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May 14, 2013

New York woman charged with Newtown fundraising scam

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A Bronx grand jury indicted a New York woman on Tuesday on suspicion of posing as the aunt of one of the 20 children killed in last year’s shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in order to fraudulently solicit donations.

Nouel Alba, 37, is accused of setting up a Facebook page shortly after the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, in which she falsely claimed to be an aunt of 6-year-old Noah Pozner, according to the Bronx district attorney.

May 10, 2013

U.S. returning trove of smuggled dinosaur fossils to Mongolia

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The United States will return to Mongolia more than a dozen illegally smuggled dinosaur skeletons, including two Tyrannosaurus bataars that are 70 million years old and at least six fossilized Oviraptors, U.S. officials said on Friday.

The announcement followed the handover to Mongolian officials on Monday of another T. bataar skeleton, which had been sold at auction in New York for more than $1 million before it was seized by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

May 8, 2013

New York college cancels workshop with designer John Galliano

NEW YORK, May 8 (Reuters) – Controversial fashion designer
John Galliano, who was fired by Christian Dior over his
anti-Semitic tirades, lost another job after Parsons The New
School for Design canceled his workshop because he refused to
have a “candid conversation” with students about his career.

Last month, the college booked the shamed British designer,
once one of the most revered talents in the fashion world, to
teach a workshop called “Show Me Emotion.” His hiring drew
complaints from some students who said the school should not
employ someone convicted of a hate crime.

May 6, 2013

With transit hub, New York’s World Trade Center taking shape

NEW YORK (Reuters) – With the blast of an airhorn, ironworkers on Monday began bolting into place the first of 610 steel pieces of the soaring wing-like arches of the World Trade Center’s new transportation hub.

Not due to open until 2015, the 800,000-square-foot (74,322-square-meter) transit hub will eventually link numerous New York City subway lines with commuter trains and ferry services to neighboring New Jersey.

May 4, 2013

Chinese dissident urges U.S. to ensure family’s fair treatment

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng called on the United States on Friday to ensure his family in China would be treated fairly, saying his imprisoned nephew was not receiving proper medical care from Chinese authorities, whom he accused of “hooligan tactics.”

Chen, who made international headlines last year when he escaped house arrest and spent 20 hours on the run before finding refuge at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, said his nephew was suffering from appendicitis and being treated only by a fellow inmate who had received some medical training.

May 2, 2013

Togo man pleads guilty in New York after Taliban drug sting

NEW YORK (Reuters) – One of seven men arrested in a sting operation for allegedly selling drugs to people they believed were Taliban militants pleaded guilty on Thursday to conspiring to smuggle cocaine into the United States.

Francis Sourou Ahissou, a 48-year-old citizen of Togo in West Africa, entered a guilty plea in Manhattan federal court as part of a plea deal with the government.

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.