NEW ZEALAND-MOSQUE SHOOTING-THE LATEST
The Latest: Police raid homes in Australia to aid NZ probe
CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) — Australian police have raided two homes in New South Wales state as part of the investigation into the New Zealand mosque shootings.
Australian Brenton Tarrant has been charged with murder over the shootings in Christchurch on Friday.
Police said in a statement the raids occurred in the towns of Sandy Beach and Lawrence early on Monday.
The statement says: “The primary aim of the activity is to formally obtain material that may assist New Zealand Police in their ongoing investigation.”
Tarrant grew up to the north of the raided towns in the New South Wales town of Grafton.
NEW ZEALAND-MOSQUE SHOOTING-GUN CONTROL
New Zealand citizens open to gun reform after massacre
CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) — The New Zealand leader’s promise of tightened gun laws in the wake of the Christchurch mosque shootings has been widely welcomed by a stunned population.
Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern said her Cabinet will consider the details of the change on Monday. She has said options include a ban on private ownership of semi-automatic rifles that were used with devastating effect in Christchurch and a government-funded buyback of newly outlawed guns.
Christchurch gun owner Max Roberts predicted Ardern won’t face serious opposition to her in-principle agenda.
Elliot Dawson survived the shooting at Christchurch’s Linwood mosque by hiding in a bathroom. She hopes New Zealand follows Australia’s lead on gun control.
Australia’s virtual ban on private ownership of semi-automatic rifles cut the size of the country’s civilian arsenal by almost a third.
ETHIOPIA-PLANE CRASH-THE LATEST
The Latest: Ethiopian minister says black box in good shape
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopia’s transport minister says the black box from the plane crash one week is in good condition.
Dagmawit Moges told reporters on Sunday evening that data so far shows there is a “clear similarity” between the Ethiopian Airlines crash and an earlier one in Indonesia that involved the same type of plane.
Officials say 157 people from 35 different countries were killed when the Nairobi-bound plane crashed shortly after takeoff.
The crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 and an earlier Lion Air crash have prompted the United States and other countries to ground Boeing 737 Max 8 planes.
The U.S.-based Boeing faces the challenge of proving the jets are safe to fly amid suspicions that faulty sensors and software contributed to the two crashes in less than six months.
Thousands mourned the Ethiopian plane crash victims on Sunday, accompanying 17 empty caskets draped in the national flag through the streets of the capital as some victims’ relatives fainted and fell to the ground.
The service came one day after officials began delivering bags of earth to family members of the 157 victims of the crash instead of the remains of their loved ones because the identification process is expected to take such a long time.
Family members confirmed they were given a 1 kilogram (2.2 pound) sack of scorched earth taken from the crash site. Many relatives already have gathered at the rural, dusty crash site outside Ethiopia’s capital.
The victims Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 came from 35 countries and included many humanitarian workers headed to Nairobi.
Elias Bilew said he had worked with one of the victims, Sintayehu Shafi, for the past eight years.
“He was such a good person,” Bilew said. “He doesn’t deserve this. He was the pillar for his whole family.”
French investigators said Saturday night that they had successfully downloaded the cockpit recorder data and had transferred it to the Ethiopian investigation team without listening to the audio files. Work on the flight data recorder resumed Sunday but no additional details were given.
Experts from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and the plane’s manufacturer Boeing are among those involved in the investigation.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has said satellite-based tracking data shows that the movements of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 were similar to those of Lion Air Flight 610, which crashed off Indonesia in October, killing 189 people. Both involved Boeing 737 Max 8 planes.
The planes in both crashes flew with erratic altitude changes that could indicate the pilots struggled to control the aircraft. Shortly after their takeoffs, both crews tried to return to the airports but crashed.
The United States and many other countries have now grounded the Max 8s as the U.S.-based company faces the challenge of proving the jets are safe to fly amid suspicions that faulty sensors and software contributed to the two crashes that killed 346 people in less than six months.
Associated Press writer Angela Charlton in Paris contributed to this report.
NCAA TOURNAMENT-THE LATEST
The Latest: Best bet: Duke is favored to win NCAA Tournament
Betting on March Madness is starting with many gamblers throwing their weight behind Duke and freshman phenom Zion Williamson.
William Hill US says nearly 20 percent of the money bet on the NCAA Tournament winner over the past year has backed the Blue Devils, who were listed as a 2-1 favorite in odds adjusted following the release of the bracket.
The sportsbook operator says 9 percent of the actual wagers have come in on Gonzaga or Duke, meaning the Bulldogs are popular but gamblers placing more expensive bets are backing the Blue Devils, top seed in the East.
