Gun maker asks judge to dismiss lawsuit by Newtown families

Attorney Joshua Koskoff, who represents a group of families of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting victims, speaks during a hearing in Superior Court in Bridgeport, Conn., Monday, June 20, 2016. Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis heard arguments brought to dismiss a wrongful death lawsuit against rifle maker Remington Arms over the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. A total of 20 first-graders and six adults were fatally shot with an AR-15-style Bushmaster rifle made by Remington. (Ned Gerard/The Connecticut Post via AP, Pool) Gun maker asks judge to dismiss lawsuit by Newtown families by Dave Collins, The Associated Press Posted Jun 20, 2016 6:57 am MDT Last Updated Jun 20, 2016 at 2:40 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email HARTFORD, Conn. – A gun manufacturer should be held accountable for selling the public semi-automatic rifles that were designed as military killing machines, a lawyer for families of some victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre told a judge Monday.The argument came during a court hearing on Remington Arms’ request to dismiss a lawsuit by relatives of nine children and adults killed at the Newtown school on Dec. 14, 2012, and a teacher who survived the shooting. A total of 20 first-graders and six adults were fatally shot with a Bushmaster rifle made by Remington.Judge Barbara Bellis, who rebuffed a similar request by Remington and other defendants in April, did not rule Monday.The arguments were made on the same day the U.S. Supreme Court rejected challenges to assault weapons bans and other gun control laws passed in Connecticut and New York in response to the Sandy Hook killings. Also Monday, the U.S. Senate was taking up gun control measures a week after 49 people were killed with a similar rifle in Orlando, Florida.The Orlando killings have reignited debates over AR-15-style rifles, which have been used in several mass killings in recent years, and over whether to reinstate a federal assault weapons ban that expired in 2004. There has also been renewed debate, including among presidential candidates, over whether to repeal a 2005 federal law that shields gun manufacturers from most lawsuits over criminal use of their products, with some exceptions.Besides Remington, other defendants in the Connecticut state court lawsuit include firearms distributor Camfour and Riverview Gun Sales, the now-closed East Windsor store where the Newtown gunman’s mother bought the Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle used in the shooting.James Vogts, a lawyer for Madison, North Carolina-based Remington, told Bellis on Monday that the lawsuit should be thrown out on several technical grounds, including the 2005 federal law — the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.Vogts said the rifle used in Newtown was legally made by Remington, legally distributed by Camfour and legally sold by Riverview Gun Sales to Nancy Lanza. Her 20-year-old son, Adam Lanza, shot her to death at their Newtown home before driving to the school, where he killed himself as police arrived.When asked by Bellis whether the Remington lawsuit was based on similar legal grounds as lawsuits against cigarette manufacturers, Vogts said that lawmakers need to set gun policy and that the gun industry is heavily regulated.“A personal injury case in front of a jury is not the place for a new policy to emerge on who should own firearms and what type of firearms,” he said.Joshua Koskoff, a lawyer for the Newtown victims’ families, argued the lawsuit is allowed under a “negligent entrustment” exception to the 2005 law and the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. The exception was designed for cases such as when a gun store sells to someone who is obviously intoxicated or threatening to kill someone.Koskoff said civilian AR-15-style rifles, which fire one bullet with each trigger pull, are virtually the same as the U.S. military’s M-16 rifles, which can be set to fire more than one round with each trigger pull.“It was Remington’s choice to entrust the most notorious military American killing machine to the public and to continue doing so in the face of mounting evidence of its association with mass murder of innocent civilians,” Koskoff told the judge.Mathew Soto, brother of Victoria Soto, a teacher who died in the Newtown shooting, said Monday outside the courthouse that the Orlando shooting brought back horrible feelings from the day his sister was killed.“Because our country cannot come together on the issues of assault rifles, these mass shootings will continue to happen,” he said. “Our actions here are meant to bring about change. … We are Newtown. We are Orlando.” read more

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World Book Day new UN report spotlights potential of mobile technology to

