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Latest World news news, comment and analysis from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice

Italy's Northern League pledges mass migrant deportations

Analysts doubt viability of far-right plan but it highlights nature of pre-election debate

Italy’s far-right Northern League has promised to introduce mass deportations of asylum seekers to Africa as part of a radical reshaping of migration policies if it wins next month’s elections.

The party, led by Matteo Salvini, would also seek to force asylum courts to disregard the circumstances of a migrant’s journey in any deliberation about whether they should be granted asylum.

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02/19/2018 09:31 AM
Myanmar government 'bulldozing Rohingya mass grave to hide evidence'

Rights group says site of massacre in Rakhine state is being flattened on government orders after exposés of two other mass graves

WARNING: this report includes a graphic image that readers may find disturbing

The government of Myanmar is bulldozing over the site of a Rohingya mass grave in an effort to destroy evidence of a massacre committed last year by the military, according to a rights monitoring group.

The claim follows investigations conducted by the Associated Press and Reuters news agencies, which revealed evidence of other mass graves.

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02/19/2018 02:10 PM
Equatorial Guinea takes VP's French corruption conviction to UN

President’s son Teodorin Obiang given suspended sentence for embezzlement and money laundering

Equatorial Guinea has gone to the United Nations’ highest court to challenge a conviction in France against its vice-president for embezzling public money from the oil-rich but impoverished west African country – on the grounds that he has diplomatic immunity.

The extraordinary dispute over the status of Teodorin Obiang, whose fleet of Bugatti and Porsche cars was towed away by police during the French investigation, is being argued over at the international court of justice in The Hague this week.

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02/19/2018 02:31 PM
Utøya massacre re-enactment stuns Berlin audiences

Single-take film shot in real time draws praise from survivors of 2011 attack as it premieres at Berlin festival

A real-time feature film re-enactment of the massacre by a far-right terrorist in Norway has premiered at the Berlin film festival, where it drew praise from survivors as a painful but necessary examination of the dangers of extremism facing Europe.

Related: 'We had to tell this dark story' … how Utøya is remembering the massacre

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02/19/2018 02:48 PM
Macron's crusade for French language bolsters imperialism – Congo novelist

Club of French-speaking countries needs total overhaul, says novelist Alain Mabanckou

Alain Mabanckou, the acclaimed Congolese writer, has rejected Emmanuel Macron’s project to boost French speaking worldwide, calling instead for a complete overhaul of the club of French-speaking countries known as la Francophonie, which he said had become an instrument of French imperialism propping up African dictators.

The institutional network of French-speaking countries “cannot continue as it is today because it goes against everything we ever dreamed of”, Mabanckou told the Guardian in Nantes, where he was artistic director of the Atlantide world literary festival this weekend.

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02/19/2018 05:00 AM
Homophobic video warns Russians of dangers of not voting

Video seeks to boost turnout at presidential election by playing on homophobia and xenophobia

Russians who don’t vote in next month’s presidential elections risk seeing their country transformed into a gay-friendly state where people in their 50s are eligible for military conscription, a homophobic and xenophobic viral video has warned.

The three-minute video, which features professional actors, was uploaded to social media on Friday and Saturday and has been watched by millions of people. The actors say they do not know who ordered the video.

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02/19/2018 11:20 AM
Communist past returns to haunt embattled Czech PM

Slovakian court dismisses Andrej Babiš claim he was wrongly identified as a former agent

Only the fear of being unmasked as a collaborator seemed to cloud the businessman’s horizon as he signed up as an informer for communist Czechoslovakia’s secret police in jarringly jovial surroundings.

Over generous refreshments during a 90-minute meeting in a Bratislava wine bar on 11 November 1982, the agent soon to be known as Bureš was asked to report what associates were saying about the late Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, whose death the previous day threatened to shake the communist world and the east-west cold war confrontation to the core.

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02/19/2018 05:00 AM
Rapid fire rifle device on special offer in salute to Donald Trump

‘Bump stock’ used by Las Vegas shooter in promotional tie in with presidential campaign slogan

There is a Presidents’ Day sale on bump stocks, the device the Las Vegas shooter put on his rifles. Slide Fire Solutions, a bump stocks manufacturer, is offering 10% off with the coupon code MAGA.

That’s a salute to the campaign slogan of President Donald Trump, who promised to “Make America Great Again”, and who has responded to the deadly massacres in the past five months by continuing to oppose any new gun control laws.

