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Homes evacuated during brush fires

Mon., May 12, 2008, midnight

Brush fires forced residents to flee more than 500 homes in central Florida on Sunday and closed a major interstate, authorities said.

A fire in Volusia County has burned between 500 and 600 acres and caused road closures and home evacuations, state Division of Forestry spokesman Timber Weller said.

About 400 homes in the neighborhood near Daytona Beach were under a mandatory evacuation order and 200 more homes were under a voluntary order.

A fire near Cocoa had burned more than 100 acres and forced evacuations of about 100 to 200 homes, Brevard County Fire and Rescue spokesman Orlando Dominguez said.

Heavy smoke from another fire in the Brevard community of Malabar forced authorities to close part of Interstate 95, the major East Coast corridor.


More than unit links guardsmen

A 46-year-old combat medic and a 29-year-old man will be serving together in the same National Guard unit in Iraq. Not unusual – except they’re mother and son.

Sgt. Carmen Villegas, a 46-year-old combat medic, was transferred two weeks ago to the same Teaneck-based unit as her son, Sgt. Felipe Diaz.

Diaz, a Paterson police officer, said he was given the task of introducing the newest sergeant at the 250th Brigade Support Battalion’s Foxtrot Company.

The two will be among more than 2,800 soldiers of the 50th Infantry Brigade Combat Team who are heading to Iraq in September.

Villegas said she had planned to retire from the Guard in June but changed her mind when she heard about the Iraq deployment.

“It’s like a family to me,” Villegas said of the Guard, which she joined in 1979, when Diaz was an infant.


Demonstrators protest violence

Thousands of white-clad people marched silently Sunday to protest a surge of drug-related violence in a Mexican city across from Texas where the No. 2 police officer was shot dead.

The crowd of several thousand students, church leaders, businessmen and politicians walked about four miles across Ciudad Juarez to a park near a border crossing, breaking the silence in a burst of speeches, dancing and singing.

More than 200 people have been killed so far this year in Ciudad Juarez. The city of 1.3 million across the border from El Paso, Texas, is home base for the powerful Juarez drug cartel.

The assassination of police director Juan Antonio Roman Garcia on Saturday came despite the deployment of more than 2,500 soldiers and federal police to the city and surrounding Chihuahua state in March.

“We need to unite against this,” said Julian Ochoa, an architecture student at the march. “I hope we achieve something.”


Source: Cablevision near Newsday deal

Cablevision Systems Corp. is close to buying the Long Island newspaper Newsday from Tribune Co. for $650 million, a person with knowledge of the situation said Sunday.

The deal, which could be announced as soon as today, would net Cablevision, a cable TV company also based on Long Island, its first newspaper. It would also provide much-needed cash to Tribune Co., which is struggling under $8.2 billion in debt it took on when it went private in December.

The person familiar with the talks asked to remain anonymous because the discussions were confidential. Spokesmen for both Tribune and Cablevision declined to comment.

News that Cablevision was close to a deal came one day after Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. rescinded its own $580 million bid, despite assurances from Murdoch himself just three days earlier that he would prevail over Cablevision within a week.

The Wall Street Journal and Newsday reported on their Web sites Sunday that a deal with Cablevision was close.


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