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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Updates on Connecticut Shooting Aftermath

A memorial set up outside St. Rose of Lima Church in Newtown, Conn., where funerals were held Tuesday for two young victims of last week's school shooting.Todd Heisler/The New York Times A memorial set up outside St. Rose of Lima Church in Newtown, Conn., where funerals were held Tuesday for two young victims of last week's school shooting.

Four days after the school shooting in Connecticut took the lives of 20 children and 6 staff members, classes resumed at most Newtown schools on Tuesday and the National Rifle Association broke its silence. “The N.R.A. is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again,” it said in a statement. Also on Tuesday, at least two more funerals were held, and a New York Post editorial echoed Rupert Murdoch's calls for tighter gun control.

6:15 P.M. |Governor Calls for Nationwide Moment of Silence

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy of Connecticut on Tuesday called on residents to participate in a moment of silence on Friday at 9:30 a.m., exactly a week after a gunman massacred 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Mr. Malloy also asked that houses of worship and government buildings ring bells 26 times to commemorate the victims. He wrote a letter to all governors in the United States asking that they also participate.

“Let us all come together collectively to mourn the loss of far too many promising lives at Sandy Hook Elementary School,” Mr. Malloy said in a statement on the governor's Web site. “Though we will never know the full measure of sorrow experienced by these families, we can let them know that we stand with them during this difficult time.”

4:28 P.M. |N.R.A. Pledges to Help Prevent Similar Attacks

8:24 p.m. | Updated In its first official statement since the Newtown, Conn., school shootings last Friday, the National Rifle Association said Tuesday that it was “shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the murders” and would weigh into the gro wing public debate about guns and violence at a news conference this Friday.

The four-million-member gun rights group, one of the country's most powerful grass-roots lobbying organizations, had stayed silent in recent days, issuing no statements, deactivating its Facebook account and declining interview requests since the killings of 20 schoolchildren and 7 adults, including the mother of the gunman. Its Facebook account was reactivated on Tuesday evening.

In a statement sent by e-mail on Tuesday, the group said, “Out of respect for the families, and as a matter of common decency, we have given time for mourning, prayer and a full investigation of the facts before commenting.”

In the wake of the Newtown shootings, gun opponents and others have called for tighter restrictions on the sale of weapons and better background checks on buyers, measures that are sure to face an uphill battle in Washington. The N.R.A. said Tuesday that it would participate in the debate, but it did not provide details.

“The N.R.A. is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again,” the statement said.

Full text of a statement released from the National Rifle Association on Tuesday.

The National Rifle Association of America is made up of four million moms and dads, sons and daughters â€" and we were shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the news of the horrific and senseless murders in Newtown.

Out of respect for the families, and as a matter of common decency, we have given time for mourning, prayer and a full investigation of the facts before commenting.

The N.R.A. is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.

The N.R.A. is planning to hold a major news conference in the Washington, D. C., area on Friday, December 21.

Details will be released to the media at the appropriate time.


- Nicholas Confessore

4:13 P.M. |Murdoch's Support for Gun Control Echoed in His Paper

When Rupert Murdoch spoke out on Twitter in favor of tightening gun control in the wake of the Newtown shootings, other Twitter users wondered if his media empire would take an editorial stance in line with Mr. Murdoch's evolving personal views.

The holdings of News Corporation, of which Mr. Murdoch is chairman, include The New York Post, The Wall Street Journal and Fox News.


An answer arrived in an editorial on Tuesday in The New York Post, “Adam Lanza's Weapons,” that made its point with characteristic bluntness.

Has technology rendered the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution obsolete?

That is, has the application of modern military design to civilian firearms produced a class of weapons too dangerous to be in general circulation?

We say: Yes.

The piece acknowledges that the cow is well out of the barn, with enough privately owned guns in the country to arm nearly every adult citizen, and political will for gun restrictions likely to fade as the Newtown shootings recede from the nation's consciousness. “But that won't negate the need for reform,” the editorial says, concluding:

Weapons designed expressly to kill human beings, and then modified (wink wink) to meet the federal machine-gun ban, have no legitimate place in American society.

Time to get rid of them.

The response from The Post's online commenters was largely negative.

