AP News in Brief at 12:04 a.m. EDT
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AP News in Brief at 12:04 a.m. EDT

New Zealand mosque shooter broadcast slaughter on Facebook

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) — A white supremacist suspected in shootings at two mosques that killed 49 people during midday Friday prayers posted an anti-immigrant manifesto online and apparently used a helmet-mounted camera to broadcast live video of the slaughter on Facebook.

Brenton Harrison Tarrant appeared in court Saturday morning amid strict security and showed no emotion when the judge read him one murder charge. The judge said “it was reasonable to assume” more such charges would follow.

Two other armed suspects were taken into custody while police tried to determine what role, if any, they played in the cold-blooded attack that stunned New Zealand, a country so peaceful that police officers rarely carry guns.

It was by far the deadliest shooting in modern New Zealand history.

“It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, noting that many of the victims could be migrants or refugees.

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Mosque shooter a white nationalist seeking revenge

SYDNEY (AP) — The gunman behind at least one of the mosque shootings in New Zealand that left 49 people dead on Friday tried to make a few things clear in the manifesto he left behind: He is a 28-year-old Australian white nationalist who hates immigrants. He was angry about attacks in Europe that were perpetrated by Muslims. He wanted revenge, and he wanted to create fear.

He also, quite clearly, wanted attention.

Though he claimed not to covet fame, the gunman — who authorities identified as Brenton Harrison Tarrant — left behind a 74-page document posted on social media under his name in which he said he hoped to survive the attack to better spread his views in the media.

He also livestreamed to the world in graphic detail his assault on the worshippers at Christchurch’s Al Noor Mosque.

That rampage killed at least 41 people, while an attack on a second mosque in the city not long after killed several more. Police did not say whether the same person was responsible for both shootings. Tarrant appeared briefly in court on Saturday morning amid tight security and showed no emotion as the judge read the charge against him.

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Trump issues first veto after rebuke of border order

WASHINGTON (AP) — Unbowed by a congressional rebuke, President Donald Trump issued the first veto of his presidency on Friday in a demonstration that he is not through fighting for his signature campaign promise, which stands largely unfulfilled 18 months before voters decide whether to grant him another term.

Trump rejected an effort by Congress to block the emergency declaration he’d used to circumvent lawmakers as he tried to shake loose funds for his long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The monthslong confrontation now moves to the courts, but not before marking a new era of divided government in Washington and Republicans’ increasing independence from the White House.

“Congress has the freedom to pass this resolution,” Trump said, “and I have the duty to veto it.”

A dozen defecting Republicans joined Senate Democrats in approving the joint resolution on Thursday as both parties strained to exert their power in new ways. It is unlikely that Congress will have the two-thirds majority required to override Trump’s veto, though House Democrats will try nonetheless on March 26.

Despite the reproach, Trump seized the opportunity to publicly rebuff Congress and show his commitment to the border wall. In embracing the opportunity to deploy the constitutional power of the veto for the first time, he treated the occasion with all the traditional pomp of a bill-signing.

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Midwest flooding forces evacuations, closing of road, river

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Flooding in the central U.S. on Friday swamped small towns, forced some residents along waterways to evacuate, threatened to temporarily close a nuclear power plant and shut down stretches of a major river and an interstate highway, foreshadowing a difficult spring flooding season.

The high water, prompted by a massive late-winter storm, pushed some waterways to record levels in Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota. The flooding was the worst in nearly a decade in places, though the situation was expected to improve quickly in many places over the weekend, according to Mike Gillispie, National Weather Service hydrologist in Sioux Falls.

But in eastern Nebraska, flooding worsened Friday and remained a big concern in the lower Missouri River region — which is a major source for the Mississippi River — with the weather service issuing warnings of high water along the river and its tributaries from southeastern South Dakota to St. Louis in Missouri.

About 45 miles northwest of Omaha, the town of North Bend — home to nearly 1,200 along the banks of the Platte River — emergency workers used boats to evacuate residents. Also Friday afternoon, officials asked residents of Valley, home to nearly 1,900 people just west of Omaha, to evacuate. Within hours of that request, anyone left in the city found all access in and out cut off by floodwaters from the Elkhorn River.

Officials in eastern Nebraska said more than 2,600 people living along the Missouri, Platte and Elkhorn rivers there had been urged to evacuate, as waters breached levees in several rural spots.

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After massacre, Trump downplays white nationalism threat

NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump played down any threat posed by racist white nationalism on Friday after the gunman accused of the New Zealand mosque massacre called the president “a symbol of renewed white identity.”

Trump, whose own previous responses to the movement have drawn scrutiny, expressed sympathy for the victims who died at “places of worship turned into scenes of evil killing.” But he declined to join expressions of mounting concern about white nationalism, saying “I don’t, really” when asked whether he thought it was a rising threat around the world.

“I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I guess,” Trump said. “If you look at what happened in New Zealand, perhaps that’s the case. I don’t know enough about it yet. But it’s certainly a terrible thing.”

Trump was asked about white nationalism and the shooting deaths of 49 people at mosques in Christchurch after he formally vetoed Congress’ resolution to block his declaration of a national emergency at the Mexico border. His veto, aimed at freeing money to build more miles of a border wall against illegal immigration, is expected to survive any congressional effort to overturn it.

