Christchurch mosque attacks: Gunman pleads guilty to murder, attempted murder and terrorism | Stuff.co.nz

The man accused of the Christchurch mosque attacks has entered shock guilty pleas, bringing relief to survivors and victims’ families.

Amid extraordinary coronavirus lockdown restrictions, Brenton Tarrant, 29, appeared via video-link in the High Court at Christchurch on Thursday morning and admitted 51 charges of murder, 40 charges of attempted murder and a charge of engaging in a terrorist act.

He’d previously pleaded not guilty to all the charges and was scheduled to stand trial on June 2.

GEORGE HEARD/STUFF
Fifty-one people died as a result of the March 15, 2019 attack.

Tarrant, who wore a grey prisoner sweater, was largely silent and emotionless throughout the hearing. He sat alone in a white room with a grey door at Auckland Prison, Paremoremo, where he’s held in maximum security.

The terrorist’s lawyers, Shane Tait and Jonathan Hudson, appeared via video-link from another court room.

Brenton Tarrant pleads guilty to murder, attempted murder and terrorism via AVL in the Christchurch High Court.

The names of all 51 people killed were read to Tarrant, before he was asked how he pleaded to the murder charges.

He replied: “Yes, guilty.”

The same process was followed for the attempted murder charges.

JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/STUFF
Terrorist Brenton Tarrant pictured at his first court appearance, the day after the mosque shootings.

Justice Cameron Mander remanded Tarrant in custody, but has not yet set a date for sentencing, when the summary of facts would be made public.

Few people knew of the special hearing, which was only scheduled late Wednesday, on the eve of an unprecedented nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Six New Zealand journalists attended. Also in court were the imams from both targeted mosques. An-nur (Al Noor) imam Gamal Fouda was visibly upset as the guilty pleas were entered.

JOSEPH JOHNSON/STUFF
Mustafa Boztas still has a fragment of a bullet inside him.

The hearing concluded at 10.30am, but the judge suppressed the outcome for an hour to allow victims, who were unaware of the hearing, to be notified.

The decision to hold the hearing amid the national state of emergency was not made lightly.

Earlier in the week Tarrant indicated to counsel that he might change his pleas. A formal request was made on Wednesday that the matter be brought before the court.

DAVID WALKER/STUFF
Omar Abdel-Ghany, whose father Ahmed Gamal Eldin Abdel-Ghany was killed at Masjid An-Nur.

Mander said both the Crown and defence asked to have the hearing expedited, despite the severe health restrictions.

The courts were considered an essential public service that was able to deal with “priority proceedings without compromising people’s health”.

The judge said he felt the court had the capacity to safely hear the matter by limiting the number of people in court. In total, 17 people were present.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reflects on the last year following the Christchurch mosque shootings.

It was regrettable the Covid-19 restrictions prevented victims from attending, he said, but the imams had been asked to be present to bear witness to the proceedings.

“It was my assessment that taking the defendant’s pleas at this time was the appropriate course in the circumstances,” Mander said.

“The entry of guilty pleas represents a very significant step towards bringing finality to this criminal proceeding, and I considered the need to take the opportunity to progress the matter was particularly acute coming as it has at a time when the risk of further delay as a result of Covid-19 was looming as realistic possibility.”

Mander said the defendant would not be sentenced before the court returned to normal operations.

The defendant had been remanded to a nominal date of May 1. It was hoped a sentencing date would be confirmed in the interim.

“It is fully anticipated that all who wish to attend court for the sentencing hearing will be able to do so in person.”  

On March 15 last year, Tarrant drove from his Dunedin home to Christchurch with an arsenal of guns and ammunition he’d amassed since moving from Australia to New Zealand in 2017.

The white supremacist entered Masjid An-nur (also known as the Al Noor Mosque) on Deans Ave as Friday prayers were beginning, about 1.40pm, and opened fire – killing and wounding dozens of people.

He then drove across town to the Linwood Mosque where he continued his shooting spree.

