AP News in Brief at 12:04 a.m. EDT
Columbine honours 13 lost with community service, ceremony
LITTLETON, Colo. (AP) — Community members in suburban Denver marked the 20th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting Saturday with a remembrance ceremony that celebrated the school’s survival and by volunteering at shelters, doing neighbourhood cleanup projects and laying flowers and cards at a memorial to the 13 people killed.
“We’re changed,” Dawn Anna, whose daughter Lauren Townsend was among the students killed in the school’s library, said before a crowd of more than 2,000 gathered in a park near the high school. “We’re weaker in some places, but hopefully we’re stronger in most of them. Our hearts have giant holes in them. But our hearts are bigger than they were 20 years ago.”
The events ended a three-day slate of sombre gatherings honouring the victims and lending support to their families, survivors of the April 20, 1999, attack and the school’s students and staff. The decades since have brought similar violence at schools in America, and some survivors and victims’ families have found themselves acting as a support system for those affected by other tragedies.
Speakers on Saturday portrayed healing and recovery as the result of daily work — not a destination to be arrived at in a set amount of days, weeks or years.
Forgiveness, though, is achievable, said Patrick Ireland, a student who became known as “the boy in the window” when cameras captured him dangling from a second-story window before falling during the 1999 school shooting. He re-learned to walk and talk with months of physical and cognitive therapy.
Trump’s legal team breathes a sigh, takes a victory lap
WASHINGTON (AP) — First they co-operated. Then they stonewalled. Their television interviews were scattershot and ridiculed, their client mercurial and unreliable.
But President Donald Trump’s legal team, through a combination of bluster, legal precedent and shifting tactics, managed to protect their client from a potentially perilous in-person interview during special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation . His lawyers are taking a victory lap after a redacted version of Mueller’s findings revealed politically damaging conduct by the president but drew no conclusions of criminal behaviour.
“Our strategy came to be that when we weren’t talking, we were losing,” Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump’s lawyers, told The Associated Press in a recent interview. Given that Mueller could not indict a sitting president, Giuliani said, the team kept its focus on Mueller’s “capacity to report, so we had to play in the media as well as legally.”
The aftershocks from the Mueller report released Thursday will help shape the next two years of Trump’s administration. But while the report may cause some Democrats to take a renewed look at impeachment despite long odds of success in Congress, the legal threat to Trump that seemed so dangerous upon Mueller’s appointment in May 2017 has waned.
At the outset, that appointment led Trump to predict “the end of my presidency.” The White House struggled to recruit top Washington attorneys, many of whom were reluctant to work for a temperamental, scandal-prone president who repeatedly claimed he would be his own best legal mind.
Pope during Easter vigil: reject the ‘glitter of wealth’
VATICAN CITY (AP) — At an Easter vigil in St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis on Saturday encouraged people to resist cynicism or pursuing the “glitter of wealth,” and to avoid seeking life’s meaning in “things that pass away.”
“Do not bury hope!” Francis exclaimed, after noting that when things go badly, “we lose heart and come to believe that death is stronger than life.”
“We become cynical, negative and despondent,” Francis added.
For Christians, Easter is a day of joy and hope, as they mark their belief that Jesus triumphed over death by resurrection following crucifixion.
“Sin seduces; it promises things easy and quick, prosperity and success, but leaves behind only solitude and death,” the pope said. “Sin is looking for life among the dead, for the meaning of life in things that pass away.”
Democratic hopefuls demur on pursuing Trump post-White House
AMHERST, N.H. (AP) — Some Democratic contenders for president aren’t saying whether they would re-open investigations into President Donald Trump if they were to oust him from the White House in 2020.
Their reluctance comes as some liberals, including fellow 2020 challenger Sen. Elizabeth Warren, have increased the pressure on Democratic leaders to pursue impeachment following the release of a redacted version of the Mueller report.
During recent stops in early-voting states, two U.S. senators in the race and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg wouldn’t say whether they’d press the Justice Department to reopen investigations into Trump.
“Well, let’s see because when I’m elected president that will still be about two years from now, so ask me that question then,” Sen. Kamala Harris of California said Saturday while campaigning in South Carolina.
Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Buttigieg focused on existing investigations of the president. Campaigning in Nevada on Friday, Booker said it’s premature to say whether he would instruct his attorney general to reopen the Trump investigations if he’s elected president.
Trump brushes off Romney’s criticism, points to loss in 2012
WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Mitt Romney says he’s “sickened” by the dishonesty the Russia investigation found in the Trump White House, but the president fires back that Romney should have put the same energy into running for president in 2012 that the Utah Republican has tapped in criticizing him.
