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Monday, October 16, 2017

Hasm claims embassy bombing in Cairo, may be looking to expand

READ IN:    العربية Ahmad Abd Alhaleim October 15, 2017 0 1 3 5 6 Article Summary The Hasm movement in Egypt has been behind attacks against figures close to the regime, but since it said it perpetrated the Myanmar Embassy attack in Cairo, authorities are looking at the group's potential to grow. REUTERS/Beawiharta Muslims demonstrated outside the embassies of Myanmar around the world last month to protest the treatment of the Rohingya Muslim minority by the Myanmar government; this protest took place in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Sept. 15, 2017. Two weeks later, on Sept. 30, an explosion went off outside Myanmar's Embassy in Cairo. Since the Hasm militant movement claimed responsibility for the Sept. 30 explosion at Myanmar's Embassy in Cairo, officials are wondering if the group plans to expand beyond its mainstay target of Egyptian authorities. The movement so far has been a relative minor league player among jihadi ranks, but could be looking to move up alongside international terrorism groups. Hasm has claimed responsibility for several assassinations and bombings targeting Egyptian authorities since its rise. In August 2016, the movement carried out a failed assassination attempt against Egypt's former grand mufti, Ali Gomaa, wounding his bodyguard. Hasm’s first known operation was the July 2016 assassination of Maj. Mahmoud Abdel Hamid, chief of investigations in Tamya. There are reasons to suspect the movement is connected to the Muslim Brotherhood. Hasm planted a car bomb in November 2016 against Ahmad Abu al-Fotouh, a judge in the 2015 trial of Brotherhood member and ousted President Mohammed Morsi. Fotouh survived, but two of his bodyguards and a deliveryman were killed. Egypt is investigating 17 incidents for which Hasm is blamed, including the assassination of army and police officers, judges and public prosecutors. Egyptian authorities say the group's central command is headed by Ahmed Abdul Hafiz, who lives in Turkey. They believe the group is being aided by three Brotherhood leaders — Ali Bateekh, Magdy Shalash and Mohammed Abdul Hadi — but there is no conclusive evidence proving ties between Hasm and the Brotherhood. However, as both groups' approaches and philosophies are similar, there is speculation that Hasm was formed by rebels who defected from the Brotherhood organizationally but who retain its influence. Before its Twitter account was blocked, Hasm posted a statement comparing the practices of the Myanmar government against the Rohingya Muslims with measures Egyptian authorities take against government opponents, especially in Sinai, which the movement describes as home to “the authorities of the military coup” against Morsi. So does Hasm’s claimed targeting of the embassy indicate that it's entering a new phase and becoming a transnational organization like al-Qaeda and the Islamic Jihad? Does Hasm have the ability and public base to go through with such a shift? Officials have yet to even acknowledge Hasm was involved in the explosion. An Interior Ministry security source told Egypt's El-Watan newspaper Sept. 30 that the embassy explosion was due to some combination of a cigarette, volatile fumes from old construction materials and a nearby gas pipe. However, two security sources told Reuters that traces of explosives were found at the scene. Hasm said in a statement that it had used "utmost caution to ensure that there were no civilian casualties or innocent people [hurt] during the operation, or else you would have seen a burning hell you could not have stopped." Salah al-Din Hassan, a researcher on Islamist movements and former editor-in-chief of Al-Bawaba newspaper, told Al-Monitor, “Despite the significance of Hasm's claiming responsibility for the Myanmar embassy attack, it does not forecast the movement’s ability to execute operations abroad. But the [group's] development might be in attacking the interests of states that Hasm believes oppose Egypt. This new development heralds globalized operations in a message whose main aim is to show the movement as a force of solidarity with Muslims around the world, amid injustice to the Brotherhood.” Anas al-Kassass, a strategic and international affairs analyst, told Al-Monitor, “Talk about armed shifts within the Brotherhood must be dealt with seriously for objective reasons related to the [Brotherhood's] fluctuating ideological and religious authority since its establishment in 1928.” He added, “These groups … did not exist in themselves, but were born as a reaction [against the regime], leaving limited repercussions because of their lack of vision. Besides, they do not have an organizational culture allowing them to cope with the variables around them, be they political, economic, ideological or technological. … The Hasm movement cannot turn into a transnational group." Regarding the prospect of confrontations between Hasm and Egyptian security, Hassan said, “The security forces in Egypt succeeded in eliminating organizations like the [now-defunct] Soldiers of Egypt and the Popular Resistance, which were fruits of jihadism, and they are now up against groups branched from the Brotherhood. These groups have more stamina because they are affiliated with the Brotherhood, which has a wide popular and social base, and it is generally a large Islamist current. Historically, organizations emanating from the mother Brotherhood group split from it and form separate groups that have their own distinct character.” The Soldiers of Egypt (Ajnad Misr) disbanded after Egyptian security killed its leader, Hamam Mohammad Atiya, in April 2015. Many members are now on trial, and 13 were sentenced to death this month. The Popular Resistance was formed in August 2014. The movement claimed responsibility for several operations, and Egyptian security still arrests some members from time to time. Hasm has taken steps that might push the United States and other countries to designate it as a terrorist group, given that its operations could be going global, even if on a small scale. Hasm will either disintegrate under pressure or expand within the circle of violence, presenting a greater security challenge and more violence in the Nile Valley and Delta in Egypt. Abdelrahman Youssef contributed to this story. Found in: Armed militias Ahmad Abd Alhaleim is an Egyptian journalist who worked as an editor for judicial and political affairs for Al-Shorouk newspaper. He specializes in political Islam movements and social investigations. Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/10/egypt-hasm-movement-attacks-local-figures-myanmar-embassy.html#ixzz4vfOGz5fm

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Violence as federal forces move further toward Kirkuk

Iraqi security forces have been ordered to retake control of oil assets and military bases that have been under KRG protection since 2014. Iraqi forces drive toward Kurdish Peshmerga positions on Oct. 15, 2017, on the southern outskirts of Kirkuk. [AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images] By Kamaran al-Najar, Rawaz Tahir and Mohammed Hussein of Iraq Oil Report Published Monday, October 16th, 2017 KIRKUK - Iraqi federal forces and Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers began shelling each other on the southern outskirts of Kirkuk city early Monday, after Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi formally announced that he had ordered an operation to retake military bases and other "federal installations" in Kirkuk province. "Commander-in-Chief Haider al-Abadi has instructed Iraqi Army, Federal Police, CTS to secure bases and federal installations in Kirkuk province," the Iraqi Government said on its official Twitter account. CTS refers to the Iraqi Army's elite Counter-Terrorism Service.

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Friday, October 13, 2017

Trump strikes blow at Iran nuclear deal in major U.S. policy shift

Steve Holland, Yara Bayoumy 6 Min Read WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump struck a blow against the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement on Friday in defiance of other world powers, choosing not to certify that Tehran is complying with the deal and warning he might ultimately terminate it. Trump announced the major shift in U.S. policy in a speech in which he detailed a more aggressive approach to Iran over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and its support for extremist groups in the Middle East. He accused Iran of “not living up to the spirit” of the nuclear agreement and said his goal is to ensure Tehran never obtains a nuclear weapon, in effect throwing the fate of the deal to Congress. He singled out Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for sanctions and delivered a blistering critique of Tehran, which he accused of destabilizing actions in Syria, Yemen and Iraq. “We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout,” Trump said. Trump’s hardline remarks drew praise from Israel, Iran’s arch-foe, but was criticized by European allies. The move by Trump was part of his “America First” approach to international agreements which has led him to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks and renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico. His Iran strategy angered Tehran and put Washington at odds with other signatories of the accord - Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union - some of which have benefited economically from renewed trade with Iran. Responding to Trump, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Friday on television that Tehran was committed to the deal and accused Trump of making baseless accusations. “The Iranian nation has not and will never bow to any foreign pressure,” he said. “Iran and the deal are stronger than ever.” European allies have warned of a split with the United States over the nuclear agreement and say that putting it in limbo as Trump has done undermines U.S. credibility abroad, especially as international inspectors say Iran is in compliance with the accord. The chief of the U.N. atomic watchdog reiterated that Iran was under the world’s “most robust nuclear verification regime.” “The nuclear-related commitments undertaken by Iran under the JCPOA are being implemented,” Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency said, referring to the deal by its formal name. U.S. Democrats expressed skepticism at Trump’s decision. Senator Ben Cardin said: “At a moment when the United States and its allies face a nuclear crisis with North Korea, the president has manufactured a new crisis that will isolate us from our allies and partners.” U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about the Iran nuclear deal in the Diplomatic Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 13, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque CONGRESS DECIDES While Trump did not pull the United States out of the agreement, he gave the U.S. Congress 60 days to decide whether to reimpose economic sanctions on Tehran that were lifted under the pact. If Congress reimposes the sanctions, the United States would in effect be in violation of the terms of the nuclear deal and it would likely fall apart. If lawmakers do nothing, the deal remains in place. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker was working on amending the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act law to include “trigger points” that if crossed by Iran would automatically reimpose U.S. sanctions. Slideshow (10 Images) The trigger points would address strengthening nuclear inspections, Iran’s ballistic missile program and eliminate the deal’s “sunset clauses” under which some of the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program expire over time. Trump directed U.S. intelligence agencies to probe whether Iran might be working with North Korea on its weapons programs. The president, who took office in January, had reluctantly certified the agreement twice before but has repeatedly blasted it as “the worst deal ever.” It was negotiated under his predecessor, former President Barack Obama. Trump warned that if “we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated.” “We’ll see what happens over the next short period of time and I can do that instantaneously,” he told reporters when asked why he did not choose to scrap the deal now.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Westpac CEO Brian Hartzer grilled over interest-only rate hikes

