AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EDT

Justice Department cracks iPhone; withdraws legal action

WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI said Monday it successfully used a mysterious technique without Apple Inc.’s help to hack into the iPhone used by a gunman in a mass shooting in California, effectively ending a pitched court battle between the Obama administration and one of the world’s leading technology companies.

The government asked a federal judge to vacate a disputed order forcing Apple to help the FBI break into the iPhone, saying it was no longer necessary. The court filing in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California provided no details about how the FBI did it or who showed it how.

The FBI is now reviewing the information on the iPhone, the Justice Department said in a statement.

In response, Apple said in a statement that it will continue to increase the security of its products. While saying it will still provide some help to the government, “as we have done all along,” the company reiterated its position that the government’s demand was wrong.

“This case should never have been brought,” Apple said in its statement.


Man shot by police after drawing weapon at US Capitol

WASHINGTON (AP) — Police shot a man on Monday after he pulled a weapon at a U.S. Capitol checkpoint as spring tourists thronged Washington, authorities said. The suspect was previously known to police, who last October arrested him for disrupting House proceedings and yelling he was a “Prophet of God.”

U.S. Capitol Police identified the man as 66-year-old Larry R. Dawson of Tennessee. He was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and assault on a police officer while armed, both criminal offenses in the District of Columbia.

Dawson was taken to a local hospital, where police said he was in stable but critical condition. A female bystander also sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

After his arrest last year, Dawson was issued a “stay away order” by D.C. Superior Court in October, telling him to keep away from the Capitol grounds, court documents show.

The U.S. Capitol was on lockdown for about an hour Monday and the White House also was briefly locked down. As the capital teemed with spring tourists in town to view the cherry blossoms, staff members and visitors to the Capitol were rushed into offices and told to shelter in place.


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Instead, the FBI says it was able to hack the phone used by the San Bernardino gunman itself, using a mysterious technique.


With spring tourists thronging Washington, police shoot a man after he pulls a weapon at a U.S. Capitol checkpoint.


AP Explains: Violence against Christians in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD (AP) — The suicide bombing in the city of Lahore on Easter underscores how Pakistan’s Christian minority has become an easy target for the country’s Islamic militants, although Muslims also were among the victims.

There are barely 2.5 million Christians in the mostly Muslim country of 180 million, and they say they worry about sending their children out and rarely feel safe even in church.

“It is very fearful living in your own country … when you are attacked by fanatics in your own home,” said the Rev. Riaz Arif of Lahore, adding that radical Muslim groups seek revenge for perceived aggression against them by predominantly Christian nations in the West.

A look at the Christian community in Pakistan



Trump, Ryan increasingly at odds over future of the GOP

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump wants to win the White House in the fall. Paul Ryan wants to save his vision of the Republican Party for years to come.

Those goals put Trump and Ryan increasingly at odds over both tone and substance as the businessman barrels toward the GOP presidential nomination. While Ryan is appealing for political civility and a party rooted in traditional conservative principles, Trump is bucking campaign decorum and embracing policy positions that are sharply at odds with years of GOP orthodoxy.

Their starkly different visions for the Republican Party are a microcosm of the broader fissures roiling the GOP. And if Trump does become the Republican nominee, he and the House speaker’s ability to work together could be the first test of whether a party in this much turmoil can stay together.

“Trump’s obviously running on issues that are contrary to conservatives and at odds with what a lot of what Paul Ryan believes,” said Peter Wehner, a former adviser to President George W. Bush.

For now, Trump and Ryan are engaged largely in a cold war, with the politicians only occasionally mentioning each other by name. Ryan has picked key moments to draw implicit contrasts with Trump, including condemning the billionaire’s refusal to take responsibility for violence at his rallies. Trump will launch the next volley Tuesday when he campaigns in Ryan’s hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin, ahead of the state’s April 5 primary.


Georgia Gov: We don’t need to discriminate to protect faith

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia’s term-limited Gov. Nathan Deal took a stand against his own party and averted threatened boycotts by major corporations on Monday by announcing his veto of a “religious freedom” bill.

“I do not think that we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia,” the Republican governor declared.

Religious conservatives had campaigned hard for Deal’s signature, but the industries he has recruited to Georgia also applied pressure.

The NFL warned that Atlanta’s bid for the 2019 or 2020 Super Bowl could be in jeopardy. Technology firms, led by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, asked for Deal’s veto. The Walt Disney Company, Marvel Studios and dozens of Hollywood figures vowed to take projects elsewhere, despite Georgia’s generous tax credits for the film industry. Multimillion-dollar events and investments were threatened.

Lawmakers around the nation are advancing “religious freedom” measures, which have passed at least one chamber in ten states: Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. But Deal said only the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution can protect people of faith — along with everybody else.


Belgian police hunt airport suspect; victim toll rises to 35

BRUSSELS (AP) — As the number of victims in the Brussels suicide attacks rose to 35, Belgian police released a video of a mysterious man in a dark hat seen in the company of the bombers who attacked Brussels Airport, indicating that he is still at large.

“Police are seeking to identify this man,” the Belgian Federal Police’s website said Monday.

The video’s release came as a Belgian magistrate also ruled that a man identified as Faycal C., who was arrested during the police raids that followed the March 22 attacks, could be released.

Faycal C. was among those taken into custody and facing preliminary terror charges. Belgian media reported the man was the mysterious suspect in the white jacket and dark hat spotted with the two bombers at the airport the morning of the attacks.

But the Belgian magistrate ruled that new evidence uncovered by investigators revealed there were no grounds to keep Faycal C. in custody and he was released, the Belgian Federal Prosecutor’s Office said.


Retaking Syria’s Palmyra reveals more shattered antiquities

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — The recapture of Syria’s ancient city of Palmyra from the Islamic State group has brought new revelations of the destruction wreaked by the extremists, who decapitated priceless statues and smashed or looted artifacts in the city’s museum.

Experts say they need time to assess the full extent of damage in Palmyra, a UNESCO world heritage site boasting 2,000-year-old Roman-era colonnades and other ruins, which once attracted tens of thousands of tourists every year. Syrian troops drove IS out on Sunday, some 10 months after the militants seized the town.

The world knew through satellite images and IS videos that the militants destroyed the Temple of Bel, which dated back to A.D. 32, the Temple of Baalshamin, which was several stories high and fronted by six towering columns, and the Arch of Triumph, which was built under the Roman emperor Septimius Severus between A.D. 193 and A.D. 211.

But no one knew the extent of the damage inside the museum until a Syrian TV reporter entered on Sunday and found the floor littered with shattered statues. A sculpture of the Greek goddess Athena was decapitated, and the museum’s basement appeared to have been dynamited or hit with a shell.

Some of the damage may have been caused by shelling, which would have knocked the statues from their stands. In the Syrian TV footage from inside the museum, a hole can be seen in the ceiling, most likely from an artillery shell.


State-by-state strategy wielded to defund Planned Parenthood

NEW YORK (AP) — Though congressional Republicans’ bid to defund Planned Parenthood was vetoed by President Barack Obama, anti-abortion activists and politicians are achieving a growing portion of their goal with an aggressive state-by-state strategy.

Over the past year, more than a dozen states have sought to halt or reduce public funding for Planned Parenthood. The latest to join the offensive is Florida; GOP Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill Friday that bars Planned Parenthood from accessing state funds.

Defunding has been blocked by court action in some states. But cutbacks in other states are forcing Planned Parenthood to drop contraceptive services, health screenings and other programs serving thousands of low-income women.

“It’s been a non-stop assault — with devastating consequences for the patients we serve,” said Dawn Laguens, Planned Parenthood’s executive vice president. “At what point do you hit a tipping point where it has same impact as if a federal bill had passed?”

Planned Parenthood is a national target because of its role as the largest U.S. abortion provider. Federal law and the laws of most states already prevent public money from paying for abortions except in rare circumstances, but the recent defunding bills prohibit state money for any services by an organization that also provides abortions.


Alaska volcano ash cloud covers 400 miles, cancels flights

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Strong winds Monday pushed an ash cloud from an Alaska volcano into the heart of the state, grounding flights and limiting travel to western and northern communities off the road system.

Pavlof Volcano, one of Alaska’s most active volcanoes, is 625 miles southwest of Anchorage on the Alaska Peninsula, the finger of land that sticks out from mainland Alaska toward the Aleutian Islands.

The volcano in the 8,261-foot mountain erupted about 4 p.m. Sunday, spitting out an ash cloud that rose to 20,000 feet.

Lightning over the mountain and pressure sensors indicated eruptions continued overnight By 7 a.m. Monday, the ash cloud had risen to 37,000 feet and winds to 50 mph or more had stretched it over more than 400 miles into interior Alaska.

“It’s right in the wheelhouse of a lot of flights crisscrossing Alaska,” said geologist Chris Waythomas, of the U.S. Geological Survey, part of the Alaska Volcano Observatory, along with the University of Alaska and the state Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys.