Anti-terror laws could affect legal aid

The Law Council of Australia says, under new anti-terror laws put forward by the Federal Government, legal-aid clients would no longer be able to choose their lawyers.

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The council says the Government’s proposal, still to be passed by parliament, requires legal-aid lawyers acting on certain cases to pass security clearances first.

The Law Council’s acting president, Bob Gotterson says clients could no longer choose their lawyers in cases relating to national security.

He says clients would be forced to see lawyers approved by federal government security agencies instead.

Mr Gotterson says that would deny them fair hearings and would especially put newly arrived migrants, who often need to access legal-aid services, at a disadvantage.

“If you want to select a lawyer who speaks your native language and, therefore, get your message across much more easily, and that lawyer hasn’t got government approval, under this new system, then you are disadvantaged. What this really amounts to is moving towards a system, at least at the legal-aid level and for cases where there are national-security overtones, a system of state-controlled lawyers.”

Mr Gotterson says the federal government is intent on introducing the new laws, despite opposition from state and territory governments and from the legal profession.

He says the federal government is simply following the lead of the United States on national-security policy, rather than adopting a more independent stance.

“One might venture the view that why this proposal is coming forward is simply to harmonise the provisions that you might find in some other nations, particularly the United States, for example, and to bring Australia into line with that. National security is very important, but, under the existing court processes and disciplinary proceedings, there’s enough there to protect legitimately national-security interests.”

America remembers September 11

In New York, children guided thousands through a tearful September 11 remembrance, held under brilliant blue skies that were reminiscent of the day of the attacks in 2001.

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A total of 200 children, mostly sons and daughters of the dead, read the names of the 2,792 killed at Ground Zero.

While the event was scaled down from the first anniversary, the three-hour ceremony still carried a powerful emotional punch, compounded by the new-found uncertainties of a country at war.

President George W Bush observed the first moment of silence on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington after attending a special church service.

“We remember lives lost. We remember the heroic deeds. We remember the compassion and the decency of our fellow citizens on that terrible day.”

Ceremonies were also held in Washington for the victims at the Defence Department headquarters where a third hijacked jet smashed into the building killing 184 people.

Meanwhile a bell tolled 40 times in a Pennsylvania field where a fourth jet crashed after an uprising by passengers against four al Qaeda hijackers, killing all 40 passengers and crew.

But nationals from 80 countries were killed in the attacks on New York and Washington, and mourning was held around the world.

World leaders also seized upon the anniversary to share the grief of the victims’ families and reaffirm their commitment to fight terrorism.

The danger of further attacks was emphasised by a US State Department warning that al-Qaeda could use the anniversary to stage a new strike “more devastating than the September 11 attack.”

The warning stated the European or Eurasian locations could be targeted “possibly to closely coincide with the anniversary of the September 11 attack”.

Police hunt for Sweden murder suspect

Police in Sweden are searching for a homeless “drifter” with a criminal record in connection with the murder of Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh, who was stabbed while out shopping.

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The 32-year-old man is known to use knives as his weapon of choice, two Swedish daily newspapers reported on Friday.

Tributes have been paid to the 46-year-old popular minister and mother-of-two and with national flags flying at half-mast, the Swedish parliament held a moment of silence. There has also been a special cathedral service.

Outside the Stockholm store where she was attacked, people placed flowers on the pavement and stopped to pay respects.

Tributes have also been paid around the world, with international politicians and leaders shocked by the murder of a leading campaigner for the euro.

Ms Lindh was a vocal supporter of the euro currency and there was a question mark over whether Sunday’s referendum would go ahead.

However, Prime Minister Goeran Persson said it would go ahead as planned, because to do anything else would be to give into violence.

A spokesman said initial inquiries suggest the attacker probably acted on the spur of the moment.

Police have said that they are searching for a man of Swedish origin who they described as having a haggard face and heavy build, about 1.80 meters tall.

The Expressen newspaper said police were able to link the 32-year-old man to a set of handprints lifted off an escalator handrail in the NK department store. Police also have information placing the man in central Stockholm hours before the attack, it said.

