After mosque attacks, NZealand banning ‘military-style’ guns
CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (AP) — Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced an immediate ban Thursday on sales of “military-style” semi-automatic and automatic weapons like the ones used in the attacks on two mosques in Christchurch that killed 50 worshippers.
The man charged in the attack had purchased his weapons legally using a standard firearms license and enhanced their capacity by using 30-round magazines “done easily through a simple online purchase,” she said.
“Every semi-automatic weapon used in the terrorist attack on Friday will be banned,” she said.
Ardern’s announcement comes less than a week after the killings, as more of the dead were being buried. At least six funerals took place Thursday, including for a teenager, a youth soccer coach and a Muslim convert who loved connecting with other women at the mosque.
One of New Zealand’s largest gun retailers, Hunting & Fishing New Zealand, said it supports “any government measure to permanently ban such weapons.”
European, Canadian regulators to do own review of Boeing jet
Boeing’s grounded airliners are likely to be parked longer now that European and Canadian regulators plan to conduct their own reviews of changes the company is making after two of the jets crashed.
The Europeans and Canadians want to do more than simply take the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s word that alterations to a key flight-control system will make the 737 Max safer. Those reviews scramble an ambitious schedule set by Boeing and could undercut the FAA’s reputation around the world.
Boeing hopes by Monday to finish an update to software that can automatically point the nose of the plane sharply downward in some circumstances to avoid an aerodynamic stall, according to two people briefed on FAA presentations to congressional committees.
The FAA expects to certify Boeing’s modifications and plans for pilot training in April or May, one of the people said. Both spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the briefings.
But there are clear doubts about meeting that timetable. Air Canada plans to remove the Boeing 737 Max from its schedule at least through July 1 and suspend some routes that it flew with the plane before it was grounded around the world last week.
New US asylum policy dealt setback in immigration court
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Scheduling glitches led an immigration judge to deny the Trump administration’s request to order four Central American migrants deported because they failed to show for initial hearings Wednesday in the U.S. while being forced to wait in Mexico.
The judge’s refusal was a setback for the administration’s highly touted initiative to make asylum seekers wait in Mexico while their cases wind through U.S. immigration courts.
One migrant came to court with a notice to appear on Saturday, March 30 and said he later learned that he was supposed to show up Wednesday. He reported in the morning to U.S. authorities at the main crossing between San Diego and Tijuana.
“I almost didn’t make it because I had two dates,” he said.
Similar snafus marred the first hearings last week when migrants who were initially told to show up Tuesday had their dates bumped up several days.
Trump aims new blasts at McCain, claims credit for funeral
WASHINGTON (AP) — Casting aside rare censure from Republican lawmakers, President Donald Trump aimed new blasts of invective at the late John McCain Wednesday, even claiming credit for the senator’s moving Washington funeral and complaining he was never properly thanked.
By the time the president began his anti-McCain tirade in Ohio, several leading Republicans had signalled a new willingness to defy Trump by defending the Vietnam War veteran as a hero seven months after he died of brain cancer. One GOP senator called Trump’s remarks “deplorable.”
Trump then launched a lengthy rant in which he claimed without citing evidence that McCain had pushed for a war and failed America’s veterans.
“I gave him the kind of funeral that he wanted,” Trump told reporters at a campaign-style rally in Lima, Ohio. “I didn’t get (a) thank you but that’s OK.”
In fact, McCain’s family made clear that Trump was not welcome during the week-long, cross-country ceremonies that the senator had planned himself. Instead, McCain invited former Presidents George W. Bush, who defeated McCain during the 2000 GOP nomination fight, and Barack Obama, who defeated him in 2008, to deliver eulogies on the value of pursuing goals greater than oneself. Trump signed off on the military transport of McCain’s body, went golfing and was uncharacteristically quiet on Twitter during the Washington events.
UK’s May asks a wary EU to delay Brexit until June 30
LONDON (AP) — Exactly 1,000 days after Britain voted to leave the European Union, and nine days before it is scheduled to walk out the door, Prime Minister Theresa May hit the pause button Wednesday, asking the bloc to postpone the U.K.’s departure until June 30.
EU leaders, who are exasperated by Britain’s Brexit melodrama, will only grant the extension if May can win the U.K. Parliament’s approval next week for her twice-rejected Brexit deal. Otherwise, the U.K. is facing a chaotic “no-deal” departure from the bloc within days, or a much longer delay that May says she will not allow while she is in power.
May, who has spent two and a half years trying to lead Britain out of the EU, said it was “a matter of great personal regret” that she had to seek a delay to Brexit.
In a televised statement from 10 Downing St., May said she shared the frustration felt by many Britons who have “had enough” of endless Brexit debates and infighting — though she did not accept a role in causing it. Instead, she blamed Parliament for the deadlock, and warned that if lawmakers did not back her deal it would cause “irreparable damage to public trust.”
“It is high time we made a decision,” May said.
Minnesota’s famed winter isn’t what it used to be
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Bundled up against the icy cold and drifting snow, Don Olson has tended the trail of a popular cross country ski race in Minnesota for years.
Fixing problem spots on the Vasaloppet’s route often meant braving the freezing temperatures and frigid winds that have always defined this state. But recently, things have changed: Instead of plodding through the snow, Olson and other volunteers had to start making it.
“We just simply don’t get consistent snow anymore,” Olson said. “In order to survive, we felt like we needed to do this.”
Winter just isn’t the same in Minnesota these days. And as the latest season ends, residents say their lifestyles are changing with it.
Minnesota is among the fastest warming states, and Minnesota’s winters are warming faster than its other seasons. Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show that since 1970, Minnesota’s winters have warmed at an average rate of 1.1 degrees per decade — that’s more than five times faster than the rate of winter warming in previous years.
Trump says public should see ‘ridiculous’ Mueller report
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he believes special counsel Robert Mueller’s report should be released to the public, even as he disparaged its very existence as “ridiculous.”
“Let it come out, let people see it,” Trump told reporters as he left the White House on Wednesday for a trip to Ohio. “Let’s see whether or not it’s legit.”
Mueller is expected to present a report to the Justice Department any day now outlining the findings of his nearly two-year investigation into Russian election meddling, possible collusion with Trump campaign officials and possible obstruction of justice by Trump.
Mueller is required to produce a confidential report that at a minimum explains decisions about who was and was not prosecuted. Attorney General William Barr is then expected to produce his own report for Congress and has said he wants to make public as much of Mueller’s findings as he can under the law.
Trump said he was personally looking forward to reading the findings, even as he scorned the fact that Mueller was empowered to write the report in the first place.
Centrist or liberal? Beto O’Rourke’s political splits
DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — At a packed eastern Iowa house party, a staffer for Democrat Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign tried to clear enough space for the candidate to reach the kitchen, where he would need to climb a stepladder to address the crowd.
“I need my lane,” the staffer bellowed as he moved through the crowd. “Beto’s coming right through here.”
Somewhere in the rows of pressed-together faces, a spectator quipped: “But which lane is it? The liberal lane? Some other lane?”
That’s a prophetic question for one of the 2020 field’s most unconventional candidates. In a primary that has so far been defined by progressive energy, the former Texas congressman with a scant political resume is trying to avoid definition. He left a distinctly moderate record behind in Congress and, in the early days of his presidential campaign, has vowed to work with Republicans and woo voters who backed Donald Trump in 2016. But he’s also hit progressive talking points on everything from white privilege to marijuana legalization .
The architects of his campaign insist he’s not interested in adhering to a particular ideological lane, and O’Rourke himself shuns party labels. But trying to have it both ways could leave Democratic voters with the impression that O’Rourke is a candidate with a split political personality.
Flooded Iowa communities surviving with trucked-in water
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — As some communities along the Missouri River start to shift their focus to flood recovery after a late-winter storm, residents in two Iowa cities are stuck in crisis mode after their treatment plants shut down and left them in need of fresh water.
Tanker trucks from the Iowa National Guard and a private company are hauling water into Hamburg and Glenwood, said Lucinda Parker, a spokeswoman with Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Many evacuated from flooded areas in the southwestern part of the state are staying in shelters or with family and friends in the wake of the flooding and water struggles it has caused.
“The water is starting to go down in communities and they’re looking at how they’re going to start their recovery,” Parker said Wednesday.
Trucks are hauling about 300,000 gallons (1.1 million litres) per day to Glenwood’s water treatment plant from the neighbouring cities of Red Oak and Shenandoah, according to the state Department of Natural Resources. Grocery store chains Hy-Vee and Fareway also have provided truckloads of bottled water.
Mike Wells, superintendent of the Hamburg Community School District, said one of the biggest concerns about having no fresh water is staying clean. The school district has co-ordinated providing buses for residents to ride 25 miles (40 kilometres) to Shenandoah or 10 miles (16 kilometres) to Sidney to shower. A local ministerial society has been picking up residents’ laundry at the school district, taking it to Shenandoah to wash it, and returning it.
Respecting elders: Maya Angelou clip sparks courtesy debate
NEW YORK (AP) — Put a handle on it.
If you don’t know what that means, you might not call elders by “Mr.,” ”Miss” or “Mrs.,” insist that your children do the same or demand it for yourself. If you’ve heard the term, you’re likely familiar with the history of the politics of respectability and what that means to some African-Americans, pro and con.
Are you from the North or the South? A small town or big city native? From a religious, school or immigrant community that uses elder honorifics? Perhaps you’re Professor, Doctor or Judge.
All of the above were widely debated on social media last week, focused on an old talk-show clip of the late Maya Angelou sharply chiding a young woman for addressing her as Maya rather than Miss Angelou before asking the poet and memoirist for her views on interracial marriage.
“I’m not ‘Maya.’ I’m 62 years old. I have lived so long and tried so hard that a young woman like you, or any other, you have no license to come up to me and call me by my first name. That’s first,” she said to claps from the audience. “Also, because at the same time, I am your mother, I am your auntie, I’m your teacher, I’m your professor. You see?”
The Associated Press