Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: March 17, 2019

Tim O'Donnell
A memorial for the victims of the Christchurch shooting.
Carl Court/Getty Images
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New Zealand death toll rises to 50

The death toll following the mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on Friday rose to 50 on Sunday after police discovered another victim. Police have still yet to release an official list of names of the deceased, though some identities have been made known. The lone suspect in the shootings, a 28-year-old Australian named Brenton Tarrant, will be tried in New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Sunday, though she is seeking advice on whether Tarrant should be extradited to Australia. He appeared in court on Saturday and was charged with murder. Police say he will face additional charges. Ardern also said on Sunday that her government would discuss changes to New Zealand's gun regulation laws on Monday. [The New York Times, The Associated Press]


Biden backtracks after he accidentally says he's running for president

Former Vice President Joe Biden may have accidentally revealed his decision to run in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary on Saturday during a speech in his home state of Delaware. "I have the most progressive record of anybody running," Biden said before stopping himself. He amended his statement immediately to say that he meant he had the most progressive record out of "anybody who would run." The slip of the tongue drew an enthusiastic cheer from the audience. Biden has yet to formally announce his campaign, but he has reportedly indicated to friends that he is "all but certain" to enter the continually growing Democratic field of candidates. [Politico, CNN]


Eastern Nebraska continues to deal with record flooding

The Missouri River was still rising on Saturday following rapid snow-melt after a "bomb cyclone" hit much of the central United States earlier this week. Eastern Nebraska and south and west central Iowa have experienced particular difficulties as a result of the record-breaking floods. There have been two reported flood-related fatalities in Nebraska this week. The floods have also triggered evacuations, destroyed homes and highway sections, and have blocked access to several small communities. The flooding is expected to reach a record crest of 47 feet by Tuesday. "We’re looking at 4, 5, 6, 7 feet above the highest it’s ever been," said Mike Wight, a spokesperson for the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency. [Reuters, KMTV]


Fox did not air Jeanine Pirro's show on Saturday

Fox News host Jeanine Pirro's weekly show Justice did not air during its regularly-scheduled time slot on Saturday evening, replaced instead by a repeat of a documentary series. The absence occurred just one week after Pirro made comments that questioned the patriotism of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.). Pirro came under fire from many sides as a result of her words, including from her employer. Fox "strongly" condemned the rhetoric. But the network has not publicly announced a cancellation or suspension of the show. Pirro has also not said anything about getting suspended or taking a vacation and has not tweeted since last week. It remains unclear whether the show will return next Saturday. [CNN, ABC News]


Yellow vest protests turn violent in Paris

The yellow vest protests — a populist movement for economic justice that began in France last November — experienced a violent resurgence in Paris on Saturday after several weeks of losing momentum. The protesters, who wear the eponymous yellow vests, clashed with police, set dangerous fires, and smashed up luxury stores in Paris. The rioting marked the 18th straight weekend of the demonstrations against French President Emmanuel Macron, whom protesters have accused of doing little to address their grievances. French police reportedly tried to contain the protesters with repeated volleys of tear gas and water canons, but with limited success. Paris police said 192 people were arrested on Saturday and 60 were injured. [The Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal]


Pilots received limited training for 737 MAX 8 planes

Pilots received little training before flying Boeing's 737 Max 8 airplane, The New York Times reported on Saturday. After Airbus announced in 2010 that it was introducing a new fuel-efficient and cost-effective plane, Boeing rushed to build its own version. Because it was a derivative model, regulators did not require additional simulator training for pilots, many of whom learned about the plane on an iPad, rather than traditional physical versions of cockpits that mimic flight experience. "We would have liked to have had a simulator," Jon Weaks, the president of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, said. "But it wasn’t practical, because it wasn’t built yet." [The New York Times]


Arlington County Board votes to approve $23 million dollar incentives package for Amazon

The Arlington County Board unanimously voted on Saturday to approve a $23 million dollar incentives package for Amazon to build a headquarters facility in Crystal City, Virginia. The 5-0 vote was the final action required for granting local and state subsidies to the corporate giant. The incentives package was reportedly never at risk of getting struck down, but the six hour meeting was still tense, as protesters repeatedly shouted "shame" and twice forced protesters to leave the room. The board chair, Christian Dorsey (D), said that he is confident the county can manage population growth and increased rents. The approval comes a month after Amazon backed out of deal with New York to build another headquarters facility there. [The Washington Post, Reuters]


Trump lashes out at the late John McCain

President Trump on Saturday attacked the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who died last August, for his role in the spread of the Steele Dossier, a series of memos written by a former British spy in 2016 that tied many in the Trump presidential campaign to collusion with Russia. Trump quote-tweeted Ken Starr, the independent counsel who investigated then-President Bill Clinton, after Starr called the dossier a "very dark stain" on McCain's legacy. Trump also criticized McCain's vote against repealing Obamacare last year. Trump has had a mostly one-sided feud with McCain that dates back several years. McCain's daughter, Meghan, responded to Trump, saying that "no one will ever love you" the way people loved her father. [Donald Trump, CNN]


Police charge suspect with murder of Gambino crime family boss

Police on Saturday took Anthony Comello, a 24-year-old Staten Island man, into custody in connection with the murder of the reputed boss of New York's Gambino crime family, Francesco Cali. The 53-year-old Cali was shot in front of his home on State Island on Wednesday. Several officials said on Saturday that preliminary information suggested that Cali's killing was not, in fact, related to organized crime. They do not, however, have a clear understanding of what Comello's motives for the murder may have been. [The New York Times, NJ.com]


NCAA tournament field to be revealed Sunday night

The NCAA Division I men's college basketball tournament field will be revealed on Sunday night. CBS will air the selection show at 6 p.m. Eastern Time. It will also stream the show live on cbssports.com and the CBS sports app. 68 teams will have their tickets punched to the tournament. The four top seeds remain somewhat unclear at this point, with schools like Gonzaga, Duke, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Michigan State all in the running. The women's tournament selection show is scheduled to air on Monday on ESPN at 7 p.m. Eastern Time. Mainstays Connecticut, Notre Dame, Baylor, and Mississippi State all have a good shot at securing No. 1 seeds. [CBS Sports, NCAA]