“The entire premise of the article is ridiculous,” wrote one reader. “The idea that the writers of the constitution would look at the weapons available to criminals today, and t hen say law abiding citizens should only have bolt action rifles is ludicrous in the extreme.”

“The first responsibility of a gun owner is to secure that weapon when not in use or in your custody. Mrs. Lanza?” wrote another.

“The usual knee jerk reaction by the news media…” wrote a third, putting The Post in some unfamiliar company indeed.

Even some of the few who applauded the editorial expressed surprise. “Wow!” one reader wrote. “One of the few times I agree with a Post editorial.”

- Andy Newman

3:54 P.M. |Funeral of Jessica Rekos, 6
The coffin of Jessica Rekos, 6, who was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School last week, before her funeral at St. Rose of Lima Church in Newtown, Conn., on Tuesday.Todd Heisler/The New York Times The coffin of Jessica Rekos, 6, who was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School last week, before her funeral at St. Rose of Lima Church in Newtown, Conn., on Tuesday.

The opening paragraphs from the obituary of Jessica Adrienne Rekos, published in The Newtown Bee, the local newspaper.

Jessica Adrienne Rekos, 6, beloved and cherished daughter of Richard S. and Krista A. Lehmann Rekos of Sandy Hook, died tragically, December 14, with her friends and classmates at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Born in Danbury May 10, 2006, she was a lifelong resident of Sandy Hook.

Jessica loved horseback riding, learning about orcas, writing, and playing with her little brothers.

3:39 P.M. |Computer Hard Drive From Lanza Home Sent to F.B.I. Lab

The damaged hard drive that authorities took from the home where Adam Lanza and his mother lived, and where he fatally shot her, has been sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's computer lab in Quantico, Va., for further analysis, according to a senior law enforcement official.

Investigators have been unable to get any information off the hard drive, which they believe Mr. Lanza, who had taken computer classes at a local college, smashed in an effort to prevent the authorities from determining what he had done on the computer.

Within the past few days, the F.B.I. had the hard drive hand delivered to bureau personnel and agents in Quantico who specialize in data retrieval, according to the official.

“It is going to be tough to get anything from it,” the official said. “If they are able to do so, it is going to take quite a while. But it is going to be tough.”

The F.B.I.'s technology division, national laboratory and training academy are in Quantico.

The official said that he did not know of any other electronic devices †" like the computer console that was taken from the house â€" that had been handed over by local authorities to the F.B.I. for analysis.

The investigation of the shooting is being led by the Connecticut State Police.

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he did not want to be identified discussing an ongoing investigation

- Michael S. Schmidt

1:49 P.M. |Funeral of James Mattioli
Mourners of James Mattioli, 6, a victim in the shooting at the Sandy Hook School, outside St. Rose of Lima Church in Newtown, Conn., on Tuesd   ay.Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times Mourners of James Mattioli, 6, a victim in the shooting at the Sandy Hook School, outside St. Rose of Lima Church in Newtown, Conn., on Tuesday.

The opening paragraphs from the obituary of James Radley Mattioli published in The Newtown Bee, the local newspaper.

“Our Beloved Prince,” James Radley Mattioli, 6 ¾, fondly called “J,” died December 14, in his classroom at Sandy Hook Elementary School. He was born March 22, 2006, in Bridgeport.

An energetic, loving friend to all, James loved baseball, basketball, swimming, arm wrestling, and playing games on the iPad (especially the lawn mowing game). He loved to wear shorts and t-shirts in any weather, and grab the gel to spike his hair. He would often sing at the top of his lungs and once asked, “How old do I have to be to sing on a stage?”

Jame s loved to dive off the diving board at the Treadwell Pool, swim like a fish in both of his grandparents' pools and ride his bike, proudly without training wheels. He often said, “I need to go outside Mom, I need fresh air.” He spent endless hours playing hockey with his best bud and cousin, George.

He loved and admired his big sister and wanted to do everything that she could do. They were the best of friends, going to school together, playing games together, and making endless drawings and crafts together.

2:02 P.M. |No Gun Show in Danbury, Hotel Says

The Crowne Plaza hotel in Danbury says that a coming gun show at the hotel being advertised on the Web site of Big Al's Gun Shows is not going to take place.

