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  1. Manhunt under way for suspect who killed reporter Alison Parker, 24, cameraman Adam Ward, 27, on scene of live TV news segment Alan Yuhas in New York and Paul Lewis in Washington Wednesday 26 August 2015 16.16 BST A manhunt is under way after a gunman killed two members of a news crew and injured a third person in Moneta, Virginia, in a shooting that took place during a live TV broadcast on Wednesday morning. Virginia’s governor, Terry McAuliffe, announced “an active pursuit” of the gunman was under way and said that police believed the suspect was a “disgruntled employee” from the station. However, he later back-pedalled on claims that an arrest was “imminent”. The shooting occurred around 6.45am ET, when a news crew from WDBJ7 local news was conducting a live broadcast about local tourism at at the Bridgewater Plaza, near Smith Mountain Lake. They were interviewing a local Vicki Gardner, a representative from the local chamber of commerce, when up to eight shots rang out. Screams followed as the camera fell to the ground. The station later announced that two of their team, reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, had been shot dead. Gardner, who was also shot, is undergoing surgery in hospital. The scene was broadcast live to residents Roanoke, where the TV station is based, as well as those living in nearby towns in rural Virginia. The live broadcast was cut off shortly after the sound of shots and screaming. Producers switched back to the WDBJ7 local studio, where a shocked anchor was staring at the camera. Police were aided by images of the gunman that were captured moments after Ward was fatally shot and fell to the ground. They show a man dressed in black, apparently holding a gun pointed directly at the cameraman. Shortly after 10am, McAuliffe, who had been in communication with Virginia’s state police, said law enforcement were close to apprehending the suspect. He said the gunman, who had called a friend shortly after the shooting, was believed to be on the I-64 highway. “They are in pursuit as we speak,” McAuliffe told WTOP local radio. “Probably by the time we finish this interview we will have caught the suspect.” Close to an hour later, the suspect was still at large. McAuliffe told the same radio station that the suspect was armed and dangerous, but appeared to back-pedal on the suggestion police were in close pursuit. He said only that police had the suspect’s name and car license plate. “Obviously, they want to take him peacefully,” he said. “Today was just like any other day,” anchor Kim McBroom said on the station’s morning broadcast. “They did great work every day and put their all into everything they did. “They were special people. They would lighten up a room.” With crying on the set of the studio audible, another anchor, Jean Jadhon, described Parker as “a rock star. She was a professional, so much fun and so kind.” Jeff Marks, the station’s general manager, recounted what police had told the station. “Someone with a gun, we believe it was a man, barged into where they were and fired several shots, six or seven, it sounded like. We heard screaming, and then we heard nothing, the camera fell. “The scene was described to us as chaos.” He expressed disbelief at the shooting: “How can this individual have robbed these families of Adam and Alison of their happiness and their love, for whatever reason.” Parker originally joined the station as an intern, and had graduated from James Madison University in 2012. According to her profile on the site, she enjoyed kayaking and local theater. Ward was described as a gregarious, hardworking photojournalist, an avid fan of Virginia Tech and longtime employee of the station. He was engaged to Melissa Ott, a producer on the station who was celebrating her last day on Wednesday before going to a new job in Charlotte. He had planned to join her there and find a new job with her. Parker had recently celebrated a birthday and was dating WDBJ7 reporter Chris Hurst. Hurst tweeted on Wednesday morning that although “we didn’t share this publicly” he and Parker “were very much in love. We just moved in together. I am numb. “She was the most radiant woman I ever met. And for some reason she loved me back. She loved her family, her parents and her brother. We were together almost nine months. It was the best nine months of our lives. We wanted to get married.” McAuliffe tweeted that he was “heartbroken” over the two deaths. Franklin County police did not immediately respond to questions. The station chief said the news team would hold a memorial on Wednesday afternoon. Police have not described the extent of the third victim’s injuries. Schools in the area have been locked down until further notice, the Bedford County superintendent announced. How the shooting unfolded Alison Parker on WDBJ moments before the fatal shooting. Photograph: WDBJ Still of the gunman who shot Alison Parker and Adam Ward. Photograph: WDBJ The WDBJ anchor reacts to the shooting. Photograph: WDBJ Reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward. Photograph: Screengrab
