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U.S. appeals court throws Arctic drilling into further doubt

By Steve Quinn JUNEAU, Alaska (Reuters) - A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that the U.S. Interior Department wrongly awarded offshore oil leases in the Chukchi Sea near Alaska in 2008 without considering the full range of environmental risks posed by drilling in the Arctic. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sent the on-going dispute - pitting environmental groups and Native Alaska tribes against the federal government and energy companies - back to U.S. District in Anchorage, Alaska.

U.S. Interior Dept rejects deal on road through Alaska wildlife preserve

By Valerie Volcovici WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Department of the Interior, after a four-year environmental analysis, on Monday rejected a deal proposed by the state of Alaska and an indigenous group to swap 61,000 acres for conservation in exchange for the right to build an emergency road through a wildlife refuge.

Lawyer for California off-road race crash victims says $5.8M settlement reached

SANTA ANA, Calif. - A $5.8 million agreement has been reached to settle lawsuits over a 2010 desert off-road race crash that killed eight people and injured 12 on federally owned land in California, a lawyer said Wednesday. Attorney Katherine Harvey-Lee, who represents three injured spectators and the father of one person killed, said the deal was reached in mediation on Tuesday. The crash occurred when a truck competing in the California 200 race sailed off a jump and slammed into the crowd in the Mojave Desert.

Four dead, 6 injured in plane crash in southwest Alaska

JUNEAU, Alaska (Reuters) - A Cessna 208 with at least 10 people on board crashed in southwest Alaska on Friday evening, killing four people including the pilot and injuring six others, officials said. The small, single-engine aircraft, heading for St. Mary's from Bethel, two small settlements in a remote area of the U.S. state, was reported missing at about 7 p.m. local time (2300 ET Friday), said Megan Peters, a spokeswoman for the Alaska State Troopers.

Long-missing man taken to Mexico as toddler reunited with U.S. mother

By Marty Graham SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - A Chicago-born man, who went missing three decades ago as a toddler after his father took him to Mexico, has been reunited with his U.S. mother in California after a harrowing trek back to the United States. David Amaya Barrick, now 37, was arrested by U.S. Border Patrol agents last month but freed after convincing authorities of his U.S. citizenship - only to vanish again for several days before turning up at a San Diego church.

Official: Alaska looking at equity stake in pipeline to protect its interests, advance project

JUNEAU, Alaska - An Alaska official said Monday the state is looking at taking a multibillion-dollar equity stake in a major natural gas pipeline project as a way to protect its interests and help make the long-hoped-for project a reality. Natural Resources Commissioner Joe Balash said Gov. Sean Parnell's administration views a potential equity stake of 20 per cent to 30 per centfavourably. But he said any level of participation would depend on legislative buy-in and the terms the companies pursuing the project are willing to accept.

Border initiatives between Canada and U.S. moving far too slowly: John Manley

OTTAWA - Bilateral efforts to ease trade, travel and commerce across the Canada-U.S. border are in desperate need of a shot in the arm, says the head of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives. John Manley says a historic opportunity to slash red tape at the Canada-U.S. boundary is in real danger of slipping away. Progress so far has been "disappointingly modest," Manley says in prepared comments obtained by The Canadian Press in advance of his meeting Friday with Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and 100 Canadian and U.S. business leaders in Detroit.

Former border cops who made smugglers eat pot get two years in prison

By Brad Poole TUCSON, Arizona (Reuters) - Two ex-U.S. Border Patrol agents who forced a group of suspected drug smugglers to chew handfuls of marijuana and flee shoeless into the chilly Arizona desert were each sentenced on Tuesday to two years in federal prison. A jury convicted Dario Castillo, 25, and Ramon Zuniga, 31, in April of violating the civil rights of the four Mexican men, all of whom were in the United States illegally, in connection with the incident in southern Arizona five years ago.

Mexico frees 61 kidnap victims held near U.S. border

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican authorities freed 61 kidnapping victims in the northern border city of Reynosa, the government said on Friday, liberating a mix of foreign nationals that included at least nine minors and one American. The raid, which took place on Thursday in four separate buildings in Reynosa, freed captives from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Mexico and the United States, government spokesman Eduardo Sanchez said at a news conference in the capital.

Pro-immigrant protesters arrested in Tucson after blocking buses

By Brad Poole TUCSON, Arizona (Reuters) - Some 15 people were arrested in Arizona on Friday after immigration rights activists blocked two buses bringing suspected illegal immigrants to a federal courthouse in Tucson for deportation hearings, forcing a judge to cancel the proceedings.
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