Herman Cain denies claims of sexual harassment

Posted Oct. 31, 2011, at 9:05 p.m.

LOS ANGELES — Herman Cain defended himself against claims that he sexually harassed two employees while leading a trade association in the 1990s, telling a National Press Club audience in Washington on Monday that he’s the victim of a “witch hunt.”

As he had earlier in the day on Fox News Channel, Cain acknowledged that he had been accused of harassment while he was the president and chief executive of the National Restaurant Association.

Cain insisted that the claims were false and said he did not know whether they were settled or how much it cost to settle them.

The harassment story was first reported Sunday evening by Politico who said two women received settlements in the five figures.

As Cain spoke, NBC News reported that it had confirmed that one woman who worked at the association received a settlement after complaining about Cain’s conduct.

“I have never sexually harassed anyone,” Cain said.

But, he added, when he was accused of sexual harassment — “falsely accused, I might add — as leader of the organization, I recused myself and allowed my general counsel and human resources officer to deal with the situation.”

Following “a thorough investigation,” he said, those staffers reached the conclusion that the charges “had no basis.”

“I am unaware of any settlement,” Cain said Monday. “I hope it wasn’t for much because I didn’t do anything.”

Obama issues executive order aimed at curbing drug shortages

WASHINGTON — President Obama ordered federal regulators Monday to step up efforts to prevent shortages and price fixing of life-saving prescription drugs, a White House initiative that does not require congressional approval.

Obama’s executive order directs the Food and Drug Administration to more broadly enforce reporting requirements for manufacturers running low on drugs, expedite the review of new prescription drug suppliers and work with the Justice Department to prosecute improper price gouging.

The number of shortages of crucial drugs has increased dramatically in recent years to at least 232 this year, industry experts said. This list includes some of the most commonly used drugs in hospitals that are designed to care for cancer patients, heart attack victims and accident survivors.

Wyoming hunter attacked by bear

MOOSE, Wyo. — A hunter was attacked by a bear while hunting in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park but is reported to be in good condition.

Park officials say 32-year-old Timothy Hix, of Jackson, was expected to be released from the hospital Monday.

Hix told rangers he surprised what he believed was a grizzly bear Sunday.

He said the bear ran toward him and, unable to grab his pepper spray, he dropped to the ground and covered his head. He said the bear bit him at least twice before running away.

Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral stepping down

LONDON — The Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral has become the second high-profile clergy member to step down over anti-capitalist protests that have spilled across the historic church’s grounds.

The resignation Monday of Graeme Knowles leaves the cathedral without a leader and will delay a planned legal action to evict the protest camp.

Knowles said his position had become “untenable” as criticism of the cathedral mounted in the press and in public opinion. Knowles had urged protesters to leave the cathedral area to allow it to reopen its doors.

Officials shut the church to the public on Oct. 21, saying demonstrators’ tents were a health and safety hazard. It was the first time the 300-year-old London church had closed since German planes bombed the city during World War II. It reopened Friday.

Knowles’ resignation follows that last week of Giles Fraser, a senior St. Paul’s Cathedral priest who had welcomed the anti-capitalist demonstrators to set up camp outside the landmark, inspired by New York’s Occupy Wall Street movement. He said he resigned because he feared moves to evict the protesters could end in violence.

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