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‘Our darkest of days’: PM Ardern voices New Zealand’s grief as burial preparations begin

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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday praised the bravery and courage by worshippers as a lone gunman massacred their friends and family, saying the nation stood with its grieving Muslim community in this “darkest of days”.

As preparations for the first burials were underway for the 50 people killed last Friday in the Christchurch mosques mass shooting, Ardern singled out three worshippers, including one of the first killed in the attack.

Hati Mohemmed Daoud Nabi, 71, opened the door to the Al-Noor mosque. Ardern said he “uttered the words ‘Hello brother, welcome’. His final words”.

“Of course he had no idea of the hate that sat behind the door, but his welcome tells us so much – that he was a member of a faith that welcomed all its members, that showed openness, and care,” she said.

Ardern said she never anticipated having to voice the grief of a nation and ended her speech with the Arabic greeting “Al salam Alaikum”, meaning “Peace be upon you”.

Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist who was living in Dunedin, on New Zealand’s South Island, was charged with murder on Saturday.

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Tarrant was remanded without a plea and is due back in court on April 5, where police said he was likely to face more charges.

“The families of the fallen will have justice,” said Ardern, adding she would never mention the alleged gunman’s name.

“He may have sought notoriety, but we in New Zealand will give him nothing. Not even his name.”

The victims, killed at two mosques during Friday prayers, were largely Muslim migrants, refugees and residents from countries including Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Turkey, Kuwait, Somalia and others.

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Bodies of the victims were being washed and prepared for burial in a Muslim ritual process on Tuesday, with teams of volunteers flown in from overseas to assist with the heavy workload.

“We’ve been very conscious of the need to work sensitively with requirement of each family,” Sarah Stuart-Black, Director for the Ministry of Civil, Defense & Emergency Management, said at a press conference in Christchurch.

Families of the victims are desperately seeking to come to New Zealand for the funerals. Immigration New Zealand said 65 visas have been granted for traveling family members.

“He may have sought notoriety, but we in New Zealand will give him nothing. Not even his name.”

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The victims, killed at two mosques during Friday prayers, were largely Muslim migrants, refugees and residents from countries including Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Turkey, Kuwait, Somalia and others.

Bodies of the victims were being washed and prepared for burial in a Muslim ritual process on Tuesday, with teams of volunteers flown in from overseas to assist with the heavy workload.

“We’ve been very conscious of the need to work sensitively with requirement of each family,” Sarah Stuart-Black, Director for the Ministry of Civil, Defense & Emergency Management, said at a press conference in Christchurch.

Families of the victims are desperately seeking to come to New Zealand for the funerals. Immigration New Zealand said 65 visas have been granted for traveling family members.

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While some New Zealanders have voluntarily surrendered guns, others have been buying more from gun stores to beat the ban.

A gun club in the northern town of Kaitaia burned down early on Tuesday and police were treating the blaze as suspicious.

Simon Bridges, leader of the opposition National Party, said he wanted to get details of the changes to see if there could be bipartisan support in parliament. The Nationals draw support from rural areas, where gun ownership is high.

“We know that change is required. I’m willing to look at anything that is going to enhance our safety – that’s our position,” Bridges told TVNZ.

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Ardern has said that Tarrant emailed a “manifesto” to more than 30 recipients including her office, nine minutes before the attack but it gave no location or specific details. In the document, which was also posted online, Tarrant described himself as “Just a ordinary White man, 28 years old”.

Ardern was critical of social media platforms for allowing the distribution of hatred and division, including live broadcasts of the attack.

“We cannot simply sit back and accept that these platforms just exist and that what is said on them is not the responsibility of the place where they are published. They are the publisher. Not just the postman,” she said.

“There cannot be a case of all profit no responsibility. This of course doesn’t take away the responsibility we too must show as a nation, to confront racism, violence and extremism.”

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Ardern said there would be an inquiry into what government agencies “knew, or could or should have known” about the alleged gunman and whether the attack could be prevented.

More than 250 New Zealand police staff are working on the inquiry in the attacks, with staff from the U.S. FBI and Australia’s Federal Police working with local investigators.

Ardern was critical of social media platforms for allowing the distribution of hatred and division, including live broadcasts of the attack.

“We cannot simply sit back and accept that these platforms just exist and that what is said on them is not the responsibility of the place where they are published. They are the publisher. Not just the postman,” she said.

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“There cannot be a case of all profit no responsibility. This of course doesn’t take away the responsibility we too must show as a nation, to confront racism, violence and extremism.”

Ardern said there would be an inquiry into what government agencies “knew, or could or should have known” about the alleged gunman and whether the attack could be prevented.

More than 250 New Zealand police staff are working on the inquiry in the attacks, with staff from the U.S. FBI and Australia’s Federal Police working with local investigators.

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Lawrence O’Donnell throttles Donny Deutsch for saying Elizabeth Warren can’t beat Trump: ‘This is pure guesswork’

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Lawrence O'Donnell and Donny Deutsch had quite the exchange in the post-debate conversation on MSNBC Wednesday.

Deutsch tried to say that Sen. Elizabeth Warren's outstanding debate performance doesn't matter because Warren can't win in a match-up against President Donald Trump.

"I do not believe Elizabeth Warren, on stage with Donald Trump, beats him," he told the MSNBC panel. "And I think if we're honest with ourselves and we look hard at ourselves, I think a lot of people agree with me. It's — and I also think when you can label somebody a socialist, 57 percent of this country thinks that word is un-American. I'm not saying it's fair. When he can blanket Elizabeth Warren as a socialist, and he's on stage with her, the Democrats lose."

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Father and daughter drowning at the border fuels anger at Trump immigration policies

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A shocking photograph of a Salvadoran man and his baby daughter drowned in the Rio Grande fueled a surge of emotion around the world Wednesday -- as US Democrats furiously denounced Donald Trump's immigration policies.

"Trump is responsible for these deaths," said Beto O'Rourke, one of several Democratic White House hopefuls who took to Twitter to lash out at the president.

Former vice president Joe Biden, who is also seeking the presidency in 2020, called the image "gut-wrenching."

"History will judge how we respond to the Trump administration's treatment of immigrant families & children -- we can't be silent," he said.

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Senator Elizabeth Warren leads Democrats in spirited first 2020 debate

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Ten Democrats clashed in the first debate of the 2020 presidential race Wednesday with Elizabeth Warren cementing her status as a top-tier candidate and several underdogs using the issue of immigration to clamor for the limelight.

The biggest American political debate since the 2016 presidential campaign is occurring over two nights in Miami, climaxing Thursday with former vice president Joe Biden squaring off against nine challengers, including number two candidate Bernie Sanders.

But Wednesday's first take was a spirited encounter between Democrats like ex-congressman Beto O'Rourke, Senator Cory Booker, former San Antonio mayor Julian Castro and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on subjects as varied as health care, economic inequality, climate action, gun violence, Iran and immigration.

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