Attack at Istanbul Airport Leaves at Least 28 Dead – New York Times

ISTANBUL — Suicide attackers armed with bombs and guns struck Turkey’s largest airport Tuesday night, blowing themselves up in a confrontation with the police. Officials said that at least 28 people were killed in the attack, and one official who spoke to The Associated Press put the toll at nearly 50. Scores more were reported to have been injured.

The governor of Istanbul, Vasip Sahin, told Turkish news outlets that three suicide bombers took part in the attack. The official cited by The A.P. said there may have been four attackers.

Another Turkish government official said that the police fired shots at two suspected attackers at the entryway to the airport’s international terminal, in an effort to stop them before they reached the building’s security checkpoint. The two suspects then detonated their bombs, the official said.

CNN Turk reported that one suicide bomber set off his explosives inside the terminal building and another outside in a parking lot.

There appeared to be no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

“I hope the attack at the Ataturk airport will be a turning point in the world, and primarily for the Western states, for a joint struggle against terror organizations,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a statement, adding that the attack “revealed the dark face of terror organizations targeting innocent civilians.”

A Turkish Twitter user posted a video of what appeared to be footage of the bombing. A sharp flash of light is seen piercing the outside area in front of the airport entrance.

The Turkish broadcaster NTV showed video of airport employees streaming out of the area of the bombing and crowds of travelers walking away, some carrying luggage and some using their cellphones.

Flights to and from Ataturk airport were suspended at least through 8 p.m. Wednesday evening, the Dogan news agency reported. The Federal Aviation Administration said it had halted all flights between Istanbul and the United States.

T24, an internet news site, showed photographs of people bending to help two victims who were lying on the pavement just outside the airport. Birgun, a Turkish newspaper, posted photographs of fallen tiles and shattered pieces of concrete near a line of cabs outside the airport.

Timeline | Recent Terrorist Attacks in Turkey

A witness told CNN Turk that injured people were being taken away in taxis, Reuters reported.

People across Istanbul expressed shock and frustration at the attack. Ahmet Samanci, 27, a graduate student waiting for a ferry on the Asian side of the city, said he had been at the airport at 5 a.m. to pick up his uncle. “How can people come to Turkey, and for what, if there is no security?” he said, looking out at the water.

Mr. Samanci said that he told his sister, a student at the University of Buffalo in New York, to “just stay there.”

He added: “Generally, there’s very negative energy in the world right now. It is the worst in Turkey.”

Almost immediately, there was speculation that the attack was politically motivated, and may have been a response to the recent reconciliation between Turkey and Israel, which announced a wide-ranging deal this week to restore diplomatic relations. The countries had been estranged for six years, after the 2010 episode in which Israeli commandos stormed a ship in a flotilla carrying humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip in defiance of an Israeli blockade; 10 Turkish activists were killed in the episode.

Mustafa Akyol, a prominent Turkish columnist, wrote on Twitter on Tuesday evening, “The fact that the attack came right after the Turkish-Israeli deal might be not an accident.”

Other analysts, though, noted that terrorist attacks involving multiple suicide bombers take time to prepare and are not typically attempted on very short notice.

Some observers sought to link the attack to Turkey’s role in the conflict in neighboring Syria. “Unfortunately, we see the side effects of a disastrous Syria policy that has brought terrorism into the heart of Istanbul and Ankara,” said Suat Kiniklioglu, a former lawmaker in Istanbul. “This is obviously intended to create an atmosphere of chaos and hit the economy and tourism.”

Turkey has been rocked by a series of bombings since 2014, and they have been increasing in frequency. Officials have variously blamed Kurdish separatists or Islamic State militants for the attacks. On June 7, a police van was blown up by Kurdish separatists, killing 11 people, five of them civilians.

Officials have blamed the Islamic State for several recent bombings in Turkey, including in areas of Istanbul that are popular with Western tourists. The Islamic State has generally not claimed responsibility for these attacks, though it is quick to lay claim to attacks elsewhere. Analysts believe that this reflects the group’s dependence on Turkey, the main route for foreign recruits to reach its territory in Syria.

“The Islamic State has never claimed credit for any attacks on civilians in Turkey, as it is an advantage to the group not to,” said Veryan Khan, director of the Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium. She noted, though, that the group did claim responsibility for assassinations of opponents in southern Turkey.

