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Emergency Services Responding To ‘Incident’ In Christchurch, New Zealand

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WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand police said on Tuesday they were responding to an incident in Christchurch, where 50 people were killed in attacks by a lone gunman on two mosques in March, and asked people to avoid the area.


Police declined to comment on the nature of the incident in the Phillipstown area of the city on New Zealand’s South Island and gave no further details.

A spokesman for the St John Ambulance service said an ambulance was on standby at the scene at the request of police but had not treated any patients.

The New Zealand Herald said police were called due to threats of an explosive device and residents were evacuated from nearby homes.

A police spokeswoman declined to comment on the Herald report of a potential bomb threat.

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Billionaire Financier David Koch Dead At Age 79 From Prostate Cancer

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(NTS) — Billionaire tycoon and controversial political activist David Koch, one of the wealthiest people in the world and a significant contributor to libertarian and conservative movements, has died after a decades-long struggle with cancer, his brother states. He was 79 years old.

“It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of my brother David,” Koch Industries CEO Charles Koch said in a statement on Friday morning. “Anyone who worked with David surely experienced his giant personality and passion for life.”

David was diagnosed with prostate cancer approximately three decades ago, and he retreated from Koch Industries in June 2018, when his brother said David’s well-being had “continued to deteriorate” since being hospitalized in the summer of 2016. David held the title director emeritus.

“Twenty-seven years ago, David was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer and given a grim prognosis of a few years to live,” Charles said. “David liked to say that a combination of brilliant doctors, state-of-the-art medications and his stubbornness kept the cancer at bay. We can all be grateful that it did, because he was able to touch so many more lives as a result.”

David Koch and his elder brother, Charles, have been an instrumental force in conservative American campaignings since the early 1980s. Their influence fundamentally originates from a fortune which centered around Koch Industries, which was established by their father Fred Koch in 1940.

Over the years, the Koch brothers have donated large quantities of money in assistance of organizations to assemble voters and to promote conservative and libertarian politicians. In 1980, David was the Libertarian Party’s vice-presidential candidate, but Republican candidate Ronald Reagan defeated he and his running mate Ed Clark.

The Koch brothers were disparaging of President Donald Trump and started a multi-million dollar campaign against his tariffs, which led to a tweet from the president last summer. “The globalist Koch Brothers, who have become a total joke in real Republican circles, are against Strong Borders and Powerful Trade. I never sought their support because I don’t need their money or bad ideas,” Trump tweeted.

Two years earlier, just months before the 2016 presidential election, Trump took another swipe at the Koch brothers. “I turned down a meeting with Charles and David Koch. Much better for them to meet with the puppets of politics, they will do much better!”, Trump tweeted.

At the time of David’s death, his net worth was assessed to be $42.4 billion, according to Forbes magazine, making him the 11th richest person in the world. In 2015, the magazine ranked him as the 29th most powerful person in the world.

In addition to being a political donor, David was also a long-time philanthropist. He and his foundation bestowed hundreds of millions to cancer research and medical centers, and he served as a board member of the Prostate Cancer Foundation. He also contributed $100 million to the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center, $65 million to renovate the plaza at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and $1 million to support education programs for visitors to the September 11 Memorial & Museum.

His wife Julia and their three children survive.

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Cardinal George Pell’s Appeal Denied; Convictions On Sex Abuse Will Stand

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MELBOURNE, Australia — An Australian court has confirmed convictions against the most superior Catholic to be found condemned of child sex abuse.


The Victoria state Court of Appeal by a 2-1 majority ruling published Wednesday denied Cardinal George Pell’s appeal of the unanimous verdicts a jury issued in December finding Pope Francis’ former finance minister condemned of molesting two 13-year-old choirboys in Melbourne’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral in 1996 and 1997.

At the time, Pell had just become archbishop of Australia’s second-largest city and had established an international-first reimbursement method for victims of clergical sexual abuse.

His lawyers are predicted to appeal the decision in the High Court, Australia’s final arbitrator.

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Helicopter Crashes Into Manhattan Skyscraper, Kills Sole Person On Board

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The Fire Department said it was deploying over 100 emergency workers to the scene in Midtown Manhattan. Credit:James Estrin/The New York Times

A helicopter crashed onto the rooftop of a 51-story building in Midtown Manhattan on Monday afternoon and burst into flames.


Only one person was aboard the aircraft when it crashed on the roof of 787 Seventh Avenue at 51st Street at 1:43 p.m, city officials said. That person was reported to have been killed, according to two city officials.

A police official characterized the incident as a “hard landing.’’

The Fire Department said it was deploying over 100 emergency workers to the scene.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who was at the scene, said there was no indication of terrorism. He said the helicopter seemed to have made an emergency landing.

Mr. Cuomo acknowledged that the initial reports of the accident unsettled New Yorkers. “If you’re a New Yorker, you have a level of P.T.S.D., right, from 9/11,’’ Mr. Cuomo said. “I remember that morning all too well.”

Andrew Heath, 37, was working on the fifth floor of the building where the helicopter crashed.

“We heard an explosion — it sounded like a manhole cover had exploded,’’ he said. “I heard and felt it. It was like a thud. I was wondering if a really heavy truck was driving by, but it was a little too much.’’

The site of the accident, the AXA Equitable Center, is an office tower that is more than 750-feet tall. It was built in 1985.

(Reporting by New York Times)

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