Deputy Chief Correspondent, West & Central Africa
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Jan 22, 2015

Into thin air: Boston pipes leak $90 million in fuel yearly – study

BOSTON (Reuters) – Boston’s aging pipeline network leaks about $90 million worth of natural gas each year, marking a sizeable financial loss and a threat to the environment, according to a study released on Thursday by Harvard researchers.

The findings come as state energy officials struggle with a regional infrastructure shortfall that has left Massachusetts tight on winter heating fuel supplies during harsh cold snaps over the past three years.

Jan 22, 2015

Death by chocolate: a problem for bears in New Hampshire

BOSTON (Reuters) – New Hampshire wildlife officials are drawing up a proposal to curb the use of chocolate as bait by hunters seeking to draw black bears out of the woods after four of the wild animals were found dead at a trapping site from an overdose of the treat.

Bears find sweets irresistible during the autumn hunting season and eat voraciously to build fat stores for winter hibernation, said Kent Gustafson, the Wildlife Program Supervisor for the state’s fish and game department.

Jan 22, 2015

Harvard buys up water rights in drought-hit wine country

BOSTON, Jan 22 (Reuters) – Harvard University has quietly
become one of the biggest grape growers in California’s
drought-stricken Paso Robles wine region, securing water well
drilling permits to feed its vineyards days before lawmakers
banned new pumping, according to records reviewed by Reuters.

The investment, which began as a bet on the grape market,
has turned into a smart water play as the wells boosted the
value of its land in the up-and-coming wine region of Paso
Robles. But it has also raised questions about the role of big
investors in agriculture in the midst of a water crisis.

Jan 8, 2015

Massachusetts court mulls case reviews after crime lab scandal

BOSTON (Reuters) – Civil rights lawyers on Thursday asked Massachusetts’ top court for measures that would help thousands of people overturn drug convictions based on evidence tainted by a rogue crime lab scientist, in a case that could have national implications.

The American Civil Liberties Union told Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court justices that a huge number of defendants have not yet been notified they can challenge their convictions in the wake of one of the country’s biggest crime lab scandals, and that those who do may be afraid to act.

Jan 8, 2015

Massachusetts court to consider case reviews after crime lab scandal

BOSTON (Reuters) – Massachusetts’ top court will consider
arguments Thursday on how to handle tens of thousands of drug
convictions that were potentially tainted by a rogue crime lab
scientist, in a case that could have national implications.

The American Civil Liberties Union and law firm Foley Hoag
will argue at the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court for
measures to speed up reviews of the cases, and limit the powers
of prosecutors to oppose them.

Dec 30, 2014

Harvard Law to overhaul sexual harassment policy after U.S. violations

BOSTON (Reuters) – Harvard Law School has agreed to overhaul the way it handles sexual harassment complaints among its students after a long-running federal investigation found it was violating U.S. law, officials said on Tuesday.

The deal with the elite school comes as part of a broader U.S. review of how colleges and universities that receive public funding handle allegations of sexual crime on campus, following a slew of high-profile cases.

Dec 17, 2014

Fourteen charged in deadly 2012 U.S. meningitis outbreak -prosecutors

BOSTON (Reuters) – Fourteen owners and employees of a
Massachusetts pharmacy company were arrested on Wednesday in
connection with America’s deadliest fungal meningitis outbreak,
which killed 64 people in 2012, federal prosecutors said.

Those arrested include Barry Cadden and Gregory Conigliaro,
co-founders of the now-bankrupt New England Compounding Center
(NECC) in Framingham, according to the complaint.

Dec 8, 2014

Abandoned U.S. oil wells still spewing methane, study finds

BOSTON (Reuters) – Some of the millions of abandoned oil and natural gas wells in the United States are still spewing methane, marking a potentially large source of unrecorded greenhouse gas emissions, according to a study released on Monday.

Researchers at Princeton University measured emissions from dozens of abandoned wells in Pennsylvania in 2013 and 2014 and found they were emitting an average of 0.27 kg (0.6 lbs) of methane per day, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Dec 4, 2014

Hillary Clinton backs federal probes of Ferguson, Staten Island cases

BOSTON (Reuters) – Potential Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton said on Thursday she was pleased the U.S. Department of Justice was investigating the recent deaths of unarmed black men in incidents with police.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said on Wednesday the Department of Justice would launch a civil rights investigation into the chokehold death of Eric Garner in the New York City borough of Staten Island in July.

Nov 20, 2014

Exclusive – Irving downplays air quality problems at Canada oil-rail terminal

BOSTON (Reuters) – Irving Oil has told regulators that recent air quality testing it commissioned around its oil-by-rail terminal in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada’s largest such facility, shows no cause for public health concern.

Irving commissioned the study after it was flooded with complaints from residents of the eastern province’s most populous city last winter about powerful smells wafting towards downtown when trains unloaded their cargoes.

    • About Richard

      "Richard is based in Reuters' Dakar bureau where he has helped lead coverage of two dozen countries in West and Central Africa since September 2009. He previously ran Reuters' energy coverage in the Americas as a senior editor based in New York."
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