“It is absolutely not happening at this hotel,” Jamie Santacroce, the hotel's controller, said by phone Tuesday afternoon.

Ms. Santacroce said that while Big Al's has had gun shows at the hotel in the past and that the hotel had sent him paperwork for the show he wanted to have on Jan. 5 and 6, the gun-show organizer never returned the contract for the January show.

In any case, Ms. Santacroce said, “We would have canceled it regardless,” adding, “we wouldn't have that sort of event here given the circumstances.”

Ms. Santacroce said that the hotel was trying to get the organizer to remove the listing from his Web site.

A man who picked up the phone at the number listed on the Big Al's Web site declined to comment when asked about Ms. Santacroce's statement.

< span id="t17h50m" class="update">Update, 4:30 p.m. | Sometime after 3 p.m., the Danbury show was marked “Cancelled” on the Big Al's Web site:

Big Al's Gun Shows updated its Web site Monday afternoon to say that the Danbury show is Screengrab Big Al's Gun Shows updated its Web site Monday afternoon to say that the Danbury show is “cancelled.”

Update, 5:50 p.m. | Sometime after 5 p.m., a Big Al's show in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., in February was also marked “Cancelled” on the Big Al's site.

- Andy Newman

1:35 P.M. |Nearly 2 Million Sign Sympathy Card for Newtown

More than 1.7 million people have signed an online sympathy card to express condolences for the shooting victims in Newtown, Conn., making it the largest gathering of signatures on causes.com, the social causes petition Web site where the card is posted. The card reads:

To: Community of Newtown, Connecticut, including the families of the victims and the survivors and their families.

Our Sincere Condolences.

We wish to express our deepest sympathies to all of the families of those lost, to the survivors and their families, and to the others impacted by the senseless and unthinkable tragedy that un folded at Sandy Hook Elementary School. We cannot begin to comprehend the depth of your sadness and grief. Please know that we care deeply for you and we join with you in sharing your sorrow and pain. We only hope that you receive some measure of comfort in the knowledge that we, and an entire nation, stand with you during this extraordinarily difficult time.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

The cause was started by a man named David M. Paine, who in 2002 helped start www.911day.org, a movement that marks the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 with good deeds.

A message to signatories posted below the sympathy card on causes.com said:

In the face of yet another senseless act of violence that took the lives of innocent people in America, this time including very young children with their entire lives ahead of them, we are inviting our members and friends to join us in signing a national sympathy card for the families of the victims, the survivors and their families and the entire community of Newtown, Connecticut. We will deliver this note with the names of those signed to the community of Newtown, Connecticut.

Mr. Paine started the sympathy card on Dec. 15. Within 48 hours it had passed 1 million signatures, and by midday on Tuesday it had more than 1.7 million signatures, setting a record for the Web site.

Friends… we just surpassed 1.5 million signatures on the Sandy Hook Elementary School National Sympathy Card, making this the single largest gathering of signatures ever within the Causes community. Remarkable! Please keep inviting your friends to sign as well - we want to reach at least two million signatures.

The card was receiving 1,000 signatures per minute at its peak on Saturday, mashable.com reported, a day after the shooting by Adam Lanza, 20, at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 20 children and 6 adults were killed.

- Christine Hauser

1:26 P.M. |Most Schools Reopen, but T hreat Keeps One Closed

As most students resumed classes in Newtown on Tuesday and some local residents expressed weariness over the large news media presence, school officials decided against opening the town's Head O'Meadow School because of an unspecified threat, the police said.

Newtown police officials said on Tuesday that the school was closed as a precaution. They declined to provide details.

No classes were held at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which is still considered a crime scene. Arrangements have been made for Sandy Hook's students to attend classes in a former middle school in near by Monroe. The school had been closed because of declining enrollment.

The Hartford Courant reports that Superintendent Janet Robinson told parents and the staff that moving into the middle school was the best option.

In the e-mail, Ms. Robinson said the Monroe school “allows us to keep the entire faculty together.”

“In the meantime, we need to tend to our teachers' and students' needs to feel comfortable after this trauma in this new place,” she wrote

School officials said the school, known as Chalk Hill, would not be ready until after the first of the year. But that did not stop the people of Monroe from sending a message of welcome.

