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Sandy Hook Elementary to reopen nearly 4 years after shooting

By Sarah Mulé   |   July 30, 2016 at 10:16 AM
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NEWTOWN, Conn., July 30 (UPI) -- Sandy Hook Elementary School, the site of one of the deadliest school shootings in recent history, will reopen its doors to students at the end of August.

The original Sandy Hook Elementary was torn down in October 2013, almost one year after a gunman stormed the halls, killing 20 children and six educators on Dec. 14, 2012.

The new $50 million school, which welcomes its new students on Aug. 29, bears no resemblance to the old, other than in name and address.

The new Sandy Hook is a modern two-story building built with reinforced walls and bulletproof windows. The school has a gated driveway, video monitoring and two police officers stationed on the premises.

There is a garden with native plants built to harvest rainwater and a nature motif that continues into the classrooms with areas on the second floor designed to look like treehouses.

"Our role now, as adults and leaders, is to bring this new, beautiful place into its rightful status as the SHS of the present and future," said Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra. "Despite its birth from a horible tragedy SHS will be a place of laughter, love, and learning."

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., was among the group offered a first-look at the new building.

"Toured the new Sandy Hook Elementary School tonight," he tweeted "This town deserves this palace."

© 2016 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.

Philippine president withdraws cease-fire with rebels

By Daniel Uria   |   July 30, 2016 at 10:15 AM

MANILA, July 30 (UPI) -- Newly elected Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte lifted his cease-fire against communist rebels after the two sides were unable to reach an agreement.

Duterte announced the end of the cease-fire on Saturday after the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army failed to declare their own cease-fire by Duterte's deadline of 5 p.m. local time on Saturday.

"Let me now announce that I am hereby ordering the immediate lifting of the unilateral cease-fire that I ordered last July 25 against the communist rebels," Duterte said in a statement.

Duterte declared the cease-fire during his first national address on July 25 in hopes of ending "centuries of mistrust and warfare" between the government and communist rebels.

He then issued an ultimatum, threatening to lift the unilateral cease-fire, following an attack by rebels in Davao del Norte.

"I have dealt with you in good faith. Tell me if you are not ready to deal in the same manner. I am asking you: are you ready to declare a ceasefire or not? It's 5 p.m.," he said. "I will wait for the declaration at 5 p.m. [Saturday]. I better get a word from you or I will lift the [ceasefire] order."

During his declaration on Saturday, Duterte also ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to withdraw the operational guidelines which were issued in compliance with the cease-fire.

"I am ordering all security forces to be on high alert and continue to discharge their normal functions and mandate to neutralize all threats to national security, protect the citizenry, enforce the laws and maintain peace in the land," he said.

According to CNN Philippines, PNP Chief Ronal Dela Rosa said police would follow Duterte's instructions.

AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla condemned the communist rebel's New People's Army for rejecting a chance at peace.

"The NPA have missed a golden opportunity to manifest their commitment to the attainment of our citizen's much sought peace throughout the land," he said.

© 2016 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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