High court sustains Arizona employer sanctions law

Posted May 26, 2011, at 9:12 p.m.

The Supreme Court upheld an Arizona law Thursday that penalizes businesses for hiring workers who are in the United States illegally, rejecting arguments that states have no role in immigration matters.

By a 5-3 vote, the court said that federal immigration law gives states the authority to impose sanctions on employers who hire unauthorized workers.

The ruling cheered supporters of tougher immigration laws who said it would encourage states to take new steps, especially in the employment area.

The decision upholding the validity of the 2007 law comes as the state is appealing a ruling that blocked key components of a second, more controversial Arizona immigration enforcement law. Thursday’s decision applies only to business licenses and does not signal how the high court might rule if the other law comes before it.

Still, the ruling placed the court’s five Republican appointed justices on the side of the state, and against the Chamber of Commerce, which challenged the law along with the American Civil Liberties Union.

7 US troops among 9 dead in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — Nine NATO service members were killed Thursday in Afghanistan, including seven U.S. troops among eight who died when a powerful bomb exploded in a field where they were patrolling on foot, officials said.

Two Afghan policemen also died and two others were wounded in the explosion in the mountainous Shorabak district of Kandahar province, 12 miles from the Pakistan border, said Gen. Abdul Raziq, chief of the Afghan border police in the province.

“Two months ago, we cleared this area of terrorists, but still they are active there,” Raziq said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the blast.

“A bomb was planted for them in a field,” Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi told The Associated Press in a telephone call.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to disclose the information, confirmed that seven American service members died in the bombing.

The international military coalition reported that one additional NATO service member was killed Thursday when a helicopter crashed in the east.

It was the deadliest day for coalition forces in Afghanistan since April 27, when a veteran Afghan military pilot opened fire at Kabul airport and killed eight U.S. troops and an American civilian contractor.

Syrian opposition calls on army to revolt

BEIRUT — The Syrian opposition called on the nation’s army Thursday to join the uprising against President Bashar Assad’s regime, saying regime elements are targeting protesters and troops.

The opposition said on Facebook that protests planned for Friday will honor the “Guardians of the Nation,” a reference to the army.

The call appears to be an effort to break a stalemate after nearly 10 weeks of protests. During the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, the armed forces broke with the regimes and sided with the protesters.

Human rights groups say the government’s crackdown on dissent has killed more than 1,000 people, including dozens of soldiers over the past two months.

The regime blames the unrest on “armed groups,” not reform-seekers.

The letter posted on the Syrian Revolution 2011 Facebook page read that people took to the streets to demand freedom in Syria but “were assassinated by the same hands that assassinated our honorable soldiers.”

Explosions in south China city kill 3

BEIJING — Homemade bombs exploded at three government buildings in a south China city within a half hour Thursday, killing three people and wounding at least nine others in what state media said was a revenge attack by a middle-aged jobless man.

The first bomb was in a car parked outside the prosecutor’s office in Fuzhou city. That was followed by an explosion at a district government building and then another car bomb outside the drug administration office, said an official at the information office of Jiangxi province, where Fuzhou is located. He gave only his sur-name, Zhang.

The official Xinhua News Agency, citing police officials it did not further identify, said the bombs were apparently set by an unemployed 52-year-old city resident, Qian Mingqi, who was killed in one of the explosions. Provincial and city officials said they could not confirm the report.

Xinhua said Qian was involved in a dispute over the demolishing of his home. Messages posted to Twitter-like micro-blogging sites under the name Qian Mingqi described a frustrating, fruitless 10-year effort to obtain compensation after being forced from his home to make way for a highway. In a message posted Wednesday, Qian promised to take action. It could not be independently confirmed  whether the messages were posted by the suspect in the attacks.

— FROM WIRE SERVICE REPORTS

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