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Kansas man charged with fatally shooting bar security guard

EUDORA, Kan. (AP) A 36-year-old man has been charged with fatally shooting a security guard outside a northeast Kansas bar after a fight. The Lawrence Journal-World (http://bit.ly/2ti4FVc[1] ) reports that Danny Queen, of Eudora, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 32-year-old Bo Matthew Hopson and two counts of attempted first-degree murder. Queen appeared via video feed from the jail, and his bond was set at $1 million. Eudora Police Chief Bill Edwards said the shooting happened early Saturday at the D-Dubs Bar after another bar employee asked Queen to leave. Queen’s birthday had been Friday. Edwards said Queen then got into a fight with someone outside the bar and shot Hopson when he went to check on the situation.

Queen was restrained after his gun jammed. Hopson died Sunday during surgery.

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Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com[2]

References

  1. ^ http://bit.ly/2ti4FVc (bit.ly)
  2. ^ http://www.ljworld.com (www.ljworld.com)

Dutch sleuth hopes for breakthrough in biggest US art heist

Dutch Sleuth Hopes For Breakthrough In Biggest US Art Heist FILE – In this Thursday, March 11, 2010 file photo, a plaque marks the empty frame from which thieves cut Rembrandt’s “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee,” which remains on display at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. A Dutch sleuth has his sights set on what he calls the Holy Grail of stolen art: A collection worth $500 million snatched in 1990 in the largest art heist in U.S. history from Boston s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds, File)

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) A Dutch art sleuth who says he s following two possible leads in the largest art heist in U.S. history is hoping a $10 million reward will help track down the collection stolen from a Boston museum in 1990. Arthur Brand thinks a decision last month to double the reward for information could prompt the return of 13 works stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, though the museum s director of security says the leads Brand is following have already been pursued and are considered dead ends. The $10 million reward announced in May by the museum s trustees is on offer only until the end of the year, when it will likely revert to $5 million.

All the lights are on green, said Brand, whose past searches for purloined paintings and sculptures have led to Ukrainian militiamen and Nazi memorabilia collectors. If the people do not bring them back this year, it s now or never.

The stunning theft at the Gardner Museum was remarkably simple. Two men masqueraded as Boston police and got into the museum by telling a security guard they were responding to a disturbance. Once inside, the thieves handcuffed two guards on duty and put them in the museum s basement before snatching masterpieces that included paintings by Dutch masters Rembrandt van Rijn and Johannes Vermeer and French impressionist Edouard Manet. Investigators have followed an array of leads and suspects mobsters, Irish gunrunners, local thieves and even a Hollywood screenwriter.

The FBI told The Associated Press in 2015 that two suspects Boston criminals with ties to organized crime were dead, but the deaths did not end the search for the Gardner s stolen art. The FBI said investigators believe the collection moved through organized crime circles to Connecticut and Philadelphia, but its exact whereabouts remains a mystery. The missing pieces include Rembrandt s only known seascape, Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee, and his A Lady and Gentleman in Black; Manet s Chez Tortoni; and Vermeer s The Concert, one of fewer than 40 known paintings by the 17th century Dutch painter. Neither of the leads Brand is following is new, but the tenacious sleuth hopes the bigger reward will help. He has a record of success he helped German police seize a huge stash of art in 2015 that included two bronze horse sculptures crafted for Adolf Hitler. He also helped recover art stolen from a Dutch museum that had ended up with a militia in Ukraine. He runs a Dutch agency that helps track the provenance of works of art and advises buyers on their authenticity.

One of the leads focuses on a Dutch criminal who was reportedly in possession of photos of the stolen art and tried to sell the works in the Netherlands and the Belgian city of Antwerp in the early 1990s. Brand has not seen the photos, but says sources tell him they were taken after the theft. He declined to identify the criminal involved, or his sources. The lead sounds old, but if he can tell us who gave him these pictures at the time we could trace it back, Brand said.

The other lead is one that U.S. law enforcement authorities have followed and discounted: That a former member or members of the Irish Republican Army, which was responsible for a 27-year campaign of violence in Ireland and the United Kingdom, may have information about the works.

We are talking with some people about getting more information and trying to make a deal, Brand said, again refusing to elaborate. Anthony Amore, the Isabella Stewart Gardner s director of security, says the FBI already has pursued Brand s leads.

We ve explored the leads Arthur is discussing extensively in the past, and we re confident that we closed them without further need for investigation, Amore said. He added, There s never been any evidence presented to us of any value that the art left the United States.

Brand says he and other experts haven t given up on the Irish angle.

We all think we have very good leads in Ireland, but we still didn t see the paintings, so you never know for sure, he said. The possibility that whoever now has the art may not face prosecution could also help, along with the huge reward, to get the art back to the Boston museum. The five-year statute of limitations on crimes associated with the actual theft expired more than 20 years ago, so the thieves can no longer be prosecuted.

Federal prosecutors in Boston have not offered blanket immunity for whoever has the paintings now, but they are willing to consider immunity for anyone who can help them recover the stolen works.