CTOBER 11 2017 - 12:14PM SAVE PRINT LICENSE ARTICLE Clancy Yeates Clancy Yeates CONTACT VIA EMAIL FOLLOW ON GOOGLE PLUS FOLLOW ON TWITTER 111 reading now Show comments FACEBOOK SHARE TWITTER TWEET EMAIL MORE Westpac chief executive Brian Hartzer has been grilled in Canberra over the bank's move to hike interest-only mortgages, with parliamentary banking inquiry chair David Coleman asking if the lender was using new regulations as an excuse to increase profits. Westpac, like rivals, in June increased rates on interest-only loans, and justified the move by pointing to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority's cap on new interest-only lending at 30 per cent of new flows. Replay Unmute Current Time 1:44 / Duration Time 1:44 Loaded: 0%Progress: 0% Fullscreen Replay Video MORE NATIONAL NEWS VIDEOSPrevious slide Next slide null Video duration 02:05 Young Australians' home loan hangover Video duration 00:37 Woman throws shark back null Video duration 00:59 Abbott shut down over climate comments null Video duration 02:18 The story of the Bitter Bench null Video duration 00:57 The harmful impact of food marketing null Video duration 02:27 Government says cyber crime is 'booming' null Commission warns GST dividing system ... MORE VIDEOS Commission warns GST dividing system broken A new report threatens to reignite the political brawl over the GST by calling for urgent changes to the way revenue is divided between the states and territories. Vision courtesy Seven News. Mr Coleman repeatedly queried why the 0.34 percentage point rate hike applied to existing customers, given that APRA's restriction only applied to new loans. He noted analysis from Morgan Stanley that suggested Westpac and other lenders would make much higher returns from interest-only loans as a result of the hike. RELATED ARTICLES Westpac, ANZ and CBA move on transaction fees Be alert, not alarmed, about Australia's high household debt While banks have explained the rate rises by pointing to APRA's regulation, Mr Coleman put it to Mr Hartzer that "what the underlying numbers suggest is that compliance is being used as a profit centre." In response, Mr Hartzer insisted the bank's main objective in hiking interest-only loan rates was to give customers a strong incentive to start paying back principal at a time when borrowing costs are still low. Using pricing models was also better than denying credit to customers who wanted interest-only mortgages, he said. Advertisement When Westpac hiked interest-only rates, it also cut rates on principal and interest loans to give people an incentive to switch to paying down their debt. BUSINESS AM NEWSLETTER Get the latest news and updates emailed straight to your inbox. Enter your email address SIGN UP By submitting your email you are agreeing to Fairfax Media's terms and conditions and privacy policy . "We have to reach this 30 per cent cap as we understand it and we want to reshape our balance sheet so that customers are oriented towards paying down principal because rates are low," Mr Hartzer said. SHARE SHARE ON FACEBOOK SHARE SHARE ON TWITTER TWEET LINK http://www.theage.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/westpac-ceo-brian-hartzer-grilled-over-interestonly-rate-hikes-20171010-gyye02.html Brian Hartzer chief Westpac appeared before the House Economics Committee at Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday. Brian Hartzer chief Westpac appeared before the House Economics Committee at Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday. Photo: Andrew Meares The number of customers switching to principal and interest loans had jumped 70 per cent in the latest quarter, he said, which dampens the boost to profitability from the interest-only rate hike. It comes as the competition watchdog is carrying out a review of banks' mortgage pricing - and Mr Hartzer indicated the bank had already handed over large numbers of documents to the inquiry. Mr Hartzer said Westpac had updated its internal financial forecasts as a result of the rate hikes, but said boosting profits was not its objective. "Of course we update our forecasts financially as a result of these changes, not the other way around," Mr Hartzer said. Switch to a principal and interest loan, it's cheaper. Westpac CEO Brian Hartzer He said his advice to customers who were upset at having their interest-only loan rate increased was to "switch to a principal and interest loan, it's cheaper." Westpac is the country's largest lender to customers with interest-only loans, which made up about 50 per cent of its mortgages at the latest results. Mr Hartzer has also faced questions from Labor MP Matt Thistlethwaite over the money laundering allegations at CBA, after it was reported some of the syndicates that allegedly washed money from CBA also used Westpac and ANZ Bank to wash funds. Mr Hartzer said he was not aware of lawyers seeking details from Westpac through discovery. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission on Wednesday also said a review of interest-only lending by banks had found the major banks had curbed interetst-only lending in the past year, and it would now conduct file reviews. Banks must have a "reasonable" basis for suggesting interest-only loans, ASIC said. "The spotlight has been firmly on interest-only lending for some time, and there are no excuses for lenders and brokers not meeting their legal obligations," ASIC deputy chairman Peter Kell said.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Commentary: A former Iranian diplomat on what Trump needs to know about Iran

Discover Thomson Reuters Directory of sites Login Contact Support Iran promises 'crushing' response if U.S. designates Guards a terrorist group Kim Jong Un praises nuclear program, promotes sister Monday Morning Briefing North Korea's 'princess' now one of the secretive state's top policy makers #CommentaryOctober 10, 2017 / 3:58 AM / Updated 5 hours ago Commentary: A former Iranian diplomat on what Trump needs to know about Iran Seyed Hossein Mousavian 9 Min Read Iranian president Hassan Rouhani extends his hand to Iran's Judiciary chief Sadegh Larijani during a Tehran swearing-in ceremony for Rouhani's latest term, August 5, 2017. Nazanin Tabatabaee Yazdi/TIMA via REUTERS With the fate of the Iran nuclear deal at stake, Donald Trump has until October 15 to tell Congress if he believes Tehran is complying with the seven-nation agreement. Many expect that the U.S. president will decertify Iranian compliance with the deal -- returning U.S.-Iran relations to a state of overt hostility. Not all in the administration seem to agree with Trump’s harder-line approach on Iran. Defense Secretary James Mattis has publicly stated that Trump “should consider staying” in the deal, while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has reportedly argued against decertification. Speaking after his first meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, Tillerson also seemed to indicate a willingness to take a longer-term view when he told a media conference that the Washington-Tehran relationship had “never had a stable, happy moment in it.” ”Is this going to be the way it is for the rest of our lives and our children’s lives and our grandchildren’s lives,” he asked. Tillerson’s remarks evoked an encounter told to me by Mohsen Rafiqdoost, a former Iranian Revolutionary Guards Commander, of a 1982 meeting he had with Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic. MORE FROM REUTERS COMMENTARY Sponsored John Lloyd: How hate speech can harm your brain Bryce Covert: The tax reform that Republicans are missing Rafiqdoost recalled suggesting that the U.S. embassy grounds in Tehran be converted to a Revolutionary Guards base. Ayatollah Khomeini rejected the idea, asking “Why would you go there? Are we not going to have relations with America for a thousand years?” It’s clear that decades of estrangement have led to a fundamental misunderstanding of Iran in Washington. Notwithstanding the Obama administration’s nuclear negotiations, every U.S. administration since the 1979 Iranian revolution has failed in its declared objective to contain Iran. If Trump wishes to free future generations of anxiety over U.S.-Iran tensions, he should pay careful attention to five points in formulating his Iran policy. Shoppers at the Grand Bazaar in the center of Tehran, Iran, August 2, 2017. Nazanin Tabatabaee Yazdi/TIMA via REUTERS First, American officials need to stop speaking about Iran in threatening and insulting terms. The Iranian people are proud of their thousands of years of history and above all else view mutual respect as integral to their foreign relations. However, Foreign Minister Zarif told me that Trump’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly last month was the “most insulting speech of any American president toward Iran since the revolution” and that it “made any potential for dialogue with the United States meaningless.” Second, U.S. regime-change policies have been self-defeating. The principal reason for lasting Iranian distrust of the United States since the revolution has been U.S. policies aimed at undermining and overturning the Iranian political system. In June, Tillerson openly declared that U.S. policy towards Iran included regime change -- a statement not heard from a senior U.S. official in years and which marked a sharp departure from conventional U.S. rhetoric of seeking Iranian “behavior” change. In stark contrast, Barack Obama told the UN that “we are not seeking regime change and we respect the right of the Iranian people to access peaceful nuclear energy.” Consequently, he was able to diplomatically engage Iran on its nuclear program, and reach the July 2015 nuclear deal. The respectful letters exchanged between Obama and Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei helped set the process in motion. This would not happen today even if Trump made a similar overture, as the key to successful negotiations with Iran is to first drop regime-change policies. Trump's Kim dilemma Negotiate? Destroy? Tighten sanctions? Reuters columnists assess U.S. policy options on North Korea. Third, since the 1953 U.S.-led coup that overthrew democratically-elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq, Iranians have resented U.S. interference in Iran. The political landscape of conservatives, moderates, and reformists in Iran is in many ways similar to the competition between Democrats and Republicans in the United States. As such, any agreement between Washington and Tehran must be negotiated in a way that transcends the partisan divide in each country -- or else it would be inherently fragile. The challenges the nuclear deal has been subject to in Washington by the Republican Party is testament to this need. With respect to Iran too, negotiations must be carried out in a way that respects Iran’s political makeup and hierarchies. Fourth, the Trump administration needs to accept that Iran, as a large country with immense natural resources and an educated population, has legitimate security concerns and interests in its neighborhood. Washington must recognize that U.S. policies aimed at isolating Tehran and refusing to accept a legitimate Iranian role in the region have only seen Iranian influence grow in countries such as Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Lebanon while U.S. influence wanes in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere. From Iran’s perspective, its post-1979 foreign policy has been driven by the aim of deterring foreign aggression and securing the country’s borders rather than the pursuit of regional hegemony. After the revolution, Iran was invaded by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and, for much of the past decade, chaos on its thousands of miles of borders with Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan – all factors that have compelled it to play a regional role. If the United States wants to avoid scenarios where regional states aggressively compete for power it must encourage the creation of a regional security system involving the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries along with Iraq and Iran. ADVERTISING Finally, the record of U.S.-Iran negotiations shows that “dual track” policies of pressure and diplomacy are destined to fail. While Trump appears to be trying to bring Iran to the negotiating table in a position of weakness, Iranian policymakers tend to respond to pressure by retaliating in kind. In a recent Washington Post op-ed, former Secretary of State John Kerry highlighted how by the time he entered into negotiations with Iran, after years of sanctions, Iran had “mastered the nuclear fuel cycle” and built a uranium stockpile large enough to make 10 to 12 bombs. “In other words, Iran was already a nuclear-threshold state,” wrote Kerry. The lesson for Washington here is that if push comes to shove, Tehran will develop its own bargaining chips --- not capitulate in the face of whatever threats are made when Trump delivers his next policy speech on Iran. About the Author Seyed Hossein Mousavian is a Middle East Security and Nuclear Policy Specialist at Princeton University and a former head of the Foreign Relations Committee of Iran’s National Security Council. The views expressed in this article are not those of Reuters News. #World NewsOctober 9, 2017 / 6:33 PM / Updated 7 hours ago Iran promises 'crushing' response if U.S. designates Guards a terrorist group Bozorgmehr Sharafedin 5 Min Read FILE PHOTO: Members of the Iranian revolutionary guard march during a parade to commemorate the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), in Tehran September 22, 2011. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo LONDON (Reuters) - Iran promised on Monday to give a “crushing” response if the United States designated its elite Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist group. The pledge came a week before President Donald Trump announces a final decision on how he wants to contain the Islamic Republic. He is expected on Oct. 15 to “decertify” a landmark 2015 international deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program, a step that by itself stops short of pulling out of the agreement but gives Congress 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions. Sponsored Trump is also expected to designate Iran’s most powerful security force, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) as a terrorist organization, as he rolls out a broader, more hawkish U.S. strategy on Iran. “We are hopeful that the United States does not make this strategic mistake,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA. “If they do, Iran’s reaction would be firm, decisive and crushing and the United States should bear all its consequences,” he told a news conference reported by IRNA. Individuals and entities associated with the IRGC are already on the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations, but the organization as a whole is not. IRGC commander Mohammad Ali Jafari said on Sunday, “If the news is correct about the stupidity of the American government in considering the Revolutionary Guards a terrorist group, then the Revolutionary Guards will consider the American army to be like Islamic State all around the world.” Jafari also said that additional sanctions would end chances for future dialogue with the United States and that the Americans would have to move their regional bases outside the 2,000 km (1,250 mile) range of IRGC’s missiles. WARY EUROPE U.S. sanctions on the IRGC could affect conflicts in Iraq and Syria, where Tehran and Washington both support warring parties that oppose the Islamic State militant group (IS). France said on Monday it was worried that classifying the IRGC as a terrorist group could exacerbate tensions in the region. Germany said it was worried Trump would decide Iran is not respecting the nuclear deal, negotiated under his predecessor Barack Obama, and fears such a step will worsen insecurity in the Middle East. A U.S. pullout could unravel an accord seen by supporters as vital to preventing a Middle East arms race and tamping down regional tensions, since it limits Iran’s ability to enrich uranium for nuclear fuel in exchange for the lifting of sanctions that damaged its oil-based economy. The U.N. nuclear watchdog’s inspectors have repeatedly declared Iran in compliance with the terms of the nuclear deal. Trump called Iran “a corrupt dictatorship” during his first speech to the U.N. General Assembly and said the nuclear deal was “the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into”. The other five world powers in the deal were Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China. The prospect of the United States reneging on the agreement has worried other partners that helped negotiate it. The Kremlin said that any U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal would have “negative consequences.” British Prime Minister Theresa May, who supports the nuclear pact, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who opposes it, agreed in a phone call on Monday that they need to be “clear-eyed” about the threat Iran poses to the Middle East. “They agreed that ... the international community should continue working together to push back against Iran’s destabilizing regional activity,” May’s spokesman said. “MALIGN ACTIVITIES” Despite the nuclear deal, Washington still maintains its own more limited sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile program and over accusations Tehran supports terrorism. ADVERTISING inRead invented by Teads ADVERTISING Iran says it is developing missiles solely for defensive purposes and denies involvement in terrorism. The Trump administration aims to put more pressure on the IRGC, especially over recent missile tests and what Washington has called its “malign activities” across the Middle East. The U.S. government imposed sanctions in July on 18 entities and people for supporting the IRGC in developing drones and military equipment. In August, Congress overwhelmingly approved the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” which imposed new sanctions on Iran for its ballistic missile program, as well as sanctions on Russia and North Korea. In an interview aired on Saturday night, Trump accused Iran of “funding North Korea” and “doing things with North Korea that are totally inappropriate”. Qasemi, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, said the U.S. accusations were “baseless”. He added, “Israel and some specific countries are raising these accusations to create Iranophobia.” Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin with additional reporting by Dmitry Solovyov in Moscow, Andrea Shalal and Michelle Martin in Berlin, William James in London, John Irish in Paris; Editing by Mark Heinrich Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles. AppsNewslettersReuters PlusAdvertising GuidelinesCookiesTerms of UsePrivacy All quotes delayed a minimum of 15 minutes. See here for a complete list of exchanges and delays. © 2017 Reuters. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

