Puerto Rico plans natural gas pipeline – Press TV

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Puerto Rico plans natural gas pipeline

People demonstrate against “The Green Way” natural gas pipeline project in Puerto Rico, Saturday May 14, 2011. AP Photo

The governor of Puerto Rico has proposed a natural gas pipeline project worth USD 450 million that would cut through the territory’s most sensitive habitats.

Governor Luis Fortuno dubbed the project ?The Green Way,? insisting that it is the best and most environmentally friendly way to reduce the country’s high utility bills, The Associated Press reported.

The government said that the cheaper natural gas would save USD 1 billion per year for an island with a population of 4 million. It also argued that the project would help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 64 percent.

Corruption allegations have emerged that the governor has played favoritism towards a childhood friend, Pedro Ray Chacon, in awarding the largest contract for preliminary studies — worth USD 9.6 million — to his construction firm Ray Engineers PSC. This is while the firm has no previous experience in pipeline construction.

Additionally, the bid for contractors was not made public, with Fortuno arguing that preliminary research contracts do not require an open bid.

Environmentalists and other activists also say the 92-mile pipeline will destroy fragile mountain ecosystems and expose local communities to hazards such as dangerous explosions. It would cross 235 rivers and wetlands, impacting on up to 32 endangered species, including the Puerto Rican parrot, crested toad and boa, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.

Archaeologists pointed out that the proposed project could destroy historic sugar mill ruins and petroglyphs carved centuries ago by Taino Indians.

The nonprofit organization Casa Pueblo de Adjuntas has organized protests and gathered almost 8,000 online signatures in opposition to the pipeline. They claim that up to 23,000 families could be adversely affected.

Seventy-percent of Puerto Rico’s power is generated by petroleum. Electricity on the island costs about 21 cents per kilowatt hour, while the average on the US mainland stands at 10 cents per kilowatt.

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Emma Roberts Keeps Her Distance From Chord Overstreet at Nylon Party – AceShowbiz

This full rss is powered by Adsense Id May 06, 2011 08:29:13 GMT Despite rumor of them hooking-up, the ‘Scream 4’ actress and the ‘Glee’ hunk were not seen interacting too much with each other when they attended the Young Hollywood party recently.

and keep many guessing about their relationship. The two sparked hook-up rumor after they were spotted making out in public at a Coachella party in late April, but were seen keeping their distance when joining the celebration of Nylon magazine’s Young Hollywood issue on Wednesday, May 4.

To Celebuzz, an eyewitness from the bash held at Bardot in Hollywood, California shared, “They talked briefly for a while outside and again near Emma’s table, but there wasn’t any PDA.” The observer went to note, “It was almost like they were purposefully trying to keep their distance. They didn’t interact too much at all for people that are even just friends!”

Just days earlier, the two young stars were still spotted getting cozy at the Cinema Society party for “” at the Top of the Standard. New York Daily News reported that during the April 28 bash, Chord was seen running his hand over Emma’s back as well as when speaking to co-stars , and .

Chord and Emma at the A|X Armani Exchange and 944 Magazine carnival in Indio, California on April 16. Eyewitness told Us Weekly at the time that the two “couldn’t keep their hands off each other”. Another observer told E! Online, “They even walked off to his hotel room together!”

© AceShowbiz.com

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Lim Jeong Hee has a ‘Golden Lady’ Inkigayo comeback – allkpop

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?Street diva? Lim Jeong Hee has made a comeback on ?Inkigayo? with her new mini album, having transformed into a ?Golden Lady?.

The singer had a successful comeback with ?It Can?t Be Real? last September after years of hiatus. She recently showcased her untouchable singing talent in tvN?s ?Opera Star 2011?, and was widely regarded to be K-pop?s greatest ?opera diva?. Now Lim Jeong Hee has signaled her return as a ?golden lady?, becoming a representative of the world?s beautiful and confident women.

?Golden Lady?, the title song of her second mini album, combines rock and funk to create a whole new genre of hybrid hip-hop. Lim Jeong Hee?s powerful vocals are well captured in the song, with the lyrics portraying the confidence of beautiful women. The direct yet satisfying lyrics are sure to have female listeners nod their heads in agreement. Sexy idol HyunA was also featured in the song, making the quality of the song even higher with her unbeatable rapping skills.

Source: Daum Music

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Demjanjuk convicted over Nazi camp deaths – USA Today

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MUNICH (AP) ? Retired Ohio autoworker John Demjanjuk was convicted of thousands of counts of acting as an accessory to murder at a Nazi death camp and sentenced on Thursday to five years in prison ? closing one chapter in a decades-long legal battle.

By Matthias Schrader, AP

John Demjanjuk arrives at court in Munich, Germany, on Thursday.

It was not immediately how much credit the 91-year-old native of Ukraine he would get for time served.

Demjanjuk was charged with 28,060 counts of being an accessory to murder, one for each person who died during the time he was accused of being a guard at the Sobibor camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. There was no evidence he committed a specific crime. The prosecution was based on the theory that if Demjanjuk was at the camp, he was a participant in the killing ? the first time such a legal argument has been made in German courts.

Demjanjuk sat in a wheelchair in front of the judges as they announced their verdict, but showed no reaction. Earlier Thursday, he had declined the opportunity to make a final statement to the court.

“The court is convinced that the defendant ? served as a guard at Sobibor from 27 March 1943 to mid September 1943,” presiding Judge Ralph Alt said as he announced the verdict.

The verdict will not entirely end more than 30 years of legal wrangling. The defense has pledged to appeal any German conviction, and legal proceedings continue in the United States.

In the 1980s, Demjanjuk stood trial in Israel after he was accused of being the notoriously brutal guard “Ivan the Terrible” at the Treblinka extermination camp. He was convicted, sentenced to death ? then freed when an Israeli court overturned the ruling, saying the evidence showed he was the victim of mistaken identity.

Demjanjuk maintains he was a victim of the Nazis ? first wounded as a Soviet soldier fighting German forces, then captured and held as a prisoner of war under brutal conditions before joining the Vlasov Army, a force of anti-communist Soviet POWs and others was formed to fight with the Germans against the Soviets in the final months of the war.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

For more information about reprints & permissions, visit our FAQ’s. To report corrections and clarifications, contact Standards Editor Brent Jones. For publication consideration in the newspaper, send comments to letters@usatoday.com. Include name, phone number, city and state for verification. To view our corrections, go to corrections.usatoday.com. We’ve updated the Conversation Guidelines. Changes include a brief review of the moderation process and an explanation on how to use the “Report Abuse” button. Read more. This full rss is powered by Adsense Id

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Hundreds queue for food after Spanish earthquake – WSBT-TV

This full rss is powered by Adsense Id LORCA, Spain (Reuters) – Hundreds of people queued for food aid in the Spanish town of Lorca and wandered the streets wrapped in blankets on Thursday after an earthquake killed eight people and injured more than 120.

Thousands of residents of the town slept on the street overnight, unable to return home after the 5.1 magnitude quake on Wednesday evening destroyed masonry and building facades, crushed cars and littered streets with bricks.

Many of Lorca’s 90,000 residents were waiting for housing inspectors to give them the green light to enter buildings.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said 800 military and civil guard personnel were in Lorca, 370 army tents had been sent, and a camp hospital had been set up.

“We’ve activated all aid measures with maximum speed,” he said live on television, pledging to rebuild damaged water mains and roads quickly and to visit the town on Friday.

The number of fatalities was revised down to eight, including one teenage girl, from an earlier report of 10. More than 120 people were injured, three critically, officials said.

Food distribution points were set up in parks and troops set up temporary tent shelter for 3,000 people made homeless by the quake, which hit at 6:46 p.m. (1446 GMT) on Wednesday.

“We spent the night outside here in the square. The emergency workers are giving us food and blankets. We’re not allowed to go into our apartment until an engineer comes and looks at our building,” said Edgar Rosales, 38, an Ecuadorian immigrant.

Rosales said the earthquake jolted groceries off the shelves of his Latin American food store and rained produce down on to his daughters.

“The important thing is that we’re all okay. We’re all here together now,” Rosales said.

