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‘Hero’ policeman Sergeant Ron Helus among 12 killed

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Colleagues of a policeman who died after being among the first to respond to a mass shooting at a packed California bar have hailed him as a “hero”.

Sergeant Ron Helus died of gunshot wounds as he moved in to try to stop Ian David Long’s killing spree at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, about 40 miles west of Los Angeles.

The married father-of-one was among 12 people to have been killed by the 28-year-old US Marines veteran, who is believed to have later turned the gun on himself.

Ian Long
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Ian Long has been identified as the suspect

Fellow officers from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office described Sergeant Helus – who died from his injuries in hospital – as an “exceptional friend and man”.

“The fact that he was the first in the door doesn’t surprise me at all,” said Sergeant Eric Buschow.

“He’s just one of those guys that wouldn’t hesitate in a situation.”

Law enforcement officers secure the road leading to the Borderline Bar and Grill
Image:
Law enforcement officers secure the road leading to the Borderline Bar and Grill

The intervention at the crowded venue late on Wednesday night was the final act of a 29-year career in law enforcement for Sergeant Helus, who was due to retire next year.

The 54-year-old had a grown-up son and was heralded by several colleagues as one of the most committed and hard-working officers on the local force.

A view of the inside of the bar
Image:
A view of the inside of the venue

“When you call 911, he’s one of the guys you want showing up,” said Sergeant Buschow.

“If you were a victim of a crime, you want him investigating the case. He would go to the ends of the Earth to find a suspect. Just an awesome investigator.”



People watch the procession carrying the body of Ventura County Sheriff Sgt Ron Helus








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Sky News US correspondent Greg Milam says US mass shootings are unlikely to stop

Sergeant Buschow said he had “no doubt” that Sergeant Helus and a highway patrol officer who joined him at the scene of the shooting had saved lives.

He described them both as heroes who had “paid the ultimate price”.

Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean added of his former colleague: “He was totally committed, he gave his all, and tonight, as I told his wife, he died a hero.”

:: Who were the other victims?

Cody Coffman, 22, was confirmed to have died during the attack by his father, Jason.

Mr Coffman told reporters that his son – who had two younger brothers, aged eight and six – had been planning to join the military and was also looking forward to the arrival of a baby sister later this month.

Speaking through tears, Mr Coffman said: “I talked to him last night, before he headed out the door. First thing I said was, ‘please don’t drink and drive’. Last thing I said was, ‘son, I love you’. That was the last thing I said.”



JASON COFFMAN CONFIRMS SON CODY AMONG THOSE KILLED








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Jason Coffman confirms that his 22-year-old son Cody was among those killed in a mass shooting at a packed bar in California.

Another of those killed was 23-year-old Justin Meek.

California Lutheran University President Chris Kimball confirmed in a statement that he was among the dead, adding that he had “heroically saved lives in the incident”.

He said: “We will pray, begin to comfort one another in our grief, and hold the families, friends and loved ones of the victims in our hearts.

“California Lutheran wraps its arms around the Meek family and other families, and around every member of this community of caring.”

Alaina Housley – the niece of actress Tamera Mowry-Housley and husband Adam Housley – also died.

In a joint statement, the couple said: “Alaina was an incredible young woman with so much life ahead of her and we are devastated that her life was cut short in this manner.

“We thank everyone for your prayers and ask for privacy at this time.”

Mowry-Housley found fame on the US sitcom Sister, Sister alongside her twin Tia back in the 1990s.

She is now one of the hosts of The Real talk show on Fox.

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Damien Hirst uterus sculptures greet hospital guests

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Patients visiting a £6bn hospital in Qatar are being greeted by 14 giant bronze sculptures by Damien Hirst graphically charting the moment of conception to birth.

The open-air installation, named The Miraculous Journey, starts with one sculpture showing a feotus growing in the womb, and each sculpture shows the progression of pregnancy, ending with a 14ft naked baby just after birth.

The work is the centrepiece of an impressive modern art collection at the Sidra Medicine Hospital, officially opened this week in the capital Doha.

“We believe it reflects very much the mission of Sidra, taking care of the healthcare of women and babies,” said Layla Ibrahim Bacha, art specialist with the government-supported Qatar Foundation, which owns most of the artwork.

Workers operate on 'The Miraculous Journey', an art installation by artist Damien Hirst outside the Sidra Medical & Research Centre in Qatar's capital Doha, on the day of their unveiling on October 10, 2018.
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Qatar has become a major buyer of contemporary art

“I think it’s perfect for the location, as you can see a lot of people are taking pictures, I think it’s becoming iconic.”

