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U.S. may be ready to cut its losses on invisible fence along Mexico border

washington

U.S. is ready to cut losses on invisible fence

The Department of Homeland Security, apparently ready to cut its losses on a so-called invisible fence along the U.S.-Mexico border, has decided not to exercise a one-year option for Boeing to continue work on the troubled plan involving high-tech cameras, radar and vibration sensors. The result, after an investment of more than $1 billion, may be a system with only 53 miles of unreliable coverage along the nearly 2,000-mile border. The fence was intended to link advanced monitoring technologies to command centers for the Border Patrol to identify and thwart human trafficking and drug smuggling but has been plagued by missed deadlines and limitations of existing electronics in rugged areas where winds and a tumbleweed can be enough to trigger an alarm.

thailand

Flooding called the worst in decades

Floods spreading from northeastern Thailand have left 17 people dead over the past two weeks as heavy rainfall has put entire villages underwater, destroyed crops and disrupted transportation and commerce. Officials describe the flooding, which follows deadly inundations in Vietnam and other nearby countries, as the worst in half a century. Damage is estimated at more than $650 million.

moscow

Putin's chief of staff is now mayor

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's chief of staff was named mayor, cementing the Russian leader's control over the capital and its sizable chunk of the nation's wealth. Sergei Sobyanin, 52, replaces Yuri Luzhkov, who was fired by President Dmitry Medvedev last month after 18 years in office.

california

Tony mall burns after standoff

A high-end regional mall that is one of the main retail centers in a broad swath of Northern California was set ablaze after police arrested a man who had barricaded himself inside. Police said Alexander Corney Pigee, 23, holed up in a video game store at the Roseville Galleria and started a small fire, which erupted into a larger blaze that damaged an entire arm of the mall. The 1.3 million-square-foot Galleria was evacuated by the time the fire erupted.

washington

HIV drug combo warning issued

The Food and Drug Administration warned doctors and HIV patients that two antiviral drugs can cause dangerous heart rhythms when they are combined. The agency says the combination of Roche's Invirase and Abbott Laboratories' Norvir can trigger irregular heartbeats, leading to fainting, light-headedness and even death.

Elsewhere

Mexico: Federal police arrested Fernando Contreras, a gang member who detonated the first successful car bomb by Mexican drug cartels on June 15, an attack that killed three in the border city of Ciudad Juarez.

St. Marc, Haiti: An outbreak of severe diarrhea in rural central Haiti has killed at least 135 people and sickened hundreds more.

Taiwan: Typhoon Megi's heavy rains in the northeast triggered massive rockslides on a coastal highway, trapping as many 400.

Texas: James Wooten, 51, convicted for the 1996 murders of an elderly couple, became the 17th inmate executed this year in the nation's most active death penalty state.

Times wires

U.S. may be ready to cut its losses on invisible fence along Mexico border 10/22/10 [Last modified: Friday, October 22, 2010 12:14am]
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