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Wednesday 13 December 2017

World united in sympathy for US

People look on as students are led out of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown (AP)
People look on as students are led out of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown (AP)

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 on Friday, when a knife-wielding man injured 22 children and one adult outside a primary school in central China.

Press Association

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