Dispatches > The Buzz

The Buzz

The latest on this week's biggest stories

Issue: "Katrina: One year later," Aug. 26, 2006

Crime

U.S. Coast Guard officers nabbed Mexican drug lord Francisco Javier Arellano Felix, 36, as he deep-sea fished off Baja California Aug. 14. "We've taken the head off the snake," said Michael Braun, chief of operations for the Drug Enforcement Administration. Arellano Felix led one of the most-wanted drug cartels, charged with at least 20 murders in the United States and Mexico, and with the construction of drug tunnels (pictured) from Mexico to the United States discovered last January. More than 2 tons of marijuana were found in the longest tunnel, which stretched 2,400 feet from Tijuana to San Diego.

A former schoolteacher admitted to the 1996 killing of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey after he was arrested Aug. 16 at a downtown Bangkok apartment. John Mark Karr, 41, will face charges of murder, kidnapping, and child sexual assault in Colorado, U.S. officials said.

Disaster & relief

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A federal judge ruled Aug. 15 that an insurance company's policies do not cover damage from flood waters or storm surge in a decision that could affect hundreds of upcoming cases related to property damage from Hurricane Katrina. The ruling is good news for insurance companies that have paid $17.6 billion already in Katrina-related damages. But it's bad news for Paul and Julie Leonard of Pascagoula, who had estimated total damage to their home at over $130,000 and have received from Nationwide $1,661 in wind damage compensation.

One year after Katrina ripped into the Gulf Coast on Aug. 29, 2005, much of the region remains crippled by destruction, even as families who've been helped say they have found new hope.

Immigration

Wonder why immigration became an instant hot-button issue this year? A new Census Bureau survey helps to explain. The number of immigrants living in the United States has increased by 16 percent in the last five years, with 41 million Hispanics comprising the largest group out of a total U.S. population of 280 million. The survey also showed that new immigrants are passing up traditional gateway states like California and New York and settling in the Midwest, Southeast, New England, and the Rocky Mountain states. With members of Congress divided over immigration reform legislation, immigration-themed stump speeches are summer fare in border states and elsewhere.

Lebanon

Before dawn Aug. 17, several hundred Israeli soldiers crossed back over the border into Israel as up to 15,000 Lebanese moved in to take up their abandoned positions south of the Litani border. The military change-up is part of a UN-mandated ceasefire following a month of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah, and Lebanese forces are due reinforcements from a French-led international force. But Lebanon's parliament sidestepped the issue of disarming the militants-a key to long-term peace demanded not only by Israel and the United States but by leading religious leaders in Lebanon.

Terrorism

Remember when the United States and Great Britain had no allies in the war on terror? European Union leaders agreed to extend new British restrictions on airline travel across the continent a week after London authorities revealed a plot to bring down transatlantic airliners. "We face a persistent and very real threat across Europe," British Home Secretary John Reid told a joint news conference in London Aug. 16 after meeting with European colleagues. EU ministers plan to further coordinate on tackling liquid explosives, transport security, intelligence exchange, and the nature of European Islam.

"We came to the conclusion that a united Europe will win the battle with terrorists," Finnish Interior Minister Kari Rajamaki said. The new spirit of cooperation follows aid from Pakistan in tracking down the two dozen or so Islamists linked to the plot. Arrests also came with surveillance help from Spanish and Italian authorities.

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