North Carolina-based Blackwater

Blackwater created shell companies to fool government, public

Blackwater created shell companies to fool government, public

The security company Blackwater Worldwide formed a network of 30 shell companies and subsidiaries to try to get millions of dollars in government business after the company faced strong criticism for reckless conduct in Iraq, The New York Times reported Friday. The newspaper said that it was unclear how many of the created companies got […]

Earthquake shakes up the left coast

A powerful offshore earthquake rattled communities in far northern California, cutting power to thousands of customers, causing minor damage to homes and businesses and forcing many people to seek treatment for cuts and bruises from falling debris.

The 6.5 magnitude temblor hit at about 4:27 p.m. PST Saturday and was centered in the Pacific about 22 miles west of Ferndale, but was felt as far south as Capitola in central California and as far north as central Oregon, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

In Eureka, about 240 miles north of San Francisco, residents of an apartment building were evacuated, and an office building and two other commercial structures were declared unsafe for occupancy, according to Humboldt County spokesman Phil Smith-Hanes.

St. Louis shooter just ‘unhappy at work’

The man widely identified as the gunman in a fatal shooting spree at a St. Louis industrial plant was described as an amicable family man and good neighbor, who would rake an elder’s leaves and bring him holiday treats.

But 51-year-old Timothy Hendron of Webster Groves, a St. Louis suburb, was unhappy at work, according to those who knew him even casually, and embroiled in a pension dispute with his company that was being litigated this week in U.S. District Court in Kansas City.

Police said the gunman showed up at ABB Group’s plant in north St. Louis around 6:30 a.m. Thursday and opened fire, killing three people and wounding five before apparently killing himself. Frightened co-workers scrambled into closets and to the snow-covered roof for safety.

Justice Ginsburg hospitalized

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the 76-year-old Supreme Court justice who underwent pancreatic cancer surgery earlier this year, fell ill at work after a treatment for anemia and was hospitalized overnight.

Ginsburg was taken to Washington Hospital Center at 7:45 p.m. EDT Thursday and would remain there for the night as a precaution, a statement from the court said.

Earlier in the day, Ginsburg had received an iron sucrose infusion to treat an iron deficiency anemia that had been discovered in July.

About an hour later, she “developed lightheadedness and fatigue,” the statement said. She was found to have a slightly low blood pressure, which the court said can occur after the type of treatment she received.

Terror suspects arrested for false statements

The FBI arrested a 24-year-old Colorado man on charges of making false statements to federal agents in an ongoing terror investigation, and supporting documents contend the man admitted receiving weapons and explosives training from al-Qaida in Pakistan.

Najibullah Zazi of the Denver suburb of Aurora was arrested late Saturday after undergoing three days of questioning by the FBI. Zazi, a legal permanent resident from Afghanistan, was due to appear in federal court on Monday.

Milwaukee mayor wounded by attacker

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett was hospitalized with head and hand injuries on Sunday after he tried to assist a woman crying for help and was attacked by a man with a metal pipe near the Wisconsin State Fair, police said.

Barrett was in stable condition at a local hospital and was alert and talking when he arrived there on Saturday night, Milwaukee police said.

The mayor had gone to the Wisconsin State Fair on Saturday with his children and niece. As Barrett walked to his car, he heard a woman screaming for someone to call 911, police said.

"The mayor stopped and said something like, ‘Let’s all cool down here, I’m going to call 911,’" the mayor’s spokesman Patrick Curley said. "He said it one or two times according to him. When he took out his phone, that’s when the suspect attacked him."

Large real estate lender fails

Real estate lender Colonial BancGroup Inc. has been shut down by federal officials in the biggest U.S. bank failure this year.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which was appointed receiver of the Montgomery, Ala.-based Colonial and its about $25 billion in assets, said the failed bank’s 346 branches in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and Texas will reopen at the normal times starting on Saturday as offices of Winston-Salem, N.C.-based BB&T.

The FDIC has approved the sale of Colonial’s $20 billion in deposits and about $22 billion of its assets to BB&T Corp.

Regulators also closed four other banks: Community Bank of Arizona, based in Phoenix; Union Bank, based in Gilbert, Ariz.; Community Bank of Nevada, based in Las Vegas; and Dwelling House Savings and Loan Association, located in Pittsburgh.

The closures boosted to 77 the number of federally insured banks that have failed in 2009.

The agency established a temporary government bank for Community Bank of Nevada to give depositors about 30 days to open accounts at other financial institutions. The failed bank had assets of $1.52 billion and deposits of $1.38 billion as of June 30.