- Jennifer Preston

12:15 P.M. |Parents Share Memories of Child Being Buried Today

The funeral for Jessica Rekos, 6, began at noon in Newtown (today's other funeral, for another 6-year-old, James Mattioli, was held at 10 a.m.).

Earlier this week, in an interview with ABC News, Richard and Krista Rekos said talking about their daughter, who loved horseback riding and wanted cowboy boots for Christmas, brought them tiny moments of comfort.

Parents of Jessica Rekos remember
12:25 P.M. |Gun Show Coming to Danbury, 13 Miles from Newtown
Screengrab of the    ad for an upcoming gun show in Danbury, Conn., on Big Al's Gun Shows' Web site. Screengrab of the ad for an upcoming gun show in Danbury, Conn., on Big Al's Gun Shows' Web site.

Update, 2:12 p.m.: This gun show is not going to take place, the Crowne Plaza hotel said Tuesday afternoon. Read more.

A gun show is scheduled in the vicinity of Newtown, Conn., in a few weeks.

Big Al's Gun Shows is bringing its traveling firearms market to the Crowne Plaza hotel in Danbury, 13 miles from Newtown, on Jan. 5 and 6.

According to Big Al's Web site (warning: click on it and you hear a loud gunshot), children under 10 will get in free when accompanied by an adult.

Gun shows are the national bane of gun-control advocates â€" in most states, people who buy guns from sellers at gun shows are not required to undergo background checks the way people who buy guns at licensed firearms dealers are, according to the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.

In Connecticut, background checks are required at gun shows only for sales of handguns, ac cording to the coalition.

A man who answered the phone number listed on the Big Al's site said “yes” when asked Tuesday morning if the show was still on. When asked further questions, he replied, “I really have no comments, buddy.” When asked his name, he said, “Have a good day” and hung up.

- Andy Newman and Elliott Malkin

Controversial Israeli Embassy Facebook Page Taken Down \'for Maintenance\'

The Israeli Embassy in Ireland has temporarily removed its entire Facebook page from the Web, after a controversial Christmas message stating that Jesus would “probably end up being lynched in Bethlehem by hostile Palestinians” if he lived today was posted and then deleted from the account on Monday.

A screenshot of a Christmas card sold by pro-Palestinian activists in Ireland.Colm Mac Athlaoich, via IPSC.ie A screenshot of a Christmas card sold by pro-Palestinian activists in Ireland.

Just as the Facebook page went offline, however, the embassy posted a series of combative updates on its @IsraelinIreland Twitter feed on Tuesday, attacking pro-Palestinian activists for Christmas cards that imagine the original nativity scene being disrupted by the Israeli separation barrier built around Bethlehem.

The embassy's press officer, Derek O'Flynn, told The Lede in an e-mail on Tuesday that the Israel in Ireland Facebook page had been taken down by the embassy “for maintenance.” That action came after reports on the Christmas message also drew attention to a number of other potentially objectionable posts - including a video that mocked Irish journalists and an update that called Ireland's g overnment “naive” for supporting Palestine's successful effort to upgrade its status at the United Nations.

Although the embassy spokesman said he had no idea who had posted the “Christmas thought” on Facebook on Monday, updates to the embassy's Twitter account on Tuesday included an indignant response to comments by a spokeswoman for the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, who told The Irish Times that the embassy's Facebook post was “outrageous and extremely cynical.”

Neatly deploying the rhetorical device known as “You started it,” the unnamed author of the embassy's Twitter feed accused Israel's critics of politicizing the holiday first by pointing to Christmas cards sold by pro-Palestinian activists, which feature a painting by the Irish artist Colm Mac Athlaoich showing the three wise men being blocked from Bethlehem by the high, concrete slabs of Israel's separation barrier.

The inscription in the cards sold by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign reads: “The image portrays the three wise men obstructed on their journey by the ‘apartheid' wall being built by Israel on Palestinian land. This illegal structure acts as a prison wall, blocking the aspiration of all Palestinians to freedom and self-determination.”

