World responds after Orlando shooting
ORLANDO, Florida (AP):
The United States is calling on all 193 members of the United Nations to not only condemn the terrorism that resulted in the mass killing of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Florida over the weekend, but also to protect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people from such attacks.
Deputy US Ambassador to the UN David Pressman, speaking at the election of Fiji Ambassador Peter Thomson to the post of 71st General Assembly president, said protecting the dignity of all human beings should be at the heart of the General Assembly's work going forward.
He said outrage at the killing should be directed at protecting members of the LGBT community, "not just around condemning the terrorists who kill them."
JetBlue Airways says it is providing free seats when available on flights to and from Orlando for immediate family and domestic partners of people who were killed or injured in the weekend shooting at an Orlando nightclub.
The airline is also waiving ticket-change fees for customers booked on flights to or from Orlando.
The airline is not sure how long the free travel will last because they are still learning funeral dates.
Three members of Congress are downplaying their encounters with the father of the gunman at the Orlando nightclub, calling the meetings short and insignificant.
Three separate, grainy photos posted on Facebook by Seddique Mir Mateen show him standing next to Republicans Ed Royce, Dana Rohrabacher, and Charlie Rangel.
Mateen came to the US from Afghanistan three decades ago and has made a series of rambling political videos about his former homeland.
Royce, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said yesterday he met with Mateen about a year and a half ago. Royce said he vaguely recalled a discussion about Afghanistan-Pakistan relations, but he described the meeting as "brief and inconsequential".
Rohrabacher said Mateen "paid a visit" to his office in November 2014, but he does not recall any specifics.
Hannah Kim, Rangel's spokeswoman, said the congressman did not meet with Mateen and doesn't remember the encounter. Kim said the photo with Rangel was taken on the day of President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech in 2015 when "strangers constantly stop members for a photo in the hallways."
The owner of a gun store where the Orlando nightclub shooter bought his weapons says the gunman passed a full background check and that if he had not bought the guns from him, he would have purchased them somewhere else.
Ed Henson is the owner of the St Lucie Shooting Center. He told reporters yesterday that Omar Mateen legally purchased a long gun and a handgun about a week or so ago, but he did not know on exactly what days. He said they were not bought on the same day.
Henson says Mateen had two security licenses, an armed one and an unarmed one. Henson says he is sorry this "evil person" bought the guns from his store.
The world's largest body of Muslim-majority nations has condemned the mass shooting in Orlando, but also warned against "political campaigning and self-serving agendas" in the wake of the tragedy.
The 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation said in a statement yesterday that "the massacre, as terrible as it is, must not be taken out of its context as a domestic American case."
The organisation says it is concerned that "hasty judgment" and "Islamophobic discourse" have emerged before a full investigation into the motivations and causes of the attack that killed 49 people.
The organisation also conveyed its condolences to the families of the victims of "this horrible act."
It sys the teachings of Islam are based on peace and tolerance, and that terrorism is a crime against humanity.