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5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • Poll: 97 percent of voters favor background checks for gun purchases

  • North Korea pulled out of a secret meeting set up with Pence during Olympics

  • Trump asks Justice Department to explore bump stock ban

  • Human rights monitors warn latest attack in Syria could be 'the massacre of the 21st century'

  • Lindsey Vonn wins bronze in her last Olympic downhill race

A new poll by Quinnipiac University published Tuesday found that a whopping 97 percent of American voters favor universal background checks on all gun purchases. Moreover, support for universal background checks was practically uniform across all categories, including race, gender, age group, or partisan affiliation: Ninety-nine percent of Democrats favored the checks, as did 97 percent of Republicans, 98 percent of independents, 96 percent of men, 99 percent of women, 98 percent of white voters, 99 percent of black voters, and 98 percent of Hispanic voters. The poll was conducted between Feb. 16-19, just days after the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed by a teenager armed with a semiautomatic rifle.

Source: Quinnipiac University, CNN

Right before Vice President Mike Pence was set to secretly meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister during the Winter Olympics in South Korea, the North Koreans canceled on him, his office told The Washington Post Tuesday. Pence and a team were going to meet with Kim Yo Jong and Kim Yong Nam, North Korea's nominal head of state, on Feb. 10, but they pulled out of the meeting less than two hours before it was going to start. Pence had been vocal about his belief North Korea was using the Winter Games for propaganda purposes, and North Korea made it clear they did not like his remarks, his office said.

Source: The Washington Post

President Trump announced Tuesday that he is directing the Justice Department to propose a ban for bump stock firearm modifications. Bump stocks, which essentially make semiautomatic firearms operate as though they were fully automatic, were hotly debated after the Las Vegas shooting last October, where a man killed 58 people using weapons outfitted with bump stocks. Trump's order comes after the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed by a teenager armed with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, though a weapons expert told the Miami Herald that the Parkland shooter did not appear to have used a bump stock. The Justice Department originally determined in December that it likely could not regulate bump stocks "without congressional action," The New York Times reports.

Source: Miami Herald, The Associated Press

Human rights monitors report that nearly 200 people have been killed in the rebel-held region of Eastern Ghouta, Syria, in the past 48 hours, with Monday marking the bloodiest single day since 2015. Although Eastern Ghouta has been a target of the Syrian regime for more than five years, the region was officially declared a safe "de-escalation" zone for civilians in a deal between Russia, Turkey, and Iran last year. "Residents of Eastern Ghouta are bracing themselves for what they believe is an imminent ground invasion by Syrian regime forces," CNN writes. At least four hospitals have reportedly been destroyed in the shelling and airstrikes: "We are standing before the massacre of the 21st century," one doctor working in the region warned.

Source: CNN, The Guardian

Lindsey Vonn took home a bronze medal Wednesday in Pyeongchang, coming in behind Italy's Sofia Goggia and Norway's Ragnhild Mowinckel in the downhill race. Vonn finished in 1:39.69, .47 seconds behind Goggia. "I skied a great race today," Vonn told NBC. "Sofia just skied better than I did." Vonn said she had "no regrets" about the event, but it was "tough to contemplate this being my last Olympic downhill race. I struggled to keep the emotions together. But I'm proud of my performance." Vonn has competed in four Winter Olympics, winning three medals, and has one more individual event coming up: the combined on Thursday.

Source: USA Today
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