Virginia and Gonzaga are each listed at 6-1 odds to win the title, while North Carolina is 8-1.
Betting on March Madness is shifting this year with the expansion of legalized sports gambling beyond Nevada. New Jersey, Rhode Island and several other states have legalized sports betting since a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year
Puzzling number of men tied to Ferguson protests have died
FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — Two young men were found dead inside torched cars. Three others died of apparent suicides. Another collapsed on a bus, his death ruled an overdose.
Six deaths, all involving men with connections to protests in Ferguson, Missouri, drew attention on social media and speculation in the activist community that something sinister was at play.
Police say there is no evidence the deaths have anything to do with the protests stemming from a white police officer’s fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown and that only two were homicides. But activists and observers remain puzzled, especially since people involved in the protests continue to face harassment and threats.
WINTER WEATHER-FLOODING-THE LATEST
The Latest: Up to 500 homes damaged in 1 Nebraska county
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Flooding in Nebraska has badly damaged up to 500 houses in one county alone.
Greg London of the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office said Sunday that one levee broke Thursday along the Platte River, and another broke Saturday. He estimates that up to 400 houses and cabins in the area known as Hanson’s Lake are damaged, including many that are completely submerged. Another 100 or so homes are damaged elsewhere in the county.
The area is near where the Platte and Missouri rivers converge. A Missouri River levee nearby also breached on Thursday.
London says many of the damaged homes are likely ruined. He says that while the area has had flooding before, this year’s disaster is “unprecedented.”
This update has been corrected to show the name of the county in Nebraska is Sarpy, not Sharpy.
ELECTION 2020-CAMPAIGN RDP-THE LATEST
NY Mayor de Blasio criticizes Obama, praises ‘Obamacare’
DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — New York Mayor Bill de Blasio criticized former President Barack Obama during a small gathering in New Hampshire as he mulls a run for president, saying that Obama’s early days in office were “a lost window.”
De Blasio called Obama’s pursuit of health care legislation noble but lamented that it played out over a long period and was treated politically as a narrow instead of universal item.
Minutes later, in front of a larger audience at a Concord restaurant, de Blasio praised the Affordable Care Act, Obama’s signature legislative achievement, calling it “progress.”
The New York Democrat has not decided whether he will run for president, saying a decision would come “sooner rather than later.”
Native Americans say movement to end ‘redface’ is slow
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Native Americans say convincing the masses that portraying them as savages, illiterate and humorless is insulting has been a slow movement.
The country has spent most of the year coming to grips with blackface and racist imagery. Most recently, a TV host painted her face brown in a parody of Oscar-nominated Mexican actress Yalitza Aparicio.
Yet, Native Americans say they don’t see significant pressure applied to those who perpetuate Native American stereotypes.
Throughout America’s history, people have donned redface, worn fringe and feathers, and spoken in broken English as they “played” or portrayed Native Americans.
Scholars say redface may get less attention because of ingrained misconceptions and feelings of entitlement to Native American culture and land. Native Americans are also a relatively small group.
NEW ZEALAND-MOSQUE SHOOTING-THE YOUNGEST VICTIM
Toddler with an old soul: Young victim of NZ attack mourned
CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) — He spent just three years on this earth, but in some ways, a friend said, he seemed like an old soul. Before he became the youngest known victim of Christchurch’s mass shooting, 3-year-old Mucaad Ibrahim possessed an intelligence beyond his years.
But Friday, when a gunman stormed into the mosque where Mucaad was sitting with his big brother and father, it was Mucaad’s youth that left him so vulnerable. In the chaos that ensued as people fled from the bullets, the tiny boy became separated from his family. On Sunday, his brother Abdi Ibrahim said police had confirmed the worst: their beloved little boy was dead.
Each of the 50 lives lost Friday has left an aching wound across Christchurch. But the death of Mucaad has pierced with particular ferocity.
IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT-COLLATERAL DAMAGE
Veterans court may be collateral damage in immigration fight
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Military veterans struggling with addiction and who have been charged with crimes are being given a chance in an Oregon courtroom. But the Veterans Treatment Court and 40 other specialty courts in the state are at risk of losing their federal funding.
That’s because the Trump administration is withholding law enforcement grants, saying Oregon isn’t supporting federal immigration agents. Oregon was the nation’s first sanctuary state.
Sixteen months ago, the Trump administration threatened to withhold the grants from 29 places because of issues with immigration enforcement. Every one of them has since received or been cleared to get the money, except Oregon.
Among programs that may suffer from the grants being withheld is the Veterans Treatment Court. One veteran says she’d be homeless and on drugs if not for the court.
Associated Press correspondent Wilson Ring in Montpelier, Vermont, contributed to this report.
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