Questioned about the accused gunman’s reference to him, Trump professed ignorance.

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New Zealand shooter steeped attack in dark internet culture

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The suspected New Zealand shooter carefully modeled his attack for an internet age. He live-streamed the massacre, shouted out a popular meme slogan and published a long, rambling manifesto replete with inside jokes geared for those steeped in underground internet culture.

All that makes Brenton Harrison Tarrant, the man charged with murder for the attack Friday on mosques in Christchurch, the latest person to allegedly commit mass slaughter alongside a targeted appeal to online communities that breed extremism.

Prior to killing six people in Isla Vista, California, in 2014, Elliott Rodger posted an online video and circulated a lengthy document full of grievances. He was later found to have ties to a misogynistic online group known as “incels,” or “involuntary celibates,” who sometimes call for violence against women. Last year, Robert Bowers, the man charged with killing 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue, posted threats on Gab, a social media site popular with white supremacists.

Recruitment with and proliferation of extremist ideals is nothing new — in person or online. People who want to discuss such ideas are bound to find each other, said Daniel Byman, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute. But whereas small groups might have once met up in real life, now people can go online and find large groups to reinforce and encourage their ideas almost instantly.

People do things online that they might be hesitant to do in real life, Byman said. That can range from harmless acts, such as emailing someone you would be too intimidated to approach at a party, to sharing, building on and encouraging extremist views and violence.

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Students globally protest warming, pleading for their future

WASHINGTON (AP) — Students across a warming globe pleaded for their lives, future and planet Friday, demanding tough action on climate change.

From the South Pacific to the edge of the Arctic Circle, angry students in more than 100 countries walked out of classes to protest what they see as the failures by their governments.

Well more than 150,000 students and adults who were mobilized by word of mouth and social media protested in Europe, according to police estimates. But the initial turnout in the United States did not look quite as high.

“Borders, languages and religions do not separate us,” eight-year-old Havana Chapman-Edwards, who calls herself the tiny diplomat, told hundreds of protesters at the U.S. Capitol. “Today we are telling the truth and we do not take no for an answer.”

Thousands of New York City students protested at locations including Columbus Circle, City Hall, the American Museum of Natural History and a football field at the Bronx High School of Science. Police said 16 protesters were arrested on disorderly conduct charges for blocking traffic at the museum.

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O’Rourke apologizes for teen writings, rhetoric toward wife

FAIRFIELD, Iowa (AP) — Democratic presidential contender Beto O’Rourke on Friday acknowledged making mistakes as a teen and as a candidate, responding to criticism of his campaign rhetoric toward his wife as well as writings he produced online when he was young.

During a taping of the “Political Party Live” podcast in Cedar Rapids, he addressed criticism of his campaign-trail joke that his wife, Amy, has raised their three kids “sometimes with my help.” O’Rourke made the comment at multiple campaign stops during his first swing through Iowa, including earlier Friday, eliciting laughs each time, but he also drew criticism as being insensitive to the challenges faced by single parents raising children.

O’Rourke said the criticism of his “ham-handed” attempt to highlight his wife’s work in their marriage was “right on.”

“Not only will I not say that again, but I will be much more thoughtful in the ways that I talk about my marriage,” he said.

O’Rourke, 46, also said he was “mortified” when he reread the violent fiction he wrote as a teen, which received fresh attention Friday after a Reuters report outlined his involvement in a hacker group as a teen. O’Rourke wrote a handful of posts on the group’s message board under the name “Psychedelic Warlord,” including a fictional piece he penned when he was 15 about children getting run over by a car.

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Are eggs good or bad for you? New research rekindles debate

The latest U.S. research on eggs won’t go over easy for those who can’t eat breakfast without them.

Adults who ate about 1 1/2 eggs daily had a slightly higher risk of heart disease than those who ate no eggs. The study showed the more eggs, the greater the risk. The chances of dying early were also elevated.

The researchers say the culprit is cholesterol, found in egg yolks and other foods, including shellfish, dairy products and red meat. The study focused on eggs because they’re among the most commonly eaten cholesterol-rich foods. They can still be part of a healthy diet, but in smaller quantities than many Americans have gotten used to, the researchers say.

U.S. dietary guidelines that eased limits on cholesterol have helped eggs make a comeback.

The study has limitations and contradicts recent research, but is likely to rekindle the long-standing debate about eggs.

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Woods cards highest score ever at 17, makes cut at Players

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Tiger Woods paused on the ninth green and stared at a nearby leaderboard.

His name would have been on it if not for one hole.

Woods hit two balls in the water at the par-3 17th at TPC Sawgrass — the first time he’s done that in 69 rounds at The Players Championship — and carded a quadruple-bogey 7 in the second round Friday. It was his worst score at the famed island green and matched his highest on any par 3 in 24 years on the PGA Tour.

Woods rebounded with two birdies on the front side, leading to a 1-under 71 and leaving him at 3-under 141 for the tournament.

He was nine shots behind co-leaders Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy, but felt he was still within range heading to the weekend.

The Associated Press