World united in sympathy for US

World united in sympathy for US

Shock and sympathy were the initial reactions from around the world to the shooting rampage that left 28 people dead, including 20 children, in Connecticut.

Australian prime minister Julia Gillard described the attack as a “senseless and incomprehensible act of evil”.

“Like president Obama and his fellow Americans, our hearts too are broken,” Ms Gillard said in a statement.

“As parents and grandparents, as brothers and sisters, as friends of the American people, we mourn the loss of children, aged only five to 10 years, whose futures lay before them.

“We mourn the loss of brave teachers who sought only to lead their students into that future but were brutally murdered in a place of refuge and learning.”

Australia confronted a similar tragedy in 1996 when a man went on a shooting spree in Tasmania, killing 35 people. The mass killing sparked outrage across the country and led the government to impose strict new gun laws, including a ban on semi-automatic rifles.

In Japan, where guns are severely restricted and there are extremely few gun-related crimes, public broadcaster NHK led the noon news with the shooting, putting it ahead of an update on the final day of campaigning before tomorrow’s nationwide parliamentary elections.

NHK, which had a reporter giving a live broadcast from the scene in Connecticut, said five children at the school were Japanese, and that all five were safe.

Several Japanese broadcasters ran footage from Newtown, showing scenes of people singing outside churches as well as part of Mr Obama’s tearful press conference.

The attack in Connecticut quickly consumed public discussion in China, rocketing to the top of topic lists on social media and becoming the top story on state television’s main noon newscast.

China has seen several rampage attacks at schools in recent years, though the attackers there usually use knives. The most recent attack happened yesterday, when a knife-wielding man injured 22 children and one adult outside a primary school in central China.

Much of the discussion after the Connecticut rampage centred on the easy access to guns in America, unlike in China, where even knives are sometimes banned from sale. But with more than 100,000 Chinese studying in US schools, a sense of shared grief came through.

In the Philippines, a spokeswoman for president Benigno Aquino III said: “What makes it more painful is that most of the victims were small children.

“Our deep condolences go out to the families, teachers and their loved ones. Our hearts and minds are with them and pray with them as they go through a very difficult time, especially with Christmas approaching.”

More in this Section

Iran’s hard-liners take early lead in electionIran’s hard-liners take early lead in election

Virus spreads in South Korea as thousands screenedVirus spreads in South Korea as thousands screened

Lorry driver jailed after doing U-turn on UK motorwayLorry driver jailed after doing U-turn on UK motorway

Coalition formed in South Sudan following agreement to end civil warCoalition formed in South Sudan following agreement to end civil war


Lifestyle

Some readers have been in touch about the movement of frogs, which is timely as these fascinating creatures now emerge from hibernation.Donal Hickey: Time for frog-spotting

A very short drive from Kinsale lies an island that is the international focal point for a tough breed of people.Islands of Ireland: In the swim of things at Sandy Cove Island

'Myrtle, your hair is on fire,' an alarmed guest exclaimed as Myrtle’s fringe went up in flames while she was enthusiastically flambéing crêpes beside their table.Darina Allen: The best recipes to get you ready for Pancake Tuesday

Paul McLauchlan meets Nicholas HoultThe kid from About A Boy is now the face of Armani

More From The Irish Examiner