Scottish independence referendum: Braveheart this is not

The view from Princes street up towards the Royal Mile and Edinburgh castle is one that never fails to inspire.

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The castle is Edinburgh. Imposing on its ramparts, it dominates the city but today it’s the flags around the castle that catch my eye.  The (British) Union Jack stands tall fluttering in Edinburgh’s ever present wind. It is flanked by two smaller flags – Scottish saltires, the national flag of Scotland. The blue and white St Andrews crosses hardly visible, lying limp. The Union Jack standing proud, full of wind. The saltires dwarfed and hesitant.

In many ways the flags are a metaphor for the countries they represent. Scots are a proud people but they have a tendency to be defensive particularly towards the English. Aggressive sometimes. Dismissive often. A nation that believes passionately in itself but one that is ultimately wracked with a healthy degree of self-doubt.

That much can be gleaned from polls conducted in the run up to next year’s referendum. Despite electing the Scottish National party to run the devolved Scottish Parliament, voters are lukewarm about its signature policy.

Only around one third of Scots are currently planning to vote for complete independence. In the eyes of many the Union is not broken and therefore does not need to be fixed.

Scotland forms just under one third of the land mass of Britain but is home to less than 1/10 of the population. It has a peculiarly left of centre political culture and it is the tendency for Scotland to vote left and England to vote right that has brought us to this moment. It is perceived wisdom that Margaret Thatcher’s unique brand of conservatism destroyed the Conservative Party in Scotland  (the party is still reduced to a rump nearly a quarter of a century after she left office), but since then Scotland has been given its own parliament and while many want it to have more powers the majority of Scots are firmly opposed to breaking up the United Kingdom, around 60% according to the polls.

The irony is that if it were to come to fruition it would likely be the death knell for the party supporting it and a life saver for one of the parties opposing it.

The SNP, currently the governing party in the Scottish parliament, would no longer have a reason to exist. And the Scottish Conservative party destroyed by its association with Thatcherism, (now reduced to just one seat in Westminster ) could re-build unburdened by its association with the English conservatives. For in truth many Scots who support independence do so because they want a divorce from English conservatism more than from the English per se.

Scotland the Brave is the unofficial national anthem, but one year out from the vote it does not sum up the mood of the people.  Braveheart this is not.

Watch the video above for the full story.

Click on the audio tab to hear the radio report.

Messi steals Ronaldo’s thunder again, Chelsea crash

Former champions Milan and Porto began the group phase with victories but last year’s runners-up Borussia Dortmund suffered a jarring defeat at Napoli after being reduced to 10 men and having manager Juergen Klopp exiled to the stands.

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A day after Ronaldo threw down the gauntlet with a hat-trick for Real Madrid in a 6-1 thrashing of Galatasaray, prolific Argentine Messi responded with three goals in Barcelona’s 4-0 Group H romp at home to Ajax Amsterdam.

Whatever magic Ronaldo conjures, Messi always seems to have a riposte, soaring to ever greater heights in the ongoing duel between Europe’s two most deadly marksmen.

Messi went through his repertoire, breaking the deadlock with a curling free kick after 22 minutes, running in his second 10 minutes into the second half and, after Gerard Pique had also got in on the act, completing his hat-trick with a clinical finish 15 minutes from time.

His latest exploits made him the first player to score four hat-tricks in the Champions League and took his overall tally to 62 goals in 80 matches in the competition.

Ronaldo, three times beaten to the World Player of the Year award by Messi in the last four years, has 53 goals in 93 games.

“We’re riddled with stars and it’s normal for a player to put in an excellent performance,” said Barca coach Gerardo Martino after his first Champions League game in charge of the side.

“I need a solid team so that the individuals can develop their full potential.”

After Tuesday’s torrent of 30 goals, defences tightened up in Wednesday’s Group E-H games with only four goals arriving in the night’s eight matches before halftime – all scored by south Americans, including Napoli’s new recruit Gonzalo Higuain.

Another came from Chelsea’s Brazilian Oscar as Mourinho’s first European game in charge since returning to the club that fired him six years ago appeared to be going to plan.

