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The Latest: 48 people hospitalized after NZ shootings

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  • CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand — The Latest on shootings at mosques in New Zealand (all times local):

    12:15 a.m.

    New Zealand health authorities say 48 people with gunshot wounds are being treated at Christchurch Hospital after mass shootings at two mosques killed 49 people.

    The chief executive of the Canterbury District Health Board, David Meates, says the patients range from young children to adults and the injuries range from minor to critical.

    Meates says 12 operating theatres are being used and some patients will need multiple surgeries.

    He says about 200 family members are at the hospital early Saturday awaiting news about their loved ones.

    ___

    11:50 p.m.

    New Zealand police say their investigation into mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch has extended 360 kilometres (240 miles) to the south where homes have been evacuated around a “location of interest” in Dunedin.

    A police statement gave no further detail of how the location might be linked to the attacks in Christchurch that claimed at least 49 lives.

    Police say homes around the location in Dunedin have been evacuated as a precaution.

    Three people are being held in Christchurch, including one who has been charged with murder, and police say two improvised explosive devises were found in a car.

    ___

    11:20 p.m.

    National carrier Air New Zealand has cancelled at least 17 flights in and out of Christchurch, saying it couldn’t screen customers and their baggage following deadly shootings at two mosques.

    The airline said some smaller planes travelling on regional routes were cancelled while larger jet planes would continue landing and taking off due to security screening processes already in place.

    Typically, passengers on smaller turboprop aircraft travelling to or from Christchurch don’t go through security screening and are able to walk right onto the plane.

    Air New Zealand said the safety of its customers and employees was paramount and apologized for the inconvenience.

    Police say at least 49 people were killed in the shootings during Friday prayers at the mosques.

    ___

    9:10 p.m.

    New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush says the death toll has increased to 49 in shootings at two mosques.

    Bush told a news conference that a man has been charged with murder and will appear in court tomorrow. He would not say whether the same shooter was responsible for both attacks.

    A man who earlier claimed responsibility said he was a 28-year-old Australian and described anti-immigrant motives in a manifesto.

    Police earlier said four people had been taken into custody, and one had been identified as Australian. However, Bush didn’t mention the other people.

    Bush clarified that police had found two improvised explosive devices in one car. He said they had disabled one and were in the process of disabling the second.

    ___

    8 p.m.

    New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the national security threat level has been lifted from low to high after deadly shootings at two mosques.

    Forty people were killed in Friday’s attack and four people were taken into custody, including one Australian. Ardern said none had been on any terror watch list.

    The security threat level is now at the second-highest level. She said authorities had no reason to believe there were more suspects, but “we are not assuming that at this stage.”

    A man who claimed responsibility for the shootings described anti-immigrant views in a manifesto.

    Ardern said, “These are people who I would describe as having extremist views, that have absolutely no place in New Zealand.”

    ___

    7:40 p.m.

    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the shootings at two mosques in New Zealand appear to have been a well-planned “terrorist attack.”

    Ardern said 40 people were killed at two mosques in the city of Christchurch and more than 20 seriously injured.

    She said earlier Friday that migrants and refugees appeared to be most affected by the shootings.

    A man who claimed responsibility for the attack said he was a 28-year-old Australian and described anti-immigrant motives in a manifesto.

    Police earlier said four people were taken into custody, and one has been identified as Australian.

    Ardern said in a news conference, “It is clearthat this can now only be describedas a terrorist attack. From what weknow, it does appear to have beenwell planned.”

    ___

    7:30 p.m.

    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says 40 people have been killed in an attack at mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.

    Four people have been detained, and one is Australian.

    Ardern said more than 20 people were seriously injured during the shootings at two mosques during Friday prayers.

    Thirty fatalities occurred at the Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch. Seven of the dead were inside the suburban Linwood Masjid Mosque and three died outside the same mosque.

    A man who claimed responsibility for the shootings said in a manifesto that he was a 28-year-old white Australian who came to New Zealand only to plan and train for the attack.

    ___

    7 p.m.

    Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed that one of the four people taken into custody in New Zealand’s mosque shootings is an Australian.

    A man who claimed responsibility for the shootings said in a manifesto that he was a 28-year-old white Australian who came to New Zealand only to plan and train for the attack.

    New Zealand police said they had arrested four people. Morrison on Friday confirmed one of those who were arrested was an Australian-born citizen. He said Australian authorities were assisting with the investigation.

    Morrison said Australians were shocked, appalled and outraged by the attack. He described the gunman as “an extremist, right-wing, violent terrorist.”