Tarrant was arrested a short time later after his car, a gold Subaru Outback, was rammed off the road by two police officers on Brougham St as he tried to make his way to a third target, though to be a mosque in Ashburton, where he planned to carry out another attack.

When police searched the vehicle they found several guns and petrol bombs.

NZ’S WORST MASS SHOOTING

In total, 51 people were killed in the terrorist attack, the worst mass shooting by an individual in New Zealand history.

Tarrant was the first person to be charged under NZ’s Terrorism Suppression Act 2002.

Omar Abdel-Ghany, whose father Ahmed Gamal Eldin Abdel-Ghany was killed at Masjid An-Nur, said he could not understand what caused Tarrant to change his plea.

“I’m both shocked and relieved. Shocked at the sudden change in plea, relieved that my family and I, along with other victims won’t have to relive it all through the courts.”

Muslim Association of Canterbury spokesman Tony Green said his immediate reaction was one of enormous relief and great gratitude.

“I think the victims will feel a huge weight has been lifted from their shoulders. Our position has always been to let justice take its course, but a trial would have put a lot of pressure on our families. If you look at the anguish caused by the trial of Grace Millane’s killer you can see how bad it would be for 51 families.”

Mustafa Boztas, who lay on the ground inside the Masjid An-nur with a bullet in his leg, pretending to be dead, said from Turkey he always knew Tarrant would be found guilty. 

“I feel he basically played with our minds and emotionally upset us more for no reason.”

Boztas said he would have stayed in the country instead of going overseas if he’d known Tarrant was going to plead guilty. 

“While it can’t undo the damage it has brought upon our community and country, it gives me hope that this help bring not only justice but some closure to those touched by this event.

“To the families, I hope this brings you peace, and a sense that love can conquer hate. While this closes the criminal proceedings for the shootings, please know there is still a long way to go in recovery for some of us, so thank you for your continued support.”

Yasir Amin, whose father 67-year-old Muhammad Amin Nasir was shot in the back by the gunman shooting from his car, said the guilty pleas were good news.

“It’s good to avoid a trial because we would be reminded of everything, every day of the six week trial. We’ve avoided that mental torture and we’re not in a situation where the outcome is not 100 per cent sure.”

Nasir was to undergo another operation on Monday but the operation was postponed due to Covid-19 measures. He had spent two months in hospital after the shootings and had another 20-day stay in December.

“He is now doing well. He goes for walks and eats well.”

Just about every organ in his father’s body except his heart had been damaged by the shotgun pellets, Amin said.

Nasir was shot about 200 metres from the mosque on Deans Ave. The gunman drove past Amin and his father, who were walking to the mosque along the footpath, when he aimed a shotgun at them from his car. Both ran for their lives but Nasir was shot. Their plight was captured by a motel CCTV camera. 

‘HE’S GOT TO PAY THE TIME’

Tarrant’s grandmother, Marie Fitzgerald, had no idea about the plea until called by Stuff.

“I feel sorry he did the crime, but he’s got to pay the time now.”

She declined to comment further.

Victim Support chief executive Kevin Tso said support was ongoing for hundreds of victims who still need help coping with the trauma of the event and rebuilding their lives.

“We’re pleased victims no longer have to face the trauma of the trial.”

The victims had shown remarkable courage and resilience in the face of a heart-breaking, shocking and senseless tragedy, Tso said.

“They have our utmost respect and promise that we will be here for them for as long as they need us.”

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said the pleas were a “significant milestone in respect of one of our darkest days”.

“I want to acknowledge the victims, their families and the community of Christchurch – the many lives that were changed forever. They have inspired all of us to be a kind and more tolerant community.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it would provide some relief to the many people whose lives were “shattered” on March 15.

“These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, and other witnesses, the ordeal of a trial,” she said.

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Hunt for veg lobber as second car damaged by ‘turnip the size of football’ hurled from bridge – Devon Live

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A second car has been damaged by a large vegetable which is believed to have been thrown from an overpass above a busy Devon road.