The image is similar to a painting made by the British street artist Banksy in 2005, depicting Joseph and Mary being blocked from Bethlehem by the concrete slabs. The British artist first displayed that work shortly after he returned from painting a series of images on the West Bank barrier itself.

Accounts of a Siege in Syria Differ on Rebel YouTube Channels and British Television

As my colleagues Liam Stack and Hania Mourtada reported, Syrian activists said last week that members of a pro-government militia known as the shabiha had massacred dozens of civilians earlier this month in the village of Aqrab, northwest of the city of Homs, just outside the town of Houla.

What made the claim of a massacre in the village unusual were the accounts of witnesses, identified as survivors of the atrocity on rebel YouTube channels, who said that the victims were Alawites - members of the same minority sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam, as President Bashar al-Assad and most members of the shabiha militia. In a civil war that has turned more sectarian over time, the claim that an Alawite militia had killed Alawite civilians, supposedly to keep them from being slaughtered by Sunni Muslim rebels instead, stood out.

Finding out what exactly happened in Aqrab is particularly difficult because, while the Syrian government denied that any massacre had taken place there, independent reporters have been unable to get into the town. Then too, it is hard to know how much weight to give to the extraordinary witness testimony posted on YouTube, since it appears to have been recorded under the watch of the rebel Free Syrian Army in the nearby town of Houla. A massacre in that town in May, blamed on the shabiha, brought global condemnation on the Assad government.

Shakeeb al-Jabri, a Syrian activist and journalist in neighboring Lebanon, noted on the day that the first reports of a massacre emerged there were wildly different accounts of what had taken place and how many people were killed.

Late last week, however, Alex Thomson of Britain's Channel 4 News managed to travel to the outskirts of Aqrab, where he interviewed three people who claim to have escaped from the village to government-controlled territory. All three blamed Sunni rebels, not the pro-Assad Alawite militia, for the killing of Alawites in their village.

A video report from Syria broadcast by Britain's Channel 4 News on Friday.

Restrictions on independent reporting inside Syria remain in place, but Mr. Thomson's report, which was produced without the presence of any government minders, suggests that there might have been no massacre at all.

In a blog post introducing his report, Mr. Thomson acknowledges the difficulty of saying for sure who is telling the truth:

What follows is a series of eyewitness accounts which runs almost entirely against the version of what happened here which has gone global from rebel propaganda websites. We do not say what follows is the truth. But we can say it is the first independently observed story of Aqrab from the first outside journalist to reach this area.

We interviewed three key eyewitnesses in three separate locations. They could not have known either of our sudden arrival, nor did they know the identities of the other two eyewitnesses.

What is striking is that their accounts entirely corroborate each other, to the last detail. And their accounts are further backed up by at least a dozen conversations with other Alawites who had fled from Aqrab.

What happened, according to the witnesses who spoke to Mr. Thomson, is that hundreds of civilians from the village were trapped in one building, under siege from the rebels, for more than a week. The witnesses told Mr. Thomson, “the rebels wanted to take the women and children to al-Houla to use them as human shields agai nst bombardment from government forces, and they believed they would kill the remaining men.”

Although negotiations to free all of the prisoners failed, the witnesses said, a number of people were released before some were killed and others were taken to Houla.

Responding to critics of his reporting on Twitter, Mr. Thomson said that his crew was not escorted by the government and stressed that none of the people he spoke with knew that the others had been interviewed. He added that all of what they said was “corroborated by more than 10 other off-camera interviews.”

He also noted that it was hard to understand, if there had been a massacre in Aqrab, why there was “not a scrap of video to back their story” on the rebel YouTube channels. “Invariably when there's a massacre, the rebels put the bodies out on YouTube and make a song and dance about it. If the government really did massacre up to 250 people from President Assad's own Alawite sect, YouTube would be 10 feet deep in rebel videos, of the bodies, of the funerals, of the carnage.”

As Nadim Houry of Human Rights Watch told The Los Angeles Times, “”There are various narratives there, and we don't have enough to have a conclusion yet.” He observed on Twitter that only an independent investigation could clear away the mystery, but that seems unlikely to happen while fighting is still going on in the area.

