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AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EST

Last Updated Feb 18, 2018 at 9:40 pm PDT

Survivors of deadly school shooting lash out at Trump

PARKLAND, Fla. (AP) — Students who escaped the deadly school shooting in Florida focused their anger Sunday at President Donald Trump, contending that his response to the attack has been needlessly divisive.

“You’re the president. You’re supposed to bring this nation together, not divide us,” said David Hogg, a 17-year-old student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida, speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“How dare you,” he added.

Hogg was responding to Trump’s tweet Saturday that Democrats hadn’t passed any gun control measures during the brief time they controlled Congress with a supermajority in the Senate. Trump also alluded to the FBI’s failure to act on tips that the suspect was dangerous, while bemoaning the bureau’s focus on Russia’s role in the 2016 election.

Trump was at his Florida estate Sunday but did not mention the attack in a series of tweets. After more than a day of criticism from the students, the White House said the president would hold a “listening session” with unspecified students on Wednesday and meet with state and local security officials Thursday.

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Ice dancing, women’s hockey semifinals on tap at Olympics

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — After a one-day break, Olympic figure skating resumes with the ice dancing short program.

A strong performance from Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir helped Canada win gold in the team competition, but Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France and American siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani could provide serious competition.

Medals are up for grabs in just three events Monday: men’s 500-meter speedskating, men’s large hill team ski jumping, and men’s two-man bobsled.

In the women’s hockey semifinals, the Americans play Finland, while defending champion Canada faces Russia.

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Trump fumes about Russia investigation as nation mourns

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — As the nation mourned, President Donald Trump kept largely silent about the Florida school shooting victims and the escalating gun control debate, instead raging at the FBI for what he perceived to be a fixation on the Russia investigation at the cost of failing to deter the attack.

From the privacy of Mar-a-Lago, Trump vented about the investigation in a marathon series of tweets over the weekend. He said Sunday “they are laughing their asses off in Moscow'” at the lingering fallout from the Kremlin’s election interference and that the Obama administration bears some blame for the meddling.

Trump was last seen publicly Friday night when he visited the Florida community reeling from a school shooting that left 17 dead and gave rise to a student-led push for more gun control. White House aides advised the president against golfing so soon after the tragedy, so Trump spent much of the holiday weekend watching cable television news and grousing to club members and advisers.

Trump met Sunday afternoon with Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, discussing immigration, taxes, infrastructure and the Florida shooting, the White House said.

Amid a growing call for action on guns, the White House said Sunday the president will host a “listening session” with students and teachers this week, but offered no details on who would attend or what would be discussed.

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AP FACT CHECK: Trump roars on Twitter about Russia probe

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s Twitter cannon roared over the weekend as the latest turn in the Russia investigation seemingly placed him on the defensive. He denied he had ever absolved Russia of meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, despite his plentiful record of voicing doubts on that question.

Resurrecting an old tale from the campaign, Trump also described a diplomatic transaction between the U.S. and Iran during the Obama years as a dark plot that should have been investigated by U.S. authorities. The transaction actually was money the U.S. owed to Iran from decades ago and one in a series of claims that were addressed by an international tribunal set up by both countries.

Trump’s rash of tweets followed an indictment released Friday charging 13 Russians with running a massive social media trolling campaign and field operations in the U.S. aimed in part at helping him defeat his 2016 Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. The case brought by special counsel Robert Mueller provided the most concrete evidence yet of Russian attempts to subvert the election.

Here’s look at some of Trump’s broadsides and how they stack up with the facts:

TRUMP: “I never said Russia did not meddle in the election, I said ‘it may be Russia, or China or another country or group, or it may be a 400 pound genius sitting in bed and playing with his computer.’ The Russian ‘hoax’ was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia – it never did!”

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Austin Dillon takes No. 3 back to victory lane at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The No. 3 is No. 1 again at Daytona, on a day, in a race and at a place forever linked with the great Dale Earnhardt.

Austin Dillon won the Daytona 500 on Sunday night driving the iconic No. 3 Chevrolet that Earnhardt piloted for most of his career. Earnhardt was behind the wheel of No. 3 when he won his only Daytona 500 in 1998, and when he was killed in an accident on the final lap of the race three years later.

Dillon’s victory, in the 60th running of “The Great American Race ,” came 17 years to the day of Earnhardt’s fatal crash .

“Man, this place is awesome,” said Dillon. “I don’t know what it is about storylines and Daytona. This place just creates history and I’m proud to be a part of it and make some history here.”

Dillon wasn’t a factor in his Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet until the final lap in overtime when he got a push from Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr . that helped him get to leader Aric Almirola. Dillon spun Almirola then whizzed on by to give Childress, his grandfather, another iconic victory in the beloved No. 3.

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4 survivors of Grand Canyon helicopter crash still critical

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Authorities say four people who survived when a sightseeing helicopter crashed at the Grand Canyon earlier this month are still hospitalized in critical condition.

Three British tourists were killed on Feb. 10 when the helicopter from Las Vegas went down on tribal land outside Grand Canyon National Park.

The pilot and three other Britons were injured and taken to a Las Vegas trauma centre.

A spokesman for University Medical Center of Southern Nevada says the four survivors are still listed in critical condition as of Sunday.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash.

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Iraqi victories remain fragile as US reduces troops

QAIM, Iraq (AP) — From their outpost on Iraq’s westernmost edge, U.S. 1st Lt. Kyle Hagerty and his troops watched civilians trickle into the area after American and Iraqi forces drove out the Islamic State group. They were, he believed, families returning to liberated homes, a hopeful sign of increasing stability.

But when he interviewed them on a recent reconnaissance patrol, he discovered he was wrong. They were families looking for shelter after being driven from their homes in a nearby town. Those who pushed them out were forces from among their “liberators” — Shiite militiamen who seized control of the area after defeating the IS militants.

It was a bitter sign of the mixed legacy from the United States’ intervention in Iraq to help defeat the militants. American-backed military firepower brought down the IS “caliphate,” but many of the divisions and problems that helped fuel the extremists’ rise remain unresolved.

The U.S.-led coalition, which launched its fight against IS in August 2014, is now reducing the numbers of American troops in Iraq, after Baghdad declared victory over the extremists in December. Both Iraqi and U.S. officials say the exact size of the drawdown has not yet been decided.

U.S. and Iraqi commanders here in western Iraq warn that victories over IS could be undercut easily by a large-scale withdrawal. Iraq’s regular military remains dependent on U.S. support. Many within Iraq’s minority communities view the U.S. presence as a buffer against the Shiite-dominated central government. Still, Iranian-backed militias with strong voices in Baghdad are pushing for a complete U.S. withdrawal, and some Iraqis liken any American presence to a form of occupation.

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‘Three Billboards’ wins, women make waves at UK film awards

LONDON (AP) — Ferocious female-led tragicomedy “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” was the big winner Sunday at the British Academy Film Awards in London, where women demanding an end to harassment, abuse and inequality dominated the ceremony.

Martin McDonagh’s film about a bereaved mother seeking justice won five trophies including best film, outstanding British film and best actress, for Frances McDormand.

Producer Graham Broadbent said the movie is “the story of a woman taking on the establishment and status quo.”

“It seems more timely now than we could ever have imagined,” he said.

Writer-director McDonagh said it was fitting, in the year of the “Time’s Up” campaign, that “Three Billboards” is “a film about a woman who refuses to take any s(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk) anymore.”

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Museum to discuss efforts to see if bones belong to pirate

YARMOUTH, Mass. (AP) — Researchers are set to discuss their efforts to determine whether human bones recovered from a Cape Cod shipwreck are those of the infamous pirate Samuel “Black Sam” Bellamy.

The Whydah Pirate Museum in Yarmouth, Massachusetts, says it also will publicly display the bones for the first time and showcase what they believe to be Bellamy’s pistol Monday.

The objects were encased in a hardened mass of sand and stone pulled from the Whydah Gally (WIH’-duh GAH’-lee) shipwreck several years ago.

The museum has enlisted forensic scientists to compare DNA from the bones to a sample given by one of Bellamy’s living descendants.

The Whydah went down in stormy seas in 1717, killing most of its crew and leaving its treasure on the ocean floor. The wreck was discovered in 1984.

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Facebook to verify ads with postcards after Russian meddling

MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) — Facebook will soon rely on centuries-old technology to try to prevent foreign meddling in U.S. elections: the post office.

Baffled in 2016 by Russian agents who bought ads to sway the U.S. presidential campaign, Facebook’s global politics and government outreach director, Katie Harbath, told a meeting of the National Association of Secretaries of State in Washington on Saturday that the company would send postcards to potential buyers of political ads to confirm they reside in the U.S.

The recipient would then have to enter a code in Facebook to continue buying the ad. The method will first apply to ads that name candidates ahead of the midterm elections in November, said Facebook spokesman Andy Stone.

The plan was unveiled a day after special counsel Robert Mueller charged 13 Russians with interfering in the presidential election. Mueller’s indictment described how Russian agents stole social security numbers and other information from real Americans and used them to create bank and PayPal accounts in order to buy online ads. Agents also recruited Americans to do things such as hold up signs at rallies organized to create content for Russian-created social media posts.

Facebook uncovered some 3,000 Russian-linked ads on Facebook and Instagram bought before and after the November 2016 election that it says may have been seen by as many as 150 million users. But ads were only part of the problem, as the Mueller indictments say that Russian agents also set up fake pages with names such as “Secured Borders,” ”Blacktivist” and “United Muslims of America” that had hundreds of thousands of followers.