New Zealand man, 22, arrested for allegedly distributing video of mosque shootings

ABC News(CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand) -- A 22-year-old man from New Zealand has been arrested in connection with distribution of the video recording of Friday's tragic mosque shootings that killed 50 people.

Brenton Tarrant, 28, who has been charged with murder in the mass shooting, filmed the massacres at Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Masjid in Christchurch on a Facebook livestream. Facebook was notified of the video and immediately took steps to remove the user and the recording, but not before it had been downloaded and reposted across the internet.

The 22-year-old, who has not been named by police, will be charged under the Films Videos and Publications Classification Act. He is expected to appear in court Monday.

New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern have repeatedly urged citizens and the media not to share footage of the attack.

Mia Garlick, a spokesperson for Facebook New Zealand, said 1.5 million videos of the attack had been removed from the platform globally within the first 24 hours of it occurring. That included 1.2 million that were blocked during the upload stage.

Police said they do not believe the 22-year-old was directly involved with the attack and is not being charged in relation to it.

"We would like to remind people that it is an offence to distribute or possess an objectionable publication (under the Films Videos and Publications Classifications Act 1993), which carries a penalty of imprisonment," New Zealand police said in a statement.

"The live stream video of the shootings in Christchurch has been classified by the Chief Censor’s Office as objectionable," police added.

Sky News Australia was taken off the air by New Zealand's largest satellite provider after the network repeatedly showed clips of the shooting.

Tarrant, who made an initial appearance in court Saturday, is expected to face additional charges.

A man and woman were also arrested in the hours following the attack, but the woman was released without charges. The man is facing a weapons charge unrelated to the attack itself.

In addition to the 50 people killed, 50 others were injured and 12 remain in critical condition, officials said Sunday.

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Authorities download cockpit recording from doomed Ethiopian Airlines flight

iStock/Thinkstock(ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia) -- Audio recordings from doomed Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 were successfully recovered by French authorities on Saturday.

The data from the Ethiopian Airlines cockpit voice recorder was downloaded by the French Civil Aviation Safety Agency (BEA), which is doing the work as Ethiopian officials do not have the proper capabilities to do so.

The EBA announced on Twitter that data from the CVR was transferred to Ethiopian investigators, adding that they did not listen to the audio files.

Work on retrieving information from the flight data recorder will resume on Sunday.

In an earlier tweet, the BEA said that representatives from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing have been present as they're conducting their work.

Processing on the plane's voice recorder and data recorder began on Friday.

Flight 302 crashed six minutes after takeoff on March 10, killing all 157 people on board the aircraft. The plane had taken off from Addis Ababa and was destined for Nairobi, Kenya.

The crash triggered a worldwide fear over the safety of Boeing's new 737 Max 8 and Max 9 aircraft. The FAA and President Donald Trump eventually announced all Max 8s and 9s would be grounded in the U.S. after countries around the world took the planes out of service or suspended the planes from flying through their airspace.

Fear over the Boeing Max jets was ignited due to similarities between the Ethiopian Airlines crash and one last October in Indonesia.

It is unclear how much the Ethiopian Airlines accident and last fall's Lion Air flight 610 crash have in common other than the aircraft type and that the flights went down shortly after takeoff while apparently struggling to gain altitude.

Ethiopian officials are expected to announce findings from both of the black boxes in the week ahead.

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Death toll rises to 50 in New Zealand terror attack

Fiona Goodall/Getty Images(CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand) -- The death toll from the largest terror attack in New Zealand's history has now risen to 50, police said.

For those who survived the mass shooting, 34 are still hospitalized including 12 patients in the intensive care unit and are in critical condition, said Christchurch Hospital head of Surgery Greg Robertson at a news conference on Sunday afternoon local time.

Two children, who under the age of 16, are among the victims in stable condition, and two adults are still in critical condition, said Christchurch Hospital head of Surgery Greg Robertson at a news conference on Sunday afternoon local time.

On Thursday morning, a gunman, who had posted white supremacist language on social media attacked two mosques in Christchurch in a shooting spree he livestreamed on Facebook.

