October 3rd, 2013
09:53 PM ET

New California law gives undocumented immigrants driver's licenses

By Jaqueline Hurtado and Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN

Los Angeles - It was a moment Jose Diaz knew he didn't want to miss.
The day laborer and undocumented immigrant waited for more than 10 years to see it.
"I missed work today," he said, "but I felt like I had to be here."
Diaz was in the crowd cheering after California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law Thursday that will allow undocumented immigrants to get driver's licenses in his state.
"This is only the first step," Brown said from the steps of Los Angeles City Hall, adding that he hopes other states will follow California's example.
"When a million people without their documents drive legally and with respect in the state of California, the rest of this country will have to stand up and take notice," he said. "No longer are undocumented people in the shadows. They are alive and well and respected in the state of California."
The new measure, known as Assembly Bill 60, requires the California Department of Motor Vehicle issue driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants who can prove their identities, have established California residency and pass driving exams. The law goes into effect no later than January 1, 2015.
Details about how the new licenses will look and the exact process for obtaining them are still in the works. But even so, supporters of the measure cheered the signing of the law.
"To have a license is not a luxury. It is a necessity, because in cars we go to work, to school and shopping and without a license really we are limited in many things," said Frida Hinojosa, an undocumented immigrant.
For more than a year, driver's licenses and other state benefits have been at the heart of a battle in the nationwide immigration debate.
Supporters of licenses for undocumented immigrants argue that it's safer to have more drivers trained and insured, and opponents argue that such systems are rife with fraud.
The rules vary from state to state.
In January, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez said she would push to repeal the state law allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses. That same month, the governor of Illinois signed a new law that would allow undocumented immigrants to get temporary licenses.
In at least 45 states, officials have said recipients of deferred action - the Obama administration's program for young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children –  are eligible for driver's licenses, according to the National Immigration Law Center. But in some states, like Arizona and Nebraska, officials have stepped up efforts to stop licenses from being issued, the law center said.


Filed under: Immigration • Politics • U.S.
October 3rd, 2013
01:31 PM ET

Italy shipwreck: Scores dead

A boat carrying as many as 500 people capsized and caught fire off the Italian island of Lampedusa, the nation's coast guard told CNN on Thursday.

The official death toll stood at 93 down one from earlier reports but that did not include an estimated 20 newly discovered bodies that remain in the water, the coast guard said.

At least 151 people had been rescued in the ongoing operation, the coast guard said.

Lampedusa, not far from Sicily and the closest Italian island to Africa, has become a destination for tens of thousands of refugees seeking to enter European Union countries and such deadly shipwrecks are all too common.

FULL STORY

Filed under: Italy
October 3rd, 2013
01:29 PM ET

Russia charges 30 in Greenpeace protest

Russian authorities have charged all 30 people aboard a Greenpeace ship with piracy after two activists tried to scale an oil platform in a protest of Arctic drilling last month, the Russian Investigative Committee said Thursday.

The charging began Wednesday and finished Thursday. If convicted, the 28 activists and two freelance journalists could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.

None of the 30, who hail from at least 18 countries, pleaded guilty, the committee said.

FULL STORY

Filed under: Russia
October 3rd, 2013
01:28 PM ET

Obama: Only one way out of shutdown

President Barack Obama went on a rhetorical offensive against House Republicans on the third day of the federal government shutdown, telling a crowd in Maryland Thursday that there's only one party at fault and one remedy.

"There are enough Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives today that if the speaker of the House, John Boehner, simply let the bill get on the floor for an up or down vote, every congressman could vote their conscience, the shutdown would end today," Obama said in a speech in Rockville, Maryland.

"The only thing that is keeping the government shut down, the only thing preventing people from going back to work, and basic research starting back up, and farmers and small business owners, getting their loans - the only thing that's preventing all that from happening right now today, in the next five minutes, is that Speaker John Boehner won't even let the bill get a yes or no vote because he doesn't want to anger the extremists in his party."

FULL STORY

Filed under: Politics
October 3rd, 2013
02:18 AM ET

Navy – Air Force football game on

Are you ready for some football? Not so fast!

The Navy-Air Force game is on. But there's no word yet on whether 24 other weekend athletic events at service academies will take place, thanks to the government shutdown.

Even the Navy-Air Force game practically became a matter of national security. Though the game was sold out, the two sides had to wait for the Defense Department's greenlight.

A senior department official said the game was allowed to go forward because it involved all non-budgeted funds, and thus was not affected by the shutdown.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Politics • U.S.
October 3rd, 2013
02:16 AM ET

Jailed Pussy Riot member, ends hunger strike

ailed Pussy Riot band member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has ended her hunger strike - but will resume it if conditions at her prison camp in Mordovia did not improve, her husband said.

Tolokonnikova ended her hunger strike Tuesday, the husband said.

She is serving a two-year sentence for the crime of "hooliganism." She has less than six months remaining on her sentence.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: World