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American Scene: Family of woman mauled by chimp settles lawsuit with owner’s estate
STAMFORD — A settlement agreement calls for a woman disfigured in a chimpanzee attack to receive about $4 million from the estate of the animal's now-deceased owner, according to documents obtained Thursday by The Associated Press.
Attack victim Charla Nash's brother filed the lawsuit on her behalf in 2009 in state Superior Court seeking $50 million in damages from chimp owner Sandra Herold, who died in 2010. Ms. Nash was blinded, lost both hands and underwent a face transplant after being mauled outside Ms. Herold's home in Stamford in February 2009.
Lawyer Brenden Leydon, representing Ms. Herold's estate, said the case is "resolved" and was "a fair compromise on all sides." A lawyer for the Nash family, though, said the money obtained is "an insignificant amount" considering what Ms. Nash went through.
Ms. Nash, 57, now lives in a nursing home outside Boston.
Suspect surrenders in string of eco-terrorism fires
One of the three remaining fugitives in a string of fires set by environmental radicals in Oregon, Colorado and California surrendered to authorities Thursday after spending years hiding out in Canada.
The U.S. Attorney's Office in Portland, Ore., said Thursday that Rebecca Jeanette Rubin, 39, turned herself in to the FBI at the Canadian border in Blaine, Wash.
Ms. Rubin was part of a cell of the Earth Liberation Front known as the Family, based in Eugene, Ore., authorities said. She was sought on charges that she took part in setting fires at the Vail ski resort in Colorado, at a timber company office in Medford, Ore., and at federal wild horse corrals in Eastern Oregon and Northern California.
Ten others pleaded guilty in 2007 to conspiracy and arson and were sentenced to prison. Two others remain at large.
Video of police officer's kindness sparks online sensation
NEW YORK — A tourist's snapshot of a New York City police officer giving new boots to a barefoot homeless man in Times Square has created an online sensation.
Jennifer Foster, of Florence, Ariz., was visiting New York with her boyfriend on Nov. 14, when she came across the shoeless man asking for change in Times Square.
As she was about to approach him, she said the officer -- identified as Larry DePrimo -- came up to the man with a pair of all-weather boots and thermal socks on the frigid night. She recorded his generosity on her cellphone.
It was posted Tuesday night to the New York Police Department's official Facebook page and became an instant hit. More than 360,000 users "liked" it as of Thursday afternoon, and more than 100,000 shared it.
Thousands of people commented, including one person who praised him as "An officer AND a Gentleman."
The photo shows the officer kneeling beside the man with the boots at his feet. A shoe store is seen in the background.
Strauss-Kahn reaches settlement with maid who accused him of assault
NEW YORK | Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn and a hotel maid who accused him of trying to rape her have reached an agreement to settle her lawsuit, likely ending a legal saga that forced the onetime French presidential contender's resignation and opened a floodgate of accusations against him, a person familiar with the case said Thursday.
Details of the deal, which comes after prosecutors dropped related criminal charges last year, weren't immediately known and likely will be veiled by a confidentiality agreement that could prevent the two from speaking publicly about a May 2011 encounter.
Attorneys for Mr. Strauss-Kahn and the housekeeper, Nafissatou Diallo, made the as-yet-unsigned agreement within recent days, with Bronx Supreme Court Justice Douglas McKeon facilitating that and a separate agreement to end another lawsuit Ms. Diallo filed against The New York Post, said the person, who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private agreement.
A court date is expected next week, though the day wasn't set, the source said.
Court rejects inspectors' liability in capsizing of tour boat
ALBANY | New York's top court on Thursday rejected damages claims against state inspectors who continually recertified a tour boat for 48-passenger capacity before it overturned on an Adirondack lake in 2005, drowning 20 people on a leaf-peeping tour.
The Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that the state generally isn't liable for "the negligent performance" of government functions unless it has some "special duty" to those hurt.
Federal investigators afterward said the 40-foot Ethan Allen should have been limited to 14 passengers. The boat tipped over in clear, sunny weather, sending 47 tourists and the captain into Lake George. The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that "insufficient stability," partly from the passenger load, was the probable cause of the accident.
San Diego-area agency agrees to buy desalination plant's water
SAN DIEGO — A regional water agency approved a contract Thursday to buy the entire output of what would be the Western Hemisphere's largest seawater-desalination plant, clearing the way for construction to begin early next year.
The San Diego County Water Authority board backed the 30-year deal with Poseidon Resources LLC, which needed it to sell investors on bonds that will finance more than 80 percent of the construction of the $984 million project. The plant in Carlsbad is designed to produce 50 million gallons of highly purified drinking water a day, enough to supply about 8 percent of the region in 2020.
The agency will pay $2,042 to $2,290 for an acre-foot of water, more than twice what it cost to bring water from Northern California and the Colorado River on hundreds of miles of aqueducts. But backers of the project say the premium is well worth the protection it provides against drought and predict the price differential will diminish over time. The region imports about 80 percent of its water.
• From wire dispatches and staff reports
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