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Judge rules new DACA program can continue temporarily

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FILE - Susana Lujano, left, a dreamer from Mexico who lives in Houston, joins other activists to rally in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on June 15, 2022. The fate of DACA, a program preventing the deportation of hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought into the United States as children, was set Friday, Oct. 14, 2022, to again be in front of a federal judge who has previously declared it illegal. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

HOUSTON (AP) — A federal judge ruled Friday that the current version of a federal policy that prevents the deportation of hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the U.S. as children can continue, at least temporarily.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen — who last year declared the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program illegal — said that the policy, which is set to proceed under new regulations at the end of the month, can continue with limitations that he previously set. Those limitations say there can be no new applicants for DACA and that those who are already in the program can continue to be in it and renew their application.

Hanen ordered attorneys in the case to provide more information and said he expects additional legal arguments related to the new rule, but there was no timetable set for future hearings. It’s also unclear when Hanen will give his final decision on the case, which is expected to end up at the U.S. Supreme Court.

The current version of DACA, which the Biden administration created to improve its chances of surviving legal scrutiny, is set to take effect Oct. 31.

The case went back to Hanen after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans said last week he should take another look at DACA following revisions adopted by the Biden administration.

Before the hearing Friday morning, a group of about 30 community activists gathered in support of DACA at a park next to the federal courthouse. They held up signs that said, “Judge Hanen Do the Right Thing Protect DACA” and “Immigrants Are Welcomed.” They chanted as many of them marched into the courthouse to attend the hearing.

Hanen last year declared DACA illegal after Texas and eight other Republican-leaning states filed a lawsuit claiming they are harmed financially, incurring hundreds of millions of dollars in health care, education and other costs, when immigrants are allowed to remain in the country illegally. They also argued that the White House overstepped its authority by granting immigration benefits that are for Congress to decide.

“Only Congress has the ability to write our nation’s immigration laws,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Thursday in a statement.

Hanen found DACA had not been subjected to public notice and comment periods required under the federal Administrative Procedures Act. But he left the Obama-era program intact for those already benefiting from it, pending the appeal. There were 611,270 people enrolled in DACA at the end of March.

A three-judge panel of the New Orleans-based appeals court upheld Hanen’s initial finding but sent the case back to Hanen so he could review the impact of the federal government’s new DACA regulation.

The new rule’s 453 pages are largely technical and represent little substantive change from the 2012 memo that created DACA, but it was subject to public comments as part of a formal rule-making process.

But even if Hanen were to issue a positive ruling on the new DACA regulation, the judge might still decide the program is illegal because it was not created by Congress, Perales said.

“Which is why so many right now are calling on Congress to act,” she said.

After last week’s appeals court ruling, President Joe Biden and advocacy groups renewed their calls for Congress to pass permanent protections for “Dreamers,” which is what people protected by DACA are commonly called. Congress has failed multiple times to pass proposals called the DREAM Act to protect DACA recipients.

Whatever Hanen decides, DACA is expected to go to the Supreme Court for a third time. In 2016, the Supreme Court deadlocked 4-4 over an expanded DACA and a version of the program for parents of DACA recipients. In 2020, the high court ruled 5-4 that the Trump administration improperly ended DACA, allowing it to stay in place.

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NATO secretary-general says some allies have air defense systems they could give to Ukraine

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BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Friday pressed member countries to give more Patriot missile systems to Ukraine as President Volodymyr Zelenskyy repeated Kyiv’s almost daily appeals for more Western air defense equipment.

“NATO has mapped out existing capabilities across the alliance and there are systems that can be made available to Ukraine,” Stoltenberg told reporters after an online meeting of defense ministers from the 32-nation alliance, which Zelenskyy took part in remotely.

Russia’s air force is vastly more powerful than Ukraine’s, but sophisticated missile systems provided by Kyiv’s Western partners are a major threat to Russian aviation as the Kremlin’s forces slowly push forward along the around 1,000-kilometer (620-mile) front line in the war.