  2. Andy Parker, father of Alison Parker: ‘They messed with the wrong family’ Parker hopes for ‘tipping point’ in debate as he calls for background checks Martin Pengelly in New York Sunday 30 August 2015 15.34 BST Andy Parker, the father of the news reporter who was shot dead with her cameraman live on air in Virginia on Wednesday, on Sunday vowed again to succeed in his push for gun control legislation, saying: “They messed with the wrong family.” Alison Parker, 24, and Adam Ward, 27, worked for WDBJ7, a Virginia station. They were shot dead by Vester Flanagan III, an embittered former colleague. Their interviewee, Vicki Gardner, was seriously wounded but survived. Flanagan, who filmed the shooting and posted footage to social media, shot himself dead hours later. On CNN on Sunday, Parker said he and his daughter’s boyfriend, Chris Hurst, wanted to lead a concerted push for reform on issues including basic background checks on all gun purchases, and cited offers of support from gun control activists and groups. “I have been in contact with Mark Kelly, who is Gabby Giffords’ husband, who was very gracious to reach out to me,” he said. “And we’re going to get together in Washington. Senator [Mark] Warner has also, you know, told me: ‘Whatever we can do to help and facilitate that, let me know.’ Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg’s people have reached out.” Parker added: “You always think there’s a tipping point. We always thought that when Gabby was shot, something would happen; with Sandy Hook, something would happen; with Aurora, something would happen, and it never did.” Parker’s rhetorical approach echoed that of Senator Bernie Sanders, the independent Vermont senator who had appeared on the programme in the preceding interview to repeat his message against the “same old, same old” procession of politics in Washington. “I was listening to Bernie Sanders … and I like what he said,” Parker said, after promising to “hold the politicians’ feet to the fire”. “He said, and it applied to another matter, ‘same old, same old’ doesn’t work, and it applies to this issue. The reason he’s doing so well in the polls and Donald Trump is doing so well is that people are tired of the same old, same old. “The difference in this situation is [such feeling has] got to apply to sensible gun control legislation. Controlling the loopholes in gun shows, doing those kind of things.” Sanders has been criticised by other candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination for allegedly being relatively lax on gun control. On Sunday he pointed to a lifetime voting grade from the NRA which he said was a “D-minus”, and advocated legislation on background checks, semi-automatic weapons and gunshow loopholes. Sanders said: “I do not accept that I have been weak on this issue. In fact, I have been strong on this issue. “In fact, coming from a rural state which is not strong on gun control, I think I can get beyond the noise, all of these arguments, people shouting at each other, and come up with real, constructive gun control legislation which most significantly gets guns out of the hands of people who should not have them.” Parker pointed to California for examples of successful gun control legislation, contrasting it to what he said was inaction in his own state. He also rejected any discussion of the man who killed his daughter, and attempts this week by 2016 candidates including Trump to focus on mental health policy, saying “there’s a linkage there” between such problems and guns. Parker said his daughter “was one of you guys, one of the media”. “I think people recognising who the victim was and what she represented and how kind and sweet and innocent she was, I think this time it’s going to be different,” he added. “I’ve done as many interviews probably as I can this week and I don’t want to be like Howard Beale from Network and in essence say: ‘We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore’ … “He got overexposed, I don’t want that to happen. I want to come back when we have real news to report. “I’m counting on you guys in the media to be there and support this and keep this on the front burner, because it has to be. It can’t go away, it can’t be forgotten, and I’m not going to let that happen.” In conclusion, Parker added: “I’m telling you, they messed with the wrong family.” Andy Parker, father of WDBJ7 reporter Alison Parker. Photograph: AP
  3. Israeli-Argentinian conductor Daniel Barenboim in talks to take Berlin State Opera to Iran, but Israel wants Angela Merkel to block performance Agence France-Presse in Berlin Thursday 27 August 2015 12.21 BST The Israeli-Argentinian conductor Daniel Barenboim has been in talks to take one of Germany’s top orchestras to Iran to perform a concert, drawing angry protests from Israel. Berlin State Opera said Barenboim, 72, its general music director, was in discussions with Iran about a possible concert in Tehran. It said Germany’s foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, had agreed to take over the patronage of the concert as he “supports Daniel Barenboim’s dedication to making music accessible to all people, irrespective of national, religious or ethnic boundaries”. Further details of the concert would be announced once the negotiations have been concluded, the opera house said. Israel’s culture minister, Miri Regev, said she would send a letter of protest to the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, calling on her to block the concert. “In my letter I shall stress that Daniel Barenboim’s appearance in Iran harms Israel’s efforts to prevent the nuclear agreement and gives encouragement to de-legitimisation of Israel,” she wrote in Hebrew on her Facebook page. “Iran is a state which supports terror, is behind Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and Hamas and its leaders have blood on their hands. I believe that Germany would be acting rightly if it were to cancel the appearance of the orchestra and its conductor.” Regev accused Barenboim – who founded a groundbreaking youth orchestra called the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra in 1999 that brings together Israeli, Egyptian, Iranian, Jordanian, Lebanese and Palestinian musicians – of “using culture as a platform for his anti-Israel political views”. Barenboim conducted the Divan Orchestra in a concert in Ramallah in 2005. He has taken honorary Palestinian citizenship and is also controversial in Israel for his efforts to have the music of Richard Wagner, the German composer adored by Adolf Hitler, performed in the Jewish state. Iran reached a deal with world powers last month under which western-led sanctions against the country will be lifted in exchange for a new inspections regime and curbs on Tehran’s atomic programme.
