Deputy Chief Correspondent, West & Central Africa
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May 6, 2015

Boston bomber ‘would always go along’ with older brother, friend says

BOSTON (Reuters) – A longtime friend of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s family on Wednesday told jurors deciding his sentence that he was a studious youth and adored his older brother, who cultivated a deep interest in Islam, politics and conspiracy theories before the 2013 attack.

Attorneys for Tsarnaev are seeking to spare his life by painting him as a normal teen who went astray when he followed his older, domineering brother Tamerlan in carrying out the attack on the world-renowned race.

May 1, 2015

Baltimore prosecutor learned life’s lessons in Boston ‘police house’

BOSTON (Reuters) – In a gritty Boston neighborhood not long ago, where people were poor and crime was a problem, there was one three-story shingled residence widely known as “the police house,” or the “House of Po’” for short.

It was also where Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore’s 35-year-old African-American chief prosecutor, grew up as the daughter, granddaughter and niece of police officers.

Apr 28, 2015

Boston bomber’s lawyers focus on brother’s obsession with Islam

BOSTON (Reuters) – The older brother of convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was transformed from a heavy drinker and drugs user into someone obsessed with Islam after returning from a trip to Russia in 2012, witnesses said on Tuesday.

The testimony comes as lawyers for Tsarnaev build their argument for a federal jury that he was a pawn in his now-dead brother’s scheme to bomb the world-renowned race on April 15, 2013, and should be sentenced to life in prison, not death.

Apr 22, 2015

Exclusive: Gatekeeper of Canada’s Energy East pipeline has mixed environmental record

By Richard Valdmanis and Dave Sherwood

(Reuters) – A company pivotal to Canada’s most ambitious oil pipeline project has a mixed environmental record of spills and regulatory warnings, according to government documents reviewed by Reuters, a finding likely to bolster activist opposition to the proposal.

Family-owned Irving Oil, poised to build and operate the sole Atlantic export terminal for TransCanada’s Energy East oil sands pipeline from Alberta, has logged at least 19 accidents classified by regulators as “environmental emergencies” at its existing facilities in eastern Canada since 2012, including three that drew warnings for delayed reporting.

Apr 22, 2015

Gatekeeper of Canada’s Energy East pipeline has mixed environmental record

April 22 (Reuters) – A company pivotal to Canada’s most
ambitious oil pipeline project has a mixed environmental record
of spills and regulatory warnings, according to government
documents reviewed by Reuters, a finding likely to bolster
activist opposition to the proposal.

Family-owned Irving Oil, poised to build and operate the
sole Atlantic export terminal for TransCanada’s Energy
East oil sands pipeline from Alberta, has logged at least 19
accidents classified by regulators as “environmental
emergencies” at its existing facilities in eastern Canada since
2012, including three that drew warnings for delayed reporting.

Apr 21, 2015

African marathoners top at Boston two years after bombing

BOSTON (Reuters) – Ethiopian runner Lelisa Desisa finished first in the Boston Marathon on Monday, reclaiming the top spot in a race he last won two years ago when it was struck by a deadly bombing attack.

Caroline Rotich of Kenya led the women’s field, affirming African athletes’ dominance at the race.

Apr 20, 2015

Ethiopia’s Desisa, Kenya’s Rotich winners at Boston Marathon

BOSTON (Reuters) – Ethiopian runner Lelisa Desisa and Kenya’s Caroline Rotich were the top male and female finishers at Monday’s Boston Marathon, two years after the race was struck by a deadly bombing attack.

Desisa, who famously gave his winner’s medal to the city following the 2013 attack, pulled ahead of all rivals to sprint down Boylston Street alone, finishing with a time of 2 hours, 9 minutes and 17 seconds.

Apr 20, 2015

High security, cold weather greet Boston Marathon runners

BOSTON (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of runners, including some of the world’s best, crowded into Boston on a cold, lightly rainy Monday for the 119th running of the Boston Marathon.

Security was high near the start line in Hopkinton, along the 26.2 mile (42.16 km) course and around the finish line in Boston, in recognition of the bombing of the 2013 race, which killed three people and injured 264 in the one of the most visible attacks on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001.

Apr 8, 2015

Relief in Boston as Tsarnaev convicted on all counts

BOSTON (Reuters) – Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s conviction on Wednesday came as a relief to residents of the city, though many expressed mixed feelings over whether the 21-year-old should be put to death for his crimes.

Tsarnaev was found guilty in federal court of killing three people and injuring 264 others by detonating twin bombs at the finish line of the world-famous race in 2013. It was the worst attack on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001. The jury will now decide whether Tsarnaev should be executed.

Apr 3, 2015

Boko Haram, ‘Islam’s worst enemy,’ will be beaten: Niger president

By Richard Valdmanis

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Reuters) – Militant group Boko Haram is “the worst enemy of Islam” and will be defeated because West African Muslims reject its violent actions and harsh interpretation of the Koran, Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou said on Friday.

“There is nothing Islamic about Boko Haram,” Issoufou told students and faculty at the Harvard Institute of Politics John F. Kennedy Forum in Cambridge, Massachusetts, during a trip to the United States.

    • 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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