Deputy Chief Correspondent, West & Central Africa
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Jul 8, 2013

Police struggle to probe Quebec blast; cause still a mystery

LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec, July 8 (Reuters) – Canadian police on
Monday struggled to find the remains of people killed when a
driverless crude oil train derailed and blew up in a small
Quebec town over the weekend as questions grew over how the
disaster had occurred.

The five locomotives and 72 oil cars had been parked about
eight miles from Lac-Megantic on Friday night. The brakes then
somehow released and the train gathered pace as it rolled down a
hill into the center of the town early on Saturday morning.

Jul 7, 2013

Runaway train devastates small town in Quebec

LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec (Reuters) – The only warning Lac-Megantic residents had of the coming disaster was the louder-than-usual rumble of a train – a runaway locomotive laden with crude oil that would jump the tracks, explode and burn down the center of town.

“I heard a rattle, louder than usual, so I went out on the balcony and I saw the train going at extremely high speed,” said Ghislain Bisson, 52, who was watching late-night television as the train approached. “Then, I saw it. It just left the track and headed right for the building.

Jul 7, 2013

Five die, 40 missing after Canadian freight train disaster

LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec, July 7 (Reuters) – At least five
people died and 40 were missing on Sunday after a runaway train
carrying crude oil derailed and exploded in the center of a
small Canadian town in a disaster that raised fresh questions
about shipping oil by rail.

The train was hauling crude in 72 tanker cars from North
Dakota to eastern Canada. It was parked, without a driver, but
then it rolled downhill, gathered speed and derailed on a curve
in the small town of Lac-Megantic at 1 a.m. (0500 GMT) on
Saturday.

Jul 7, 2013

Canadian freight train blast death toll hits three, set to rise

LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec (Reuters) – Canadian police on Sunday raised the death toll from a massive explosion involving a runaway freight train to three and said they expected to find more bodies in the wreckage of a small Quebec town.

The train, which had been hauling crude oil from North Dakota to eastern Canada, derailed and blew up early on Saturday in Lac-Megantic, a town of 6,000 on the edge of a deep blue lake and ringed by forests of pine and birch. There was no driver on board.

Jul 2, 2013

Cities beef up security for Independence Day

BOSTON (Reuters) – Security will be tighter than ever in several U.S. cities during Independence Day celebrations this week, which will see some of the largest public gatherings in the country since the deadly Boston Marathon bombings in April.

Security officials said they would deploy record numbers of police and install scores of new surveillance cameras and checkpoints around fireworks displays, concerts and other Fourth of July events in Boston, New York, Washington and Atlanta.

Jul 1, 2013

Ex-FBI agent returns to testify at trial of Boston gangster

BOSTON (Reuters) – Jurors in the trial of accused Boston mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger on Monday will hear more testimony from a former FBI agent that could shed further light into the bureau’s shady dealings with suspected gangsters during the 1970s and ‘80s.

Former agent John Morris, who was offered immunity from prosecution in 1997 in exchange for his testimony in hearings about FBI misconduct, has admitted to taking cash from known mobsters like Bulger, making them home-cooked meals, and tipping them off to FBI investigations to protect them.

Jun 28, 2013

Third man held in ex-NFL player Hernandez murder case

BOSTON (Reuters) – A man wanted by Massachusetts in connection with a murder case against former professional football player Aaron Hernandez has surrendered in Miramar, Florida, police said on Friday.

Ernest Wallace, who is suspected of being an “accessory after the fact” in the killing of Odin Lloyd, 27, a semi-pro football player, turned himself in to police in Miramar, Florida, a local police official said.

Jun 28, 2013

Ex-FBI agent says ‘Whitey’ Bulger files contain lies

BOSTON (Reuters) – Retired FBI agent John Morris testified at the trial of accused mobster James “Whitey” Bulger on Friday that he signed off on several FBI reports relating to Bulger that he knew were inaccurate or misleading.

The testimony from a man who has admitted taking cash from gangsters and tipping them off on investigations comes as Bulger’s lawyers seek to discredit FBI evidence against their client, who is accused of murder and racketeering as head of Boston’s Winter Hill Gang.

Jun 28, 2013

Line between ‘cops and robbers’ blurs in Bulger trial

BOSTON (Reuters) – Some of accused mobster James “Whitey” Bulger’s closest allies should have been his biggest enemies – the FBI agents who cooked him dinner and tipped him off about investigations into his Winter Hill crime gang in the 1970s and 1980s.

Jurors in Bulger’s murder and racketeering trial will get a second day of testimony on Friday from former FBI supervisor John Morris, who has described a cozy relationship among he, another corrupt agent and the gangsters they were meant to be keeping off the streets.

Jun 27, 2013

Second man held in murder case against ex-NFL player Hernandez

BOSTON (Reuters) – A murder investigation into former National Football League player Aaron Hernandez broadened on Thursday with the arrest of a second man and authorities were also looking into the possible involvement of the onetime star tight end in a double homicide last year.

Boston police were investigating links between Hernandez and an unsolved shooting in July 2012, the Boston Globe reported, citing two unidentified law enforcement sources.

    • 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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