Nation and world news briefs


Calif. governor signs bill giving driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Thursday granting driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, reversing his position on an issue legislative Democrats have pressed for years.

Brown signed the bill at a ceremony in Los Angeles, the state’s largest media market.

Brown said last month that he changed his mind because of “foot-dragging on the part of Congress and not creating immigration reform.”

The legislation is the latest in a series of victories for undocumented immigrants in California. Brown signed legislation in 2011 allowing undocumented immigrant college students to receive public financial aid, and he approved a measure last year making driver’s licenses available to some undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children and are allowed to work here under federal rules.

According to a legislative analysis, 1.4 million undocumented immigrants could seek licenses over three years.

The Sacramento Bee


Family in SUV chase defends actions, is sorry biker was injured

The passengers who were in the SUV that was surrounded by motorcyclists in Manhattan over the weekend spoke out for the first time Thursday, saying they were sorry that one of the bikers was injured but insisting the family had acted properly because the riders were afraid for their lives.

Alexian Lien, 33, his wife and their 2-year-old child were out on drive in their black Range Rover on Sunday when their vehicle became enmeshed in a confrontation with dozens of motorcyclists on the West Side Highway and later on a surface street. At least one motorcyclist was seriously injured and remains hospitalized. Lien was taken from the vehicle and beaten by other motorcyclists.

One motorcyclist has been charged with a misdemeanor, but prosecutors have said they plan on taking the whole incident to a grand jury, which could consider felony charges against everyone involved in the case.

Los Angeles Times


Tunisian extradited to US in al-Qaida suicide bomb plot

WASHINGTON — A Tunisian has been extradited to Washington to face federal criminal charges of working with the late al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden to set off a suicide bomb at a U.S. military installation in Europe in the days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, federal law enforcement officials announced Thursday.

Nizar Trabelsi, a former professional football player in Germany, was arrested in Belgium two days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and had been held there the last 12 years on a terrorism-related conviction. He was charged separately in Washington in a 2006 secret indictment, which was unsealed Thursday.

Trabelsi, 43, is charged with conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals outside the United States, conspiracy and attempt to use weapons of mass destruction, and additional charges of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

—Tribune Washington Bureau


Bell corruption figure pleads no contest, to get 10 to 12 years in prison

LOS ANGELES — Robert Rizzo, the city administrator who became a national symbol for public corruption for alleged graft in the small Los Angeles-area city of Bell, pleaded no contest to 69 charges, prosecutors said Thursday.

Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said in a statement that Rizzo had agreed to serve 10 to 12 years in state prison, which she described as the largest sentence ever in an LA County public corruption case.

Rizzo is accused of falsifying public records, perjury, conspiracy, misappropriating public funds and conflict of interest.

Five former Bell city council members were convicted of some corruption charges earlier this year.

—Los Angeles Times


Texas laws would keep 22,000 women from getting abortions, study shows

AUSTIN, Texas — A University of Texas study indicates that more than 22,200 Texas women would be prevented from obtaining an abortion in the next year if stricter regulations go into effect later this month, a court filing shows.

The study results, submitted to federal court this week by abortion providers seeking to block the regulations, was conducted by UT’s Texas Policy Evaluation Project, a three-year collaboration that measures the effect of state laws affecting reproductive health.

A hearing on the providers’ request for a preliminary injunction will be Oct. 21 before U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel in Austin. The rules — requiring abortion doctors to get admitting privileges in a nearby hospital and further regulating drug-induced abortions — take effect Oct. 29.

—Austin American-Statesman


At least 103 migrants dead in sinking of boat off Italy

ROME — Rescuers feared on Thursday that the bodies of 100 more migrants may be trapped inside a boat that sank off the southern Italian island of Lampedusa, but the official death toll was put at 103 in one of the deadliest such accidents.

The ANSA news agency quoted the mayor of Lampedusa as saying that 10 more bodies were recovered, taking the official death toll to 103. While there were 155 survivors, hundreds were still missing at sea.

Italian Interior Minister and Deputy Premier Angelino Alfano said the migrants had lit a blanket to attract the attention of passing fishing boats, but accidentally set their own boat on fire.

The captain, a Tunisian, was arrested on charges of human trafficking.



Russia pulls diplomats from Libya after embassy attack

JERUSALEM — Russia ordered its diplomats to leave Libya on Thursday after unidentified gunmen tried to storm the Russian Embassy in Tripoli late Wednesday.

No Russians were injured in the attack, which included rocket and automatic weapons fire, and the attackers were repelled by embassy security personnel. But the attackers managed to scale the compound’s walls on three sides and pull down the Russian flag. Unconfirmed reports said one Libyan may have been killed.

The attack is the second in less than two years on the Russian compound. In February 2012, Syrians and Libyans launched a similar assault to protest Russia’s blocking of a U.N. resolution condemning Syrian President Bashar Assad.

—McClatchy Foreign Staff


Russia charges 16 more in Greenpeace protest

MOSCOW — An additional 16 people were charged by Russia with piracy Thursday for their role in a foiled Greenpeace protest of oil drilling in the Arctic, a Russian television network reported.

Among the new defendants are Greenpeace activists, crew members of the environmental organization’s Arctic Sunrise icebreaker and Moscow-based freelance photographer Denis Sinyakov, Rossiya-24 reported. They join 14 others who were charged with piracy the day before.

The 30 defendants, who are being held in the Russian Far East port of Murmansk, include nationals of 18 countries, including the United States and Russia. Sinyakov, who is Russian, was covering the protest on assignment for, a popular Russian online publication.

If convicted, each defendant could face up to 15 years in prison.

—Los Angeles Times


At least 13 dead in attack by Pakistan militants

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — At least 13 people were killed and 10 wounded early Thursday when a suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden vehicle into the compound of a pro-government militant group in a remote area of northwestern Pakistan, a local official said.

The attack took place in Hangu district in tribal areas adjacent to the North Waziristan Agency shortly after dawn, according to the official, who asked not to be identified citing security concerns. The blast reportedly destroyed part of a compound belonging to Nabi Hanafi, an influential anti-Taliban commander in the restive tribal area.

The Pakistani Taliban took responsibility for the attack. “Nabi is our enemy and more attacks will continue in the future,” said spokesman Shahidullah Shahid by telephone.

—Los Angeles Times