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N/W Briefs


March 17. 2013 11:42PM


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WASHINGTON


Court weighs citizenship


The Supreme Court will struggle this week with the validity of an Arizona law that tries to keep illegal immigrants from voting by demanding all state residents show documents proving their U.S. citizenship before registering to vote in national elections.


The high court will hear arguments today over the legality of Arizona’s voter-approved requirement that prospective voters document their U.S. citizenship in order to use a registration form produced under the federal “Motor Voter” voter registration law that doesn’t require such documentation.


This case focuses on voter registration in Arizona, but it has broader implications because four other states — Alabama, Georgia, Kansas and Tennessee — have similar requirements, and 12 other states are contemplating similar legislation, officials say.


The Obama administration is supporting challengers to the law.


NEW DELHI


Swiss woman gang raped


Police said they arrested five men Sunday in connection with the gang rape of a Swiss woman who was attacked in central India while on a cycling vacation with her husband.


All five men admitted to the attack, which occurred Friday night as the woman and her husband camped out in a forest in Datia district of Madhya Pradesh state, said D. K. Arya, a senior police officer.


Arya said the men, who are from nearby villages, were arrested in Datia. Police were searching for two other men believed to have been involved in the attack, he said.


The couple told police that the woman had been raped by seven or eight men, but that it was dark and they could not be sure of the exact number, Arya said. They said the husband also was attacked by the men.


The attack came three months after the fatal gang rape of a woman aboard a New Delhi bus outraged Indians, and was front-page news in Indian newspapers on Saturday.


SUTTON, Vt.


Pipeline operation defended


The Canadian energy industry insists it has no plans to reverse the flow of a pipeline that carries crude oil from Maine to Montreal, but that has done little to reassure New England towns that oppose the idea and the 18 members of Congress asking for a full environmental review.


Environmentalists in the U.S. and Canada started raising the alarm about oil they call “tar sands” or “oil sands” being moved through northern New England several months ago.


The Portland Montreal Pipe Line carries foreign crude oil from tankers docked in Portland, Maine, inland to eastern Canada, which imports most of its oil and has refineries there.


Opponents claim moving the Alberta oil through the aging Portland-Montreal pipeline would a threat because it is thicker and more corrosive than the regular crude it now carries, making it more likely to spill and cause an environmental disaster.


BEIRUT


Syrian rival gov’t planned


Syria’s main opposition group is launching its most serious attempt yet to form a rival government to President Bashar Assad’s regime, convening in Turkey on Monday to choose an interim prime minister for areas the rebels control.


Twelve candidates are running, including economists, businessmen and a former Syrian Cabinet minister.


Some warn setting up such a government could close the door to negotiating an end to Syria’s civil war and instead harden the battle lines even more.




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