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May 23, 2013

Police rescue New York man, held captive for a month in warehouse

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Police rescued a businessman from a New York City warehouse where he had been held captive for a month by kidnappers who demanded a $3 million ransom from his family in Ecuador, authorities said.

Acting on a tip from the victim’s mother, police found Pedro Portugal, 52, in the warehouse with his hands bound in cloth and duct tape. He had been abducted in the borough of Queens on April 18 by a man who approached him, flashing what looked like a police badge, prosecutors said.

May 21, 2013

New York City seeing spike in anti-gay crime, officials say

NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York City is seeing a spike in anti-gay attacks, with two assaults coming within days of the fatal shooting of a gay man over the weekend, the city’s police commissioner said on Tuesday.

Two men in their early 40s were attacked on a street in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood early on Tuesday morning by two men who shouted anti-gay slurs in Spanish and English and left one victim with a minor eye injury, police said.

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.