Authorities have named Brenton Harrison Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian citizen, as the shooter. He was charged with murder and appeared in Christchurch District Court on Saturday and remanded back into custody without entering a plea. He may face more charges.

His next court appearance will be on April 5.

Three other people, who have been taken into custody, were deemed unrelated to the attack, Bush said.

Two others were stopped because they had a firearm, Bush said.

"A woman was released without charge. A man in that vehicle was charged with a firearms offense. We do not believe they were involved in these attacks," Bush said.

Another 18-year old man who "went to assist children and did decide to arm themselves which is not the right approach" will appear in court on Monday, Bush said, adding that the charge was "tangential to this matter" and that police "believe he was involved in this attack."

"A list of victims’ names have been shared with family," Bush said. The list was not formalized yet and would not yet be distributed.

Security around mosques "will continue until we believe there is no threat," said Bush, adding, that law enforcement around the country would stay on high alert to protect citizens and visitors.

Tarrant had a New Zealand firearms license he obtained in 2017, and appeared to have modified the gun he used, Bush said.

On Saturday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern again disavowed the attacks and anti-Muslim sentiment, while promising a change to the country's gun laws.

"This is not the New Zealand that any of us know," she told reporters at a press conference. "The commissioner has advised that security from police will continue at mosques throughout New Zealand until it is deemed that there is no longer a threat."

She also added to the timeline of the attacks, saying that the police "responded immediately" to the attack, saying Tarrant "was in custody 36 minutes from receiving the first call. The offender was mobile. There were two other firearms in the vehicle that the offender was in and it absolutely was his intention to continue with his attack."

Arder also said the weapons used in the attack "appear to have been modified," a challenge that the government will "look to address in changing our laws."

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'Eggboy': Teen cracks an egg over anti-Muslim Australian lawmaker's head

iStock/chelovek(MELBOURNE, Australia) -- An Australian lawmaker who has been condemned for making anti-immigration remarks hours after the New Zealand mosque attacks had egg on his face on Saturday. Literally.

Fraser Anning, 69, a far-right Queensland senator, was speaking to reporters in Melbourne when a 17-year-old boy cracked a raw egg against the politician's head, video of the incident shows. The footage quickly went viral on social media, where he was given the nickname "eggboy."

Anning immediately punched back at the teen as egg yolk skittled down his face, the video showed. He also attempted to get a few kicks in before being fully restrained. Others in attendance, meanwhile, appeared to hold down the teen in a chokehold.

Victoria police took the teen into custody before releasing him without charges, but are investigating the incident, according to local media reports. The police were not immediately available for comment.

Anning, who is known for anti-immigration language, immediately blamed the New Zealand attacks on Muslim immigration. In the past, he has invoked Nazi language of a "final solution" to combat Muslim immigration to Australia.

Australian prime minister Scott Morrison called Anning’s inflammatory comments blaming the Islamic community “appalling and ugly."

"I would normally not want to give this any oxygen, but I want to absolutely and completely denounce the statements made by Senator Anning…on this horrendous terrorist attack, with issues of immigration, in his attack on Islamic faith specifically," Morrison said, adding that his government would censure the senator.

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Taliban peace talks reignite debate over whether US is negotiating with 'terrorists'

iStock(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- After nearly 18 years of war, the U.S. and the Taliban are deeply engaged in what was once unthinkable: peace talks.

The militant group has killed countless American soldiers and even more Afghan troops and civilians. It’s been bombed and blown up by U.S. weaponry, pushed out of control and from the capital, Kabul -- only to fight its way back toward power year after year.

And yet, American diplomats now find themselves on the other side of the table, without Afghan government representatives, to negotiate an agreement that will see U.S. troops withdraw from Afghanistan.

The United States has a longstanding policy of not negotiating with terrorists.

However, a key part of the Trump administration's decision to engage the Taliban directly stems from the Afghan group not being on the State Department's list of "foreign terrorist organizations," or FTOs.

That’s a legal designation made by the U.S. government that allows it to bring penalties -- financial sanctions, visa restrictions, prosecution of individual supporters -- against a group. The department has a long list of FTOs, from groups such as the Basque separatists in Spain and the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, to more well-known names such as al Qaeda, ISIS and Hezbollah.

While the Taliban’s Pakistan-based branch was designated as an FTO in 2010, the Taliban itself has never been.

The group likely does meet the criteria: It is foreign-based, actively engaged in terrorist activity, and that activity is a threat to U.S. national security interests. With the Taliban, the label should be a “no-brainer,” as one U.S. official told ABC News.

This is also complicated by the fact that senior U.S. officials occasionally refer to them as terrorists, despite lacking the legal designation. On March 4, for example, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. was “trying to negotiate with the Taliban terrorists in Afghanistan.”

When asked about the discrepancy, a State Department spokesperson pointed to the Taliban’s listing as a Treasury Department “specially designated global terrorist” entity since 2002. That separate designation means it and its members are subject to sanctions; embargoes; and, because of an act of Congress in 2008, other things such as immigration restrictions.

Because of that, the U.S. has “full power to pursue the Taliban’s financial and other activities,” the spokesperson said.

Still, the State Department designation is a special status.

“It really makes for a lot of confusion when you have a group that’s been as deadly as the Taliban, who provided sanctuary for al Qaeda to stage its 9/11 attacks, that it had never been added to the FTO list. ... That’s incredibly problematic,” said Jason Blazakis, who served as the director of the State Department’s Counterterrorism Finance and Designations Office from 2008 to 2018.

The inconsistency is largely for political reasons -- a long-running fear during the Bush, Obama and now Trump administrations that labeling the group a foreign terrorist organization would anger and alienate them, making it harder for U.S. diplomats to ultimately engage them in any political process.

To successive administrations, the “timing” was never right to make a designation.

But there are no legal restrictions on American officials talking to terrorist organizations or their leadership. In Colombia, for example, the U.S. and the allied government engaged with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia People's Army (FARC), even though they have been designated a terror group since 1997.

Some analysts say designating the Taliban a terrorist organization would have given U.S. negotiators something to concede in talks in exchange for Taliban promises.

“You could have removed the FTO tag as part of this process, as something you would ‘give’ the Taliban,” said Blazakis, now the director of the Middlebury Institute’s Center on Terrorism, Extremism and Counterterrorism. “Now it’s a missing potential incentive.”

Perhaps even more important, “terrorist” is a label that matters to the U.S.-backed Afghan government.

“The Taliban and terrorism -- it’s one DNA,” Afghan National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib said Wednesday in Washington, condemning it as “a group that murders civilians in cold blood, conducts terrorist activities across the country, and blows up schools and mosques.”

The Afghan government has been increasingly frustrated by U.S. talks with the Taliban for that reason -- the administration has excluded the Afghan government while dealing directly with this “terrorist” organization.

“It would be a shame if a deal was made with the terrorists who killed more than 5,400 Americans -- and if they were given control of the lives of the Afghan people. That would be a win for those terrorists,” Mohib said Tuesday.

Tensions between the U.S. and Afghan governments over the Taliban talks burst into public this week, but for now, the U.S. remains on track with its negotiations with the militant group.

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After 49 killed in mass shootings at 2 New Zealand mosques, prime minister vows, 'our gun laws will change'

Diederik van Heyningen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand) -- After 49 people were gunned down in terrorist attacks at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Friday, the prime minister is vowing to change gun laws.

At least one gunman carried out what is now the deadliest shooting in New Zealand history.

Forty-two others were injured, including two critically, in what became "one of New Zealand's darkest days," New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

Ardern said Saturday, "while the nation grapples with a form of grief and anger that we have not experienced before, we are seeking answers."

She vowed that “while work is being done as to the chain of events that led to both the holding of this gun license and the possession of these weapons, I can tell you one thing right now: Our gun laws will change.”