    ___

    6:20 p.m.

    Indonesia’s foreign minister says six Indonesians were at the Al Noor Mosque in New Zealand when a shooting occurred and three of them escaped.

    Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said, “We are looking for three other Indonesian citizens.”

    Police have described multiple fatalities in shootings at two mosques in the city of Christchurch and say four people are in custody.

    The Indonesian Embassy in Wellington sent a team to Christchurch that is co-ordinating with New Zealand officials.

    The foreign ministry says there are 330 Indonesian citizens in Christchurch, 130 of them students.

    It said it strongly condemns the attack. “The government and the people of Indonesia convey deep condolences to the victims and their families.”

    ___

    6 p.m.

    New Zealand police say they’re not aware of other suspects beyond the four who have been arrested after two mosque shootings but they can’t be certain.

    Police Commissioner Mike Bush did not elaborate on the suspects who are in custody.

    The shootings occurred at two mosques in the Christchurch area during Friday afternoon prayers.

    A witness described multiple deaths at the Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch. A witness who heard about five gunshots at the suburban Linwood Masjid Mosque said two wounded people were carried out on stretchers.

    ___

    5:30 p.m.

    New Zealand police say they have taken into custody three men and one woman over the shootings at two mosques in Christchurch.

    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the events Friday afternoon “one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”

    The shootings involved multiple fatalities but authorities have not said how many.

    New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said police have defused a number of improvised explosive devices found on vehicles after the mosque shootings.

    A man who claimed responsibility for the shootings left a 74-page anti-immigrant manifesto in which he explained who he was and his reasoning for his actions. He said he considered it a terrorist attack.

    ___

    4:30 p.m.

    Police have warned people to avoid mosques anywhere in New Zealand following two shootings with multiple fatalities at two mosques in Christchurch.

    New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said anyone thinking of going to a mosque should stay put and close their doors.

    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a Friday afternoon news conference that one suspect was in custody but “there could be others involved.”

    A man who lives near the Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch said many people were dead there. A witness to a second shooting told New Zealand media he saw two wounded people being transported by rescuers afterward.

    ___

    4:10 p.m.

    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says following fatal shootings at two mosques in Christchurch it is “one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”

    Police said there were multiple fatalities and one person was in custody, but no details were immediately available.

    Ardern said at a Friday afternoon news conference, “what has happened here is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence.”

    She said while many people affected may be migrants or refugees “they have chosen to make New Zealand their home and it is their home. They are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not.”

    ___

    3:45 p.m.

    New Zealand media say a shooting has occurred in a second mosque in the city of Christchurch.

    No details were immediately available.

    Earlier Friday afternoon, police had urged people to stay indoors as authorities responded to a shooting at the Masjid Al Noor mosque.

    A neighbour described mass casualties inside the mosque and said he saw the gunman flee.

    ___

    3 p.m.

    A witness says many people have been killed in a mass shooting at a mosque in the New Zealand city of Christchurch.

    Police have not described the scale of the Friday shooting but urged people in central Christchurch to stay indoors.

    Witness Len Peneha says he saw a man dressed in black enter the Masjid Al Noor mosque and then heard dozens of shots, followed by people running from the mosque in terror.

    He says he also saw the gunman flee before emergency services arrived

    Peneha says he went into the mosque to try and help: “I saw dead people everywhere.”

    The Associated Press



















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    National

    Father of seven children who were killed in Halifax house fire remains in coma

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  • HALIFAX — The father of seven children killed in a ferocious fire remains in a coma, a month after flames engulfed their Halifax home.

    Muslim community leaders say Ebraheim Barho has undergone multiple surgeries and remains in the intensive care unit of a Halifax hospital with his wife Kawthar at his side.

    Sheikh Wael Haridy of the Nova Scotia Islamic Community Centre says the grief-stricken mother is struggling with the loss of her children, who ranged in age from three months to their teens, while her husband remains in coma.

    Imam Abdallah Yousri of the Ummah Mosque says the community continues to wait and pray for his recovery.

    Although some relatives of the Syrian refugee family have arrived in Canada to offer support, efforts are still underway to bring more family members.

    Halifax deputy fire Chief David Meldrum says there are no updates on the investigation into the tragic house fire in the Spryfield neighbourhood.

    Once a cause has been determined, he says Halifax Fire and Emergency will hold a news conference to share the details with the public.

    The home on Quartz Drive was torn down earlier this month. All that remains at the grim site is the concrete foundation.

    Meldrum says he cannot comment on an ongoing investigation or the reason for any possible delay, but says “it’s fair to say that in the course of fire investigations generally, interviewing witnesses who may have information is an obvious item of importance to us.”

