general news correspondent
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Dec 10, 2014

Comedian Bill Cosby sued for defamation by sexual assault accuser

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Comedian Bill Cosby was sued for defamation on Wednesday in Massachusetts by a sexual assault accuser who said he branded her a liar in public statements made through his representatives denying her allegations of abuse.

The eight-page complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Springfield, Massachusetts, is believed to be the second lawsuit arising from a wave of sexual misconduct allegations against Cosby, 77, by more than a dozen women since October.

Dec 9, 2014

Investigators treat massive L.A. construction blaze as ‘criminal fire’

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A fierce blaze that destroyed a downtown Los Angeles apartment complex under construction next to a fire house and damaged three nearby buildings on Monday is being examined by arson investigators as a “criminal fire,” authorities said.

Commuter traffic into the nation’s second-largest city was snarled through the morning rush as authorities shut down a major nearby freeway because of the blaze, which fire officials said erupted overnight and took three hours to bring under control. No injuries were reported.

Dec 8, 2014

Los Angeles freeways jammed after huge construction site fire

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Fire destroyed a seven-story apartment building under construction in downtown Los Angeles and spread to a neighboring high-rise early Monday before flames were largely extinguished, forcing a major freeway shutdown through rush hour.

The blaze erupted at about 1:30 a.m. and took about three hours to bring under control, but no injuries were reported, said Katherine Main, a spokeswoman for Los Angeles City Fire Department.

Dec 3, 2014

Comedian Bill Cosby accused in lawsuit of molesting girl in 1974

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Bill Cosby was sued on Tuesday by a woman alleging he molested her in 1974 at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles when she was 15, in what is believed to be the first court case arising from a recent wave of sexual misconduct accusations against the comedian.

The five-page complaint, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, charged that Cosby sexually abused plaintiff Judy Huth by putting his hand down her pants, and then “taking her hand in his hand and performing a sex act on himself without her consent.”

Dec 2, 2014

Nazi hunter says Adolf Eichmann’s top aide presumed dead in Syria

By Steve Gorman

(Reuters) – One of the world’s most wanted war criminals, the reputed top lieutenant of Nazi mastermind Adolf Eichmann, is presumed to have died at least four years ago in Syria, where he lived under government protection, a leading Nazi hunter said on Monday.

Alois Brunner, an Austrian SS officer found responsible for the World War Two deportation of 125,500 European Jews to Nazi death camps, escaped at the war’s end from Germany to Egypt and arrived in Syria in 1954, said Efraim Zuroff, head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office.

Nov 21, 2014

AT&T to pay California $52 million in hazardous waste disposal settlement

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – AT&T Inc will pay $52 million in civil penalties and environmental compliance as part of a settlement with California over illegal dumping of hazardous waste but won’t be required to clean up the resulting contamination, state officials said on Thursday.

State officials said it marked the first enforcement action in California against a telecommunications company for mishandling of electronic waste. The settlement must still be approved by the Alameda County Superior Court, where it was filed.

Nov 15, 2014

L.A. school district claimed girl consented to sex with teacher

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The Los Angeles Unified School District has come under fire from legal experts for asserting in court that a 14-year-old girl had consented to sex with her teacher and for introducing her sexual history in response to a lawsuit brought by the student.

A number of legal scholars and attorneys specializing in sex abuse cases said the argument that the girl bore some responsibility for the affair was at odds with the minimum age of consent – 18 – established in criminal law.

Nov 12, 2014

Shipping lines, union blame each other for West Coast port backups

LOS ANGELES, Nov 11 (Reuters) – Tension over prolonged labor
talks between maritime shippers and the union representing
20,000 West Coast dockworkers has erupted in public as the two
sides blamed each other for escalating cargo congestion at the
two busiest U.S. container ports.

As of Tuesday, 14 freighters were anchored waiting for space
to enter the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, where
container cargo traffic has been backing up for about a month,
delaying deliveries of last-minute holiday merchandise, port and
retail officials said.

Nov 7, 2014

Man charged with killing California couple, young sons

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A lone suspect has been arrested and charged with four counts of murder in the slaying of a couple and their two young sons whose skeletal remains were found buried last year in the California desert, police and prosecutors said on Friday.

The accused, Charles “Chase” Merritt, was described as a business associate of the father, Joseph McStay, whose family was reported missing in February 2010 from their Southern California home, San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said.

Oct 31, 2014

Suspect identified in eight graffiti vandalism cases in National Parks

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Federal officials have publicly identified a woman suspected of graffiti vandalism in at least eight national parks across the West, including Yosemite and Death Valley in California, and credit social media for helping pinpoint the alleged culprit.

Casey Nocket of New York state has not been arrested or charged but was confirmed on Thursday as “the major suspect” in an investigation of one of the most widespread acts of serial vandalism documented in the National Park System.

    • About Steve

      "Joining Reuters in 1994 as a member of the broadcast/online desk in Washington, Steve later moved to Los Angeles, where he spent 10 years covering the entertainment industry, and the past two years as a general news correspondent. Steve began his career at United Press International in Washington. He also spent three years on Capitol Hill as editor of a weekly news journal published by a congressional caucus, the Environmental and Energy Study Conference."
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