Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: March 12, 2018

Trump proposes arming teachers but not raising age limits for gun buyers, five die in a New York City helicopter crash, and more


Trump proposes arming some teachers, not raising age for gun buyers

The White House on Sunday unveiled President Trump's proposals on school safety and gun control in response to last month's deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Trump stopped short of calling for universal background checks on gun buyers, instead urging Congress to tighten existing checks. He also backed away from demanding higher age limits on purchases of high-powered semiautomatic rifles like the one used in Parkland. Trump did offer to help states pay to provide firearm training for some school staff members volunteering to carry guns, as part of his push to "harden" schools. The administration also plans to establish a federal commission to study how to address gun violence.


Five killed in New York City helicopter crash

A helicopter chartered for a photo shoot crashed into the East River in New York City on Sunday night. The five passengers died after being trapped inside the upside-down helicopter as it sank quickly. Two died at the scene and the other three were pronounced dead at a hospital after being extricated by police divers. The pilot managed to get out and climb onto a raft. "After a minute, we saw a man come out holding onto a raft screaming: 'Help! Help! Ah!' and then inaudible screams ... It was horrifying," witness Brianna Jesme told the New York Post.


60 Minutes tapes interview with Stormy Daniels

Adult film star Stormy Daniels has recorded a 60 Minutes interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper, a 60 Minutes contributor, and according to BuzzFeed News, CBS plans to broadcast it on March 18. Daniels says she had an affair with President Trump in 2006, and Trump's attorney Michael Cohen has acknowledged paying her $130,000 in October 2016 to stay silent, though he calls her claim baseless. Daniels argued in a lawsuit filed last week that the nondisclosure order is invalid because Trump did not sign it. Cohen reportedly plans to request a legal injunction to block the airing of the interview, but CBS told The New York Times that it had not received any legal threat as of Sunday night.


Critics slam Putin for saying Jews might have meddled in election

Jewish groups and U.S. lawmakers on Sunday harshly criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin for saying Russian Jews might have been behind efforts to meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Putin made the comment in an interview broadcast Saturday by NBC News in which he said plenty of actors other than his government could have been behind efforts to influence the vote. "Maybe they're not even Russians," Putin told Megyn Kelly. "Maybe they're Ukrainian, Tatars, Jews — just with Russian citizenship." Putin's critics said he was tapping into anti-Jewish myths that Nazis stoked during the Holocaust. "Repulsive Putin remark deserves to be denounced, soundly and promptly, by world leaders," Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) tweeted. "Why is Trump silent?"


Aide: Trump still intends to talk to Mueller

President Trump still plans to talk to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah said Sunday on ABC's This Week. Host John Karl noted that Trump had told him twice that he would talk to Mueller under oath as part of the investigation into Russian election meddling, and asked Shah whether Trump would follow through. Shah said Trump was consulting with his attorneys, who were talking with the special counsel's office about the terms of an interview. "I'm sure [Trump] intends to [talk]," Shah said. "But what I'm saying is that his attorneys are communicating with the special counsel on the specifics."


Russia says it test-launched hypersonic missile

Russia successfully test-launched a hypersonic missile on Sunday, the Russian defense ministry said. The rocket is one of several new high-tech nuclear-capable weapons Russian President Vladimir Putin announced recently that his country's military had developed. In the March 1 annual address to the Russian people, Putin called the Kinzhal missile "an ideal weapon," boasting that it could travel at 10 times the speed of sound and evade all missile defenses. He also said it was part of a new collection of "invincible" weapons that included a nuclear-armed high-speed underwater drone.


Netanyahu holds emergency meeting to stave off coalition crisis

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held emergency negotiations with key coalition partners on Sunday and into Monday, reportedly reaching a tentative deal to hold off a crisis that threatened to force early elections as soon as June. Some members of Netanyahu's government balked at extending military draft exemptions for ultra-Orthodox men. Before the tentative deal, Netanyahu's religious coalition partners had been saying they wouldn't vote for the 2019 budget without the draft exemptions, and a key secular partner has vowed to leave the coalition unless the budget is passed quickly. Netanyahu faces corruption allegations for apparently accepting gifts from wealthy friends, and other claims. Israel's attorney general is considering whether two separate cases warrant separate indictments.


Turkish jet crashes, killing 11

A Turkish private jet crashed in Iran Sunday en route from the United Arab Emirates to Istanbul, killing all 11 people on board. The plane reportedly was carrying a wealthy Turkish socialite and her friends home from a bachelorette party in Dubai when it hit a mountain in heavy rain. The aircraft burst into flames on impact. Witnesses said one engine was in flames before the crash. The Bombardier CL604 jet was owned by a private holding company of Turkish businessman Huseyin Basaran, whose daughter Mina reportedly was returning home with seven friends and three crew members ahead of her planned April wedding. Also, a Bangladeshi aircraft carrying 67 passengers crashed while attempting to land in Nepal on Monday. At least 17 people were rescued.


Musk says SpaceX Mars spaceship will be ready for short trips in 2019

SpaceX founder Elon Musk said Sunday at South by Southwest in Austin that the spacecraft his company plans to send to Mars should be ready for its first test flights in the first half of next year. SpaceX aims for the privately-funded project, announced in September 2017, to send a cargo ship to Mars by 2022, with an ultimate goal of setting up the infrastructure needed for a human colony on Mars. Once the basics — including glass domes, a power station, and other infrastructure needed for survival — are in place, Musk said, "then really the explosion of entrepreneurial opportunity [will begin], because Mars will need everything from iron foundries to pizza joints."


Virginia, Villanova, Kansas, Xavier take top seeds in NCAA tournament

Virginia, with a 31-2 record, took the top overall seed in the NCAA men's basketball tournament bracket unveiled Sunday night. The other three No. 1 seeds were Big East champions Villanova (30-4), Big 12 regular-season champion Kansas (27-7), and Xavier (28-5). The No. 2 seeds were defending national champion North Carolina (25-10), Duke (26-7), Purdue (28-6), and Cincinnati (30-4). The tournament, popularly known as March Madness, this year is being played under the cloud of a federal investigation into corruption in college basketball recruiting that resulted in criminal charges against several defendants last year. Arizona (27-7), Auburn (25-7), and Miami (22-9) are among the implicated programs that made the tournament.


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