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Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainment at 4:20 p.m. EDT

March 18, 2019

MOZAMBIQUE-CYCLONE

Mozambique’s president says cyclone death toll may be 1,000

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi says that more than 1,000 may have by killed by Cyclone Idai.

Speaking to state Radio Mozambique, Nyusi said Monday that although the official death count is currently 84, he believes the toll will be more than 1,000.

Nyusi spoke after flying over the port city of Beira and viewing the flooding and devastation. He said he saw bodies floating in the flooded areas.

The Red Cross said that 90 percent of Beira, a city of 500,000, had been damaged or destroyed.

Beira has been severely battered by the cyclone which cut off electricity, forced the airport to shut down and cut off road access to the rest of the country. Cyclone Idai first hit Beira last week and then moved inland to Zimbabwe and Malawi.

NETHERLANDS-SHOOTING-THE LATEST

The Latest: Turkey condemns Dutch tram attack

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Turkey’s foreign ministry has condemned the Utrecht tram shooting that killed at least three people. 

In a written statement Monday, the ministry said it “strongly” condemned the attack, “regardless of the identity of the perpetrator and the motivation behind it.”

Police in Utrecht released the picture of a 37-year-old man, identified as Turkey-born Gokmen Taskin, who they said was linked to the incident. A suspect is now in custody in the Netherlands.

The Turkish ministry said it stood with the Dutch people and the government. 

Diplomatic relations were shattered in 2017 after the Netherlands blocked Turkish government officials from holding campaign rallies for a referendum back home that expanded presidential powers. Turkey’s president, in campaign speeches, compared Dutch and German politicians to Nazis and fascists. 

The two countries re-appointed ambassadors in September 2018 to “normalize relations.”

The ministry said earlier that Turkish and Dutch officials would meet Tuesday to discuss “bilateral relations” and cooperation.

WINTER WEATHER-FLOODING-THE LATEST

The Latest: Illinois town braces for severe flooding

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — An Illinois town is bracing for potentially the worst flooding it has seen in at least a half-century.

Freeport City Manager Lowell Crow says the town of 25,000 residents west of Rockford could see an all-time record flood along the Pecatonica River. At best, the water level will get to its highest level in 50 years.

Several Illinois towns face flooding from the late-winter deluge that has ravaged several Midwestern states. National Weather Service readings show major flooding along the Pecatonica River at Shirland, Illinois, and along the Rock River in Moline and the Rockford area.

PEDIATRICIAN-ASSAULT CHARGES-THE LATEST

The Latest: Pediatrician gets 79 years for assaults on kids

EBENSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A former Pennsylvania pediatrician has been sentenced to at least 79 years in prison for sexually assaulting 31 children, most of them patients.

Dr. Johnnie Barto of Johnstown was sentenced Monday on dozens of counts, including aggravated indecent assault and child endangerment. Prosecutors say the 71-year-old spent decades abusing children in the exam room at his pediatric practice and at local hospitals.

Nineteen people gave victim impact statements both in person and through a prosecutor ahead of the sentencing. They described how he destroyed their lives, caused them to feel hopelessness and made them fear doctors.

His wife, Linda Barto, was among them. She says he “spent his whole sinister life lying and sneaking around so he could carry on his abuse uninterrupted.”

The attorney general’s office had asked for 31 to 62 years in prison.

ELECTION 2020-EARLY FUNDRAISING

2020 Democrats battle to prove they have fundraising chops

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic presidential candidates are desperately trying to prove they can raise money, with a handful of them boasting they raked in $1 million in the hours and days after launching their campaigns.

It’s a feat that’s been touted by Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, California Sen. Kamala Harris, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

They argue the money shows viability and was the result of a spontaneous groundswell of support.

But others say their explanations strain credulity. Donor email lists can be rented. Paid Facebook ads can be used to micro target the base. And revenue sharing agreements allow interest groups to raise money for their preferred candidates.

FILM-WARNER BROS-TSUJIHARA

Warner Bros.′ Tsujihara steps down following scandal

NEW YORK (AP) — Warner Bros. chief Kevin Tsujihara is stepping down after claims that he promised acting roles in exchange for sex.

As Warner Bros. chairman and chief executive officer at one of Hollywood’s most powerful and prestigious studios, Tsujihara is one of the highest ranking executives to be felled by sexual misconduct allegations. Warner media chief executive John Stankey announced Tsujihara’s exit Monday, saying it was in the studio’s “best interest.”

Earlier this month, WarnerMedia launched an investigation following a Hollywood Reporter story that detailed text messages between Tsujihara and British actress Charlotte Kirk going back to 2013. The messages suggest a quid pro quo sexual relationship between the aspiring actress and the studio head.

COLD CASE ARREST-THE LATEST

The Latest: DA to seek death penalty in 1999 slayings

DOTHAN, Ala. (AP) — A prosecutor says he’ll seek the death penalty against a man charged in the slayings of two Alabama teenagers nearly 20 years ago.

District Attorney Kirke Adams says 45-year-old Coley McCraney can be prosecuted for capital murder in the killings of 17-year-olds Tracie Hawlett and J.B. Beasley.

Adams told a news conference Monday that one of the multiple capital counts against the man includes a charge that one of the victims was sexually assaulted during her slaying in 1999.

Authorities say they used DNA matching to confirm that evidence from the killings was tied to McCraney.

The prosecutor says he decided years ago to pursue the slayings as a death-penalty case.

McCraney was arrested Saturday. A defense lawyer says the man is cooperating with authorities.

MEDIA-FOX-BRAZILE

Fox News hires Donna Brazile as political contributor

NEW YORK (AP) — Fox News says it has hired former Democratic National Committee chief Donna Brazile as a political commentator.

Brazile had been let go from a similar role at CNN in 2016 after it was revealed that she had shared material about topics that would be addressed at a Democratic forum with Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

At Fox, Brazile will not have anything to do with any debates or town halls — if they ever happen. That’s from a Fox News executive who spoke on condition of anonymity Monday because the person was not authorized to speak about contract details.

Brazile says she knows she’ll be criticized by progressive friends for signing with Fox, but that she believes it’s important to talk with people you disagree with.

ETHIOPIA PLANE CRASH

French aviation experts see clear links in 2 Boeing crashes

PARIS (AP) — The French civil aviation investigation bureau BEA has concluded there were “clear similarities” between this month’s crash of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX plane and a Lion Air plane crash last October.

The French bureau said Monday that black box data from the Ethiopian Airlines flight showed the links and will be used for further study.

Ethiopian authorities asked BEA for help in extracting and interpreting the crashed plane’s black boxes because Ethiopia does not have the necessary expertise and technology.

The Ethiopian Accident Investigation Bureau intends to release a preliminary report within 30 days.

RUSSIA-RIGHTS ACTIVIST

Verdict due in rights activist’s case in Russia’s Chechnya

KURCHALOY, Russia (AP) — A court in Russia’s Chechnya is due to issue its verdict Monday in the case of a prominent rights activist.

Oyub Titiyev was detained in January 2018 and charged with drug possession in what has been largely perceived as a vendetta against this rare critic of the Chechen government.

Titiyev was the head of the Chechen office of prominent rights group Memorial and played a major role in exposing extrajudicial killings, kidnappings and torture perpetrated by the Chechen government.

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who previously dismissed rights activists as liars and traitors, publicly called the 61-year-old Titiyev a “junkie.” Titiyev’s supporters say the case aims not only to silence the activist, who is known as a devout Muslim, but also discredit him in the eyes of the community.