While the exact nature of the violence in Aqrab remains unclear, Hassan Hassan observed in a commentary for The National, it is striking that about 3,000 Alawites are said to remain in the village with 10,000 Sunnis, given the fierce sectarian warfare all around them. “Alawites are often portrayed as invariably sticking with the regime for survival,” Mr. Hassan wrote. “This is not accurate. Many Alawites are caught in the middle, just as are so many others in Syrian society. Twenty-one months into the violence, Alawites were still living alongside Sunnis in Aqrab - something worth considering.”

Not far from the village in northern Syria, Al Jazeera reported this week that several hundred residents of an Alawite village in northern Syria's Idlib Province were forced to flee when a rebel brigade called Jubhat al-Nusra, which calls itself a Qaeda affiliate and has been designated a terrorist organization by the United States, took control.

An Al Jazeera video report on Islamist fighters taking control of a village in northern Syria this week.

Anger at Changes on Instagram

Many Instagram users threatened to delete their accounts after the photo-sharing service changed its terms of service.

Building Body Parts With Software

Good news: Maybe people are not so different from machines after all.

On Tuesday a small company in San Diego called Organovo Holdings, which already makes human tissue on a small scale, announced a partnership with Autodesk to design a bioprinting platform.

The idea is to use some of the Autodesk software now used for the design and manufacture of inanimate objects like light fixtures or kitchen appliances for the construction of living tissue, and, eventually, organs.

If living organs can be made the same way we can now make, say, flower pots and aircraft parts, using three-dimensional printers, the cost of medicine may drop while its capabilities improve.

“Right now we can create a 3-D liver slice by telling a ‘printer' where to put cells,” said Keith Murphy, the chief executive officer at Organovo. “We can create something less than a millimeter thick, which we put in a dish for drug studies. Longer term, the question is, can we make an entire liver?”

That is a more complex process, which would involve the precise placement of cells to make both the organ material and things like veins and capillaries, while keeping the whole thing alive. That is likely many years away, Mr. Murphy said.

It would also be a far more ambitious task than other efforts at building organs, like the manufacture of an adult trachea using stem cells over a sterile plastic tube as surgeons in Baltimore did.

A nearer-term project involves making liver cell assay plates, so scientists can readily test things like varying drug dosages, and the creation of tissue for surgical trials. In both cases, Organovo will need to produce significant amounts of material from its printers.

Mr. Murphy said working with Autodesk, which has done a lot of work in 3-D printers, will give his company a bet ter understanding of how to make 3-D software, including how Organovo and others can better design 3-D tissues.

Autodesk, in turn, is looking to simulate how nonliving 3-D objects are created so it can improve its core business.

“If you design a car chassis, the design stays the same,” said Carlos Olguin, who runs the Bio/Nano/Programmable Matter Group at Autodesk. “Biological printing involves the self-assembly of things like stem cells. It's a different design paradigm that could have a big effect on things like massive prototyping.”

“As biology becomes a more mature engineering discipline, we want to have a lot more partners,” he said. Neither company is paying the other, and two teams of about four people each will work together on the project in what Mr. Olguin called “the first phase.”

NBC Reporter Describes Captivity in Syria

Richard Engel, the chief foreign correspondent for NBC News, and four colleagues were freed on Monday after five days in captivity in Syria, as my colleagues Brian Stelter and Bill Carter report.

According to an NBC report, the men were held captive by members of a pro-government militia known as the shabiha until Monday, “when their captors ran into a checkpoint manned by members of the Ahrar al-Sham brigade, a Syrian rebel group.”

The journalists escaped during a firefight, as Mr. Engel explained during an interview on the “Today,” show on Tuesday morning.

The journalists were held in what NBC described as “an unknown location believed to be near the small town of Ma'arrat Misrin, in northern Syria. They were traveling with rebel fighters last Thursday when they were ambushed by the supporters of President Bashar al-Assad.

“We weren't physically beaten or tortured,” Mr. Engel said, but “they made us choose which one of us would be shot first and when we refused there were mock shootings.” The captors pretended to shoot Mr. Engel's producer, Ghazi Balkiz, several times, he said.

As Matt Weaver reports on The Guardian's Middle East Live blog, video of the men before and after they were freed has already been posted on YouTube.

