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MUSIC NEWS

Stolen Brooklyn Bridge Flags Returned to US Official...

Thursday, August 21, 2014 10:13pm

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The flags taken off the Brooklyn Bridge and swapped for white surrender flags have been handed over to U.S. officials, a law enforcement official told ABC News Thursday.

The handover took place far from the iconic landmark, however: it happened in Germany. The flags were given to the U.S. embassy a week after Mischa Leinkauf and Mattias Wermke, artists in that country, identified themselves as having perpetrated the stunt that became a national news sensation.

"They returned the flags to the embassy. There has been no determination on charges," the law enforcement official said.

 The artists said last week that the Brooklyn Bridge stunt was intended as a celebration of public art and not as any political statement.

The Berlin-based duo said that the flags that they put on top of the bridge were not bleached white but were made of white material and then hand-stitched so that it was done in "Old Glory" style with white stars and stripes. They said that they followed U.S. Flag Code in their handling of the American flags that they took down.

Prosecutors in New York could still pursue felony burglary charges against the duo, which could lead to the issuing of an international arrest warrant. Authorities also "have some significant leads" as to the people who assisted the Germans in their stunt in the U.S. The American accomplices are still being pursued.

New York Police Department officials are taking the flag return as a sign of "good faith" that the stunt was, "some sort of artistic thing or stunt," as opposed to a serious threat or attempt to scare American citizens, the law enforcement official said.

It is believed that the artists realized how serious this was and how much trouble they were in when NY Police Commissioner Bill Bratton announced on WABC's Sunday show Up Close with Diana Williams that investigators knew who the perpetrators were.


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James Foley's Last Images of the Syrian War

Thursday, August 21, 2014 8:37pm

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Slain U.S. journalist James Foley's intrepid reporting in Syria gave civilians across the world a glimpse into the country's brutal civil war, one video report at a time.

Even after his death at the hands of ISIS, those clips live on.

Some of his final footage was taken in the August of 2012 in Aleppo, the country's largest city and the site of many attacks between the Syrian army and rebel forces. Foley, who was captured in November, ventured into dangerous territory to capture the clashes from the frontlines.

His camera rolled as Syrian rebels carried a wounded fighter to safety in Aleppo, and later as other fighters armed with machine guns patrolled the streets, eager to put an end to Muammar Gaddafi's reign. Another clip films an attack by the Syrian army on the city of Saraqeb.

Foley's reporting showed us what life was like for Syria's civilians, too. In one clip, he spoke to wounded children – including a 13-year-old boy who was struck by a bomb dropped from a helicopter as he waited in a bread line, and a man whose injured 8-year-old daughter was turned away from the hospital, because there was no room.

He videotaped a young couple's wedding ceremony in Aleppo, capturing the heartfelt moment a Syrian rebel sniper exchanged rings with his bride, a young nurse who treated his leg wound.

After Gaddafi was killed in October, Foley recorded reactions from rebel fighters in Sirte, where the dictator died.

The terrorist group ISIS beheaded Foley in a disturbing video posted online Tuesday. Foley, originally from New Hampshire, was a journalist for publications including GlobalPost and Agence France-Presse.


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Ex Gov. McDonnell Takes Stand, Reveals Bleak Marriag...

Thursday, August 21, 2014 9:43pm

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(RICHMOND, Va.) -- Facing corruption charges, former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell characterized his marriage in stunningly bleak terms, taking the witness stand to discuss a marriage that, as he describes it, was filled with yelling, unpleasantness, and distance.

McDonnell is on trial in Virginia over gifts his family received from Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams, who has testified that he believes he was granted access and a platform at the governor's mansion to promote a nutritional supplement, in exchange for gifts that included a $20,000 shopping spree for Maureen McDonnell, the governor's wife, and $15,000 for the wedding catering of the McDonnell’s daughter, Cailin. The total amount of lavish gifts, vacations, and cash loans is at least $165,000.

A deterioriated marriage and evidence of emotional distance is a key to McDonnell's defense, which has contended that Bob and Maureen McDonnell were too far separated by marital differences to have collaborated on a quid pro quo for Williams in exchange for his gifts.

Leaving the jury -- and the public -- with only one side of the story, Maureen McDonnell has not testified in her husband's trial and likely will not.

In his testimony, McDonnell spoke of a marriage that had been strained by years of his public-service career, underlined by fits of anger and yelling by his wife, whom advisers suggested should seek emotional help but who was unwilling to pursue that option. Things got so bad, McDonnell said, that he began working late purposefully to avoid his wife.

"It's going to be very, very difficult," McDonnell said at the beginning of the day's testimony, according to The Washington Post. "It's going to be hard for me to talk about."

It was revealed that McDonnell wrote an emotional letter to his wife in September 2011, which went unreturned, where he admitted that, "I am lonely sometimes."

It read, in part:
"I love you. Yesterday was one on (sic) the lowest points in my life. We have had a very hard year emotionally, despite a wonderful anniversary celebration. You are my soulmate. I love being married to you and having a family. We have shared much good life together (sic). I have made plenty of mistakes in my life which I wish I could fix. I am sorry for all the times I have not been there for you and have done things to hurt you. I know I am a sinner and keep trying to do better. But I am completely at a loss as to how to handle the fiery anger and hate from you that has become more and more frequent. You told me again yesterday that you would wreck my things and how bad I am. It hurt me to my core. I have asked and prayed to God so many times to take this anger away from you and heal whatever hurt is causing it..."

The letter has been entered into evidence but is not yet publicly available. The above text was reported by The Washington Post.

Asked by his attorney about the current state of his marriage, McDonnell reportedly said it was "on hold." He does not believe his wife had a physical affair with Williams, McDonnell reportedly said, and he revealed he moved out of his family's home in suburban Richmond before the trial and is living with his parish priest in the St. Patrick's Church rectory.


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