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In Brief | Nation & World 1-3-14


California high court grants law license to man who has lived in US illegally for 20 years

SAN FRANCISCO — The California Supreme Court granted a law license Thursday to a man who has been living in the U.S. illegally for two decades, a ruling that advocates hope will open the door to immigrants seeking to enter other professions such as medicine, nursing and accounting.

The unanimous decision means Sergio Garcia, who attended law school and passed the state bar exam while working in a grocery store and on farms, can begin practicing law immediately.

It’s the latest in a string of legal and legislative victories for people who are in the country without permission. Other successes include the creation of a path to citizenship for many young people and the granting of driver’s licenses in some states.

New York Times, Guardian call for clemency for NSA leaker Edward Snowden

LONDON — The New York Times and Guardian newspapers have called for clemency for Edward Snowden, saying that the espionage worker-turned-privacy advocate should be praised rather than punished for his disclosures.

The papers — both of which have played a role in publishing Snowden’s intelligence trove — suggested late Wednesday that the former National Security Agency contractor’s revelations about the United States’ world-spanning espionage program were of such public importance that they outweighed any possible wrongdoing.

“Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight,” the Times said, calling either for a plea bargain, some form of clemency, or a “substantially reduced punishment.”

The Guardian said it hoped “calm heads within the present (U.S.) administration are working on a strategy to allow Mr. Snowden to return to the U.S. with dignity, and the president to use his executive powers to treat him humanely and in a manner that would be a shining example about the value of whistleblowers and of free speech itself.”

At least 5 dead after explosion tears through southern suburbs of Lebanese capital

BEIRUT — An explosion tore through a crowded commercial street Thursday in a south Beirut neighborhood that is a bastion of support for the Shiite group Hezbollah, killing at least five people, setting cars ablaze and sending a column of black smoke above the Beirut skyline.

It was the latest in a wave of attacks to hit Lebanon in recent months as the civil war in Syria increasingly spills over into its smaller neighbor. The violence has targeted both Sunni and Shiite neighborhoods, further stoking sectarian tensions that are already running high as each community in Lebanon lines up with its brethren in Syria on opposing sides of the war.

The Lebanese army said 44 pounds of explosives were placed in a dark green SUV. It said authorities were investigating how the explosives were set off.

A security official said that human remains were found in and around the vehicle, and that authorities were investigating whether the blast could be a suicide bombing. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media, said a DNA test will be conducted to try to identify the person who was in the car.

Lebanon’s official National News Agency said at least five people were killed and more than 50 wounded in the explosion, which left the mangled wreckage of cars in the street and blew out the windows of store fronts. The director of the Bahman Hospital, where dozens of the wounded were taken, said some of the injured were in critical condition.

­By wire sources