Paula Clifford said a large root vegetable, believed to be a turnip, was hurled from the bridge and hit the front of her car – causing £700 worth of damage.

The incident left her shaking and tearful and she believes if the turnip had gone through her windscreen it would have killed.

It happened in the same spot as a similar incident which we reported yesterday, when a swede damaged Steve Anderson’s Range Rover to the value of £1,000.

It’s understood these two incidents are the latest in a long line of damage caused by items including potatoes and rocks that have been thrown at moving cars.

A380

Paula, 49, had been driving home in her Hyundai IX35 from Newton Abbot to Paignton on the A380 South Devon Expressway around 9.30pm on November 8.

She said: “I had been driving with cruise control on when it smashed into the front bumper.

“It’s lucky I’d had cruise control on because if my feet had been on the pedals I’m sure I would have crashed.

“At first I thought it was a pumpkin.  It hit the front of the car and then shot off to the side.  It caused monster damage, completely annihilated the front bumper.

“If it had hit the windscreen I’d be dead.”

Paula said she drove straight to a friend’s house nearby.

She said: “I was in absolute shock.  I got to my friends house and just burst into tears – I couldn’t use the phopne to call the police because I was shaking so much.”

When she had calmed down Paula inspected the damage and found some of the missile still lodged in her car.

She said: “It was definitely some sort of vegetable, either a swede or a turnip.

“Judging by what was left it must have been very big and hard, about the size of a football.”

The vegetable caused £700 worth of damage to Paula’s car, which she has had to claim through her insurance.

She said: “I’ve had to pay a £150 excess and my premium will now increase too.

“I reported it to the police but over the last few weeks I’ve seen lots and lots of similar reports on Facebook – and the Devon Live’s report yesterday.

“Something has got to be done about this.  I’m too scared to drive that stretch of road at night now in case it happens again.

“There will be a fatality soon, it’s scary.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Devon and Cornwall Police on 101 quoting crime reference number CR/101314/19.

Yesterday we reported how £1,000 worth of damage had been caused to Steve Anderson’s Range Rover when a swede was thrown from the same bridge.

He said: “If it had gone through my window I’d be dead, I could have been killed.

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“The force of it hitting the car was so great I wondered at first if I had hit a person or large animal.”

Steve is now offering a £250 reward for anyone who provides information that leads to a prosecution in relation to the incident.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 quoting log number 784 of 01/12/2019.

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Sister of slain Dunedin teen Amber-Rose Rush warned her of ‘sexual grooming’ | Stuff.co.nz

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Amber-Rose Rush’s sister warned her a doctor was a “sugar daddy” who was sexually grooming the 16-year-old.

Shantelle Rush took to the stand on day two of the trial of Dunedin doctor Venod Skantha. The 32-year-old denies killing Amber-Rose, who was found dead by her mother at their Clermiston Ave home in the Dunedin suburb of Corstorphine on February 3, 2018. He also denies four charges of threatening to kill.

Rush, Amber-Rose’s older sister by six years, told of the last message she received from her sister: “I am so angry.”

Amber-Rose Rush, 16, was found dead in her Dunedin home in February 2018.

She did not see the message until following morning, but by then her sister was dead.

Rush said she never met Skantha, but raised concerns about him in a series of Facebook messages with her sister.

John Kirk-Anderson/Stuff
Dr Venod Skantha is on trial for the murder of Dunedin teenager Amber-Rose Rush at her home in February 2018.

The messages, read under cross examination from defence lawyer Jonathan Eaton QC, included plans for Amber-Rose and her friend to move into Skantha’s Fairfield home, which she described as “so flash”.

“Living with a rich doctor YOLO (you only live once),” Amber-Rose messaged her sister.

When Rush found out the doctor was 30, she expressed concern to her sister, who described Skantha “as like a dad to us”.

Lisa Rush and her daughter Amber-Rose Rush.

Rush said she questioned why a doctor would hang out with teenagers and called him a “sugar daddy”, urging her sister to look up the meaning of “sexual grooming”.