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But Basel had other ideas as Mohamed Salah curled in an equaliser before Marco Streller headed a late winner to avenge his side’s Europa League semi-final loss to Chelsea last season.

“I’m not happy with the result,” Mourinho said of the debacle as Chelsea suffered their first defeat in 30 home group matches in the competition.

“Instead of moving a step forward towards qualification we have taken a step back.

“Emotionally, this is not a mature team and when you are in a difficult position it was not enough.”

The goals eventually began flying in around the grounds although seven-times former champions Milan left it late before scoring twice to beat Celtic 2-0 in Group H.

Milan needed an own goal from Emilio Izaguirre to pierce Celtic’s rearguard before Sulley Muntari sealed the points.

Porto had a second-half goal from Lucho Gonzalez to thank for a 1-0 win at Austria Vienna in Group G where Atletico Madrid began in confident fashion with a 3-1 defeat of Zenit St Petersburg in the Vicente Calderon.

Rafa Benitez is beginning a Champions League campaign with a fifth club and his Napoli side lived up to their billing as dark horses with Higuain heading the opener in a 2-1 defeat of last year’s runners-up Borussia Dortmund.

Dortmund ended the Group F contest with 10 men after keeper Roman Weidenfelder was sent off and coach Juergen Klopp was sent to the stands after an angry outburst.

“We started well against these opponents but then everything went wrong,” midfielder Nuri Sahin told ZDF.

“It is difficult after the red card, they ran the ball very well and played smart.”

There was better luck for Dortmund’s Bundesliga rivals Schalke 04 as they scored three late goals to overcome a rugged Steaua Bucharest side who dug deep for 67 minutes.

Stunning strikes by Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey gave Arsenal a 2-1 victory in Marseille to continue their record of never having lost a European game away to a French club.

Arsenal have won 10 successive away wins in all competitions and manager Arsene Wenger said they were full of belief for what is a difficult group including Napoli and Dortmund.

“I knew it was important to get three points here if we want to have a chance,” Wenger said. “I said yesterday we needed 10 points at least so to start with three is good.”

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

Indonesia ‘offended’ by coalition’s asylum policy

A member of Indonesian parliament has labelled as offensive the coalition’s lack of consultation on asylum seeker policy, indicating one-sided management of people smuggling could cause a rift between the two countries.

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Tantowi Yahya is a member of the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Commission and said the first he and his colleagues knew of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s Operation Sovereign Borders was when it appeared in newspapers.

“It’s very offensive,” he told ABC TV on Wednesday, adding there was consensus between Indonesia’s government and parliament not to agree with the coalition’s plans.

“What Australia should do right now in relation (to) asylum seekers is sit with any countries that will be involved in this issue … and we have to fight against it in the spirit of friends.”

Mr Tantowi said the Indonesian parliament would “fully reject” the coalition’s policy to turn back boats carrying asylum seekers, indicating his country would deem such a move illegal.

“I do hope this policy will not be implemented until Mr Abbott talks about this issue with our foreign minister,” he said.

Mr Abbott promised to put in place the coalition’s operation from the day his team was sworn into parliament, which occurred on Wednesday.

He is expected to visit Jakarta in the coming fortnight.

But the new Australian government faced a stern warning from Mr Tantowi.

“It will obviously damage our relationship,” he said of the coalition’s policy.

“Indonesia accepts all possible solutions, all possible proposals from Australia … this case should be settled in a very modest and very peaceful way,” Mr Tantowi said.

He said it “annoys our sovereignty” that the coalition had floated the idea of paying Indonesians for information about people smuggling.

“We could employ our policemen. We could employ all the infrastructures to help,” the MP said.

Mr Tantowi said he and his parliamentary colleagues were happy with the former Labor government’s Papua New Guinea solution as long as asylum seekers were happy to remain in the country, and “not end up back in our territory”.

Protesters and police clash in Greece

Clashes have erupted between protesters and police across Greece, local media reports, as thousands demonstrated against fascism after a leftist musician was murdered by a suspected neo-Nazi.