Interactive Feature | Map of Istanbul Airport

Ataturk airport has expanded in recent years and is now the third busiest in Europe, after Heathrow in London and Charles de Gaulle in Paris, when ranked by the annual number of passengers.

On Monday, the State Department renewed a warning it issued three months ago advising American citizens about the danger of travel to Turkey because of terrorist threats.

“Foreign and U.S. tourists have been explicitly targeted by international and indigenous terrorist organizations,” the department said in the warning, which was posted on the State Department’s website.

In New York, security was stepped up at three major metropolitan airports after the news of the attack. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said it had “added high-visibility patrols equipped with tactical weapons and equipment” at John F. Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty airports.

People shared images and videos from Ataturk airport online, some of which were graphic in nature.

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Trump, Clinton gird for epic battle over guns – Politico

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Guns are going to be on the ballot like never before this November.

With Newtown and a wave of fatal clashes with police seared into the nation’s memory, Democrats and Republicans alike are eager to wage the fight over guns during the general election, and both sides forcefully flashed their rhetorical ammunition this weekend.

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Trump was warmly — if a bit warily — received as 80,000 members of the National Rifle Association gathered here to launch a united front against Clinton, who they see as a bigger threat to the Second Amendment than Trump ever would be.

The Manhattan billionaire echoed the group’s charge that Clinton would “take your guns away from you,” both through her own actions and with her Supreme Court picks, all while failing to keep Americans safe from terrorists abroad and violent criminals at home.

Clinton leapt at the chance to rile up Democrats. She responded on Saturday with her own broadside against the gun lobby and Trump, saying his candidacy would put “more kids at risk of violence and bigotry.”

Neither candidate can move to the center on guns as they pivot to the general election: Clinton because it marked one of the few issues where she could run to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ left, and Trump because the gun rights movement is leading the charge for GOP unity around his candidacy.

And they don’t want to.

Both sides are mobilizing with relish, with the NRA and Clinton finding convenient foils in each other as they try to rally their bases following bruising primaries.

“Hillary, you picked this fight, but mark my words, we will win it,” said top NRA strategist Chris Cox on Saturday. On Friday, Cox opened the group’s annual meeting by announcing a formal endorsement of Trump, who has embraced the group’s cause of protecting and expanding gun rights. But the main emphasis of the first two days of the conference was on caustic and often personal attacks against Clinton.

Indeed, her full-throated advocacy for gun control is unprecedented for a Democratic presidential candidate (and for her, for that matter), and Democrats down ballot are increasingly following her lead. While she has not called for abolishing the Second Amendment, as Trump has charged, she’s pushed hard for “common sense gun laws,” including expanded background checks. She has made exposing the gun industry to liability a central plank of her Democratic primary campaign against Sanders, whose home state of Vermont highly values its gun rights.

It’s a clear shift in tone and emphasis from 2008, when she described herself as a pro-gun churchgoer after Barack Obama was caught on tape criticizing working-class people who “cling to their guns and religion” ahead of the Pennsylvania primary.

On Saturday, Clinton used the issue to make her case against Trump in the battleground state of Florida, and cast the NRA’s target on her back as a badge of honor.

“Unlike Donald Trump, I will not pander to the gun lobby, and we will not be silenced and we will not be intimidated,” Clinton said Saturday evening at the Trayvon Martin Foundation.

While NRA members have a reputation for voting on the Second Amendment, and President Obama has urged people who want new gun restrictions to become “single issue voters,” both sides are weaving guns into a broader negative narrative about how their opponent is creating a more dangerous — and unequal — world.

“No guns on the other side,” was Trump’s refrain on Friday, describing defenseless victims of terror attacks and mass shootings. He debuted a new nickname for Clinton — “Heartless Hillary” — as he accused her of wanting to take guns from women, even as her own security detail (the same United States Secret Service force that protects him) is armed.

“Hillary Clinton is telling every woman living in a dangerous community that she doesn’t have the right to defend itself,” Trump said.

NRA members watched videos warning about the threat from “radical Islamic terrorism” and calling out “self-serving politicians … who would condemn America’s police” as images of Clinton flashed across the screen as they waited for Trump to take the stage on Friday. That same stage featured Mark “Oz” Geist, a security contractor at the consulate in Benghazi who has become a chief critic of Clinton’s handling of the deadly attack in 2012.

“We were faced with an evil that night that wanted to take away our way of life,” said Geist. “I think with this election, it’s not that different.”

NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre even wove in other social issues.

“Rising ISIS attacks, terrorism in Europe, innocent children being slain in our cities by murderers the White House refuses to take off the streets before they kill, ever-growing serious threats to our nation and the president’s biggest concern is school bathrooms?” LaPierre said Friday. “That is what a Clinton White House looks like, and more.”

There was no attempt to clean up Trump’s tarnished record on guns, including now-abandoned positions staked out in his 2000 book, “The America We Deserve,” in which he backed an assault weapons ban and supported longer waiting periods to buy guns. For the group’s leadership, Trump’s record doesn’t matter much when Clinton’s is so clear, and so clearly bad.

Clinton, meanwhile, used Trump’s newfound embrace of the NRA and his call to end gun-free zones to cast him as a reckless bully and a hypocrite.

“Parents, teachers and schools should have a right to keep guns out of classrooms – just like Donald Trump does at many of his hotels by the way,” Clinton said on Saturday. “This is somebody running for president of the United States of America, a country facing a gun violence epidemic, and he is talking about more guns in our schools, he is talking about more hatred and division in our streets, even more nuclear weapons in the world. That’s no way to keep us safe.”

In the hours leading up to Clinton’s speech, her campaign blasted fundraising pitches from former Rep. Gabby Giffords and Erica Smegielski, the daughter of the principal killed at Sandy Hook Elementary, asking supporters to stand with Clinton against Trump and the NRA.

For almost two decades, many Democrats, including Bill Clinton, blamed the assault weapons ban for their devastating losses in the 1994 midterms. That all changed when a gunman slaughtered 20 first-graders in Newtown, Conn., in late 2012, Democrats and gun control advocates say. While they failed to pass expanded background checks in its wake — a victory for the NRA and its impassioned membership in the face of overwhelming approval for the measure in polls — Democrats hope the issue will help them up and down the ballot in November.

“We are pushing hard towards the tipping point,” said Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.), who represents Newtown, in a call with reporters and activists organized by the Democratic National Committee on Friday. “This is the first presidential election” she added, that gun safety legislation “has been a top-tier issue.”

Other factors could help Democrats make guns a winning issue for them in November, including money and research from former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety and organization from Giffords’ Americans for Responsible Solutions, which is endorsing candidates.

But so far, the NRA appears to be more aggressive in using another tool for maintaining intensity: the Supreme Court fight.

Before endorsing Trump, Cox played two clips of Clinton remarks in the arena. One, from February, showed her barking like a dog. The other was a recording from a private fundraiser in October saying, “The Supreme Court is wrong on the Second Amendment. And I am going to make that case every chance I get.”

Cox warned, “She’ll put a radical, anti-gun activist in Scalia’s seat as soon as she can.”

Trump echoed the point, and called on Clinton to follow his lead by releasing a list of her potential Supreme Court nominees.

Even as Trump and Clinton called each other dangerous hypocrites based on their gun policies, they do present a stark choice for American voters on the substance of gun policy.

“Folks are getting tired of personality contrasts,” Esty said. “And we are going to have core contrast on this issue.”

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Guns fall silent in Syria – Reuters

Guns mostly fell silent in Syria and Russian air raids stopped on Saturday, the first day of a cessation of hostilities that the United Nations has described as the best hope for peace in five years of civil war.

Under the U.S.-Russian accord accepted by President Bashar al-Assad’s government and many of his foes, fighting should cease so aid can reach civilians and talks can open to end a war that has killed more than 250,000 people and made 11 million homeless.

Russia, which says it intends to continue strikes against areas held by Islamist fighters that are not covered by the truce, said it would suspend all flights over Syria for the first day to ensure no wrong targets were hit by mistake.

The truce seemed largely to be holding, though rebels reported what they described as occasional government violations, and one commander warned that unchecked, the breaches could lead to the agreement’s collapse.

Jaish al-Nasr, a group affiliated to the Free Syrian Army (FSA) which has backed the truce, said government forces had fired mortars, rockets and machine guns in Hama province and that warplanes had been constantly present in the sky.

“Compared to the previous days it is nothing, but we consider that they broke the truce,” Mohamed Rasheed, head of the group’s media office, told Reuters.

Another FSA-affiliated group, Alwiyat Seif al Sham, said two of its fighters had been killed and four more wounded when government tanks shelled them in rural areas west of Damascus.