‹ › Mr. West noted that many people expressed doubt that small screen, monochrome devices can be used to access full-length books and stories. “But we have strong evidence that people throughout the developing world are doing just that. And these are often people who have limited access to other educational opportunities.”The UN International Telecommunication Union (ITU) estimates that of the 7 billion people on Earth, 6 billion have access to a working mobile phone – this is larger than the number of people who have access to a working toilet.UNESCO’s study of mobile reading was conducted in seven developing countries – Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Drawing on the analysis of over 4,000 surveys and corresponding qualitative interviews, the study found that large numbers of people (one third of study participants) read stories to children from mobile phones.Also, females read far more on mobile devices than males (almost six times as much according to the study); both men and women read more cumulatively when they start reading on a mobile device; and many neo- and semi-literate people use their mobile phones to search for text that is appropriate to their reading ability.The study is intended as a roadmap for Governments, organizations and individuals who wish to use mobile technology to help spread reading and literacy. It recommends improving the diversity of mobile reading content to appeal to specific target groups such as parents and teachers; initiating outreach and trainings to help people transform mobile phones into portals to reading material; and lowering costs and technology barriers to mobile reading.On the occasion of World Book and Copyright Day, observed annually on 23 April, UNESCO invites all women and men to rally around books and all those who write and produce books. “This is a day to celebrate books as the embodiment of human creativity and the desire to share ideas and knowledge, to inspire understanding and tolerance,” the agency’s Director-General, Irina Bokova, said in her message for the Day.“Books are not immune from a world of change, embodied in the advent of digital formats and the transition to open licensing for knowledge-sharing.”By championing copyright and open access, she said UNESCO stands up for creativity, diversity and equal access to knowledge. “We work across the board – from the Creative Cities of Literature network to promoting literacy and mobile learning and advancing Open Access to scientific knowledge and educational resources.”As part of the celebration, Port Harcourt in Nigeria has been named as the 2014 World Book Capital, on account of the quality of its programme, in particular, its focus on youth and the impact it will have on improving Nigeria’s culture of books, reading, writing and publishing to improve literacy rates. “In all of this, our goal is clear – to encourage authors and artists and to ensure that more women and men benefit from literacy and accessible formats, because books are our most powerful forces of poverty eradication and peace building,” said Ms. Bokova. UNESCO’s study of mobile reading, conducted in seven developing countries, can serve as a guide for Governments, organizations and individuals on how mobile technology can help spread reading and literacy. World Bank/Simone McCourtie People with limited access to educational opportunities are discovering the usefulness of small-screen devices as a low-cost portal to reading materials. Here, a woman helps a young girl read on a cell phone as other children look on. Worldreader Mobile technology is increasingly available, even in areas of extreme poverty – 6 billion now have access to a working mobile phone, according to the International Telecommunication Union. Pictured, a child on a cell phone in Niger. World Bank/ Arne Hoel Females read far more on mobile devices than males, says the study, while both men and women read more when they read on a mobile device. Here, a young woman reads from her cell phone at a community meeting in India. World Bank/Simone McCourtie Mobile technology can advance literacy and learning in underserved communities around the world, according to a new report published today by the United Nations education agency on the occasion of World Book and Copyright Day.The report, Reading in the Mobile Era, highlights that hundreds of thousands of people currently use mobile technology as a portal to text. Findings show that in countries where illiteracy rates are high and physical text is scarce, large numbers of people read full-length books and stories on rudimentary small screen devices.The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) says that 774 million people worldwide, including 123 million youth, cannot read or write, and illiteracy can often be traced to the lack of books. Most people in Sub-Saharan Africa do not own a single book, and schools in this region rarely provide textbooks to learners. Yet the report – the first ever study of mobile readers in developing countries – cites data showing that where books are scarce, mobile technology is increasingly common, even in areas of extreme poverty. “This report calls attention to what is currently an underutilized potential – this is a cost-effective vehicle to improve education,” said Mark West, Section for Teacher Development and Education Policies at UNESCO and one of the authors of the report. On the occasion of the annual World Book and Copyright Day (23 April), UNESCO issued a call to rally around books and all those who write and produce books. Above, students read at a primary school in Morocco. World Bank/Dana Smillie read more

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