SEATTLE – The head of a Washington state funeral home that had initial responsibility for radio personality Casey Kasem says he personally made sure his remains were put on a flight to Montreal last Monday.
Corey Gaffney, the president of Gaffney Funeral Home of Tacoma, says he confirmed the remains arrived in Montreal and media reports suggesting they have disappeared are not true.
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Longtime broadcaster Casey Kasem dies at 82
Some U.S. media outlets quoted Kasem’s daughter Kerri as saying her father’s remains were missing.
In the months before his death June 15, Kasem’s daughter had been embroiled in a battle with his wife of the past 34 years, Jean Kasem, over the welfare of the legendary radio star.
A death certificate filed in a Washington State court July 15 listed Montreal funeral home Urgel Bourgie as the place of disposition, and July 14 as the date of disposition.
The Montreal funeral home told The Canadian Press on Saturday it had no record of Kasem’s remains as being at the facility or that they were supposed to arrive.
There was no immediate explanation for why Kasem’s remains would have gone to Montreal. Gaffney said he couldn’t comment on why Kasem’s wife picked Montreal or why Urgel Bourgie had no record of receiving Kasem’s remains.
“What we did was made sure that Casey got to the airport, we released custody of Casey to the airline,” Gaffney said in an interview Saturday night.
“The airline signed for that and acknowledged that and than at that point we returned to our office, tracked his flight to Montreal, confirmed that he had arrived, reported that to Mrs Kasem.”
“When he landed in Montreal, I ceased being the funeral director in charge.”
A judge granted Kerri Kasem a temporary restraining order preventing her father’s wife from cremating his remains, but her lawyer told The Associated Press that when he approached the Tacoma funeral home with a copy of the restraining order, he was told it no longer had the remains.
“They said they could not disclose where he had gone or where he would end up,” said the lawyer, Scott Winship.
The death certificate was filled out by Jean Kasem and listed an address in Jerusalem, Israel, according to a copy filed in Pierce County Superior Court.
Teruyuki Olsen, a lawyer for Kasem’s wife, refused to comment Friday or provide any information about what happened to Kasem’s body.
Kasem, the radio host of American Top 40 was 82 when he died last month.
Kerri Kasem, one of three children from Kasem’s first marriage, also asked a judge last week for authorization to seek an autopsy on her father as well as a temporary restraining order to ensure his body was held in cold storage and not cremated until that autopsy is completed.
Judge Ronald Culpepper ordered Jean Kasem to ensure that the radio host’s remains were preserved and that his body stayed at the Tacoma funeral home until the court decided on the autopsy petition following a July 25 hearing.
– with files by The Associated Press
©2014The Canadian Press
TORONTO – Sebastien Bourdais has won the first of two races at the Honda Indy Toronto.
Bourdais started from the pole to win the 11-turn, 2.81-kilometre race at Exhibition Place for the second time in his career after first taking the checkered flag in 2004.
The race also ended a six-year victory drought for Bourdais, who’s last win came in the now defunct Champ Car series in Mexico City.
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WATCH: Fan Friday gives all race fans a chance to check out the Honda Indy Toronto
Helio Castroneves finished second to increase his overall points lead while Tony Kanaan was third.
Championship contender Will Power meanwhile moved up from last place to finish ninth.
James Hinchcliffe of Oakville, Ont., settled for eighth place, which matched his career best result at Toronto.
Both races were held Sunday after rain Saturday postponed the first race of a planned weekend doubleheader.
Starting order for the opening race was changed to reflect how cars were lined up in the pits Saturday when the event was postponed.
Ryan Briscoe, Juan Pablo Montoya and Power, who had qualified second, were the victims of the change as each were dropped to the back of the grid. Briscoe and Power hit the wall Saturday as cars tried to make it work on a wet track behind a pace car. Montoya meanwhile was later moved back after his car had an electrical issue.
When the race began on a mercifully dry track, there was mayhem before drivers completed a lap.
WATCH: Race Trucks take flight at the Honda Indy Toronto
Luca Filippi spun Simon Pagenaud, who’s car blocked the field and brought out another red flag. The collision also ended Takuma Sato’s day. His car had to be towed off the track.
Another 30 minutes passed before the race restarted. When it did, Bourdais opened a gap at the front while Ryan Hunter-Reay made a spectacular pass on Castroneves for second place.
Castroneves regained second with a pass of his own on Lap 33 and Kanaan followed suit to overtake Hunter-Reay. Hunter-Reay tried a pass five laps later on Kanaan but hit the wall and took damage to his front wing.
Bourdais meanwhile ran over debris from Hunter-Reay’s car, but the Frenchman’s luck held out and he suffered no damage en route to taking the checkered flag.
Notes: Both races were changed from 85 laps to 65 laps, or 80 minutes, to fit into the tight Sunday schedule. The afternoon race was scheduled to feature a standing start rather than the often-used rolling start. … Castroneves starts from the pole for the afternoon race followed by Power and Hunter-Reay.
©2014The Canadian Press
WATCH ABOVE: Pressure is growing on Moscow to make sure investigators get all the necessary information they need. Mike Armstrong reports.