A Syrian military source denied the army was violating the truce agreement. State media described rocket attacks near Damascus and several deadly attacks by Islamic State. But overall the level of violence was far reduced.

“Let’s pray that this works because frankly this is the best opportunity we can imagine the Syrian people has had for the last five years in order to see something better and hopefully something related to peace,” U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said at a midnight news conference in Geneva.

“I think that the feeling that we have today is that the situation is very different but of course every day has to be monitored,” he said.

The agreement is the first of its kind to be attempted in four years and, if it holds, would be the most successful truce of the war so far.

De Mistura said he intends to restart peace talks on March 7, provided the halt in fighting largely holds.

But there are weak spots in a fragile deal which has not been directly signed by the Syrian warring parties and is less binding than a formal ceasefire.

Importantly, it does not cover powerful jihadist groups such as Islamic State and the Nusra Front, al Qaeda’s branch in Syria. Islamic State claimed responsibility for a suicide car bomb in Hama province. Nusra has called for redoubled attacks.

Moscow and Damascus say they will continue to fight them, and other rebels say they fear this stance may be used to justify attacks against them too.

The truce is the culmination of new diplomatic efforts that reflect a battlefield dramatically changed since Russia joined the war in September with air strikes to prop up Assad. Moscow’s intervention effectively destroyed the hope his enemies have maintained for five years — encouraged by Arab and Western states — to topple him by force.

REPORTS OF VIOLENCE

Like several other rebel figures contacted by Reuters, Fares Bayoush, head of the Fursan al-Haqq rebel group which fights under the FSA banner, said front lines were far quieter. But he added that violations were taking place and if continued could lead to the “collapse of the agreement”.

In early reports of violence, a Syrian rebel group in the northwest said three of its fighters had been killed while repelling an attack from government ground forces a few hours after the plan came into effect.

Syria’s state media said at least six people were killed and several wounded in two suicide bomb attacks east of Hama city, including the car bomb claimed by Islamic State. Three children were killed and 12 wounded in an unspecified Islamic State attack in Joura neighborhood in Deir al-Zor province.

Fadi Ahmad, spokesman for the FSA First Coastal Division in Latakia province said government helicopters had dropped eight “barrel bombs” on the area in the early afternoon. Assad’s opponents have long accused the government of using such bombs — oil drums packed with explosives — to cause indiscriminate damage in rebel-held areas, which Damascus denies.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group, said government forces dropped five barrel bombs on the village on Najiya in Idlib province. The village is controlled by several groups including Nusra Front.

Nusra Front fighters pulled out of residential areas in several towns they run in Idlib province on Saturday to avoid being blamed by local people for civilian casualties if the areas are bombed by Russia, residents and rebel sources said.

The Syrian Kurdish YPG militia said Islamic State fighters had attacked Tel Abyad, a town near the Turkish border, prompting air strikes by the U.S.-led coalition to try to drive them back.

Russia’s Defence Ministry said it would suspend air strikes in a “green zone” — defined as those parts of Syria held by groups that have accepted the cessation of hostilities — and make no flights at all on Saturday.

“Given the entry into force of the U.N. Security Council resolution that supports the Russian-American agreements on a ceasefire, and to avoid any possible mistakes when carrying out strikes, Russian military planes, including long-range aviation, are not carrying out any flights over Syrian territory on Feb. 27,” the ministry said.

Sergei Rudskoi, a lieutenant-general in the Russian air force, told a news briefing that Moscow had sent the United States a list of 6,111 fighters who had agreed to the ceasefire deal and 74 populated areas which should not be bombed.

“THERE IS CALM”

A rebel fighter said government forces briefly fired artillery at a village in Aleppo province, which he said was under the control of the Levant Front, another FSA group. But he said the frontline was quieter than before.

“There is calm. Yesterday at this time there were fierce battles. It is certainly strange, but the people are almost certain that the regime will breach the truce on the grounds of hitting Nusra. There is the sound of helicopters from the early morning,” he told Reuters earlier on Saturday.

Fighting raged across much of western Syria right up until the cessation came into effect but there was calm in many parts of the country shortly after midnight, the Observatory said.

“In Damascus and its countryside … for the first time in years, calm prevails,” Observatory director Rami Abdulrahman said. “In Latakia, calm, and at the Hmeimim air base there is no plane activity,” he said, referring to the Latakia base where Russia’s warplanes operate.

