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March 14, 2019

Multiple people were killed on Friday in shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, police said.

One person has been arrested, but authorities believe other people may have been involved, and parts of the city are on lockdown. Stuff reports that at least nine people were killed and dozens injured at the Masjid Al Noor and Linwood Masjid mosques. Police Commissioner Mike Bush has issued a warning, saying that "no one in the country must go to a mosque under any circumstances."

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern could not confirm the number of casualties, but said "it will be one of New Zealand's darkest days." Catherine Garcia

March 12, 2019

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is expected to announce on Wednesday that he will use an executive order to put a moratorium on the death penalty, USA Today reports.

There are now 737 inmates on California's death row, with 24 having exhausted all of their appeals. During his announcement, Newsom is planning on declaring that the "intentional killing of another person is wrong" and "as governor, I will not oversee the execution of any individual," USA Today says. He will argue that the death penalty is inherently racist, biased against the mentally ill, does not increase safety, is expensive, and has led to the deaths of wrongfully convicted inmates.

The governor has the ability to commute death sentences, and the order gives all death row inmates an immediate reprieve from being executed. Previously, Newsom called the death penalty a "failed policy" that "wastes money and is fundamentally immoral." In 2016, voters in California narrowly rejected a proposition that would have changed all death sentences into life without the possibility of parole. The state last executed a death row inmate in 2006. Catherine Garcia

March 7, 2019

President Trump's former campaign chair Paul Manafort was sentenced to 47 months in prison Thursday evening.

Manafort will receive nine months of time already served. The sentencing comes after Manafort was convicted last summer on one count of failing to file a foreign bank account, two counts of bank fraud, and five counts of tax evasion. Before he announced the sentence, Judge T.S. Ellis said Manafort has "otherwise lived a blameless life."

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team recommended between 19 and 25 years in prison for the crimes, meaning the 69-year-old could have spent the rest of his life in prison. His lawyers asked for five years after Manafort apparently suffered health issues as he was held without bail; he appeared in the Alexandria, Virginia courthouse Thursday in a wheelchair.

In the case that wrapped up last August, a mistrial was declared in 10 other charges against Manafort, and they were eventually dismissed. Still, Manafort later reached a plea deal admitting to two more counts and forfeited millions of dollars worth of assets. He'll be sentenced on those additional counts in Washington, D.C., on March 13. Kathryn Krawczyk

March 3, 2019

At least 14 people were killed in Lee County, Alabama, on Sunday, as multiple tornadoes swept through the area.

Lee County is in eastern Alabama, along the border with Georgia. Dozens of people were injured and are being treated at East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika and other hospitals. Homes and buildings have been destroyed, and due to severe thunderstorms in the region, more than 35,000 people in Alabama and Georgia are without power. Officials say the town of Beauregard, 60 miles east of Montgomery, was hit the hardest. Catherine Garcia

February 25, 2019

A jury in Melbourne has found Cardinal George Pell, Australia's most senior Catholic and the Vatican's economy minister, guilty of sexually abusing two 13-year-old boys in 1996.

The 77-year-old cleric was also found guilty of indecently assaulting one of the teens a month later. One of the victims, now 34, testified in court. The other died in 2014 of a heroin overdose. The jury reached its decision on Dec. 11, but the court ordered that the verdict and details of the case stay under wraps until now. Pell faces up to 50 years in prison, with a sentencing hearing scheduled for Wednesday.

Pell is the Catholic Church's most senior official to be convicted of sexual abuse. In December, the Vatican announced Pell had been removed from Pope Francis' council of advisers. Catherine Garcia

February 19, 2019

President Trump is nominating Jeffrey Rosen to replace Rod Rosenstein as deputy attorney general, the White House announced Tuesday night.

Rosen, the deputy transportation secretary, served in the George W. Bush administration. Last week, William Barr was confirmed by the Senate and sworn in as attorney general, and people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News that Barr picked Rosen; both worked at the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. In a statement, Barr said Rosen's "years of outstanding legal and management experience make him an excellent choice to succeed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has served the Department of Justice over many years with dedication and distinction."

Rosenstein is reportedly expected to leave the Justice Department in mid-March. After Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election, Rosenstein appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller in May 2017. Catherine Garcia

February 18, 2019

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is expected to leave the Department of Justice in mid-March, a department official told Reuters on Monday.

It was anticipated that he would step down after a new attorney general was chosen; last week, William Barr was confirmed by the Senate and sworn in as attorney general. In May 2017, Rosenstein appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 election and any ties between Russia and the Trump campaign. Catherine Garcia

February 18, 2019

A coalition of 16 states, including California, New York, Maryland, and Illinois, filed a federal lawsuit on Monday over President Trump's attempt to use emergency powers to build a wall along the southern border.

In the suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Northern California, the states argue that Trump cannot construct the wall without permission from Congress, and it is unconstitutional for him to divert money designated for other purposes. The suit also states that the "federal government's own data prove there is no national emergency at the southern border that warrants construction of a wall. Customs and Border Protection data show that unlawful entries are near 45-year lows."

The additional states involved in the suit are Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, and Virginia. All have Democratic governors, with the exception of Maryland. Catherine Garcia

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