TOREZ, Ukraine – Pro-Moscow rebels piled nearly 200 bodies from the downed Malaysian jetliner into four refrigerated boxcars Sunday in eastern Ukraine, and cranes at the crash scene moved big chunks of the Boeing 777, drawing condemnation from Western leaders that the rebels were tampering with the site.
The United States, meanwhile, presented what it called “powerful” evidence that the rebels shot down the plane with a Russian surface-to-air missile and training. Although other governments have stopped short of accusing Russia of actually causing the crash, the U.S. was ahead of most in pointing blame on Moscow for the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 that killed all 298 people aboard.
WATCH: Canada has joined the chorus of voices around the world demanding a transparent investigation into the plane crash. Mike le Couteur reports.
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“Russia is supporting these separatists. Russia is arming these separatists. Russia is training these separatists,” Secretary of State John Kerry said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Leaders of Britain, France, Germany and Australia spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin by phone late Sunday, urging him to use his influence on the separatists to ensure the victims could be repatriated and international investigators could have full access to collect evidence.
READ MORE: Rebels move bodies of 196 MH17 crash victims to rebel-held town
They said European foreign ministers will be meeting in Brussels Tuesday to consider further sanctions on Russia.
More than three days after the jetliner crashed, international investigators still had only limited access to the sprawling fields where the plane fell.
WATCH: Ukraine’s security services released purported intercepts of phone conversations between rebel militants discussing the location of the plane’s black boxes.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, in a blistering opinion piece for the Sunday Times, said “the growing weight of evidence” suggests the rebels shot down the plane, and if that is so, “this is a direct result of Russia destabilizing a sovereign state, violating its territorial integrity, backing thuggish militias and training and arming them.”
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, whose country lost 28 citizens in the tragedy, said Putin “said all the right things” during their telephone conversation about ensuring an international investigation into the disaster.
“I’m now going to try to ensure that as far as Australia humanly can, we insist upon these things happening,” Abbott told Sydney Radio 2GB on Monday. “The site is being treated more like a garden clean-up than a forensic investigation, and this is completely unacceptable.”
Russian officials have blamed Ukraine’s government for creating the situation and atmosphere in which the plane was downed, but has yet to directly address the allegations that the separatists were responsible or were operating with technical assistance from Moscow.
The 109-square-kilometre (42-square-mile) crash site, spread out on farmland and villages, looked dramatically different Sunday, a day after armed rebels had stood guard while dozens of bodies lay in the summer heat. The rebels were gone, and 192 bodies were loaded into the refrigerated train cars in the rebel-held town of Torez, 15 kilometres (nine miles) away.
WATCH: Members of an international monitoring agency on Sunday visited the site of the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 after inspecting the bodies of crash victims at a train station nearby.
The Ukrainian government said in a statement on its website that a second train with four refrigerator cars had arrived at Torez station.
Emergency workers, who the rebels have allowed to operate under their control, were searching the sprawling fields. Cranes moved pieces of the plane around, apparently to look for more bodies underneath.
By Sunday night, Ukraine’s emergency services agency said the total number of bodies found was 251, with dozens of body parts.
Kerry expressed outrage at the “grotesque” behaviour of the rebels at the crash scene.
“Drunken separatists are stacking bodies into the back of trucks, removing materials from the site,” he told ABC’s “This Week.” “On Friday, we had 75 minutes of access to the site; on Saturday, three hours of access. This is an insult to everybody.”
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, whose country lost 192 citizens on the plane, told a news conference that repatriating the bodies was his “No. 1 priority.”
He said all efforts were aimed at getting the train with the bodies to “territory controlled by Ukraine,” adding that a Dutch military plane was being sent to Kharkiv to set up a co-ordinationcentre.
Michael Bociurkiw, a spokesman for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said reports from the group’s investigators in Ukraine suggest some bodies were incinerated without a trace.
“We’re looking at the field where the engines have come down. This was the area which was exposed to the most intense heat. We do not see any bodies here. It appears that some have been vaporized,” he said from the crash site.
Rebel leader Alexander Borodai denied the rebels were trying to tamper with evidence, saying the bodies would be turned over to a team of Malaysian experts he was expecting.
READ MORE: Who are the victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17?
A group of investigators that included Malaysian officials was in Kyiv, but said they wouldn’t go into rebel-held areas until they get better assurances about security. The Ukrainian government, which has responsibility for the investigation, has also asked for help from the International Civil Aviation Organization – a U.N. body – and Eurocontrol, a European air traffic safety organization.
Borodai insisted the rebels have not interfered with the investigation, and said he would turn over the plane’s flight data and cockpit voice recorders, or “black boxes,” as well.
“The bodies will go nowhere until experts arrive,” Borodai said in the rebel-held city of Donetsk.
But it was clear that the rebels were interfering in the investigation.
WATCH: Rebel authorities moved the bodies to refrigerated rail cars at a nearby town. But there are still at least 100 bodies, many of them probably entangled in the wreckage.
Lyubov Kudryavets, a worker at the Torez morgue, said that on the evening the plane went down, a resident brought in the bloodied body of a child, about 7 or 8 years old. On Saturday, militiamen came to take away the body away, she said.