After years in which any action by the United Nations Security Council was blocked by Moscow, Russia’s intervention has opened a path for multilateral diplomacy while undermining the long-standing Western demand that Assad leave power.

The Security Council unanimously demanded late on Friday that all parties to the conflict comply with terms of the plan.

U.N.-backed peace talks, the first in two years and the first to include delegations from Damascus and the rebels, collapsed earlier this month before they began, with the rebels saying they could not negotiate while they were being bombed.

The government, backed by Russian air strikes, has dramatically advanced in recent weeks, moving close to encircling Aleppo, Syria’s biggest city before the war, and threatening to seal the Turkish border that has served as the main lifeline for rebel-held areas.

(Reporting by John Davison, Mariam Karouny and Tom Perry in Beirut, Louis Charbonneau and Michelle Nichols at the United Nations in New York, Tom Miles and Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva and Andrew Osborn in Moscow; Writing by Peter Graff and Gareth Jones; Editing by Ralph Boulton)

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Guns fall silent as delicate Syria truce takes effect – Reuters

Guns mostly fell silent in Syria and Russian air raids stopped on Saturday, as a cessation of hostilities appeared to hold for its first day, described by the United Nations as the best hope for peace in five years of civil war.

Under the U.S.-Russian accord accepted by President Bashar al-Assad’s government and many of his enemies, fighting should cease so aid can reach civilians and talks can open to end a war that has killed more than 250,000 people and made 11 million homeless.

Russia, which says it intends to continue strikes against areas held by Islamist fighters that are not covered by the truce, said it would suspend all flights over Syria for the first day to ensure no wrong targets were hit by mistake.

Rebels reported what they described as occasional government violations, and one commander warned that unchecked, the breaches could lead to the agreement’s collapse. A Syrian military source denied the Syrian army was violating the truce agreement.

State media described rocket attacks near Damascus and several deadly attacks by Islamic State. But overall the level of violence was far reduced.

“Let’s pray that this works because frankly this is the best opportunity we can imagine the Syrian people has had for the last five years in order to see something better and hopefully something related to peace,” U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said at a midnight news conference in Geneva.

He said he expected occasional breaches of the agreement but called on the parties to show restraint and curb escalation.

The agreement is the first of its kind to be attempted in four years and, if it holds, would be the most successful truce of the war so far.

But there are weak spots in a fragile deal which has not been directly signed by the Syrian warring parties and is less binding than a formal ceasefire.

Importantly, it does not cover powerful jihadist groups such as Islamic State and the Nusra Front, al Qaeda’s branch in Syria. Islamic State claimed responsibility for a suicide car bomb in Hama province. Nusra has called for redoubled attacks.

Moscow and Damascus say they will continue to fight those groups, and other rebels say they fear this may be used to justify attacks against them.

The truce is the culmination of new diplomatic efforts that reflect a battlefield dramatically changed since Russia joined the war in September with air strikes to prop up Assad. Moscow’s intervention effectively destroyed the hope his enemies have maintained for five years — encouraged by Arab and Western states — to topple him by force.

Like several other rebel figures contacted by Reuters, Fares Bayoush, head of the Fursan al-Haqq rebel group which fights under the banner of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), said front lines were far quieter. But he added that violations were taking place and if continued could lead to the “collapse of the agreement”.

“There are areas where the bombardment has stopped but there are areas where there are violations by the regime such as Kafr Zeita in Hama, via targeting with artillery, and likewise in Morek in northern Hama countryside.”

REPORTS OF VIOLENCE

In early reports of violence, a Syrian rebel group in the northwest said three of its fighters had been killed while repelling an attack from government ground forces a few hours after the plan came into effect. Its spokesman called it a breach of the agreement.

Syria’s state media said at least six people were killed and several wounded in two suicide bomb attacks east of Hama city, including the car bomb claimed by Islamic State. Three children were killed and 12 wounded in an unspecified Islamic State attack in Joura neighoburhood in Deir al-Zor province.

Fadi Ahmad, spokesman for the FSA First Coastal Division in Latakia province said government helicopters had dropped eight “barrel bombs” on the area in the early afternoon. Assad’s opponents have long accused the government of using such bombs — oil drums packed with explosives — to cause indiscriminate damage in rebel-held areas, which Damascus denies.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group, said government forces dropped five barrel bombs on the village on Najiya in Idlib province. The village is controlled by several groups including Nusra Front.

