DuPree Primary Win Historic In Mississippi

HATTIESBURG, Miss., Aug. 24 (UPI) — History was made in Mississippi when Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree became the first African-American in modern times to be a major-party nominee for governor.

DuPree, 57, defeated Clarksdale lawyer and businessman Bill Luckett, 63, in the Democratic runoff Tuesday, capturing 55 percent of the vote, The (Jackson) Clarion-Ledger reported.

DuPree will face Republican nominee Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, independent Will Oatis and a potential Reform Party candidate in the Nov. 8 general election.

Gov. Haley Barbour, first elected in 2003, cannot seek re-election because of term limits.

“I feel good,” DuPree said Tuesday after the results were announced. “It’s been a long [race], and I feel we were rewarded for a lot of hard work.”

DuPree said he’s aware of the history he made in a state known for its past racial difficulties, but doesn’t dwell on it.

“What we’ve been trying to express to people is a message,” he said. “I don’t think I have to focus on [race].”

Plane Makes Emergency Landing In Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla., Aug. 24 (UPI) — A JetBlue airliner with 95 people aboard landed at Florida’s Orlando International Airport Tuesday after the crew declared an emergency, authorities said.

JetBlue officials say the captain of Flight 577 from New York reported loss of hydraulics on two of the airplane’s four brakes.

After a successful landing the plane was inspected on the runway and then moved to the arrival gate where passengers disembarked, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

Passenger Janis Cohen of Ocala said the landing felt normal and praised the captain’s handling of the situation.

“He was very calm and informative,” she said.

Ala. Immigration Law Faces Court Challenge

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Aug. 24 (UPI) — Opponents to Alabama’s new immigration law held a candlelight vigil in the run-up to a court hearing on whether to temporarily block enforcement of the law.

Since Friday, a group of opponents have staged the vigil in advance of Wednesday’s hearing at the Hugo L. Black U.S. Courthouse in Birmingham, The Birmingham News reported.

“We’ve gotten a lot of support from the general public as well as the immigrant community,” said Julieta Garibay, a board member of United We Dream who helped organize the vigils.

Opponents of the law said Wednesday’s hearing may determine whether people will be forced to leave the state or the United States if the new law is allowed to stand, the News reported.

“This really is a deciding factor for many in this group as to whether we leave the state or go back to our home countries,” said Jose Perez, a 15-year-old high school student in the country illegally.

“This [law] bans me from applying for college. I think this is unfair,” said Perez, explaining he was born in Mexico but his family moved to the United States 13 years ago.

Chief U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn is considering whether she should grant a preliminary injunction to temporarily bar enforcement of the law while a court challenge is resolved. She has consolidated three federal lawsuits — filed by the U.S. Justice Department, bishops from three religious denominations, and several immigrant groups and individuals — that seek to void part or all of Alabama’s new immigration law.

Opponents said the new law tries to usurp federal authority, discourages illegal immigrants from sending their children to school and makes it difficult to live and work in the state.

Report Outlines Police Abuse In Bangladesh

LONDON, Aug. 24 (UPI) — Amnesty International called on Bangladesh Wednesday to honor its pledge to halt extrajudicial executions that have killed hundreds of people.

The London-based group released a report saying hardly a week goes by without someone being shot by the country’s special police force, the Rapid Action Battalion.

Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International’s Bangladesh researcher, said RAB has been implicated in the deaths of at least 700 people since it was created in 2004.

“It is appalling that virtually all alleged instances of illegal RAB killings have gone unchallenged or unpunished,” Faiz said. “There can be no justice if the force is the chief investigator of its own wrongdoings.”

Bangladeshi police and RAB continue to receive a wide range of military and police equipment from overseas, the report said.

Countries supplying the arms include Austria, Belgium, China, Czech Republic, Italy, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Turkey and the United States.

Amnesty International has asked those countries to halt the sale of arms RAB can use to commit extrajudicial executions and other human rights violations.

More Mass Graves Reported In S. Kordofan

WASHINGTON, Aug. 24 (UPI) — An advocacy group said Wednesday it confirmed the burial of human remains in the restive Sudanese state of South Kordofan.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir announced a two-week cease-fire in South Kordofan to allow time for the observation of suspected South Sudanese rebels.

Conflict in the border state erupted as South Sudan prepared for its inaugural Independence Day. U.N. human rights teams investigating the situation said much of the conflict in the area appeared to be ethnically motivated.

The Satellite Sentinel Project announced it confirmed human remains were buried in sites believed to be mass graves in South Kordofan. The SSP said it had evidence to suggest the Sudanese Red Crescent Society was linked to the atrocities.

“Acting on instructions from the State of South Kordofan, the SRCS used an excavator to dig and cover large pits,” the group said in a statement. “In some cases, eyewitnesses reported, SRCS workers poured fuel on dead bodies and set them on fire.”

Dafalla al-Haj, the Sudanese representative to the United Nations, said a recent report from U.N. human rights officials on South Kordofan state was based on hearsay and didn’t reflect the situation on the ground, the official Sudan News Agency reported this week.

U.N. officials said there was evidence that at least 150 bodies were discovered in South Kordofan.

South Sudan’s independence was part of a comprehensive peace deal reached in 2005 that helped end Sudan’s civil war, one of the bloodiest in world history.

More Mass Graves Reported In South Kordofan

WASHINGTON, Aug. 24 (UPI) — An advocacy group said Wednesday it confirmed the burial of human remains in the restive Sudanese state of South Kordofan.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir announced a two-week cease-fire in South Kordofan to allow time for the observation of suspected South Sudanese rebels.

