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‘I had to do it,’ accused gunman says of South Carolina church attack

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Jurors in the federal hate crimes trial of Dylann Roof watched a video on Friday of the avowed white supremacist confessing to killing nine parishioners at a historic black church in South Carolina and saying he felt “a little bit” of regret about the killings.

Roof told investigators after his arrest for the June 17, 2015, massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston that he estimated he had killed five people as retribution for perceived racial grievances. He sounded surprised to learn nine parishioners died.

“I had to do it because somebody had to do it,” Roof said in the taped confession.

Asked if he had regrets, Roof said, “I’d say so, yes … I regret that I did it, a little bit.”

Roof’s lawyers have not disputed his guilt but hope to spare him from being executed on charges of hate crimes resulting in death, obstruction of religion and firearms violations.

Roof, 22, also faces a death sentence if found guilty of murder charges in state court.

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The videotaped confession, presented on the third day of the federal trial at the J. Waties Waring Judicial Center in Charleston, gave jurors a chance to hear the defendant explain why he carried out the attack on a Bible study meeting.

He appeared both animated and at ease as he spoke to investigators, laughing at times as he answered their questions.

As the video played for the jury, Roof kept his eyes cast down at the defense table.

Roof told investigators in Shelby, North Carolina, where he was arrested about 13 hours after security video showed him leaving the church, that white people needed to take a stand against crimes by African Americans.

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“I don’t like what black people do,” Roof said in the video, adding he was not looking to start a race war but was in favor of reinstating segregation.

He chose the Charleston church for the shooting because he knew “at least a small amount of black people” would be gathered there. Two adults and a child at the Bible study survived the attack.

“It’s like this,” Roof said. “I’m not in a position, by myself, to go into a black neighborhood and shoot drug dealers.”

Nobody ran when he opened fire and nobody tried to stop him, he said. He recalled pausing between shots.

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“I was thinking about what I should do,” he said, noting he was not under the influence of drugs or medication that night.

(Reporting by Harriet McLeod; Writing by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Bill Trott)

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Revealing gruesome new details of Khashoggi murder, UN report says ‘inconceivable’ crown prince not involved

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In a thorough and damning report on the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi released Wednesday, United Nations special rapporteur Agnes Callamard found that Khashoggi was "the victim of a brutal and premeditated killing" that was likely orchestrated by top officials in the Saudi government, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

"Evidence points to the 15-person mission to execute Mr. Khashoggi requiring significant government coordination, resources, and finances," Callamard wrote. "Every expert consulted finds it inconceivable that an operation of this scale could be implemented without the crown prince being aware, at a minimum, that some sort of mission of a criminal nature, directed at Mr. Khashoggi, was being launched."

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Critics lament as 126 House Democrats join forces with GOP to hand Trump ‘terrifying’ mass domestic spying powers

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Privacy advocates and civil liberties defenders are expressing outrage after the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday night voted down a bipartisan amendment designed to end, as one group put it, the U.S. government's "most egregious mass surveillance practices" first revealed by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

In a final vote of 253-175, it was 126 Democrats who joined with 127 Republicans to vote against an amendment introduced by Rep Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) that would have closed loopholes in Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that critics charge has allowed the NSA to abuse warrantless surveillance capabilities and target the emails, text messages, and internet activity of U.S. citizens and residents. See the full roll call here.

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Pilots, including Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III, tell US Congress more training needed on 737 MAX

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US pilots called Wednesday for enhanced pilot training on the Boeing 737 MAX before the aircraft is returned to service after being grounded worldwide following two deadly crashes.

The pilots -- including Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger III, who famously landed a damaged plane on the Hudson River in New York in 2009 -- pushed back against the aviation giant's assurances that pilots will only need to review the 737 MAX modifications in a computer program.

Daniel Carey, president of the Allied Pilots Association, told a congressional panel he was encouraged by changes Boeing made to a flight system seen as a factor in both the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes that killed 346 people.

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