“No, he not into me LMFAO f… that,” her sister replied.

The messages also disclosed that Amber-Rose spent some money on Skantha’s credit card and “he won’t even notice”.

Amber-Rose Rush at St Clair in Dunedin.

She also said her mother would try to get money out of Skantha over something. “He will or I’m going to the cops,” Amber-Rose messaged.

Amber-Rose’s mother Lisa Ann Rush died in a suspected suicide in June 2018, and in a statement read ot the court on Monday alleged Skantha had offered her daughter $50 for sex, then raised it to $20,000.

The Crown alleges Skantha killed the teen over fears she would go public with allegations about his interactions with minors, which would effectively end his medical career.

HAMISH MCNEILLY/STUFF
Friends and family gather outside the funeral of Amber-Rose Rush in Dunedin.

Skantha, a junior doctor at the Southern District Health Board, had been on his final warning at Dunedin Hospital in 2017 after an earlier incident.

THE BOYFRIEND

Amber-Rose’s boyfriend, Kristin Clark, said the pair met through the Tinder dating app in early 2018.

He had stayed at her home several times, including the Thursday before her death. He told the court she contacted him over Snapchat on the Friday, February 2, about angry messages she was exchanging with Skantha, who was often called Vinny.

She sent him screenshots of the conversation, but did not want his help, he said.

He offered to pick her up, but at 11.53pm, she replied “I won’t be allowed to”.

Clark sent her several other messages, but she did not reply. He decided to drive to her home – about 10 minutes away – and sent her a message before knocking “reasonably loud” on her window.

He sent her a photo of her house to show he was outside and waited in his car, but left when he saw her brother, Jayden, and his partner arrive back home.

Under cross-examination, Eaton asked him about the time he went to Skantha’s house, and Clark said they stayed a few hours and had some drinks.

He confirmed some of the screenshots supplied by Amber-Rose showed messages from her ex boyfriend, who had once beaten her up.

‘I SAW SO MUCH BLOOD’

Lisa Ann Rush’s partner, Brendon MacNee, took the stand on Monday afternoon, and recalled her asking him if he had let the family dog out of Amber-Rose’s room on the morning of February 3.

He had not, so Lisa Ann opened the bedroom door and he heard her scream.

He called police after seeing  Amber-Rose lying face down in “lots and lots of blood”.

He told her mother to leave the room, and turned the teenager over.

A visibly upset MacNee said blood hit the floor as Amber-Rose’s brother and his partner entered the room.

Efforts to revive Amber-Rose were in vain as “she was all stiff and cold”.

“She was dead,” MacNee said. 

He said he noticed Amber-Rose’s left ear had been cut in half and her throat had been cut.

MacNee, a former butcher, said he knew she had been killed and started to look for a knife, but could not find one.

He told Jayden: “We have to get out of here, she’s been murdered.”

MacNee, under questioning from Eaton, confirmed the family dog was placid and did not bark much.

Jayden Rush told the court he had found a spare key – usually located under a Buddha statue – in the door early on February 3. He also found the kitchen light left on, which was also unusual.

The evening before, he knocked on his sister’s door but she did not answer. He awoke the next morning to his mother screaming “no”.

Rush said blood around his sister’s neck made it “pretty obvious to us, she was dead”. 

He saw only headphones and no knife when he pulled back her blankets.

A neighbour, a former nurse, came into the room and put Amber-Rose into a recovery position.

Rush described his sister as “definitely” a social person, and said she had several ex-boyfriends, one of whom had broken her arm.

The trial continues.

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Mental health website struggles after royal advert

A mental health website has struggled to cope with demand after a promotional video voiced by the dukes and duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex aired on TV. The film screened on Sky, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and MTV on Monday evening.

Since then the Every Mind Matters website has been intermittently showing the message: “Something went wrong. Please refresh or try again later.”

Public Health England said it was looking into the crash but thought it could be due to a surge in traffic.

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The three-minute film is intended to promote Every Mind Matters, an initiative by Public Health England (PHE) and the NHS, to help people look after their mental health and support others.

The film is narrated by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who in May launched a text messaging service for people experiencing a mental health crisis through their royal foundation.

In the film, written by Richard Curtis and directed by Rankin, Prince William begins: “Everyone knows that feeling, when life gets on top of us.

“All over the country, millions of us face challenges to our mental health – at all ages – at all intensities, and for all sorts of reasons.

“We feel stressed, low, anxious, or have trouble sleeping. Me, you…”

Prince Harry continues: “Your brother, your mother, your colleague, or your neighbour. Waiting, wondering, hoping, hurting.

“We think there’s nothing to be done. Nothing we can do about it.”

Meghan then says: “But that’s so wrong. There are things we can do. From today, there’s a new way to help turn things around. Every Mind Matters will show you simple ways to look after your mental health.”

BBC Catherine continues: “It’ll get you started with a free online plan designed to help you deal with stress, boost your mood, improve your sleep and feel more in control.”

The royals are joined by other celebrities and public figures whose lives have been affected by poor mental health.

They include the actresses Gillian Anderson and Glenn Close, singer Professor Green, former England cricketer Andrew Flintoff, television presenter Davina McCall, and Bake Off star Nadiya Hussain.

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A biker group’s kindness, a great Disney idea and a very lucky monkey

A biker group's kindness

(CNN)Hey morning people, I have a question: Um, how do you do it? How do you start the day with smiles and birdsong and a piping hot cup of coffee and not, you know, curse words and five alarm snoozes? My theory is, morning people are born and not made. However, experts say there are some things you can do to kickstart your mushy morning brain: Splash some cold water on your face, caffeinate slowly, make sure to get a little sunshine as soon as possible and, if you can, try to get outside for a brisk walk. My suggestion? Wake up at noon and avoid mornings altogether! Oh, if only.

Get going with some of our most popular good news stories of the week
a great Disney idea and a very lucky monkey - CNN
What goes around comes around
    Buckle up, because this one’s a great ride: In September 2018, Daryn Sturch and her daughter Bryanne came across a bad accident involving several motorcyclists with the Milwaukee Iron Biker Group. Sturch is a nurse in Chili, Indiana, and obviously felt compelled to stop and treat them. Some of the bikers were critically injured, and after she left the scene Sturch reached out to the group on Facebook to check up on them. To her relief, all of the injured bikers survived. The unfortunate incident kicked off a nice little friendship. Sturch says some of the bikers would check in occasionally on Facebook and offer her support or a kind word. Fast forward to this month: Sturch’s daughter Bryanne had planned a lemonade stand, but it got rained out. Some of Sturch’s biker friends suggested she reschedule for the next week, when the group would be in town. When the day of the lemonade stand came, Sturch and her family were overwhelmed: 30 bikers showed up to support Bryanne, including some Sturch had treated at the accident. Needless to say, it was definitely a waterproof mascara kind of day. “I think it’s a perfect example of how just because you don’t look the same way or dress the same way or have the same hobbies or interests doesn’t mean we don’t have the same core values inside us,” Sturch said. “We shouldn’t make assumptions about people, we should just love each other.”
    news
    A once-in-a-Millennium moment
    When a group of special-needs adults in Louisville, Kentucky, made a video of themselves lip-syncing to a Backstreet Boys song, their infectious joy captured the hearts of the internet. That alone is Good Stuff worthy, but then something even cooler happened: The Backstreet Boys saw the video, too, and arranged to meet the group before a tour stop in Louisville. When the big day came, 12 members of the group attended the concert and spent time with the boy band singing, taking photos and rocking out to a BSB dance party. Backstreet Boy Kevin Richardson even recorded a heartfelt video message for the performers. “The passion, the joy, the soul that you put in that video was inspiring,” he said.
    us
    I’m gonna stop talking now and just show you another amazing photo from their meet and greet, because that’s where the real story is.
    A biker group's kindness
    This takes the cake
    An officer with a cake baking hobby helped put together a magical birthday for a 13-year-old boy with cerebral palsy. Now that’s multi-talented! Lt. Brandy Forman of the Smyrna Police Department volunteers with a nonprofit, Icing Smiles, that provides custom cakes for families with ill children. The Clinner family had requested a cake for their son, Tye, who was turning 13 and was about to embark on a special trip to Disney World. Tye has cerebral palsy and is unable to walk or sit up on his own, but his mom says he lights up any time someone mentions anything Disney. After hearing his story, Forman told CNN she knew she could help with “way more than a cake.” Her department coordinated a surprise party for Tye complete with pizza, wings and his own officer shirt. They even invited the community to join in, and a few other Atlanta-area police departments brought some police cars around for local children to check out during the celebration. Oh, and of course, the cake was gorgeous. “If you have the opportunity to do something good for someone else, do it,” Forman said.