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02/18/2018 11:07 PM
Venezuela's new bitcoin: an ingenious plan or worthless cryptocurrency?

Some analysts see the ‘petro’ as a desperate move to secure cash amid an economic meltdown brought about by President Nicolás Maduro’s policies


Is Venezuela’s new cryptocurrency an ingenious plan to evade U.S. sanctions? Or will it turn out to be a South American shitcoin?

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02/19/2018 07:30 AM
Russian curler banished from Winter Olympics after failed drug test
  • Alexander Krushelnitsky tests positive for meldonium
  • Set to be stripped of mixed curling bronze, won with wife

The Russian curler Alexander Krushelnitsky has been formally charged with a doping offence by the Court of Arbitration for Sport after testing positive for the banned substance meldonium. He is now likely to be stripped of his mixed curling bronze medal, won with his wife Anastasia Bryzgalova last week.

There are also growing questions about the International Olympic Committee’s decision to invite 168 Russians to compete here under a neutral flag, despite the country’s massive state-sponsored doping programme in Sochi four years’ ago.

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02/19/2018 07:34 AM
Orbán claims Hungary is last bastion against 'Islamisation' of Europe

PM steps up populist rhetoric in annual state of the nation speech ahead of April elections

The prime minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, has ramped up his populist rhetoric ahead of April elections to claim that “dark clouds are gathering” and that his country is a last bastion in the fight against the “Islamisation” of Europe.

In his annual state of the nation speech, Orbán, who already appears set to win a third consecutive four-year term, made what are now familiar claims about his success in beating back threats to Hungary’s way of life from “Brussels, Berlin and Paris politicians”.

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02/18/2018 06:34 PM
Gambia suspends death penalty in step towards abolition

President Adama Barrow announces that he wants to abolish executions in his country

Gambian President Adama Barrow has announced a suspension of the death penalty in his country, in a break from the former regime of the dictator Yahya Jammeh.

Barrow, a onetime security guard in London who was elected president in December 2016, signed a UN treaty on the abolition of capital punishment last year.

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02/19/2018 05:04 AM
Israel ready to act against ‘dangerous’ Iran, Netanyahu warns

Tehran will not be allowed to put ‘noose of terror around our neck’, PM says in Munich speech

Benjamin Netanyahu has said that Israel will act directly against Iran if necessary, not just its allies in the Middle East.

As Iran’s military role expands in Syria and Yemen and Donald Trump pushes for a more confrontational approach toward Tehran, Israel is seeking wider support for efforts to contain its regional arch-enemy.

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02/18/2018 07:56 PM
Brazilian football match abandoned after mass brawl and nine red cards

Derby between Vitoria and Bahia called off after a punch-up between players from both sides

A Brazilian football match between Vitoria and Bahia was abandoned with 11 minutes remaining on Sunday after the hosts had six men sent off in a game marked by a mass punch-up between players from both sides.

The score in the Bahia state championship clash between the two local rivals was 1-1 when Bruno Bispo became the ninth player in all, and the fifth from Vitoria, to be shown the red card.

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02/19/2018 03:13 AM
Pristina in the spotlight: Rita Ora aside, can Kosovo's capital make it big?

Ten years since Kosovo declared independence from Serbia, Pristina struggles with corruption and pollution – but the youngest capital in Europe is full of fresh energy

Pristina is a city of constant renewal. Not only is Kosovo’s main city the youngest capital in Europe – 42% of the population is under 24 years old – but it has been completely rebuilt twice since the second world war. The first rebuild was as part of an exhortation to build a modern, socialist city as part of Yugoslavia; the second after the 1998-99 conflict with Serbia.

Although the war emptied the city of most of its ethnic Albanian inhabitants, the physical damage was confined to a few buildings. Following the war, most of the Serb residents left for nearby Gracanica or points further north, and the UN assumed control over government institutions. But crime and corruption reigned, including over the city’s urban landscape. In 2000, architect and urban planning chief Rexhep Luci, who was trying to impose law and order in a city where wealthy individuals were developing property illegally, was gunned down. His murder has still not been solved, and in 2014, when mayor Shpend Ahmeti assumed power vowing to take on powerful interests, there were some 40,000 illegally built constructions.