“They began to question me: ‘Where are the fragments of rocket? Where are the fragments from the plane?”‘ Kudryavets said. “But I didn’t have any wreckage. … I swear.”
Experts said that even if investigators are granted access now, it might be too late.
READ MORE: Canada demands pro-Russian militants leave MH17 crash site
“Even without any deliberate attempt at a coverup, the crash site is already compromised in forensic terms,” said Keir Giles, an associate fellow at the Chatham House think-tank . “A reconstruction of the aircraft fuselage and wings would give a picture on how the missile struck and what kind it was. If any aircraft parts have already been removed … this compromises the objectivity of the investigation.”
On the diplomatic front, Western leaders stepped up the pressure on Putin. The leaders of France, Germany and Britain issued a joint statement demanding that he force the separatists to “finally allow rescuers and investigators to have free and total access to the zone.”
Rutte said the Dutch foreign minister was headed to the U.N. to lobby “to further expand the international coalition pushing for quick recovery of the bodies and getting to the bottom of the terrible events on MH17.”
In the Netherlands, worshippers at church services prayed for the victims, as anger grew over the rebels’ hindering of the investigation.
Silene Fredriksz-Hoogzand, whose son, Bryce, and his girlfriend, Daisy Oehlers, were among those killed, said she was appalled their bodies weren’t being handed over.
“Mr. Putin, send my children home,” she said, speaking on Sky TV from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. “Send them home. Please.”
©2014The Associated Press
WATCH ABOVE: The deadliest day of fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas have killed dozens of Palestinians along with 13 Israeli soldiers. Robin Stickley reports.
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GAZA, Gaza Strip – The first major ground battle in two weeks of Israel-Hamas fighting exacted a steep price Sunday: It killed 65 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers and forced thousands of terrified Palestinian civilians to flee their neighbourhood, reportedly used to launch rockets at Israel and now devastated by the fighting.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the offensive would continue “as long as necessary” to end attacks from Gaza on Israeli civilians.
READ MORE: Israeli bulldozers destroy Hamas tunnels in Gaza
But Hamas seems defiant, international cease-fire efforts are stalled, and international criticism is becoming more vocal as the death toll among Palestinian civilians rises.
U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon called Israel’s latest incursion “atrocious,” and said it must do far more to protect civilians.
In Israel, public opinion will struggle to tolerate rising military losses in an open-ended campaign. Already, Sunday’s deaths marked the highest number of soldiers killed on a single day since Israel’s war in Lebanon in 2006.
The ferocious battle in Gaza City’s Shijaiyah neighbourhood came on the third day of Israel’s ground offensive, which had been preceded by a 10-day air campaign.
In all, at least 432 Palestinians were killed and more than 3,000 wounded in the past two weeks. The overall death toll on the Israeli side rose to 20, including 18 soldiers, along with dozens of wounded troops, during that period.
Sunday’s battle began when Israeli troops backed by tanks entered the densely populated Shijaiyah district just after midnight Sunday. They were met by a “huge” level of resistance by Hamas fighters who fired anti-tank missiles, rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons from houses and buildings, said Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an army spokesman.
Residents said they came under intense Israeli tank fire.
READ MORE: Protests held across Canada over Israeli military action in Gaza
“The gate of hell has opened, and shrapnel came through the windows,” Shijaiyah resident Jawad Hassanain said by phone. He and his family fled to a nearby building after their house shook from explosions.
After daybreak, the extent of the devastation slowly became apparent: At least 65 Palestinians had been killed and nearly 300 wounded, Gaza health officials said, while dozens of homes badly damaged or destroyed.
Casualties were rushed to Gaza’s central Shifa Hospital. Wailing parents, some covered with blood or dust from debris, carried children peppered by shrapnel, and the emergency room quickly overflowed, forcing doctors to treat some patients in a hallway.
During a brief Red Cross-brokered lull later in the day, rescue workers toured the neighbourhood to retrieve the dead, pulling bodies from the rubble of homes.
In a last sweep of the area on Sunday afternoon, rescue workers heard the faint voice of a woman in the rubble of a house.
“I’m here with my husband and niece,” the woman said, adding that there were also three bodies near her. “I’m here under the shop. God please, I can’t breathe.”
In the incident witnessed by Associated Press journalists, rescue workers tried to organize a bulldozer, but the situation was deemed too dangerous and the crew left. Later, the rescue workers returned with a bulldozer, after co-ordination with Israeli forces through the Red Crescent, and pulled the three from the rubble, said Said Hamam, a member of the rescue services.
The 13 Israeli soldiers were killed in several separate incidents in Shijaiya, including gun battles and rocket attacks. In the deadliest, Gaza fighters detonated a bomb near an armoured personnel carrier, killing seven soldiers inside, the army said. In another incident, three soldiers were killed when they became trapped in a burning building, it said.
Despite the losses, the army chief, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, said Israel intends escalate the operation. Gaza residents received automated phone calls late Sunday, warning them to evacuate refugee camps in the centre of the Gaza Strip.
Israel had launched the campaign to hurt Hamas’ ability to fire rockets and to destroy tunnels dug by the militants to sneak into Israel to carry out attacks.
