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Florida yoga studio shooter previously accused of harassing young women – National

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A gunman who killed two women at a Florida yoga studio and wounded five other people before taking his own life had previously been accused of harassing young women, police said on Saturday.


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Florida yoga studio shooting: Police say gunman who killed 2 women posed as a customer

Authorities said they do not know why Scott Beierle, 40, opened fire on Friday afternoon after posing as a customer to join the class at the Hot Yoga studio in Tallahassee. Detectives are searching for links between him and the victims.

The bloodshed prompted the city’s mayor, Andrew Gillum, who is also Florida’s Democratic candidate for governor, to halt his campaign temporarily and return to Tallahassee.

The two women who died were identified as a student and a faculty member from Florida State University.

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Police said Beierle was a graduate of FSU who served in the military, and that he had been the subject of calls to authorities in the Tallahassee area “related to harassment of young women.”

In a statement, police said Beierle was staying in a local hotel at the time of the attack, and that investigators were also searching his home in Deltona, Florida, more than 322 km southeast of Tallahassee.

Police did not give more details on incidents involving Beierle and young women.


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Citing court records, the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper reported that he was arrested in 2012 and 2016 on charges of grabbing women’s buttocks, but both cases were dismissed.

An attorney who previously represented Beierle could not be reached for comment.

Two women who were wounded in the shooting remained hospitalized in stable condition on Saturday, police said. Two other shooting victims and a man who was pistol-whipped by Beierle were treated and released.

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“There were indications that several people not only fought back but tried to save other people,” Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo said at a news conference.

Doctor and student

One of the women killed was identified as Nancy Van Vessem, 61, a doctor specializing in internal medicine who was a member of the faculty at Florida State University College of Medicine in Tallahassee.


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The other was named as Maura Binkley, a 21-year-old student at FSU.

Their deaths were “just devastating to the FSU family,” said the university’s president, John Thrasher.

Van Vessem also worked as chief medical director for Capital Health Plan, which described her in a statement as a “guiding, visionary force” and “one of the most respected, inspiring, and accomplished medical professionals in the state and country.”

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FSU said her research was focused on restructuring healthcare for people with multiple chronic diseases.

According to the Miami Herald newspaper, Binkley had attended Dunwoody High School in suburban Atlanta, Georgia, and was a senior at FSU with an English and German double major. She participated in an FSU exchange program over the summer and spent four months studying at the University of Wuppertal, near Dusseldorf in Germany.

“It can be really scary at first knowing that you are going to spend a semester far away from home,” Binkley told Florida State University News upon her return. “But in the end, the experience is so rewarding and makes the world seem so small.”


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Ahead of Tuesday’s election, Tallahassee’s murder rate has been an issue in the governor’s race, with Gillum’s opponent, Republican former U.S. Representative Ron DeSantis, accusing him of being weak on crime.

Gillum said on Twitter that no act of gun violence was acceptable. DeSantis said the shooting was heartbreaking.

Among officials who went to the studio after the shooting was city commissioner Scott Maddox. “In my public service career, I have had to be on some bad scenes. This is the worst. Please pray,” Maddox posted on Facebook.

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Dozens of yoga practitioners gathered on Saturday morning for an open-air session in front of the State Capitol. Called “Yoga For A Cause,” the event was in support of people affected by Hurricane Michael.

The Tallahassee Police Department posted a photo of the gathering on Facebook with the quote “It holds so much meaning” and the hashtags #TallyStrong and #OurCityOurHome.



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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu
RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA

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Harris accepts VP nomination

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Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

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