The video of the men in captivity, uploaded to YouTube on Friday but removed on Tuesday for violating the site's terms of service, showed six captives sitting on a floor, including a man who identified himself as a German journalist who works for CNN. In the recording, apparently made as a proof-of-life video by the captors, the men identified themselves and appealed to their governments for help.

According to a CNN report, the German man was Ammar Cheikh Omar, who was raised in Germany to Syrian parents. In Febru ary, my colleague Dan Bilefsky wrote a profile of Mr. Omar, who said that he had moved to Syria in 2004 and had been conscripted into the Syrian military just before the uprising began. According to Mr. Omar's account, he took part in the initial bloody crackdown on dissent before defecting in July of last year and making a video denouncing the Assad government.

The brief video clip of the men after their release, apparently uploaded to YouTube on Tuesday by the jihadist group that freed them, shows them laughing with obvious relief as they share a meal.

Video of Richard Engel and othe r foreign journalists after they were freed from their captors in Syria this week.

As my colleagues on our Media desk note, “NBC tried to keep the crew's disappearance a secret for several days while it sought to ascertain their whereabouts. Its television competitors and many other major news organizations, including The New York Times, refrained from reporting on the situation, in part out of fears that any reporting could further endanger the crew.”

After the men returned safely to Turkey, Peter N. Bouckaert, the emergencies director of Human Rights Watch who has been involved in previous efforts to free captives, criticized the Web site Gawker for reporting on the kidnapping before the men were freed.

“It doesn't help,” Mr. Bouckaert told The Lede in a Skype interview from Geneva, “for details about these individuals who are kidnapped to be out there and available to the kidnappers.” He ad ded: “It is a difficult area and it does present a challenge for journalists, a conflict, when journalists want to report the news and obviously someone getting kidnapped is news, and they have to balance that with the security of the individual involved. It goes against the journalistic instinct to report the news, but in many of these cases it does save lives.”

For \'Start-Ups,\' the Final Round

When Silicon Valley heard that Bravo was filming a reality show about tech start-ups, it reacted with the sort of disdain it usually reserves for government inquiries about data privacy policies. The general response to the show seemed along the lines of, “We're serious people here working seriously hard to improve the world, and we resent any depictions that might undermine that.”

The rejection of “Start-Ups: Silicon Valley,” which had as executive producer Randi Zuckerberg, carried over into the ratings. They started small and got smaller. About 700,000 viewers watched the premiere, according to Nielsen data furnished by Bravo, but instead of building from that, the audience sank. The average for the first six shows was only 517 ,000. By this point, with the final episodes ready to be broadcast, Bravo seems to have more or less given up. A spokeswoman for the network declined to comment.

The seventh episode will appear Tuesday at 7 p.m., an hour when any self-respecting tech entrepreneur is still at work and the rest of the world is putting the kids to bed. The eighth and final episode will be shown on Wednesday, which seems to indicate a desire by Bravo to clear the decks and move on. Only one of the cast members has updated his show blog this month. Even the Twitter feed from the $15,000-a-month San Francisco crash pad inhabited by several cast members has been meager.

Another Bravo series, “LOLwork,” depicting the Seattle tech entrepreneur Ben Huh and his silly-cat-photos empire, has not done very well either. But Silicon Valley has not escaped the limelight forever. HBO has reportedly picked up a Mike Judge show called - it must have taken five seconds to come up with this - “Silicon Valley.” According to Deadline.com, “Silicon Valley is set in the high tech gold rush of modern Silicon Valley, where the people most qualified to succeed are the least capable of handling success.” I have a feeling Silicon Valley is not going to like this one either.

Last month, The Wall Street Journal revealed that Bravo was planning a new tech reality show, based this time in Manhattan. Perhaps it is not a coincidence that Kim Taylor, the “Start-Ups” cast member who created a fashion company called Shonova (slogan: “What to wear everywhere that matters”) just moved to New York. Ms. Taylor didn't confirm whe ther she was talking with the new show, also to be produced by Ms. Zuckerberg, but said this: “I don't think you'll see the unabashed hatred here that you did in Silicon Valley. I think they'll see the bigger picture.”

In any case, she noted, doing Version 2.0 is firmly in the tech tradition.