‘Nice try, Earth is flat’: Conspiracy theorists can’t handle first ever 360 space video

facebook twitter youtube google-plus instagram soundcloud coub Applications RSS العربيةESPРУСDEFR ИНОТВRTДRUPTLY RTQuestion more live 10:34 GMT, Oct 05, 2017 News America UK Russian politics Business Sport Op-Edge In vision In motion RT360 Shows More HomeNews Published time: 4 Oct, 2017 15:12 Edited time: 5 Oct, 2017 07:20 Get short URL © RT AddThis Sharing Buttons Share to Facebook 8.3K Share to Twitter Share to Reddit 14 Share to StumbleUpon Share to Google+ Share to Tumblr In space nobody can hear you scream, but back on Earth in the RT comment section the outcry of reality-rejecting flat earthers is loud and clear. Space exploration is a conspiracy, they say, and not even a groundbreaking spacewalk 360 will convince them otherwise. The first-ever 360-degree footage captured during a spacewalk gives people an astronaut’s eye view of the planet from outside the International Space Station. READ MORE: Spacewalk 360: RT releases first-ever panoramic video of man in outer space (VIDEO) It was filmed in August by cosmonauts Sergey Ryazansky and Fedor Yurchikhin as they carried out hours of maintenance work on the low-orbit space hub. While the breathtaking footage gives people the chance to gawk at the spherical beauty of our world, and view places such as the US and Cuba from above the surly bonds of Earth, not everyone is convinced it’s real. A number of people, who apparently subscribe to the pre-3rd Century belief system that the world is a flat disk, have cried foul, labelling the footage ‘fake’ and the product of CGI. “Lots of clipping in this CGI, should have spent longer on the rendering. Also you forgot to paint in the stars,” one person wrote on the RT website. “Nice green screen. The earth is flat,” added a second commenter. “Why fish eye lens? Is there something to hide?,” said a person writing under the pseudonym  ‘Truth’. Their question was answered with the help of ‘Tim,’ who suggested that the spacewalk was actually filmed underwater. “You always need fish eyes if you are underwater. Which these ‘cosmonauts’ (read ‘aquanauts’) are,” they said. In the 360 clip, the solar panels and airlock of the ISS can be seen clearly against the backdrop of deep space. READ MORE: Cosmic culture: Nano capsule will take art to the moon That hasn’t stopped people from surmising that the absence of alien lifeforms means the footage is not genuine. “They won’t show space, they’re afraid we’ll see all of the UFOs flying around,” one person concluded. AddThis Sharing Buttons Share to Facebook 8.3K Share to Twitter Share to Reddit 14 Share to StumbleUpon Share to Google+ Share to Tumblr    Sponsored Links  More From the Web Infiniti Makes History with Revolutionary Engine CarsGuide.com.au Surprising Reward This Thursday For People Born 1941-1981 Survey Compare AUS Australia’s Cheapest Home Loans of 2017 Revealed Mozo More From RT.com Weird ‘ice blades’ on Pluto finally cracked by NASA (PHOTOS) China’s ‘physics-defying’ EmDrive could allow journey to Mars in weeks Saturn destroys Cassini in dramatic final moments (VIDEO) by Taboola Popular In the Community Sponsored Moscow rolls out red carpet for Saudi king heralding new era of economic ties SirLeo 18m When Brzezinski wrote The Grand Chess Board, I don't think he had this in mind. Congratulations Russia. One victory after another. Why isn't NATO bombing Madrid for 78 days? - fmr British diplomat GoldBoomerang 20h The EU and UN states that recognized Kosovo set this precedent for Catalonia, now they can swallow it, on their knees. ‘It’s war, b*tches’: Man arrested for threatening Vegas-style mass shooting on Facebook GoldBoomerang 8h Facebook is a cesspool of narcissists, who unknowingly give their information to the US government. If you use facebook you are essentially an agent of the system. ISIS attacked Syrian positions from US-controlled area, used sophisticated data – Moscow Ragimova Muadiv 15h What more proof is needed that the whole I$I$ project is just another brand of CIA assets on the ground! Turkish & Iranian leaders unite against Kurdish referendum, accuse Mossad of meddling GoldTooth 9h Good job, F the Zio Kurds and their shlomo masters. There is no Reason for Insurance Companies (to Exist) Gerald Newton 21 Sep Insurance companies are one of the major problems that a capitalist system tolerates. The US health system is being robbed by insurance companies. The major problem with healthcare in the US is Congress caters to the insurance companies instead of abolishing a reason for their existence. Al-Nusra Front leader in coma after Russian airstrike in Syria – MOD StinkyWinky 4h In a coma, in an israeli hospital. EU Parliament defends 'proportionate force' after brutal Catalan referendum crackdown CyanPuzzle 12h The EU, a bunch of unelected bureaucrats who live like royalty off of taxpayers' money. Naturally they would support the actions of the nations which use taxpayers' money to fund the EU.The EU needs to be dismantled; the sooner the better. Charlottesville to rename street for woman killed during August protest GoldPizza 3h Filthy Fat C*nt Avenue Catalonia defies Madrid’s attempt to take over local police, as chief refuses to comply OrangeBus 23 Sep but when Kosovo wanted to split from Serbia, it received full support from the EU. Now EU changed its mind, or did it not? Theresa May could be toppled by Christmas amid fresh Tory plot PurplePumpkin 3m I had a nightmare that Ray J made a movie with her Britain has blood on its hands in Libya, not the time for Johnson jokes - political activist OrangeFlask 18h Another puppet to that might get to manage the goy for the sake of the banks? Iranian Army chief vows to raze 2 Israeli cities to the ground if it makes ‘tiniest’ mistake CyanBoomerang 18 Sep Israel thinks it can whack the hornets nest and it wont get stung, well think again because God willing Israel will pay a great price for what it has done in the middle east. Russia breathed life back into OPEC – Saudi energy minister GreenPopcorn 18m usa has become a bankrupt and untrustworthy tradepartner with the illusion it can bully or threat everyone and anything into doing business with them on their terms.Funny ! Where to watch Schedule Promoted Links  Recommended If You Remember Wrestling in the '80s, Elbow Drop This Quiz Zoo.com Cosmic cancer threatens manned Mars mission Will Tokyo Ever Let Go Of Its 400 Year Old Tradition? CNN International for Tokyo Metropolitan Government This is why Mexico keeps getting hit by earthquakes (MAP, PHOTOS) 8 Time-Tested Investing Priciples Warren Buffett Lives By Money Morning Australia Judgement day: Will Nibiru annihilate all life on Earth today as prophesied? (POLL)    by Taboola  News America UK Russian politics Business Sport Op-Edge More Live Where to watch In vision In motion RT360 Shows Schedule Business projects Legal disclaimer Privacy policy Feedback About us Vacancies Contact info On-Air Talent RT NEWS APP Android iOS Windows phone Windows 8 العربية Español Русский Deutsch Français ИНОТВ RTД RUPTLY ApplicationsRSS facebooktwitteryoutubegoogle-plusinstagramsoundcloudcoub © Autonomous Nonprofit Organization “TV-Novosti”, 2005–2017. 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Asteroid the size of Chelyabinsk meteor to fly past Earth at 1/8 of distance to moon

