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American Scene: Group files U.N. complaint on state’s immigration law

- - Monday, April 2, 2012

MONTGOMERY — An alliance of union and civil rights groups opposed to Alabama's toughest-in-the-nation immigration law has filed a complaint with the United Nations' International Labor Organization.

The complaint Monday alleges that Alabama law violates international norms. It says the law and the U.S. government's inability to come up with a national immigration policy hurts workers and trade unions.

The law prevents people from knowingly transporting illegal immigrants and prohibits courts from upholding contracts made with them. The complaint alleges that those provisions jeopardize the ability of workers to form and join trade unions.

The labor and Hispanic rights groups are also traveling overseas to shareholder meetings of automakers with Alabama plants. They visited Hyundai's shareholder meeting in February and plan on attending Daimler's on Wednesday in Germany.

CONNECTICUT

Teams set record for longest kickball game

NAUGATUCK — A friendly game of kickball in Connecticut ended after 345 innings with a score of 164-117 and a Guinness world record.

Two teams in Naugatuck raising money for cancer research began playing Friday morning and finally stopped Sunday after 54 hours. That broke the Guinness record for the longest kickball marathon of 51 hours set in May of last year by students at Padua Franciscan High School in Parma, Ohio, whose game ended with a score of 431-306 after 474 innings.

The Republican-American of Waterbury reported that the Connecticut game was played in honor of two local children who survived cancer and raised more than $45,000 for cancer research.

There were 21 people on each team, and players came from as far away as Atlanta and New Hampshire.

COLORADO

Suspicious envelope sent to Blagojevich prison

LITTLETON — A white, powdery substance sent to the suburban Denver prison where convicted former Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich is being held wasn't hazardous.

The envelope, addressed to an inmate, was discovered Monday during routine mail screening at the Federal Correctional Institution Englewood. Prison spokesman John Sell said a hazardous-materials team found that the substance wasn't dangerous.

He wouldn't say which inmate was the intended recipient.

Inmates weren't able to move around the prison while a hazardous-materials team checked out the substance.

Mr. Sell said local and federal law enforcement authorities were also notified.

Blagojevich reported to the prison March 15 to begin serving a 14-year sentence.

ALASKA

Coast Guard monitors derelict Japanese ship

ANCHORAGE — The U.S. Coast Guard is monitoring a derelict Japanese ship that is drifting toward Alaska.

Coast Guard spokesman David Mosley says the shrimping vessel is drifting slowly northwest in the Gulf of Alaska about 125 miles west of the nearest point of land. It is heading toward the southeast Alaska town of Sitka 170 miles to the north.

A Coast Guard C-130 was heading to the ship Monday to pinpoint the location and check if a data buoy was successfully dropped on Saturday.

The vessel has been adrift since it was launched by a tsunami caused by the quake that struck Japan last year.

PENNSYLVANIA

2 jurors removed from city's priest-abuse trial

PHILADELPHIA — Two jurors have been dismissed just one week into the landmark priest-abuse trial under way in Philadelphia.

It's not clear why the pair were removed before the trial resumed Monday, but two of eight alternates replaced them.

Monsignor William Lynn's child-endangerment and conspiracy trial could last three months or more.

The 61-year-old monsignor is the first Roman Catholic church official in the U.S. charged for his handling of priest-abuse complaints. Prosecutors say he helped the church bury them in secret files.

MINNESOTA

Loophole in law let teen drive semi in crash

JORDAN — A 17-year-old boy was behind the wheel of a semi pulling a box trailer converted into a recreational vehicle when the 57,000-pound rig crashed Sunday through a guardrail and into a Kansas ravine, killing five of the 18 people on board.

Adam Kerber's driver's license wouldn't have allowed him to drive a commercial vehicle such as that because of its weight and because it was carrying more than 15 people. But neither of the restrictions applied because of a loophole in Minnesota state law regarding private RVs.

The 13 injured in the crash include the teen, who was still in critical condition Monday.

All those injured or killed were friends or members of the Kerber family.

From wire dispatches and staff reports