Shijaiyah was targeted as a Hamas stronghold and because 8 per cent of more than 1,700 rockets fired at Israel since July 8 were launched from there, said Lerner.
READ MORE: Israeli bulldozers destroy Hamas tunnels in Gaza
The military said that since the beginning of ground operation late last week, it has killed 110 Gaza fighters and targeted more than 1,000 sites linked to militants. Soldiers also exposed 14 tunnels, all interconnected and leading toward Israel, and detonated six of them, including one with a length of 1.2 kilometres and an access point within a house, the army said.
“It’s like the Underground, the Metro or the subway,” said Lerner, the army spokesman, referring to the tunnel system.
The first days of the current ground offensive were in marked contrast to Israel’s last major invasion of Gaza in January 2009, known in Israel as Cast Lead, when Hamas fighters rarely engaged Israeli forces.
Now, Gaza’s militants seem better armed, including with anti-tank rockets.
“I see an escalation in weaponry,” Amos Yadlin, a former Israeli military intelligence chief, told Israel TV’s Channel 10. “This isn’t the same weaponry as in Cast Lead.”
Netanyahu said in nationally televised comments Sunday that the ground campaign is vital to Israel’s security because the tunnels could be used for “mega terror attacks and kidnappings,” but acknowledged the operation is “full of risks.”
Speaking earlier to CNN, Netanyahu said the ultimate goal is to “restore a sustainable quiet” for Israel’s citizens. Once that is achieved, he said he hopes to enlist the international community “to demilitarize Gaza,” but did not explain what that would entail.
Asked about the mounting number of dead and wounded among Palestinians, he said Israel is only targeting militants.
“All civilian casualties are unintended by us, but intended by Hamas. They want to pile up as many civilian dead as they can. … It’s gruesome,” Netanyahu said. “They use telegenically dead Palestinians for their cause. They want the more dead the better.”
Meanwhile, a speedy cease-fire seems elusive, as the U.S. and some of the regional powers disagree on how to resolve the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Hamas rejected Egypt’s proposal last week that both sides halt fire and then discuss a possible easing of the Gaza border blockade, enforced by Israel and Egypt since Hamas seized Gaza in 2007.
For Hamas, easing the blockade is key to survival, after an intensified border closure of Gaza by Egypt in the past year drove the movement into a crippling financial crisis. Hamas has insisted on guarantees concerning the blockade before it stops fighting and has demanded that others, including Qatar, join Egypt as a mediator.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sided with Israel and Egypt on Sunday, saying giving in to Hamas’ conditions for a cease-fire would mean rewarding terrorism. Kerry told NBC’s “Meet The Press” that he will head to the Middle East in coming days to help with cease-fire efforts. He said Israel “has every right in the world to defend itself” from attacks by Hamas militants in Gaza.
Qatar is seen as more sympathetic to Hamas.
Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid al-Attiya said after a meeting with U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon that it is not important which country achieves the terms of a cease-fire so long as justice is achieved.
“We condemn the acts of aggression that Israel has carried out against the Palestinian people, and most recently the massacre of Shijaiyah today in which most of those killed were children,” said al-Attiya.
Ban’s had harsh words for Israel’s military operation, while reiterating his call for an immediate cease-fire.
“While I was en route to Doha, dozens more civilians, including children, have been killed in Israeli military strikes in the Shijaiyah neighbourhood in Gaza,” he said.
“I condemn this atrocious action. Israel must exercise maximum restraint and do far more to protect civilians,” he said.
Goldenberg reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press writers Ian Deitch and Yousur Alhlou in Jerusalem, Ibrahim Barzak and Dalton Bennett in Gaza City, Abdullah Rebhy in Doha, Qatar and Aya Batrawy in Dubai, United Arab Emirates contributed to this report.
©2014The Associated Press
REGINA – Three break-and-enters within a two-week span in the same neighborhood in North Central is prompting police to step up patrols.
“We have a lot of resources dedicated to that area. We’re doing some special work both with uniformed and non-uniformed officers, and we’re confident that we’ll be able to get to bottom of this,” said Staff Sergeant Evan Bray.
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Police were dispatched to a report of a break-and-enter at a home in the 1600 block of Retallack Street just before 1:00 a.m. on Saturday. They found two men Lai Tran, 68, and a 54-year-old suffering from knife-related injuries, outside of the home. The suspect then took off on a bicycle.
“It’s very terrible, and we’re concerned about safety in this area,” said Tran’s neighbour and friend Tuyet Van, who visited him at his home on Sunday. Van helped translate Tran’s story about his ordeal to Global News.
There were two other break-and-enters in the same neighborhood this month. Despite the similarities, police said there is no confirmation that the three events are connected.
Tran, who injured his hand, said he heard a loud sound before he came across the male suspect in the home. The two struggled, and the 54-year-old tried to help; he subsequently suffered injuries to his chest.
A 70-year-old woman was also pushed by the suspect but did not need medical attention.
Police have described the suspect as a 30 to 40 year old male, who is not caucasian. He had short black hair and was wearing a blue shirt and shorts.