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02/19/2018 01:31 PM
'I love Rome, but Rome doesn't love us': the city's new migrant crisis

Italy’s refugee crisis has reached its peak in Rome, where thousands of migrants are being evicted from squatting in the city’s abandoned buildings

Mobile phones lie idle, drawers dangle from chests and documents scatter the rooms. On the walls hang photos of weddings and children, all left behind in the rush to leave when the police stormed in.

Six months ago the former office block in Via Curtatone, overlooking Piazza Indipendenza in central Rome, became a flashpoint of Italy’s migrant crisis when police evicted the 800 Eritrean and Ethiopian refugees who had been living there for four years.

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02/19/2018 07:30 AM
Plyscraper city: Tokyo to build 350m tower made of wood

The $5.6bn cost of the 70-storey W350 Project is expected to be twice that of a conventional building

A skyscraper set to be built in Tokyo will become the world’s tallest to be made of wood.

The Japanese wood products company Sumitomo Forestry Co is proposing to build a 350 metre (1,148ft), 70-floor tower to commemorate its 350th anniversary in 2041.

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02/16/2018 04:08 PM
Dongguan in the spotlight: hi-tech comeback for 'factory of the world'?

After an economic slump lasting years, Dongguan – the home of ‘Made in China’ – is reinventing itself as a robotics base

This month Dongguan, in the heart of the Pearl River Delta economic zone of south China, is transformed from a city of migrants into a city of ghosts.

The Chinese New Year holiday marks the start of the biggest annual human migration on the planet. During the Spring Festival travel rush – or Chunyun in Mandarin – which runs from 1 February to 12 March 2018, it’s estimated that Chinese returning to their home towns for family reunions will make 2.98 billion trips. According to China’s National Development and Reform Commission, in total, 2.48 billion road trips, 390 million rail trips, 65 million air trips and 46 million boat trips are expected to be made over the 40-day period. Nowhere is this large-scale migration likely to be more evident than in Dongguan, an industrial city in central Guangdong province.

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02/16/2018 07:30 AM
Dublin's dead men walking: 29 on death list in brutal gangland war

Police say no end in sight to fight over drug trade by rival gangs loyal to Christy Kinahan and Gerry Hutch

In the most violent gangland feud in Irish criminal history they are Dublin’s dead men walking.

As one international crime gang headed up by a Dublin drug smuggler seeks to annihilate its rival in the Irish capital, at least 29 men have been told they are on death lists.

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02/19/2018 07:38 AM
Barry Bennell branded 'sheer evil' as he is sentenced to 31 years

Judge describes former youth football coach as ‘devil incarnate’ for child sexual abuse

The former football coach Barry Bennell was branded a “monster” by one of his victims in court as he was sentenced to 31 years for the abuse of 12 young players.

Sentencing Bennell to 15 years in custody with the rest of the term on licence for dozens of offences committed over more than a decade, the judge Clement Goldstone said he was “sheer evil”.

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02/19/2018 02:55 PM
After Darkness: Mosul emerges from Isis control – in pictures

After a nine-month battle, Islamic State was finally expelled from Mosul, leaving devastation and residents physically and psychologically scarred by the war. Abbie Trayler-Smith’s new exhibition records the devastating effects of life under Isis control in northern Iraq and the bewildering aftermath of conflict

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02/19/2018 11:51 AM
Stop going on vacation and fix gun laws, angry Florida students tell Trump - video

Survivors of last week's Florida school shooting chastise the president and other politicians on NBC's Meet the Press for their failure to act to end gun violence in America. David Hogg, 17, ended the broadcast by calling for Trump to pass bills on gun control and 'save some lives'.

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02/19/2018 12:29 PM
World’s most controversial fruit depends on giant bats for pollination

While we debate whether the durian is the best or worst food on the planet, it turns out this wonderful oddity requires healthy populations of flying fox for survival.

Durian. Depending on whom you talk to it’s either the most beloved or the most despised fruit on the planet. It suffers no moderation, no wishy-washiness. It is the king of fruits or the worst thing you’ve ever tasted. Due to its potent odour – delicate and sweet to its advocates and sewage-like to its detractors – durian has been banned from airplanes, subways, and hotels (though punishments appear light if non-existent). But a recent study in Ecology and Evolution finds there may be no durians at all without bats: big, threatened bats. The scientists found that flying foxes – bats in the Pteropus and Acerodon genus and the largest in the world – are likely vital pollinators for the polarising durian.

“We already knew that flying foxes feed on durian flowers, but there was this unsubstantiated belief, even among some researchers, that flying foxes just destroyed the flowers,” said Sheema Abdul Aziz, the lead researcher on the project that was done as part of her PhD at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in France. “It doesn’t help that a durian flower only blooms for one night, then falls off the tree naturally, regardless of whether it’s been pollinated or not. When people see all the flowers on the ground in the morning, they think it’s the bats.”

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02/19/2018 02:48 PM
Tasmanian Liberals vow to restore anti-protest laws struck down by high court

Laws banning protest were overturned following legal challenge by Bob Brown

The Tasmanian Liberal government has promised to introduce new anti-protest laws to replace those struck out by the high court if it is returned to power next month.

The previous laws were ruled unconstitutional in October after a challenge by the former Australian Greens leader Bob Brown, who had been arrested during an anti-logging protest in the state’s north-west.

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02/19/2018 08:47 AM
Born by torchlight: living without power in Benin – in pictures

For 300 people in the Beninese village of Kokahoue, life without electricity is a daily reality, forcing midwives to deliver babies using lamps and torches. French photographer Pascal Maitre, winner of London Business School’s annual photography awards, has documented the problem in a stunning series of images, while entries from other contestants explore how communities have improvised to deal with issues ranging from poaching to deforestation

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02/19/2018 07:00 AM
Mexico’s Zapatista rebels, 24 years on and defiant in mountain strongholds
The peasant rebels took up arms in 1994, and now number 300,000 in centres with their own doctors, teachers and currency, but rarely answer questions – until now

Diners in the Tierradentro cafe in the southern Mexican town of San Cristóbal de las Casas can choose between a variety of omelettes. The “Liberty” has the most ingredients, the “Democracy” looks the best, but the “Justice” costs the most – possibly because it comes with cheese.

The restaurant is one of many celebrating, or cashing in on, the Zapatistas, the indigenous peasant rights movement from dirt-poor Chiapas state, which took up arms and occupied San Cristóbal on 1 January 1994, the day Mexico signed up to Nafta, the North American free trade agreement.

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02/17/2018 08:30 PM
‘It was heartbreaking’: the bleak truth behind Bafta-chasing migrant drama

Stark realities underpin Aamir, Vika Evdokimenko’s ostensibly fictional tale of a young migrant forced to fend for himself

Aamir is just 13. Like many teenagers, his coming of age is marked by a wispy moustache above his upper lip, a vulnerability in his hunched shoulders, a voice not yet broken.

But after soldiers break into his family home in Mosul and shoot and kill his father, Aamir must become a man. His mother sends him away with a few wads of cash and his father’s watch as insurance, hoping to give him a better life – one he might actually survive. But as the boy tries to find his feet all alone in a foreign world, will he end up losing his mind in the process?

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02/17/2018 11:00 AM
The Oxfam scandal does not justify demonising the entire aid sector | Megan Nobert

Aid agencies are learning how to deal with sexual misconduct more sensitively – let’s give them space to do so

The #MeToo movement has been sparking change across the world. Now the humanitarian community has become the latest sector forced to recognise it has a serious problem that has been neglected for too long.

The scandal has highlighted sexual abuse committed by Oxfam staff in Haiti in 2011. Employees who paid for sex were allowed to resign and, while the incident could have been handled better, it sparked a change in the organisation. They introduced stronger policies and processes, strengthened their investigative department. Oxfam began taking a zero-tolerance policy in actions, not just words. Were an accusation made now, it would be handled differently.

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02/17/2018 09:00 AM
Oxfam chief accuses critics of 'gunning' for charity over Haiti sex scandal claims

Mark Goldring admits organisation’s failings but says ‘scale and intensity’ of criticism is disproportionate

Oxfam CEO: ‘Anything we say is manipulated. We’ve been savaged’

The chief executive of Oxfam has hit back at the storm of criticism surrounding the charity’s sex exploitation scandal in Haiti, claiming attacks on the organisation are “out of proportion to the level of culpability”.

In an interview with the Guardian, Mark Goldring repeated his apology for Oxfam’s failings and acknowledged that major reforms were needed. But warning that the controversy has already affected vital donations, he accused critics of “gunning” for the charity and said some were motivated in part by an anti-aid agenda.

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02/16/2018 03:10 PM
Benazir Bhutto showed you can be a mother and prime minister – I know, I am her son

After Jacinda Ardern announced her pregnancy, some questioned how she would cope. They should look at Pakistan’s late leader

The news about Jacinda Ardern struck a nerve with my sisters and I. It is indeed uplifting to see the world rejoice at her good fortune.

