- - Wednesday, January 5, 2011

GEORGIA

Lawmaker targets birth citizenship

ATLANTA | A key Georgia lawmaker said Wednesday the state should consider legislation that could keep the children of illegal immigrants born in the United States from being granted automatic citizenship.

State Sen. Jack Murphy, co-chairman of a legislative committee on immigration, was one of a group of state legislators from around the country who met in Washington on Wednesday to discuss a plan to challenge automatic citizenship for infants born in the U.S. to illegal immigrants.

“The anchor baby loophole has grown to such large proportions that our state and our nation can no longer afford to ignore it,” Mr. Murphy, Cumming Republican, said in a statement. “Members of our committee must begin to look at legislation that will close these loopholes in Georgia and protect our citizens.”

Challenging automatic citizenship has recently gained momentum among Republican lawmakers at the state and national levels. With conservatives gaining seats in November in many statehouses around the country, tough illegal immigration measures are expected to be introduced this year.

MISSISSIPPI

Collins held in jail over restaurant tab

JACKSON | Actor Gary Collins was released from custody Wednesday after being charged with a felony over accusations that he left a restaurant without paying his $59.35 tab, police said.

Assistant Chief Rodney McGilvary of the Biloxi Police Department said the former TV host was charged Tuesday night with defrauding an innkeeper and held overnight at the Gulfport detention center on a $5,000 bond.

Mr. Collins posted bond Wednesday and was released. Authorities say no court date was set and Assistant Chief McGilvary said he wasn’t sure whether Mr. Collins had an attorney.

Jazzeppi’s restaurant owner David Mattina told the Biloxi Sun Herald he wasn’t present Tuesday night, but regretted the incident. He told the newspaper Mr. Collins had been a customer for a while and he would seek to have the charge dropped.

NEW YORK

Monthly jobs poll best in a decade

NEW YORK | Companies added nearly 300,000 jobs in December, according to an unofficial count by a private payroll firm - more than in any other month in the past decade. The news raised hopes that the government’s official report Friday on last month’s job creation could be a blockbuster.

While there were reasons to doubt the numbers, the report from Automatic Data Processing, and another showing strength in the nation’s service industries, reversed what was shaping up to be an ugly day on Wall Street. It also generated optimism that the unemployment rate might finally start to fall.

Some economists expressed skepticism about ADP’s monthly figures because they often don’t track the official government employment data. Others said that the report’s estimate of job gains was so high that it at least reinforced evidence that hiring is picking up as employers gain more confidence.

TENNESSEE

Ammo-plant fire kills 1, hurts fireman

OAKLAND | A series of explosions ripped through an ammunition plant Wednesday afternoon, killing one worker and injuring a firefighter while shells fired off for about an hour afterward.

Ed Gaugh, emergency management director for Fayette County, said a 34-year-old male employee died in the blast and subsequent fire at the Kinematics Research plant, which makes shells for pistols and rifles. The worker’s name was not immediately released.

Oakland Police Chief Rick Jewell said at one point a large front door of the building blew off and a white fireball came out. Fire crews could not get close to the building because of the danger. One firefighter was slightly injured, apparently hit by a bullet or fragment of some kind.

“It was scary; we just got out of the way,” he said. “It was a pretty horrific explosion. Rounds were going off for one solid hour. It sounded like continuous machine gun fire.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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