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Police fired tear gas at groups of protesters in Athens, the northern city of Thessaloniki and in the western city of Patras, where the city centre remained sealed off.

The nationwide unrest was sparked by the death of Pavlos Fyssas, a 34-year-old left-wing hip hop singer, who was stabbed to death early on Wednesday morning outside a cafe in Keratsini, western Athens.

Some 5000 demonstrators took to the streets of Keratsini in protest, according to a police source.

Police officers there fired volleys of tear gas at a group of protesters who pelted them with wooden sticks and stones, the state-run Athens News Agency said.

Police also used tear gas in Thessaloniki, where some 6000 people marched against fascism, after some protesters shattered shop windows.

In Patras, around 1000 protesters threw rocks and molotov cocktails at police forces, who responded with tear gas. A retired police officer was injured in the scuffles, according to a police source.

A 45-year-old alleged member of the Golden Dawn neo-Nazi group was arrested at the scene of Wednesday’s murder. Police say the suspect has confessed to stabbing Fyssas, who wrote music under the nickname Kilah P.

The suspect’s wife was later also arrested for giving false evidence to police during the investigation.

Golden Dawn has denied any connection to the murder, which came a few days after a group of Communists were beaten by suspected neo-Nazis.

Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou blamed the killing on Golden Dawn, condemning the group’s “raw violence” and calling on other parties to “raise a barrier to the vicious circle of tension and violence”.

Earlier on Wednesday, some 20,000 people marched in Athens, Thessaloniki and other cities in a separate protest against a government overhaul of the public sector.

Factbox: Operation Sovereign Borders

The policy marks a shift away from the previous Labor government’s Regional Resettlement Agreement – with an emphasis on foreign policy approach – to a military defence and border security approach.

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Under the plan, the Deputy Chief of Army, Angus Campbell, will run the operation and report to the Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, rather than reporting to the Chief of the Defence Force who is under the responsibility of the defence minister.

Mr Campbell will be promoted to the rank of three star general and co-ordinate 16 government agencies dealing with asylum seeker boat arrivals.

Through the $10 million joint taskforce, asylum seeker boats will be turned back to source and transit countries – particularly Sri Lanka and Indonesia – where it is safe to do so. Additional vessels will also be leased to relieve patrol boats of passenger transfers.

The Liberal party claims the need for this taskforce is because the “current multiplicity of agencies and reporting lines provides for conflicting strategies, disconnected systems, fractured accountability, inadequate information system, duplication, higher costs and turf wars”.

The capacity of offshore processing centres on Manus Island and Nauru will also be increased and temporary protection visas (TPVs) restored.

TPVs holders do not have permanent residency and cannot re-enter the country if they decide to depart Australia. TPV recipients also have no right to work and no access to family reunion or welfare benefits.

Those asylum seekers who are thought to have deliberately discarded their identity documents will not be considered for refugee status at all under s91W of the Migration Act.

A commitment remains to regional cooperation on people smuggling through the Bali process. Similar to the Regional Resettlement Agreement, the Operation Sovereign Borders plan, claims it will send a message to people smugglers and their prospective passengers.

The Coalition says the new arrangements will send a message “to the people smugglers and their prospective passengers who must understand, from day one, that the rules have changed”.

The government’s 21-page ‘Operation Sovereign Borders policy’ document can be viewed here.

Adam Scott in hunt for Player of Year

Adam Scott admits the $A12.

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3 million on offer for winning the Tour Championship title and FedEx Cup this week would be sensational, but he puts the US PGA Tour’s Player of the Year award on a higher pedestal.

While the $US10 million ($A10.6 million) prize for the winner of the season-long points race on the US tour – the FedEx Cup – is enormous by anyone’s standards, the reality is money isn’t a problematic issue in Scott’s world.

The Australian world No.2 is driven by beating the best and striving to be the best and so he’s excited about the possibility of being voted PGA Tour Player of the Year by his peers should he triumph this week at East Lake Golf Club.