WATCH ABOVE: Old-school movie star James Garner has passed away at the age of 86. Here’s a look back at some of his memorable onscreen moments.
LOS ANGELES – Actor James Garner, whose whimsical style in the 1950s TV Western Maverick led to a stellar career in TV and films such as The Rockford Files and his Oscar-nominated Murphy’s Romance, has died, police said. He was 86.
He was found dead of natural causes at his home in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles Saturday evening, Los Angeles police officer Alonzo Iniquez said early Sunday.
Police responded to a call around 8 p.m. PDT and confirmed Garner’s identity from family members, Iniquez told The Associated Press.
WATCH: Actor James Garner passed away Saturday at the age of 86. Mark Barger reports.
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There was no immediate word on a more specific cause of death. Garner had suffered a stroke in May 2008, just weeks after his 80th birthday.
Although he was adept at drama and action, Garner was best known for his low-key, wisecracking style, especially with his hit TV series, Maverick and The Rockford Files.
His quick-witted avoidance of conflict provided a refreshingly new take on the American hero, contrasting with the steely heroics of John Wayne and the fast trigger of Clint Eastwood.
READ MORE: Canadian comic Norm MacDonald recalls poker game with James Garner
Well into his 70s, the handsome Oklahoman remained active in both TV and film. In 2002, he was Sandra Bullock’s father in the film Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. The following year, he joined the cast of 8 Simple Rules … For Dating My Teenage Daughter, playing the grandfather on the sitcom after star John Ritter, who played the father, died during the show’s second season.
When he received the Screen Actors Guild’s lifetime achievement award in 2005, he quipped, “I’m not at all sure how I got here.”
But in his 2011 memoir, The Garner Files, he provided some amusing and enlightening clues, including his penchant for bluntly expressed opinions and a practice for decking people who said something nasty to his face — including an obnoxious fan and an abusive stepmother. They all deserved it, Garner declared in his book.
It was in 1957 when the ABC network, desperate to compete on ratings-rich Sunday night, scheduled Maverick against CBS’s powerhouse The Ed Sullivan Show and NBC’s The Steve Allen Show. Maverick soon outpolled them both.
At a time when the networks were crowded with hard-eyed, traditional Western heroes, Bret Maverick provided a fresh breath of air. With his sardonic tone and his eagerness to talk his way out of a squabble rather than pull out his six-shooter, the con-artist Westerner seemed to scoff at the genre’s values.
After a couple of years, Garner felt the series was losing its creative edge, and he found a legal loophole to escape his contract in 1960.
His first film after Maverick established him as a movie actor. It was The Children’s Hour, William Wyler’s remake of Lillian Hellman’s lesbian drama that co-starred Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine.
He followed in a successful comedy with Kim Novak, Boys Night Out, and then fully established his box-office appeal with the 1963 blockbuster war drama The Great Escape and two smash comedies with Doris Day — The Thrill of It All and Move Over Darling.
Throughout his long film career, Garner demonstrated his versatility in comedies (The Art of Love, A Man Could Get Killed, Skin Game), suspense (36 Hours, They Only Kill Their Masters, Marlowe), Westerns (Duel at Diablo, Hour of the Gun, Support Your Local Gunfighter).
In the 1980s and 1990s, when most stars his age were considered over the hill, Garner’s career remained strong.
He played a supporting role as a marshal in the 1994 Maverick, a big-screen return to the TV series with Mel Gibson in Garner’s old title role. His only Oscar nomination came for the 1985 Murphy’s Romance, a comedy about a small-town love relationship in which he co-starred with Sally Field.
His favourite film, though, was the cynical 1964 war drama The Americanization of Emily, which co-starred Julie Andrews.
Unlike most film stars, Garner made repeated returns to television. Nichols (1971-72) and Bret Maverick (1981-82) were short-lived, but The Rockford Files (1974-80) proved a solid hit, bringing him an Emmy.
Among his notable TV movies: Barbarians at the Gate (as tycoon F. Ross Johnson), Breathing Lessons, The Promise, My Name Is Bill W., The Streets of Laredo and One Special Night.
He said he learned about acting while playing a non-speaking role as a Navy juror in the 1954 Broadway hit play The Caine Mutiny Court Martial, starring Henry Fonda and Lloyd Nolan.
“I had no lines, and I had trouble staying awake,” Garner recalled.
After Caine Mutiny, Garner found work in Hollywood as a bit player in the Cheyenne TV series. Warner Bros. gave him a screen test and signed him to a seven-year contract starting at $200 a week.
The studio cast him in supporting roles in three minor films, followed by the important break as Marlon Brando’s sidekick in Sayonara. When Charlton Heston declined a war movie, Darby’s Rangers, because of a money dispute, Garner assumed the role.
Maverick, which co-starred Jack Kelly as brother Bart Maverick, made its debut on Sept. 22, 1957.
Garner was born James Scott Bumgarner (some references say Baumgarner) in Norman, Okla. His mother died when he was 5, and friends and relatives cared for him and his two brothers for a time while his father was to California.
In 1957, Garner married TV actress Lois Clarke, and the union prevailed despite some stormy patches. She had a daughter Kimberly from a previous marriage, and the Garners had another daughter, Gretta Scott. In the late 1990s, the Garners built a 12,000-square-foot house on a 400-acre ranch north of Santa Barbara.
“My wife and I felt … we’d just watch the sunset from the front porch,” Garner said in 2000. “But then the phone started ringing with all these wonderful offers, and we decided, ‘Heck, let’s stay in the business for a while.’”
– with files by Bob Thomas / The Associated Press
©2014The Associated Press
BAGHDAD – Iraq’s prime minister on Sunday condemned the Islamic State extremist group’s actions targeting Christians in territory it controls, saying they reveal the threat the jihadists pose to the minority community’s “centuries-old heritage.”
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The comments from Nouri al-Maliki come a day after the expiration of a deadline imposed by the Islamic State group calling on Christians in the militant-held city of Mosul to convert to Islam, pay a tax of face death. Most Christians opted to flee to the nearby self-rule Kurdish region or other areas protected by Kurdish security forces.
READ MORE: Iraqi leader says Islamic state threatens region
“What is being done by the Daesh terrorist gang against our Christian citizens in Ninevah province, and their aggression against the churches and houses of worship in the areas under their control reveals beyond any doubt the extremist criminal and terrorist nature of this group,” al-Maliki said in a statement released by his office, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group.
“Those people, through their crimes, are revealing their true identity and the false allegations made here and there about the existence of revolutionaries among their ranks.”
At the Vatican, Pope Francis expressed his concern Sunday for Mosul’s Christians, offering prayers in his traditional Angelus blessing for Iraqi Christians who “are persecuted, chased away, forced to leave their houses without out the possibility of taking anything” with them.
Residents in Mosul also say the Islamic State group’s fighters recently have begun to occupy churches and seize the homes of Christians who have fled the city.
READ MORE: Iraq crisis – A look at the history of the caliphate
These actions stem from the harsh interpretation of Islamic law the group seeks to impose on the territory it controls in Iraq and neighbouring Syria. Already in Mosul, the extremist group has banned alcohol and water pipes, and painted over street advertisements showing women’s faces. It has, however, held off on stricter punishments so far.
Iraq’s Christian communities date back to the first centuries of the religion. Before the 2003 U.S-led invasion, around 1 million Christians called Iraq home. But since then, the community has been a frequent target for militants, and attacks on churches, worshippers and clergymen has prompted many Christians to leave the country. Church officials now estimate the community at around 450,000.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon strongly condemned “the systematic persecution of minority populations in Iraq by Islamic State and associated armed groups,” in particular the recent threats against Christians in Mosul, according to a statement released Sunday.
Ban also expressed concern about abductions and killings of minority Yazidis, Turkmens and Shabaks, and reiterated that targeting a population because of its ethnic background or faith could constitute a crime against humanity. He also said the U.N. would intensify its efforts to address the urgent humanitarian needs of the displaced.
Al-Maliki also tried to rally support for those uprooted from their homes, calling on government agencies to provide them “all the necessities for a decent life.” He also took the opportunity to urge “the whole world to tighten the siege on those terrorists and stand as one force to confront them.”
The prime minister, who has ruled the country since 2006, is under pressure to step aside and not seek a third consecutive term. Many in Iraq accuse al-Maliki’s Shiite-led government of helping fuel the crisis by failing to promote reconciliation with the Sunni Muslim minority, and say he has become too polarizing a figure to unite the country and face down the militant threat.
So far, Iraq’s security forces have struggled to claw back any of the ground they have surrendered to the militants over the past five weeks. The only major counteroffensive has failed to make major headway in retaking the northern city of Tikrit.
The insurgents, meanwhile, have not made any further major gains since overrunning the majority of Iraq’s predominantly Sunni areas. But they continue to attack government forces across several fronts, while also carrying out smaller scale attacks in Baghdad.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility late Saturday for four bombings in Baghdad which were among a string of attacks that killed at least 27 people earlier in the day. The violence was among the most significant in Baghdad since the Sunni militant offensive began.
In a statement posted online late Saturday, the group said that two of the attacks in Baghdad were carried out by suicide bombers – Abu al-Qaaqaa al-Almani and Abu Abdul-Rahman al-Shami. The names indicate they were German and Syrian respectively.
The other two attacks were parked car bombs, it said. The bombings targeted Iraqi security forces as well as Shiite volunteers who have taken up arms to try to counter the Sunni militant offensive.
The authenticity of the statement could not be independently verified, but it was posted on a militant website frequently used by the group.
©2014The Associated Press
WATCH ABOVE: (Jul. 19, 2014) The Russian-backed rebels say they’re not interfering with anything. For the families of the dead, the pain is gut-wrenching. Mike Armstrong reports.
HRABOVE, Ukraine – Armed rebels forced emergency workers to hand over all 196 bodies recovered from the Malaysia Airlines crash site and then had them loaded onto refrigerated train cars bound for a rebel-held city, Ukrainian officials and monitors said Sunday.
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The surprising, rapid-fire developments Sunday morning came after a wave of international outrage over how the bodies of plane crash victims were being handled and amid fears that the armed rebels who control the territory where the plane came down were tampering with the evidence.