Kyiv is seeking at least seven Patriot batteries. Stoltenberg declined to say which NATO nations have air defense systems or how many might be available, saying that this is classified information, but he insisted that he expects the countries to make new announcements of support soon, not only Patriots.

“Allies must dig deep into their inventories and speed up the delivery of missiles, artillery and ammunition. Ukraine is using the weapons we provide it to destroy Russian combat capabilities. This makes us all safer,” he said.

“Support to Ukraine is not charity. It is an investment in our own security,” Stoltenberg added.

Patriot missile batteries can take two years to make, so countries that have them can be reluctant for security reasons to leave themselves exposed. Germany had a total of 12, but is supplying three to Ukraine. Poland, which borders Ukraine, has only two and needs them for its own defenses.

Greece, the Netherlands, Romania and Spain also possess Patriots. One major advantage of providing the U.S.-made systems, apart from their effectiveness, is that Ukrainian troops are already trained in their use.

NATO keeps track of the stocks of weapons held by its 32 member countries to ensure that they are able to execute the organization’s defense plans in times of need.

But Stoltenberg said that if dropping below the guidelines is “the only way NATO allies are able to provide Ukraine with the weapons they need to defend themself, well that’s a risk we have to take.”

Beyond providing new Patriot batteries, Stoltenberg said that it’s also important for the allies to ensure that the batteries they send are well maintained, have spare parts and plenty of interceptor missiles.

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Terry Anderson, AP reporter held captive for years, has died

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Terry Anderson, the globe-trotting Associated Press correspondent who became one of America’s longest-held hostages after he was snatched from a street in war-torn Lebanon in 1985 and held for nearly seven years, has died at 76.

Anderson, who chronicled his abduction and torturous imprisonment by Islamic militants in his best-selling 1993 memoir “Den of Lions,” died on Sunday in at his home in Greenwood Lake, New York, said his daughter, Sulome Anderson.

The cause of death was unknown, though his daughter said Anderson recently had heart surgery.

After returning to the United States in 1991, Anderson led a peripatetic life, giving public speeches, teaching journalism at several prominent universities and, at various times, operating a blues bar, Cajun restaurant, horse ranch and gourmet restaurant.

He also struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder, won millions of dollars in frozen Iranian assets after a federal court concluded that country played a role in his capture, then lost most of it to bad investments. He filed for bankruptcy in 2009.

Upon retiring from the University of Florida in 2015, Anderson settled on a small horse farm in a quiet, rural section of northern Virginia he had discovered while camping with friends. `

“I live in the country and it’s reasonably good weather and quiet out here and a nice place, so I’m doing all right,” he said with a chuckle during a 2018 interview with The Associated Press.

In 1985 he became one of several Westerners abducted by members of the Shiite Muslim group Hebollah during a time of war that had plunged Lebanon into chaos.

After his release, he returned to a hero’s welcome at AP’s New York headquarters.

As the AP’s chief Middle East correspondent, Anderson had been reporting for several years on the rising violence gripping Lebanon as the country fought a war with Israel, while Iran funded militant groups trying to topple its government.

On March 16, 1985, a day off, he had taken a break to play tennis with former AP photographer Don Mell and was dropping Mell off at his home when gun-toting kidnappers dragged him from his car.

He was likely targeted, he said, because he was one of the few Westerners still in Lebanon and because his role as a journalist aroused suspicion among members of Hezbollah.

“Because in their terms, people who go around asking questions in awkward and dangerous places have to be spies,“ he told the Virginia newspaper The Review of Orange County in 2018.

What followed was nearly seven years of brutality during which he was beaten, chained to a wall, threatened with death, often had guns held to his head and often was kept in solitary confinement for long periods of time.

Anderson was the longest held of several Western hostages Hezbollah abducted over the years, including Terry Waite, the former envoy to the Archbishop of Canterbury, who had arrived to try to negotiate his release.

