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Non-Corona News

From Canada’s new gun control legislation to Joe Biden’s denial of sexual assault allegations, The Gazelle brings to you a healthy dosage of non-corona news.

May 2, 2020

Canada bans assault-style weapons after mass shooting
Following a mass shooting in Nova Scotia on April 18, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced a ban on over 1,500 assault-style weapons. The mass shooting, unfolding over 12 hours between April 18 and April 19, saw 22 people killed — 13 of whom were shot and nine of whom died in house fires started by the shooter.
The shooter in Nova Scotia wore an RCMP uniform and drove a police cruiser to pose as a police officer during his rampage. The shooting cemented Trudeau’s campaign for gun control which began last November, for which a ban was set to be introduced this March but was delayed. Unlike in the United States, gun ownership is not enshrined in Canada’s constitution, yet it is popular in the country regardless, especially in rural areas. Trudeau recognizedthis fact in his announcement.
“For many families, including many indigenous people, firearms are part of traditions passed down through generations, and the vast majority of gun owners use them safely, responsibly and in accordance with the law, whether it be for work, sport shooting, for collecting or for hunting. But you don’t need an AR-15 to bring down a deer,” said Trudeau.
The ban is effective immediately but a two-year amnesty period will be introduced to allow law-abiding gun owners to comply with the regulations. A buy-back program will also be introduced along with the legislation at a later date. While Trudeau’s government had already expanded background checks and legislation on the transportation of handguns previously, the shooter in Nova Scotia did not have a firearms license and it remains unclear where he obtained the semi-automatic handguns and rifles found in his possession.
Brazil’s Supreme Court launches investigation into President Jair Bolsonaro
On April 28, the Supreme Court of Brazil authorized an investigation into President Jair Bolsonaro following allegations of his interference with police investigations. The allegations are coming from former Justice Minister Sergio Moro, an anti-corruption crusader, who announced his resignation after Bolsonaro’s decision to replace the current head of federal police.
According to Moro, Bolsonaro planned to appoint a new police chief solely to place an individual over whom he had influence in this position. Describing the move as “political interference,” Moro emphasized that such decisions should be under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice. Supreme Court judge Celso de Mello echoed this sentiment when announcing the approval of the investigation.
“The President of the Republic … is also subject to the laws, just like any other of the country’s citizens. No one, absolutely no one, is entitled to infringe and show contempt for our country’s laws and constitution,” said de Mello.
The principal motivation behind Bolsonaro’s appointment of a new federal police chief is said to be the pending investigation into his son Carlos Bolsonaro for dissemination of fake news reports threatening and defaming several state authorities. Flávio Bolsonaro, another of the President’s sons, is also being investigated for suspected ties to Rio de Janeiro’s mafia and for corruption.
Bolsonaro’s choice for the new federal police director, announced on April 21, is expected to face legal challenges, as the candidate, Alexandre Ramagem, is a friend of Carlos Bolsonaro. The crimes for which Bolsonaro will be investigated include fraudulent misrepresentation, passive corruption and obstruction of justice.
Joe Biden denies sexual assault charges
In an interview with MSNBC on May 1, US Democratic candidate Joe Biden directly denied allegations of sexually assaulting Tara Reade, his former staff assistant, 27 years ago. While several other women have accused Biden of inappropriate behavior and assault, Reade has been the first and only one to file a criminal complaint to the police.
While the allegations had been previously addressed by Biden’s deputy campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield, Biden addressed the claimsfor the first time directly on MSNBC, stating that “[u]nequivocally, it never, never happened.” He addressed the claim that Reade, at the time of the assault, had raised complaints with other former staff who worked for Biden, including her supervisor and senior staffers.
“They — both men and a woman — have said, unequivocally, that she never came to them and complained or raised issues. News organizations that have talked with literally dozens of former staffers have not found one — not one — who corroborated her allegations in any way. Indeed, many of them spoke to the culture of an office that would not have tolerated harassment in any way — as indeed I would not have," Biden emphasized.
According to Reade, the University of Delaware holds records of Biden’s career as US Senator and these records contain evidence that she had raised complaints to her superiors about him at the time of the assault. The university has stated that it will not release any of these records until Biden leaves public life. However, after his MSNBC interview, Biden wrote a letter to the secretary of the US Senate in order to check if any records of Reade’s complaint could be found and that any such documents be made public, including the complaint or any other documents that corroborate the sexual assault allegation.
Tracy Vavrova is Senior News Editor. Email her at
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