Nation briefs: Immigrants flood Texas

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McALLEN, Texas — The House Homeland Security Committee got an earful Thursday about the influx of Central American immigrants crossing the border into South Texas.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said that permissive immigration policies are driving tens of thousands to cross the border here and turn themselves in to Border Patrol , overwhelming agents.

El Paso Diocese Bishop Mark Seitz blamed the conditions in Guatemala , Honduras and El Salvador.

Members of Congress weighed in on the debate, with some suggesting changing the law that requires the government to give the children immigration court hearings and try to place them with family members in the U.S.

Ex-guard testifies

WASHINGTON — Former Blackwater security guard Matthew Murphy and now-indicted ex-colleague Paul Slough were friends, having survived the war in Iraq together.

But from the witness stand in the Blackwater criminal trial this week, Mr. Murphy testified that he saw Mr. Slough fire at least two grenades into a car where a woman and her son died, two of 14 Iraqis killed on Sept. 16, 2007, in downtown Baghdad.

In three days of testimony, Mr. Murphy became the first Blackwater security guard to testify against his former associates in a trial expected to take months.

Mr. Slough is charged with manslaughter, attempted manslaughter and violating gun laws. Three others also are charged in the incident. All four have pleaded not guilty.

25% live in poor areas

One-fourth of all Americans live in what the Census Bureau calls “poverty areas,” neighborhoods where at least 1 in 5 have incomes below the poverty level, according to a new report.

The share of people living in these poverty areas fell during the 1990s but then grew over the first decade of the 2000s. In 1990, the number was 20 percent but it had declined to 18.1 percent in 2000. As of 2010, it is 25.7 percent.

South tops in painkillers

The South leads the nation in per capita prescriptions for painkillers, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Alabama, Tennessee, West Virginia, Kentucky and Oklahoma were home to the highest per capita painkiller prescriptions, according to 2012 data. New Jersey, Minnesota, New York, California and Hawaii had the lowest rates.

Fireworks handler dies

DALLAS -- One person was killed and three others severely injured Thursday when a truck trailer carrying fireworks for a Fourth of July celebration at a central Texas high school exploded as workers prepared the show, a fire official said. The person who was killed had experience handling fireworks and was licensed, said Marcus Nettleton of the Comanche Volunteer Fire Department.

Filmmakers charged

LOS ANGELES — A prosecutor in Georgia said Thursday that three filmmakers had been charged with involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass in the death of Sarah Jones, a crew worker who was killed in February by a freight train on the set of “Midnight Rider,” an independently financed film about rock star Gregg Allman,

Jackie L. Johnson, the district attorney for Georgia’s Brunswick Judicial Circuit, said indictments were returned against Randall Miller and Jody Savin, a husband-and-wife team who were producing the film, and against Jay Sedrich, a production manager and executive producer.

Compiled from news services

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