SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The only gun store in San Francisco is shuttering for good, saying it can no longer operate in the city’s political climate of increased gun control regulations and vocal opposition to its business.

The High Bridge Arms will close Oct. 31. It first opened in 1952 and has served as San Francisco’s only gun store in the city since 1999.

Manager Steve Alcairo says the store’s owner decided to close after a law was proposed that would require High Bridge to video record every gun sale and report every ammunition transaction to the police department.

Alcairo said the proposal would add more paperwork to the burdensome steps already required to comply with local, state and federal regulations.

San Francisco Board of Supervisor member Mark Farrell said his proposal is meant to help combat gun crime.

Have you ever wondered what life on Mars could be like? Did you envision how people could live, what technologies they could use and how they would survive?

Then read on because this project might just be for you.


Imagine Mars

According to information on the NASA website, Imagine Mars is a “hands-on, STEM-based project that asks students to work with NASA scientists and engineers to imagine and design a community on Mars, then express their ideas through the arts and humanities, integrating 21st Century skills.”  There’s a place for everyone, whether you are interested in Design Arts, Performance Arts, Visual Arts or Language Arts.


imagine-mars1Who Can Participate?

Schools — individual K-12 classes or school-wide teams

Out-of-school groups — mixed-grade teams in extra-curricular organizations such as, after-school arts and science clubs

Community organizations — mixed-grade teams in programs sponsored by museums, libraries, local businesses and local civic organizations


imagine-marsHow to Get Started

You can get all information you need about getting started on your creative project here.

Image Source: NASA

Watch the NASA video below to learn what it actually takes to get a spacecraft to Mars:

BANGKOK (AP) — At a military facility outside Bangkok, a drill sergeant barks orders at a group of film students learning the hard way that creative license has its limits in Thailand.

“You are here to learn discipline,” the officer shouted. “Do you understand?”

“Yes, sir!” shouted back the group of 53 aspiring artists — boys with shaggy hair, girls with tattoos and yoga pants.

“Discipline means respecting the rules and regulations,” he told them. “If you misbehave, you must be punished.”

In military-ruled Thailand, this is how university hazing is handled. The offense: a video posted online that showed a half-dozen fully clothed freshman doing an erotic couples dance as upperclassmen cheered. Social media dubbed it a “love-making dance.” The punishment: three days of boot camp for a new type of disciplinary punishment known as “attitude adjustment.”

The military junta that seized power over a year ago pioneered the idea of “attitude adjustment” as a technique to silence critics. The junta summons politicians and others who voice dissent to military bases where they are typically incarcerated several days, interrogated and made to “confess” to their transgressions and sign a contract to not repeat them — a practice that has been widely criticized by human rights groups.

Now there are signs that the mentality of military rule is being applied to civilian issues — like college discipline.

For the students from the film school of Bangkok’s Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University, a three-day boot camp included reprimands, public humiliation and a grueling endurance test.

“We’re not telling our film students don’t make creative films, but in Thailand there are social limits. They need to be creative within the limits,” said Chin Tangtarntana, a lecturer in cinematography and one of several professors who chaperoned the 3-day session last month that included silent meals and group lodging on a barrack floor lined with mattresses. “We have to reset their clocks. That’s why we’re here, to rewind. We’re saying, ‘Go back. Start over. OK, now be creative.'”

After a 2-hour bus drive northeast of the capital to the Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy, a 33-square-kilometer (20-square-mile) facility surrounded by mountains, the students’ cellphones were confiscated to ensure no outside communication and primarily to prevent more videos, Chin said.

“The activities that will take place here will be good for you, and help you to become civilized people. Do you understand?” the drill sergeant, Sgt. Maj. Kongsak Klaeiklang, asked rhetorically. He led what he called an “ice-breaking” session that bore close resemblance to hazing: An overweight female student was singled out as a “hippopotamus” as others were told to “dance like hippos.” Team games ended with the losers ordered to “walk like elephants,” bent over in a human chain, clutching each other’s hands between legs.

Then they were driven to a steamy, mosquito-infested jungle. Under a steady rainfall, the students were put through a different type of hazing.

Loud bangs exploded in the distance, and the students were ordered to run.

“Faster! Just keep breathing, you won’t die,” shouted Kongsak, after one student nearly fainted and was allowed to sit on the sidelines. He then ordered them to “DROP!” and crawl on their stomachs through muddy puddles and at one point to hurdle a barricade of fire.

“The idea is to break them down. Break down their ego. Humiliate them. And then we build them back up,” Kongsak said, as soldiers led small groups on an arduous 5-kilometer (3-mile) jungle trek that included scaling rope ladders and balancing on swinging logs to cross a river.

