AP News in Brief at 6:04 a.m. EDT


Orlando gunman raged against ‘filthy ways of the west’

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — While his victims texted heartbreaking last words to loved ones from the blood-drenched floors of packed bathrooms, Omar Mateen apparently turned to social media to measure the viral shockwaves his attack on a gay nightclub had generated.

As this grief-stricken city prepares to bury the first of the 49 who perished at the Pulse dance club, a Senate Committee has asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg for help uncovering the trail of hate Mateen left behind in cyberspace.

“The real muslims will never accept the filthy ways of the west,” the 29-year-old American-born Muslim wrote on one of at least five Facebook accounts believed to be associated with him, according to the letter from Sen. Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

The call comes as President Barack Obama prepares to visit Orlando on Thursday. On Wednesday, drag queens and motorcyclists paid their respects at a visitation for Javier Jorge-Reyes, beginning the long procession of rainbow-hued sendoffs for Mateen’s victims.

In the letter released Wednesday, Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican, said the security guard and wannabe police officer took time Sunday to search on Facebook for “Pulse Orlando” and “Shooting.” The attack took place early that morning.

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Muslim view of LGBT people in spotlight after Orlando attack

NEW YORK (AP) — After the massacre in Orlando, the head of a prominent Muslim advocacy group stood before a bank of microphones and made remarks beyond the expected condemnations.

Along with denouncing the attack by gunman Omar Mateen as a violation of Islam, and offering prayers for the victims at the gay nightclub Pulse, Nihad Awad of the Council on American-Islamic Relations expressed unequivocal support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights.

“For many years, members of the (LGBT) community have stood shoulder to shoulder with the Muslim community against any acts of hate crimes, Islamophobia, marginalization and discrimination. Today, we stand with them, shoulder to shoulder,” Awad said at a Washington news conference. “We cannot fight injustice against some group and not against others.”

Omid Safi, director of the Duke University Islamic Studies Center, called the comments, and similar statements from other major Muslim groups, a “shocking development” from leaders who until last Sunday’s tragedy “would probably have never been seen uttering the words gay and lesbian publicly.”

The mass shooting, perpetrated by an American Muslim in a communal space for gays, has brought to the forefront Muslim attitudes toward homosexuality and the plight of LGBT Muslims.

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DIVIDED AMERICA: Minorities missing in many legislatures

As Virginia’s only Latino state lawmaker, Alfonso Lopez made it his first order of business to push for a law granting in-state college tuition to immigrants living in the U.S. illegally since childhood.

The bill died in committee.

So Lopez tried again the next year. And the year after that.

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EDITOR’S NOTE — This story is part of Divided America, AP’s ongoing exploration of the economic, social and political divisions in American society.

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DIVIDED AMERICA: Constructing our own intellectual ghettos

NEW YORK (AP) — Meet Peggy Albrecht and John Dearth. Albrecht is a free-lance writer and comedian from Los Angeles who loves Bernie Sanders. Dearth, a retiree from Carmel, Indiana, grew up a Democrat but flipped with Ronald Reagan. He’s a Trump guy.

They live in the same country, but as far as their news consumption goes, they might as well live on different planets.

Abrecht watches MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow each night. She scans left-leaning websites Daily Kos, Talking Points Memo and Down With Tyranny, where recent headlines described Donald Trump as “pathetic” and “temperamentally unfit” to be president. She can read stories that describe Trump University as a scam and question whether the Republican candidate is as rich as he lets on. The website Think Progress, which has contrasted Trump’s Republican endorsers with criticisms they’ve made of him, sends her email alerts.

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EDITOR’S NOTE — This story is part of Divided America, AP’s ongoing exploration of the economic, social and political divisions in American society.

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Sheriff: Charges unlikely after 2-year-old killed by gator

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — A sheriff said charges are unlikely against a Nebraska couple after an alligator killed their 2-year-old son by snatching him out of shallow water at a Walt Disney World beach, but the entertainment giant is reviewing whether to add gator warning signs.

Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings told The Associated Press after a news conference Wednesday there was no indication Will and Melissa Graves of suburban Omaha, Nebraska, committed any crime that contributed to the reptile grabbing their son, Lane Graves.

“There’s nothing in this case to indicate that there was anything extraordinary” in terms of neglect by the parents, Demings said.

Demings said his department and the state wildlife agency would look into the issue of signs around Seven Seas Lagoon, where Disney had posted “no swimming” signs but no warnings about the presence of alligators. Searchers removed five of the reptiles from the water while looking for the child, who was attacked at a small beach area near nightfall Tuesday.

A Disney representative, speaking on condition of anonymity because the company had yet to prepare a formal statement, said Disney would “thoroughly review” the sign issue in the future. Beaches that were closed during the search remained off limits to visitors, the company said.

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In wake of mass shootings, Dem senator wages filibuster

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Democratic senator who mourned the loss of 20 children in his home state of Connecticut four years ago waged a nearly 15-hour filibuster into the early hours of Thursday morning, demanding votes on gun control measures just days after a mass shooting at a Florida nightclub.

As compromise on the gun issue remained improbable, Sen. Chris Murphy stood on the Senate floor for most of Wednesday and into Thursday, saying he would remain there “until we get some signal, some sign that we can come together.” He yielded the floor at 2:11 a.m., EDT, saying he had won commitments from Republican leaders that they would hold votes on amendments to expand background checks and ban gun sales to suspected terrorists. It is unlikely that those amendments will pass.

Murphy spent much of the time speaking about the shooting at Newtown, Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012. He finished his filibuster by talking at length about one of the young boys who died there.

As Murphy had been standing on the floor for more than nine hours, his own young sons, ages 4 and 7, briefly appeared in the Senate gallery.

“I hope you’ll understand some day why we’re doing this,” Murphy said, addressing his oldest son from the floor. “Trying and trying and trying to do the right thing is ultimately just as important as getting the outcome in the end.”

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CIA chief: IS working to send operatives to the West

WASHINGTON (AP) — CIA Director John Brennan will tell Congress on Thursday that Islamic State militants are training and attempting to deploy operatives for further attacks on the West and will rely more on guerrilla-style tactics to compensate for their territorial losses.

In remarks prepared for the Senate Intelligence Committee, Brennan says IS has been working to build an apparatus to direct and inspire attacks against its foreign enemies, as in the recent attacks in Paris and Brussels — ones the CIA believes were directed by IS leaders.

“ISIL has a large cadre of Western fighters who could potentially serve as operatives for attacks in the West,” Brennan said, using another acronym for the group. He said IS probably is working to smuggle them into countries, perhaps among refugee flows or through legitimate means of travel.

Brennan also noted the group’s call for followers to conduct so-called lone-wolf attacks in their home countries. He called the attack in Orlando a “heinous act of wanton violence” and an “assault on the values of openness and tolerance” that define the United States as a nation.

He said IS is gradually cultivating its various branches into an interconnected network. The branch in Libya is likely the most advanced and most dangerous, but IS is trying to increase its influence in Africa, Brennan said. The IS branch in the Sinai has become the “most active and capable terrorist group in Egypt,” attacking the Egyptian military and government targets in addition to foreigners and tourists, such as the downing of a Russian passenger jet last October.

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Disney opens ‘distinctly Chinese’ Shanghai park

SHANGHAI (AP) — Walt Disney Co. opened its Shanghai theme park Thursday, its first in mainland China, with speeches by Communist Party leaders, a Chinese children’s choir, Sleeping Beauty and other Disney characters.

A Chinese vice premier joined Disney CEO Bob Iger in cutting a red ribbon as the park opened, signaling the ruling party’s endorsement of the $5.5 billion investment in promoting tourism and other service industries at a time of slowing economic growth. They read out letters of congratulations from the Chinese and American presidents, Xi Jinping and Barack Obama.

Shanghai Disneyland gives the Hollywood giant a chance to burnish the brand behind “Frozen” in the world’s most populous film market and to revive its struggling international theme park business.

“This is one of the proudest and most exciting moments in the history of the Walt Disney Co.,” said Iger, speaking after the kids choir sang “When You Wish Upon a Star.” Later, actors dressed as Sleeping Beauty, Donald Duck and other Disney characters danced on stage.

Speaking as a light rain fell, Vice Premier Wang Yang quipped, “I would like to call this a rain of U.S. dollars or of renminbi,” the Chinese currency.

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In wake of Orlando, Winfrey questions assault-weapon sales

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sunday’s mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub that left at least 49 people dead had Oprah Winfrey asking questions instead of answering them Wednesday night.

“What will be the number? What will be the number?” Winfrey inquired, tapping the chest of an AP reporter to emphasize her point. “What number is high enough to get our attention, so that we will say, ‘Enough’? I thought the number was 26 in Newtown,” she continued, referring to 2012 shootings where 20 children and six adults were slain at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn..

Winfrey was on the arrivals line at the premiere of “Greenleaf,” a TV drama she executive produces, in which she acts, and whose own OWN network will broadcast.

But she seemed just as eager to speak out about the Orlando tragedy, which clearly has galvanized Winfrey’s place in the debate over the sale of assault weapons, used in the shootings. In the U.S., such sales have been legal since the Federal Assault Weapons Ban expired in 2004.

“You know, one side says ‘Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.’ That is true,” Winfrey noted. “But are we a country that really believes that assault weapons should be made available to anybody? Are assault weapons necessary? I just say, ‘Enough.’ When are we going to be conscious enough to say, ‘That doesn’t make any sense?’ We have the right to bear arms, but do we have the right to bear assault weapons? That’s what I ask.”

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Oakmont among courses defined by major champions

OAKMONT, Pa. (AP) — One measure of a great golf course is the quality of its champions.

In the 11 professional majors that Oakmont hosted, the only one who stood out was Sam Parks Jr. at the 1935 U.S. Open. He was a club pro from nearby South Hills and never really did much else.

That’s why it was such a big deal to the club when Angel Cabrera, who won his first major at Oakmont in the 2007 U.S. Open by one shot over Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk, added a green jacket from the Masters two years later.

“Great names win here,” Oakmont golf director Bob Ford once said. “We were hoping for Woods to win, and when Angel won it was like, ‘Who is this guy.’ Now he’s a Masters champion.”

So which courses have the greatest list of major champions? The Masters doesn’t count because it’s held at Augusta National every year. The British Open has a small rotation of links courses. So this list of the five courses that have produced the best list of winners is limited to the U.S. Open and PGA Championship: