AP News in Brief 03-08-18

Alabama: 1 dead, another student hurt in school shooting

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A 17-year-old girl was killed in a shooting at dismissal time Wednesday at an Alabama high school and a 17-year-old male student was injured, authorities said, adding they were investigating it as accidental.

Birmingham Interim Police Chief Orlando Wilson said his department is seeking to determine the circumstances of the shooting shortly before 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at Huffman High School, adding investigators had already begun seeking out witnesses and would examine school surveillance video.

“At this particular time, we are considering this accidental,” the police chief said at a news conference. “Right now we have a lot of unanswered questions.”

Wednesday’s shooting prompted a brief lockdown at the school in Alabama’s largest city but students were then released and authorities said they had determined that the shooting was not perpetrated by “someone from the outside” who entered the school. Wilson declined to say who fired the gun or to identify what firearm was retrieved by authorities. No arrests were immediately reported.

Gun bill passes Florida House, goes to governor

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida House passed a school safety bill Wednesday that includes new restrictions on rifle sales and a program to arm some teachers, sending the measure to the governor for his signature.

The vote of 67-50 reflected a mix of Republicans and Democrats in support and opposition. The measure, a response to the shootings at a Parkland high school that left 17 dead, is supported by the victims’ families.

Andrew Pollack, who lost his 18-year-old daughter Meadow in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, and Ryan Petty, who lost his 14-year-old daughter Alaina, said there was enough good in the bill that it should pass.

“More needs to be done, and it’s important for the country to be united in the same way the 17 families united in support of this bill,” Pollack said after the vote. “My precious daughter Meadow’s life was taken, and there’s nothing I can do to change that, but make no mistake, I’m a father and I’m on a mission. I’m on a mission to make sure I’m the last dad to ever read a statement of this kind.”

Judge: Man accused of McDormand Oscar theft will be released

LOS ANGELES — A lawyer for the man charged with stealing Frances McDormand’s Academy Award said Wednesday that he and his client plan to “forcefully and aggressively resist” the allegations against him.

Attorney Daniel Brookman acknowledged that suspect Terry Bryant can be seen on an Associated Press video holding McDormand’s best actress statuette but those images don’t rise to the seriousness of felony grand theft.

“There’s a big difference between holding an Oscar and what he’s charged with,” Brookman said outside court, where Bryant was arraigned Wednesday and pleaded not guilty. “I don’t think his character matches these charges.”

From wire sources

Los Angeles Superior Court Deborah Brazil ruled Bryant, 47, did not pose a risk to the public and said he will be released on his own recognizance.

Bryant walked out of the Governors Ball Oscars after-party with the trophy on Sunday night, authorities said. He was captured on the AP video holding it proudly over his head and saying, “All right baby boys and baby girls.”


Jeff Sessions, California governor clash as feud escalates

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions dramatically escalated the Trump administration’s war with California on Wednesday, suing over its so-called sanctuary state law and clashing with Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown in a fiery exchange of words.

Sessions was defiant as he spoke to local law enforcement officials about the lawsuit, citing a series of California laws that he says are unconstitutional and violate common sense.

“I can’t sit by idly while the lawful authority of federal officers are being blocked by legislative acts and politicians,” he said, straying from his prepared remarks.

Brown didn’t hold back in his response, calling Sessions a liar and saying it was unprecedented for the attorney general to “act more like Fox News than a law enforcement officer.” He accused Sessions of “going to war” with California to appease President Donald Trump.

“What Jeff Sessions said is simply not true and I call upon him to apologize to the people of California for bringing the mendacity of Washington to California,” the governor told reporters.


AP Explains: What to make of N. Korean offer for nuke talks

SEOUL, South Korea — At first glance it seems like a blockbuster: North Korea has reportedly offered up its nukes for negotiation, an abrupt reversal from its repeated vows never to relinquish the “treasured sword” it sees as protection against constant U.S. “hostility.”

Experts reading between the lines, however, believe the North may be falling back on a well-worn position when confronting the United States. Essentially: You want our nukes? Then give us credible security guarantees.

This has been seen in the past to mean the removal of the 28,500 U.S. troops stationed as a deterrent against the North in South Korea and a halt to annual U.S.-South Korean military exercises that the North claims are invasion preparations.

Washington is unlikely to accept any of this, but momentum in inter-Korean ties — South Korea’s president has agreed to meet North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un next month — means there’s a real chance that negotiations could take place.

Here then is a look at the North’s latest offer, which has raised hopes for better days on the Korean Peninsula after a year of nuclear and missile tests by the North and threats of war: