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July 6, 2010 at 4:59 PM   |   Comments

Feds sue to overturn Ariz. immigration law

WASHINGTON, July 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. Justice Department Tuesday filed suit against Arizona's immigration law, saying it unconstitutionally interferes with federal authority.

The Justice Department brief charges SB 1070 puts significant burdens on federal agencies, diverting resources from higher priorities.

"The Constitution and federal law do not permit the development of a patchwork of state and local immigration policies throughout the country," the brief says, saying such a patchwork would seriously disrupt federal immigration enforcement. The brief said Arizona's action "crossed a constitutional line."

Justice said the Arizona law also would lead to the harassment and detention of foreign visitors and legal immigrants along with U.S. citizens who cannot immediately prove their status.

In accompanying declarations, the police chiefs of Phoenix and Tucson said the measure would interfere with their ability to police their communities.

"Arizonans are understandably frustrated with illegal immigration, and the federal government has a responsibility to comprehensively address those concerns," Attorney General Eric Holder said. "But diverting federal resources away from dangerous aliens such as terrorism suspects and aliens with criminal records will impact the entire country's safety. Setting immigration policy and enforcing immigration laws is a national responsibility. Seeking to address the issue through a patchwork of state laws will only create more problems than it solves."

Arizona lawmakers approved SB 1070, which requires state and local police to check the immigration status of anyone they encounter in the field they suspect is in the United States illegally. The measure incensed many Latinos and civil-rights advocates who have blasted the rule as racial profiling.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has said the state would not back down on the law, which was aimed at reducing crime involving illegal immigrants.


Obama, Netanyahu affirm U.S.-Israel bond

WASHINGTON, July 6 (UPI) -- Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Tuesday hinted increased sanctions against Iran may not be enough to stop its nuclear program.

Following an Oval Office meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama, Netanyahu said though the recent U.N. vote on sanctions went a long way toward de-legitimizing Iran's effort and U.S. actions "actually have teeth," the question is "how much do you need to bite something" and called on other nations to follow the U.S. lead.

The two leaders denied any cooling of relations between the United States and Israel, and Obama praised Israel's decision to allow supplies into Gaza during their private meeting.

"Obviously, there's still tensions and issues there that have to be resolved, but our two countries are working cooperatively together to deal with these issues," Obama said.

Obama said he is convinced "Prime Minister Netanyahu wants peace" with the Palestinians. "I think he's willing to take risks for peace. And during our conversation, he once again reaffirmed his willingness to engage in serious negotiations with the Palestinians around what I think should be the goal not just of the two principals involved, but the entire world. And that is two states living side by side in peace and security -- Israel's security needs met, the Palestinians having a sovereign state that they call their own."


Next 10 days crucial to gulf spill

VENICE, La., July 6 (UPI) -- The next week to 10 days will be crucial in dealing with the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill, U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said Tuesday.

Allen, in an interview on CNN, said the floating production platform, the Helix Producer, will be coming online, enabling the processing of 53,000 barrels of oil a day -- more than double the current capacity and more than three times the amount of oil collected Monday from the site of the crippled Transocean rig operated by BP that exploded April 20, killing 11 workers, and started the spill that has been spewing as much as 60,000 gallons of oil a day into the gulf.

The Helix Producer will be coupled with a tanker that can hold 1 million barrels of oil, Allen said, adding that experts are looking at deploying a new containment cap that would allow the capture of 80,000 barrels a day.

"Those decisions will be forthcoming. A lot of technical details associated with that, and that's best done face to face on understanding exactly what the proposal is and what we are going to need to act on," Allen said, calling the next week or so "very consequential seven to 10 days."

U.S. Coast Guard officials said a blimp known as the MX-3A was expected to arrive Tuesday. It can carry as many as 10 crew members as it flies slowly over the region to track the direction of the oil flow and how it is washing ashore, CNN reported.

"The aircraft get on top of the oil," Coast Guard Capt. Brian Kelley said. "They can identify what type of oil it is and they can vector in the skimmer vessels right to the spot."

Efforts to clean up the oil that has been spilling into the gulf have been stalled because of rough seas caused by Hurricane Alex. The chop also hampered testing of A Whale, a converted oil tanker that is claimed to be capable of skimming between 15,000 and 50,000 barrels of oil off the sea in a day.


Families of WTC dead go to Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, July 6 (UPI) -- Families who lost loved ones on Sept. 11, 2001, have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to order New York City to remove World Trade Center debris from a landfill.

WTC Families for a Proper Burial says its members' religious rights have been violated by disrespectful treatment of human remains, The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger reports. They have already been turned down by a federal judge and an appeals court.

The city says an unprecedented effort was made to find anything identifiable as part of a human body and to recover the personal belongings of victims at the World Trade Center site. Officials say debris that might have contained undeniable human tissue was put in a new section of the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island and covered with fresh earth.

The families charge debris that might contain remains is now mingled with trash.

The Supreme Court has not yet said whether it will hear the case.


U.K. village searching for gunman

ROTHBURY, England, July 6 (UPI) -- U.K. police were searching Tuesday for a fugitive gunman suspected of killing one man and injuring his former girlfriend and a police officer, authorities say.

Raoul Moat, 37, is believed to be hiding somewhere in the village of Rothbury north of Newcastle, Britain's Sky News reports.

Sightings of Moat prompted officials to keep Rothbury children at school past the closing bell and urge members of the public to remain indoors.

"We are seeking the cooperation of parents and residents during this time as no one will be allowed in or out of Rothbury until further notice," a police spokesman said.

The search began after Moat's black Lexus was found at an industrial estate east of the village, The Guardian reported.

Moat is wanted for killing Chris Brown, 29, and wounding Moat's former girlfriend, Samantha Stobbart, 22, in Gateshead Saturday.

He later shot and critically wounded a police officer, David Rathband, 42.

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