A gunman appeared to have livestreamed video of the shooting on social media, according to New Zealand police. He documented his trip from his car and into the worship center in central Christchurch, where he opened fire indiscriminately, police said.

Officials said they were working to remove "extremely distressing footage" taken at the scene and urged social media users not to share it.

Meanwhile, Sky Network Television -- New Zealand’s largest satellite television provider -- announced late Friday that it was removing Sky News Australia from its platform after the broadcaster apparently aired video of the attack.

“We stand in support of our fellow New Zealanders and have made the decision to remove Sky News Australia from our platform until we are confident that the distressing footage from yesterday’s events will not be shared,” Sky Network officials said in a tweet.

Three in custody

Three people are in custody, including one Australian citizen. One 28-year-old man was charged with murder and appeared in court Saturday, officials said.

Authorities also said that the murder suspect will be facing more charges.

“While the man is currently facing only one charge, further charges will be laid," New Zealand police officials tweeted from the department's verified account.

"Details of those charges will be communicated at the earliest possible opportunity.”

Five guns were used by the main suspect, including two semi-automatic weapons and two shotguns, the prime minister said at a news conference Saturday. The suspect had a gun license, she added.
 Police have not said if the same gunman shot at both mosques.

“None of those apprehended had a criminal history either here or in Australia," and none were on any watch lists, Ardern said.

Late Friday night, New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush told reporters that authorities are still "working through" the accounts of two additional people who were arrested as part of the investigation.

“As you know we apprehended four people ... one was released quite early, a member of the public who just wanted to get their kids home but decided to take a firearm," Bush said. "There was another couple arrested at a cordon and we are currently working through whether or not those persons had any involvement in that incident. So when we know, we’ll be able to give you… but I don’t want to say anything until we’re sure.”

 Bush said that local authorities responded "immediately" to the reports of gunfire, and that within 36 minutes of the first shot being fired, the primary suspect was taken into custody.

“That person was not willing to be arrested, I think you’ve probably seen some of that live video, there was live audio coming back to my command center in Wellington, of that apprehension and I can tell you as I was listening to that –- that person was non-compliant," Bush said.

"We also believe that there were IEDs in that vehicle so it was a very dangerous maneuver," he said, referring to improvised explosive devices. "There were also firearms in that vehicle, so our staff, who were well-equipped, did engage with that person, and again put themselves in real danger to keep the community safe.”

Bush vowed that local authorities "will be highly vigilant [and] highly present, to ensure that if there is anyone out here wanting to commit harm we can intervene.”

Earlier, Bush said that the island nation is “dedicating all available resources to our response, not only in Christchurch but right across the country.”

“This attack has been an enormous shock for all New Zealanders, and I am aware that there is a real sense of fear and concern for personal safety, particularly among our Muslim communities,” Bush said in a statement.

He said that there is a heightened police presence nationwide, particularly at mosques and community events, and urged residents to immediately report anything suspicious to local authorities.

Hospital overwhelmed

Four of the 49 people killed in the massacre died on the way to the hospital, said Greg Robertson, chief of surgery at Christchurch Hospital.

“It's unusual for surgeons in this part of the world to deal with gunshot wounds,” Robertson told reporters. “We've had experience overseas dealing with trauma. We also get experience in our own environment for a limited number of these events. But clearly we don't face the extreme load this incident put on us.”

The surgeon went on to tell reporters on Friday night that 36 patients remained hospitalized at the Christchurch facility – 11 of them in the intensive care unit. He said the severity of injuries range from soft tissue injuries to head trauma. A 4-year-old girl wounded in the attack had to be transferred to another hospital in critical condition.

'Shattered innocence'

Witnesses said the attack occurred just before 1:40 p.m. local time as the Sheikh gave a sermon in

"It's something that we never expected to have happen here," Christchurch MP Gerry Brownlee told "Good Morning America." "We're a relatively small population, and while we are ethnically quite diverse, we live very peaceable lives. And this, as many have seen, has shattered our innocence."

Brownlee, who said he lives a short distance from one of the shooting sites, said, "Almost everyone will know someone or have a connection with the families of someone who has been either killed or seriously wounded today."