Earthquakes causing extensive damage and fatalities are rare in Spain although the south of the country has extensive faultlines. The U.S. Geological Survey registered one dead in a 1997 earthquake.

In 1969 a 7.8 magnitude earthquake killed 19 people in the southern town of Huelva, according to Spain’s National Geographic Institute.

Wednesday’s earthquake was revised down by the USGS from an initial estimate of magnitude 5.3, but was relatively close to the surface at a depth of just one kilometer.

Zapatero’s Socialist party and the center-right opposition Popular Party suspended campaign rallies throughout Spain for the May 22 regional and local elections for a day on Thursday out of respect for the victims of the earthquake.

Opposition leader Mariano Rajoy visited Lorca on Thursday, as did Deputy Prime Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba and Defense Minister Carme Chacon.

Part of the front of a badly damaged church collapsed hours after the quake and other buildings in the town were considered unstable.

(Writing by Fiona Ortiz; editing by Philippa Fletcher)

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Facebook’s stealth attack on Google – San Jose Mercury News

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In an unfolding tale of Silicon Valley skulduggery, Facebook on Thursday fessed up to hiring a top-drawer PR firm to bash rival Google (GOOG) by planting negative stories in newspapers and across the blogosphere.

The social networking giant’s admission that it had hired Burson-Marsteller to rustle up reporters and bloggers to attack the search giant for violating Facebook users’ privacy was just the first of several shoes to drop.

Burson quickly admitted it “undertook an assignment” for Palo Alto-based

Facebook, then said accepting the assignment “was not standard procedure” and that it should never have done it. And while Google did not return repeated requests for interviews from the Mercury News, company spokesman Chris Gaither, with typical Google whimsy, told USA Today that “we’re not going to comment further. Our focus is on delighting people with great products.”

As two of the valley’s titans fought the latest skirmish in what some think is shaping up as the Internet’s biggest battle ever, observers were left amused and scratching their heads.

“It’s on like Donkey Kong between Facebook and Google, seeking victory by any means,” said Santa Clara University law professor Eric Goldman. “But I’m a little perplexed about why

Facebook decided to try and stir the pot through a PR agency. If they wanted to call out Google, then call them out publicly.”

But public was not the way Facebook wanted to roll. The stealth campaign started to unravel last week after two Burson agents, including former CNBC news anchor Jim Goldman, stepped up what USA Today called “a whisper campaign.” The plan was to get top-tier media outlets to run news stories and editorials about how an obscure Google Gmail feature called Social Circle ostensibly violates Facebook users’ privacy.

Burson operative John Mercurio emailed former Federal Trade Commission researcher and blogger Christopher Soghoian, making a vague pitch for him to pen a Google-bashing “op-ed this week for a top-tier media outlet on an important issue that I know you’re following closely.” And in one pot-calling-the-kettle-black passage, Mercurio wrote, “Google, as you know, has a well-known history of infringing on the privacy rights of America’s Internet users.”

But when Soghoian started asking pesky questions, like “Who is paying for this? (not paying me, but paying you),” Facebook’s secret mission began to implode. Smelling something fishy, Soghoian posted the full e-mail text of Mercurio’s pitch — along with his rejection — on the Internet. Daily Beast blogger Dan Lyons then pieced together the clues and figured out that Facebook was behind the spin campaign.

Much to Facebook’s embarrassment, their spinmeisters had reached out to the wrong hack.

“Facebook did make a mistake, and the mistake is when you’re dealing with a reporter, particularly one you don’t know, you shouldn’t hide who you’re working for,” said one Bay Area public-relations executive who asked that his name not be used in order to avoid embarrassing his clients. “It’s part of competition to share concerns you have about your competitors’ products and services, and that’s a natural part of business.”

When he read of Facebook’s campaign, industry analyst Tim Bajarin said, “I had to laugh. I’ve been doing this for 30 years and I see this stuff all the time, because PR companies are responsible for trying to make their clients look the best they can. How Facebook’s PR team went about it was a little unorthodox perhaps, but they were just doing their job.”