READ MORE: Canada demands pro-Russian militants leave MH17 crash site
Ukraine and the separatists accuse each other of firing a surface-to-air missile Thursday at Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 as it flew from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur some 33,000 feet (10,000 metres) above the battlefields of eastern Ukraine. Both deny shooting down the plane. All those onboard the flight – 283 passengers and 15 crew – were killed.
Ukraine says Russia has been sending sophisticated arms to the rebels, a charge that Moscow denies.
The rebels have been strictly limiting the movements of international monitors and journalists at the crash site, which is near the Russian border, and Ukraine’s Emergency Ministry said its workers were labouring under duress, overseen by the armed rebels.
Associated Press journalists saw reeking bodies baking in the summer heat Saturday, piled into body bags by the side of the road or still sprawled where they landed in the verdant farmland in eastern Ukraine after their plane was shot out of the sky.
By Sunday morning, AP journalists saw no bodies and no armed rebels at the crash site. Emergency workers were searching the sprawling fields only for body parts.
Global News correspondent Mike Armstrong tweeted that several refrigerated cars at the local train station did not appear to be running and that the train was unguarded.
It was not immediately clear Sunday if the rebels and the Ukrainian government were working together or at odds with each other on recovering the bodies – and from their comments, many of officials didn’t appear to know either. Separatists were not immediately available to comment.
Nataliya Khuruzhaya, a duty officer at the train station in Torez, 15 kilometres from the crash site, said she saw emergency workers loading plane victims’ bodies Sunday morning into five sealed, refrigerated train cars.
She said the train was scheduled to head to the town of Ilovaysk, 35 kilometres further east toward the Russian border, but no instructions had been given about when it would leave or any possible destinations beyond Ilovaysk.
Russian news agencies said the bodies were heading to the rebel stronghold of Donetsk. Ukrainian officials say they expected to have the bodies eventually delivered to government-held city of Kharkiv, but it’s unclear if the rebels will agree to do so.
The deputy of governor of the Kharkiv region, where the Ukrainian government has set up a crisis centre to co-ordinate its response to the disaster, said the Ukrainian state railway company had provided the refrigerated train cars.
Earlier in the day, Ukrainian Emergency Ministry spokeswoman Nataliya Bystro said workers at the crash site were forced to hand over the 196 bodies they had recovered to the armed gunmen who controlled the territory.
“Where they took the bodies – we don’t know,” Bystro told The Associated Press, adding she had no information either about the other 102 victims’ bodies.
Michael Bociurkiw, a spokesman for monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said some bodies have likely been incinerated without a trace.
“We’re looking at the field where the engines have come down. This was the area which was exposed to the most intense heat. We do not see any bodies here. It appears that some have been vaporized,” he told reporters in Kyiv, speaking via phone from the crash site.
Alexander Pilyushny, an emergency worker combing the crash site for body parts Sunday morning, told the AP it took the rebels several hours cart away the bodies on Saturday. He said he and other workers had no choice but to hand over the bodies.
“They are armed and we are not,” Pilyushny said.
“The militiamen came, put the bodies onto the trucks and took them away somewhere.”
Despite the restrictions seen by journalists and observers at the crash site, separatist leader Alexander Borodai insisted Saturday the rebels have not in any way interfered with the work of observers.
The U.S. has pointed blame for downing the plane at the separatists, saying Washington believes the jetliner was probably downed by an SA-11 missile from rebel-held territory and “we cannot rule out technical assistance from Russian personnel.”
An Associated Press journalist saw a Buk missile launcher in rebel-held territory close to the crash site Thursday just hours before the plane was brought down.
The latest U.S. intelligence assessment suggests that more than one missile system was given to the separatists by the Russians in the last week or so. But both Russia and the rebels vehemently deny any role in downing the plane.
In a blistering article for the Sunday Times, British Prime Minister David Cameron called the attack a “direct result of Russia destabilizing a sovereign state, violating its territorial integrity, backing thuggish militias and training and arming them.”
“We must turn this moment of outrage into a moment of action,” he wrote.
In a coded rebuke of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other European leaders who have blocked efforts to impose tougher sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin for Russia’s actions in Ukraine, Cameron said Europe must now “respond robustly.”
“For too long, there has been a reluctance on the part of too many European countries to face up to the implications of what is happening in eastern Ukraine,” Cameron wrote.
WATCH: CBS News reports on investigators’ trouble accessing Malaysia plane crash site in Ukraine.
Despite calls by world leaders for an independent, international investigation into the plane’s downing, armed separatists limited observers’ access to the crash site for the first few days.
The U.S. State Department described the rebels’ refusal to give monitors a full access to the site “an affront to all those who lost loved ones and to the dignity the victims deserve.”
Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans told the Ukrainian president in Kyiv on Saturday that people in his country were shocked by reports of the bodies being dragged around the crash site.
“People are angry, are furious at what they hear,” Timmermans said, demanding that the culprits be found. “Once we have the proof, we will not stop until the people are brought to justice.”
Putin and Merkel agreed Saturday in a phone call that an independent commission led by the International Civil Aviation Organization should be granted swift access to the crash site.
