Correspondent, Milan
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May 4, 2013

Southern California wildfire 30 percent contained, weather helps

By Ian Simpson

(Reuters) – A fierce wildfire threatening 4,000 homes northwest of Los Angeles was about 30 percent contained on Saturday as higher humidity and cooler temperatures helped firefighters, fire department spokesmen said.

The fire in coastal Ventura County has blackened about 28,000 acres of rugged brush land since starting on Thursday. There is no forecast for containment and the fire was not expected to be under control until May 13, Ventura County Fire Department spokesman Tom Kruschke said.

May 2, 2013

As honey bee numbers drop, U.S. sees threat to food supply

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Honey bees, which play a key role in pollinating a wide variety of food crops, are in sharp decline in the United States, due to parasites, disease and pesticides, said a federal report released on Thursday.

Genetics and poor nutrition are also hurting the species, which help farmers produce crops worth some $20 billion to $30 billion a year.

May 2, 2013

Maryland becomes latest U.S. state to abolish death penalty

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Maryland became the 18th U.S. state to abolish the death penalty on Thursday when Governor Martin O’Malley signed a bill outlawing capital punishment in the state.

O’Malley, a Democrat mentioned as a potential presidential candidate in 2016, had pledged to sign the bill, which the Democrat-controlled legislature passed in March. The law replaces capital punishment with a sentence of life without parole.

May 2, 2013

As honey bee population dwindles, U.S. sees threat to food supply

WASHINGTON, May 2 (Reuters) – Honey bees, which play a key
role in pollinating a wide variety of food crops, are in sharp
decline in the United States, due to parasites, disease and
pesticides, said a federal report released on Thursday.

Genetics and poor nutrition are also hurting the species,
which help farmers produce crops worth some $20 billion to $30
billion a year.

May 1, 2013

Early release could help ill prisoners and U.S. prisons: Justice Department

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Compassionate release programs at overcrowded U.S. federal prisons are poorly run and lack clear standards, resulting in some eligible inmates dying before they can be freed, the Department of Justice said on Wednesday.

Few prisoners are released early on compassionate grounds. An average of 24 gravely ill prisoners were freed each year from 2006 to 2011, but another 28 died in custody during that time while waiting for the Bureau of Prisons to make a decision on their cases, the department’s inspector general said in a report.

Apr 30, 2013

Should Washington grow up? Low-rise city hires experts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The District of Columbia has begun a review of century-old rules limiting building heights that could let the low-rise U.S. capital grow upward without harming views of landmarks such as the Washington Monument and U.S. Capitol.

The city has hired consultants to conduct the review, part of a congressionally requested plan that could revise building limits that have largely banned high-rise structures, Mayor Vincent Gray said on Tuesday.

Apr 29, 2013

Holocaust survivors, their U.S. liberators meet in Washington

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Ending a three-decade quest, Debbie Long on Monday met the American “kid” soldier who freed her mother from a World War II Nazi concentration camp. She threw her arms around Eldon Ooton, now 90, and sobbed.

Long and Ooton were among the former concentration camp prisoners, their families, and the U.S. soldiers who liberated them gathered at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on Monday at what may be one of the last big gatherings of those who survived the Nazi genocide.

Apr 23, 2013

Alleged Canada plot turns focus to rail transport’s vulnerability

WASHINGTON, April 23 (Reuters) – An alleged al Qaeda-backed
plot to derail a U.S. passenger train in Canada sought to
exploit the vulnerabilities of railroads that have not gotten
much attention from the American public.

While the United States has sharply tightened security
around airlines since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, trains are
far harder to police, with masses of passengers getting on and
off and stops at many stations on a single line. Thousands of
miles (km) of track, bridges and tunnels present a major
challenge to monitor.

Apr 23, 2013

Suspect on FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list ordered detained

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A former Washington schoolteacher on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list for child pornography was ordered detained after an initial appearance in a U.S. court on Tuesday following extradition from Nicaragua, officials said.

The man, Eric Justin Toth, 31, was arrested on Saturday in Esteli, a city some 90 miles north of Managua, after almost five years on the run.

Apr 23, 2013

Fugitive on FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list faces Tuesday court date

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A former Washington schoolteacher on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list for child pornography is scheduled to appear in a U.S. court on Tuesday after being extradited from Nicaragua, officials said.

The man, Eric Justin Toth, 31, was arrested on Saturday in Esteli, a city some 90 miles north of Managua, after almost five years on the run and faces an initial appearance in Washington’s U.S. District Court.

    • About Ian

      "Ian Simpson covers Italian equities from Milan with a focus on banks. In a 30-year career, he has been based in Dallas, Kansas City, New York, Washington, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Portugal and Italy. He has reported from more than 20 countries."
      Hometown:
      Topeka, Kansas
      Joined Reuters:
      1990
      Languages:
      Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, some Dari
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