New York, Apr 16 (AP/UNB) — The South Florida Sun Sentinel and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette won Pulitzer Prizes on Monday and were recognized along with the Capital Gazette of Maryland for their coverage of the horrifying mass shootings in 2018 at a high school, a synagogue and a newsroom itself.
The Associated Press won in the international reporting category for documenting the humanitarian horrors of Yemen's civil war, while The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal were honored for delving into President Donald Trump's finances and breaking open the hush-money scandals involving two women who said they had affairs with him.
The Florida paper received the Pulitzer in public service for its coverage of the massacre of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland and for detailing the shortcomings in school discipline and security that contributed to the carnage.
The Post-Gazette was honored in the breaking news category for its reporting on the synagogue rampage that left 11 people dead. The man awaiting trial in the attack railed against Jews before, during and after the massacre, authorities said.
After the Pulitzer announcement, the newsroom in Pittsburgh observed a moment of silence for the victims. At the Sun Sentinel, too, the staff took in the award in a sober spirit.
"We're mindful of what it is that we won for," Editor-in-Chief Julie Anderson said. "There are still families grieving, so it's not joy, it's almost ... I don't know how to describe it. We're emotional, as well."
So, too, at the Capital Gazette, which was given a special citation for its coverage and courage in the face of a massacre in its own newsroom. The Pulitzer board also gave the paper an extraordinary $100,000 grant to further its journalism.
"Clearly, there were a lot of mixed feelings," editor Rick Hutzell said. "No one wants to win an award for something that kills five of your friends."
The Annapolis-based newspaper published on schedule, with some help from The Baltimore Sun, the day after five staffers were shot and killed in one of the deadliest attacks on journalists in U.S. history. The man charged had a longstanding grudge against the paper.
The Pulitzers, U.S. journalism's highest honor, reflected a year when journalism also came under attack in other ways.
Reuters won an international reporting award for work that cost two of its staffers their liberty: coverage of a brutal crackdown on Rohingya Muslims by security forces in Myanmar.
Reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are serving a seven-year sentence after being convicted of violating the country's Official Secrets Act. Their supporters say the two were arrested in retaliation for their reporting.
Reuters also won the breaking news photography award for images of Central American migrants heading to the U.S.
The AP's international reporting prize went to a team of journalists who documented atrocities and suffering in Yemen, illuminating the human toll of its 4-year-old civil war.
As a result of the work by reporter Maggie Michael, photographer Nariman El-Mofty and video journalist Maad al-Zikry, at least 80 prisoners were released from secret detention sites, and the United Nations rushed food and medicine to areas where the AP revealed that people were starving while corrupt officials diverted international food aid.
"This is a story that everybody was not really paying good attention, and we're very happy to be able to draw some attention to it," Michael said.
Images of the famine in Yemen also brought a feature photography award for The Washington Post. The Post's book critic, Carlos Lozada, won the criticism prize for what the judges called "trenchant and searching" work.
In the U.S., journalists have been contending with attacks on the media's integrity from the president on down. Trump has branded coverage of his administration "fake news" and assailed the media as the "enemy of the people."
Monday's wins by the Times and The Wall Street Journal and freelance cartoonist Darrin Bell may further anger the president.
The Times won the explanatory reporting Pulitzer for laying out how a president who has portrayed himself as a largely self-made man has, in fact, received over $400 million in family money and helped his family avoid hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes. Trump has called the Times expose a false "hit piece."
The Journal took the national reporting award for its investigations of payments orchestrated by the president's former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, to buy the silence of porn star Stormy Daniels and a Playboy centerfold. Trump has denied having affairs with them.
Bell, the editorial cartooning winner, called out "lies, hypocrisy and fraud in the political turmoil surrounding the Trump administration," the Pulitzer judges said.
The Los Angeles Times took the investigative reporting prize for stories that revealed hundreds of sexual abuse accusations against a recently retired University of Southern California gynecologist, who has denied the allegations. The university recently agreed to a $215 million settlement with the alleged victims.
The local reporting prize went to The Advocate of Louisiana for work that led to a state constitutional amendment abolishing Louisiana's unusual practice of allowing non-unanimous jury verdicts in felony trials.
ProPublica won the feature reporting award for coverage of Salvadoran immigrants affected by a federal crackdown on the MS-13 gang.
Tony Messenger of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch received the commentary award for his series of columns about poor people being thrown back in jail in Missouri because they couldn't afford to pay the costs of a previous stint behind bars.
The New York Times' Brent Staples received the editorial writing award. The judges said his writing about the nation's racial history showed "extraordinary moral clarity."
The journalism prizes, first awarded in 1917, were established by newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer. Winners of the public service award receive a gold medal. The other awards carry a prize of $15,000 each.
