Happening Today: 'Crisis Actors,' Bump Stocks, Mike Pence, George Clooney - NBC New York

Happening Today: 'Crisis Actors,' Bump Stocks, Mike Pence, George Clooney

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Forecast for Wednesday, Feb. 21

    Storm Team 4's Chris Cimino's weather forecast for Wednesday, Feb. 21. (Published Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018)

    What to Know

    • President Trump has directed his attorney general to propose regulations that would ban bump stocks and similar devices, he announced

    • Mike Pence was all set to hold a history-making meeting with North Korean officials during the Olympics in South Korea, but it was canceled

    • Actor George Clooney and his wife, Amal Clooney, are donating $500,000 to students organizing nationwide marches against gun violence

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    Politician's Aide Fired After Claiming Parkland Survivors Are “Crisis Actors”

    An aide to a Republican Florida politician was fired after suggesting two Parkland school shooting survivors who are the subject of conspiracy theories are "crisis actors." In an email, Benjamin A. Kelly, district secretary for Florida State Rep. Shawn Harrison who represents Hillsborough County, said that two students – David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez "are not students here but actors that travel to various crisis when they happen." Hogg and Gonzalez have been vocal on social media and on television about their efforts to prevent further mass shootings. However, the grief they face is being corrupted online as the false conspiracy theories spread. Hogg is targeted in the theories. He is a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who works at the school's TV station. Following the shooting in which 17 people, mostly his peers, died, he has been outspoken about enacting gun reform to prevent similar tragedies as part of the #NeverAgain movement.

    Trump Proposes Ban on “Bump Stocks” Gun Modification

    President Trump has directed his attorney general to propose regulations that would ban bump stocks and similar devices "that turn legal weapons into machine guns," he announced. The president, speaking at the start of a Medal of Valor ceremony at the White House, said he expected the "critical" new regulations to "be finalized soon." A Justice Department review of bump stock regulations started in December, Trump said, after America's deadliest mass shooting in Las Vegas. The gunman in that incident used bump stocks that allowed him to engage his rifle's trigger faster. The idea of regulating bump stocks has garnered recent support from both sides of the gun control debate, but Trump's move goes further than the tepid support his administration offered for the move last year. The steps proposed by the president Tuesday would not have affected the incident of gun violence that rocked a high school in Parkland, Fla. less than one week ago.

    North Korea Cancels Meeting With Mike Pence at Olympics

    Vice President Mike Pence was all set to hold a history-making meeting with North Korean officials during the Winter Olympics in South Korea, but Kim Jong Un's government canceled at the last minute, the Trump administration said. A potential meeting between Pence and the North Koreans had been the most highly anticipated moment of the vice president's visit to Pyeongchang, South Korea, where he led the U.S delegation to the opening ceremonies. Ahead of Pence's visit, Trump officials had insisted they'd requested no meeting with North Korea, but notably left open the possibility one could occur. There was no indication that a meeting had indeed been planned — and then canceled on short notice — more than a week after Pence returned to the United States. The State Department said Pence had been "ready to take this opportunity" but would have used it to insist Pyongyang abandon its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

    Czechs Eliminate USA in Shootout in Hockey Quarterfinals

    Pavel Francouz stopped all five shooters and Petr Koukal scored the shootout winner as the Czech Republic eliminated the United States from the Olympics with a 3-2 victory in the quarterfinals. Jan Kovar and Tomas Kundratek scored in regulation for the Czech Republic, which was fresher after winning its group and getting a bye into the quarterfinals. The U.S. looked fatigued after facing Slovakia in the qualification round a day earlier and was outshot 29-20. Ryan Donato and Jim Slater scored for the U.S, which again was led by its youngest players, including speedster Troy Terry. U.S. goaltender Ryan Zapolski allowed three goals on 29 shots and one in the shotoout, while Francouz stopped 18 in regulation and overtime. Koukal was the only player to score in overtime. Chris Bourque, Ryan Donato, Marc Arcobello, Terry and Bobby Butler couldn't beat Francouz. Just before the shootout, Sochi Olympics shootout hero T.J. Oshie of the U.S. tweeted his support for Terry, but Francouz was able to save a multiple-fake try by the University of Denver player.

    George and Amal Clooney Donate $500k to March Against Guns

    Actor George Clooney and his wife, Amal Clooney, are donating $500,000 to students organizing nationwide marches against gun violence, and they say they'll also attend next month's planned protests. In a statement, the couple says they're inspired by the "courage and eloquence" of the survivors-turned-activists from Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen people were killed at the school and others wounded when a former student went on a rampage with an assault rifle. Students are mobilizing a March 24 march in Washington and elsewhere to urge lawmakers to enact tougher gun control. The Clooneys say they're donating the money in the names of their eight-month-old twins Ella and Alexander. The couple also says the family plans to "stand side by side" with students next month. Later, Oprah Winfrey tweeted that she's "joining forces" with the Clooneys' and will match their half-a-million donation to "March For Our Lives."

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