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News Briefs II

Cyberspace Hate Crimes Suspect Fails to Attend Arraignment

Los Angeles Times

A former University of California, Irvine, student was declared a fugitive Monday when he failed to show up for his arraignment in the nation's first federal prosecution of hate crimes allegedly committed in cyberspace.

A federal magistrate issued an arrest warrant for 19-year-old Richard Machado of Irvine, who is facing 10 counts of civil rights violations for allegedly sending an anonymous computer message threatening to "hunt down and kill" Asians on campus. About 60 students received the Sept. 20 message.

Machado's failure to show up for the arraignment adds an unexpected twist to an unusual case, among only a few prosecutions involving alleged cyberspace crimes and the first with hate as a motive, prosecutors said. College campuses have been at the center of a debate involving censorship of their computer networks.

Machado was scheduled to be arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Elgin Edwards, but authorities said the defendant stole his roommate's car and apparently fled the Southern California area last week after learning that he faced up to two years in prison if convicted on the misdemeanor counts.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Gennaco said FBI agents had been in touch with Machado before his indictment and did not consider him a flight risk.

Deployment to Zaire Unnecessary, Canadian Defense Minister Says

The Washington Post

No country is prepared at this time to send troops into Zaire on a refugee aid mission and it is possible that such a deployment will never be necessary, Canadian Defense Minister Douglas Young said Monday.

"We are not anxious, nor are any of our partners, to go rushing in where fools fear to tread," Young said after meeting Defense Secretary William J. Perry at the Pentagon. "In Zaire, I am not prepared to suggest anybody is prepared to put their troops on the ground."

Young thus ratified what the State Department called the "least intrusive" of the intervention options laid out over the weekend in a meeting in Germany of nations that were potential donors to the military rescue mission.

The current deployment of several hundred support troops in central Africa to expedite the shipment into Rwanda of aid for the returning refugees will continue and may be all that is needed, Young said.

Less than two weeks ago, Canada was preparing to lead a military security force of more than 10,000 troops, including U.S. units, on a military mission to help stave off starvation among hundreds of thousands of Rwandan refugees.

Now most of those refugees have gone home. As a result, Young said, "it is possible that we will be able to resolve this without military intervention. We have already succeeded beyond our wildest dreams" in getting hundreds of thousands of refugees out of their camps and heading home "without firing a shot."