facebook twitter youtube google-plus instagram soundcloud coub Applications RSS العربيةESPРУСDEFR ИНОТВRTДRUPTLY RTQuestion more live 10:00 GMT, Oct 05, 2017 News America UK Russian politics Business Sport Op-Edge In vision In motion RT360 Shows More HomeNews Published time: 5 Oct, 2017 08:16 Edited time: 5 Oct, 2017 08:17 Get short URL AddThis Sharing Buttons Share to Facebook 62 Share to Twitter Share to Reddit Share to StumbleUpon Share to Google+ Share to Tumblr A huge space rock approaching Earth is set to make a relatively close pass next week when it flies by our planet at about one-eighth of the distance to the moon. NASA said it would use the opportunity to test its ability to tackle the asteroid threat. Asteroid 2012 TC4, approaching Earth at around 30,000 mph (14 km/s), is set to pass at a distance of about 27,000 miles (43,500 kilometers) on October, 12. Initial estimates released by NASA in July indicated that the asteroid, first discovered five years ago, would pass Earth at a much closer distance – around 4,200 miles. While the flyby poses no threat to Earth, NASA will use it to test “recovery, characterization and reporting of a potentially hazardous object approaching Earth,” the agency said in August. “This time we are adding in another layer of effort, using this asteroid flyby to test the worldwide asteroid detection and tracking network, assessing our capability to work together in response to finding a potential real asteroid threat.” NASA estimates put the size of the space rock at 10 to 30 meters in diameter, making it similar to or larger than the Chelyabinsk meteor, which measured about 20 meters in diameter. The 2013 Chelyabinsk incident caused damage to hundreds of buildings and blew out thousands of windows. Around 1,200 people sought medical attention after receiving injuries inflicted mainly by flying glass from smashed windows. Over 50 were taken to the hospital, and no deaths were reported. The space object weighed about 10 tons before entering Earth’s atmosphere, estimates by the Russian Academy of Sciences said at that time. A bright flash from the meteor was seen in the Chelyabinsk, Tyumen, and Sverdlovsk regions, Russia’s Republic of Bashkiria, and in northern Kazakhstan. AddThis Sharing Buttons Share to Facebook 62 Share to Twitter Share to Reddit Share to StumbleUpon Share to Google+ Share to Tumblr    Sponsored Links  More From the Web 7 Better Alternatives to Borrowing Money Mozo Mercedes Reveals Ground-Breaking Engine CarsGuide.com.au They Found An Entire City Right Beneath This Entrance Travelwhip More From RT.com Rare lunar 'occultation' happens today: How it works & why it's a big deal Cassini spacecraft completes ‘goodbye kiss’ and turns to face its fiery death (VIDEOS) ‘Cannibals & murderers’: Pyongyang’s shocking anti-US propaganda prints revealed (GRAPHIC IMAGES) by Taboola Popular In the Community Sponsored Japanese F-15 jet loses part of missile during emergency take-off GreenBulb 6m Wait till the F-35's starts trying to fly .. there will pieces dropping all over the place ‘Unacceptable!’ RT pulled from YouTube prime ad list in US without notice Ankz 1h Try and mute the truth as much as you'd like, it ALWAYS finds a new route. 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EU Parliament defends 'proportionate force' after brutal Catalan referendum crackdown CyanPuzzle 11h The EU, a bunch of unelected bureaucrats who live like royalty off of taxpayers' money. Naturally they would support the actions of the nations which use taxpayers' money to fund the EU.The EU needs to be dismantled; the sooner the better. Iceberg the size of Washington DC breaks off Antarctic glacier (PHOTOS) Keith Christian 4h Perfect, now move all Washington warmongers onto it and they can fight each other as it melts P45 prank, coughing fit & stage malfunction turn May’s keynote speech into living nightmare (VIDEO) Stuart Tootell 22h Frankly the woman is indeed not able to do the job, My dear perhaps if we looked after our own first that would be a positive move .Frozen pensions a horrendous discrimination policy against those who paid in full yet are penalised, yet any Johnny come lately gets all without having given a thing. Putin’s approval rating slightly down from early Sept, still over 80% Indian 18m Great man. He has higher ratings than most of the so-called civilised world leaders who give themselves their own ratings.Putin is a man of the people. For the people by the people is real democracy. Why isn't NATO bombing Madrid for 78 days? - fmr British diplomat GoldBoomerang 20h The EU and UN states that recognized Kosovo set this precedent for Catalonia, now they can swallow it, on their knees. ‘Nice try, Earth is flat’: Conspiracy theorists can’t handle first ever 360 space video Olive8Ball 18h Their brain is flat too. Las Vegas shooting: At least 59 dead, over 500 injured in Mandalay Bay attack Haywood Jablomy 3d ...............another gun free zone....................eazy pickins Police to publish findings on child sex abuse claims against ex-PM Ted Heath PurplePumpkin 6m Don't worry it'll be white washed rather like the inquiry that May successfully scuppered. Nothing to see here folks, just carry, watch IT, feel safe, do nothing. EU goes after Amazon & Apple over unpaid taxes DavidG992 14h Long overdue. The rest of the world should follow, to break the deadly grip of corporate plutocracy Where to watch Schedule    by Taboola  Promoted Links  Recommended Australia’s Cheapest Home Loans of 2017 Revealed Mozo NASA satellite captures rare X-class solar flare exploding into space (VIDEO) The Cheapest Way to Transfer Money Back to Australia from Overseas The Currency Shop ‘We don’t drive carts or tanks!’ Putin says he can imagine himself buying Tesla car The World Is Taking Notice Of Russias New Super Tank HistoryInOrbit.com Russian soldier shot dead by anti-terror unit after killing 3 during drill News America UK Russian politics Business Sport Op-Edge More Live Where to watch In vision In motion RT360 Shows Schedule Business projects Legal disclaimer Privacy policy Feedback About us Vacancies Contact info On-Air Talent RT NEWS APP Android iOS Windows phone Windows 8 العربية Español Русский Deutsch Français ИНОТВ RTД RUPTLY ApplicationsRSS facebooktwitteryoutubegoogle-plusinstagramsoundcloudcoub © Autonomous Nonprofit Organization “TV-Novosti”, 2005–2017. 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Tuesday, October 03, 2017

For some elderly Americans, mortgage rules herald harder struggle

October 2, 2017 / 9:48 PM / a day ago Melissa Fares 7 Min Read AGAWAM, Mass. (Reuters) - Lloyd Nicholas, 82, and his wife Gloria Hitchcock, 69, sat next to each other as they received counseling on a reverse mortgage, a loan that would allow them to cash out the equity in their home, pay off a mountain of bills and live comfortably as they age in the house they built 50 years ago. But a change in rules on Monday by President Donald Trump’s administration will shrink the amount they are set to get by more than $20,000. Without that money, they said, they will not be able to keep up with property taxes that they are already struggling to pay, afford increasingly frequent trips to the hospital and deal with unexpected expenses. “This past week, I had to get my sewer pumped out for $360 dollars,” Hitchcock said. “$360 dollars! It’s adding up and we’re falling behind.” The couple are among many elderly Americans who scrambled to secure reverse mortgages ahead of new restrictions that could put the loans out of reach for some or deliver substantially less money to others. As a result, more than a dozen mortgage counselors and lenders told Reuters they expect a significant drop in the loans from Monday. The Trump Effect See how Reuters is tracking President Donald J. Trump’s impact on energy and the environment, healthcare, immigration, and business and the economy Since emerging in 1990, more than a million seniors have taken out reverse mortgages, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), making them a popular but risky lifeline for asset-rich, cash-poor elderly Americans. The loans allow homeowners age 62 or older to borrow against the value of a home, with no need to repay the loan until the borrower dies or sells the home. Borrowers receive payments on a monthly basis, in a lump sum, as a line of credit or a combination of the two -- often to pay bills, manage medical costs and supplement retirement income. They also have been blamed for a rise in foreclosures among seniors. The uncertainty of home sale prices and rising interest rates, among other factors, have put the program itself under strain. In the 2016 fiscal year, it was valued at negative $7.7 billion. In response, HUD is raising upfront premiums to 2 percent of the amount of a home’s value, from 0.5 percent. The amount of money seniors can borrow against their home falls by about 10 percent. Paul Cornell, president of the American Seniors Association conservative advocacy group, sees the change as positive for most seniors: annual mortgage premiums will fall to 0.5 percent from 1.25 percent, reducing payments and preserving more equity for seniors down the road. “It will be much less of a burden for everyone,” Cornell said. But near term, the change will be painful for many seniors. Back at Cambridge Credit Counseling in Agawam, Massachusetts, Nicholas, cane in his right hand, turned to Hitchcock, who was connected to an oxygen tank as a result of advanced lung disease. “Why worry about it?” Nicholas said playfully. “We’re going to die soon anyway.” THE SCRAMBLE For more than two years, Nick Kelly, 75, has debated whether or not to seek a reverse mortgage. Kelly, who has lived in his home in Baraboo, Wisconsin for 25 years, said headlines about foreclosures and warnings by family members about the risks “freaked me out completely.” Evette Bissett poses in the doorway of her home in Denver, Colorado U.S. October 1, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking But like many seniors, Kelly faces significant financial strain. The $1,739-a-month he earns from the Social Security retirement program and teaching piano barely cover his bills, said the retired graphic designer. When an email alerted him to the changes in early September, he picked up the phone and made a counseling appointment, a legal requirement for the loans. He wanted to sign up, he said, before the new rules took effect and reduced the amount he can borrow. “I don’t want to buy a yacht or vacation around the world. I need a financial product that will give me an extra four or five hundred dollars a month to pay the bills.” Those bills, he said, add up to about $1,500 per month. Many counseling offices were booked through September. Patrick Noonan, housing coordinator at the Colorado Housing Connects group, said some seniors even offered to pay money for what are free counseling services just to get in ahead of the cutoff. “There’s a good percentage of folks that would not even qualify after these changes,” said Cliff Auerswald, president of All Reverse Mortgage Inc, a lender in Orange County, California, adding that his company’s application requests have more than doubled since HUD’s announcement. Slideshow (4 Images) “After October 2nd, we’re not even talking to those people, really,” Auerswald said.                 LIFE REVAMPED The new rules dashed Evette Bissett’s hopes to make a bid on an Austin, Texas home with a reverse mortgage. “I mean it just literally pulled the rug out from underneath me,” said Bissett, 68, who left Texas 11 years ago to care for her ailing mother in Denver. When her mother died, she inherited the home but could not afford the bills. “My monthly income and my monthly expenses are pretty close together right now,'” the retired accountant said. Before the new changes, Bissett planned to take out a reverse mortgage that would have allowed her to purchase a home in Texas, where she spent most of her life, using funds from the loan and the sale of her Colorado home. Under the new terms, the amount Bissett can borrow dwindles by about $32,000 to $82,000. “That does not leave me in a position where I can do it,” Bissett said, adding that she has no family to fall back on. “I’ve burned out my calculator just trying to figure out what my options are.”     The net worth of 65 to 74 year olds, Bissett’s age group, has declined over the last three years on median basis, counter to trends in other age groups, according to a Federal Reserve survey published in September. “I really was depending on that loan to put me in a better financial position, and now I can’t do it,” Bissett said. “I’ve got to revamp my life all over again.” Follow Trump's impact on energy, environment, healthcare, immigration and the economy at The Trump Effect [www.reuters.com/trump-effect]