Peter Leonard in Kyiv; Nataliya Vasilyeva in Moscow; Nicholas Garriga in Hrabove, Ukraine and Lolita C. Baldor in Washington contributed to this report.
©2014The Associated Press
Police are investigating an early morning shooting in the southeast community of Forest Lawn.
It is the second shooting in our city in as many days.
Around 12:30 a.m. on Sunday morning police were called to the 1200 block of 43rd Street Northeast.
EMS rushed to the scene after being notified by police. A man in his 20’s from inside a residence was taken to hospital in serious condition.
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Victim shot on 17th ave is not cooperating with police
“I heard some arguing and knew there was some fighting going one,” said neighbor Kirk Russell. His young son was sleeping when gunshots first rang out.
“You heard a bunch of screaming. People started screaming at me to call 911,” said Russell.
“A lot of the neighbours started coming out to see what was going on. They want to leave this area. It’s just too close to home.”
Police are in the process of interviewing witnesses. They say they currently have no suspects in custody.
This is the second day police have responded to shots being fired. Around 12:40 a.m. on Saturday morning, police responded to a shooting in the 300 block of 17th Avenue Southwest.
The man is expected to recover from his injuries. The victim in the case is not cooperating with police.
WATCH: Aftermath of one of a series of deadly blasts in Iraq
BAGHDAD – A series of bombings, including three over a span of less than 10 minutes, killed at least 27 people across Baghdad on Saturday, shaking the fragile sense of security the capital has maintained despite the Sunni militant offensive raging across northern and western Iraq.
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Meanwhile in the northern city of Sulaimaniyah, Iraq’s ailing president returned to the country after more than 18 months abroad for medical treatment following a stroke in late 2012, state TV said. Jalal Talabani is wrapping up his second consecutive term as president, and is not eligible to run again.
Saturday’s attacks in Baghdad are among the most significant in the capital since insurgents led by the Islamic State extremist group captured Iraq’s second-largest city Mosul last month at the start of its blitz. After Mosul’s fall, the government moved aggressively to try to secure Baghdad amid fears it might fall as well, and the city has seen few major attacks in recent weeks.
Saturday’s deadliest bombing took place in the Shiite neighbourhood of Abu Dashir, where a suicide attacker rammed a car packed with explosives into a checkpoint, killing at least nine people and wounding 19, officials said. Four policemen were among the dead, a police officer said.
Later in the day, three car bombs in different neighbourhoods of Baghdad went off in less than 10 minutes, hitting the districts of Baiyaa, Jihad and Khazimiyah. The attacks killed at least 15 people and wounded another 42, police officials said.
Another car bomb near a bus stop in Khazimiyah killed three people and wounded 15, police said.
Hospital officials in Baghdad confirmed the casualty figures in all of the attacks.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief journalists.
The Sunni militant blitz, led by the Islamic State extremist group, has pushed into areas west of Baghdad, and also has established a presence in a belt of Sunni areas running south and north of the capital. Baghdad itself has a predominantly Shiite population.
The Iraqi military launched a counteroffensive late last month to try to dislodge insurgents from the city of Tikrit, some 130 kilometres (80 miles) north of Baghdad. That effort has sputtered, but has managed to secure much of the highway between Tikrit and the city of Samarra, home to one of the most important Shiite shrines. Tikrit itself remains in militant hands.
Northwest of the city, heavy fighting has raged around an air base that previously served as a U.S. military facility known as Camp Speicher.
On Saturday, Iraqi military spokesman Lt. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi denied reports that militants had captured Camp Speicher, saying government troops repelled an attack on Friday and the base remains fully in government hands.
Three security officials confirmed that the militants launched an assault on the air field late Thursday, blasting through an outside wall of the base and destroying one helicopter. One of the officials said the other helicopters at Speicher were “evacuated” from the base to prevent them from being damaged, but they have since been returned to duty.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.
A resident of Tikrit, Ahmed Jassim, said by telephone that clashes were taking place around Speicher on Saturday, but “the gunmen are outside the camp.” The centre of Tikrit is still under insurgent control, and is being shelled by the Iraqi military, he said.
Iraq’s president, Talabani, arrived in the far northern city of Sulaimaniyah in the largely autonomous Kurdish region early Saturday evening, state television said.
Talabani, who himself is Kurdish, suffered a stroke in late 2012. He was flown to Germany shortly afterwards for treatment and rehabilitation.
With Talabani’s term set to expire, Iraqi political leaders are in talks to decide on a new president as part of broader negotiations over forming a new government. Parliament is expected to meet Wednesday to discuss potential candidates.
Under an informal agreement that emerged after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, Iraq’s president is a Kurd, the prime minister a Shiite, and the speaker of parliament a Sunni.
Two names have emerged as front-runners to succeed Talabani – former deputy prime minister Barham Saleh and the Kirkuk provincial governor Najimaldin Karim.
The Iraqi presidency is a largely ceremonial role, with the prime minister acting as the head of government. But Talabani has at times played an important role in mediating disputes among Iraq’s ethnic and sectarian factions.
Associated Press writer Qassim Abdul-Zahra contributed to this report.
©2014The Associated Press