Penticton, Apr 16 (AP/UNB) — Canadian police say a 60-year-old man is in custody after four targeted shootings that killed two men and two women in the city of Penticton, British Columbia.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Supt. Ted De Jager says the suspect and the four victims knew each other but gave no details. He says the suspect turned himself in after Monday's shooting.
Such gun violence is rare in Canada.
Police say they received a call about a possible shooting in downtown Penticton about 10:30 a.m. De Jager says one person was found dead in the north end and the three others were found in the south end.
Paris, Apr 16 (AP/UNB) — Experts are assessing the blackened shell of Paris' iconic Notre Dame cathedral to establish next steps to save what remains after a devastating fire destroyed much of the almost 900-year-old building.
With the fire that broke out Monday evening and quickly consumed the cathedral now under control, attention is turning to ensuring the structural integrity of the remaining building.
Junior Interior Minister Laurent Nunez announced that architects and other experts would meet at the cathedral early Tuesday "to determine if the structure is stable and if the firefighters can go inside to continue their work."
Officials consider the fire an accident, possibly as a result of restoration work taking place at the global architectural treasure, but that news has done nothing to ease the national mourning.
Paris, Apr 15 (AP/UNB) — A massive fire engulfed the roof of Notre Dame Cathedral in the heart of the French capital Monday, toppling its spire and sending thick plumes of smoke high into the blue sky as tourists and Parisians watched in horror from the streets below.
A spokesman said the entire wooden frame of the cathedral would likely come down, and that the vault of the edifice could be threatened too.
"Everything is burning, nothing will remain from the frame," Notre Dame spokesman Andre Finot told French media. The 12th-century cathedral is home to incalculable works of art and is one of the world's most famous tourist attractions.
The cause of the catastrophic blaze was not known, but French media quoted the Paris fire brigade as saying the fire is "potentially linked" to a 6 million-euro ($6.8 million) renovation project on the church's spire and its 250 tons of lead. Prosecutors opened an investigation as Paris police said there were no reported deaths.
Flames shot out of the roof behind the nave of the cathedral, among the most visited landmarks in the world. Hundreds of people lined up bridges around the island that houses the cathedral, watching in shock as acrid smoke rose in plumes.
French President Emmanuel Macron postponed a televised speech to the nation because of the stunning blaze and was going to the cathedral himself.
Paris deputy mayor Emmanuel Gregoire said emergency services are trying to salvage the famed art pieces stored in the cathedral.
Built in the 12th and 13th centuries, Notre Dame is the most famous of the Gothic cathedrals of the Middle Ages as well as one of the most beloved structures in the world. Situated on the Ile de la Cite, an island in the Seine, the cathedral's architecture is famous for, among other things, its many gargoyles and its iconic flying buttresses.
Among the most celebrated artworks inside are its three stained-glass rose windows, placed high up on the west, north and south faces of the cathedral. Its priceless treasures also include a Catholic relic, the crown of thorns, which is only occasionally displayed, including on Fridays during Lent.
The cathedral was immortalized in Victor Hugo's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," published in 1831, and has long been a subject of fascination in popular culture as well as the traditional art world.
French historian Camille Pascal told BFM broadcast channel the blaze marked "the destruction of invaluable heritage."
"It's been 800 years that the Cathedral watches over Paris", Pascal said. "Happy and unfortunate events for centuries have been marked by the bells of Notre Dame."
He added: "We can be only horrified by what we see."
Associated Press reporters at the scene saw massive plumes of yellow brown smoke filling the air above the Cathedral and ash falling on the island that houses Notre Dame and marks the center of Paris. As the spire fell, the sky lit up orange.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is in despair at the "terrible fire." Hidalgo said in a Twitter message that Paris firefighters are still trying to limit the fire and urged Paris citizens to respect the security perimeter that has been set around the cathedral.
Hidalgo said Paris authorities are in touch with Paris diocese.
Reactions from around the world came swiftly.
In Washington, Trump tweeted: "So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris" and suggested first responders use "flying water tankers" to put it out.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, said he was praying "to ask the intercession of Notre Dame, our Lady, for the Cathedral at the heart of Paris, and of civilization, now in flames! God preserve this splendid house of prayer, and protect those battling the blaze."
The Hague, Apr 15 (AP/UNB) — A Dutch fertility doctor who used his own sperm to father 49 children, without telling their mothers he was the donor, may have even more children.
Ties van der Meer of the Dutch Donor Child Foundation said Monday that three more people contacted him over the weekend because they suspect they may also have been conceived using the sperm of Dr. Jan Karbaat.
DNA tests revealed last week that Karbaat, who died two years ago, was the biological father of 49 children.
Publicity surrounding the case means that the extended family may grow even larger as more people check their DNA against Karbaat's.
Meanwhile, dozens of people who now know who their biological father is are coming to terms with the news. One of them, Joey Hoofdman, says "we are all happy with the clarity."