Feds want 10 years for fraud that preyed on dying
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Federal prosecutors have asked a judge for a 10-year prison term for a Rhode Island lawyer who led a $46 million investment fraud that preyed on terminally ill people.
Ten years is the maximum allowed under a plea agreement signed by Joseph Caramadre (kah-rah-MAH'-dray), who pleaded guilty to wire fraud and conspiracy.
Prosecutors said in papers filed Monday that Caramadre deserved the sentence because of the nature of the crime and his lack of remorse. He's scheduled to be sentenced next week.
Caramadre's lawyer did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
Caramadre illegally used personal information from terminally ill people to purchase bonds and annuities that would pay out when a person died.
One of his employees also pleaded guilty.
RI bishop: Mandela support for abortion 'shameful'
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - The Roman Catholic Bishop of Providence has weighed in on Nelson Mandela's death by calling his support for abortion "shameful."
In a statement posted Sunday on the diocesan website, Bishop Thomas Tobin says while there is much to admire in Mandela's life, there's a part of his legacy that is "not at all praiseworthy, namely his shameful promotion of abortion in South Africa."
He goes on to say that when Mandela was president, he signed a law in 1996 that liberalized abortion laws. The Nobel Peace Prize winner and anti-apartheid icon died last week at age 95.
Tobin has frequently taken on public figures over abortion, including Pope Francis. The bishop in September said he was "a little bit disappointed" the pope had not addressed it at that time.
RI files brief supporting Mass. fishing lawsuit
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Rhode Island's attorney general has filed a brief siding with Massachusetts in its lawsuit seeking to block fishing regulations that fishermen say will devastate their livelihoods.
Attorney General Peter Kilmartin announced Monday that he has filed an amicus brief supporting the Massachusetts suit. The lawsuit seeks to reverse federal rules that include a 78 percent reduction in the catch of cod.
Kilmartin says he recognizes the importance of protecting the region's fisheries. But he says federal rules must also respect the well-being of New England's fishing industry.
Representatives from the fishing industry say the federal rules are too restrictive and are based on inferior scientific evidence.
CIGARETTE TAX REVENUE
RI boosts cigarette tax revenue, thanks to Mass.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Rhode Island is collecting more in cigarette tax revenue and credit goes to Massachusetts' slightly higher taxes.
The Providence Journal reports that from August through October, the first three months that the higher Massachusetts tax was in effect, Rhode Island collected $2.7 million more in cigarette tax revenue than state officials expected.
In August, Massachusetts raised its cigarette tax from $2.51 to $3.51 per pack. That's one penny more than in Rhode Island.
The state has raised its cigarette-tax revenue estimate by $5.6 million, or 4.3 percent, for the fiscal year that began July 1. If the trend continues, the increase could be closer to $10 million.
State Rep. Patricia L. Morgan, a West Warwick Republican, says Rhode Island should cut its 7-percent sales tax to keep consumers' money in the state.
Moon rocks on display at Middletown planetarium
MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (AP) - A part of the moon is coming down to Rhode Island.
Moon rocks, meteorites and other materials collected during NASA's Apollo missions will be on loan for display at Gaudet Middle School's Krupowicz Planetarium in Middletown.
Superintendent Rosemarie K. Kraeger tells The Newport Daily News that the display will offer visitors from around the state the chance to see space materials and raise the profile of the planetarium, the only one of its kind at a public school in Rhode Island.
She says she's seen moon rocks at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., and calls it a "really unique experience" to see something that isn't from Earth.
Public events are planned on Jan. 31, Feb. 28 and March 13.
RISD provost named interim president
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - The Board of Trustees at the Rhode Island School of Design has tapped Provost Rosanne Somerson to serve as the school's interim president.
The prestigious art and design school announced Somerson's appointment Monday.
Current President John Maeda announced last week that he will depart at the end of the year to take a job with a California venture capital firm.
The Board of Trustees says it will begin the search for Maeda's permanent replacement in January.
Somerson is a RISD graduate who went on to a successful career as a furniture designer before returning to RISD as a faculty member in 1985. She was named provost last year.
URI researchers probe subterranean life
NARRAGANSETT, R.I. (AP) - Scientists at the University of Rhode Island are studying microbes that live deep below the surface of the earth.
Oceanography professor Steven D'Hondt and other researchers are part of a team analyzing the DNA of organisms that live in sediments beneath the ocean floor. The scientists hope to determine whether the microbes are unique or whether they are similar to organisms that live on the surface of the planet.
The work involves samples from beneath the Indian Ocean, the north and south Atlantic and elsewhere. It's part of a 10-year scientific project involving scientists from around the world.
The research is the subject of a presentation this week at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.
AAA: RI gas prices up a penny this week
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - The average cost of a gallon of gas in Rhode Island is up a cent from last week.
The latest price survey released Monday by AAA Southern New England found the average for self-serve regular in the state is $3.49 a gallon.
The price in Rhode Island is up a dime from a month ago. The current price is 23 cents higher than the national per-gallon average of $3.26.
A year ago at this time Rhode Islanders were paying nine cents more on average, or $3.58 a gallon.
The AAA survey found prices ranged from a low of $3.43 a gallon to a high of $3.60 a gallon.
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