The boot camp incident sparked little public uproar in a country where the education system has always had a militaristic streak — public schools have mandatory uniforms, hair must be kept short and some teachers still wield bamboo canes to enforce discipline through secondary school. Problem teens in violent high-school gangs have been sent to boot camps in the past.

But using the military to punish university hazing is a new approach, which commentators say sends a chilling message that the military is needed to solve society’s problems even at institutions of higher learning.

“This order to the students to report to a military base is at least as inappropriate as the hazing incident,” the Bangkok Post said in a recent editorial on the subject. The university “lost a little public respect with the hazing violation. It continues to lose even more respect with its reaction.”

The very same university was also home to last year’s infamous hazing ritual, which involved upperclassmen dripping hot candle wax on incoming freshman and burning the arms of several students. But in that case where bodily harm was actually caused nobody was punished, the editorial noted.

Critics say the hazing case highlights a trend toward militarization of Thai society under the junta, where those in charge don’t believe that “attitude adjustment” will actually brainwash people — but the aim is to intimidate and discourage the outspoken from speaking out.

The former army chief who led the coup, Prayuth Chan-ocha, and is now serving as interim leader has launched a crackdown on dissent and has blocked public discussions about democracy. He regularly lashes out at those who question his authority and warns the public to stop asking for elections, which he says won’t be held until 2017.

Hundreds of politicians, journalists, professors and other critics have been hauled in for “attitude adjustment” in the name of maintaining peace and order.

“People who say bad things and cause harm with their words, should they say those things?” Prayuth said to reporters last month, defending the latest round of political detentions that included a three-day incarceration of a prominent journalist, Pravit Rojanaphruk, and two politicians. “You cannot oppose me. No one will let you to do that.”

Social commentator Sanitsuda Ekachai called it a sign of the times that the rector of a university chose to resort to military-style “attitude adjustment.”

“When someone in his position believes that militarism is the answer … it explains why the military still retains a strong grip on society,” Sanitsuda wrote in a column for The Bangkok Post. In a separate column, she wrote that educators who rely on military discipline are sending a stifling message: “Those who resist will be punished. The country is heading full force toward being a military state.”

Whether or not attitude adjustment works on students appears to depend on the individual.

An exhausted freshman, Natdanai Kedsanga, 20, ended the first day of boot camp with a realization.

“We were having too much fun, that was the problem,” said about the video in which he was one of the dancers. “Now that I think about it, maybe it wasn’t appropriate.”

Pongpat Puchiangdang, a university senior, said the attitude adjustment had taught him a lesson — if you want to do something socially unacceptable just don’t share it on social media.

“Stuff like this happens everywhere at all schools, and sometimes it’s even worse. They just don’t post it online,” said Pongpat, a 22-year-old aspiring cameraman. “I don’t think making that video was wrong. It’s a good memory. We just shouldn’t have publicized it.”


Associated Press journalist Nattasuda Anusonadisai contributed to this report.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton was endorsed Saturday by the National Education Association, the nation’s largest labor union, giving her campaign a boost in an increasingly competitive Democratic primary race.

With 3 million members, the NEA’s support will help Clinton in her primary bid against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has galvanized liberal Democrats and announced this week he had raised nearly as much money as Clinton during the past three months.

“We chose Hillary Clinton because she chose kids. She’s had kids in her heart from pre-school to graduate school,” said NEA president Lily Eskelsen Garcia in a phone interview. She said Clinton addressed the 175-member NEA board on Saturday for more than an hour, answering questions about testing, special education and college affordability.

Many rank-and-file union members have backed Sanders and pressured labor leaders not to endorse Clinton with four months remaining before the first contests in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Eskelsen Garcia said 75 percent of the union’s board supported Clinton and the union felt it could have more influence by endorsing during the primaries. The NEA declined to issue an endorsement in the 2008 primaries, waiting until Barack Obama secured the Democratic nomination to offer support.

Clinton has outlined plans to bolster early childhood education by creating a universal pre-K system and boosting money for Head Start education programs. Thanking the union, Clinton said in a statement she would “ensure that teachers always have a voice and a seat at the table.”

Sanders did not address the NEA board but, like Clinton and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, was interviewed by Eskelsen Garcia, submitted a questionnaire and recorded a video statement that aired during the union’s summer convention.

Sanders said in a statement he was proud to have the support of “many hundreds of thousands” of NEA members and trade unionists across the nation.

The former secretary of state has been endorsed by eight labor unions, accounting for about 7 million members, including both of the nation’s teachers’ unions. The American Federation of Teachers was the first labor union to endorse Clinton, during the summer.