Conflict in the border state erupted as South Sudan prepared for its inaugural Independence Day. U.N. human rights teams investigating the situation said much of the conflict in the area appeared to be ethnically motivated.

The Satellite Sentinel Project announced it confirmed human remains were buried in sites believed to be mass graves in South Kordofan. The SSP said it had evidence to suggest the Sudanese Red Crescent Society was linked to the atrocities.

“Acting on instructions from the State of South Kordofan, the SRCS used an excavator to dig and cover large pits,” the group said in a statement. “In some cases, eyewitnesses reported, SRCS workers poured fuel on dead bodies and set them on fire.”

Dafalla al-Haj, the Sudanese representative to the United Nations, said a recent report from U.N. human rights officials on South Kordofan state was based on hearsay and didn’t reflect the situation on the ground, the official Sudan News Agency reported this week.

U.N. officials said there was evidence that at least 150 bodies were discovered in South Kordofan.

South Sudan’s independence was part of a comprehensive peace deal reached in 2005 that helped end Sudan’s civil war, one of the bloodiest in world history.

Arroyo Undergoes Third Operation

MANILA, Philippines, Aug. 24 (UPI) — Former Philippines President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo underwent a third operation Wednesday to correct damage to her cervical spine, doctors said.

A spokeswoman for the Manila hospital where the surgery was performed said the operation was originally set for Tuesday morning but was postponed after Arroyo spiked a fever, the Philippine Inquirer.net reported.

Her physician, Dr. Juliet Gopez-Cervantes, said last week the bones in Arroyo’s spine are in “poor quality to hold screws” needed for a titanium implant.

Cervantes said a titanium mesh containing bone graft would replace the titanium implant that doctors were forced to remove Aug. 10.

Bone growth from the mesh would fuse the vertebrae in her cervical spine, allowing doctors to remove Arroyo’s neck brace.

Arroyo, 64, is expected to remain hospitalized for three to four weeks after surgery.

Palin’s Staff Fights Presidential Run Talk

WASHINGTON, Aug. 24 (UPI) — Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s team responded to speculation she will make a run for president, saying such comments mislead the American people.

Reports in recent days indicated the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee might announce her intentions for the 2012 race Sept. 3 during a Tea Party movement rally in Iowa, where she is a scheduled speaker, The Washington Post reported.

Political analyst Karl Rove, senior adviser to former President George W. Bush, also predicted Sunday on Fox News Palin will run. Palin is a commentator for the network.

A statement on the Web site for SarahPAC, Palin’s political action committee, said such speculation was incorrect.

“Any professional pundit claiming to have ‘inside information’ regarding Governor Palin’s personal decision is not only wrong but their comments are specifically intended to mislead the American public,” the statement read. “These are the same tired establishment political games that fuel the 24-hour news cycle and that all Americans will hopefully reject in 2012, and this is more of the ‘politics-as-usual’ that Sarah Palin has fought against throughout her career.”

While media haven’t reported Palin has made up her mind or that a decision would be announced on Sept. 3, a series of teasers from SarahPAC, including a visit to Iowa before the Ames Straw Poll, fed increased discussions about her plans.

If she chooses to enter the Republican presidential sweepstakes, Palin would need a national finance committee, a focused message and experienced staff members in the early caucus and primary states, GOP strategist Scott Reed told the Post.

“Sarah Palin is zero for three,” Reed said.

Book: IKEA Founder Was Nazi Recruiter

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Aug. 24 (UPI) — The founder of the Scandinavian furniture and accessories store IKEA recruited members for the Swedish Nazi movement in the 1940s, a journalist’s book reveals.

The work by Sverigest Television reporter Elisabeth Asbrink also discloses that Swedish security police tracked the movements of IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad in 1943 when he was 17-years-old, the Swedish news agency TT reported Wednesday.

Asbrink writes in her book, titled in English as “And in Wienervald,” that security police established young Kamprad’s role in recruiting members to the Nazi movement by steaming open his letters.

Her book reveals how Kamprad’s links to the Swedish Nazi movement and far-right leader Per Engdahl continued long after the war ended and the horrors of Adolph Hitler’s regime became known.

“It’s a little odd that Ingvar Kamprad has not himself come out with this information,” Asbrink said in an interview. “He has said that he wants to tell, and to say sorry.”

Rick Hansen Oversees Trans-Canada Relay

CAPE SPEAR, Newfoundland, Aug. 24 (UPI) — Wheelchair-bound Canadian Rick Hansen who participated in international marathons 25 years ago oversaw the start of another one Wednesday in Newfoundland.

Hansen, 53, was in Cape Spear, Newfoundland, to start off the anniversary cross-Canada marathon to raise funds and awareness for people with disabilities, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. said.

This time, it will be some 7,000 participants who make the 7,500-mile trek across Canada instead of Hansen, who beginning in 1986 wheeled himself through the “Man in Motion” tour across Canada and through 34 other countries for more than 25,000 miles.

The relay will pass through some 500 communities across the country and is scheduled to conclude in Vancouver May 22, 2012, Postmedia News said.

Instead of a torch, relay participants will pass along a medal designed by the Royal Canadian Mint for the anniversary run, the reports said.

Hansen’s first Canadian trek raised $26 million for spinal cord research and assistance to those with spinal injuries. Since then, his foundation has raised more than $200 million for similar causes, the CBC said.

Hansen has been in a wheelchair since he was 15 following a car accident.