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Many are killed in New Zealand shootings, Britain will seek a Brexit postponement and radio messages shed light on the crash of Flight 302. Here’s the latest:
Deadly attacks on New Zealand mosques
A gunman opened fire at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Friday, and many people have been killed, the police said. Four people, including three men and one woman, have been taken into custody, and a number of explosive devices were found attached to vehicles that the police had stopped.
“This is and will be one of New Zealand’s darkest days,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a news conference.
A man broadcast a livestream on Facebook of at least part of the attack, and the horrifying footage shows him shooting numerous people inside a mosque before driving away.
In the video, the man arrives in a car, walks toward the mosque and opens fire at the entrance. He then goes inside and continues firing until people lay motionless in corners.
Before the shooting, someone appearing to be a gunman in the attacks publicly posted links to a racist manifesto, identifying himself as a 28-year-old man born in Australia and listing his white nationalist heroes.
In a flurry of votes on several amendments, Parliament also rejected holding a second referendum on Brexit, and turned down an attempt to seize control of the process from Prime Minister Theresa May.
What’s next? Mrs. May must get permission to postpone Brexit from E.U. officials next week, but that might only create new problems.
Without an approved deal, it’s unclear how long the extension should be and what can be achieved in the extra time. Too short, and it would be impractical. Too long, and Britain would have to take part in European Parliament elections in May, which neither of the main political parties want.
Trouble started quickly for Flight 302
The Times obtained an account of radio messages before the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which went down almost immediately after takeoff from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
A minute after departure, Captain Yared Getachew calmly reported a “flight control” problem, according to a person who reviewed air traffic communications.
Three minutes in, in a panicky voice, he requested permission to return to the airport. For reasons that are unclear, the aircraft, a new Boeing 737 Max 8, appeared to have accelerated to speeds well beyond its safety limits. Air traffic controllers observed that it was going up and down by hundreds of feet.
Then the plane disappeared from radar, crashing and killing all 157 people on board. Because of similarities with a plane crash off Indonesia in October that involved the Boeing 737 Max 8, the model has been grounded worldwide.
Another angle: After the disaster in Indonesia, Boeing officials told American pilot unions that they planned to update the software for their 737 Max jets by about the end of 2018. Months later, the carriers are still waiting for a fix.
Slovakia charges businessman in murder of journalist
Marian Kocner, a prominent Slovakian businessman, has been charged with ordering the murder of an investigative journalist, opening a new chapter in a crime that set off large protests and last year forced the resignation of Robert Fico, who was then the prime minister, and other top government officials.
The journalist, Jan Kuciak, was fatally shot in his home in February 2018. His fiancée, Martina Kusnirova, was also killed there. Mr. Kuciak had been threatened by Mr. Kocner, a high-flying Slovakian businessman who was a subject of Mr. Kuciak’s reporting.
In charging Mr. Kocner with paying a hit man $80,000 to kill the journalist, the authorities in Slovakia hope to regain a measure of the public trust that has been shattered by the killings and by the rife corruption that Mr. Kuciak and other reporters were working to expose. Mr. Kocner, who is currently in jail awaiting trial on unrelated fraud charges, has denied any illicit connections.
Looking ahead: The announcement of the charges came two days before a presidential election. The governing party — tainted by the scandal — is behind in the polls.
Here’s what else is happening
U.S. Congress: The Senate, in a bipartisan rebuke, voted to overturn President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the southern border to fund his wall. The Senate vote was the first time Congress has blocked a presidential emergency declaration and almost certainly sets up Mr. Trump’s first veto. And the House voted 420-to-0 to demand the public release of the report that the special counsel, Robert Mueller, is assigned to submit to the attorney general.
Climate change: Students in more than 100 countries will be protesting climate change today in what could be one of the largest demonstrations yet against global environmental policies. It all started with a shy 16-year-old in Sweden.
E.U. Parliament: The president of the body, Antonio Tajani, incited outrage and apologized after putting a positive slant on Benito Mussolini, Italy’s fascist former leader.
Germany: Volkswagen’s chief executive, Herbert Diess, apologized after using a phrase that echoed a Nazi-era slogan, “Arbeit macht frei,” or “Work sets you free,” emblazoned on the gates of Auschwitz. “Ebit macht frei,” he repeatedly told hundreds of managers at an internal company event. Ebit is an acronym for “earnings before interest and taxes.”
Northern Ireland: Officials said that one former British soldier would be prosecuted on murder charges in connection with the massacre of unarmed civilians by British forces nearly 50 years ago in Londonderry, an event that came to be known as Bloody Sunday.
Facebook: An executive regarded as the company’s No. 3 is leaving along with the head of its WhatsApp messaging service after disagreements with Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive, over his plan to integrate Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger into an overarching platform.
Snow monsters: Every year, in a Japanese village in the Yamagata Prefecture, snow and ice draped over conifer trees create sculptural Godzilla-like figures, known as “juhyo,” that draw tourists from across the world. But climate change is beginning to diminish the phenomenon.
Nigeria: The authorities called off a frantic, daylong search for survivors in a building that collapsed early Thursday in a part of Lagos known for poor urban planning. More than 35 people had been pulled from the slabs of concrete, and at least eight people have died.
Balkans: Bosnia and Herzegovina’s security minister accused Croatia of concocting a plot intended to falsely paint Bosnia as a terrorist hotbed.
2020 campaign: Beto O’Rourke, the former Texas congressman and Democrat who came close to unseating Senator Ted Cruz in the midterm elections last year, announced he was jumping into the 2020 presidential race, entering an already crowded field of diverse candidates.
Ancient history: With an analysis of DNA preserved in ancient skeletons on the Iberian Peninsula, scientists are peering into human prehistory in the region.
Head fake: Thieves stole “The Crucifixion,” a painting by the Flemish artist Pieter Brueghel the Younger, from a church in a Northern Italian town on Wednesday. Or rather, they stole a worthless copy of it. Italy’s military police and the priest had been tipped off to their plans and replaced the original.
Tips for a more fulfilling life.
Recipe of the day: This Guinness pie recipe is worthy of a celebration. (You may want a walk after, or a nap.)
Cutting out plastic when you’re grocery shopping is almost impossible. Writing a list and using a bit of imagination might help.
Playing an instrument can be a rewarding hobby, and many apps can help get you started.
A reader this week asked to hear more about E. Barrett Prettyman, whose name is on the courthouse described in Wednesday’s Back Story. The courthouse is where Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, was sentenced.
The Virginia-born Elijah Barrett Prettyman was a lawyer, professor and journalist before President Harry Truman nominated him to the prestigious U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He served from 1945 to 1962. From 1958 to 1960, he was chief judge.
He was admired in judicial and governmental circles. Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy turned to him to resolve difficult legal issues. He overcame years of congressional resistance to effect changes in the D.C. court system.
The U.S. Courthouse, home to the court he served on, was named for him in 1997, 16 years after his death.
His son, E. Barrett Prettyman Jr., also had an illustrious legal career, playing a crucial backstage role in the Supreme Court’s unanimous school-desegregation decision.
Andrea Kannapell, Briefings editor, wrote today’s Back Story.
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