Scott would then have his major win at the Masters, plus two wins in the US tour’s playoffs series at the Barclays and the Tour Championship on his resume, plus the FedEx Cup title, providing a legitimate argument for beating world No.1 Tiger Woods for the award he has won 10 times.

Woods has won five times in 2013, including two World Golf Championships events, but hasn’t won a major, which usually weighted much heavier by the golfing fraternity.

World No.3 Phil Mickelson could also enter the discussion with a victory given he won the Phoenix Open and then claimed the British Open in stunning fashion in July.

“It’s been a great year for sure, but I think this week counts so much for me and how the year will be remembered by myself and others,” Scott said.

“There’s so much to play for. Two trophies here this week and also potentially throwing my name in a Player of the Year debate, which I think is quite a prestigious honour amongst the company that I play golf against.

“I really need to win to even throw my name in the hat there – then it could be possible.”

Scott wouldn’t go as far as saying he felt he’d deserve the honour if he won but, when asked if he’d give his vote to Mickelson should the left-hander win this week, he admitted he would lean that way.

“It would be hard not to give him (Phil) the vote, as then he has three wins with a major and Tiger has five wins and Phil has the FedEx Cup,” he said.

“I think it’s a pretty strong case to say Phil. But if you feel like five wins is more impressive, you can put Tiger.

“I think you’ve got a strong case to argue for both so that’s why it could go any way.”

Woods has always acknowledged the weight of majors and reiterated the prestige associated with winning the Player of the Year title.

“Absolutely, it does (carry huge importance).

The Player of the Year Award is something we hold dearly because it’s the respect of our peers,” Woods said.

“It’s voted on by our peers. Having a year where they think that you were deserving of the player of the year, it’s pretty special.”

The 14-time major winner also admitted the result this week could certainly influence proceedings.

“I think this tournament has a lot of value to it,” he said.

“It’s up for grabs.

“There are guys who have won a couple times but they’ve had major championships in there. I’ve won five times.

“I’ve had my years (winning it) over the course of my career, and hopefully this will be another one.”

Protesters and police clash in Greece

Clashes have erupted between protesters and police across Greece, local media reports, as thousands demonstrated against fascism after a leftist musician was murdered by a suspected neo-Nazi.

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Police fired tear gas at groups of protesters in Athens, the northern city of Thessaloniki and in the western city of Patras, where the city centre remained sealed off.

The nationwide unrest was sparked by the death of Pavlos Fyssas, a 34-year-old left-wing hip hop singer, who was stabbed to death early on Wednesday morning outside a cafe in Keratsini, western Athens.

Some 5000 demonstrators took to the streets of Keratsini in protest, according to a police source.

Police officers there fired volleys of tear gas at a group of protesters who pelted them with wooden sticks and stones, the state-run Athens News Agency said.

Police also used tear gas in Thessaloniki, where some 6000 people marched against fascism, after some protesters shattered shop windows.

In Patras, around 1000 protesters threw rocks and molotov cocktails at police forces, who responded with tear gas. A retired police officer was injured in the scuffles, according to a police source.

A 45-year-old alleged member of the Golden Dawn neo-Nazi group was arrested at the scene of Wednesday’s murder. Police say the suspect has confessed to stabbing Fyssas, who wrote music under the nickname Kilah P.

The suspect’s wife was later also arrested for giving false evidence to police during the investigation.

Golden Dawn has denied any connection to the murder, which came a few days after a group of Communists were beaten by suspected neo-Nazis.

Government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou blamed the killing on Golden Dawn, condemning the group’s “raw violence” and calling on other parties to “raise a barrier to the vicious circle of tension and violence”.

Earlier on Wednesday, some 20,000 people marched in Athens, Thessaloniki and other cities in a separate protest against a government overhaul of the public sector.

LinkedIn launches PRISM legal action

LinkedIn has become the latest technology firm to launch legal action to try to expose how widely the US government is spying on its users.

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The business-orientated social network has joined Yahoo, Facebook, Google and Microsoft by filing a motion to the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court seeking permission to reveal how many data requests it has received from the National Security Agency (NSA).