    Raise a glass to…

    a great Disney idea and a very lucky monkey - CNN
    Kodi Lee, the newly-crowned winner of Season 14 of America’s Got Talent! Lee, 22, is a gifted singer and pianist who blew the judges away from the very start with his rendition of Donny Hathaway’s “A Song For You.” He’s blind and has autism, and his mom says being able to express himself musically has helped him deal with a world that is often hard on people with disabilities. “Through music and performing, he was able to withstand living in this world,” she said. “Because when you’re autistic, it’s really hard to do what everyone else does. It actually has saved his life, playing music.”

    A bright idea

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    We have a double dose of Disney this week! The big Mouse has rolled out the Disney Bedtime Hotline again for a limited time. The phone service allows kids to receive a special bedtime message from their favorite Disney character (with help from their parents, of course). It goes like this: The characters detail their day, talk about how ready they are for bedtime, then playfully suggest the child on the phone get ready for bed, too. So, if your best Serious Parent voice can’t get them under the covers, maybe Anna and Elsa can give a much-needed assist. No long-distance fees to Arendelle required!

    You gotta see this

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    A lost toy monkey got the royal treatment at Buckingham Palace recently, and there are photos to prove it! Savannah Hart, a 5-year-old student at Woodside Preschool in south Australia, accidentally forgot Harriet, one of her school’s traveling stuffed monkeys, during a tour of the palace. (Harriet is an excellent monkey name, by the way.) Once she was back home, Savannah and her preschool classmates sent a letter asking for Harriet’s safe return. Sure enough, the preschool heard via email that Buckingham Palace staff had found the toy monkey. They said she had been busy eating scones and promised to send her back after photographing her at work around the palace. Okay, Harriet HAS to be the most interesting stuffed monkey in the world now.

    Heroes among us

    A biker group's kindness
    “No charge for this lady under any circumstances.” That was a note left by plumber James Anderson on a bill for a 91-year-old woman with leukemia who needed her boiler replaced. Anderson says the woman, who is receiving palliative care, will have round-the-clock plumbing help if she needs it, and free services for life. Anderson of Burnley, Lancashire turned his plumbing business, DEPHER, into a community project for vulnerable people after he saw an elderly man being “manipulated” by another engineer in the area. Since then, he’s helped thousands of people with their plumbing needs at a reduced or waived cost — even when the work leaves him with a loss. “We need to do something more to help the people who need it most,” Anderson said. The daughter of the 91-year-old woman he helped described Anderson as an “angel dressed as a plumber,” which is just another way of saying he’s a straight-up hero.

    Wanna get away?

    a great Disney idea and a very lucky monkey - CNN
    Looking for your next big trip in 2020? Why not Africa? CNN Travel has put together 30 of the continent’s most breathtaking destinations, any of which could easily reach trip-of-a-lifetime status. Of all the scenic views, this one from the Lekki Conservation Centre in Lagos, Nigeria, really speaks to me. What’s just beyond this lush, curving boardwalk path? Probably more lush, curving boardwalk path, and we’re totally okay with that.

