Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Morning Brief: NBC reporter Richard Engel and crew released by kidnappers in Syria; Google updates its Blogger app, adding iPhone 5 support

An NBC reporter, Richard Engel, and his crew were released today by kidnappers in Syria, after five days in captivity. The crew spoke to reporters in Turkey today about their ordeal.

The journalists were taken by masked gunmen after they had crossed into Syria from Turkey last week Thursday. Word leaked out that the men were missing, with stories on Gawker and The Atlantic websites appearing yesterday. Yesterday afternoon, however, The Atlantic pulled its story about the missing NBC reporter, possibly as a result of efforts by NBC to maintain an embargo on the story.

While captured the team were subjected to "a lot of psychological torture", according to Engel, as the kidnappers threatened to kill the captured one at a time.

Engel reported that the kidnappers claimed to be Shia who were loyal to the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad who kidnapped the crew in hopes of exchanging them for two Iranian agents and Lebanese held by the rebels.

Google updated its universal iOS app for Blogger, bringing the app up to version

The update brings iPhone 5 support to the blogging platform app, and now updates the save post options.

The update also now brings Google Analytics access to the app so that solo bloggers can get access to website statistics on the go.

The app is, as mentioned, universal, so is often the choice of bloggers on the iPad, though another blogging tool, Blogsy is also popular with bloggers as it supports multiple platforms.