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May 2, 2013

Jury convicts two aides of New York City mayoral hopeful

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A federal jury on Thursday convicted two former fundraising associates of John Liu, a Democratic candidate for mayor of New York City, a setback in Liu’s attempt to emerge from a crowded field to succeed Michael Bloomberg as mayor later this year.

Jia Hou, the Liu campaign’s former treasurer, was found guilty of three of four counts against her; she was cleared of the fourth count. Xing Wu Pan, a fundraiser for the candidate also known as Oliver, was found guilty of both counts against him.

May 2, 2013

Jury to weigh fraud charges against NYC mayoral hopeful’s aides

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A federal jury was set to weigh fraud charges on Thursday against two former fundraising associates of John Liu, a Democratic candidate for mayor of New York City.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Jia Hou, the Liu campaign’s former treasurer, and Xing Wu Pan, a fundraiser for Liu, were part of a coordinated conspiracy by the campaign to fraudulently get money from the city’s donation-matching program, thwarted only by a federal investigation.

May 1, 2013

NYC mayoral hopeful’s aides broke finance rules: prosecutors

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Closing arguments began on Tuesday in the fraud trial of two former fundraising associates of John Liu, a Democratic candidate in New York City’s mayoral race, with prosecutors saying that he would have known the campaign routinely used illegal methods to solicit funds.

Prosecutors told the jury that Jia Hou, the campaign’s former treasurer, and Xing Wu Pan, a fundraiser for Liu, were following a “playbook” used frequently in Liu’s campaign when they recruited straw donors, who are then illegally reimbursed for their donations.

Apr 26, 2013

Investigation finds “pattern” of past abuse at New York school

NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York City investigators have uncovered a pattern of sexual abuse of children at the prestigious Horace Mann School between the 1960s and 1990s, but the complaints are now too old to prosecute under the statute of limitations, the Bronx District Attorney’s office said on Friday.

The district attorney’s office began an investigation of abuse allegations and set up a hotline last June following a New York Times Magazine article that accused some former teachers at the prep school in the Bronx of molesting and raping male students.

Apr 22, 2013

Words of Nelson Mandela take over Times Square’s billboards

By Jonathan Allen

(Reuters) – A film installation celebrating the words of Nelson Mandela, the former South African president, is taking over many of the electronic billboards of New York’s Times Square for a few minutes every night for the month of April.

The short film was commissioned by the Tribeca Film Institute, an arts organization co-founded by actor Robert De Niro. It is being played shortly before midnight across many of Times Square’s glowing screens for the rest of the month.

Apr 21, 2013

Boston bombing suspects did not have valid handgun licenses

By Jonathan Allen

(Reuters) – The two brothers suspected in the Boston Marathon bombings, who police say engaged in a gun battle with officers early Friday after a frenzied manhunt, were not licensed to own guns in the towns where they lived, authorities said on Sunday.

In the confrontation with police on the streets of a Boston suburb, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were armed with handguns, at least one rifle and several explosive devices, authorities say.

Apr 20, 2013

Flight of Boston Marathon bombing suspects ended in mayhem

By Jonathan Allen

(Reuters) – As a massive manhunt geared up for the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing on Thursday evening, the brothers wanted in the attack decided to take their chances by venturing into the streets near their home in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Before the night was out, one of the young men was dead, crushed beneath his own hijacked getaway car, while the other cowered in a boat, bleeding heavily, as police closed in.

Apr 20, 2013

Czech Republic is not Chechnya, diplomat points out

By Jonathan Allen

(Reuters) – Make no mistake: the Czech Republic is not Chechnya. That’s a distinction the Czech ambassador to the United States wants to make crystal clear after news emerged that the two suspects in Boston Marathon bombing had Chechen origins.

“The Czech Republic and Chechnya are two very different entities – the Czech Republic is a Central European country; Chechnya is a part of the Russian Federation,” Petr Gandalovič, the Czech ambassador, wrote on the embassy’s website on Friday.

Apr 16, 2013

Trial starts for former aides to New York mayoral hopeful Liu

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Opening arguments began on Tuesday in the conspiracy trial of two former fundraising associates of John Liu, New York City’s comptroller and a Democratic contender in this year’s mayoral election.

Jia Hou, the former treasurer for Liu’s campaign, and Xing Wu Pan are charged with breaking campaign financing laws by helping donors to Liu’s 2013 mayoral election campaign fund circumvent individual donation limits through so-called straw donors, who are illegally reimbursed for their donations. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Apr 10, 2013

Producers, ousted director of Broadway’s “Spiderman” settle dispute

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The producers of Broadway’s “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” have reached a settlement with Julie Taymor, the musical’s ousted director and co-author, in a copyright dispute stemming from the show’s troubled debut, the parties said on Wednesday.

The terms of the settlement in the long-running dispute were not made public, according to spokesmen for Taymor and the producers.