Still, Facebook felt bad about the whole mess. “The issues are serious and we should have presented them in a serious and transparent way,” the company said in a statement.

The scandal highlights the battle between the two Goliaths over control of the lion’s share of the lucrative online advertising business. With its 600 million members, Facebook is increasingly exploiting its treasure trove of personal user data by targeting ads, putting it in conflict the Mountain View-based search giant.

Competition between the two companies was underscored recently when Google CEO and co-founder Larry Page put out a memo letting staff know that social networking was a top priority for Google — so much so that a quarter of every Googler’s bonus this year reportedly will be based on how well the search company does in the social realm.

Roger Kay, an analyst with Endpoint Technologies in Massachusetts and a blogger for Forbes, said Burson’s failure to keep the stealth campaign stealthy effectively made Facebook tip its hand in a high-stakes game of online domination.

“This shows the world that Facebook is really focused on Google as its main competitor, which many people might not have fully realized,” he said. “The nightmare scenario for Facebook is that all the data they’ve gathered and stored about their members over time could now be threatened by Google.”

Facebook’s beef driving the campaign, according to Burson, is that Google has been scraping private data from Facebook’s membership base to “build deeply personal dossiers on millions of users.” Specifically, Facebook says Google’s Social Circle, which allows people with Gmail accounts to see information not only about their Facebook friends but also about the friends of their friends, is a violation of member’s privacy. Google would not comment.

If Google “is able to take out its big camera and take a huge snapshot of that metadata and somehow monetize all that information, that prospect obviously scares the bejesus out of Facebook,” Kay said.

For now, Google remains king of search and Facebook remains king of social media. “But if both companies are trying to monetize that same private data, it seems like they’re now set on a direct collision course,” said Kay. “And this won’t be the last time that that battle breaks into the open.”

Contact Patrick May at 408-920-5689. Follow him at Twitter.com/patmaymerc.

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Facebook’s stealth attack on Google – San Jose Mercury News

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In an unfolding tale of Silicon Valley skulduggery, Facebook on Thursday fessed up to hiring a top-drawer PR firm to bash rival Google (GOOG) by planting negative stories in newspapers and across the blogosphere.

The social networking giant’s admission that it had hired Burson-Marsteller to rustle up reporters and bloggers to attack the search giant for violating Facebook users’ privacy was just the first of several shoes to drop.

Burson quickly admitted it “undertook an assignment” for Palo Alto-based

Facebook, then said accepting the assignment “was not standard procedure” and that it should never have done it. And while Google did not return repeated requests for interviews from the Mercury News, company spokesman Chris Gaither, with typical Google whimsy, told USA Today that “we’re not going to comment further. Our focus is on delighting people with great products.”

As two of the valley’s titans fought the latest skirmish in what some think is shaping up as the Internet’s biggest battle ever, observers were left amused and scratching their heads.

“It’s on like Donkey Kong between Facebook and Google, seeking victory by any means,” said Santa Clara University law professor Eric Goldman. “But I’m a little perplexed about why

Facebook decided to try and stir the pot through a PR agency. If they wanted to call out Google, then call them out publicly.”

But public was not the way Facebook wanted to roll. The stealth campaign started to unravel last week after two Burson agents, including former CNBC news anchor Jim Goldman, stepped up what USA Today called “a whisper campaign.” The plan was to get top-tier media outlets to run news stories and editorials about how an obscure Google Gmail feature called Social Circle ostensibly violates Facebook users’ privacy.

Burson operative John Mercurio emailed former Federal Trade Commission researcher and blogger Christopher Soghoian, making a vague pitch for him to pen a Google-bashing “op-ed this week for a top-tier media outlet on an important issue that I know you’re following closely.” And in one pot-calling-the-kettle-black passage, Mercurio wrote, “Google, as you know, has a well-known history of infringing on the privacy rights of America’s Internet users.”

But when Soghoian started asking pesky questions, like “Who is paying for this? (not paying me, but paying you),” Facebook’s secret mission began to implode. Smelling something fishy, Soghoian posted the full e-mail text of Mercurio’s pitch — along with his rejection — on the Internet. Daily Beast blogger Dan Lyons then pieced together the clues and figured out that Facebook was behind the spin campaign.