Romney also tweeted Friday that in reading the special counsel’s report he was “appalled” Americans working on the Trump campaign had welcomed help from Russia.
On Saturday, Trump responded via Twitter, saying if Romney “spent the same energy fighting Barack Obama as he does fighting Donald Trump, he could have won the race (maybe)!”
In 2012 Romney won a slightly greater percentage of the popular vote than Trump in 2016. He’s one of the few prominent Republicans to criticize Trump since Trump’s election.
Ex-Marine arrested in North Korea embassy attack in Madrid
WASHINGTON (AP) — A man suspected of involvement in a mysterious dissident group’s February raid on North Korea’s Embassy in Madrid was arrested in Los Angeles by U.S. authorities.
Christopher Ahn, a former U.S. Marine, was arrested and charged Friday, according to a person familiar with the matter. The specific charges against Ahn were not immediately clear.
The person could not discuss the matter publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Separately, on Thursday, federal agents raided the apartment of Adrian Hong, a leader of the Free Joseon group, the person said. Hong was not arrested.
Free Joseon, also known as the Cheollima Civil Defence group, styles itself as a government-in-exile dedicated to toppling the ruling Kim family dynasty in North Korea.
Yellow vest anger burns in France, fueled by Notre Dame fire
PARIS (AP) — French yellow vest protesters set fires Saturday along a march through Paris to drive home their message to a government they believe is ignoring the poor: that rebuilding the fire-ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral isn’t the only problem France needs to solve.
Like the high-visibility vests the protesters wear, the scattered small fires in Paris appeared to be a collective plea to French President Emmanuel Macron’s government to “look at me — I need help too!”
Police fired water cannon and sprayed tear gas to try to control radical elements rampaging on the margins of the largely peaceful march, one of several actions around Paris and other French cities.
The protests marked the 23rd straight weekend of yellow vest actions against Macron’s centrist government, which they see as favouring the wealthy and big business. Protesters view themselves as standing up for beleaguered French workers , students and retirees who have been battered by high unemployment, high taxes and shrinking purchasing power.
But violence and divisions have marred the movement.
New attack on Ebola centre in Congo; 1 militia member killed
BUTEMBO, Congo (AP) — Militia members attacked an Ebola treatment centre hours after another attack killed a staffer with the World Health Organization, a Congolese official said Saturday.
Butembo city’s deputy mayor, Patrick Kambale Tsiko, told The Associated Press that the attackers armed with machetes tried to burn down the centre in Katwa district overnight. Military and police guarding the centre killed one militia member and detained five others, he said.
Such violence has deeply complicated efforts to contain what has become the second-deadliest Ebola virus outbreak in history, with the number of new cases jumping each time treatment and prevention work is disrupted.
An attack on Friday on a hospital in Butembo killed an epidemiologist from Cameroon who had been deployed to the outbreak in eastern Congo. Tsiko cited witnesses as saying the attackers wrongly blamed foreigners for bringing the deadly virus to the region.
This outbreak now has more than 1,300 confirmed and probable cases, including 855 deaths, since being declared last August. The number of new cases has risen alarmingly in recent weeks after other attacks, leading the WHO to convene an expert committee that decided the outbreak, while of “deep concern,” is not yet a global health emergency .
Zookeeper hospitalized after tiger attack at Topeka Zoo
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — City officials say a tiger mauled a zookeeper at the Topeka Zoo in northeastern Kansas.
The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the incident happened around 9:30 a.m. Saturday, when a Sumatran tiger named Sanjiv tackled the worker in an enclosed outdoor space.
Topeka Zoo director Brendan Wiley says the zookeeper suffered lacerations and puncture wounds to her head, neck and back. Wiley says she was awake and alert when she was taken by ambulance to a hospital and was in stable condition Saturday afternoon.
The zookeeper’s name has not been released. Wiley says the tiger will not be euthanized.
The zoo was open at the time of the attack and was witnessed by some people. It reopened about 45 minutes after the attack.
Frustration grows among migrants in Mexico as support fades
MAPASTEPEC, Mexico (AP) — Madison Mendoza, her feet aching and her face burned by the sun, wept as she said she had nothing to feed her 2-year-old son who she’d brought with her on the long trek toward the United States.
Mendoza, 22, said an aunt in Honduras had convinced her to join the migrant caravan, which she did two weeks ago in Tegucigalpa. The aunt said she’d have no problems, that people along the route in Mexico would help as they did for a large caravan in October.
But this time, the help did not come. The outpouring of aid that once greeted Central American migrants as they trekked in caravans through southern Mexico has been drying up. Hungrier and advancing slowly or not at all, frustration is growing among them.
The Associated Press
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