05 24 2016
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  • The judge concluded Officer Edward Nero played little role in the arrest and wasn't responsible for the failure by police to buckle Gray in  
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  • Bill Cosby faces a preliminary hearing Tuesday to determine if his criminal sex-assault case in suburban Philadelphia goes to trial.Prosecutors had declined to charge the comedian-actor over the 2005 complaint, but arrested him in December after his explosive deposition in the woman's lawsuit became public. In the testimony given in that deposition, Cosby is grilled about giving drugs and alcohol to women before sex; making secret payments to ex-lovers; and hosting Andrea Constand at his home. They knew each other through Temple University, where he was a trustee and she managed the women's basketball team. Bill Cosby's wife refused to answer dozens of questions during a combative deposition in a defamation lawsuit filed by seven women who say the comedian branded them liars after they accused him of sexually assaulting them, according to a transcript released Friday. Camille Cosby was subjected to intense questioning by the women's lawyer, who repeatedly pressed her to say whether she believes her husband "acted with a lack of integrity" during their 52-year marriage. The lawyer also asked if her husband used his position and power "to manipulate young women." Camille Cosby didn't answer those questions and many others after her lawyer cited marital privilege, the legal protection given to communications between spouses. She repeatedly said she had "no opinion" when pressed on whether she viewed her husband's behavior as dishonest and a violation of their marriage vows. About 50 women have publicly accused Bill Cosby of forcing unwanted sexual contact on them decades ago. Cosby has denied the allegations. He faces a criminal case in Pennsylvania, where prosecutors have charged him with sexually violating a former Temple University employee, Andrea Constand. He has pleaded not guilty. Camille Cosby answered questions in the deposition Feb. 22 and again April 19 after her lawyers argued unsuccessfully to stop it. A judge ruled she would have to give a deposition but said she could refuse to answer questions about private communications between her and her husband. Camille Cosby's lawyer, Monique Pressley, repeatedly cited that privilege and advised her not to answer many questions asked by the women's lawyer, Joseph Cammarata. The exchanges between Cammarata and Cosby became testy at times, and she admonished him: "Don't lecture me. Just keep going with the questions." Using a transcript of a deposition Bill Cosby gave in a civil lawsuit filed by Constand in 2005 and a transcript of an interview she gave to Oprah Winfrey in 2000, Cammarata asked Camille Cosby about extramarital affairs her husband had. "Were you aware of your husband setting up trusts for the benefit of women that he had a sexual relationship with?" Cammarata asked. She didn't answer after her lawyer cited marital privilege. Cammarata asked her about Shawn Thompson, a woman who said Bill Cosby fathered her daughter, Autumn Jackson, in the 1970s. Jackson was convicted in 1997 of attempting to extort money from Bill Cosby to prevent her from telling a tabloid she's his daughter. He acknowledged he had an affair with her mother and had given her money. "Was it a big deal when this came up in the 1970s that your husband had — big deal to you that your husband had an extramarital affair and potentially had a daughter from that extramarital affair?" Cammarata asked. "It was a big deal then, yes," Camille Cosby replied. She said she had "no opinion" on whether her husband's admission he obtained quaaludes to give to women with whom he wanted to have sex violated their marriage vows. Her lawyer objected and instructed her not to answer when Cammarata asked her if she ever suspected she had been given any type of drug to alter her state of consciousness when she had sex with her husband. A spokesman for the Cosbys declined to comment on her deposition. The Cosbys have a home in Shelburne Falls, an hour's drive from Springfield, where the lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages, was filed. An attorney handling a separate lawsuit against Bill Cosby revealed Friday that Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner provided sworn testimony Wednesday. In the sexual battery lawsuit filed in Los Angeles, Judy Huth says Cosby forced her to perform a sex act on him at the Playboy Mansion around 1974, when she was 15. Bill Cosby's former lawyers have accused Huth of attempting to extort him before filing the case and have tried unsuccessfully to have it dismissed. Huth's attorney, Gloria Allred, said Hefner's testimony will remain under seal for now. Hefner also was named as a defendant in a case filed Monday by former model Chloe Goins, who accuses Bill Cosby of drugging and sexually abusing her at the Playboy Mansion in 2008.   The Associated Press generally doesn't identify people who say they're victims of sexual abuse, but the women accusing Cosby have come forward to tell their stories.___AP Entertainment Writer Anthony McCartney contributed to this report from Los Angeles.
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  • Some hope killing will bring peace in Afghanistan     
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Nuclear power reactor

Dominguez is one of nearly 600 people still working at the two-reactor plant, down from a work force of more than 1,500 when the plant was still running -- "all solid, middle-class jobs," he said.

"A lot of them have already moved on," Dominguez said. They've gone to work for other U.S. nuclear plants, for conventionally fueled plants or other arms of the electrical power industry, he said. And a few have gone to work overseas, where other countries are building new nuclear plants.

"Three or four of our guys, maybe five, went to work in Abu Dhabi," said Dominguez, who's also the business manager for Local 246 of the Utility Workers Union of America. "Another one went to South Korea."

