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Escaped Arizona inmates linked to 2 killings

Phoenix

Escaped inmates linked to 2 killings

Two men who escaped from a private Arizona prison and a woman thought to have helped them have been linked to the investigation of a couple's killing in New Mexico, authorities said Saturday. New Mexico State Police spokesman Peter Olson said Tracy Province, John McCluskey and Casslyn Welch were linked through forensics but he declined to provide specifics.

Province, McCluskey and Daniel Renwick escaped from the medium-security Arizona State Prison near Kingman on July 30 after authorities say Welch, 44, of Mesa threw wire cutters over the perimeter fence. Renwick was arrested in Colorado on Aug. 1.

The badly burned skeletal remains of Linda and Gary Haas, both 61, of Tecumseh, Okla., were found in a charred camper on Wednesday morning on a remote ranch in Santa Rosa in eastern New Mexico.

Province was serving a life sentence for murder and robbery. McCluskey was serving a 15-year prison term for attempted second-degree murder and other charges. Renwick had been serving a 22-year sentence for second-degree murder.

On Saturday, the Marshals Service arrested McCluskey's mother, Claudia Washburn, 68. Authorities suspect she gave financial and other support to help McCluskey, Province and Welch on their flight from authorities.

BELL, Calif.

Official's compensation reported even higher

A former Bell city official's huge $787,000 salary is only half of his generous total compensation, according to local media reports.

KTTV Fox 11 News reported Friday that former City Manager Robert Rizzo's benefits, which include 20 weeks paid vacation, bring his total annual compensation to more than $1.5 million.

According to public records reviewed by the Los Angeles Times, Rizzo was to receive $386,786 in paid vacation and sick benefits this year, in addition to his base salary.

MIAMI

Tropical Storm Colin continues to weaken

Tropical Storm Colin is becoming poorly organized as it heads toward Bermuda, but forecasters say there is still a chance it may slightly strengthen.

Colin's maximum sustained winds were about 40 mph Saturday. The storm's center is expected to pass near or over Bermuda today.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center said the center of the storm is about 200 miles south-southwest of Bermuda and is moving north-northeast around 3 mph.

Saudi Arabia

Deal opens BlackBerry messages to officials

A preliminary agreement between the maker of the popular BlackBerry smart phone and the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which government officials say grants them some access to users' data, will avert a ban on the phone in that country.

The pact involves placing a BlackBerry server inside Saudi Arabia, Saudi telecom regulatory officials said, and that likely will let the government monitor messages and allay official fears the service could be used for criminal purposes.

Even though RIM encrypts e-mails, the deal would open messages to Saudi surveillance, said Bruce Schneier, an author and chief security technology officer at British telecommunications operator BT.

China

Landslides kill at least 65 amid flooding

Chinese state media say at least 65 people have been killed in landslides that hit Gansu province in the northwest of the country. Many parts of China have been hit by the country's worst flooding in a decade that has killed more than 1,100 people, with more than 600 still missing this year.

Elsewhere

Europe: Flooding caused by heavy rains killed at least eight people in Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic, officials said Saturday. Meteorologists warned the rains were not expected to stop until today.

Colombia: Juan Manuel Santos, sworn in Saturday as Colombia's 59th president, vowed to cement security gains but declared himself open to dialogue with rebels in hopes of ending the Western Hemisphere's only armed conflict.

Finland: A Russian finalist at the annual Sauna World Championships collapsed and died, organizers said Saturday, while his Finnish rival was rushed to a hospital. The news agency STT said both middle-aged men were seen to have severe burns on their bodies and were given first aid after they collapsed.

Paraguay: President Fernando Lugo has been diagnosed with cancer but his prognosis is good, doctors said Saturday. Physicians found non-Hodgkin lymphoma in a growth they removed from Lugo's groin last week, hematologist Alfredo Boccia said. The cancer affects the lymphocytes, or white blood cells.

Gaza Strip: Engineers shut down Gaza City's sole power plant Saturday because of a lack of fuel, switching off electricity to some half a million people. The fuel for the plant is supplied by the rival Palestinian government in the West Bank, which says it has reduced shipments because Gaza's Hamas government is behind on payments.

Turkey: The ship seized by Israel in a deadly raid as it carried aid to the Gaza Strip in May returned to Turkey on Saturday. The Mavi Marmara was among a flotilla sailing toward Gaza to protest Israel's blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory. Israeli troops intercepted the boats on May 31 and clashed with activists on the Mavi Marmara, leaving nine people dead.

Puerto Rico: The island's prisons department says it is investigating the deaths of 53 inmates detailed in a report by the American Civil Liberties Union. The report said some deaths that occurred between 2002 and 2008 could have been prevented with better medical care.

Times wires

Escaped Arizona inmates linked to 2 killings

08/07/10 [Last modified: Saturday, August 7, 2010 11:54pm]

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