Monday, October 02, 2017

Witnesses describe how they escaped Las Vegas gunman that left 59 dead and 527 injured in deadliest mass shooting in American history

Lone gunman kills 59, injures hundreds, in Las Vegas concert attack Devika Krishna Kumar, Alexandria Sage 8 Min Read LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - A retiree armed with multiple assault rifles strafed an outdoor country music festival in Las Vegas from a high-rise hotel window on Sunday, slaughtering at least 59 people in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history before killing himself. The barrage of gunfire from the 32nd-floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel into a crowd of 22,000 people came in extended bursts that lasted several minutes, sparking panic as throngs of music fans desperately cowered on the open ground, hemmed in by fellow concertgoers, while others at the edge tried to flee. More than 525 people were injured - some by gunfire or shrapnel, some trampled - in the pandemonium adjacent to the Las Vegas Strip as police scrambled to locate the assailant. Police identified the gunman as Stephen Paddock, 64, who lived in a retirement community in Mesquite, Nevada. They said they believed he acted alone and did not know why he attacked the crowd. The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the massacre, but U.S. officials said there was no evidence of that. At least a dozen people were in critical condition at University Medical Center in Las Vegas, where all of the injured were taken, a spokeswoman said. The preliminary death toll, which officials said could rise, surpassed last year’s massacre of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, by a gunman who pledged allegiance to Islamic State. The dead in Las Vegas included a nurse, a government employee and an off-duty police officer. Shocked survivors, some with blood on their clothing, wandered streets, where the flashing lights of the city’s gaudy casinos blended with those of emergency vehicles. Police said Paddock had no criminal record. The gunman killed himself before police entered the hotel room from where he was firing, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters. “We have no idea what his belief system was,” Lombardo said. “I can’t get into the mind of a psychopath.” Federal officials said there was no evidence to link Paddock to militant organizations. “We have determined to this point no connection with an international terrorist group,” Aaron Rouse, special agent in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) field office in Las Vegas, told reporters. U.S. officials discounted the claim of responsibility for the attack made by Islamic State. [nL8N1MD53T] “We advise caution on jumping to conclusions before the facts are in,” CIA spokesman Jonathan Liu said in an email. Related Coverage Two hours of horror, disbelief, as gunman opens fire in Las Vegas After Las Vegas massacre, Democrats urge gun laws; Republicans silent Factbox: Las Vegas policeman, Tennessee nurse, among dead in concert shooting MULTIPLE GUNS Lombardo said there were 16 firearms in the room where Paddock killed himself, some with scopes and some that appeared to have been modified to convert them to fully automatic weapons. Lombardo said the gunman apparently used a “device similar to a hammer” to smash the windows from which he fired. Police found at least 18 additional firearms, some explosives and thousands of rounds of ammunition at Paddock’s home in Mesquite, about 90 miles (145 km) northeast of Las Vegas, along with “some electronic devices that we are evaluating at this time,” Lombardo told reporters. Chris Sullivan, the owner of the Guns & Guitars gun shop in Mesquite, issued a statement confirming that Paddock was a customer who cleared “all necessary background checks and procedures.” “He never gave any indication or reason to believe he was unstable or unfit at any time,” Sullivan said, adding that his business was cooperating with investigators. He did not say how many or the kinds of weapons Paddock purchased there. The shooting, the latest in a string that have played out across the United States over recent years, sparked a renewed outcry from some lawmakers about the pervasiveness of guns in the United States, but was unlikely to prompt action in Congress. The site of the Route 91 music festival mass shooting is seen outside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson Efforts to pass tougher federal gun laws failed following a number of mass shootings, including the 2012 massacre of 26 young children and educators in Newtown, Connecticut, and the June attack on Republican lawmakers practicing for a charity baseball game. Nevada has some of the nation’s most permissive gun laws. It does not require firearm owners to obtain licenses or register their guns. House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, on Monday called on House Speaker Paul Ryan to create a select committee on gun violence. “Congress has a moral duty to address this horrific and heartbreaking epidemic,” Pelosi wrote. The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects the right to bear arms, and gun-rights advocates staunchly defend it. U.S. President Donald Trump, a Republican, has been outspoken in his support for the Second Amendment. The White House said on Monday that it was too soon after the attack to consider gun control policies. “Today is a day for consoling the survivors and mourning those we lost,” presidential spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said at a news briefing. “It would be premature for us to discuss policy when we don’t fully know all the facts or what took place last night.”   Trump said he would travel to Las Vegas on Wednesday to meet with victims, relatives and first responders. Slideshow (23 Images) “It was an act of pure evil,” said Trump, who later led a moment of silence at the White House in honor of the victims. The suspected shooter’s brother, Eric Paddock, said the family was stunned by the news. “We’re horrified. We’re bewildered, and our condolences go out to the victims,” Eric Paddock said in a telephone interview, his voice trembling. “We have no idea in the world.” He said his brother belonged to no political or religious organizations, and had no history of mental illness. Their father had been a bank robber who for a time was listed on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted” list of fugitives. Speaking to reporters from his doorstep in Orlando, Florida, he described his brother as “a wealthy guy” who liked to play video poker and take cruises. He seemed to have been settling into a quiet life when he moved back to Nevada from Florida. ‘JUST KEPT GOING ON’ Video of the attack showed terrified crowds fleeing under rapid gunfire as the shooter took aim from a distance of around 1,050 feet (320 m). “People were just dropping to the ground. It just kept going on,” said Steve Smith, a 45-year-old visitor from Phoenix, Arizona. “Probably 100 shots at a time,” Smith said. Las Vegas’s casinos, nightclubs and shopping draw some 3.5 million visitors from around the world each year and the area was packed with visitors when the shooting started shortly after 10 p.m. local time (0400 GMT). Mike McGarry, a financial adviser from Philadelphia, was at the concert when he heard hundreds of shots. “It was crazy - I laid on top of the kids. They’re 20. I‘m 53. I lived a good life,” McGarry said. The back of his shirt bore footmarks from people who ran over him in panic. Shares of MGM Resorts International, which owns the Mandalay Bay, fell 5.58 percent on Monday to $30.77 a share. (This version of the story has been refiled to correct death toll in headline to 59) Additional reporting by Jonathan Allen, Chris Michaud and Frank McGurty in New York, Susan Cornwell and Mark Hosenball in Washington, Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Ali Abdelaty in Cairo and Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Writing by Scott Malone; Editing by Grant McCool, Jonathan Oatis, Andrew Hay, Toni Reinhold Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles. ===================== I heard pop, pop, pop - and then people began to drop: Witnesses describe how they escaped Las Vegas gunman that left 59 dead and 527 injured in deadliest mass shooting in American history WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT Some 59 people were killed and 527 injured in a shooting at Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada  The shooter has been identified as 'multimillionaire' Stephen Paddock, 64, who often visited as a gambler He opened fire from a 32nd floor room of the Mandalay Bay Resort casino and hotel after 10pm Sunday night  Police say they breached Paddock's room and found him dead inside alongside an 'arsenal' of 16 weapons It took an hour and 12 minutes from the first 911 call to the moment that police burst into Paddock's room By Guy Adams and Arthur Martin and Emily Kent Smith for the Daily Mail Published: 10:04 +11:00, 3 October 2017 | Updated: 12:00 +11:00, 3 October 2017 e-mail 575 shares 277 View comments +40 Stephen Craig Paddock, right, is the man who killed more than 50 and injured 500-plus in a shooting at a Las Vegas music festival Sunday night. He's pictured above with Marilou Danley, who he lives with Some thought they could hear fireworks; others reckoned a speaker system had gone on the blink. It wasn’t until the music stopped and screams began to pierce the night sky that panic really set in. The time was shortly after 10pm, and Jason Aldean had just taken to the stage of the Las Vegas Festival Grounds, a 15-acre outdoor concert venue between the Mandalay Bay Resort and Sin City’s vast airport. Cheered by a sellout crowd of 22,000, on a balmy desert night, Aldean was headline act on the final of the three-night Route 91 Harvest Festival. He’d got just few lines into one of his best-known hits, When She Says Baby, when the shooting began. Near the front, Derek Bernard, 53, visiting from Los Angeles with his wife Karen, realised that a woman standing almost next to them had just been shot. ‘There was a woman bleeding – that’s when we realised it was real shots. She just fell. ‘She was shot. There was a lot of blood. It was so many shots – it sounded like 4th of July – just pop, pop, pop, pop, pop. So many. I didn’t think it was real because I couldn’t see or feel anything.’  The initial burst of gunfire lasted just under ten seconds, and Aldean carried on playing. But, as he noticed more victims fall to the floor, he fell quiet. ‘We heard a succession of pops. Unbelievably it sounded like fireworks,’ concertgoer Joe Pitzel recalled. ‘But they kept rattling off. Then Jason Aldean actually turned around and ran off the stage. That’s when we realised something really bad was going on.’ A video from the venue shows eerie quiet fall on the crowd. It is broken by a man saying: ‘Uh oh. That’s gunshot.’ Then you hear screams. ‘It sounded at first like something was wrong with the speakers,’ said William Walker of Ontario, California. Following that first burst of gunfire, the peace would last around 35 seconds, presumably enough time for the gunman to reload his weapons in his suite on the 32nd floor of the 43-storey, 4,300-room Mandalay Bay resort. From his window, the 64-year-old attacker, Stephen Paddock, had sweeping views over the festival site, on the opposite side of Sin City’s neon-covered strip, roughly 400 yards away. He fired a second, ten-second volley of shots. Revellers again fell to the ground, cowering behind concession stands or equipment vans, or diving on top of loved ones. +40 This graphic shows how Stephen Paddock took aim (top left) from his window on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel before firing indiscriminately into a crowd of 22,000 festivalgoers. Police SWAT teams arrived at his room almost two hours later, blowing their way through the doors to find his lifeless body inside after he had turned a gun on himself +40 Hundreds of rounds of automatic gunfire were reported by witnesses on the scene; one woman in the Mandalay Bay said that there was a shooter on the 32nd floor +40 A woman cries while hiding inside the Sands Corporation plane hangar after the mass shooting on Sunday +40 Investigators load bodies from the scene of the mass shooting on Monday  People scramble for cover for as gun shots ring out in Las Vegas Loaded: 0% Progress: 0% 1:04 Previous Play Skip Mute Current Time 1:04 / Duration Time 1:04 Fullscreen Need Text × Share this Video +40 The shooter has been identified as Stephen Paddock, 64, who opened fire from a 32nd floor room of Mandalay Bay Hotel ‘It was crazy – I laid on top of the kids. They’re 20. I’m 53. I lived a good life,’ Mike McGarry, a financial adviser from Philadelphia, recalled, showing off footmarks on the back of his shirt from people who ran over him in the chaos. Yellow flashes became visible from the upper floors of the Mandalay Bay. Kodiak Yazzie, 36, said: ‘You could hear that the noise was coming from west of us, from Mandalay Bay. You could see a flash, flash, flash, flash.’ ‘I first thought it was like bottle rockets going off,’ Seth Bayles of West Hollywood told the LA Times. ‘Then we saw people dropping. We saw someone get hit and then we started running.’ RELATED ARTICLES Previous 1 Next Killed in the Las Vegas massacre: The first of 59 dead and... PICTURED: The lone Las Vegas gunman, 64, who murdered 59 and... 'Saddened' Queen and Prince Philip send thoughts and prayers... Share this article Share The gunshots stopped a second time and, in that 17-second pause, crowds began to run. Footage of the panic in the drinks tent shows some crawling along the floor, and others running. A third bust of gunfire begins, lasting nine seconds, forcing people to cower behind anything they could find. Outside, when it ends, a woman can be heard on a video screaming: ‘My God! Let’s go!’ Another shouts: ‘Save yourself!’ ‘We’re going to get trampled if we don’t go,’ a bystander can be heard saying in another video. But confusion still reigned. ‘Guys its fireworks,’ says a man. ‘Stop! What’s the matter with you?’ +40 Authorities say Paddock had a large room or connecting rooms on the 32nd floor  +40 Above, the view from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel, in an updated photo. The concert was taking place diagonally across the street, where the stage is seen +40 Above, a view of a typical double room in the Mandalay Bay hotel. It's unclear what kind of room Paddock was staying in +40 Three people lie on the ground, one covered in blood, after the shooting at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival on Sunday +40 Debris is strewn through the scene of a mass shooting at a music festival near the Mandalay Bay resort and casino on the Las Vegas Strip, Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, in Las Vegas +40 Fifty-eight people are dead and 515 have been left injured after the Sunday shooting at the Las Vegas music festival Soon the attack fell into a grisly pattern: Ten-second bursts of fire followed by 15 to 30 seconds of silence, while Paddock either swapped weapons or reloaded. ‘People were just dropping to the ground. It just kept going on,’ said Steve Smith, a 45-year-old from Phoenix, Arizona. ‘Probably 100 shots at a time. It would sound like it was reloading and then it would go again.’ In the silences, those who escaped injury jumped over walls and climbed under cars. Professional poker player Dan Bilzerian filmed himself fleeing, saying: ‘Holy f***, this girl just got shot in the f***ing head.’ Concertgoer Mike Cronk told ABC News he realised a friend next to him had been hit three times in the chest. ‘It was pretty much chaotic,’ he said. ‘Lots of people got hit… It took a while to get him out. We had to get him over the fence and hiding under the stage for a while, you know, to be safe. And, finally, we had to move him.’ Cronk tracked down an ambulance, but another man he had been helping died in his arms. ‘My buddy got in there,’ he added. ‘We got three more people in the ambulance… But I just got a message from my buddy – and he’s going to be okay.’ A woman told CNN: ‘There was a man that was shot right there. He was all bloody, he was unconscious. ‘Everybody was hiding everywhere, hiding under the stands and anywhere they could… and everyone is telling us to run, run as fast as you can. My husband and I ran out towards our car and there were people hiding underneath my car for cover. There was a gentleman who was shot, he said can you help me so I put him in my car and I had like six people in my car, people without shoes, running just to get away.’ +40 A body lies under a sheet on The Strip in Las Vegas as police secure the area after 59 people were killed on Sunday +40 Police on guard on the streets outside the Mandalay Bay. The shooter was killed inside the hotel +40 A general view of the property believed to be the residence of Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock situated in Mesquite, NV +40 The shooter was in the far left tower of the Mandalay Bay (bottom right), shooting into the crowds at the Las Vegas Village, located diagonally across the intersection in the middle.  Once they had escaped the stage area, where most of the fatalities occurred, many festival-goers attempted to hide. Michael Seiden locked himself in a container filled with beer cans, later tweeting pictures of it riddled with bullet holes. ‘I was fortunate enough to get away,’ he said. Desiree Price, from San Diego, hid behind a car with two strangers. ‘We huddled together. That’s why I have their blood on me,’ she said. ‘One girl was shot in her leg, the other had it in her shoulder. It didn’t stop so we all ran – we kept going.’ Concertgoer Ivetta Saldana ducked into a sewer. ‘It was a horror show,’ she told the Las Vegas Review Journal. ‘People were standing around, then they hit the floor.’ William Walker cowered behind lighting apparatus. ‘We were under a big spotlight and someone said, “Turn off the light,”’ he said. ‘They shut it off and you could see and hear bullets hitting the ground.’ No one yet knows exactly how long the assault lasted, but witnesses put it at five to 15 minutes. A guest who believes he was staying next door to the suspect told CNN that, after it stopped, ‘you could smell the gun powder.’ Country singer Jake Owen, on stage with Aldean, told CNN the attack was like ‘shooting fish in a barrel’. The city’s roads and airports were closed and major resorts put under lockdown, while hospital emergency rooms were soon jammed with victims, many brought by others attending the festival. ‘I saw a lot of ex-military jump into gear and start plugging bullet-holes with their fingers,’ said concertgoer Russell Beck. ‘While everyone else was crouching I saw police officers standing up as targets, just trying to direct people and tell them where to go.’ Las Vegas Police began trying to neutralise the attacker. The City’s under-sheriff Kevin McHaill said officers at the concert were able to pinpoint roughly where the gunfire was coming from. +40 +40 Above, the type of weapons found in the room. On the top is an Ak-47 and on the bottom is an AR-15. AR-15s are typically semi-automatic, while AK-47s can be either fully automatic or semi-automatic Death toll continues to rise in Las Vegas concert shooting Loaded: 0% Progress: 0% 0:00 Previous Play Skip Mute Current Time 0:00 / Duration Time 1:22 Fullscreen Need Text +40 +40 A police officer takes cover behind a police vehicle during the shooting near the Mandalay Bay resort and casino (left); people take cover at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival (right) +40 President Trump spoke about the shooting at a morning press conference, calling it a 'senseless murder' and 'an act of pure evil' ‘They could see that the rounds were coming from that particular location as heavy fire, automatic fire at times. And so they were corralling all of the people that were actually at the concert behind a block wall,’ he said. A number of officers went to the Mandalay Bay’s 32nd floor. Guests said they were woken by SWAT teams bursting into their rooms. Brad Baker, 38, of Austin, Texas, was in Las Vegas for a conference. ‘[The police] came into my room, I was totally out – I thought I was in trouble! They yelled at me like, “Get some clothes on.” I got my shirt on but I left my phone, my wallet. When I came out of my room, they were telling us to run. I saw all the cops with guns. It was crazy.’ On a recording of the moment a SWAT team blew Paddock’s door off its hinges, an officer can be heard saying: ‘We have sight of the suspect’s door. We need to pop this and see if we get any kind of response from this guy, see if he’s in here or if he’s actually moved out somewhere else.’ Soon afterwards, the words ‘Breach! Breach! Breach!’ were shouted, followed by a large bang. +40 Paddock's father, Benjamin, was a serial bank robber who ended up on the FBI's most wanted list back in 1969 The gunman died at the scene. He was found alongside an arsenal of weapons including at least ten rifles, and appeared to have shot himself. At 11.58pm Las Vegas Police tweeted ‘suspect down’, bringing the terror to an end. Paddock’s family said he held no extreme views and had no history of mental illness. Police said he was not connected to any militant group. That left speculation as to whether his actions were a response to gambling debts. He was, however, said to have become a multimillionaire through property investment. Paddock rented connecting rooms at the Mandalay Bay resort and used a hammer to smash holes in the windows so he could fire at will at the crowds 400ft below him. Many in the 22,000 audience thought the gunfire was fireworks until they saw bloodied victims dropping to the ground. Survivors hid behind walls and under cars. Others dragged the injured to safety while Paddock stopped to reload. A number of the injured were trampled during a stampede to escape the bloodshed the Route 91 Harvest Festival. The mayhem lasted for 72 minutes and ended only when police burst into Paddock’s hotel room to find he had shot himself. Ten to 20 military-style automatic weapons lay by his side. The death toll, which is expected to rise, surpassed the shooting at a nightclub in Orlando in June 2016 that cost 49 lives. In other developments: Donald Trump said it was ‘an act of pure evil’; The US President faced criticism over his failure to challenge gun laws; UK soldiers on leave in Las Vegas rushed to help victims; Paramedics used wheelbarrows to take the injured to safety; British tennis star Laura Robson had a narrow escape; Paddock’s brother Eric said his involvement had struck the family like an ‘asteroid’. Paddock, who lived in Mesquite, an hour’s drive north-east of Las Vegas, is understood have checked in to the Mandalay Bay on Thursday and spent the weekend planning the attack. His live-in Australian girlfriend Marilou Danley was visiting family in the Philippines at the time of the massacre. Police initially said they were hunting her as a ‘companion’ of his. It has emerged Paddock had used her ID in the casinos over the past few days. His 55-year-old brother Eric said: ‘We have no idea how this happened. It’s like an asteroid just fell on top of our family and we have no reason, rhyme, rationale, excuse – there’s just nothing. Something happened, he snapped or something.’ He said they had last been in contact a few weeks ago when the gunman texted him after Hurricane Irma to check on the welfare of their 90-year-old mother. Speaking from his home in Orlando, he said: ‘He was a wealthy guy who liked to play video poker, he went on cruises. He sent his mum huge boxes of cookies. He doesn’t even have parking tickets.’ He admitted his brother had owned two handguns and a rifle, but nothing like the arsenal that was discovered in Las Vegas. ‘He’s not an avid gun guy at all. He never hit anyone, he’s never drawn a gun,’ he added. +40 Paddock's brother Eric said he wasn't religious, political or had any mental illness that he knew of  +40 Stephen Paddock, right, seen with his brother Eric in this undated image provided to the Today show  +40 Police surround the stage at the Route 91 Harvest festival on Las Vegas Boulevard in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, 02 October, 2017 +40 Law enforcement walk on the Las Vegas Strip near Mandalay Bay hotel-casino Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, in Las Vegas +40 A wounded person is walked in on a wheelbarrow as Las Vegas police respond to the active shooter situation Paddock is understood to have placed a large number of bets totalling up to $30,000 (£22,600) a day in recent weeks. It remains unclear whether he won or lost. As investigators continued to unravel his background, terrifying phone footage taken by revellers at the concert emerged. As the bullets continued to rain down on to the crowd, many risked their lives to save those who had been left with horrific injuries. Some ran back into the crowd, despite managing to escape themselves. Others flagged down passing cars and asked drivers to help take the wounded to hospital. One woman told of how she had crammed six strangers into her car to keep them away from the gunfire. Three off-duty personnel from 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards were in the city when the gunman opened fire and gave life-saving first aid. It emerged one man died after being shot in the back as he pushed his wife away from danger. Heather Melton said she had felt the bullet strike her nurse husband Sonny. Mrs Melton, from Tennessee, said: ‘Sonny was the most kind-hearted, loving man I have ever met. He saved my life and lost his.’ One trauma surgeon on duty yesterday described the scene at a hospital where the wounded were being taken as like a ‘war zone’. Jay Coates said: ‘Every bed in trauma bay was occupied.’ THE FIRST LAS VEGAS VICTIMS ARE IDENTIFIED  The first shooting victims have been identified after 59 people were killed when a gunman opened fire at a music festival in Las Vegas on Sunday in what has become the deadliest mass shooting in American history. Sonny Melton, 29, Denise Salmon Burditus, 50, Lisa Romero, Jordan McIldoon, 23, Jessica Klymchuk, 28, Jenny Parks, Susan Smith, 53, Adrian Murfitt, 35, John Phippen, Rhonda LeRocque, Dana Gardner, Quinton Robbins, 20, and Bailey Schweitzer, all lost their lives when 64-year-old Stephen Craig Paddock of nearby Mesquite, Nevada began shooting from his hotel room across the street at the Mandalay Bay Casino. Another 515 people were injured in what is now the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. Melton's wife, Heather, a surgeon, was with him watching Jason Aldean at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas. She said her brave and selfless husband died protecting her. 'He saved my life. He grabbed me and started running when I felt him get shot in the back,' she told WSMV. 'I want everyone to know what a kind-hearted, loving man he was, but at this point, I can barely breathe.' The couple lived in Big Sandy, Tennessee, where Melton worked as a registered nurse in an emergency room and ICU at Henry County Medical Center. His wife works at the hospital and he aided her in the operating room. They married in 2016. 'We were the couple that never should have met, fallen in love or had a future together....but life is funny and we believe God brought us together as soul mates,' read their wedding page on The Knot.  'We have shared amazing times together and nearly unbearable heartaches but through it all we have grown stronger in our love for each other and our families.'  +40 Heather Melton, left, says her husband Sonny, right, saved her life as gunfire rang out at the Route 91 Harvest Festival on Sunday. He was shot in the back and died, while Heather survived +40 Denise Salmon Burditus, 50, was among the 59 people murdered at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas on Sunday. She is seen with husband Tony Burditus at the festival in a photo posted to Facebook around 9.30pm PDT - minutes before the gunman opened fire Mother-of-two and kindergarten teacher Jenny Parks, of Lancaster, LA in California, was also killed in the carnage. Her aunt, Rhonda Boyle, wrote on Facebook: 'It's a sad day for me and my family my niece was murdered killed by that SOB in Los Vegas. Please pray for me and my family, she was a sweet woman... and a good mother.' She leaves behind her husband Bobby Parks, 39, and their two kids. Denise Salmon Burditus, 50, of Martinsburg, West Virginia, reportedly died in the arms of her husband of 32 years, Tony Burditus, just minutes after posting a picture of themselves at the festival. Burditus, a semi-retired grandmother and mom, according to Facebook, regularly posted loving posts about her husband Tony, who was her high school sweetheart from Hedgesville High School. The couple had moved around a lot, according to friends, but had recently returned to Martinsburg to settle down. Her friend Jeanette McNally said she was in 'complete shock and grief' at her pal's death. 'Beautiful Denise Salmon Burditus life was taken during the attack on Las Vegas,' she wrote. 'What a loss. 'I'm just praying for comfort for their shattered hearts. Her family...Her adoring husband...Her beautiful children and grandbabies...Her friends whom she loved like family.' Gallup-McKinley County School confirmed that Romero, a secretary at Miyamura High School, in New Mexico, was also among the dead. Superintendent Mike Hyatt sent out an email to district staffers, saying 'our prayers go out to her family during this tragic time.' Adrian Murfitt, from Anchorage, also died at the concert, according to his friend Brian MacKinnon, who attended the festival with him. MacKinnon told KTUU that Murfitt was 'one of the happiest people I know' and that the 'wrong person' had died. Susan Smith, 53, an office manager for the Simi Valley Unified School District since 2001, was also killed, a spokeswoman for the district confirmed. Smith was said to be a big country music fan and was the 'hub' and 'heart' of Vista Elementary School, where she worked for three years. 'She was wonderful. She had a great sense of humor. She's patient and kind,' spokesman Jake Finch told the Ventura County Star. Vista PTA released a statement which read: 'Our hearts are full of sorrow for the passing of Susan Smith. She was a wonderful woman, an advocate for our children, and a friend.' +40 +40 Mom-of-four Jessica Klymchuk (left) and Quinton Robbins, 20, (right) are among the 59 people who were gunned down and killed during the mass shooting at a Las Vegas music festival last night Rhonda LeRocque, a minister's wife, from Tewksbury, Massachusetts, had been at the concert with her six-year-old daughter, father-in-law and husband of 20 years, Jason. Her father-in-law had just taken LeRocque's daughter home when the gunfire began. LeRocque died instantly after being shot in the back of the head. Her devastated family told Boston 25 News that she was a country music lover, who loved her family and dreamed of owning her own company one day. She was 'close to perfection as you can get,' they said. Fellow victim John Phippen, of Santa Clarita, California, was at the concert with his son Travis - a medic - when he was shot dead. Travis, who was shot in the arm, was able to patch up at least 14 others at the scene, but tragically wasn't able to save his own father. John, who owned remodeling and repair company JP Specialties, in Clarita, was remembered by friends as a 'good man' and an 'amazing soul' who would often like to sing as he worked. He had a 'smile that would light up a room,' friend Thomas Polucki told KHTS . 'He will be missed.' Two Canadians were among the dozens killed in the mass shooting McIldoon, 23, of Maple Ridge, British Columbia, and Klymchuk, a mother-of-four, visiting Vegas with her fiance from Edmonton.  +40 +40 Jordan McIlldoon (left) and Lisa Romero (right) are reportedly among the 59 people who lost their lives during the mass shooting +40 +40 Adrian Murfitt, 35, (left) was confirmed dead by a close friend, while married mother-of-two, and kindergarten teacher Jenny Parks (right) was also killed in the carnage Klymchuk was a librarian and school bus driver at St. Stephen's School in Valleyview, Canada. Superintendent Betty Turpin, of the Holy Family Catholic Regional Division, passed on her condolences to the family for the 'unimaginable attack'. Premier of Alberta, Rachel Notley, added on Twitter: 'Our hearts go out to the loved ones of Jessica Klymchuk, an Albertan who was killed in the Las Vegas attack. We are so sorry for your loss.' McIldoon, 23, was attending the festival with his girlfriend, his parents told CBC, when he was gunned down. Fellow festival goer Heather Gooze of Spring Valley, Nevada spread word of his death on Facebook. 'Friends and family, I am OK. I am right outside of the festival grounds. We are not allowed to go anywhere,' Gooze wrote Monday morning.  'I am with a young man who died in my arms! RIP Jordan McIldoon from British Columbia. I can't believe this just happened!!!' +40 +40 Susan Smith, (left) an office manager for the Simi Valley Unified School District since 2001, and Dana Gardner (right) who worked for the County of San Bernardino +40 +40 Rhonda LeRocque (left) a minister's wife, from Tewksbury, Massachusetts, died instantly after being shot in the back of the head. Fellow victim John Phippen, (right) of Santa Clarita, California, was at the concert with his son Travis - a medic -  but tragically Travis wasn't able to save his own father +40 Bailey Schweitzer, Bakersfield, California, was the 13th Vegas mass shooting victim to be identified on social media McIldoon's parents, who are flying down to Las Vegas, said he was a heavy-duty mechanic's apprentice and was soon to attend trade school. 'We only had one child,' they said. 'We just don't know what to do.' His grandfather Bob McIldoon told CityNews Vancouver; 'It's a terrible thing, terrible for everyone.' Quinton Robbins, 20, of Henderson, Nevada, is another shooting victim who has been identified by family and friends on social media. His aunt, Kilee Wells Sanders, confirmed on Facebook that Quinton had died on Sunday night, describing him as 'the most kind and loving soul.' 'Everyone who met him, loved him. His contagious laugh and smile. He was truly an amazing person. He will be missed by so many, he is loved by so many.' Robbins studied at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, and worked as a recreational assistant at the City of Henderson. 'Quinton was a pay-it-forward kinda guy,' Tyce Jones, a long time friend of the family, told Newsweek.  'Always had a smile on his face and was a nice guy. He loved his family and loved to coach his little brother's flag football team. He will be missed.' 