Deputy Chief Correspondent, West & Central Africa
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Oct 27, 2015

Americans to see lowest heating bills in years due to fuel glut

BOSTON, Oct 27 (Reuters) – After shelling out about $1,000 a
month to heat his 190-year-old Massachusetts bed and breakfast
during a harsh winter last year, Brian Weinrich is hoping for
some relief this season. By all accounts, he should get it.

Americans are likely to see their lowest heating bills in
years thanks to a glut in the domestic fuel supply and
predictions of milder winter weather, forecasters and regional
fuel dealers say, a welcome outlook after record snowfalls and
repeated price spikes over the past two seasons.

Oct 20, 2015

Corrected: Insight – As Pope visit nears, U.S. Catholic Church faces financial strain

BOSTON (Reuters) – When Pope Francis makes his first visit to the United States this month he will face a national Catholic Church whose finances are staggering under a shrinking membership and huge payouts to sex-abuse victims, threatening to undermine its social influence.

With the Church still absorbing the roughly $3 billion cost of a clergy sex abuse scandal, another financial crisis is looming — a potentially crippling shortfall in funding the pensions of its ageing priests.

Oct 20, 2015

As Pope visit nears, U.S. Catholic Church faces financial strain

BOSTON, Sept 8 (Reuters) – When Pope Francis makes his first
visit to the United States this month he will face a national
Catholic Church whose finances are staggering under a shrinking
membership and huge payouts to sex-abuse victims, threatening to
undermine its social influence.

With the Church still absorbing the roughly $3 billion cost
of a clergy sex abuse scandal, another financial crisis is
looming — a potentially crippling shortfall in funding the
pensions of its ageing priests.

Oct 20, 2015

Fracking can cause nearby abandoned wells to leak methane – study

By Richard Valdmanis

(Reuters) – Hydraulic fracturing can cause nearby abandoned
oil wells to leak methane, according to a study published on
Tuesday in the peer-reviewed Water Resources Research journal,
marking a potentially large source of unrecorded greenhouse gas
emissions.

Researchers at the University of Vermont examined a part of
New York state overlying the Marcellus shale gas reservoir to
determine the chances that a newly fracked well there would
intersect one of the state’s thousands of existing wellbores.

Sep 23, 2015

LPL settles with U.S. regulators over alleged sales violations

By Richard Valdmanis

(Reuters) – U.S. state securities regulators said on
Wednesday they settled with LPL Financial over
allegations the Boston-based brokerage firm violated sales rules
and failed to implement an adequate oversight system.

Boston-based LPL agreed to remediate losses for all
non-traded REITS sold by the firm from Jan. 1, 2008 through Dec.
31, 2013 in violation of “prospectus standards, state
concentration limits or LPL’s own guidelines,” the North
American Securities Administrators Association said in a press
release.

Sep 22, 2015

Harvard endowment grows 5.8 percent to record $37.6 billion

BOSTON (Reuters) – Harvard University’s endowment posted a 5.8 percent return in fiscal year 2015 to hit a record $37.6 billion, the elite school’s in-house fund management company said.

The returns for the 12 months ended June 30 were driven by outsized profits in stocks, venture capital investments in technology and biotech, and real estate holdings, Harvard Management Company said in a letter to alumni published on its website on Tuesday.

Sep 22, 2015

Harvard endowment grows 5.8 pct to record $37.6 bln

BOSTON, Sept 22 (Reuters) – Harvard University’s endowment
posted a 5.8 percent return in fiscal year 2015 to hit a record
$37.6 billion, the elite school’s in-house fund management
company said.

The returns for the 12 months ended June 30 were driven by
outsized profits in stocks, venture capital investments in
technology and biotech, and real estate holdings, Harvard
Management Company said in a letter to alumni published on its
website on Tuesday.

Sep 22, 2015

Girlfriend of Boston mobster ‘Whitey’ Bulger indicted for contempt

BOSTON (Reuters) – The girlfriend of convicted Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger was indicted on Tuesday for contempt of court for refusing to testify about the couple’s time in hiding, the Massachusetts District Attorney’s office said.

Catherine Greig, 64, had been ordered by the U.S. District Court in Boston last year to answer questions before a grand jury about people who helped Bulger while he lived on the lam for 16 years to avoid arrest.

Sep 22, 2015

Exclusive: In clash with pope’s climate call, U.S. Church leases drilling rights

BOSTON (Reuters) – Casting the fight against climate change as an urgent moral duty, Pope Francis in June urged the world to phase out highly-polluting fossil fuels.

Yet in the heart of U.S. oil country several dioceses and other Catholic institutions are leasing out drilling rights to oil and gas companies to bolster their finances, Reuters has found.

Sep 17, 2015

Studies on kissing, the word ‘huh?’ among Ig Nobel award winners

BOSTON (Reuters) – Researchers who studied the consequences of intense kissing, the global use of the word “huh?” and how badly bee stings hurt on different parts of the body were among the winners of this year’s Ig Nobel prizes for comical scientific achievements.

The annual prizes, meant to entertain and encourage global research and innovation, are awarded by the Annals of Improbable Research as a whimsical counterpart to the Nobel Prizes, which will be announced next month.

    • 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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