Much to Facebook’s embarrassment, their spinmeisters had reached out to the wrong hack.

“Facebook did make a mistake, and the mistake is when you’re dealing with a reporter, particularly one you don’t know, you shouldn’t hide who you’re working for,” said one Bay Area public-relations executive who asked that his name not be used in order to avoid embarrassing his clients. “It’s part of competition to share concerns you have about your competitors’ products and services, and that’s a natural part of business.”

When he read of Facebook’s campaign, industry analyst Tim Bajarin said, “I had to laugh. I’ve been doing this for 30 years and I see this stuff all the time, because PR companies are responsible for trying to make their clients look the best they can. How Facebook’s PR team went about it was a little unorthodox perhaps, but they were just doing their job.”

Still, Facebook felt bad about the whole mess. “The issues are serious and we should have presented them in a serious and transparent way,” the company said in a statement.

The scandal highlights the battle between the two Goliaths over control of the lion’s share of the lucrative online advertising business. With its 600 million members, Facebook is increasingly exploiting its treasure trove of personal user data by targeting ads, putting it in conflict the Mountain View-based search giant.

Competition between the two companies was underscored recently when Google CEO and co-founder Larry Page put out a memo letting staff know that social networking was a top priority for Google — so much so that a quarter of every Googler’s bonus this year reportedly will be based on how well the search company does in the social realm.

Roger Kay, an analyst with Endpoint Technologies in Massachusetts and a blogger for Forbes, said Burson’s failure to keep the stealth campaign stealthy effectively made Facebook tip its hand in a high-stakes game of online domination.

“This shows the world that Facebook is really focused on Google as its main competitor, which many people might not have fully realized,” he said. “The nightmare scenario for Facebook is that all the data they’ve gathered and stored about their members over time could now be threatened by Google.”

Facebook’s beef driving the campaign, according to Burson, is that Google has been scraping private data from Facebook’s membership base to “build deeply personal dossiers on millions of users.” Specifically, Facebook says Google’s Social Circle, which allows people with Gmail accounts to see information not only about their Facebook friends but also about the friends of their friends, is a violation of member’s privacy. Google would not comment.

If Google “is able to take out its big camera and take a huge snapshot of that metadata and somehow monetize all that information, that prospect obviously scares the bejesus out of Facebook,” Kay said.

For now, Google remains king of search and Facebook remains king of social media. “But if both companies are trying to monetize that same private data, it seems like they’re now set on a direct collision course,” said Kay. “And this won’t be the last time that that battle breaks into the open.”

Contact Patrick May at 408-920-5689. Follow him at Twitter.com/patmaymerc.

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UPI NewsTrack TopNews – UPI.com

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Survivors sought after deadly Spain quake

LORCA, Spain, May 12 (UPI) — Emergency workers searched for possible survivors in Lorca, Spain, Thursday, a day after a 5.3-magnitude earthquake killed eight people, officials said.

Rafael Gonzalez, the national government representative for the Murcia region, said those who died in the earthquake were outside and likely killed by falling debris, Euronews.net reported.

Town officials said about a third of the community’s 90,000 people, fearful of aftershocks, slept outdoors away from buildings.

Emergency shelters were set up in the town square and distribution of food and other essentials had begun, officials said.

Patients from Lorca’s hospital were evacuated after the quake toppled a portion of the facility’s roof, Euronews.net reported. Part of the facade on the town’s main church was damaged and collapsed hours after the quake.

The Lorca area of the Murcia region had two earthquakes within 2 hours Wednesday. Officials said a 4.4-magnitude quake struck before the 5.3 temblor.

Demjanjuk sentenced for role in Nazi camp

MUNICH, Germany, May 12 (UPI) — A German court Thursday sentenced John Demjanjuk, 91, to five years in prison for his role in killing 28,060 Jews at a Nazi camp in Poland during World War II.

Demjanjuk was convicted of being an accessory to mass murder in his capacity as a guard at the Sobibor concentration camp, where he led the Jews to the camp’s gas chambers, The Guardian reported.

Demjanjuk, sitting in a wheelchair, showed no reaction when the verdict was announced.

The British publication said it wasn’t clear how much credit Demjanjuk would receive for time served.

During the 18-month trial in Munich, his defense team said it would would appeal a conviction.

Demjanjuk, a Ukrainian, was a Red Army soldier allegedly captured by the Germans in 1942 and trained as an SS guard before being sent to work at the camp.

Demjanjuk, who fled to the United States and worked in an auto plant near Cleveland for decades, was described by one Nazi expert as “the littlest of the little fishes” and is the lowest ranking person to be tried for war crimes in Germany, The Guardian said.

The prosecution presented no evidence tying Demjanjuk to a specific crime but said his presence at the camp was enough to charge him with being an accessory to murder.

Prosecutors alleged Demjanjuk was one of the guards who forced Jewish prisoners into rooms, knowing engine fumes were to be pumped in. He also allegedly removed corpses and threw them into a mass grave.

Demjanjuk maintained his innocence, saying he was a victim of Nazi crimes.

Holder: Bin Laden raid was legal

WASHINGTON, May 12 (UPI) — The raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan was a kill-or-capture mission, not an assassination, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said.

If bin Laden had offered to surrender, the U.S. forces conducting the raid would have accepted, Holder said in an interview with the BBC published Thursday.

Reiterating what he previously told Congress, Holder said the May 2 assault on the al-Qaida leader’s hideout in Abbottabad was legal.

Holder told the BBC the U.S. forces acted “in an appropriate way” absent any clear indication bin Laden intended to surrender.

“If the possibility had existed, if there was the possibility of a feasible surrender, that would have occurred,” he said. “But their protection, that is the protection of the force that went into that compound, was I think uppermost in our minds.”

The attorney general said international law permits the targeting of enemy commanders.

“I actually think that the dotting of the i’s and the crossing of the t’s is what separates the United States, the United Kingdom [and] our allies from those who we are fighting,” Holder said. “I think those Navy SEALs conducted themselves in a way that’s consistent with American, [and] British values.”

A day earlier, Bin Laden’s family questioned why he was not captured alive. Bin Laden’s sons criticized the United States for carrying out an “arbitrary killing.”

Two held in alleged NYC synagogue plot

NEW YORK, May 12 (UPI) — Prosecutors said two suspects arrested in an alleged plot to attack two New York City synagogues were ordered to appear in court Thursday.

The arrests were made Wednesday night after the two allegedly tried to purchase guns and hand grenades to use in the assault, law enforcement sources told ABC News.

The suspects were described only as being Muslims, possibly from North Africa. ABC said one man was in his 20s, lived in Queens and had previous arrests for drug possession.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly planned a news conference Thursday to discuss the case.

Border arrests fall 58 percent in 5 years

WASHINGTON, May 12 (UPI) — The number of arrests of people trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border fell sharply during the last five years, federal data indicate.

In fiscal year 2010, officials arrested 447,731 undocumented immigrants in the states bordering Mexico, CNN reported Thursday.

The 2010 arrest figures released Wednesday by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency within the Department of Homeland Security, represent a 58 percent decrease from fiscal year 2006, when 1.07 million arrests were made.

Several factors contributed to the decrease, officials said, noting that the number of U.S. Border Patrol agents along the U.S.-Mexico border doubled during roughly the same period as the arrests fell. Customs and Border Protection said 11,000 agents patrolled the border in 2004; now the number is approaching 22,000.

This week, President Obama called for “genuine, comprehensive immigration reform” during a speech at the Chamizal National Memorial in El Paso, Texas.

U.S. Border Patrol agent David Jimarez, who works for the Tucson Sector in Arizona, told CNN organized crime posed a greater challenge for agents now.

“These smuggling organizations like to operate from dusk till dawn. They like to operate under the cover of darkness because they think they’re not going to be seen,” Jimarez said.

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Profile: John Demjanjuk – BBC News

This full rss is powered by Adsense Id12 May 2011 Last updated at 07:12 ET

John Demjanjuk, an elderly former Ohio car worker who was born in Ukraine, has been convicted of Nazi war crimes after decades of fighting attempts to bring him to justice.

