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$5M gift made to Hampshire College in honor of Ken Burns

AMHERST, Mass. — Hampshire College has received an anonymous $5 million gift in honor of one of its most famous alumni, award-winning documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, that will help the Massachusetts school continue its academic transformation.

It’s the second $5 million gift the college located in Amherst has received since it launched a $60 million fundraising campaign January 2020, following a financial crisis that prompted the school to consider a merger.

Hampshire has now raised more than $33 million toward the goal.

The donation to the Ken Burns Initiative to Transform Higher Education “supports the ongoing implementation of a new curricular model that organizes undergraduate education around the most urgent challenges of our time, instead of the traditional structures of majors and disciplines,” the school said in a statement Tuesday.

President Ed Wingenbach called it a “historic moment.”

“This donor — who has no previous affiliation with the college — recognizes that higher education requires radical change and that Hampshire is best suited to lead that disruption,” he said.

Burns said he was humbled that the gift was made in his honor.

“I know Hampshire is transformative because I experienced it firsthand,” he said in a statement.

Warrant issued in Memphis

slaying of rapper Young Dolph

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — An arrest warrant has been issued for a Tennessee man wanted in connection with the fatal shooting of rapper Young Dolph, who was gunned down in a daylight ambush at a popular cookie shop in November in his hometown of Memphis, authorities said Wednesday.

A first-degree murder warrant was issued for Justin Johnson, 23, in the Nov. 17 shooting of Young Dolph, whose real name is Adolph Thornton Jr., the U.S. Marshals Service said in a news release.

The marshals service and the Memphis Police Department have been searching for suspects in the killing. A $15,000 reward has been offered for information leading to an arrest. Authorities said Johnson is 5 feet, 8 inches tall, weighs 190 pounds and has the name “Jaiya,” tattooed on his right arm.

The shooting stunned the city of Memphis and shocked the entertainment world. Police said two men exited a white Mercedes-Benz and fired shots into a Memphis bakery where Young Dolph, 36, was buying cookies and killed him. Police released photos taken from surveillance video that captured the shooting but investigators have not released any information about a possible motive.

Known for his depictions of tough street life and his independent approach to the music business, Young Dolph was admired for charitable works in Memphis. He organized Thanksgiving food giveaways, donated thousands of dollars to high schools and paid rent and covered funeral costs for people in the Castalia Heights neighborhood where he was raised.

City officials and community activists pointed to the killing as a symbol of the dangers of gun violence in Memphis, where more than 300 homicides were reported last year.

A private funeral was held for Young Dolph on Nov. 30 and a section of a street in the neighborhood where he grew up was renamed for him Dec. 15. He was honored a day later at a public celebration at FedExForum, the home of the NBA’s Memphis Grizzles and the University of Memphis men’s basketball team.

Mystery solved? Man arrested in thefts of unpublished books

NEW YORK — Authorities say they’ve solved a publishing industry whodunit with the arrest Wednesday of a man accused of numerous literary heists in recent years, allegedly impersonating others in the industry to amass a veritable library of unpublished works.

Filippo Bernardini, an Italian citizen working in publishing in London, was arrested Wednesday after arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport, said Damian Williams, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York in a statement.

Bernardini, 29, faces charges including wire fraud, which carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison, and aggravated identity theft.

For years, the publishing industry has been baffled by an international phishing scheme in which someone with apparent inside knowledge impersonated an editor or an agent — by setting up a fake email account — and attempted to trick an author or an editor into sending links to unpublished manuscripts. Works by Margaret Atwood and Ethan Hawke were among those targeted.

The ongoing scheme was all the more mysterious because whoever was seeking the manuscripts was apparently not attempting to sell them or otherwise publicly exploit having them.

“Bernardini allegedly impersonated publishing industry individuals in order to have authors, including a Pulitzer prize winner, send him prepublication manuscripts for his own benefit,” Williams said in the statement. “This real-life storyline now reads as a cautionary tale, with the plot twist of Bernardini facing federal criminal charges for his misdeeds.”

According to the indictment against Bernardini, which was filed in July but only unsealed on Wednesday, the schemes had been taking place from at least August 2016 through July of last year.

It said Bernardini “used fraudulent, look-alike, domains to impersonate individuals involved in the publishing industry to gain surreptitious access to these materials,” and that over the years he “impersonated, defrauded, and attempted to defraud, hundreds of individuals.”

Bernardini collected hundreds of unpublished works, according to the indictment.

In the indictment, Bernardini was described as working in London for a “major, international, U.S.-based publishing house.” A LinkedIn profile for a Filippo B. said he worked for Simon & Schuster.

In a statement, the publisher said it was “shocked and horrified to learn today of the allegations of fraud and identity theft by an employee of Simon & Schuster UK.”

Judge tosses lawsuit of man who was nude baby on cover

LOS ANGELES — A federal judge has dismissed the lawsuit of a 30-year-old man who alleged that the image of him nude as a 4-month-old on the 1991 cover of Nirvana’s “Nevermind” album is child pornography.

Judge Fernando M. Olguin on Monday granted a motion to dismiss the suit from the defendants, who include surviving Nirvana members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic and the estate of Kurt Cobain, but left the door open for plaintiff Spencer Elden to refile an amended version.

The dismissal came after Elden’s attorneys did not file an opposition to the defendants’ motion to dismiss by a Dec. 30 deadline. The attorneys declined comment Tuesday.

The lawsuit, filed in August in federal court in California, said that Elden had suffered “lifelong damages” as the band and others profited from the ubiquitous image of him naked underwater appearing to swim after a dollar bill on a fish hook.

The motion to dismiss filed Dec. 22 by Nirvana’s attorneys argues that the suit was filed well past the 10-year statute of limitations of one of the laws used as a cause of action, and that another law it cites wasn’t enacted until 2003 and was not retroactive.

The judge gave Elden’s attorneys until Jan. 27 to file an amended complaint that addresses the issues raised in the defendants’ motion, or the suit will be more definitively dismissed.

By The Associuated Press

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