22 guns, 10,000 bullets: How a killer got his arsenal of firearms into a Las Vegas hotel RACHEL OLDING Last updated 21:18, October 3 2017 Play Video Seven Sharp 'A volley of shots as if outside the bedroom' - Kiwi cop caught up in Las Vegas massacre Some time on Thursday, retired accountant Stephen Paddock checked into room 32135 of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. His arrival would not have surprised anybody. A high-stakes gambler and regular concert-goer, who recently boasted of a $US250,000 poker windfall, Paddock booked a double-room suite overlooking the main stage for the Route 91 Harvest festival, a three-day country music festival starting on Friday. Over the next four days, police said, he wheeled more than 10 suitcases into the room carrying 22 guns, including two on tripods and two converted into fully automatic machine guns. In his car, parked with the hotel valet, he had several kilograms of ammonium nitrate, a fertiliser used to make explosives. SUPPLIED Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock in a 2002 family photo. A high-stakes gambler and regular concert-goer, who recently boasted of a $US250,000 poker windfall, Paddock booked a double-room suite overlooking the main stage for the Route 91 Harvest festival, a three-day country music festival starting on Friday.' READ MORE: * How Vegas massacre unfolded * Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock used 'bump-stock' device * Man who helped people escape gunfire in Las Vegas took a bullet in his neck * The Las Vegas shooting sounded like it was from a machine gun At about 10.08pm and for reasons that remain unclear to authorities, his family and perhaps even Danley, he used a hammer to smash open two windows at either end of his suite and methodically began to fire at the crowd on the famous Las Vegas Boulevard 450 metres away. Some of the 22,000-strong crowd thought it was firecrackers or sound issues but singer Jason Aldean, onto his last song in a 30-minute set, stopped playing and ran from the stage. Screaming rang out and people ducked for cover or ran towards the festival's major entry, directly in the line of fire. For 15 excruciating minutes more than 10,000 bullets peppered the crowd from above, killing 59 and injuring 527. There were small breaks, presumably when Paddock was reloading, then more. LUCY NICHOLSON/REUTERS People mourn during an interfaith memorial service for victims of the Route 91 music festival mass shooting in Las Vegas. "I saw people plugging bullet holes with their fingers," concert-goer Russell Bleck said, adding that crowds trying to escape were trapped by festival fencing. "People would run one way and then you'd hit a dead end. It was just a kill box. No one could run and scatter. I saw bodies everywhere." Seventy-two minutes after the first shot was fired, hotel security guards – who narrowed the threat after guests between levels 29 to 32 reported glass smashing – accompanied a SWAT team who burst through the door. It's believed Paddock turned the gun on himself at that moment. As the famously neon-lit strip fell ghostly quiet on Tuesday, the White House refused to talk about gun policy in a country that has suffered its worst two shootings in less than two years. "Our unity cannot be shattered by evil, our bonds cannot be broken by violence and though we feel such great anger at the senseless murder of our fellow citizens, it is our love that defines us today and always will forever," US President Donald Trump said. SHAYE DESCHAMBEAULT VIA REUTERS People duck for cover as the gunman opens fire in Las Vegas. More than 24 hours after the shooting, authorities still had no indication of a motive. Paddock was a high-stakes gambler well-known in the casinos of Nevada who was twice divorced, held a pilot's licence, owned multiple properties, had no criminal record except for a minor traffic citation and hadn't worked full time in 30 years. Ad Feedback In recent weeks, he made several mandatory reports of casino winnings over $US10,000 and authorities are looking into whether he had made large losses too, McClatchy reported. Filipino-born Danley, 62, was a keen gambler too, listing her former job as a high-stakes casino hostess at Reno's Atlantis Casino. On Facebook, she said she "lived life to the fullest" and she posted photos from Vegas gambling tournaments, including a stay at Mandalay Bay in 2014. REUTERS The site of the Route 91 music festival mass shooting outside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. She was in Tokyo at the time of the shooting and will be interviewed on her return, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said. He stressed that they believe Paddock acted alone. "We have no idea what his belief system was. I can't get into the mind of a psychopath," he said.  Danley lived in Queensland until about 2003 when she moved to Nevada with her husband of 22 years, Geary Danley, with whom she has a daughter and granddaughter. They divorced in 2013. Another of Mr Danley's daughters, Diedre Pierson, said they had never heard of their stepmother's new partner. STUFF Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock had a wide field of view from his perch on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. "She is kind, she is gentle, she's just extremely nice ... never would we ever in our lives think that she would in any way be affiliated with this ever," she said. While she was known around Mesquite as a friendly woman who liked Zumba classes, her boyfriend was remarkable only for his extreme tendency to keep to himself. "He was weird," former neighbour Diane McKay told the New York Times. "It was like living next to nothing ... You can at least be grumpy, something. He was just nothing." In Florida, his brother, Eric, said the news was like "an asteroid falling out of the sky". MIKE BLAKE/REUTERS Two broken windows mark the spot where a gunman opened fire from The Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. He said his brother was not religious, political or even opinionated and, as far as he knew, owned a couple of handguns that he'd never touched. He liked Taco Bell, country music, cruises and playing $100 hands on video poker. "He is a guy who lives in a house in Mesquite, who drove down and gambled in Las Vegas. He did stuff, ate burritos," he said. "He doesn't even have parking tickets ... If he had killed my kids I couldn't be more dumbfounded. I mean, it doesn't ... There's nothing." Their father, Benjamin Paddock, was a convicted bank robber who was on the FBI's Most Wanted list in 1969 and described as a suicidal psychopath. However, Eric Paddock said the brothers never met him. Heartbreaking stories emerged on Tuesday of the carnage and confusion. Among the victims was 29-year-old Tennessee nurse Sonny Melton, who was shot in the back as he tried to shield his wife, Heather. A festival bartender, Heather Gooze, said she held the hand of a stranger later identified as Canadian Jordan McIldoon, 23, as he died on a piece of security fence used as a stretcher. His girlfriend was in lock-down in the Tropicana Hotel and his mother called his phone during the mayhem. "She told me his childhood nickname is Blimpy because he was a blimp when he was little, that he's covered in tattoos, that he loves life and he loves his girlfriend," Ms Gooze told Canadian radio. Retired soldier Tony Burditus, who had just bought a van to travel around America with his wife Denise, held his partner of 32 years in his arms just two hours after she'd posted a photo of them smiling happily in front of the Route 91 main stage.  - Sydney Morning Herald ======== How did Las Vegas shooter get his arsenal? Easily, and legally Paul HANDLEY AFP News4 October 2017 In the United States, there are few barriers for someone without a criminal record to build up their own personal arsenal of weapons. Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock had dozens of guns, apparently all legal More Forty-seven firearms from three locations. Piles of ammunition, and devices that converted assault rifles to automatic weapons that fired like machine guns. How did Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock, who shot and killed 58 people from his 32nd story hotel window, amass an arsenal of firearms? In the United States, and particularly in states like Nevada, it's easy. And totally legal. Although the country is notorious for its lax gun laws, there are some restrictions on multiple sales of handguns. But if someone wants to build up a cache of rifles the way Paddock did, they could do so without anyone noticing. Most gun sales are by federally licensed vendors who must put buyers through background checks. The FBI will run their name through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which refers to three databases of offenders. Those databases are not always perfect, relying on often spotty reporting from the states. Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who killed nine people in an African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17, 2015, cleared a handgun purchase background check just weeks before, despite having a drug conviction on his record. - No apparent red flags - But if a person's record is clean -- and Paddock evidently did not raise any red flags -- he can buy as many guns as he wants. There are some controls, points out Laura Cutilletta, the legal director at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Licensed gun dealers, who handle perhaps 60 percent of all firearm sales, have to report multiple handgun sales to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. "Multiple" means two or more guns to the same purchaser within five business days. Even then, Cutilletta says, "There is no requirement that law enforcement investigate." Three states -- California, New York and New Jersey -- prohibit sales of more than one handgun in 30 to 90 days, with slight variations between them. Beyond that, the country is an open market, with private sellers of used guns in most states not having to run background checks, and few restrictions on long gun purchases. In Nevada, where gun laws are particularly lax and enforcement more so, it would have been easy for Paddock to accumulate all the guns he had unnoticed. "There is no way that ATF or the FBI would know," said Cutilletta. - Easy to convert to automatic - But what stood out in Sunday's massacre, when Paddock unloaded his guns on a crowd of 22,000 at a country music concert, was the rapid pace of fire. According to reports, he had modified some of his guns to work like automatic weapons, like machine guns, able to shoot many hundreds of rounds a minute with one trigger pull. Automatic weapons have been banned in the United States for three decades. But converting a semi-automatic weapon, including the AR-15 and AK-47-type assault rifles widely available in US gun shops, into an automatic weapon is easy. For $40 you can buy a trigger crank, a small device that can be attached to the trigger. It can make the gun fire three or four times with each turn of the crank, significantly faster than using a finger to pull the trigger. For as little as $99, you can get a bump stock, a spring-loaded stock that, with one pull of the trigger, keeps the weapon firing using its own recoil. It can enable the weapon to fire at a rate of 600 rounds a minute or more. Trigger cranks and bump stocks are completely legal, they even come with ATF certifications that they do not constitute an illegal conversion of the guns. Las Vegas Sheriff Joseph Lombardo confirmed Tuesday that Paddock had at least one of the devices. Leaked photographs from the hotel room showed that Paddock also had a large stock of ammunition. That side of the guns industry is also little-regulated, with only restrictions on sales of certain types of ammunition like armor-piercing bullets. Otherwise, anyone can buy bullets in volume -- with no questions asked. ========================= Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4942590/Witnesses-Las-Vegas-gunman-left-59-dead.html#ixzz4uPFxkEdX Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook