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We start today with a massacre at mosques in New Zealand, a Senate vote to defy President Trump, and the departure of two Facebook executives.
Dozens killed in New Zealand mosque attacks
At least 49 people were dead and dozens more injured today after shootings at two mosques in Christchurch in a terrorist attack that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called “an extraordinary and unprecedented act.” One man in his 20s was charged with murder. Here are the latest updates.
The attacks occurred during Friday Prayer, and the authorities asked mosques across New Zealand to close. Two explosive devices were found attached to a vehicle that the police had stopped.
Related: Shortly before the shooting, someone appearing to be the gunman posted links to a white nationalist manifesto online, including a link to a Facebook page where a live, 17-minute video of the assault was later broadcast.
The account of air traffic communications involving the pilot, Yared Getachew, who had 8,000 hours of flying experience, provides far more detail about what was happening in the cockpit.
How we know: A person who reviewed the communications shared the information with The Times, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the messages have not been publicly released.
Related: After a similar crash in October, Boeing officials told American pilots’ unions that they planned to update the software for 737 Max jets by the end of the year. The carriers are still waiting for a fix.
U.S.C. faces scandal, again
The University of Southern California was once snidely referred to as the “University of Spoiled Children,” but it began an extensive overhaul in the 1990s to become a top-tier school.
That effort has been threatened by a series of corruption investigations, including this week’s revelation that the university is at the center of an admissions scandal involving federal charges of bribery and cheating.
Closer look: The coaches charged, including some at U.S.C., are some of the most prominent in their fields.
Column: The affluent have another advantage in gaining admission to many private colleges and universities: the capacity to pay four years of tuition, room and board — perhaps $300,000 — without financial aid. Our columnist explains.
If you have 8 minutes, this is worth it
A mob boss who was “basically a ghost”
Frank Cali led the remnants of one of New York’s five Mafia families, the Gambinos, but he was, according to one law enforcement official, “the polar opposite of John Gotti,” one of his flashy predecessors.
Despite his low profile, Mr. Cali met with a classic mob execution on Wednesday, shot outside his home on Staten Island. Two reporters tell the tale.
Here’s what else is happening
Facebook departures: Two top executives, including the head of the WhatsApp messaging service, are leaving after disagreements with Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive.
Volkswagen accusations: The Securities and Exchange Commission accused the automaker on Thursday of “massive fraud” and lying to investors as part of a diesel emissions scandal.
Brexit vote: Parliament has voted to postpone Britain’s departure from the European Union but, in a rare victory for Prime Minister Theresa May, narrowly failed to wrest control of the process from her. It remains unclear how long the delay will be.
Rebuff to gun industry: The Connecticut Supreme Court has cleared the way for a lawsuit against the companies that manufactured and sold the semiautomatic rifle used in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.
Climate protest: Students in more than 100 countries are planning to skip school today to push for action against climate change. We looked at the roots of the demonstrations, which started with one teenager in Sweden.
Snapshot: Above, snow-covered trees in the mountains of northern Japan. Tourists come from around Asia to see the “juhyo,” known in English as ice monsters, but scientists say they are increasingly threatened by warming temperatures.
In memoriam: Birch Bayh, the liberal former senator from Indiana, was a driving force behind laws barring sex discrimination in education and guaranteeing 18-year-olds the right to vote. He died on Thursday at 91.
News quiz: Did you follow the headlines this week? Test yourself.
Modern Love: In this week’s column, a woman wonders, “How do you break up with someone you like being around but don’t see a future with?”
Late-night comedy: Stephen Colbert noted the Senate vote to overturn President Trump’s emergency declaration: “I mean, the last time Trump lost a vote that badly, he was elected president!”
What we’re reading: This piece in the Los Angeles Review of Books. Chris, your Morning Briefing writer, says, “The South is well-known for preserving its past, but in this essay, a native of Atlanta reflects on two road trips, taken more than 20 years apart, and how little he knew about the history of his hometown.”
Now, a break from the news
And Mercury is in retrograde. For once, scientists and astrologers agree: You need not be alarmed.
And now for the Back Story on …
The naming of a courthouse
A reader asked this week 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 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.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
To Eleanor Stanford, James K. Williamson and Mark Josephson for the break from the news. Andrea Kannapell, the briefings editor, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at [email protected].
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