Leaders condemn Sotloff killing
World leaders have condemned the execution of US journalist Steven Sotloff by a member of the Islamic State, after the authenticity of a video showing his beheading was confirmed by the White House overnight.
In the video posted on Wednesday, titled ‘A Second Message to America’, Mr Sotloff appears in an orange jumpsuit – similar to that which murdered US journalist James Foley was wearing in the video of his killing released two weeks ago – and gives a short message before he is beheaded.
After the video’s authenticity was confirmed by intelligence agencies, US President Barack Obama gave a press conference declaring that the US “objective is clear, and that is: degrade and destroy ISIL so that it’s no longer a threat, not just to Iraq but also to the region and to the United States.”
Mr Obama’s comments were made on the eve of a NATO summit in Wales, which will commence today. He made his intention’s clear and hinted at further strategic discussions at the NATO summit on how best to combat IS.
“The United States will continue to lead a regional and international effort against the kind of barbaric and ultimately empty vision [of IS],” he said.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that the killing of Mr Sotloff was proof that Australia’s decision to commit to air drops for Kurdish peshmerga fighting IS in Northern Iraq, was justified and necessary.
“[IS] exalts in evil and it abundantly justifies what Australia and other countries are doing to assist people who are threatened by this murderous rage to protect people who are at risk from this murderous rage.”
“Many countries are talking to one another about what is the best way forward here,” he said. “But plainly ISIL is a threat not just to the people of the Middle East but to the wider world.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron echoed both Mr Obama and Mr Abbott’s statements.
“I think what has happened to the two hostages so far and what may happen again in the future is utterly abhorrent and barbaric,” he said. “These people need to understand we will not waver in our aim of defeating terrorism.”
Mr Sotloff was originally abducted by IS near Aleppo on August 4, 2013, and according to a CNN report his family and US government agencies had been trying to secure his release for the past year.
During his career, Mr Sotloff had worked for publications such as Time, Foreign Policy and The Christian Science Monitor, and had reported from numerous countries across the Middle East and North Africa including Egypt, Turkey, Libya, Bahrain and Syria.
After the video was first reported by SITE Intelligence Group, IS quickly responded with an apology for the publication of the video – not for the victim. IS apologised for the premature release of the video, saying that it had been uploaded ahead of the intended time, provoking questions about when the video was actually filmed.
IS posted a message in Arabic to the site Justpaste that read, as quoted in The Sydney Morning Herald; “We tried to remove the video after we understood that this was published by mistake, and we are sorry to the followers of Islamic State.”
A British man, David Cawthorne Haines, is also shown in the video and is threatened by the IS executioner that appeared to kill Mr Sotloff. He claimed that Mr Haines would be the next person to be executed should certain demands not be met.
Vice Media sells 10 per cent stake
Multimedia organisation Vice Media has sold a 10 per cent stake to A&E Networks, after cutting off talks with Time Warner, with which it had previously been in negotiations.
A&E will invest $250 million in Vice in return for the 10 per cent stake, in a deal that values the company at $2.5 billion.
The deal comes a year after Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox purchased a 5 per cent stake in Vice for $70 million, an investment that valued the company at $1.4 billion, a significantly lower figure than the A&E deal.
Boston Globe launches Catholic site
The Boston Globe has launched a new site called Crux, which, as its banner suggests, will cover “all things Catholic”.
The site, which was announced in July this year, will strive “to cover the worldwide institution of the Roman Catholic Church, from the papacy to the hierarchy to local dioceses,” according to its About page.
Boston Globe reporter Teresa Hanafin is the editor of the website and it also includes senior Vatican reporter John Allen and spirituality columnist Margery Eagan on its masthead.
Mr Allen told the Nieman Journalism Lab’s Justin Ellis that the site will attempt to keep its independence and that backing from The Boston Globe should help ensure that it retains credibility.
“The trick is to be close enough to the story to get it right, but far enough away to be objective,” he said.
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