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

May 18, 2018 - 8:04 PM

Texas school shooting kills 10, deadliest since Parkland

SANTA FE, Texas (AP) — A 17-year-old armed with a shotgun and a pistol opened fire at a Houston-area high school Friday, killing 10 people, most of them students, authorities said. It was the nation's deadliest such attack since the massacre in Florida that gave rise to a campaign by teens for gun control.

The suspected shooter, who was in custody on murder charges, also had explosive devices that were found in the school and nearby, said Gov. Greg Abbott, who called the assault "one of the most heinous attacks that we've ever seen in the history of Texas schools."

Investigators offered no immediate motive for the shooting. The governor said the assailant intended to kill himself but gave up and told police that he did not have the courage to take his own life.

The deaths were all but certain to re-ignite the national debate over gun regulations, coming just three months after the Parkland, Florida, attack that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

"It's been happening everywhere. I've always kind of felt like that eventually it was going to happen here, too," Santa Fe High School student Paige Curry told Houston television station KTRK. "I don't know. I wasn't surprised. I was just scared."

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Teen held in Texas attack is said to have used father's guns

SANTA FE, Texas (AP) — The Texas student charged in the school shooting at Santa Fe High School described planning the attack in private journals, including a plan to kill himself, posted an image on Facebook of a "Born to Kill" shirt and used his father's shotgun and pistol in the rampage that left 10 dead and 10 wounded, authorities said Friday.

A motive wasn't immediately clear, but Gov. Greg Abbott said Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, wrote about planning the attack in journals on his computer and in his cellphone that police obtained. That was inconsistent with the portrait painted by his friends — a reserved young man, an athlete who had discussed wanting to own guns but who was said not to have given warning signs of impending violence.

"Not only did he want to commit the shooting but he wanted to commit suicide after the shooting," Abbott said, adding that Pagourtzis told authorities he "didn't have the courage" to take his own life.

President Donald Trump ordered flags to be lowered to half-staff in honour of the victims and their families.

Pagourtzis was held without bond in the Galveston County jail on charges of capital murder, said the county sheriff, Henry Trochesset. Abbott said the two guns used in the attack were owned legally by the suspect's father. It was not clear whether the father knew his son had taken them.

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Airliner with 110 aboard crashes in Cuba, 3 said to survive

HAVANA (AP) — A 39-year-old airliner with 110 people aboard crashed and burned in a cassava field just after taking off from the Havana airport Friday, leaving three survivors in Cuba's worst aviation disaster in three decades, officials said.

The Boeing 737 went down just after noon a short distance from the end of the runway at Jose Marti International Airport while on a short-hop flight to the eastern city of Holguin. Firefighters rushed to extinguish the flames that engulfed the field of debris left where Cubana Flight 972 hit the ground.

"There is a high number of people who appear to have died," Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel said from the scene. "Things have been organized, the fire has been put out, and the remains are being identified."

Relatives of those aboard were ushered into a private area at the terminal to await word on their loved ones.

"My daughter is 24, my God, she's only 24!" cried Beatriz Pantoja, whose daughter Leticia was on the plane.

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Windsor gears up for royal wedding, embraces Harry, Meghan

WINDSOR, England (AP) — Meghan Markle will have an heir to the British throne walk her down the aisle — and have her mother and friends on hand for support — when she marries Prince Harry at Windsor Castle.

Friday's announcement that Markle has asked her future father-in-law Prince Charles to offer a supporting elbow, stepping in for Markle's father after he became ill, meant arrangements were almost complete for Saturday's royal wedding.

The event's mix of royalty, celebrity, pomp and ceremony has drawn stratospheric levels of interest around the world and will be broadcast live to tens of millions.

Kensington Palace said Prince Charles "is pleased to be able to welcome Ms. Markle to the royal family in this way" after Markle's father Thomas was unable to attend due to illness.

Thousands of well-wishers descended Friday on Windsor amid final preparations for the wedding, which has drawn royal fans and an international media throng to the castle town and royal residence 25 miles (40 kilometres) west of London.

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Trump says spy infiltrated his campaign; lawyer casts doubt

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump accused the Justice Department on Friday of trying to frame him by planting a spy in his 2016 campaign — an allegation his own lawyer said might not be true.

Promoting a theory that is circulating in conservative circles, Trump quoted Fox Business anchor David Asman and tweeted: "Apparently the DOJ put a Spy in the Trump Campaign. This has never been done before and by any means necessary, they are out to frame Donald Trump for crimes he didn't commit."

But Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani cast some doubt on that.

On whether there was an "informant" in the 2016 presidential campaign, Giuliani told CNN, "I don't know for sure, nor does the president, if there really was one," though he said they have long been told there was "some kind of infiltration."

