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News Briefs

Doctors Say Brain Damage Would Hinder Pinochet in a Trial

LOS ANGELES TIMES -- ROME

Gen. Augusto Pinochet is unfit to stand trial because of “extensive brain damage” that dims his memory, comprehension and ability to express himself, according to disclosures Wednesday of a British medical report on Chile’s detained former dictator.

Two newspapers in Spain and one in Chile published translations of the report a day after Britain’s High Court ordered it sent to authorities in Spain and three other European countries seeking Pinochet’s extradition from Britain on charges of human rights abuse during his 17-year rule.

Pinochet’s brain damage dates from a series of strokes last year, and enough time has passed to conclude that “a sustained and significant improvement (of his condition) is unlikely,” wrote the three British doctors who examined the 84-year-old retired general last month.

Their report had a sobering effect on the international legal struggle that began with Pinochet’s arrest on a Spanish warrant in London in October 1998. He is accused of crimes relating to the deaths and disappearances of leftist opponents of his regime, some of whom were citizens of the countries now pursuing his extradition.

Labor’s Call for Immigrant Amnesty Is Unlikely to Sway GOP

LOS ANGELES TIMES -- WASHINGTON

Organized labor’s unexpected call for amnesty for 6 million illegal immigrants and repeal of the federal sanctions against employers who hire them may result in changes if Democrats win the November elections but it is unlikely to sway the GOP Congress in the interim, lawmakers and analysts said Thursday.

The call, adopted unanimously by the AFL-CIO’s executive council Wednesday, is expected to bolster repeal efforts by some business groups.

But many Republicans are considered likely to view the organization’s turnaround as a move to recruit more immigrants as union members.

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the House Judiciary subcommittee on immigration and a key decision-maker on such issues, all but closed the door on labor’s hopes of enacting such legislation soon.

“The union bosses have betrayed American workers,” Smith said in a statement Thursday. “Legalizing millions of illegal aliens to compete with American workers will cost them jobs and reduce their wages.”