The Syrian Kurdish YPG militia said Islamic State fighters had attacked Tel Abyad, a town near the Turkish border.

Russia’s Defence Ministry said it would suspend air strikes in a “green zone” — defined as those parts of Syria held by groups that have accepted the cessation of hostilities — and make no flights at all on Saturday.

“Given the entry into force of the U.N. Security Council resolution that supports the Russian-American agreements on a ceasefire, and to avoid any possible mistakes when carrying out strikes, Russian military planes, including long-range aviation, are not carrying out any flights over Syrian territory on Feb. 27,” the ministry said.

Sergei Rudskoi, a lieutenant-general in the Russian air force, told a news briefing that Moscow had sent the United States a list of 6,111 fighters who had agreed to the ceasefire deal and 74 populated areas which should not be bombed.

“THERE IS CALM”

A rebel fighter said government forces briefly fired artillery at a village in Aleppo province, which he said was under the control of the Levant Front, another group under the umbrella of the Free Syrian Army which has backed the truce.

Nevertheless he said the frontline was quieter than before the agreement took effect.

“There is calm. Yesterday at this time there were fierce battles. It is certainly strange, but the people are almost certain that the regime will breach the truce on the grounds of hitting Nusra. There is the sound of helicopters from the early morning,” he told Reuters earlier on Saturday.

Fighting raged across much of western Syria right up until the cessation came into effect but there was calm in many parts of the country shortly after midnight, the Observatory said.

“In Damascus and its countryside … for the first time in years, calm prevails,” Observatory director Rami Abdulrahman said. “In Latakia, calm, and at the Hmeimim air base there is no plane activity,” he said, referring to the Latakia base where Russia’s warplanes operate.

Some gunfire had been heard shortly after midnight in the northern city of Aleppo, and there were some blasts heard in northern Homs province, but it was not clear what had caused them, Abdulrahman said.

After years in which any action by the United Nations Security Council was blocked by Moscow, Russia’s intervention has opened a path for multilateral diplomacy while undermining the long-standing Western demand that Assad leave power.

The Security Council unanimously demanded late on Friday that all parties to the conflict comply with terms of the plan. De Mistura said he intends to restart peace talks on March 7, provided the halt in fighting largely holds.

U.N.-backed peace talks, the first in two years and the first to include delegations from Damascus and the rebels, collapsed earlier this month before they began, with the rebels saying they could not negotiate while they were being bombed.

The government, backed by Russian air strikes, has dramatically advanced in recent weeks, moving close to encircling Aleppo, Syria’s biggest city before the war, and threatening to seal the Turkish border that has served as the main lifeline for rebel-held areas.

Washington said it was time for Russia to show it was serious about halting fighting by honouring a commitment not to strike Syrian groups that are part of the moderate opposition.

(Reporting by John Davison, Mariam Karouny and Tom Perry in Beirut, Louis Charbonneau and Michelle Nichols at the United Nations in New York, Tom Miles and Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva and Andrew Osborn in Moscow; Writing by Mariam Karouny and Peter Graff; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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Texas Campus Carry Law Putting Damper On Academic Debate – NBCNews.com

A new Texas law allowing people to carry guns on state college campuses is already putting a big chill on fiery academic debate.

The law does not go into effect until Aug. 1, but professors at the University of Houston have started preparing guidelines for dealing with gun-toting students that include warning faculty to steer clear of “sensitive topics” and dropping hot button issues from their curricula, according to a UH Faculty Senate.

The proposed guidelines also advise faculty to no “‘go there’ if you sense anger” and “limit student access off hours.”

“Only meet ‘that student’ in controlled circumstances,” the guidelines state.

“It’s not official policy,” Faculty Senate President Jonathan Snow told NBC News on Wednesday. “The faculty is waking up now and saying, ‘Oh my. Come August I will be teaching classes with students who could by carrying guns.”

UH is expected to release it’s own “draft policy” on guns in classrooms next week, a university spokeswoman said.

“The University of Houston takes issues surrounding campus safety and guns on campus very seriously and will strive to create policies that comply with the new Campus Carry law, protect the rights of citizens, and address the safety and security of the entire campus,” a UH statement reads.

The Texas campus carry law signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott allows licensed gun owners 21 and older to carry their weapons on university grounds if they’re fully concealed. It was bitterly opposed by most academics across the state and sparked student protests.

IMAGE: Anti-gun protest at University of Texas at Austin

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