Last week, the National Review raised the question of a possible FBI spy in Trump's campaign. The article cites work by Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, an ardent Trump supporter and head of the House intelligence committee, who has demanded information on an FBI source in the Russia investigation.

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Trump thrusts abortion fight into crucial midterm elections

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration acted Friday to bar taxpayer-funded family planning clinics from referring women for abortions, energizing its conservative political base ahead of crucial midterm elections while setting the stage for new legal battles.

The Health and Human Services Department sent its proposal to rewrite the rules to the White House, setting in motion a regulatory process that could take months. Scant on details, an administration overview of the plan said it would echo a Reagan-era rule by banning abortion referrals by federally funded clinics and forbidding them from locating in facilities that also provide abortions.

Planned Parenthood, a principal provider of family planning, abortion services and basic preventive care for women, said the plan appears designed to target the organization. "The end result would make it impossible for women to come to Planned Parenthood, who are counting on us every day," said executive vice-president Dawn Laguens.

But presidential counsellor Kellyanne Conway told Fox News that the administration is simply recognizing "that abortion is not family planning. This is family planning money."

The policy was derided as a "gag rule" by abortion rights supporters, a point challenged by the administration, which said counselling about abortion would be OK, but not referrals. It's likely to trigger lawsuits from opponents, and certain to galvanize activists on both sides of the abortion debate going into November's congressional elections.

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Conservative revolt over immigration sinks House farm bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republican leaders suffered an embarrassing setback Friday when conservatives scuttled an ambitious farm bill, part of a high-stakes power play as they once again exert their oversized sway in the House.

In this case, conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus wanted to slow the momentum of bipartisan immigration legislation to help young "Dreamers." Republican moderates are gaining ground with their immigration effort and conservatives don't like the deals taking shape. By withholding their votes on the farm bill, they flexed their political muscle to doom both.

Not even a tweet from President Donald Trump supporting the farm bill could save it from the chaos Friday. It was defeated, 213-198. Some 30 Republicans joined with every chamber Democrat in opposition.

The vote was a blow to GOP leaders, exposing the power struggle underway as leaders jockey to replace Speaker Paul Ryan, who is not seeking re-election. It disrupts GOP efforts to portray party unity ahead of the midterm election and to rack up legislative wins to motivate voters to the polls to keep their majority.

Trump is "disappointed in the result of today's vote" and "hopes the House can resolve any remaining issues," said Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters.

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Gay-friendly Apple weighs North Carolina despite LGBT laws

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Gay-rights advocates are divided on whether to cheer or bemoan a potential marriage between the state of North Carolina and one of the global corporations most friendly to LGBT workers and causes.

Feelings remain raw over North Carolina's so-called bathroom bill, which prompted a boycott campaign. Many advocates remain frustrated that a legislative compromise that put an end to the controversy still allows discrimination against them.

Apple Inc. is close to deciding whether to build a planned corporate hub in the Raleigh-Durham area, a North Carolina government official and an economic development official told The Associated Press. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of confidentiality promises surrounding business recruitment.

The project could create 5,000 North Carolina jobs, with a later target of 10,000 jobs, the economic development official said. And while they denied any direct tie to the Apple decision, top state legislators committed this week to a major expansion of tax breaks for any employers promising thousands of jobs.

An Apple spokesman declined to say Friday how LGBT issues would play into its location decision.

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Smith's third-period goal lifts Vegas to 3-2 win over Jets

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Reilly Smith scored on a breakaway late in the third period to lead the Vegas Golden Knights to a 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets in Game 4 of the Western Conference final Friday night.

Vegas, a 500-to-1 long shot to win the title when the season started, can advance to the Stanley Cup final when the series resumes Sunday in Winnipeg.

William Karlsson and Tomas Nosek also scored for Vegas, and Marc-Andre Fleury, ninth all-time for post-season wins, made 36 saves to earn his 73rd career playoff victory.

With the game tied at 2, Smith raced down the left side of the rink and beat Winnipeg's Connor Hellebuyck above his blocker to put the Golden Knights ahead with 6:58 left in the game.

Hellebuyck made 27 saves, but lost for the third consecutive game. Patrik Laine and Tyler Myers scored for Winnipeg, which is on the brink of elimination.

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Scientists unsure when Hawaii's Kilauea volcano will quiet

VOLCANO, Hawaii (AP) — Experts remained flummoxed Friday about when Hawaii's Kilauea volcano will calm down.

The Big Island volcano exploded at its summit Thursday, sending ash and rocks thousands of feet into the sky.

Scientists said the eruption was the most powerful in recent days, though it probably lasted only a few minutes.

It came two weeks after the volcano began sending lava flows into neighbourhoods 25 miles (40 kilometres) to the east of the summit, destroying 26 homes.

A new lava vent — the 22nd such fissure — was reported Friday by county civil defence officials.

News from © The Associated Press, 2018
The Associated Press

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