered stops cause an impact even on non-strike days.  Talks had continued this afternoon, but the two sides could not reach a deal.

Sources close to the negotiations said Network Rail was prepared to offer striking unions a five per cent pay rise to settle the dispute.

Use this tool to see if trains will run from your station.

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