Lawsuit seeks personhood for apes

Updated: Wednesday, July 13, 2016 @ 5:47 PM
Published: Tuesday, December 03, 2013 @ 10:50 AM
By: Nathan Byrne

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Four captive chimpanzees in New York could soon have their day in court — to determine whether they'll be legally recognized as people.

The lawsuit filed by the Nonhuman Rights Project alleges a 26-year-old chimpanzee named Tommy "is being held captive in a cage in a shed at a used trailer lot."

Tommy's owner, Patrick Lavery, tells USA Today the chimp is one of 11 he's rescued from bad situations and housed temporarily while waiting to find a sanctuary. He also said Tommy's cage "exceeds federal and state standards and is inspected every year."

Tommy is the first of four chimpanzees who'll have a lawsuit filed on his behalf by the Nonhuman Rights Project this week. But why?

The online news editor for the journal Science explains the suit aims to first free the chimpanzees from captivity — then place them in a Florida sanctuary.

The article says the Nonhuman Rights Project researched its legal strategy for five years. The plan? Petition judges with writs of habeas corpus, which allow those in captivity to have a say in court. (Via PBS)

The choice of jurisdiction was also a strategic one — because New York allows automatic appeals of adverse habeas corpus decisions. (Via YouTube / YaleUniversity)

The effort is headed up by animal rights activist Steven Wise, who tells The Huffington Post it would require future litigation to spell out chimpanzees' rights post-captivity. (Via Flickr / foshie)

"They're not really human rights at that point. They're chimpanzee rights. What chimpanzee rights are appropriate for chimpanzees? If you're suing, if you're using case law, then it's one case at a time."

A writer for io9 suggests this is just the start, "Poised to be the first of many — including cases to defend the rights of gorillas, orangutans, elephants, whales, and dolphins."

The New York Times notes the personhood lawsuit would be the third major development involving chimpanzees in 2013.

Earlier this year, the National Institutes of Health moved to retire most research chimps. And the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed declaring chimpanzees an endangered species.

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One year after a reporter and cameraman were killed on live TV, WDBJ honored their memory

Updated: Sunday, August 28, 2016 @ 7:48 AM
Published: Sunday, August 28, 2016 @ 7:29 AM
By: Douglas Barclay

On Aug. 26, 2015, a reporter and cameraman from WDBJ in Roanoke, Virginia, were shot to death on television while filming a live news report.

>> Watch WDBJ's moment of silence here

Alison Parker and Adam Ward were killed by a disgruntled former colleague, Vester Lee Flanagan, who later killed himself after being pursued by police.

In the year since the slayings, Parker’s father has become a staunch proponent of gun control and has called on Republican leadership in the House of Representatives to stop unnecessary gun violence.

>> Man reportedly shoots, kills WDBJ reporter, cameraman on live TV

“We are still a long way from real change, but we are getting there. Being free from fear of going to the movies, or to school, or to a house of worship is a civil right,” Andy Parker wrote in the New York Daily News.

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“Our fight to be free of gun violence is the same fight for civil rights in the '50s and '60s, or marriage equality in this decade. Momentum is on our side, and it’s only a matter of time until we prevail.”

On Friday morning, the crew at WDBJ held a moment of silence and showed photos of their two fallen friends.

>> Click here to see the station's Facebook post

Posted by WDBJ7 on Friday, August 26, 2016

Reports: Man who reportedly shot, killed WDBJ news crew live on TV dies

Updated: Sunday, August 28, 2016 @ 7:48 AM
Published: Wednesday, August 26, 2015 @ 2:16 PM
By: Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Trending on Facebook

Update 2:10 p.m. ET:  Law enforcement officials have confirmed that Vester Flanagan has died.  

According to The Washington Post, Flanagan, 41, several law enforcement agencies were chasing Flanagan when he crashed along Interstate 66 in Fauquier County. When police approached his car, they found him suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Flanagan was rushed to a hospital with life-threatening injuries, The Washington Post reported.


Update 12:45 p.m. ET: Virginia state police have released details of the capture of Vester Flanagan on the department's Facebook page.

Franklin County Shooting Suspect In CustodyShortly before 11:30 a.m., Virginia State Police spotted the suspect...
Posted by Virginia State Police on Wednesday, August 26, 2015


Update 12:10 p.m. ET: Virginia state police have updated Vester Flanagan's condition. WDBJ is reporting that police and other media outlets initially said he shot and killed himself. Police are now saying he is alive, but in very critical condition. Police caught up to him on I-66 Fauquier Co., Virginia, according to state police.


Update 11:09 a.m. ET: Police are searching for Vester Lee Flanagan according to the Augusta Co. Sheriff's office. 


Update 10:40 a.m. ET: Virginia Gov. McAuliffe said police are chasing the suspect in a fatal on-air shooting, and his arrest is imminent, The Associated Press is reporting.

McAuliffe said on a radio show on WTOP in Virginia that the suspect is believed to be a disgruntled former employee of WDBJ-TV. 


Original post: A television reporter and photographer were shot to death Wednesday morning while they were reporting live on air.

