AP News in Brief at 11:09 p.m. EST - InfoNews

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AP News in Brief at 11:09 p.m. EST

February 03, 2019 - 8:09 PM

Patriots beat Rams 13-3 in lowest scoring Super Bowl ever

ATLANTA (AP) — Defences dominated what was supposed to be a super shootout until Tom Brady led one classic drive to win the New England Patriots their record-tying sixth Super Bowl.

Brady threw two perfect passes to Rob Gronkowski to set up rookie Sony Michel's 2-yard score — the only touchdown in the lowest-scoring Super Bowl ever. That put New England up 10-3. A late field goal clinched the win over the Rams 13-3.

In a season in which all sorts of offensive records were set, this Super Bowl rewrote the defensive record book.

"Finally got a touchdown and the defence played the best game of the year," Brady said

No Super Bowl had gone into the fourth quarter without a touchdown. This one did, tied 3-3 — even though these teams combined to average over 60 points a game.

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Blackface photo stirs calls for Virginia governor to resign

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Gov. Ralph Northam clung to office Sunday amid nearly unanimous calls from his own party to resign over a racist photo in his 1984 medical school yearbook, going silent after a bizarre 24 hours in which he first admitted he was in the picture, then denied it.

The Democrat's stunning about-face — at a weekend news conference where he also acknowledged putting on blackface for a dance contest decades ago and appeared to briefly entertain the notion of doing the Michael Jackson moonwalk for reporters — only seemed to make things worse.

The chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus declared that Northam "still does not understand the seriousness of his actions." The photo shows someone in blackface and another person in a Ku Klux Klan hood and robe.

"I think he's been completely dishonest and disingenuous," Rep. Karen Bass, D-California, said on NBC's "Meet the Press." ''He knew this picture was there, and he could've come clean and talked to African-Americans that he's close to decades ago."

Northam worshipped at his home church, the predominantly black First Baptist in Capeville, but otherwise kept out of sight on Sunday as calls intensified for him to step down.

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Blackface scandal spotlights deeply embedded racism in US

When Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam refused to resign last week, he did so in the shadow of a Capitol built by a founding father and a slave owner, in the former seat of the Confederacy still wrestling with what to do about statues that honour those who fought to preserve slavery.

The 35-year-old photo on his yearbook page of a person in blackface and another person in a Ku Klux Klan robe has brought about a stunning reversal of fortune in Northam's political career and laid bare for the nation just how deeply racist behaviour remains interwoven in American culture, institutions and politics. In rejecting calls to step down, the 59-year-old white son of Virginia came across to many African-Americans as displaying a sense of white privilege.

"What we have learned over the last 24 hours along with all the incidents of the last two years brings front and centre the need for this nation to deal with the question of race once and for all," NAACP President Derrick Johnson said in an interview Saturday. "Because we have (President Donald) Trump in the White House, who has created a political landscape of intolerance and racial hatred, this has exposed a wound that has been festering for a while now."

The incident came on the first day of Black History Month and as Virginians prepare to mark the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans to the settlement of Jamestown.

"I think a lot of black folks are tired of apologies and talking," said Wes Bellamy, a councilman in Charlottesville, Virginia, who has worked for the removal of Confederate statues in the city. "This is another ugly stain on our state's history. We are going to have to commit ourselves to making this right — not just with our words, but with our resources."

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Outsider romps to victory in El Salvador presidential vote

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — A former mayor of El Salvador's capital romped to victory in Sunday's presidential election, winning more votes than his two closest rivals combined to end a quarter century of two-party dominance in the crime-plagued Central America nation.

The Supreme Electoral Court declared Nayib Bukele the winner, saying he had nearly 54 per cent of the votes, with nearly 90 per cent of ballots counted. Carlos Callejas of the Nationalist Republican Alliance was far behind in second with less than 32 per cent, while even farther back were former Foreign Minister Hugo Martinez of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front and a minor party candidate.

Bukele surpassed the 50 per cent of the votes needed to avoid a March runoff, and he had already claimed victory before a jubilant crowd in the capital and invited supporters to celebrate in the streets.

"We have full certainty that we have won the presidency, and we have won in the first round," Bukele said.

All four candidates promised to end corruption, stamp out gang violence and create more jobs, with crushing crime at the top of the agenda. Roughly 67,000 Salvadorans belong to gangs that terrorize their communities with extortion, murder and other forms of violence.

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2 dead, 2 injured when plane parts hit California house

YORBA LINDA, Calif. (AP) — Two people died and two others were injured after a small plane apparently came apart, dropping parts that scattered across a Southern California neighbourhood and ignited a house fire before landing in a backyard, witnesses and authorities said Sunday.

The crash shook the Yorba Linda neighbourhood about 2 p.m. after the twin-engine Cessna 414A took off from the Fullerton Municipal Airport about a dozen miles west of the blaze, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said.

The pilot was the only person in the twin-engine plane, though authorities have not determined who among the dead and injured were on board or on the ground.

A two-story house burst into flames after being struck by a plane part, sending panicked neighbours into the streets.

"It was a boom. It sounded like something exploded. It shook our house," said John Wolbart, who lives a block away.

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Pope in UAE for historic trip after call for Yemen relief

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Pope Francis landed Sunday in Abu Dhabi on the first-ever papal trip to the Arabian Peninsula, where he is seeking to turn a page in Christian-Muslim relations while also ministering to a unique, thriving Catholic community.

