TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — A University of Alabama student repeatedly used a racial slur in videos posted on social media, prompting immediate condemnation from school officials and her apparent expulsion Wednesday.

University President Stuart R. Bell called the videos “highly offensive and deeply hurtful,” and said the student, Harley Barber, is “no longer enrolled here.”

“We hold our students to much higher standards, and we apologize to everyone who has seen the videos and been hurt by this hateful, ignorant and offensive behavior,” Bell said in a statement.

The videos, in which Barber repeatedly uses a racial slur for African-Americans, were first posted on a private Instagram account, but recordings of the posts became widely shared on social media and brought to the attention of school administrators.

Barber told the New York Post that her actions were wrong.

“I don’t know what to do and I feel horrible,” she was quoted by the paper as saying. “There’s just no excuse for what I did.”

Barber did not respond to a request for comment The Associated Press sent to her university email account.

The 19-year-old told the newspaper she had been expelled from the university and was returning home to New Jersey. The university would not confirm her expulsion. Spokesman Chris Bryant told the AP he could “only provide directory information, and this student is no longer enrolled.”

In the first Instagram video, Barber says, “I love how I act like I love black people because I … hate … .” In a second expletive-filled video responding to criticism, she says she’ll use the word “as much as I want.”

“I don’t care if it’s Martin Luther King Day,” she says before saying the slur again and again. She then says she will use the slur “as much as I want” noting she is both from New Jersey and, “I’m in the South now.”

The videos were first reported by al.com.

Barber identified herself in the videos as a member of Alpha Phi sorority and said she had wanted to be in the sorority since high school. Linda Kahangi, executive director of Alpha Phi, said Wednesday that the student “is no longer a member of Alpha Phi.”

“Alpha Phi is a diverse, values-based organization and condemns the language and opinions in these videos,” Kang wrote in an email response to a query from the AP. “They are offensive and hateful to both our own members and to other members of the Greek and campus community.”

In the videos, Barber referred to the Instagram account she was using as her “finsta,” a made-up word meaning “fake Instagram,” a secondary account that some Instagram users create to share certain posts with a select number of people.

Someone made a screen recording of the post and shared it publicly.

This story has been corrected to reflect that the former student’s first name is Harley, not Haley.

ARCON, France (AP) — Now that competition on snow in Europe is in full swing, the world’s top biathletes are in the finishing straight of their journey to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

But the groundwork was laid long ago, during summer months of intense off-season training . How hard athletes labored behind the scenes during that crucial preparation time will, in large measure, determine which of them wins medals under the Olympic spotlight in February.

Without snow, biathletes train on roller skis — racking up the miles (kilometers) to hone their fitness. They also shoot thousands of rounds — perfecting the target-shooting so essential to success in their sport where athletes need to be both supremely fit and have steady hands.

A summer biathlon championship in eastern France — with no snow but plenty of passionate fans who ignored the rain — served as a tune-up for Pyeongchang-bound athletes.

Plunge into their world of sweat and bullets with this immersive Associated Press 360-degree video that followed some of the sport’s stars hoping to shine at the 2018 games.


More AP coverage of the Winter Games: https://wintergames.ap.org

LONDON (AP) — Toy maker Lego is partnering with China’s internet firm Tencent to offer games, video and possibly a social network aimed at children.

The privately-owned company based in Copenhagen, Denmark, said Monday that the deal would combine Lego’s ability to create content with Tencent’s distribution reach.

“We’ve seen more and more Chinese children engage with the world digitally, and the partnership will bring them safe and imaginative Lego content,” said Jacob Kragh, general manager of Lego China.

Shenzhen-based Tencent is one of China’s most powerful internet companies, running the WeChat messaging app as well as online payment platforms and games. Because Chinese authorities have largely shut out Western companies like Google and Facebook, homegrown internet companies like Tencent have been able to grow rapidly in size.

For Lego, the move is part of a reorganization of its business that it began last year, when it announced it was shedding 1,400 jobs, or 8 percent of its workforce.

Lego has for years moved beyond the traditional plastic bricks it is known for, backing films and digital products.

But its sales hit a peak last year and the company is looking for new ways to reach children in more countries.

China has been one of the bright spots for Lego recently, with annual sales up by double digits, and the partnership with Tencent will seek to reinforce its presence in one of the world’s biggest and fastest-growing markets.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Three Florida men have pleaded not guilty to charges connected to a video of a shark being dragged behind a speeding boat.

