Washington, Mar 16 (AP/UNB) — 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.
The coordinated "school strikes" were inspired by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who began holding solitary demonstrations outside the Swedish parliament last year.
Since then, the weekly protests have snowballed from a handful of cities to hundreds, fueled by dramatic headlines about the impact of climate change during the students' lifetime. Unless emissions of heat-trapping gases start dropping dramatically, scientists estimate that the protesters will be in their 40s and 50s, maybe even 30s, when the world will reach dangerous levels of warming that international agreements are trying to prevent.
Thunberg, who has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, said at a rally in Stockholm that the world faces an "existential crisis, the biggest crisis humanity ever has faced and still it has been ignored for decades."
Alexandria Villasenor, a 13-year-old co-coordinator of the New York City protest that culminated in a die-in at the steps of the American Museum of Natural History, said while she was pleased with the number of demonstrators, a big turnout isn't the point.
"It won't be successful until the world leaders take some action," Villasenor said.
Dana Fisher, a University of Maryland sociology professor who tracks protest movements and environmental activists, said action could possibly be triggered by "the fact that we're seeing children, some of whom are quite small, talking about the Earth they're going to inherit."
Across the globe, protesters urged politicians to act against climate change while highlighting local environmental problems:
— In India's capital of New Delhi, schoolchildren protested inaction on climate change and demanded that authorities tackle rising air pollution levels, which often far exceed World Health Organization limits.
— In Paris, teenagers thronged streets around the domed Pantheon building. Some criticized French President Emmanuel Macron, who sees himself as the guarantor of the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord but is criticized by activists as too business-friendly and not doing enough to reduce emissions.
— In Washington, protesters spoke in front of a banner saying "We don't want to die."
— In San Francisco, 1,000 demonstrators descended on the local offices of Sen. Dianne Feinstein and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, wanting passage of the massive "Green New Deal" bill proposed in the U.S. Congress.
— In St. Paul, Minnesota, about 1,000 students gathered before the state Capitol, chanting "Stop denying the earth is dying."
— In South Africa's capital, Pretoria, one protester held a sign reading "You'll Miss The Rains Down in Africa." Experts say Africa, with more than 1 billion people, is expected to be hardest hit by global warming even though it contributes least to greenhouse gas emissions.
— Hundreds of students took to the streets of downtown Los Angeles chanting "What do we want? Science! When do we want it? After peer review."
— Thousands marched in rainy Warsaw and other Polish cities to demand a ban on burning coal, a major source of carbon dioxide. Some carried banners that read "Make Love, Not CO2."
— Protests in Madrid and more than 50 other Spanish cities drew thousands. The country is vulnerable to rising sea levels and rapid desertification .
— In Berlin, police said as many as 20,000 protesters gathered in a downtown square before marching through the German capital to Chancellor Angela Merkel's office.
Some politicians praised the students.
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he was inspired by the student climate strikers to call a special summit in September to deal with what he called "the climate emergency."
"My generation has failed to respond properly to the dramatic challenge of climate change," Guterres wrote in an opinion piece in The Guardian. "This is deeply felt by young people. No wonder they are angry."
In 2015, world leaders agreed in Paris to a goal of keeping the Earth's global temperature rise by the end of the century well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) compared with pre-industrial times.
Yet the world has already warmed by 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees) since then and is on track for an increase of 4 degrees Celsius, which experts say would have far-reaching consequences for life on the planet.
In Stockholm, Thunberg predicted that students won't let up their climate protests.
"There are a crisis in front of us that we have to live with, that we will have to live with for all our lives, our children, our grandchildren and all future generations," she said. "We are on strike because we do want a future."
Washington, Mar 16 (AP/UNB) — President Donald Trump has issued the first veto of his presidency, rejecting an effort by Congress to block the emergency declaration he had used to try 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 and Republicans' increasing independence from the White House.
Trump said Friday, "Congress has the freedom to pass this resolution, and I have the duty to veto it."
