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AP News in Brief at 12:04 a.m. EDT

Virginia victims had 150 years of combined service with city

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — Four were engineers who worked to maintain streets and protect wetlands. Three were right-of-way agents who reviewed property lines. The others included an account clerk, a technician, an administrative assistant and a special projects co-ordinator. In all, they had served the city of Virginia Beach for more than 150 years.

These 11 city employees and one contractor were wiped out Friday when a fellow city worker opened fire inside a municipal building. A day after the shooting, city officials sought to honour them by sharing their job titles and years of service in a sombre slideshow.

“They leave a void that we will never be able to fill,” said City Manager Dave Hansen, who had worked for years with many of the dead.

Police Chief James Cervera identified the assailant as DeWayne Craddock, who had been employed for 15 years as an engineer with the city’s utilities department. He declined to comment on a motive for the rampage, which ended with the shooter’s death in a gun battle with officers. City officials uttered his name just once and said they would not mention it again.

Joseph Scott, an engineering technician with the utilities department, said he had worked with Craddock and had a brief interaction with him Friday, passing him in the men’s restroom about five minutes before the shooting.

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Did ‘silencer’ make a difference in Virginia Beach carnage?

The shooter who killed 12 people in a government office building in Virginia Beach used a firearm equipped with a suppressor that muffles the sound of gunfire. It’s the nightmare scenario that gun-control advocates have warned about amid efforts in recent years to ease restrictions on the devices, which they say can help shooters escape detection and inflict more carnage.

But gun-rights advocates and most law enforcement experts say DeWayne Craddock’s use of a suppressor likely had no bearing on his ability to kill so many people in so little time Friday.

Virginia is among 42 states that allow residents to purchase and possess suppressors, though some cities and towns — including Virginia Beach — prohibit them.

Known colloquially as a “silencer,” a suppressor was attached to the .45-calibre handgun that police say the shooter used to kill a dozen people on three floors of the building where he worked before police closed in and, after a protracted gunbattle, fatally shot him.

That could at least partially explain why survivors of the attack said they were caught off guard and initially puzzled by what was happening. One described hearing something that sounded like a nail gun.

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In central US, levee breaches flood some communities

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Crews were making a “last ditch effort” on Saturday to save low-lying parts of a small Arkansas city from floodwaters pouring through a breached levee, and authorities downstream were warning people to leave a neighbourhood that sits across the swollen river from the state capital.

Further north in Iowa, a flood barrier along the swollen Mississippi River failed Saturday, flooding four to six blocks of downtown Burlington, a city of about 25,000 people that is 170 miles (274 kilometres) southeast of Des Moines.

On Friday, the Arkansas River, which has been flooding communities for more than a week, tore a 40-foot (12-meter) hole in a levee in Dardanelle, a city of about 4,700 people roughly 100 miles (160 kilometres) upstream from Little Rock.

Mayor Jimmy Witt said Saturday that officials don’t believe a temporary levee being constructed will stop the water from flooding the south side of Dardanelle, but he hopes it will buy time for residents of up to 800 threatened homes to prepare.

“We have started a last ditch effort to try and protect the southern borders of the city,” he said at a news conference.

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A singer goes missing in China’s effort to erase Tiananmen

BEIJING (AP) — It has been three months since Chinese rock musician Li Zhi disappeared from public view.

First, an upcoming tour was cancelled and his social media accounts were taken down. Then his music was removed from all of China’s major streaming sites — as if his career had never existed at all.

Li is an outspoken artist who performs folk rock. He sang pensive ballads about social ills, and unlike most entertainers in China, dared to broach the taboo subject of the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests that ended in bloodshed on June 4, 1989.

“Now this square is my grave,” Li sang. “Everything is just a dream.”

China’s ruling Communist Party has pushed people like Li into the shadows as it braces for Tuesday’s 30th anniversary of the military crackdown. Hundreds, if not thousands, are estimated to have died on the night of June 3 and in the early hours of June 4.

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With Biden absent, his rivals pounce at California gathering

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Democratic presidential hopefuls took rival Joe Biden’s absence at a California state party gathering Saturday as a chance to take subtle digs at the former vice-president and craft themselves as better positioned to bring Democrats into the future.

“Some say if we all just calm down, the Republicans will come to their senses,” Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren said in a clear reference to Biden’s comments that the GOP may have an “epiphany” after President Donald Trump is gone. “But our country is in a crisis. The time for small ideas is over.”

Warren was one of 14 presidential contenders in San Francisco for a three-day gathering of the California Democratic Party, featuring thousands of fervent activists. Biden was the only big-name candidate to skip the gathering, opting instead to campaign in Ohio. That allowed Warren, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, California Sen. Kamala Harris and others a chance to grab the spotlight.

California has shifted its 2020 primary earlier on the calendar, to March 3, part of the Super Tuesday collection of contests, in hopes of giving the state more sway in choosing the party’s nominee. California will offer the largest delegate haul, but it is a notoriously difficult state to campaign in, given its massive size and expensive media markets.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has endorsed Harris, downplayed the importance of Biden’s absence.

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Partisan control determines how states act on voting rights

ATLANTA (AP) — New York voters for years have experienced some of the longest wait times in the nation on Election Day. Attempts to fix the problem routinely became casualties of the divided politics of the state Legislature.

That dynamic changed last November, when Democrats won majorities in both legislative chambers, and it didn’t take them long to act.

Just weeks into this year’s legislative session, they passed a bill to allow early voting, and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo promptly signed it.

“Early voting is going to make a significant difference for countless numbers of New Yorkers by making polling places so much more accessible and allow voters to determine when it is most convenient for them,” said Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause New York.

New York is among a small number of states where Democrats made big gains in last year’s election and have used that power to pass laws to make it easier to register and to vote. They have introduced early voting, all-mail voting or automatic registration.

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Trump’s tariffs: What are they? How do they work?

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has once again turned to tariffs to try to get his way with a U.S. trading partner.

This time, the target is Mexico: Trump plans to impose 5% tariffs on Mexican imports starting June 10 and to ratchet them up to 25% by Oct. 1 if the Mexicans don’t do more to stop the surge of Central American migrants across the southern U.S. border.

Tariffs have become one of Trump’s favourite policy tools. The president, who calls himself “a Tariff Man,” has slapped the levies on imported steel, aluminum, dishwashers and solar panels. He’s also imposed them on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods in a dispute over China’s aggressive campaign to challenge American technological dominance. And he’s planning to extend tariffs to the $300 billion worth of Chinese imports that he hasn’t already targeted.

Before Trump, tariffs had long been fading into history, a relic of the 19th and early 20th centuries when nations tended to focus on keeping imports out and exporting as much as they could.

More than any other modern president, Trump has embraced tariffs as a punitive tool — against Europe, Canada and other key trading partners but especially against China , the second-largest economy after the U.S.

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Arrest in 43-year-old murder case stuns Wisconsin town

LAKEWOOD, Wis. (AP) — Word of the arrest — via a friend’s text message — hit Wayne Sankey like a thunderbolt.

“I said, ‘You gotta be kidding me,'” Sankey recalled. “And then I told the wife and she couldn’t believe it. ‘There’s no way,’ she said. ‘Ray down the road?'”

Ray Vannieuwenhoven was his next-door neighbour — a helpful, 82-year-old handyman with a gravelly voice and a loud, distinctive laugh, the kind of guy who always waved from his car.

The widower and father of five grown children had lived quietly for two decades among the 800 residents of Lakewood, a northern Wisconsin town surrounded by forests and small lakes.

Now authorities were saying this man was a cold-blooded killer. They had used genetic genealogy to crack a cold case that stretched back well into the 20th century — a double murder 25 miles southwest of Lakewood.

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Bruins rout Blues 7-2, take 2-1 lead in Stanley Cup Final

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Patrice Bergeron and the Boston Bruins’ best players took the criticism to heart.

They weren’t good enough through the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final and needed to be better. And they were.

The stars came out on Saturday night and led Boston to a 7-2 rout of the St. Louis Blues to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Bergeron and defenceman Torey Krug each scored a goal and had two assists, David Pastrnak scored his first goal of the series and the top power-play unit was a perfect 4 for 4.

Boston chased Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington, silenced actor and Blues super fan Jon Hamm and a raucous crowd that was fired up for the first Cup Final game in St. Louis in 49 years. The Bruins survived an initial onslaught and then took it to the home team.

Nothing was more important for the Bruins than the first line of Brad Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak getting going after no even-strength points through the first two games. They combined for five points a decidedly better effort at 5-on-5 and on the power play.

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Serena bids early adieu at French, like Osaka before her

PARIS (AP) — Maybe it was the daunting deficit Serena Williams faced in the French Open’s third round. Maybe it was the way her 20-year-old American opponent, Sofia Kenin, was questioning line calls.

Either way, as Williams attempted to start a comeback Saturday with a three-ace game, she followed those big serves with some serious staredowns.

Whether it was meant to get herself going or intimidate Kenin, it didn’t work. Outplayed from start to finish, Williams lost 6-2, 7-5 to the 35th-ranked Kenin, ending her latest bid for a 24th Grand Slam title with her earliest loss at a major tournament in five years.

“In that first set in particular, she hit pretty much inches from the line, and I haven’t played anyone like that in a long time,” the 37-year-old Williams said. “I just saw a player that was playing unbelievable.”

It was the second significant surprise in a matter of hours: Earlier in the day, No. 1 seed Naomi Osaka was eliminated 6-4, 6-2 by 42nd-ranked Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic. That ended Osaka’s 16-match Grand Slam winning streak, which included titles at the U.S. Open final in September — when she beat Williams in the final — and at the Australian Open in January.

The Associated Press