Twenty-one-year-old Michael Wenzel and 23-year-old Spencer Heintz, of Palmetto, along with 28-year-old Robert Lee Benac of Bradenton, each face two felony counts of aggravated animal cruelty. Wenzel and Benac also face a misdemeanor count of illegal method of taking a shark.

In a Tampa Bay Times report , Wenzel’s attorney, Stephen Crawford, said none of the men appeared at Wednesday’s hearing in Hillsborough County court. Their lawyers entered the not guilty pleas on their behalf.

The video went viral in late July after a Miami sport fisherman criticized it on social media. Investigators with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission determined the dragging took place June 26 in state waters off Egmont Key.


Information from: Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Fla.), http://www.tampabay.com.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on a new book about President Donald Trump (all times local):

2:35 p.m.

President Donald Trump has made his first appearance in the White House briefing room — but on video.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders played a brief recorded video of Trump reading a statement about the tax cut bill he signed into law before Christmas.

Trump’s video appearance came the day after details from a forthcoming book painted an unflattering portrait of Trump and his administration. The Oval Office is a short walk from the briefing room, but the video appearance allowed Trump to deliver a message without having to face questions about the book and other topics.

Trump says in the video that the tax-cut legislation is already delivering major economic gains. The president says various companies have announced bonuses or higher minimum wages for their employees as a result of the law.


1:25 p.m.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich agrees with the president about former Trump strategist Steve Bannon. Gingrich told reporters Thursday, “Well, I think Bannon has lost his mind, so that was an accurate tweet.”

The Georgia Republican was responding to President Donald Trump’s statement Wednesday that Bannon has “lost his mind.”

Bannon questioned Trump’s fitness for office and made scathing criticisms of the president in a new book about Trump’s first year in the White House.

Trump also tweeted this week that he has a “nuclear button” that is “much bigger” than the one claimed by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Gingrich says, “The fact is, he’s going to be president, probably for eight years, and you guys just have to get used to the fact that he is who he is.”


11:59 a.m.

President Donald Trump says he no longer speaks with former chief strategist Steve Bannon, who unloaded on his administration in a new book.

Trump told reporters Thursday, “I don’t talk to him,” before he began a White House meeting with Republican senators on immigration reform.

Bannon questioned Trump’s fitness for office and made scandalous allegations against the president and his family in excerpts of the book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” by Michael Wolff.

As the bombshell book surfaced Wednesday, Trump unleashed on Bannon in a statement, saying he had “lost his mind.”

Speaking on Thursday at the White House, Trump said Bannon spoke positively of him Wednesday night on his Breitbart radio show. Trump noted, “He called me a great man last night.” And Trump added that his counter-attack had its desired outcome. “He obviously changed his tune pretty quick.”


10:55 a.m.

President Donald Trump is demanding the author and publisher of a new book about him immediately halt its release.

Trump attorney Charles Harder sent a cease-and-desist letter dated Thursday to Michael Wolff, author of “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.”

The same letter was also sent to Steve Rubin, president and publisher of Henry Holt and Co. It demands a halt to publication of the book or of excerpts.

Wolff’s book is set for release on Jan. 9. It paints a derogatory portrait of Trump.

Harder also demands that Wolff and Rubin issue a “full and complete” retraction and apology to Trump.

The attorney also asks that Wolff and Rubin immediately forward electronic and hard copies of the book to his office in California.


3:38 a.m.

President Donald Trump launched a scathing attack on former top adviser Steve Bannon, responding to a new book that portrays Trump as an undisciplined man-child who didn’t actually want to win the White House and quotes Bannon as calling his son’s contact with a Russian lawyer “treasonous.”

Hitting back via a formal White House statement rather than a more-typical Twitter volley, Trump insisted Bannon had little to do with his victorious campaign and “has nothing to do with me or my Presidency.”

“When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind,” Trump said Wednesday.

It was a blistering attack against the man who helped deliver the presidency to Trump. It was spurred by an unflattering new book by writer Michael Wolff that paints Trump as a leader who doesn’t understand the weight of the presidency and spends his evenings eating cheeseburgers in bed, watching television and talking on the phone to old friends.

PARIS (AP) — France’s prime minister is pushing for the perpetrators of a New Year’s Eve attack on two police officers — captured in a video that went viral on social media — to be punished with “great judicial severity.”

Edouard Philippe made the comments Wednesday on France 2 television after the assault in Champigny-sur-Marne brought nationwide attention.

The attackers have not yet been identified and authorities have launched an inquiry.

Dozens of angry police officers have taken part in demonstrations in several cities across France since the attack, demanding justice for the targeted officers and greater protection from the government.

In October 2016, a Molotov cocktail attack on police officers also triggered widespread protests.