Thursday morning news: March 21, 2019

British prime minister requests Brexit delay » British Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday officially asked the EU to delay Britain’s exit from the European Union.

MAY: I have therefore this morning written to President Tusk, the president of the European Council, informing him that the U.K. seeks an extension to the Article 50 period until the 30th of June. 

Britain is scheduled to leave the bloc one week from tomorrow. All 27 EU nations must agree to any extension.

EU President Donald Tusk said he believes “a short extension would be possible” but not without conditions.

TUSK: It would be conditional on the positive vote on the withdrawal agreement in the House of Commons.

British lawmakers have twice rejected Prime Minister May’s withdrawal agreement with the EU. And the speaker of the House of Commons ruled there could not be a third vote without significant changes to the agreement.

Trump taps new leader for FAA » President Trump has tapped a former Delta Air Lines executive to lead the Federal Aviation Administration. That comes as the agency deals with the aftermath of two deadly crashes involving American-made jetliners.

The president’s pick, Stephen Dickson, is also a former Delta pilot. The FAA has had an acting administrator for more than a year.

Dickson would have his work cut out for him. The Transportation Department confirmed this week that its watchdog agency will scrutinize how the FAA certified Boeing’s 737 Max 8 aircraft. That’s the model involved in both crashes.

New details emerge about doomed Lion Air jet » Meanwhile, new reports are shedding light on the first of those accidents. Lion Air flight 610 which crashed in Indonesia last year. WORLD Radio’s Sarah Schweinsberg has more.

SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: A Reuters report cites sources who have heard the audio from the cockpit voice recorder.

As the nose of the plane pitched downward, a pilot can reportedly be heard frantically flipping through a handbook trying to figure out why and how to stop it. But he was unable to find the answer before the jet plunged into the Java Sea.

And Bloomberg reports that on the day before that Lion Air crash, pilots flying the very same jet experienced the same problem. But an off-duty colleague who was riding in the cockpit figured out the problem and told the pilots to disable the flight control system, preventing a crash.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.

NZ police stopped shooter as he drove to a third mosque » New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced new gun measures today. She said her country is immediately banning “military style semi-automatic rifles” like weapons used in last Friday’s mass shooting. They’re also outlawing high-capacity magazines.

Ardern said the man arrested in the attacks had purchased his weapons legally and enhanced their capacity by using 30-round magazines.

Ardern said the bans will be followed by legislation next month.

And New Zealand police confirmed new details about the shooting. They say the massacre at two mosques could have been even worse because the gunman was on his way to a third mosque when officers rammed his car off the road.

New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush:

BUSH: We absolutely believe we know where he was going and we intervened on the way.

In a 74-page manifesto, the shooter said he planned to attack two mosques in Christchurch and then another in the town of Ashburton.

EU fines Google for antitrust violations » European Union regulators have fined Google roughly $1.7 billion for violating antitrust laws.

Regulators said Google imposed overly strict clauses in contracts with websites that used its AdSense advertising business. That prevented Google’s rivals from placing their ads on those sites.

EU’s competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager said Wednesday the company intentionally stifled competition.

VESTAGER: It prevented its rivals from having a chance to innovate and to compete in the market on their merits.

She said in the end that likely drove up prices for consumers.

The commission has now hit the tech giant with almost $10 billion in fines from various probes.

Lifeway Christian Stores closing all retail locations » Another brick-and-mortar retail chain is shutting its doors. WORLD Radio’s Leigh Jones has that story.

LEIGH JONES, NEWS EDITOR: LifeWay Christian Stores has announced it will close all its remaining locations — 170 in all. Acting president and CEO Brad Waggoner called the decision “a difficult one,” but instore sales have continued to decline.

The news comes two years after LifeWay’s top competitor, Family Christian Stores, shuttered all 240 of its locations.

LifeWay will stay in business as an online retailer where Waggoner says the company is experiencing “strong growth.”

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Leigh Jones.

(AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert) British Prime Minister Theresa May walks away after speaking with the media on arrival for an EU summit in Brussels, Thursday, March 21, 2019.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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