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3 Mexicans, 6 Guatemalans sentenced to 106 years in drug massacre of 27

GUATEMALA CITY – A Guatemalan court has convicted three Mexican men and six Guatemalans on murder and kidnapping charges for the 2011 massacre of 27 farm workers. It sentenced each of them to 106 years in prison. Judge Jeannette Valdez Rodas said Friday in announcing the verdict that the evidence showed “a scene of terror” …

UN says civilians bore brunt of ethnic violence that likely killed thousands in South Sudan

The United Nations says in its first report on human rights abuses during the conflict in South Sudan that civilians bore the brunt of ethnic violence that likely killed thousands. The report says thousands more were subjected to rape, arbitrary arrest, torture and the looting and burning of their homes. The U.N. peacekeeping mission in …

Proposal to divide California into 6 states moves closer to voter consideration

  LOS ANGELES – California has reached the breaking point, says a Silicon Valley venture capitalist who is pushing a proposal to divide the nation’s most populous state into six separate states. California has grown so big, so inefficient, it’s essentially ungovernable, according to a ballot initiative that could reach voters as early as November. …

Obama to host Dalai Lama on Friday at White House; US urges China to talk with Tibetan leader

    WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama will meet with Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Friday at the White House. The White House says Obama is hosting the Dalai Lama in his capacity as a respected religious and cultural leader. The Nobel laureate is famed for his peaceful struggle for greater Tibetan autonomy …

8 US school wrestlers kicked out of tournament after lynching photo appears online

    TRENTON, N.J. -An attorney for eight young U.S. wrestlers kicked out of a tournament after a photo surfaced of team members apparently simulating a lynching says the boys only intended to show school spirit. Scott Wilhelm said in a prepared statement that the New Jersey students didn’t think what they were doing could …

Arizona lawmakers approve bill allowing religious people to refuse service to gays

  PHOENIX – Arizona’s legislature approved a bill Thursday that allows business owners asserting their religious beliefs to refuse service to gays and others. Democrats called the proposal “state-sanctioned discrimination” and an embarrassment. The 33-27 vote by the House sends the bill to Republican Gov. Jan Brewer. The legislation prompted a heated debate on the …

Going bananas! Nicaragua to try 3 men for trying to steal 2 pieces of fruit

    MANAGUA, Nicaragua – A court’s decision to hold three men for trial for the attempted theft of two bananas is drawing surprise and ridicule from lawyers in Nicaragua. The bananas stolen are valued at 32 cents. The trial is expected to cost at least $600. Prosecutors said in preliminary proceedings Thursday the three …

US Army chief of staff meets top Chinese generals amid tensions, efforts to build trust

BEIJING – The U.S. Army chief met with top Chinese generals in Beijing Friday amid regional tensions and efforts to build trust between the two nation’s militaries. U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno was greeted with full military honours Friday morning at China’s Defence Ministry and had a full day of meetings scheduled …

Philippine authorities kill 7 suspected drug traffickers, arrest over a dozen in southern city

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine authorities killed at least seven alleged drug traffickers and arrested dozens of others Friday in raids in a southern city, police said. Police officers and Drug Enforcement Agency agents were met by gunfire when they raided 26 hideouts of suspected drug traffickers in Davao city’s coastal Tibungco district, said Chief Superintendent …

Manta rays worth more alive than dead; Indonesia becomes world’s largest sanctuary

      JAKARTA, Indonesia – Indonesia is now the world’s largest sanctuary for manta rays, after officials were persuaded by evidence that the gentle giants known for delighting tourists are worth more alive than dead. The government on Friday announced that manta rays within the archipelago’s 5.8 million square kilometres (2.2 million square miles) …