Before his latest trial, in Germany, he was famously deported from the US to Israel in 1986 to face allegations that he had served as a camp guard nicknamed Ivan the Terrible at Treblinka.

He was convicted and sentenced to death. But he was reprieved a few years later after new evidence appeared.

But back in America, decades later, an immigration judge ruled there was enough evidence to prove he had been a guard at other Nazi camps, and he was sent abroad for trial again in 2009.

The Munich case, in which he was given a five-year jail sentence, is expected to be Germany’s last big war crimes trial.

War years

Born Ivan Demjanjuk on 3 April 1920 in the Ukrainian village of Dubovi Makharintsi, he was raised under Soviet rule.

A burly man, he worked as a tractor and lorry driver on a Ukrainian collective farm.

Little can be said with certainty about Mr Demjanjuk’s activities during World War II.

He joined the Red Army like millions of others, and was serving in eastern Crimea in 1942 when he was captured by the Germans.

At least three million Soviet soldiers are believed by historians to have died in German prison camps, many of them left to starve. “I would have given my soul for a loaf of bread,” Mr Demjanjuk said later in court.

At his trial in Israel, he testified that he had been held at a camp in Chelmno, Poland, until 1944 before being moved to another camp in Austria where he joined a Nazi-backed unit of Russian soldiers fighting communist rule.

But according to German prosecutors, between March and September 1943, he was in fact involved in the murders of tens of thousands of Jews at the Nazis’ Sobibor death camp in Poland.

They said they had obtained hundreds of documents and a number of prosecution witnesses.

“For the first time we have even found lists of names of the people who Demjanjuk personally led into the gas chambers,” said Kurt Schrimm, head of the special office investigating Nazi crimes.

First trial

After the war, Mr Demjanjuk lived in southern Germany, working as a driver for various international refugee organisations, according to Germany’s Spiegel magazine.

In 1952, he emigrated to the US with his wife and child, eventually settling in Cleveland, where he worked as an engine mechanic at a car plant.

He was naturalised as a US citizen but his citizenship was temporarily removed after a US judge ruled in 1981 that he had lied in his citizenship application about his wartime activities.

Israeli prosecutors requested his extradition in 1983. They believed Mr Demjanjuk was Ivan the Terrible – one of the most infamous guards at Treblinka.

Ivan had helped operate the gas chambers and personally murdered hundreds of prisoners, hacking many of his naked victims to death with a sword, according to witnesses.

A US court rejected his appeal against deportation in 1985. The court dismissed doubts cast over the authenticity of an ID card, which the defence said was a forgery.

The card showed that Mr Demjanjuk belonged to the Trawniki unit – an SS-trained section of non-German volunteers which was tasked with persecuting and murdering Jews.

In Israel, Mr Demjanjuk’s lawyers argued that he was the victim of mistaken identity and challenged the accuracy of the memories of five Treblinka survivors who identified him as Ivan the Terrible.

However, the Trawniki ID card helped sway judges in the prosecution’s favour and in 1988 he was found guilty of crimes at Treblinka and sentenced to hang.

Five years later, the conviction was quashed in 1993 by Israel’s supreme court, after evidence emerged in post-Soviet Russia that another Ukrainian – Ivan Marchenko – had in fact been Ivan the Terrible.

However, Israel’s chief justice was careful to avoid declaring Mr Demjanjuk innocent, noting that there was ample evidence that he had served as a guard in other camps.

Second trial

Mr Demjanjuk had his citizenship restored upon his return to the US as a free man but in 2002 it was revoked once again.

A district court judge ruled that there was sufficient reliable evidence to prove that he had been a concentration camp guard, if not at Treblinka.

Appeals followed but a court eventually ruled that he should be deported to his native Ukraine, Germany or Poland.

In November 2008, state prosecutors in Munich announced they had enough evidence to prove his involvement in the murders of Jews at Sobibor.

He was formally charged in Germany with 27,900 counts of being an accessory to murder.