A dozen defecting Republicans joined Senate Democrats in approving the joint resolution Thursday. It is unlikely that Congress will have the two-thirds majority required to override Trump's veto.
Republican senators are exhibiting more willingness to stray from President Donald Trump. But those facing re-election next year are showing far more deference than the rest of their colleagues — and that suggests a worry that crossing him could be career-threatening.
When the Senate voted Thursday to block Trump's declared southwest border emergency, 12 of the 53 GOP senators joined Democrats in voting against him. That's a lot of defections for a president who normally has the backing of GOP lawmakers, a tribute to his overwhelming support among Republican voters.
A closer look shows that of the 20 Republican senators facing re-election in 2020, just one voted against Trump's emergency declaration: Maine Sen. Susan Collins.
Of the 33 incumbents not running next year, 11 defied him, or 1 in 3.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says President Donald Trump's veto of legislation blocking the national emergency he's declared at the Mexican border shows he's defying "the Constitution, the Congress and the will of the American people."
The California Democrat says the House will vote March 26 on overriding Trump's veto. The chamber seems certain to fall short of the two-thirds majority needed to succeed. That means his emergency declaration would survive, but it still faces several legal challenges.
Pelosi says GOP lawmakers must "choose between their partisan hypocrisy and their sacred oath to support and defend the Constitution."
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says Trump holds the Constitution "in minimal regard."
The emergency declaration allows Trump to divert $3.6 billion more than Congress approved to build border barriers. The Constitution gives Congress control over spending.
Trump vetoed the measure Friday.
The American Civil Liberties Union says President Donald Trump's veto of a resolution terminating his national emergency declaration is meaningless.
Anthony Romero, the ACLU's executive director, says the courts will be the ultimate arbiter of the declaration's legality.
The ACLU filed a lawsuit last month challenging the declaration on behalf of the Sierra Club and Southern Border Communities Coalition.
Public Citizen is another group that has taken legal action. Robert Weissman, the group's president, says "the autocratic Donald Trump shows his true colors yet again."
But Weissman says bipartisan rejection of the president's declaration will make it harder for him to declare "future fake emergencies for nefarious ends."
Trump wants to use the emergency order to divert billions of federal dollars earmarked for defense spending toward the southern border wall.
President Donald Trump has issued the first veto of his presidency, overruling Congress to protect his emergency declaration for border wall funding.
Flanked by law enforcement officials as well as the parents of children killed by people in the country illegally, Trump says "our immigration system is stretched beyond the breaking point" and calls the congressional action "dangerous" and "reckless."
A dozen Republicans joined with Senate Democrats on Thursday to back the joint resolution disapproving of Trump's emergency declaration. The House had passed the same resolution last month largely along party lines.
It is unlikely that Congress will have the two-thirds majority required to override Trump's veto.
Trump wants to use the emergency order to redirect billions in federal dollars earmarked for defense spending toward the southern border wall. It still faces several legal challenges in federal court.
President Donald Trump says the United States is facing an invasion and that our immigration system is stretched beyond the breaking point as he prepares to veto a resolution that blocked his declaration of a national emergency on the southern border.
Trump says the nation's immigration laws are dangerous for the country and have to change.
Trump is likely to prevail on his national emergency declaration. Overturning a veto requires a two-thirds majority vote in the House and Senate. But there doesn't appear to be enough votes to override it.
President Donald Trump will sign the first veto of his presidency Friday, a day after Congress vote to terminate the national emergency Trump declared at the southern border. His declaration was an effort to circumvent Congress to secure more money for his proposed border wall.
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley says in an appearance on Fox News that the president will be signing the veto at 3:30 p.m. in the Oval Office. He says Trump will be joined with law enforcement as well as the parents of children killed by people in the country illegally.
Hogan is calling this "a sad moment and a very important moment" and says the vote against the president is also a vote "against the America people and their safety and security."