Of the 49 people killed, New Zealand police said 41 victims died at the Deans Avenue Mosque, seven at the Linwood Avenue Mosque and one at a hospital.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel believes the city was targeted because “we are a safe city and a safe country.”

“He is not from here,” Dalziel said Saturday of the attacker. “He came here. He came here with hate in his heart and intention to kill in his mind. So he did not develop his hatred here. He came here to perform this act of terrorism."

"His was the voice of hate, and the only way that communities can respond to the voice of hate is to come together and love, compassion and kindness," she said.

'Abhorrent' attacks

Queen Elizabeth in a statement said she's "deeply saddened by the appalling events in Christchurch."

"Prince Philip and I send our condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives. I also pay tribute to the emergency services and volunteers who are providing support to those who have been injured," she said. "At this tragic time, my thoughts and prayers are with all New Zealanders."

Friday afternoon President Trump said he spoke with New Zealand's prime minister about the "monstrous terrorist attacks."

"These sacred places of worship were turned into scenes of evil killing," Trump said. "It's a horrible, horrible thing. I told the prime minister the United States is with them all the way, 10 percent, whatever they need, we will be there."

The president went on to call New Zealand a great friend and asserted that "our relationship has never been better."

President Trump had also tweeted condolences Friday morning.

"My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the Mosques. 49 innocent people have so senselessly died, with so many more seriously injured," he tweeted. "The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all!"

Later in the day, he tweeted that he spoke to Ardern, reiterating that the U.S. is "ready to help."

U.S. Attorney General William Barr in a statement called the attack "a sobering reminder that the threat of political and religious violence is real and that we must remain vigilant against it."

"Violence on the basis of religion is evil," Barr said. "The Justice Department joins in mourning with the people of New Zealand.”

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement, "While we are not aware of any current, credible or active threat domestically, nor of any current information regarding obvious ties between the perpetrators in New Zealand and anyone in the US -- the Department is cognizant of the potential concerns members of Muslim-American communities may have as they gather at today’s congregational prayers."

"Attacks on peaceful people in their place of worship are abhorrent and will not be tolerated," Nielsen stressed. "The Department strongly stands with those of all faiths as they seek to worship in peace and we will continue to work with stakeholders to protect the ability of all to worship freely and without fear."

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What to know about the Muslim community in New Zealand targeted by deadly attack

Fiona Goodall/Getty Images(CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand) -- The terror attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, that left at least 49 people dead has sent shockwaves throughout the world.

"What has happened in Christchurch is an extraordinary act of unprecedented violence," New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern wrote on Twitter. "It has no place in New Zealand. Many of those affected will be members of our migrant communities – New Zealand is their home – they are us." 

There are 46,149 Muslims in New Zealand out of 4.7 million people, making up less than 1 percent of the total population, according to the 2013 New Zealand census; a full-scale national census is due to be published in April 2019.

The city of Christchurch only has three mosques, and two of them were targeted on Friday.

The attack is all the more shocking given its occurrence in what many consider one of the most peaceful places in the world -- and one that prides itself on its openness and tolerance.

The deliberate attack of Muslims at Friday midday prayers, the holiest time of the week, is an example of a growing trend around the world of far-right, white supremacist extremism, as noted by the 2018 Global Terrorism Index produced by the Institute for Economics & Peace.

New Zealand has never experienced a terrorist attack before, according to ABC News senior foreign correspondent Ian Pannell.

There were 48 homicides nationwide in 2017, a number lower than the 58 recorded in 2016, according to the latest police figures.

 Unlike neighboring Australia, which has pursued a number of controversial immigration policies, New Zealand has encouraged migration from abroad.

New Zealand also voted in favor of the United Nations' Global Compact for Migration in December, the international pledge to "optimize the overall benefits of migration."

There was controversy in 2006, however, when two New Zealand newspapers re-published Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. After protests, the editors at the newspapers Dominion-Post and the Press apologized for the publication of the depictions of Muhammad, which are strictly forbidden in Islam, according to the Herald newspaper.