At this point, our primary focus is to get the paintings back, Acting U.S. Attorney William Weinreb told The Associated Press. Brand says that could be enough incentive to make him the middle man who brings the works back to the museum.

If you have something in your house, even if it s stolen, and they offer you $10 million and immunity and anonymity, who will hold you back? Asked to rank his chances of success on a scale of one to 10, Brand said. So in a logical world, I would say 10. But the art world is not logical.

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Associated Press writer Denise Lavoie in Boston contributed.

Eli Lake: Former Al-Jazeera anchor says TV network aids terrorists

Mohamed Fahmy is the last person one would expect to make the case against al-Jazeera. In 2014, the former Cairo bureau chief for the Qatar-funded television network began a 438-day sentence in an Egyptian prison on terrorism charges and practicing unlicensed journalism. His incarceration made al-Jazeera a powerful symbol of resistance to Egypt s military dictatorship. Today Fahmy is preparing a lawsuit against his former employers. And while he is still highly critical of the regime that imprisoned him, he also says the Egyptian government is correct in saying al-Jazeera is really a propaganda channel for Islamists and an arm of Qatari foreign policy. The more the network coordinates and takes directions from the government, the more it becomes a mouthpiece for Qatari intelligence, he told me in an interview Thursday. There are many channels who are biased, but this is past bias. Now al-Jazeera is a voice for terrorists. Fahmy s testimony is particularly important now. Al-Jazeera is at the center of a crisis ripping apart the Arab Gulf states. Earlier this month Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain imposed a political and diplomatic blockade on Qatar. Al-Jazeera has been kicked out of those countries. The treatment of al-Jazeera as an arm of the Qatari state as opposed to a news organization does not sit well with many in the West. A recent New York Times editorial accused Qatar s foes of muzzling a news outlet that could lead citizens to question their rulers in the Arab world. In some ways it s understandable for English-speaking audiences to take this view. Al-Jazeera s English-language broadcasts certainly veer politically to the left. At times the channel has sucked up to police states. The channel embarrassed itself with such fluff as a recent sycophantic feature on female traffic cops in North Korea. But al-Jazeera English has also broken some important stories. It worked with Human Rights Watch to uncover documents mapping out the links between Libyan intelligence under Moammar Gadhafi and the British and U.S. governments. Al-Jazeera s Arabic broadcasts, however, have not met these same standards in recent years. To start, the network still airs a weekly talk show from Muslim Brotherhood theologian Yusuf al-Qaradawi. He has used his platform to argue that Islamic law justifies terrorist attacks against Israelis and U.S. soldiers. U.S. military leaders, such as retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who commanded forces in the initial campaign to stabilize Iraq, have said publicly that al-Jazeera reporters appeared to have advance knowledge of terrorist attacks. Fahmy told me he has learned that instructions were given to journalists not to refer to al-Qaida s affiliate in Syria, al-Nusra, as a terrorist organization.
He said Qatar s neighbors were justified in banning al-Jazeera. Al-Jazeera has breached the true meaning of press freedom that I advocate and respect by sponsoring these voices of terror like Yusuf al-Qaradawi, he said. If al-Jazeera continues to do that, they are directly responsible for many of these lone wolves, many of these youth that are brainwashed. Fahmy didn t always have this opinion of his former employer. He began to change his views while serving time. It started in the scorpion block of Egypt s notorious Tora prison. During his stay, he came to know some of Egypt s most notorious Islamists. When I started meeting and interviewing members of the Muslim Brotherhood and their sympathizers, they specifically told me they had been filming protests and selling it to al-Jazeera and dealing fluidly with the network and production companies in Egypt associated with the network, he said. One example of al-Jazeera s coordination with the Muslim Brotherhood revolves around Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins in the summer of 2013, following the military coup that unseated Mohammed Mursi, the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated president. Fahmy took testimony from a former security guard for the network and the head of the board of trustees for Egyptian state television. Both testified that members of the Muslim Brotherhood seized the broadcast truck al-Jazeera used to air the sit-ins that summer. In other words, al-Jazeera allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to broadcast its own protests. That happened in the weeks before Fahmy was hired to be the network s Cairo bureau chief. He says he was unaware of these ties to the Muslim Brotherhood until he began doing his own research and reporting from an Egyptian prison. When Fahmy learned of these arrangements, he said, he became angry. It undermined his case before the Egyptian courts that he was unaffiliated with any political party or terrorist groups inside Egypt. To me this is a big deal, this is not acceptable, he said. It put me in danger because it s up to me to convince the judge that I was just doing journalism. Fahmy was released from prison in 2015, but not because al-Jazeera s lawyers made a good case for him. Rather, it was the work of human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, who eventually got him to Canada. Now Fahmy is pressing a court in British Columbia to hear his case against the network, from whom he is seeking $100 million in damages for breach of contract, misrepresentation and negligence. Fahmy s case is one more piece of evidence that the al-Jazeera seen by English-speaking audiences is not the al-Jazeera seen throughout the Muslim world. It s one more piece of evidence that Qatar s foreign policy is a double game: It hosts a military base the U.S. uses to fight terror, while funding a media platform for extremists.