Republicans joined Senate Democrats in blocking the order but there do not appear to be enough votes for an override.
President Donald Trump is poised to issue the first veto of his presidency after a dozen defecting Republicans joined Senate Democrats to block the national emergency he'd declared at the border. That declaration was an effort to circumvent Congress to secure more money for his southern border wall.
The bill was hand-delivered to the White House around 5:30 p.m. Thursday. And Trump made clear how he plans to respond, tweeting the word "VETO!" in all-caps moments after Thursday's vote.
White House spokeswoman Mercedes Schlapp would not say when the veto would happen, but told reporters Friday Trump is "doing what he believes is his constitutional duty, which is to protect the American people."
She also says the president "is incredibly disappointed" with Republicans who voted against him.
A dozen defecting Republicans joined Senate Democrats to block the national emergency that President Donald Trump declared so he could build his border wall with Mexico. The rejection capped a week of confrontation with the White House as both parties in Congress strained to exert their power in new ways.
The 59-41 tally Thursday, following the Senate's vote a day earlier to end U.S. involvement in the war in Yemen, promised to force Trump into the first vetoes of his presidency. Trump had warned against both actions. Moments after Thursday's vote, the president tweeted a single word of warning: "VETO!"
Two years into the Trump era, a defecting dozen Republicans, pushed along by Democrats, showed a willingness to take that political risk.
Christchurch, Mar 16 (AP/UNB)— 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.
She pronounced it "one of New Zealand's darkest days."
Tarrant, who police say carried out at least one of the shootings, posted a jumbled, 74-page manifesto on social media in which he identified himself as a 28-year-old Australian and white supremacist who was out to avenge attacks in Europe perpetrated by Muslims.
The gunman also livestreamed in graphic detail 17 minutes of his rampage at Al Noor Mosque, where, armed with at least two assault rifles and a shotgun, he sprayed worshippers with bullets over and over, killing at least 41 people. Several more people were killed in an attack on a second mosque in the city a short time later.
At least 48 people were wounded, some critically. Police also defused explosive devices in a car.
Police did not say whether the same person was responsible for both shootings. They gave no details about those taken into custody except to say that none had been on any watch list. During the Saturday morning hearing, a man who was not in court was charged with using writings to incite hatred against a race or ethnicity, but it was not clear if his case was related to the mosque attacks.
Tarrant's relatives in the Australian town of Grafton, in New South Wales, contacted police after learning of the shooting and were helping with the investigation, local authorities said. Tarrant has spent little time in Australia in the past four years and only had minor traffic infractions on his record.
On Saturday, outside one of the two mosques, 32-year-old Ash Mohammed pushed through police barricades in hopes of finding out what happened to his father and two brothers, whose cellphones rang unanswered. An officer stopped him.
"We just want to know if they are dead or alive," Mohammed told the officer.
In the aftermath, the country's threat level was raised from low to high, police warned Muslims against going to a mosque anywhere in New Zealand, and the national airline canceled several flights in and out of Christchurch, a city of nearly 400,000.
World leaders condemned the violence and offered condolences, with President Donald Trump tweeting, "We stand in solidarity with New Zealand." Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan and other Islamic leaders pointed to the bloodbath and other such attacks as evidence of rising hostility toward Muslims since 9/11.
New Zealand, with a population of 5 million, has relatively loose gun laws and an estimated 1.5 million firearms, or roughly one for every three people. But it has one of the lowest gun homicide rates in the world. In 2015, it had just eight gun homicides.
Before Friday's attack, New Zealand's deadliest shooting in modern history took place in 1990 in the small town of Aramoana, where a gunman killed 13 people following a dispute with a neighbor.
On Saturday, the prime minister said the "primary perpetrator" in the shootings was a licensed gun owner and legally acquired the five guns used. Ardern said the country's gun laws will change as a result of the carnage, but she did not specify how.
New Zealand is also generally considered to be welcoming to migrants and refugees. On Saturday, people across the country were reaching out to Muslims in their communities on social media to volunteer acts of kindness — offering rides to the grocery store or volunteering to walk with them if they felt unsafe. In other forums, people discussed Muslim food restrictions as they prepared to drop off meals for those affected.
The prime minister said the attack reflected "extremist views that have absolutely no place in New Zealand."
Immigrants "have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home," Ardern said. "They are us."
At the White House, Trump called the bloodshed "a terrible thing" but rejected any suggestion the white nationalist movement is a rising threat around the world, saying it is "a small group of people that have very, very serious problems."
Tarrant, in his rambling manifesto, deemed Trump "a symbol of renewed white identity."
At the Al Noor mosque, witness Len Peneha said he saw a man dressed in black and wearing a helmet with some kind of device on top enter the house of worship and then heard dozens of shots, followed by people running out in terror.
Peneha, who lives next door, said the gunman ran out of the mosque, dropped what appeared to be a semi-automatic weapon in his driveway and fled. Peneha then went into the mosque to help the victims.
"I saw dead people everywhere. There were three in the hallway, at the door leading into the mosque, and people inside the mosque," he said. "I don't understand how anyone could do this to these people, to anyone. It's ridiculous."
Facebook, Twitter and Google scrambled to take down the gunman's video, which was widely available on social media for hours after the bloodbath.
In the video, the killer spends more than two minutes inside the mosque spraying terrified worshippers with gunfire. He then walks outside, where he shoots at people on the sidewalk. Children's screams can be heard in the distance as he returns to his car to get another rifle. He walks back into the mosque, where there are at least two dozen people lying on the ground.
After going back outside and shooting a woman there, he gets back in his car, where a song can be heard blasting. The singer bellows, "I am the god of hellfire!" and the gunman drives off before police even arrive.
The second attack took place at the Linwood mosque about 5 kilometers (3 miles) away. Mark Nichols told the New Zealand Herald that he heard about five gunshots and that a worshipper returned fire with a rifle or shotgun.
The footage showed the killer was carrying a shotgun and two fully automatic military assault rifles, with an extra magazine taped to one of the weapons so that he could reload quickly. He also had more assault weapons in the trunk of his car, along with what appeared to be explosives.
His manifesto was a welter of often politically contradictory views, touching on many of the most combustible issues of the day, among them the Second Amendment right to own guns, Muslim immigration, terrorist attacks and the wealthiest 1 percent.
He portrayed himself as a racist and a fascist and raged against non-Westerners, but said China is the nation that most aligns with his political and social values.
The gunman said he was not a member of any organization, acted alone and chose New Zealand to show that even the most remote parts of the world are not free of "mass immigration."
Last year, New Zealand's prime minister announced that the country would boost its annual refugee quota from 1,000 to 1,500 in 2020. Ardern, whose party campaigned on a promise to take in more refugees, called it "the right thing to do."
Christchurch, sometimes called the Garden City, has been rebuilding since an earthquake in 2011 killed 185 people and destroyed many downtown buildings.
Sydney, Mar 16 (AP/UNB) — 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.
While his manifesto and video were an obvious and contemptuous ploy for infamy, they do contain important clues for a public trying to understand why anyone would target dozens of innocent people who were simply spending an afternoon engaged in prayer.
There could be no more perplexing a setting for a mass slaughter than New Zealand, a nation so placid and so isolated from the mass shootings that plague the U.S. that police officers rarely carry guns.
Yet the gunman himself highlighted New Zealand's remoteness as a reason he chose it. He wrote that an attack in New Zealand would show that no place on earth was safe and that even a country as far away as New Zealand is subject to mass immigration.
He said he grew up in a working-class Australian family, had a typical childhood and was a poor student. Tarrant's relatives in the Australian town of Grafton contacted police after learning of the shooting and were helping with the investigation, local authorities said. Tarrant has spent little time in Australia in the past four years and only had minor traffic infractions on his record.
A woman who said she was a colleague of his when he worked as a personal trainer in Grafton said she was shocked by the allegations against him.
"I can't ... believe that somebody I've probably had daily dealings with and had shared conversations and interacted with would be able of something to this extreme," Tracey Gray told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
The rambling manifesto is filled with confusing and seemingly contradictory assertions about his beliefs.
Beyond his white nationalistic views, he claimed to be an environmentalist and said he is a fascist who believes China is the nation that most aligns with his political and social values. He said he has contempt for the wealthiest 1 percent. And he singled out American conservative commentator Candace Owens as the person who had influenced him the most, while saying "the extreme actions she calls for are too much, even for my tastes."
In a tweet, Owens responded by saying that if the media portrayed her as the inspiration for the attack, it had better hire lawyers.
The manifesto also included a single reference to President Donald Trump in which the author asked and answered the question of whether he was a Trump supporter: "As a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose? Sure. As a policy maker and leader? Dear god no."
Throughout the manifesto, the theme he returns to most often is conflict between people of European descent and Muslims, often framing it in terms of the Crusades.
Among his hate-filled statements is a claim that he was motivated toward violence by an episode that occurred in 2017 while he was touring through Western Europe. That was when an Uzbek man drove a truck into a crowd of people in Stockholm, killing five.
He said his desire for violence grew when he arrived in France, where he said he was offended by the sight of immigrants in the cities and towns he visited.
Three months ago, he said, he started planning to target Christchurch. He said he has donated to many nationalist groups, but claimed not to be a direct member of any organization. However, he admitted contacts with an anti-immigration group called the reborn Knights Templar and said he got the approval of Anders Breivik for the attack, a claim that has not been verified.
Breivik is a right-wing Norwegian extremist who killed 77 people in Oslo and a nearby island in 2011. Breivik's lawyer Oeystein Storrvik told Norway's VG newspaper that his client, who is in prison, has "very limited contacts with the surrounding world, so it seems very unlikely that he has had contact" with the New Zealand gunman.
The gunman rambled on about the supposed aims for the attack, which included reducing immigration by intimidating immigrants and driving a wedge between NATO and the Turkish people. He also said he hoped to further polarize and destabilize the West, and spark a civil war in the United States that would ultimately result in a separation of races. The attack has had the opposite impact, with condemnation of the bloodshed pouring in from all quarters of the globe, and calls for unity against hatred and violence.
The gunman used various hate symbols associated with the Nazis and white supremacy. For instance, the number 14 is seen on his rifle, a possible reference to the "14 Words," a white supremacist slogan attributed in part to Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf," according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. He also used the symbol of the Schwarze Sonne, or black sun, which "has become synonymous with myriad far-right groups who traffic in neo-Nazi," according to the center.
His victims, he wrote, were chosen because he saw them as invaders who would replace the white race. He predicted he would feel no remorse for their deaths. And in the video he livestreamed of his shooting, no remorse can be seen or heard as he sprays terrified worshippers with bullets again and again, sometimes firing at people he has already cut down.
The gunman — a licensed gun owner who bought the five guns used in the shootings legally — left a scene of carnage that shocked the nation, and the world. It was, in the words of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern "one of New Zealand's darkest days."
London, Mar 15 (AP/UNB) — Internet companies say they're working to remove video filmed by a gunman in the New Zealand mosque shooting that was widely available on social media hours after the horrific attack.
Facebook said Friday it took down a livestream of the shootings and removed the shooter's Facebook and Instagram accounts after being alerted by police. At least 49 people were killed at two mosques.
The gunman reportedly broadcast 17 minutes of the attack. Twitter and YouTube owner Google also said they were working to remove the footage from their sites.
Facebook New Zealand spokeswoman Mia Garlick said in a statement that the company is "also removing any praise or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters as soon as we're aware."
She said Facebook is working directly with New Zealand police as they carry out their investigation.