    Tell us something good

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    Macon, GA
    After seeing the destruction Hurricane Dorian wrought on the Bahamas, Rikki Kahley turned her bachelorette party to Nassau into a relief trip. Originally, the 24-year-old was going to cancel and even offered to donate the group’s hotel rooms to local families in need but was moved when the resort’s receptionist got emotional about how much tourism business the area was losing. So Kahley and her sister Chloe put out a call for donations and started collecting donated baby wipes, diapers, food, clothes, toys, books and water filtration tools. By the time they boarded the flight to the Bahamas, they had 37 suitcases full of supplies. (Delta Air Lines waived the extra baggage fees.) “Our experience was great. We enjoyed all the Bahamian people we encountered, heard lots of stories about their families and how the hurricane impacted them,” Kahley said.

    Impact your world

    Today is World Gratitude Day! I am grateful for every single person in our Good Stuff family, and for all of the wonderfully kind and insightful notes you send week after week. You are appreciated more than you know. If you want to up the gratitude in your life, here are three easy rituals that can have you feeling more thankful and ready to take on life’s, well, less gratitude-inspiring tasks.

    Shameless animal video

      There’s always time for cute animal videos. That time is now.
      All animals deserve to be petted! Unless they really don’t want to be, of course. But you’d be surprised at how many un-cuddly species are actually just lovebugs in disguise. This baby croc is so happy to get chin scratches he’s making little laser sounds of gratitude. Who could ever say no to that? (Click here to view)

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      Yes, you need to talk to your kids about porn. Here’s how to do it

      Health

      (CNN)At a certain age, every kid learns about the difference between fantasy and reality, whether it applies to fairy tales, video games or superhero movies.

      For the generations who’ve never lived without Wi-Fi, the internet is often the first place they’re exposed to sexual imagery. And in the absence of good, comprehensive sex education, some kids may think it’s the only way to actually learn about sex.
      “The sad fact is that more than half of our children get their first ‘sexual education’ from adult films on the internet,” said Dr. Mark Schoen, founder of SexSmartFilms.com and former director of sex education at the Sinclair Intimacy Institute. What’s missing is a sense of context and conversation around this imagery — a conversation that would help a young person distinguish between real sex and porn sex.
        Although many sex educators are advocating for this kind of porn literacy in schools, the conversation also needs to happen at home.
        news
        In general, there can be real benefits from having frank discussions about sex, said Debby Herbenick. In one recent study by Herbenick and her colleagues at the Indiana University School of Public Health, exposure to porn was only associated with an increased probability in having unprotected sex when parents had little-to-no sexual health communication with their children. When parent-teen sexual health communication was high, pornography use was unrelated to teenagers’ engagement in unsafe sex.
        Here’s how to approach “the talk” in the age of online porn.

        Start early

        “Parents would be wise to start discussing sexually explicit media during childhood,” said Herbenick. “It’s not just porn that they need literacy about — it’s Hollywood movies, music and social media, too.”
        Rather than viewing access to porn as a negative, welcome it as an opportunity to educate your kids. “In my experience, the more sex ed a child receives from their parents, the less likely they are to develop shame around sex and use pornography in a compulsive or unhealthy manner,” said sex therapist Kimberly Resnick Anderson.

        Just do it

        Yes

          Teens make the case for porn literacy

        “Starting the conversation can be as easy as saying something like, ‘I know this might seem like it’s coming out of nowhere, but I’m concerned about the messages you are getting about sex, sexual behaviors and what’s real or normal from the stuff that’s out there,'” said sexologist Lanae St. John.
        Or you might do some advance planning. “A conversation on sex and porn should allow for honesty and the time it takes to have a serious discussion,” advised sex therapist Heidi Crockett. “I recommend arranging an agreed upon time so that both parent and child can bring their questions and thoughts to the table.”

        Explain the differences

        Remind your child that porn is meant for entertainment, not education, in terms they can understand.
        you need to talk to your kids about porn. Here's how to do it - CNN

          What it’s really like to be an adult film star

        “I tell them that just as the ‘Fast & Furious’ movies are not driver’s ed, porn is not sex ed,” said St. John. Explain that just like movies, porn portrays how we might fantasize about things but not act on them.
        Likewise, you can stress that masturbation — to porn or otherwise — and sex are two different experiences. “It’s fun to text our friends or play video games with them online, but it’s another thing to hang out in person,” said sex therapist Kristen Lilla. “Porn can also be fun to watch, but it doesn’t mimic or replace real-life sex and relationships.”

        Don’t make assumptions

        Part of what makes porn tough to talk about is how divisive it’s become. You might hear from some adults that porn use has led to dependency, erectile dysfunction, fear of intimacy and other problems. For others, it’s simply part of a healthy sex life.
        The truth is that medical experts don’t know for certain whether porn use is truly responsible for all of the effects attributed to it; so far, there isn’t a clear scientific consensus around the influence of porn on the human adult brain, much less the teenage brain.
        Health
        While some experts say that porn is highly addictive, others say that the concept of true porn addiction isn’t supported by scientific evidence. Impulsive or compulsive porn use, this camp says, is usually a symptom of something else, such as depression or anxiety.
        The only thing we do know for certain is that the more open parents are with their kids about sexual health, the better.

        Don’t limit it to sex

        View your conversations as laying the foundation for helping children question all the media they consume.
          “We begin this process of becoming aware of how roles or stereotypes are portrayed when you watch TV or PG movies with your kids beginning when they’re 7 to 8 years old,” said sex therapist Sari Cooper. “Bringing up some of the uncomfortable feelings one has when watching a film with younger ages because of the way a woman, person of color, or a person with disability was portrayed begins a training of critical thinking with your children.”
          However you choose to approach it, know that “the talk” is really a series of conversations. When you discuss topics like sexuality, masturbation and porn early on, you open the door for trust and honesty with your kids — and that helps build a foundation for good sexual health throughout their lives.

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          CNN Disputes Matt Gaetzs Claim the Network Snubbed Him on Gun Talks

          Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) suggested this week that CNN deliberately tried to silence him in the wake of several mass shootings over the weekend. But the network says Gaetz is deliberately misrepresenting the facts.

          The Florida Republican made the suggestion Tuesday in response to CNN noting the number of Republicans who were unwilling to appear on the network to discuss gun laws following the shootings.

          Gaetz, a TV-friendly regular on Fox News and other cable-news programs, responded that he was booked on Erin Burnett on Monday, but the show cancelled on him. Then, he claimed, he was also bumped by Anderson Cooper after getting booked on his primetime CNN program.

          Im ready for the discussion whenever CNN is, he claimed.

          But in a statement to The Daily Beast, a CNN spokesperson pushed back on Gaetzs claims, saying the congressmans timeline is all out of whack.

          According to the spokesperson, several shows on the network had in fact declined to book Gaetz last weekbefore the shootings ever took place.

          Wrong Congressman! Your staff pitched you a week ago for an in-studio interview based on your travel to NY.Both shows declined last week, well before the tragic events over the weekend. Those are the facts, the spokesperson said.

          The absence of Republicans lawmakers appearing on non-Fox News networks in the wake of the shootings in El Paso and Dayton has been a subject of some criticism from Democrats and journalists, who believe the politicians should answer questions about the partys continued opposition to major gun-control measures.

          Several prominent news hosts like Tapper and Rachel Maddow pointed out that few Republican elected officials had been willing to appear CNN, MSNBC, and other mainstream television outlets in the wake of the shootings that left a combined 31 people dead.

          Some Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, did sit down for major TV interviews, but with only Fox News. In his Sunday conversation with Fox, the Republican leader blamed violent video games for the mass shootings. Meanwhile, Republican leaders have continued to ignore calls for a serious discussion about possible new gun lawsinstead focusing on video games and mental illness.

          Weve always had guns. Weve always had evil, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said during a weekend interview with Fox News. But whats changed where we see this rash of shooting? And I see a video game industry that teaches young people to kill.

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