Regret over Chinese ban
Lawmakers launched a drive on Thursday for Congress to make an official statement of regret for the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, which banned immigration by Chinese workers and their naturalization as US citizens. After years of grassroots campaigning by Asian Americans, members of Congress from both major parties unveiled a bill saying that the US “deeply regrets” the exclusion act and discrimination against ethnic Chinese. “For a generation of our ancestors, including my own grandfather, who were told for six decades by the US government that the Land of the Free wasn’t open to them, it is long past time that Congress officially and formally recognizes these ugly laws and expresses sincere regret,” said Representative Judy Chu, who heads the Asian-American caucus.
‘Mob boss’ denied bail
A federal judge on Thursday ordered the reputed boss of the Philadelphia mob and an alleged high-ranking associate held without bail on racketeering and gambling charges, despite hearing arguments from defense attorneys that the indictment does not accuse them of committing violent acts that would make them a danger to the community. Judge Timothy Rice denied bail for Joseph “Uncle Joe” Ligambi, pointing to Ligambi’s criminal record, evidence that he has a history of intimidating witnesses and his alleged stature as head of Philadelphia’s La Cosa Nostra.
Court backs Arizona law
The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld an Arizona law that allows the state to shut down businesses that hire illegal immigrants, a ruling arising from the fierce national debate on immigration policy. The decision could spur other states and cities to adopt their own tough anti-immigration measures in the workplace. At least eight other states have laws similar to Arizona’s. By a 5-3 vote, the high court rejected arguments by business and civil rights groups and by President Barack Obama’s administration that the Arizona measure must be struck down for conflicting with federal immigration law.
Protest turns violent
Hundreds of demonstrators mobbed government buildings and burned police cars in the southeastern city of Puno as a protest against mining firms intensified 10 days before a presidential election. About 5,000 protesters have descended on the city over the past two weeks to demand concessions be revoked for mining companies they say will contaminate their lands. Roads to neighboring Bolivia are now blocked, paralyzing commerce. President Alan Garcia earlier this week authorized the army to help maintain order in Puno, but it has yet to use force to end the protests.
Sex culprit caught in the act
California authorities said a registered sex offender who was banned from using the Internet was arrested while browsing Facebook — next to a sheriff’s detective in an Apple store. Investigators said Robert Nicholas McGuire, 35, was spotted on Wednesday in San Luis Obispo by the Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement Team and was followed to the retailer. He was recognized from a previous child pornography case. The San Luis Obispo County Tribune reported that McGuire logged on to a display computer and a detective went to the system next to him and pulled up the Megan’s Law sex offender Web site, which showed McGuire is prohibited from using the Internet.