Deputy Chief Correspondent, West & Central Africa
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Mar 15, 2015

Man charged in shooting of Ferguson, Missouri, police officers: prosecutor

FERGUSON, Missouri (Reuters) – A 20-year-old man was charged on Sunday with assault in the first degree for last week’s shooting of two police officers during a protest in the troubled city Ferguson, Missouri, a crime that was condemned by the White House.

The suspect, Jeffrey Williams, has admitted to firing the shots and was from the general St. Louis area, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch, adding, “it was not certain if he had been targeting police.”

Mar 14, 2015

City election to test Ferguson, Missouri’s faith in the ballot

FERGUSON, Missouri (Reuters) – After months of race-fueled street protests, residents of Ferguson, Missouri, will have a chance next month to press their demands in a different way: at the ballot box.

Eight candidates including four African Americans are vying for three available seats on Ferguson’s city council, promising change on a body that will be expected to introduce broad local reforms in a city shaken by the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer last August.

Mar 14, 2015

Ferguson, Missouri, activists eye open-ended protests, national demands

By Richard Valdmanis and Nick Carey

FERGUSON, Mo. (Reuters) – Inside a crumbling brick building in a poor St. Louis suburb, Montague Simmons eyes a whiteboard cluttered with ideas, working alongside his team of activists as they contemplate the next move in what they describe as the struggle for black rights in America.

    Like other protest leaders in the St. Louis area, Simmons is determined to continue the near-daily demonstrations in Ferguson that have galvanized a national debate on race since the fatal shooting in August of Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old, by a white policeman.

Mar 10, 2015

Jury in Boston Marathon bomb trial sees blood-stained note

BOSTON (Reuters) – Jurors in the trial on Tuesday of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev got to see the blood-stained message that prosecutors say he wrote on the inside of a boat he was hiding in before his violent capture, explaining his reasoning for killing innocent people.

“We Muslims are one body you hurt one you hurt us all,” the message read, citing what it said was aggression in Muslim lands. “I don’t like killing innocent people it is forbidden in Islam, but due to said (…) it is allowed,” the message read, with a word missing due to a bullet hole.

Feb 14, 2015

Venezuela’s currency devaluation set to further hurt U.S. companies’ profits

BOSTON (Reuters) – A massive effective devaluation of Venezuela’s bolivar currency will likely badly dent 2015 earnings at a swath of major U.S. companies.

    The decision, announced late on Thursday, would almost wipe out the $7.1 billion of Venezuelan monetary assets currently held on the books of 10 large American companies. At the new exchange rate of about 170 bolivars to the dollar, the value of those assets would drop by 93 percent to just $421 million, according to a Reuters analysis of regulatory filings.

Feb 14, 2015

Analysis – Venezuela’s currency devaluation set to further hurt U.S. companies’ profits

BOSTON (Reuters) – A massive effective devaluation of Venezuela’s bolivar currency will likely badly dent 2015 earnings at a swath of major U.S. companies.

The decision, announced late on Thursday, would almost wipe out the $7.1 billion (5 billion pounds) of Venezuelan monetary assets currently held on the books of 10 large American companies. At the new exchange rate of about 170 bolivars to the dollar, the value of those assets would drop by 93 percent to just $421 million, according to a Reuters analysis of regulatory filings.

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.

    • 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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