However, it is not just the people of New Zealand who have been shocked by the attack.

On the other side of the world, in nations including France, Britain and the U.S., security has been stepped up around mosques. World leaders, including the Pope and Elizabeth II, have expressed their condolences to the victims of the Christchurch attack.

The anti-radicalization group Hope Not Hate was also adamant that the "heartbreaking" attacks should be placed in a global context of the rise of the far-right.

"The bloody terrorist attack in Christchurch was carried out by a far-right activist who has published a manifesto explaining why he did it. It is full of praise for other anti-Muslim activists and ideas," Hope Not Hate chief executive Nick Lowles told ABC News. "In Oslo and Utøya, Charlottesville, Finsbury Park, Pittsburgh, and in so many places around the world, this violent ideology destroys lives and rips loved ones apart."

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New details emerge about Boeing 737 MAX 8 flight's final moments

@Bea_Aero/Twitter(NEW YORK) -- Analysis of the flight data and cockpit voice recorders from Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 began early Friday morning in Paris, the airline said, beginning a process that could provide new clues about what caused the crash that killed 157 people aboard the Boeing 737 MAX 8 Sunday, and resulted in a nearly world-wide grounding of the aircraft until its safety is confirmed.

Investigators are looking into the MAX 8's autopilot functions and the training of the pilots who flew the plane, as well as a mechanical part of the control system that alters the up-and-down movement of the nose, an aviation source told ABC News' Senior Transportation Correspondent David Kerley. The mechanism, called a "jackscrew," is a threaded rod in the tail section of the plan that affects the plane's stability.

A jackscrew malfunction was a factor in the cause of another fatal crash in 2000, when an Alaska Airlines plane nosedived into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Los Angeles.

Air traffic controllers said they noticed the Ethiopian Airlines flight pitching up and down hundreds of feet before it crashed, according to a New York Times report Thursday night. The captain called in a panicked voice to ask to return to the airport, but the plane disappeared off the radar just minutes later, the Times reported.

Public data from FlightRadar24 also showed the plane accelerated to high, abnormal speeds, though the reason was unclear.

The new details could help fill out a picture of the plane's final moments. Data from the "black boxes," devices that house the flight data and cockpit voice recorders, not only will provide further guidance for investigators but also seom first answers for the families of the victims. The National Transportation Safety Board, an independent U.S. agency that investigates transportation accidents and issues widely-respected safety recommendations, also sent three additional investigators to assist in the analysis.

The Boeing 737 MAX 8 was involved in another deadly crash in Indonesia in October that killed 189 people.

Key questions surrounding apparent similarities in the two planes' trajectories, both of which oscillated up and down before crashing within minutes of take-off, have caused about 40 countries to ground the Boeing 737 MAX as a precautionary measure.

"Once they start reading out their recorders they'll know fairly quickly what this is ... is this a repeat of Lion Air or is this something different," Tom Haueter, a former NTSB investigator and ABC News contributor, told Kerley on "Good Morning America" Friday.

 A major question is whether the plane's autopilot system might have played a role in the Ethiopian Airlines crash, as it seemed to have done in the fatal crash of an Indonesian Lion Air 737 MAX 8. In that crash, it appears the pilots failed to disengage the autopilot when the plane's nose began pitching up and down, perhaps because they were unaware of how to do so. Some pilots have complained that the information to disengage autopilot was not readily available, and others have raised concerns about the adequacy of the training process.

"After the Lion Air tragedy, we learned that there was equipment on our aircraft that we were not aware of, it wasn't even in our book," said American Airlines pilot Dennis Tajer. Tajer, a spokesperson for a pilot's union --the Allied Pilots Association -- met with Boeing in the aftermath of the last crash.

At least 250 flights per day in the U.S. typically use Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, according to Flightradar24. The MAX fleets in the U.S. are operated by American Airlines, Southwest and United. Because of the grounding, it's estimated at least 43,000 passengers each day will have to be rerouted on different planes.