While there are the detractors and naysayers, the barrage of good wishes, the #knitforJacinda campaign and countless other little gestures, has been overwhelmingly positive.

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02/19/2018 12:20 AM
Amid the chaos of Syria, will Israel and Iran launch an all-out war?
Neither country will benefit from a new Middle East conflict, but unless they cease military clashes, such as those inside Syria last weekend, hopes of peace remain fragile

Tensions between Israel and Iran have hit a new high following last weekend’s unprecedented military clashes inside Syria. The fighting has intensified fears that the Middle East is heading for all-out war. But such alarming predictions assume both protagonists standing toe-to-toe, actuallywant to fight. Is this reallytrue?

Iran is portrayed as a wanton aggressor, especially by the Trump administration and the Saudis. It has steadily expanded its military presence in Syria since supporting Bashar al-Assad after 2011, deploying Afghan and Pakistani Shia militias, Lebanese Hezbollah fighters and its own Revolutionary Guards.

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02/18/2018 12:05 AM
Putin’s chef, a troll farm and Russia's plot to hijack US democracy

Robert Mueller has revealed audacious meddling in the 2016 election. Can he link it to Trump?

The plot against America began in 2014. Thousands of miles away, in a drab office building in St Petersburg, Russia, a fake newsroom was under construction with its own graphics, data analysis, search engine optimisation, IT and finance departments. Its mission: ”information warfare against the United States of America”.

What followed, according to an indictment brought by the US special counsel, Robert Mueller, on Friday, was a stunningly successful attack on the most powerful democracy in the world. It involved stolen identities, fake social media accounts, rallies organised from afar, US citizens duped into doing Moscow’s bidding, and two Russians going undercover in a ruse reminiscent of The Americans, a TV drama about KGB spies in suburban Washington during the cold war.

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02/17/2018 02:18 PM
Trump vowed to end 'this American carnage' – but the attacks keep happening

Under Trump, the US has endured three of the worst mass shootings in modern history. Yet as the grief and anger grows, inertia reigns

“Beginning on January 20 2017, safety will be restored,” Donald Trump vowed as he accepted the nomination as the Republican candidate for president.

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02/17/2018 12:30 PM
'Sorcery' attacks in Papua New Guinea's highlands – in pictures

Sanguma is a Papua New Guinean word meaning black magic or sorcery. If something unwanted occurs in a village, people, most commonly women, are often accused of committing black magic, or of being a witch. They are then cast out of their homes and attacked or killed. Photographer Kristina Steiner travelled to the highlands of PNG to meet the victims of an increased number of violent attacks against people accused of sanguma. The PNG government acknowledged the increase in ‘sorcery’ attacks in 2013 after women’s groups demanded action to stop them

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02/19/2018 04:06 AM
'Do not test Israel's resolve,' Netanyahu warns Iran – video

Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has sent a warning to the 'tyrants of Tehran' while holding up a piece of what he claimed to be an Iranian drone that had been brought down by Israeli defence forces

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02/18/2018 07:55 PM
'How about we stop blaming the victims?': Florida shooting survivors speak at anti-gun rally – video

Students who survived the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school have given emotive speeches condemning gun laws in the US. Hundreds of people protested at an anti-gun rally in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday

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02/18/2018 09:23 AM
US national security adviser on Russian election meddling: 'evidence is incontrovertible' – video

HR McMaster, US national security adviser, says the evidence of Russian meddling during the 2016 elections is 'incontrovertible'. McMaster's comments were made in response to a question on the topic of US-Russia dialogue on cyber security at the Munich security conference

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02/17/2018 08:22 PM
'No more guns': chants ring out at Florida vigil – video

Anger rises at a vigil in memory of the 17 people killed during a shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Florida. 

Broward County sheriff Scott Israel said that any official not wanting to see change to gun laws in the county would not be re-elected.

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02/16/2018 01:00 PM
Victims of Florida school shooting remembered at vigil – in pictures

Hundreds gathered on Thursday for a prayer vigil at Parkridge church, in Parkland, Florida, after a school shooting in which 17 people were killed. Suspect Nikolas Cruz, 19, was arrested more than an hour after shooting began at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school. He was detained after mixing with students fleeing the scene.

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02/16/2018 01:59 AM