Reuters US Domestic News Summary
Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.
Winds whip up wildfires, forcing mass evacuations in California
Hot, dry Santa Ana winds are expected to fan several relentless wildfires in southern California on Thursday, where hundreds of houses have burned and tens of thousands have fled their homes around Los Angeles, the second-largest U.S. city. The winds, which blow westward from the California desert, were forecast to reach 75 mph (130 kph) on Thursday. That could stoke several blazes burning in the Los Angeles area that have already caused, according to local media, about 200,000 people to evacuate.
Gold trader Zarrab says he was threatened in jail for cooperating with U.S.
A Turkish-Iranian gold trader testifying for U.S. prosecutors in a criminal trial involving sanctions against Iran said on Thursday that he was removed from a New York federal jail after another inmate threatened to kill him for cooperating with authorities. "He said that he had received instructions to kill because I was cooperating," the trader Reza Zarrab told jurors in a Manhattan courtroom. He did not identify the person or say when the threat was made. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Exclusive: U.N. watchdogs call for probe of Taser assaults in U.S. jails
The U.N. special rapporteur on torture urged U.S. authorities to investigate and weigh criminal charges against jail officials in Ohio, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Arkansas for the “clearly gratuitous infliction of severe pain and suffering” from the use of Tasers on inmates, citing a Reuters report this week. After reviewing footage of jail incidents obtained by Reuters, Nils Melzer said the “grave abuse” from Taser use in some U.S. jails violated the United Nations’ prohibition on cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment and, in some cases, amounted to torture. He cited video footage Reuters published of 22 incidents in four jails: in Franklin County, Ohio; Cheatham County, Tennessee; Franklin County, Arkansas; and McCurtain County, Oklahoma.
U.S. to deport Ohio man charged with hiding role in Bosnian massacre
An Ohio man accused of serving with a paramilitary police unit that participated in the 1995 Serbian massacre of 8,000 Muslim Bosnians will be deported under a plea deal reached Thursday in federal court. The U.S. government last year accused Oliver Dragic, of Akron, Ohio, of failing to disclose that he served in a special unit in Bosnia and fraudulently gaining entry to the United States as a refugee in 1998, claiming to be a victim of the war.
Connecticut infrastructure funding in question: state report
Connecticut's infrastructure projects are in jeopardy after revenue that helps pay off the state's transportation debt has decreased and additional funding sources have not yet been identified, according to a report released on Thursday. Revenue that supports the state's Special Transportation Fund (STF), a debt-servicing entity, has declined in the past few years, with the fund projected to operate at a deficit by fiscal 2020, said the report by the state's Office of Policy and Management and the Department of Transportation.
Hall of Fame NFL quarterback Warren Moon denies harassment claim
Professional football Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon denied accusations of sexual harassment by a woman who was an executive assistant to the former National Football League player at the sports marketing firm he co-founded. According to the lawsuit filed Monday in Superior Court in Orange County, California, Moon required Wendy Haskell to share his bed during business trips, wear lingerie and made unwanted sexual advances while she worked as his executive assistant at Sports 1 Marketing.
Ex-South Carolina cop gets 20 years in prison for black motorist's death
The white former policeman caught on video shooting an unarmed black man in the back after a 2015 traffic stop in South Carolina was sentenced on Thursday to 20 years in prison, with a federal judge ruling that the killing amounted to murder. The decision came a year after Michael Slager's state murder trial for the death of 50-year-old Walter Scott ended with a deadlocked jury. Slager, 36, is one of the few police officers in recent years in the United States to receive prison time for an on-duty shooting.
U.S. gymnastics team doctor sentenced to 60 years for child pornography
A federal judge on Thursday sentenced Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics team doctor accused of sexually assaulting gymnasts, to 60 years in prison on federal child pornography charges that grew out of a sex abuse investigation. U.S. District Judge Janet Neff in Grand Rapids, Michigan handed down the sentence sought by prosecutors, who said there was a link between Nassar's child pornography and his "prolific molestation of children," according to court documents.
EPA chief says public climate debate may be launched in January
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency could launch a public debate about climate change as soon as January, Administrator Scott Pruitt said on Thursday, as the agency unwinds Obama-era initiatives to fight global warming. The agency had been working over the past several months to set up a "red team, blue team" debate on the science relating to man-made climate change to give the public a "real-time review of questions and answers around this issue of CO2," Pruitt said.
Gunman, two students dead after New Mexico high school shooting
A suspected shooter opened fire at a high school in New Mexico on Thursday, killing two students before being killed, according to police and officials from the nearby Navajo Nation. Few other details were immediately available about the incident at Aztec High School in the city of Aztec, about 200 miles (322 km) northwest of Santa Fe, including whether the shooter was a student or if the shooter was killed by police.
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