Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: April 1, 2018

Pope calls for 'peace upon the entire world' in Easter message, Gaza protest leaves 16 dead and hundreds injured, and more


Pope calls for 'peace upon the entire world' in Easter message

"Today we implore fruits of peace upon the entire world," Pope Francis said in his Easter homily Sunday, "beginning with the beloved and long suffering land of Syria whose people are worn down by an apparently endless war." While he celebrated the resurrection of Christ, Francis mourned conflict and suffering around the world, "beseech[ing] fruits of reconciliation for the Holy Land, also experiencing in these days the wounds of ongoing conflict that do not spare the defenseless, for Yemen and for the entire Middle East, so that dialogue and mutual respect may prevail over division and violence."


Gaza protest leaves 16 dead and hundreds injured

At least 16 Palestinians were killed and as many as 1,000 more injured by Israeli soldiers at the Gaza border on Friday, the beginning of Passover week. About 30,000 Palestinian protesters were gathered at the border for March of the Return, a six-week protest over disputed land presently held by Israel. Some demonstrators reportedly attempted to cut the border fence, while others threw stones and burning tires. Israeli soldiers responded with tear gas, rubber bullets, and live fire. Funerals were held Saturday, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday there will be no inquiry into the casualties.


Trump slams California governor over pardons

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) granted 56 pardons and 14 commutations on Friday, and five of the pardons applied to immigrants who already face or may face deportation. President Trump expressed his displeasure with the decision on Twitter Saturday. "Governor Jerry 'Moonbeam' Brown pardoned 5 criminal illegal aliens," he wrote, "whose crimes include (1) Kidnapping and Robbery (2) Badly beating wife and threatening a crime with intent to terrorize (3) Dealing drugs. Is this really what the great people of California want?" The pardons did not result in early release from prison or probation sentences but could make deportation less likely.


Ted Nugent attacks Parkland students as 'soulless'

Singer and National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent on Friday criticized the high school students who have become gun control advocates after surviving the mass shooting at their school in Parkland, Florida, in February. "The level of ignorance goes beyond stupidity," Nugent said in a radio interview. "To attack the good law-abiding families of America when well known predictable murderers commit these horrors is deep in the category of soulless. These poor children — I'm afraid to say this and it hurts me to say this — but the evidence is irrefutable, they have no soul."


Justice Department says Microsoft's Supreme Court case is now moot

The Department of Justice said in a court filing published Saturday it no longer wishes to pursue its digital privacy case against Microsoft at the Supreme Court. At issue is whether the U.S. government can compel American companies to produce digital data stored abroad. Part of the omnibus spending bill passed in March was the Cloud Act, which says a "provider of electronic communication service" like Microsoft must comply with court orders for data "regardless of whether such communication, record, or other information is located within or outside of the United States." The DOJ believes the law makes the case moot.


Sheriff's car hits woman at Stephon Clark protest

A sheriff's vehicle hit a woman named Wanda Cleveland at a protest over the police killing of Stephon Clark in Sacramento Saturday night. "The vehicle accelerated and struck her, accelerated very fast, and struck her violently, and she fell to the ground," said Guy Danilowitz, who recorded video of the incident. After striking Cleveland, the sheriff's deputy drove away. She sustained minor injuries and described the experience as a "hit-and-run" for which any non-officer would be charged. The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department claimed the collision happened "at slow speeds."


Video compilation shows Sinclair-owned affiliates slamming 'fake' news in unison

A video compilation published on YouTube Saturday shows dozens of news anchors at local affiliate stations owned by the conservative Sinclair Broadcast Group reciting word-for-word the exact same message on "fake" news. "Unfortunately, some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control exactly what people think," the anchors say. "This is extremely dangerous to our democracy." The video shows CBS, ABC, NBC, and Fox affiliates sharing the message. Sinclair's aggregate televised reach covers about 40 percent of the U.S.


Tesla vehicle was on autopilot during fatal crash

The Tesla Model X which crashed in California last week was on autopilot during the accident, the company said Friday. The driver, who was killed in the collision, had no hands on the steering wheel for at least six seconds before the vehicle ran into a highway median. "The driver had received several visual and one audible hands-on warning earlier in the drive," Tesla said in a statement, and the "driver had about five seconds and 150 meters of unobstructed view of the concrete divider" but took no action. The statement emphasized that internal and independent research has found autopilot makes crashes far less likely.


Hundreds pay tribute at Stephen Hawking's funeral

Some 500 guests attended the funeral of famed scientist Stephen Hawking in Cambridge, England, on Saturday, and hundreds more lined up outside the church where the private service was held to pay their respects. Readings were given by Hawking's children, a former student, Astronomer Royal Martin Reese, and actor Eddie Redmayne, who portrayed Hawking in 2014's The Theory of Everything, a biographical film on Hawking's life, work, and diagnosis of ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease. Hawking died March 14 at the age of 76.


Villanova and Michigan advance to March Madness finale

The Michigan Wolverines and Villanova Wildcats each secured their spot in the championship game of this year's NCAA men's basketball tournament, triumphing over Loyola-Chicago and Kansas, respectively, Saturday night. No. 1 Villanova is expected to best No. 3 Michigan, but in a contest marked by underdog wins from teams like UMBC and Loyola-Chicago, an upset could be in the works. The March Madness finale will be played Monday at 9:20 p.m. ET on TBS.


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