Railway firm to lose license
The transportation agency said on Tuesday it would suspend the operating license of the US-based rail company whose runaway oil train derailed and exploded in a Quebec town, killing 47 people. The agency said it planned to take away the certificate of fitness for the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway and its Canadian subsidiary, effective Tuesday next week. The transportation agency said it was not satisfied that the troubled company, which has filed for bankruptcy since the July 6 disaster, has demonstrated that its third-party liability insurance is adequate for ongoing operations. The parked train, with 72 tankers of crude oil, was unattended when it began rolling and derailed in the center of Lac-Megantic. Several tankers exploded, destroying 40 buildings. The company has blamed the train’s operator for failing to set enough hand brakes. The agency said the disaster has raised questions about the growing use of rail transport for oil, including important ones regarding the adequacy of third-party liability insurance coverage to deal with catastrophic events,.
Hiccup in soldier’s trial
Lawyers for the US soldier convicted of killing 16 Afghan civilians during nighttime raids last year asked a judge in Washington on Tuesday to remove the prosecution team from the case before his sentencing next week, after at least one prosecutor read compelled statements the soldier gave to army doctors. Emma Scanlan, a civilian attorney for Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, said during a hearing on Tuesday the prosecutors were accidentally given a copy of compelled statements Bales made to army psychiatrists — and at least one read it, even though he should have known better. “The only remedy that makes any sense is to disqualify the government trial members who read it,” she said. However, substitute army lawyers arguing on behalf of the prosecutors said that remedy would be too drastic. Instead, they suggested a series of measures designed to ensure the government does not use the statements in any way during the sentencing.
Surgeon steals heroin
Police say they have arrested a surgeon who stole some of the heroin he had been called on to extract from the stomach of a suspected drug mule. Police in the Siberian region of Krasnoyarsk say that after investigators discovered that some of the drugs were missing, they searched the surgeon and found a packet containing 5g of heroin hidden in his clothing. The surgeon, who was not identified, was under the influence of narcotics when he was apprehended, the police statement issued on Tuesday said. If convicted of stealing the heroin, the doctor faces up to 15 years in prison.
Chris Brown sued for assault
A man who claims he was punched and kicked by a member of R&B singer Chris Brown’s entourage during a fight at a recording studio is suing the singer for assault and battery. Sha’keir Duarte sued Brown on Tuesday for unspecified damages in Los Angeles. Brown’s lawyer Mark Geragos called it a frivolous lawsuit and vowed to have it dismissed. Duarte claims he was beaten by a member of Brown’s entourage identified in the suit only as “Hood” during a fight over a parking spot. The fight at Westlake Recording Studios erupted on Jan. 27 between the entourages of Brown and fellow singer Frank Ocean. Duarte’s lawsuit says Brown taunted him and threatened that the fight could escalate into a shooting, which Duarte claims left him afraid for his life.