Ms Bacha says the art was chosen with “very specific themes” in mind.

“They are not meant to be decorative, they are meant to be more creating debates, helping with the patients to keep them calm,” she said.

The sculptures were originally unveiled in October 2013 but then covered from public view until recent weeks.

Workers operate on 'The Miraculous Journey', an art installation by artist Damien Hirst outside the Sidra Medical & Research Centre in Qatar's capital Doha, on the day of their unveiling on October 10, 2018.
Image:
The installation is called The Miraculous Journey

The official reason was to protect them from ongoing building work on the hospital, but it is thought they were concealed after a social media outcry.

“We are not expecting everyone to like them. We are not expecting everyone to understand them,” said Ms Bacha.

“This is why they are there to actually create this element of debate, this element of thinking.”

Qatar has become a major buyer of contemporary art as it seeks to portray itself as one of the most progressive states in the region.

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Jeremy Hunt warns Iran: Stop jailing innocent Britons

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Jeremy Hunt has warned Iran to stop putting innocent people in prison as he prepares to visit the country for the first time.

The foreign secretary called on Iran’s hardline regime to release people including charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who is currently jailed on what are widely regarded as invented spying charges.

Mr Hunt arrives in Iran on Monday and is the first Western foreign minister to visit Iran since the US pulled out of a nuclear deal and imposed sanctions on Tehran.

He is also due to discuss the war in Yemen during his trip, which will include talks with his counterpart Mohammad Zarif.

“We must see those innocent British-Iranian dual nationals imprisoned in Iran returned to their families in Britain,” Mr Hunt said.



Nazanin-Zaghari Ratcliffe made a last-ditch appeal to spend more time with her daughter. Pic: @FreeNazanin








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Nazanin husband praises Hunt

“I have just heard too many heartbreaking stories from families who have been forced to endure a terrible separation.

“So I arrive in Iran with a clear message for the country’s leaders: putting innocent people in prison cannot and must not be used as a tool of diplomatic leverage.”

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian mother who works for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was arrested at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini airport in April 2016 and later sentenced to five years in jail after being accused of spying, a charge she vehemently denies.










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Nazanin’s husband in anguish

Her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, has campaigned exhaustively for her release, saying she is suffering extreme mental and physical hardship at the notorious Evin prison.

Mr Hunt pressed Mr Zarif on her case in September when they met in New York on the fringes of a United Nations General Assembly.

The previous month she had been granted a three-day release but her request for an extension was denied and she was forced to say goodbye to her four-year-old daughter, Gabriella, and return to jail.

US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that relieved sanctions on Tehran in return for an end to Iran’s military nuclear ambitions was met with dismay by the UK and its European allies.

Mr Trump said the Iranian regime was not doing enough to halt its nuclear programme or its support for terrorism and groups fighting in Syria.

It is also backing Shia Houthi rebels fighting the Saudi-backed government in the bloody Yemen civil war.

Mr Hunt said: “The Iran nuclear deal remains a vital component of stability in the Middle East by eliminating the threat of a nuclearised Iran.

“It needs 100% compliance though to survive.










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Hunt: Iran should permanently release Nazanin

“We will stick to our side of the bargain as long as Iran does.

“But we also need to see an end to destabilising activity by Iran in the rest of the region if we are going to tackle the root causes of the challenges the region faces.”

:: Hunt to raise Khashoggi murder during Saudi visit

Downing Street said at the start of November that Britain will continue to expand trade relations with Iran despite Mr Trump’s decision.

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Diddy breaks silence over ex Kim Porter’s sudden death

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Hip hop star Sean “Diddy” Combs has broken his silence three days after the death of ex, Kim Porter, with whom he had two children.

Ms Porter, 47, was Mr Combs’ partner for 13 years and the couple had three children together.

Emergency services were called to her home around noon last Thursday according to TMZ, and her cause of death is still under investigation.

According to reports, she had recently been unwell and was prescribed antibiotics.

On Twitter, Mr Combs wrote: “For the last three days I’ve been trying to wake up out of this nightmare. But I haven’t.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do without you baby. I miss you so much. Today I’m going to pay tribute to you, I’m going to try and find the words to explain our unexplainable relationship.”

A video posted alongside the tribute on social media featured the couple expressing their love for one another.

“We were more than best friends, we were more than soulmates,” Mr Combs tweeted.

“We were some other s***!! And I miss you so much. Super Black Love 🖤” he wrote.



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