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By Petra Cahill

Good morning, NBC News readers.

New Zealand takes quick action to stem gun violence, Democrats gear up to try and win over President Donald Trump's base, and March Madness officially kicks off.

Here's what we're watching today.


Six days after massacre, New Zealand seeks to ban nearly all military-style weapons

"The time for the mass and easy availability of these weapons must end, and today they will," New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said as she announced plans to ban nearly all military-style semi-automatic and assault rifles in the country.

Her news conference came just six days after a gunman killed 50 people at two mosques in Christchurch.

Ardern outlined the plan for a gun buyback program and said legislation will be introduced in Parliament during the first week of April.


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Powerhouse Democratic group sets sights on Trump's core supporters

One of the largest Democratic super PACs is embarking on a $50 million effort designed to soften President Donald Trump's support among the group that cost Democrats the White House in 2016 — white working-class voters in the Upper Midwest.

Founded by longtime political operative David Brock, with a board that includes Andrew Gillum, the former Tallahassee mayor who ran for Florida governor last year, and former DNC Chair Ed Rendell, American Bridge is not messing around.

Their goal is to expand the group's budget nearly threefold for the 2020 campaign in order to persuade rural and exurban voters in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania that Trump has harmed their economic interests.


Trump ramps up attacks amid anticipation of Mueller report

The president attacked the late Sen. John McCain again at an Army tank plant in Lima, Ohio.

"McCain didn’t get the job done for our great vets at the VA and they knew it," Trump said, arguing he won support from military veterans during the 2016 election.

"I gave him the funeral that he wanted, which as president I had to approve," Trump said. "I don't care about this: I didn't get a thank you. That's okay. We sent him on the way, but I wasn't a fan of John McCain."

It was Trump's fourth attack in the last week on the former Arizona senator and Vietnam veteran who spent five years of his life as a prison of war. Meghan McCain slammed the president's attacks on her father as a "bizarre new low."

Trump's McCain comments came on the heels of his Twitter attack on George Conway, the husband of top White House adviser Kellyanne Conway.

The president's angry outbursts have come as speculation that special counsel Robert Mueller's highly anticipated report on his investigation into Russian election interference and Trump may be submitted soon.

Mueller has inspired his own genre of art and crafts — from prayer candles and cross-stitch patterns to earrings. Kristen Blush and Carmen Martinez / via AP file

The special counsel — a 74-year-old registered Republican, Marine and former FBI director who is known for his steely silence — has achieved folk hero status among some devoted Democrats anxiously awaiting his report.


Aid groups scramble to stem humanitarian disaster in southern Africa after cyclone

The race is on to help survivors of the devastating cyclone and flooding that killed hundreds in Mozambique and left a trail of destruction across swathes of southeastern Africa.

Rescue crews are still struggling to reach victims and aid groups say many survivors are trapped in remote areas, surrounded by wrecked roads and submerged villages.

"If the worst fears are realized ... then we can say that it is one of the worst weather-related disasters, tropical-cyclone-related disasters in the southern hemisphere," said Clare Nullis of the U.N. World Meteorological Organization.

See images of the storm's devastating aftermath.

People carry a coffin for one of the hundreds killed by the cyclone that hit Mozambique. Yasuyoshi Chiba / AFP - Getty Images

PLUS


THINK about it

Jordan Peele's "Us" is everything horror fans want a movie to be: disturbing, beautiful and unforgettable, writes Meredith Clark.


Live BETTER

What makes a job the best? "Salary and abundance of opportunity,” according to job search site Indeed. Check out their list for the "Best Jobs of 2019." Is yours on it?


One fun thing

Must-see Madness: Here are the first-round games of the 2019 NCAA tournament you definitely won't want to miss.

All eyes will be on Zion Williamson, the 6-foot-7-inch Duke freshman who is expected to be the top pick in this year's NBA draft. Streeter Lecka / Getty Images

Thanks for reading the Morning Rundown.

If you have any comments — likes, dislikes — drop me an email at: petra@nbcuni.com

Thanks, Petra