Francis earlier Sunday called for the urgent observation of a limited cease-fire in Yemen reached in December and for food and medicine to get to its people, who are suffering the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

He made the appeal at the Vatican before boarding a plane to the United Arab Emirates, which has been Saudi Arabia's main ally in its war in Yemen — a way to avoid embarrassing his hosts with a public call while in the region. Abu Dhabi's powerful crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, greeted the pontiff with smiles along with Cabinet ministers and an honour guard when he landed around 9:50 p.m. in the Emirati capital.

"The people are exhausted by the long conflict and many children are hungry, but humanitarian aid isn't accessible," Francis said in his noontime Sunday blessing. "The cries of these children and their parents rise up" to God.

Francis travelled to Abu Dhabi to participate in a conference on interreligious dialogue sponsored the Emirates-based Muslim Council of Elders, an initiative that seeks to counter religious fanaticism by promoting a moderate brand of Islam. It's the brainchild of Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, the grand imam of Egypt's Al-Azhar, the revered 1,000-year-old seat of Sunni Islam that trains clerics and scholars from around the world.

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MMA fighter wanted in killings captured after escaping van

CONROE, Texas (AP) — An MMA fighter suspected of killing two people, including an ex-girlfriend, was captured Sunday after escaping from a prisoner transport van in Texas, authorities said.

Cedric Marks was taken into custody after a nine-hour manhunt involving multiple law enforcement agencies, Montgomery County sheriff's Lt. Scott Spencer said in a tweet Sunday evening. Marks was found hiding in a trash can and surrendered without incident, Conroe police said on their Facebook page.

Marks escaped Sunday morning from the private prison transport van during a stop at a McDonald's in Conroe about 40 miles (65 kilometres) north of Houston, Conroe police Lt. Dorcy McGinnis said during a news conference.

McGinnis said murder warrants were issued Sunday for Marks in last month's killings of an ex-girlfriend, Jenna Scott, and a friend of hers, Michael Swearingin, who disappeared Jan. 4 and were found buried in a shallow grave in Clearview, Oklahoma, on Jan. 15.

Marks was arrested in Michigan last month on a Bell County, Texas, charge alleging that on Aug. 21, he broke into Scott's home in Temple, which is about 60 miles (100 kilometres) north of Austin. Authorities say he escaped while being transferred to Bell County to face that charge.

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Officials say power restored to federal jail in NYC

NEW YORK (AP) — Power was restored Sunday night at a federal detention centre in New York City where inmates had been living largely without heat or electricity for the past week, according to a statement from the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Protesters have gathered outside the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn in recent days following news reports that those housed there have largely been without heat or power for the past week and also haven't been able to communicate with lawyers or loved ones. Outdoor temperatures have been well below freezing on some recent days, though Sunday was warmer.

In its statement the agency said it was "working to restore the facility to normal operations."

Earlier Sunday, some demonstrators attempted to enter the facility, and guards drove them back with pushes and shoves. Witnesses said they also used pepper spray. A reporter and photographer for The Associated Press were at the facility when a woman, whose son is being detained, tried to get into the jail.

On Sunday, an inmate was able to call through the window of his cell, which faces out to the street, to his mother below. The woman, Yvonne Murchison, was crying and upset and tried to get into the facility, where visits have been stopped.

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Venezuelan opposition targeted by internet censors

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Opposition leader Juan Guaido's calls for Venezuelans to abandon Nicolas Maduro's government are booming across the world outside, but the self-declared interim president is having a harder time delivering his message at home.

Watchdog groups in Venezuela and abroad say Guaido's efforts to reach citizens via the internet have been hindered by the dominant provider — state-run CANTV — in a country where critical newspapers and broadcast media already have been muzzled.

Since Jan. 23, when Guaido proclaimed himself interim president and when protests against Maduro's rule broke out, CANTV has blocked access to social media sites at least four times, according to the monitoring groups.

Those disruptions have coincided with politically significant events, including a rally attended by thousands of people last week and a Jan. 27 night speech that Guaido livestreamed on Periscope to call for a new round of protests and urge members of the military to defect.

CANTV accounts for about 70 per cent of Venezuela's fixed internet connections and 50 per cent of mobile, and Netblocks, a non-government group based in Europe that monitors internet censorship, found that the government provider blocked Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube during 12 of the 13 minutes that Guaido's speech lasted, so the stream could only be seen without interruptions by people using privately run internet providers.

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Review: Thank U, Next: Maroon 5's halftime show was basic

There are a number of words you could use to describe Maroon 5's halftime show performance: Empty. Boring. Basic. Sleepy. Skippable. Unfulfilling. Unnecessary.

And those who came to help save the day didn't do their jobs: If you blinked you would have missed that Travis Scott and Big Boi performed. Even the gospel choir singer was a struggle — clearly they let the wrong one sing lead Sunday.

Adam Levine and friends kicked off the performance as fireworks burst from a stage designed like the letter "M," which should have stood for "magic," because they needed some.

It started off on the right note, actually. "Harder to Breathe," the band's amazing debut rock song, was rousing as fire blasts shot from the sides of the stage. Levine grabbed his guitar for "This Love," while other bandmates also strummed away.

It was all going well until a joke was uttered: "A true musical genius who needs no introduction."

News from © The Associated Press, 2019
The Associated Press

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