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ATLANTA (AP) — Prosecutors say a grand jury has indicted an Atlanta police officer who struck and killed a pedestrian with his cruiser.

Multiple media outlets report that officer Christopher Blaise has been charged with misdemeanor vehicular homicide in the death of 62-year-old Bernard Moore on March 6. Moore was hit and killed as he crossed the street. The Fulton County district attorney made the announcement Friday.

A lawyer for Moore’s family has demanded the officer be fired and prosecuted after surveillance video showed the patrol car traveling at what appeared to be a high rate of speed without using lights or sirens.

Sgt. Warren Pickard says Blaise has been assigned to administrative desk duty since the incident.

Assistant Police Chief Shawn Jones says it does not appear Blaise was responding to an emergency call.

BERLIN (AP) — Germany marks a quarter-century as a reunited nation on Saturday, with two leaders from the formerly communist east heading a country that increasingly asserts itself as Europe’s political heavyweight — and now faces a new challenge in a refugee influx that will demand deep reserves of resourcefulness and patience.

West and East Germany united on Oct. 3, 1990, capping a process that started less than 11 months earlier when the east’s communist leadership opened the Berlin Wall under pressure from massive demonstrations. Evening out the differences between east and west has been a far slower process, and some inequalities persist even now.

On the whole, however, “things worked out well — so many people pitched in, showed verve, began to learn new jobs,” Chancellor Angela Merkel, who grew up in the east and entered politics as communism fell, said in a video message ahead of the anniversary.

Joachim Gauck, Germany’s president since 2012, is another easterner, former pastor and pro-democracy activist.

In a speech at this year’s unification celebrations in Frankfurt, Gauck compared the integration of hundreds of thousands of newly arrived refugees to the task of reuniting East and West Germany 25 years ago.

“Like in 1990, a challenge awaits us that will keep future generations busy,” he said. “But contrary from before, what did not belong together up to now, should now grow together.”

Gauck’s quote came in reference to a famous expression by former German Chancellor Willy Brandt who in 1989, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, said of divided Germany that “now what belongs together, will grow together.”

Since reunification, some 1.5 trillion to 2 trillion euros ($1.7 trillion to $2.2 trillion dollars) have been funneled into the east to help bring the region up to speed after its outmoded industry collapsed. A steady post-1990 drain of people from east to west appears finally to have been stemmed, with more people moving east than the other way for the first time in 2013.

Even though unemployment remains higher in the east than the west — at 8.7 percent (an enviable figure for many European countries) compared with 5.6 percent — the gap has narrowed. Former Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s promise to easterners that they would live in “blooming landscapes” no longer looks far-fetched.

“This is true for many parts of former East Germany,” said prominent German historian Heinrich August Winkler. “The beautiful countryside of the Mecklenburg lake district, and the Baltic Coast, as well as the cleanup of the polluted industrial areas in Saxony and elsewhere, a lot has happened there.”

“The economic disparity between east and west is also a lot lower than it used to be,” he added. “But that’s no reason to be smug. The absence of large, productive companies in eastern Germany shows that a lot more could be done.”

Those concerns apart, Germany has cemented its place as Europe’s biggest economy and, in the past few years, has shown increasing ambition as a political and diplomatic heavyweight.

Merkel has been a leading advocate of the reforms and spending cuts demanded of countries such as Greece in exchange for aid in Europe’s debt crisis. On the diplomatic front, she and her government also have played a leading part in tackling the crisis over Russia’s actions in Ukraine — after years being perceived as balking at a front-row role.

Gauck last year said that Germany should make an earlier and more decisive contribution to preventing conflicts and “must also be ready to do more to guarantee the security that others have provided it with for decades.”

This year, Germany has sought to take the lead — so far with little success — in persuading Europe to embrace the task of taking in refugees from Syria and elsewhere and share the burden. The flow of people to Germany, a favored destination, gathered pace last month when Merkel decided to allow in migrants who had piled up in Hungary.

Merkel is sticking to a confident message that Germany will cope as authorities struggle to keep tabs on the newcomers and house them. Officials expect at least 800,000 to arrive this year, though not all will be allowed to stay.

The job of integrating them into society and the workforce lies ahead, and Merkel says memories of reunification could help.

“The experiences of German unification give us the feeling and the confidence that we can deal successfully with the tasks that face us — however big they are,” Merkel said Thursday.

“That also goes for the Herculean task that moves us at the moment and demands a national effort of us: the many, many people who are seeking shelter with us in Europe and Germany.”


This story has been amended to show the correct spelling of Brandt’s first name is Willy, not Willi.