By his and other hostages’ accounts, he was also their most hostile prisoner, constantly demanding better food and treatment, arguing religion and politics with his captors, and teaching other hostages sign language and where to hide messages so they could communicate privately.

He managed to retain a quick wit and biting sense of humor during his long ordeal. On his last day in Beirut he called the leader of his kidnappers into his room to tell him he’d just heard an erroneous radio report saying he’d been freed and was in Syria.

“I said, ‘Mahmound, listen to this, I’m not here. I’m gone, babes. I’m on my way to Damascus.’ And we both laughed,” he told Giovanna DellÓrto, author of “AP Foreign Correspondents in Action: World War II to the Present.”

He learned later his release was delayed when a third party who his kidnappers planned to turn him over to left for a tryst with his mistress and they had to find someone else.

Anderson’s humor often hid the PTSD he acknowledged suffering for years afterward.

“The AP got a couple of British experts in hostage decompression, clinical psychiatrists, to counsel my wife and myself and they were very useful,” he said in 2018. “But one of the problems I had was I did not recognize sufficiently the damage that had been done.

“So, when people ask me, you know, ‘Are you over it?’ Well, I don’t know. No, not really. It’s there. I don’t think about it much these days, it’s not central to my life. But it’s there.”

At the time of his abduction, Anderson was engaged to be married and his future wife was six months pregnant with their daughter, Sulome.

The couple married soon after his release but divorced a few years later, and although they remained on friendly terms Anderson and his daughter were estranged for years.

“I love my dad very much. My dad has always loved me. I just didn’t know that because he wasn’t able to show it to me,” Sulome Anderson told the AP in 2017.

Father and daughter reconciled after the publication of her critically acclaimed 2017 book, “The Hostage’s Daughter,” in which she told of traveling to Lebanon to confront and eventually forgive one of her father’s kidnappers.

“I think she did some extraordinary things, went on a very difficult personal journey, but also accomplished a pretty important piece of journalism doing it,” Anderson said. “She’s now a better journalist than I ever was.”

Terry Alan Anderson was born Oct. 27, 1947. He spent his early childhood years in the small Lake Erie town of Vermilion, Ohio, where his father was a police officer.

After graduating from high school, he turned down a scholarship to the University of Michigan in favor of enlisting in the Marines, where he rose to the rank of staff sergeant while seeing combat during the Vietnam War.

After returning home, he enrolled at Iowa State University where he graduated with a double major in journalism and political science and soon after went to work for the AP. He reported from Kentucky, Japan and South Africa before arriving in Lebanon in 1982, just as the country was descending into chaos.

“Actually, it was the most fascinating job I’ve ever had in my life,” he told The Review. “It was intense. War’s going on — it was very dangerous in Beirut. Vicious civil war, and I lasted about three years before I got kidnapped.”

Anderson was married and divorced three times. In addition to his daughter, he is survived by another daughter, Gabrielle Anderson, from his first marriage.

 

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Race car in Sri Lanka veers off track killing 7 people and injuring 20, officials say

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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — A race car veered off the track during a competition in Sri Lanka on Sunday and rammed into a crowd of spectators and race officials, killing seven people and injuring 20 others, officials said.

Thousands of spectators looked on as the mishap took place during a race in the town of Diyatalawa in the tea-growing central hills, about 180 kilometers (110 miles) east of the capital Colombo.

It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the mishap.

Police spokesman Nihal Thalduwa said one of the cars veered off the track and crashed into spectators and officials of the event. Seven people, including four officials, were killed and another 20 were being treated at a hospital, said Thalduwa. He said three of the injured were in critical condition.

Thalduwa said police have launched an investigation into the accident, which was the 17th out of 24 events scheduled. The race was suspended after the accident.

About 45,000 spectators had gathered at the race circuit at a Sri Lankan military academy. The event was organized by the Sri Lankan army and Sri Lanka Automobile Sports.

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