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California governor signs dozens of bills

LOS ANGELES — Facing a deadline of midnight Sunday to take action on bills the California Legislature passed this session, Gov. Jerry Brown signed dozens of them over the weekend on issues ranging from health care to corporate taxation, while vetoing dozens more.

The most explosive bills on Brown’s desk concerned immigration. He signed legislation that would allow young illegal immigrants who qualify for the new federal work-permit program to obtain driver’s licenses. Gil Cedillo, the Democratic state assemblyman who sponsored the bill to give driver’s licenses to some illegal immigrants, said it would dramatically improve life not only for up to 500,000 eligible young people, but also for their families.

“We have to do at the state level all that we can to assimilate immigrants into the mainstream, in the absence of action and leadership out of Congress,” Cedillo said. “That’s our duty. That’s the American project. We are a nation of immigrants.”

Brown vetoed several other bills that had been pushed by immigrant rights advocates, including one that would have prohibited law enforcement officers from detaining illegal immigrants for deportation unless they had been charged with a serious or violent crime. In addition to the Trust Act, as it was called, he vetoed bills that would have offered greater protections to farm workers and domestic workers.

—Ian Lovett, The New York Times

Suicide bomber attacks joint patrol in eastern Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — A suicide bomber who walked into the crowded center of Khost in eastern Afghanistan on Monday morning, as foreign and Afghan soldiers conducted a joint foot patrol, killed three international service members and 16 Afghan police officers and civilians, witnesses and hospital officials said.

A spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition forces here said that three international service members and a civilian translator died in a blast in Eastern Afghanistan, but he did not specify the location, in accordance with military rules barring the release of information about deaths until the next of kin are informed.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

“A foreign and Afghan force joint convoy was targeted this morning around 9 a.m. in the vicinity of the Khost Governor’s Office, while the soldiers were dismounted in the area,” the Taliban said in a statement to the media. “The attack was carried out with a suicide vest worn by one of our hero mujahid, named Shoiab Kunduzi.”

—Alissa J. Rubin and Farooq Jan Mangal,
The New York Times

Currency in Iran falls,
a new sign of distress

Iran’s already fragile currency, the rial, has fallen about 40 percent in value over the past week, battered by a combination of the potent Western sanctions over the disputed Iranian nuclear program and new anxieties among Iranians about their government’s economic stewardship, analysts said.

While the value of the rial has eroded for the past few years as Iran’s economic isolation has deepened, the severity of the drop worsened with surprising speed in recent days as Iranians rushed to sell rials for dollars. By the end of the day Monday it cost about 34,800 rials to buy $1 in Tehran. The rate had been 24,600 rials as of last Monday.

“It’s sort of in a full-blown stampede mode today,” said Cliff Kupchan, a Washington-based analyst at the Eurasia Group, a political risk consulting firm. “There’s very little confidence among many Iranians in the government’s ability to adroitly manage economic policy.”

—Rick Gladstone, The New York Times