    Ebraheim Barho was rushed to hospital on Feb. 19 suffering from extensive burns and was placed in a medically induced coma.

    A GoFundMe campaign has raised more than $700,000 for the family.

    The Canadian Press


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    Wilson-Raybould to reveal more details, documents on SNC-Lavalin affair

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  • OTTAWA — Jody Wilson-Raybould plans to reveal more — in writing — about her accusation that she faced improper pressure to prevent the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin.

    The former attorney general has written to the House of Commons justice committee to advise that she intends to make a written submission.

    She says the submission will disclose “relevant facts and evidence” in her possession that will further clarify her previous oral testimony at the committee and “elucidate the accuracy” of statements made by other witnesses who followed her.

    “I trust that the committee will receive this information as part of, and in follow-up to, my testimony on Feb. 27, 2019,” Wilson-Raybould writes. 

    “Further, I do hope my response to the committee’s specific request and the additional information will assist the committee in completing its study on this important matter and in preparing its final report.”

    The Liberal-dominated committee shut down its investigation into the affair on Tuesday, with Liberal members concluding no rules or laws were broken.

    Opposition parties have been demanding Prime Minister Justin Trudeau grant a blanket waiver of solicitor-client privilege and cabinet confidentiality to allow Wilson-Raybould to more fully tell her story.

    Wilson-Raybould says the additional information she will provide in her written submission will stay within the confines of the waiver she has already been granted, covering the period last fall when she claims to have been pressured up to Jan. 14 when she was shuffled out of her dual role as justice minister and attorney general.

    Her letter comes the day after former cabinet minister Jane Philpott fanned the flames of the SNC-Lavalin fire in an interview to Maclean’s magazine, saying there is “much more to the story” — a report that landed in the midst of a Conservative-orchestrated filibuster over the controversy.

    The filibuster, which continued until almost 1 a.m. Friday, was intended to protest Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s refusal to offer a blanket waiver of privilege and confidentiality that Wilson-Raybould has claimed is necessary if she is to fully tell her side of the story.

    Philpott, who resigned early this month as Treasury Board president, told Maclean’s that she raised concerns with Trudeau, during a Jan. 6 discussion about an imminent cabinet shuffle, that Wilson-Raybould was being moved out of Justice because of her refusal to intervene in the SNC-Lavalin case.

    “I think Canadians might want to know why I would have raised that with the prime minister a month before the public knew about it. Why would I have felt that there was a reason why Minister Wilson-Raybould should not be shuffled?” she said. “My sense is that Canadians would like to know the whole story.”

    But Philpott actually appears to already be free to talk about that Jan. 6 conversation with Trudeau: The government has waived solicitor-client privilege and cabinet confidentiality for last fall, when Wilson-Raybould alleges she was improperly pressured, until Jan. 14, when she was moved to the Veterans Affairs portfolio. The waiver applies not just to Wilson-Raybould but to “any persons who directly participated in discussions with her” relating to the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin for alleged corrupt practices in Libya.

    That waiver allowed Wilson-Raybould to testify for nearly four hours before the House of Commons justice committee.

    On Thursday, Trudeau rejected the opposition parties’ contention, echoed by Philpott, that a broader waiver is required to cover the period between Jan. 14 and Wilson-Raybould’s resignation from cabinet a month later.

    “It was extremely important that the former attorney general be allowed to share completely her perspectives, her experiences on this issue, and that is what she was able to do,” he said after an announcement in Mississauga, pumping up the latest budget’s promise to invest $2.2 billion more in municipal infrastructure projects.

    “The issue at question is the issue of pressure around the Lavalin issue while she was attorney general and she got to speak fully to that.”

    Trudeau also gave his version of the Jan. 6 conversation with Philpott, during which he informed her she would be moving to Treasury Board and that Wilson-Raybould would be taking her place at Indigenous Services. His version echoed the testimony of his former principal secretary, Gerald Butts, to the justice committee.

    “She asked me directly if this was in link to the SNC-Lavalin decision and I told her no, it was not,” Trudeau said. “She then mentioned it might be a challenge for Jody Wilson-Raybould to take on the role of Indigenous Services and I asked her for her help, which she gladly offered to give, in explaining to Jody Wilson-Raybould how exciting this job was and what a great thing it would be for her to have that role.”

    Wilson-Raybould ultimately turned down the move to Indigenous Services and Trudeau moved her instead to Veterans Affairs. She resigned a month later.

    The Canadian Press




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