Ranchers split over US border plan
When Dan Bell drives through his 35,000-acre cattle ranch, he speaks of the hurdles that the Border Patrol faces in his rolling green hills of oak and mesquite trees — the hours it takes to drive to some places, the wilderness areas that are generally off-limits to motorized vehicles, the environmental reviews required to extend a dirt road.
John Ladd offers a different take from his 14,000-acre spread: the Border Patrol already has more than enough roads and its beefed-up presence has flooded his land and eroded the soil.
Their differences explain why ranchers are on opposite sides of the fence over a sweeping proposal to waive environmental reviews on federal lands within 100 miles of Mexico and Canada for the sake of border security. The Border Patrol would have a free hand to build roads, camera towers, helicopter pads and living quarters without any of the outside scrutiny that can modify or even derail plans to extend its footprint.
The U.S. House approved the bill authored by Utah Republican Rob Bishop in June. But prospects in the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate are extremely slim and chances of President Barack Obama’s signature even slimmer.
Navy SEAL dies of apparent suicide
U.S. military officials are investigating the apparent suicide of a Navy SEAL commander in Afghanistan.
A U.S. military official says SEAL Team Four member Cdr. Job W. Price, 42, of Pottstown, Pa., died Saturday of a non-combat-related injury that the official says “appears to be the result of suicide.”
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the death is still being investigated.
Troops from SEAL Team 4, which is based in Virginia Beach, Va., are part of the mission to train Afghan local police to stave off the Taliban in remote parts of Afghanistan.
Obama attends service for Inouye
President Barack Obama, Gov. Neil Abercrombie and other dignitaries attended a memorial service for the late Sen. Daniel Inouye on Sunday.
A 19-gun cannon salute was fired as Inouye’s coffin arrived for the service at Honolulu’s National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, the final resting place to thousands of World War II veterans. More than 400 members of the storied Japanese-American 442nd Regimental Combat Team — of which Inouye was a part — are buried at the site.
The 88-year-old Inouye died of respiratory complications Dec. 17.
Egypt’s opposition alleges vote fraud
Egypt’s opposition said Sunday it will keep fighting the Islamist-backed constitution after the Muslim Brotherhood, the main group backing the charter, claimed it passed with a 64 percent “yes” vote in a referendum.
The opposition alleged vote fraud and demanded an investigation — a sign that the referendum will not end the turmoil that has roiled this country for nearly two years since the uprising that ousted authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak. Many Egyptians, especially the tens of millions who live in extreme poverty, had hoped the new constitution might usher in a period of more stability.
Syrian airstrike kills more than 60
A government airstrike on a bakery in the rebel-held town of Halfaya in central Syria killed more than 60 people Sunday, activists said, casting a pall over a visit by the international envoy charged with negotiating an end to the country’s civil war.