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Ex-BP engineer convicted of obstruction

New Orleans

Ex-BP engineer convicted of obstruction

The first criminal trial produced by the Justice Department's sweeping investigation of BP's massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico ended Wednesday with a jury convicting a drilling engineer of trying to obstruct investigators by deleting text messages from his cellular phone. Kurt Mix, a 52-year-old former BP employee who worked on the company's efforts to stop the nation's worst offshore oil spill, was convicted of an obstruction-of-justice charge punishable by up to 20 years in prison. The jury acquitted Mix of a second count of the same charge.

Washington

Baucus expected to get China post

President Barack Obama intends to nominate Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., as ambassador to China, Democratic officials said Wednesday, turning to a lawmaker well-versed in trade issues to fill one of the nation's most sensitive diplomatic posts. If confirmed by the Senate, Baucus, 72, would replace Ambassador Gary Locke, who announced last month he was stepping down. An announcement of Baucus' appointment is expected as early as today.

new York

Official: Diplomat treated very well

A federal prosecutor ventured into the tense relationship between the U.S. and India on Wednesday, defending the arrest and strip-search of an Indian diplomat held on visa charges and saying she was treated very well, even given coffee and offered food while detained. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said diplomat Devyani Khobragade was afforded courtesies most Americans wouldn't get after she was discretely arrested by State Department agents outside her children's Manhattan school. Khobragade was arrested last week on charges she lied on a visa application about how much she paid her housekeeper, an Indian national. News that Khobragade was strip-searched has chilled U.S.-Indian relations, and Secretary of State John Kerry called a top Indian official to express his regret over what happened.

Elsewhere

New York: The Secret Service says it is investigating a credit- and debit-card data theft at Target stores. Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary confirmed the agency is investigating, but declined to provide further details. Target has 1,797 stores in the U.S. and 124 in Canada.

Boston: A Harvard student accused of making a bomb threat to get out of a final exam was under a great deal of pressure and seems remorseful, his lawyer said Wednesday after his client was freed on bail. Eldo Kim, 20, was released on $100,000 bail into the custody of his sister, who lives in Massachusetts, and an uncle from North Carolina.

Congo: The military head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Congo said he is urgently dispatching a unit of U.N. soldiers to a remote location in eastern Congo where a massacre killed 21 people.

Times wires

Ex-BP engineer convicted of obstruction 12/18/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 18, 2013 11:33pm]
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