Senator says he reimbursed donors
Sen. Robert Menendez’s office says he reimbursed a prominent Florida political donor $58,500 on Jan. 4 of this year for the full cost of two of three trips Menendez took on the donor’s plane to the Dominican Republic in 2010.
More details about the New Jersey Democrat’s trips emerged as his office said unsubstantiated allegations that the senator engaged in sex with prostitutes in the Dominican Republic are false.
There had been no public disclosure of the two trips until now.
LA archdiocese releases more files
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles has released thousands of pages from more files on priests accused of child molestation, just hours after a judge’s order.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Emilie Elias had ordered the nation’s largest archdiocese Thursday afternoon to turn over the files — without blacking out the names of top officials — to attorneys for alleged victims no later than Feb. 22. The church released the files online almost immediately.
14 die in Mexico oil-company blast
An explosion at the main headquarters of Mexico’s state-owned oil company in the capital killed 14 people and injured 80 on Thursday as it heavily damaged three floors of the building, sending hundreds into the streets and a large plume of smoke over the skyline.
There also were reports that as many as 30 people were trapped in the debris from the explosion, which occurred in the basement of an administrative building next to the iconic, 52-story tower of Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex.
There was no immediate cause given for the blast, which also damaged the first and second floors of the auxiliary building in a busy commercial and residential area. But in an earlier Tweet, Pemex said it had evacuated the building as a precautionary measure because of a problem with the electrical system.
Soldier pleads guilty to shooting
FORT HOOD, Texas
A Fort Hood soldier has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, saying he shot his friend accidentally while trying to scare away his hiccups.
Fort Hood officials say Spc. Patrick Edward Myers, of Spartanburg, S.C., was sentenced Thursday to 31/2 years in military prison. He also was demoted to private and will receive a bad-conduct discharge.
Myers fatally shot Pfc. Isaac Lawrence Young in September while they were watching a football game at a Killeen apartment. Myers told police he thought the weapon had dummy rounds and was trying to scare his friend so his hiccups would stop. Young, of Ash Grove, Mo., was 22.
US eyes action on China cyberattacks
The Obama administration is considering more- assertive action against Beijing to combat a persistent cyber-espionage campaign it believes Chinese hackers are waging against U.S. companies and government agencies.
As The New York Times and Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that their computer systems had been infiltrated by China-based hackers, cybersecurity experts said the U.S. government is eyeing more- pointed diplomatic and trade measures.
Two former U.S. officials said the administration is preparing a new National Intelligence Estimate that, when complete, is expected to detail the cyberthreat, particularly from China, as a growing economic problem.