In an email to some customers early Friday morning, American Airlines apologized for the inconvenience, asked for passengers to be patient and said the airline would work "tirelessly to minimize the impact."

Boeing stopped delivery of the MAX jet but will continue to build them, with nearly 5,000 planes on order. Some airlines, such as Alaska Airlines, were set to receive the new 737 MAX 8 and 9 in June. Alaska Airlines indicated it expected to get it as planned, but said it was "too early to speculate on future deliveries."




YouTube, Facebook, Twitter scrambling to contain video of New Zealand mosques shooting

iStock/Poligrafistka(CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand) -- Facebook, Twitter, Google's YouTube and other social media platforms are scrambling to contain the spread of videos and other material related to shootings at two mosques that marked the deadliest attack in New Zealand history.

On Friday, at least 49 people were killed and dozens more injured by at least one gunman at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

According to authorities, a shooter appeared to livestream video of the attack on Facebook, documenting the attack on Facebook from the drive to the Al Noor Mosque from a first-person perspective, and it showed the shooter walking into the mosque from the car and opening fire.

The New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs said in a statement that the video footage is "likely to be objectionable content under New Zealand law" and that "people who share the video of the shooting today in Christchurch are likely to be committing an offence."

"Police are aware there is extremely distressing footage relating to the incident in Christchurch circulating online," New Zealand Police said on Twitter shortly after the shooting. "We would strongly urge that the link not be shared. We are working to have any footage removed."

On YouTube, the video lingered for hours after the attack as different individuals republished it.

YouTube tweeted about the shooting video, "Our hearts are broken over today's terrible tragedy in New Zealand. Please know we are working vigilantly to remove any violent footage."

Facebook also issued a statement saying it had taken down the suspected shooter's Facebook and Instagram accounts and removed the video he posted of the attack.

"Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and the community affected by the horrendous shootings in New Zealand. Police alerted us to a video on Facebook shortly after the livestream commenced and we quickly removed both the shooter’s Facebook and Instagram accounts and the video. We're also removing any praise or support for the crime and the shooter or shooters as soon as we’re aware. We will continue working directly with New Zealand Police as their response and investigation continues," Facebook New Zealand spokeswoman Mia Garlick wrote in a statement.

Portions of the video were also spreading by individuals on Twitter, which said it, too, was working to remove the content and had suspended the shooter's account.

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Students around the world skip school to demand action on climate change 

Jack Taylor/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Student-led protests kicked off around the world Friday, with thousands of young people skipping school, calling for action on climate change.

The student "strikes" and other events were scheduled to take place in more than 100 countries, spanning from Australia to France to the United States, with some students protesting outside of their schools to others marching in the streets.

Using the hashtag #FridaysForFuture, the organizers say they hope to bring attention to what they say needs to be done to stop climate change.

The protests were inspired by a Swedish teenager named Greta Thunberg, who has now been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Last September, she began a solo protest outside of the Swedish Parliament that led to her heading a climate change march of thousands of students through Brussels.

Her movement inspired the organizers of #FridaysForFuture, one of whom is Isra Hirsi, the 16-year-old daughter of controversial freshman Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. They will be part of protest Friday at the U.S. Capitol.

"We have 11 years to avoid a catastrophic climate change," said Hirsi. "That's why we are striking today. The youth hereby declare a national emergency on climate change."

Omar says she shares the same passion as her daughter for action on climate change, which has helped propel the Green New Deal onto the national stage.

The Green New Deal is a wide-reaching initiative that its supporters say aims to transform the economy to combat the issues of climate change and inequality. The proposal would call for the U.S. economy to depend solely on renewable energy by 2030 as well as investments in the nation's education, infrastructure and health care systems.

Hirsi echoed the words of her mother in support of the Green New Deal, and urged young voters in 2020 to support candidates who will back the initiative.

"Vote for people who believe that 100 percent renewable energy by 2030 is possible and are determined to make it happen," said Hirsi. "People who know that fossil fuels are a thing of the past and that the future is renewable energy."

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