He fought extradition – protesting that he was too ill to travel. He turned up in court in a wheelchair or lying motionless on a stretcher. But the court was shown secretly recorded evidence of him walking unaided, and ruled against him. He was deported to Germany in May 2009.

His defence there again questioned the authenticity of the Trawniki ID card – but the German court rejected its request to suspend the trial.

Still from surveillance video of John Demjanjuk

Please turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play.

US government surveillance shows John Demjanjuk walking without help

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Spain mourns quake victims with thousands homeless – Sydney Morning Herald

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Spain mourned on Friday the nine people killed after a 5.1-magnitude earthquake struck the historic southern city of Lorca, forcing thousands to flee their homes.

An open-air funeral mass was to be held in the city Friday morning, after army and emergency workers pitched tents and handed out food to thousands of evacuees Thursday following the country’s deadliest quake in more than 50 years.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Crown Prince Felipe and his wife Letizia were to attend the ceremony.

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Nine people, including a child, perished after the quake rocked the city on Wednesday, the regional government of Murcia said.

The earthquake struck at 6:47 pm (1647 GMT) Wednesday at a depth of just 10 kilometres (six miles), coming nearly two hours after a smaller 4.4-magnitude quake.

Flattening buildings, ripping open walls and sending chunks of masonry flying into the streets, the tremor injured another 130 people, regional emergency services chief Luis Gestoso said.

The Red Cross said the quake forced some 15,000 of the city’s 93,000 inhabitants from their homes.

Bulldozers cleared streets filled with stones, bricks, cornices, collapsed terraces and crumpled cars.

Some 20,000 buildings including many from the 16th and 17th centuries were reported damaged in Lorca, which traces its history back more than 2,000 years. Mayor Francisco Jodar said 80 percent of the city’s buildings suffered some damage.

The clocktower of the 17th century San Diego Church tumbled and shattered in the street, narrowly missing a television reporter as he delivered a report on Spanish public broadcaster TVE. Its bronze bell lay in the rubble.

“Almost no one slept in their homes last night,” the mayor said.

In the main marketplace, hundreds of people including children in pushchairs waited in the hot sun Thursday for food packages containing powdered re-hydration drinks, jam, cereal bars and water.

The Red Cross distributed 10,500 blankets, food, water and 2,000 foldup beds.

As thousands lined up for shelter, Zapatero said 370 army tents had been sent to the area.

Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba added that authorities could provide 3,500 places for the night in four tent camps. “If necessary, we can add another 1,500 places” to this total, he said.

The prime minister sent his condolences to the relatives of those killed and said the government was acting with maximum speed to confront “this catastrophe”.

The government have sent in 800 personnel, half of them military emergency units and troops and the rest police, to help shelter the many homeless, Zapatero said.

The military emergency units have 140 vehicles to help clear the debris, he said.

Emergency workers are checking building by building to decide which can be repaired and which will have to be demolished, the premier said. “We will spare no effort for the reconstruction,” he vowed.

Spain’s seismological authorities predicted smaller aftershocks in the next month in the region, which lies on a geological fault line.

The president of Spain’s College of Geologists, Luis Suarez, said the quake released energy equal to 200 tonnes of TNT and he expected the intensity of aftershocks to diminish.

Suarez said in a statement that a quake of this scale was not strong enough to bring buildings to the ground, and the scale of the damage must have been due to pre-existing structural problems.

The area’s sandy soil also made the impact worse, he said.

“We know we live near a fault line but we never thought this would happen to us,” said Pepe Tomas, 56, a nurse at a local clinic who has lived his whole life in the city.

Tomas said he had helped treat hundreds of people “mostly for anxiety”.

The Socialist Party’s Zapatero and his conservative Popular Party opponent Mariano Rajoy agreed to suspend campaigning for regional elections May 22 because of the disaster.

It was the deadliest earthquake in Spain since April 19, 1956 when a tremor wrecked buildings and killed 11 people in Albolote, a town in the southern Spanish province of Granada.

© 2011 AFPThis story is sourced direct from an overseas news agency as an additional service to readers. Spelling follows North American usage, along with foreign currency and measurement units.

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