Tech firms are not allowed to say exactly how many user data requests they’ve received from the NSA under the now-infamous PRISM program, exposed by former contractor Edward Snowden.

Yahoo, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and now LinkedIn have all expressed frustration in not being able to reveal the extent to which they’ve been forced to hand over users’ data and communications, citing the mistrust it breeds with customers.

LinkedIn is estimated to have about three million monthly users in Australia.

Announcing its legal action, LinkedIn general counsel Erika Rottenberg said the company wants to be open about data requests.

“Despite our best efforts, we are still prohibited from sharing information about national security-related requests in a way that’s meaningful to our members and community,” she said in a blog post.

“So we’re left with no choice but to file legal challenges to the US government’s position.”

LinkedIn did reveal how many non national security-related data requests it has received from governments, mostly relating to criminal cases.

It received just one request about one account from Australian government agents in the first six months of 2013 – which it refused.

Globally, LinkedIn received 83 requests for data relating to 97 accounts – 47 per cent of which were granted.

The vast majority of the requests were made by the US.

Tit for tat as Messi matches Ronaldo’s treble

Messi’s haul in the Group H win at the Nou Camp, which made him the first man to score three times in four different Champions League games, came a day after Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo netted a treble of his own against Galatasaray.

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What counts is not whether Messi did it better, which is a matter of opinion, but rather that the game of one-upmanship between the best players at Spain’s two biggest clubs shows no sign of coming to an end.

Both have been smashing records with breathtaking speed and are closing in on more.

Messi, 26, took his overall goals tally in Europe’s elite club competition to 62 and is now only nine short of Raul’s all-time scoring record of 71

Ronaldo, 28, is hard on his heels with 54.

“The coaches who have come to this room have always talked about how surprising he is,” Barca coach Gerardo Martino said of compatriot Messi at the Nou Camp press conference.

“I am yet another.”

The World Player of the Year took a while to get going against the Dutch champions on Wednesday before curling a stunning free kick into the net off the post in the 22nd minute.

In the second half, the maestro found his music and played it to perfection.

Sergio Busquets surged through the midfield 10 minutes after the break before sending Messi into space on the right, the Argentine darting past his marker and clipping the ball into the net.

Perhaps the most characteristic of his three goals was the last, in the 75th minute.

Starting from the right and moving left across the edge of the area, he waited for a path to clear through the tangle of Ajax legs before picking his spot in the bottom righthand corner.

“I’m happy to be able to help him,” Barca’s new Brazilian signing Neymar told reporters.

“He is a genius, the best in the world.”

Another hat-trick for Messi. Another record. Another Barcelona victory.

(Editing by Iain Rogers and Nick Mulvenney)

Starbucks says guns not welcome

Starbucks says guns are no longer welcome in its cafes, though it is stopping short of an outright ban on firearms.

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The fine line that the retailer is walking to address the concerns of both gun rights and gun control advocates reflects how heated the issue has become, particularly in light of recent mass shootings.

Most states allow people to openly carry licensed guns in some way and many companies do not have policies banning firearms in their stores.

But Starbucks has become a target for gun control advocates, in part because of its liberal-leaning corporate image. In turn, gun rights advocates have been galvanised by the company’s decision to defer to local laws.

In an interview, CEO Howard Schultz said the decision to ask customers to stop bringing guns into stores came as a result of the growing frequency of “Starbucks Appreciation Days” in recent months, in which gun rights advocates turn up at Starbucks cafes with firearms.

Schultz said the events mischaracterised the company’s stance on the issue and the demonstrations “have made our customers uncomfortable”.

Schultz hopes people will honour the request not to bring in guns but says the company will nevertheless serve those who do.

“We will not ask you to leave,” he said.

The Seattle-based company plans to buy ad space in major national newspapers to run an open letter from Schultz explaining the decision.

The letter points to recent activities by both gun rights and gun control advocates at its stores, saying that it has been “thrust unwillingly” into the middle of the national debate over firearms.

As for the “Starbucks Appreciation Days” being staged by gun rights advocates, it stresses: “To be clear: we do not want these events in our stores.”