Deputy Chief Correspondent, West & Central Africa
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Jun 19, 2013

‘The Executioner’ under microscope in trial of accused U.S. mobster Bulger

BOSTON (Reuters) – Attorneys for accused mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger will seek on Wednesday to paint star witness John “The Executioner” Martorano as a heartless killer whose testimony cannot be trusted in the trial of one of Boston’s most feared men.

Martorano, a former altar boy who has confessed to 20 murders, has spent two days on the stand for federal prosecutors describing chilling executions he said were either ordered or conducted by Bulger, head of the ruthless Winter Hill Gang during the 1970s and 1980s.

Jun 18, 2013

Convicted killer testifies ‘Whitey’ Bulger shot Boston bar owner

BOSTON (Reuters) – Accused Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger and one of his associates shot dead a bar owner in a phone booth for bragging about helping the “Winter Hill Gang” with another killing, an ex-convict and confessed murderer testified on Tuesday.

John Martorano, who previously described Bulger as a “partner in crime,” is the first of the accused mob gang leader’s top associates to take the stand in what is expected to be a three- to four-month trial in U.S. District Court in Boston.

Jun 17, 2013

Nearly 250 apply for Boston bomb charity money

BOSTON (Reuters) – Nearly 250 people have applied to receive money from a $51 million charity fund set up for victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, the fund’s deputy administrator said on Monday.

Twin explosions at the finish line of the world-renowned race on April 15 killed three people and injured 264 others, many of whom lost legs in the blasts.

Jun 7, 2013

Massachusetts teen accused of Facebook terror post freed

BOSTON (Reuters) – A Massachusetts teenager jailed a month ago for a Facebook post that suggested he could do worse than the Boston Marathon bombers was released, a court official said on Friday, after a grand jury refused to indict him.

Cameron D’Ambrosio was arrested on May 1 and accused of “communicating a terrorist threat.” The 18-year-old aspiring rapper from Methuen, 30 miles north of Boston, posted lyrics online that included the words “a boston bombing wait till u see the shit I do.”

Jun 6, 2013

Democrat Markey in Massachusetts Senate debate

By Richard Valdmanis

(Reuters) – Democratic congressman Ed Markey, who has a strong lead in the polls over Republican rival Gabriel Gomez in the race for Massachusetts’ open seat in the Senate, rebuffed criticism and embraced his liberal base in a debate against his opponent on Wednesday.

The Massachusetts seat is one of two at play in the U.S. Senate, where Democrats now have a majority of 54 seats, including two independents who caucus with the Democrats. Republicans hold 45 seats.

Jun 3, 2013

Honeybee food may contribute to U.S. colony collapse – study

BOSTON (Reuters) – Bee keepers’ use of corn syrup and other honey substitutes as bee feed may be contributing to colony collapse by depriving the insects of compounds that strengthen their immune systems, according to a study released on Monday.

U.S. bee keepers lost nearly a third of their colonies last winter as part of an ongoing and largely unexplained decline in the population of the crop-pollinating insects that could hurt the U.S. food supply.

Jun 3, 2013

Boston fire chief resigns under fire over bomb response

BOSTON (Reuters) – Boston Fire Chief Steve Abraira resigned on Monday, citing public criticism from his deputies over his response to the deadly Boston Marathon bombings.

Abraira’s deputies complained in a letter to the mayor that their chief had failed to assume command when he reached the scene at the race’s finish line on April 15, where twin pressure-cooker bombs had exploded in a crowd of thousands. Three people were killed and 264 others injured.

May 31, 2013

Boston rockers play fundraiser for bomb victims

BOSTON (Reuters) – A succession of all-star bands from Aerosmith to Jimmy Buffet rocked a packed house at Boston’s TD Garden on Thursday night in a mostly raucous fund-raiser for the victims of last month’s marathon bombing.

Tickets priced between $35 and $285 sold out fast at the 17,500-seat venue, with net proceeds to be donated to The One Fund, a reserve established by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick that has so far received more than $37 million in donations to compensate victims of the April 15 bombing.

May 24, 2013

Bail denied to Massachusetts teen accused of Facebook terror post

BOSTON (Reuters) – A judge denied bail on Friday to a Massachusetts teenager who was arrested on terrorism charges after posting lyrics on his Facebook page suggesting he could do worse than the Boston Marathon bombers.

Cameron D’Ambrosio, an 18-year-old aspiring rapper from Methuen, about 30 miles north of Boston, was arrested on May 1 after he posted a note on his Facebook page that included the words “a boston bombinb wait till u see the shit I do.”

May 1, 2013

Exclusive: Resource deals audit overshadows Liberia anti-graft push

DAKAR (Reuters) – Almost all the $8 billion worth of resource contracts signed by Liberia since 2009 have violated its laws, according to a draft audit report commissioned by the government, casting doubt on anti-graft and good governance efforts under President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Sirleaf, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, has said the billions of dollars in foreign investment she has drawn since becoming Africa’s first freely-elected female president in 2006 should help ordinary Liberians to climb out of poverty.

    • 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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