National briefs (10/14/12)

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Immigrants may get city ID

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is pushing a plan to create an official city photo identification card that could double as a pre-paid ATM card and help immigrants get access to banking services.

The initiative could reduce crime because fewer people would have to carry cash, but critics say it's another ill-advised City Hall effort to accommodate undocumented immigrants.

The idea for the city ID card originated in his office, the mayor said, as part of previous efforts to help immigrants open bank accounts so they wouldn't become targets of crime.

Councilman Richard Alarcon recently introduced a more limited proposal to create a new library card that could also serve as a debit card. But Mr. Villaraigosa said he wants to go farther and have the city begin offering full-fledged photo IDs.

A handful of cities, including San Francisco and Oakland, issue identification cards to anyone who can prove residency, regardless of immigration status. Mr. Villaraigosa said it's time that Los Angeles -- home to an estimated 4.3 million immigrants -- joined them.

Worker cooked to death

LOS ANGELES -- A worker at a Santa Fe Springs seafood plant in Los Angeles County, Calif., met a tragic end this past week after he was found cooked to death in an industrial oven, according to a report by the Whittier Daily News.

Officials at the Whittier Police Department said in a statement that they received a call about 7 a.m. Thursday, "regarding an industrial accident" involving a worker at Bumble Bee Seafoods.

Police and local fire department personnel responded to the business, where they found a 62-year-old male employee dead at the scene, authorities said. They did not describe the nature of the accident and directed media to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, which is investigating the issue.

22 saved from boat

SAN FRANCISCO -- Nearly two dozen people who were enjoying a bachelor party on what's billed as San Francisco Bay's only "floating wine tasting room" are OK after their boat hit a shoal near Alcatraz Island and began sinking Friday night, officials said.

The 45-foot Neptune hit the shoal around 8:42 p.m. and started taking on water after the impact left a 1-foot gash in the side of the boat, U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Lt. j.g. Josh Dykman said.

Three Coast Guard boats took all 22 passengers and crewmembers off the vessel and brought them to the pier, Lt. j.g. Dykman said. San Francisco fire and San Francisco police boats also responded. There were no injuries. The cause of the incident is under investigation. There were no reports of pollution, Lt. j.g. Dykman said.

Rafael dumps rain

CHARLOTTE AMALIE, U.S. Virgin Islands -- Tropical Storm Rafael lashed the eastern Caribbean Saturday with heavy rains that are expected to unleash floods on islands around the region.

The storm was located about 105 miles east-southeast of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands late Saturday afternoon. It had top sustained winds of 50 mph and was moving north at 12 mph. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the storm will gain some strength and will pass near or over the Virgin Islands Saturday night.

A tropical storm warning was in effect for the U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis, Antigua, Montserrat, St. Maartin and Guadeloupe.

Puerto Rico was under a tropical storm watch.

-- Compiled from news services

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