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In Brief: U.S. authorities arrest head of Gulf Cartel

From Wire Reports

HOUSTON – U.S. authorities announced Tuesday they have arrested the head of the Gulf Cartel, one of Mexico’s most violent drug trafficking rings.

Juan Francisco Saenz-Tamez made his initial court appearance in Beaumont on Tuesday, said U.S. Attorney John M. Bales. A federal grand jury indicted Saenz-Tamez in September 2013 on three drug and money laundering counts.

Saenz-Tamez, 23, from the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, was arrested by federal agents on Oct. 9 while shopping in the South Texas city of Edinburg.

If convicted, Saenz-Tamez faces up to life in prison.

Roberto Yzaguirre, Saenz-Tamez’s attorney, did not immediately return a phone call or email seeking comment.

Michele M. Leonhart, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, said Saenz-Tamez was the newest leader of the Gulf Cartel following the 2013 arrest of former leader Mario Ramirez-Trevino.

Friar’s abuse victims settle for $8 million

PITTSBURGH – Eighty-eight former students who were sexually molested by a Franciscan friar who worked as an athletic trainer at a Catholic high school have settled their legal claims for $8 million, according to two attorneys who represent more than half the victims.

Altoona attorney Richard Serbin represents 13 ex-students from the former Bishop McCort High School in Johnstown, and Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian represents 33. The students said they were abused by Brother Stephen Baker, who worked at the school, 60 miles east of Pittsburgh, from 1992 to 2001.

Baker, 62, committed suicide at his monastery in Newry by stabbing himself in the heart in January 2013. That occurred days after the Youngstown, Ohio, diocese disclosed abuse settlements with 11 former students who said they were abused by him at John F. Kennedy High School in Warren, Ohio, from 1986 to 1990.

Freed Vietnamese dissident travels to U.S.

WASHINGTON – The State Department welcomed Tuesday the release of one of Vietnam’s most prominent dissidents, as the U.S. urges the authoritarian government in Hanoi to improve its human rights record and smooth the way for stronger relations.

State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf said Nguyen Van Hai, also known as Dieu Cay, was due to arrive in the U.S. on Tuesday. He had been serving a 12-year prison term for conducting “propaganda against the state” in relation to his blogging and citizen media activities.

In April, another high-profile Vietnamese dissident, Cu Huy Ha Vu, came with his wife to the U.S. after his release by Vietnam. Vu had been a high-profile critic of the ruling party and his father was an associate of former President Ho Chi Minh.

Harf said that Hai had decided himself to travel to the U.S. She urged the release of all other political prisoners in Vietnam.

Solar eclipse visible in North America

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – North Americans, get set for the fourth and final eclipse of the year.

On Thursday, most of North America will have prime viewing of a partial solar eclipse. The new moon will hide part of the sun from view. The eclipse will unfold slowly following its start near the Kamchatka Peninsula in far eastern Russia.

The best views will be in the U.S. Northwest and northern Canada, especially Prince of Wales Island. New England and the Canadian Maritime provinces will miss out.

In the eastern half of the U.S., the eclipse will occur near sunset.

Sky gazers are urged to protect their eyes with special filtered glasses. Regular sunglasses are not good enough.

This makes for two solar and two lunar eclipses this year.

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