Alison Parker and Adam Ward and a woman whom they were interviewing scrambled to take cover as an unknown gunman opened fire during their live shot.

Station management later confirmed Parker and Ward were killed in the shooting.

Their coworkers at WDBJ are mourning their loss. 

Parker recently turned 24. She is from Martinsville, Virginia, and attended Patrick Henry Community College and James Madison University, WDBJ reported.

Parker was dating co-worker Chris Hurst. He went to Twitter shortly after the announcement.

Ward was 27 and graduated from Salem High School and Virginia Tech. 

He was engaged to WDBJ producer Melissa Ott. Wednesday was Ott's last day at the station.  The Roanoke Times reported that Ward told the morning show's anchor that, "I'm going to get out of news. I'm gonna do something else."

Police near Roanoke, Virginia, are searching for the person who opened fire live on air, WSLS reported. 

The shots were caught on live during an interview around 6:45 a.m.

The woman whom they were interviewing, Vicki Gardner, was shot in the back and was in surgery.

She is in stable condition, The Roanoke Times reported.

Gardner is the head of Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce, The Roanoke Times reported.  

Donald Trump's doctor wrote health report in only 5 minutes

Updated: Sunday, August 28, 2016 @ 6:44 AM
Published: Sunday, August 28, 2016 @ 6:27 AM
By: Lindsey Pulse

            Donald Trump's doctor wrote health report in only 5 minutes
Donald Trump - Five Things You Didn't Know

Donald Trump has released only one form of personal medical information to the public — and his doctor says it took only five minutes to write.

>> Watch the video from Newsy

Harold Bornstein, Trump's personal physician of more than three decades, described the presidential nominee's health as "astonishingly excellent" in a four-paragraph report from last year.

But the doctor told NBC he wrote the letter in five minutes while a car waited outside.

"I get rushed, and I get anxious when I get rushed, so I tried to get four or five lines down as fast as possible," Bornstein said.

>> Social media slams Donald Trump for tweet about Dwyane Wade's cousin's death

The letter declares Trump would be the "healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency." And he stands by his what he said.

Borstein said he doesn't think Trump is "any better or worse" than the average person who exercises daily. But he does admit that because of the time crunch, some things might not have come out the way he meant them.

Making sure the public has zero concern — or at least zero serious concern — about candidates' health is no small issue for those seeking the presidency.

>> Trump campaign CEO faces claims of domestic violence, anti-Semitism

John McCain famously showed reporters nearly 1,200 pages of medical records during the 2008 election.

During a medical exam specifically done as a ramp-up to his 2004 presidential bid, John Kerry found out he had prostate cancer and had his doctors give interviews after treatment.

Trump's clean bill of health was released in December, but it's come back up recently — likely due to his scrutiny of Hillary Clinton's health.

>> Read more trending stories

Her doctor released a report of good health in July.

Trump reportedly says he would be willing to release more detailed medical reports, but only if Clinton does the same.

Trump and Clinton will be 70 and 69, respectively, on Election Day.

Trump campaign CEO faces claims of domestic violence, anti-Semitism

Updated: Sunday, August 28, 2016 @ 6:29 AM
Published: Sunday, August 28, 2016 @ 6:02 AM
By: Lauren Stephenson

            Trump campaign CEO faces claims of domestic violence, anti-Semitism
Donald Trump - Five Things You Didn't Know

Donald Trump's new campaign CEO is under fire again – this time for anti-Semitic comments he supposedly made in the '90s during a legal battle with his ex-wife over where his children should go to school.

>> Watch the video from Newsy

This is the latest controversy involving Stephen K. Bannon since he joined the Trump campaign earlier this month.

According to court documents obtained by New York Daily News, the ex-wife claimed Bannon "said that he doesn't like the way they raise their kids to be 'whiny brats' and that he didn't want the girls going to school with Jews."

Bannon's personal spokesperson said Bannon never made those comments.

>> Social media slams Donald Trump for tweet about Dwyane Wade's cousin's death

Hours earlier, news broke that Bannon was charged in 1996 for domestic violence involving his then-wife. According to Politico, which obtained the police report, he was accused of grabbing his wife by the wrist and neck and smashing the phone she was using to call police. A responding officer reported seeing marks on the woman's neck and wrist.

Bannon pleaded not guilty, but the case was dismissed because prosecutors couldn't find the key witness — his wife.

According to NBC, the now ex-wife said Bannon's attorney told her to leave town so she couldn't testify, though the attorney has denied that claim.

>> Read more trending stories

Trump's hiring of Bannon, chair of Breitbart News, has been widely criticized.

Hillary Clinton has used Bannon's appointment to try to tie Trump to the "alt-right," a mostly online political movement widely viewed as white nationalist.

But maybe people's pasts don't bother Trump. The campaign has reportedly hired Bill Stepien as the national field director. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie fired Stepien in 2014 in the wake of the "Bridgegate" controversy.

And Paul Manafort resigned last week as campaign chairman after several of his controversial ties to Russia surfaced.