Not long ago, nuclear energy seemed poised to start a much-touted renaissance in the United States. Buoyed by forecasts of increased demand, utilities were gearing up to start building the first new reactors since the 1970s. Concerns about the emissions from carbon-rich fossil fuels blamed for global warming started to offset public fears about safety that had lingered since the Three Mile Island accident in 1979.

But since then, the industry has seen a dramatic reversal of fortune. And while some environmentalists, like those featured in the CNN Films' documentary "Pandora's Promise," now argue that nuclear power is needed to head off climate change, the market has become a hostile place.

"The industry got hit between the eyes by a number of things happening at once," said Peter Bradford, a former Nuclear Regulatory Commission member.

Five new reactors are currently being built, in Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee. But in the past year, utilities have permanently shut down four others and plan to take a fifth out of service next year. At least two other planned projects have been shelved.

The projected increases in electric demand didn't materialize, tamped down by the steep recession of 2007-2009 and increasing efficiencies and conservation measures, Bradford said. Then, a revolution in drilling techniques produced a boom in cheap natural gas.

And during the recession, long-debated efforts to limit carbon emissions through a "cap-and-trade" system failed to make it through Congress. The Environmental Protection Agency forecast that cap-and-trade would have led utilities to produce more nuclear plants, which produce large amounts of power without releasing carbon dioxide.

"Looking back as sort of an armchair quarterback, it really turns out the nuclear industry needed some kind of cap-and-trade or strong carbon regulation to get back off the ground," said David Solan, director of the Energy Policy Institute at Idaho's Boise State University.

Then in 2011, the historic Japanese earthquake and tsunami triggered the worst nuclear accident since the Soviet Union's Chernobyl disaster in 1986, bringing safety issues back into the spotlight.

Three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in northeastern Japan melted down after the tsunami swamped the plant and knocked out its emergency power systems. Though no fatalities have been blamed on the accident, the resulting contamination displaced more than 100,000 people, and the cleanup and damages have left Japan's largest utility on life support. Solan called it a "body blow" to the American nuclear establishment, following the gas revolution and the failure of government attempts to impose a price on carbon emissions.

"Fracking," the use of hydraulic fracturing to break open underground rock formations that hold natural gas, has driven the cost of that fuel sharply downward. Gas-fired power plants are far faster and cheaper to build than nuclear plants, which can take a decade and cost billions of dollars to get up and running. And while gas isn't carbon-free, it puts out about half the carbon emissions of coal. The shift toward selling electricity on regional grids, particularly in the Northeast and Midwest, has pitted nuclear-generated power directly against gas -- and nuclear is losing, Solan said.

"From a generation standpoint, it's really hard for them to make money in those markets," he said.

David Crane, the head of the utility conglomerate NRG, predicted in April that natural gas would wipe out both coal and nuclear power. NRG had sought to build two new reactors in south Texas but abandoned the project in 2011, citing high costs and the "extraordinary challenges" facing the industry after Fukushima Daiichi.

"I don't necessarily think at least the second of those is a good thing," Crane said. "But I think it's inevitable outside of government intervention, which I don't think is going to happen."

In Vermont, the single-reactor Vermont Yankee plant will close in 2014 after its owner, Entergy, decided in August that it was no longer "financially viable." Dominion Power shut down its Kewaunee plant in Wisconsin in May, a decision it said was "based purely on economics." Duke Energy announced in February that it would write off its Crystal River plant in Florida, which had been idled since 2009 for repairs to its concrete containment building.

And San Onofre had been offline for more than a year when its owner, Southern California Edison, announced in June that it wouldn't reopen. The plant shut down in 2012 after a gas leak revealed problems in its massive new steam generators, which had just been replaced at a cost of nearly $700 million. SCE said the "continuing uncertainty" over the plant's future "was not good for our customers, our investors, or the need to plan for our region's long-term electricity needs."

Bradford, the former NRC member, said utilities have been unable to draw investors for new plants, forcing them to rely on loan guarantees from the federal government -- and on customers in states like Georgia and Florida, which have allowed regulated public utilities to charge them for plants still under construction.

"The fundamental problem was the renaissance was always economically unsound," Bradford said. "There was never a point in time at which private investors were prepared to back new nuclear. There were just too many things that could go wrong."

And while the zero-carbon promise of nuclear power may be appealing, the billions it would take to build a nuclear plant could better be spent to develop renewable energy sources like wind and solar, boost conservation efforts and improve fuel efficiency for motor vehicles, he said.

"The problem with using nuclear as an answer to climate change is it's so much more expensive than other potential answers," Bradford said. "It's like building palaces to solve a housing shortage, or using caviar to solve world hunger."

Dominguez said his co-workers aren't likely to have trouble finding jobs -- "There's a lot of skills that are transferable," he told CNN. But he also calls himself "a climate change guy," and said most of the 2,200 megawatts of electricity that San Onofre used to produce will now be replaced by carbon-emitting fossil fuel plants rather than renewable.

"The only greenhouse gases that San Onofre created was the smokers up on the top of the deck, when they would get together and smoke," he said.

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