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Smugglers took hundreds over north border

By Times wires
Published November 29, 2007


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BURLINGTON, Vt.

Smugglers took hundreds over north border

A human smuggling operation based in Toronto and another in Montreal moved hundreds of immigrants into the United States, with some paying $10,000 apiece, American prosecutors said Wednesday in announcing indictments against the groups. Thomas Anderson, U.S. attorney for Vermont, estimated the groups had brought hundreds of people into the United States from South Korea, Pakistan, India and Central America since 2004, though he did not have a specific figure. Officials said that some of the people brought into the United States had previous criminal records in this country. Eight of the 11 people charged have been arrested.

WASHINGTON

U.S. students post flat reading scores

U.S. fourth-graders have lost ground in reading ability compared with kids around the world, according to the results of a global reading test of 45 nations or jurisdictions. Test results released Wednesday showed U.S. students, who took the test last year, scored about the same as they did in 2001, the last time the test was given - despite an increased emphasis on reading under the 2002 No Child Left Behind education law. Still, the U.S. average score on the Progress in International Reading Literacy test remained above the international average. Ten countries or jurisdictions, including Hong Kong and three Canadian provinces, were ahead of the United States this time. In 2001, only three countries were ahead of the United States.

HAZARD, Ky.

Woman was held captive for months

A woman was imprisoned for more than four months by two couples who kept her in a utility closet and beat her, police said Wednesday. Donna Hicks, 42, suffered injuries so severe that she isn't able to speak yet, said Kentucky State Police Detective Dean Craft. An anonymous caller tipped off police on Nov. 11 to the woman in the house about 15 miles north of Hazard, he said. Police said they have not determined a motive. Billy R. Williams, 59; Charlotte Crawford, 52; her son, Billy R. Crawford, 24; and her daughter-in-law, Penny Ford, 30, were charged with felony criminal abuse and unlawful imprisonment. All have denied the allegations.

WASHINGTON

Air Force grounds Boeing F-15 again

The Air Force grounded more than 450 Boeing F-15 fighter jets on Wednesday after investigating a crash this month and finding defects in its fuselage. It was the second time this month that F-15s were grounded.

Crashes: Two Air Force T-6A Texan II training planes collided Wednesday over eastern Mississippi and crashed, but all four crew members ejected safely, an Air Force spokesman said. Meanwhile, a Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier crashed in a remote desert training area in southern Arizona but the pilot ejected safely, officials said Wednesday. The causes of both crashes are under investigation.

Elsewhere

Hunting death: James Nichols, 29, the white hunter convicted of killing a Hmong man while both hunted in Wisconsin, was sentenced to the maximum 69 years in prison Wednesday.

Asthma drug: A Food and Drug Administration committee advised Wednesday that a warning on the asthma drug Serevent that it "may increase the risk of asthma-related death" be more specific to children.

[Last modified November 29, 2007, 02:34:53]


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