  4. Professional work on the ground belies a volatile candidate who had Latino news host Jorge Ramos thrown out of a press conference Ben Jacobs in Dubuque, Iowa Wednesday 26 August 2015 08.18 BST Donald Trump may have had a celebrated Latino newsman thrown out of a press conference on Tuesday, and declared that two of his rivals for president were “hugging and kissing and holding each other”, but he is establishing a real frontrunner campaign in Iowa. Immigration and gender continued to hound the real estate mogul’s theatric run for the White House as a return to this first-in-the-nation voting state was quickly overshadowed by another run-in with the news media. Then the leading Republican candidate for president proceeded to once again draw thousands at a rally to an operation described by Brad Anderson, the current president’s Iowa director in the 2012 election, as “Obama-esque”. The fireworks came early, inside the press room of the river city of Dubuque, after Univision anchor Jorge Ramos stood up and started asking a question without being called on. Trump tried to ignore Ramos – whose highly rated Spanish language news telecast has had him labeled “the Walter Cronkite of Latino America” – and called on another reporter. When Ramos persisted, Trump retorted “You weren’t called” and repeatedly asked Ramos to “sit down”, then told him to “go back to Univision”. Finally a security guard working for Trump forcibly escorted Ramos out of the room. The billionaire observed that the television anchor had “stood up and started screaming” and went on to describe Ramos as “ a very emotional person”. Ramos was later allowed back in the press room and engaged in a prolonged back and forth with Trump on immigration, which has been both his pet issue and his most notorious. Trump touted his building acumen and told Ramos: “I’ve got a bigger heart than you do,” as well as asserting that gang violence in cities like Baltimore and Ferguson was due to illegal immigrants. The episode represented Trump’s second showdown with a major news anchor in less than a day. Late on Monday night he retweeted someone who called the Fox News journalist Megyn Kelly “a bimbo”. Trump has become a bitter critic of Kelly after what he said was unfair questioning during the first televised debate earlier in August. He described Kelly as having “blood coming out of her wherever”, which was widely interpreted as a reference to menstruation and led to his being banned from a major conservative conference. Despite demands for an apology from the network, Trump doubled down on his criticism of Fox in the Iowa press conference. “I think Fox treats me terribly,” he declared. When asked about his Twitter account’s controversial trumpeting, Trump said that “to a certain extent” he did endorse what he retweeted and implied he was responsible for much of his online activity: “I do a lot of things by myself. People would be surprised.” Apart from the media, Trump took the rally to go after his usual targets: China, Iran and John Kerry, whom he described as “a schmuck”. He added a new wrinkle: the relationship between Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. Trump observed that while Rubio’s decision to run for president was widely viewed as a rebuke towards his political mentor Bush, the two were still “hugging and kissing and holding each other” in person. He compared it to New Jersey governor Chris Christie’s famous hug of Barack Obama on the eve of the 2012 presidential election during the recovery from hurricane Sandy. To Trump this was symbolic of the hypocrisy of politicians faking their emotions for the cameras. And it resonated with Steve Rosonke of Dubuque, who hadn’t participated in caucuses “since I was in college” and said he came out to support Trump in Iowa because “he’s verbalizing what a lot of people think”. Rosonke, who normally votes Republican, said he thought Trump cared “about the country and not a political party”. He was dubious about the practicality of Trump’s plan to deport 11 million illegal immigrations but agreed with the sentiment. Others just came out for the show, like Frank Kennedy of Galena, Illinois, who toted a picture he painted of Trump surrounded by the four presidents on Mount Rushmore. An infrequent voter, Kennedy liked Trump but still was willing to consider supporting both Ben Carson and Bernie Sanders, and really just enjoyed the “opportunity to see someone famous when you live in a small town”. On the less showy side, there was evidence of a disciplined effort to get Trump elected. Every attendee was handed a supporter card to fill out with personal information; campaign staffers took turns warming up the crowd and introducing themselves; and Trump held a private meeting with key Republican activists before speaking to the event. On the stage, major Iowa social conservative activist Sam Clovis endorsed and then introduced the Republican frontrunner as “a man of conviction”. Clovis has long been considered a powerhouse in Iowa Republican politics and carries considerable weight among socially conservative voters, particularly on his home turf of the state’s deep red north-west. His backing was considered an important factor in Rick Santorum’s surprise win in the 2012 Iowa caucuses. Just 24 hours earlier Clovis had stepped down as Iowa chairman of former Texas governor Rick Perry’s campaign after it ran out of money and was unable to pay him. Perry had stood out in the GOP field by repeatedly denouncing Trump, including calling him “a cancer on conservatism”. It remains to be seen whether Trump’s theatrical side will overwhelm what appears to be an increasingly well-organized political effort on the ground that has him lapping the competition in New Hampshire and still leading in Iowa. To some extent, Trump may be immune from normal political pressures. As he noted of the recent criticism of Jeb Bush for using the term “anchor baby”, he is less often criticized for similar language. “Nobody cares because they kind of expect it from me,” Trump said. But whether that befits the campaign of a true frontrunner for the presidency is another question.
  5. Attacks on investigative reporter and team from Rai 3 politics show come amid indignation over Hollywood-style service for Vittorio Casamonica Michele Azzu Tuesday 25 August 2015 16.28 BST Two journalists, one in Rome and one in Naples, have received death threats for reporting on local crime boss Vittorio Casamonica’s Hollywood-style funeral in Rome. he ceremony at San Giovanni Bosco church on 21 August prompted indignation as it featured a gilded carriage driven by six horses, a band playing the music fromThe Godfather, and rose petals being thrown from a helicopter. The following day, Alessio Viscardi, an investigative reporter for web newspaper, was in Terzigno, near Naples, looking for the airfield from which the helicopter had taken off. He was approached by four people, who took photographs of his documents. “The attackers came by car after I’d taken a few shots of the airfield,” said Viscardi. “They stopped me and threatened me with death.” Footage of the episode reveals a clear threat to the journalist, with one of those present saying “I’ll kill you” (“Ti uccido” in Italian). Viscardi later filed a complaint with local police The second attack occurred the next day, in Rome, and involved a team from public TV station Rai 3, including journalist Alfonso Iuliano, his camera operator and sound engineer. The three, working for the current affairs show Agorà, were shooting video in the Appio area, in which Iuliano knew that several members of the Casamonica family were living. The journalists were stopped and attacked by local residents, who threated them with death if they did not stop filming. “They said to us they were going to beat us to death, more than once, and from more than one person,” Iuliano said. The camera operator was left with a few scratches on his arm, while two people, related to Casamonica’s family, were arrested and later charged with robbery after allegedly taking the journalists’ phones. Luigi de Magistris, the mayor of Naples, expressed his support for Viscardi, saying: “We can’t accept that a journalist is threatened with death.” In Rome, the attack on the Rai 3 journalists prompted concern from deputy mayor Marco Causi and of transport councillor Stefano Esposito. Vittorio Casamonica’s funeral at Don Bosco church in Rome included a gilded carriage, rose petals being thrown from a helicopter and an orchestra playing the theme tune from The Godfather. Photograph: Massimo Percossi/EPA Clan's assets : About 200 Million Euros ($228M)
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