The week at a glance...United States

United States


Immigration law blocked: A federal appeals court this week dealt another blow to Arizona’s tough new immigration law. The three-judge panel upheld a district court judge’s injunction keeping four controversial provisions from going into effect, including a clause allowing police to stop and check the immigration status of anyone suspected of being an illegal immigrant. The appeals court said those provisions clashed with federal immigration law and were likely unconstitutional. Opponents of the law—who claim it gives police a license to discriminate against Hispanics—celebrated the verdict. But Republican Gov. Jan Brewer vowed to appeal the judgment, saying it harmed the “safety and well-being of Arizonans who suffer the negative effects of illegal immigration.”


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Giffords progress report: Three months after she was shot in the head at a constituent event in Tucson, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords continues to make remarkable strides in her recovery. But friends, family, and doctors have told Newsweek that while she is faring better than many patients with similar brain injuries, she is still a long way from returning to full health. Giffords can only speak haltingly, piecing together three- or four-word responses to questions. Although she is beginning to formulate her own sentences, doctors say she is likely to suffer permanent motor and speech difficulties. As for her political future, she does not know that she is being considered as a possible candidate for John Kyl’s Senate seat in 2012. “We haven’t discussed any Senate race with her,” said her husband, Mark Kelly. “And I have no plans to do that for some time. She’s focused on her recovery.”

Newburgh, N.Y.

Fatal plunge: A mother of four, distraught after a domestic dispute, drove herself and her children into the Hudson River this week, killing herself and three of the children. One child, a 10-year-old boy, managed to escape the family minivan before it sank and ran to a nearby firehouse to seek help. The mother, LaShanda Armstrong, had apparently just reported a domestic disturbance to Newburgh police when she loaded her four children, ages 10, 5, 2, and 11 months, into the van and drove it off a boat ramp located six blocks from her home. It took authorities about an hour to locate the submerged vehicle; by the time they pulled it out of the water, all the occupants were dead.

Beverly, Mass.

Mother convicted: A 38-year-old mother was convicted of attempted murder this week in the death of her autistic, cancer-stricken son. A state jury deliberated for less than seven hours before finding that Kristen LaBrie had intentionally failed to administer a chemotherapy drug to her son, Jeremy, and then lied about it. Jeremy was suffering from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma when the drug was prescribed; without treatment, he developed leukemia and died at age 9. LaBrie, a single mother, claimed she withheld the drug—despite telling the boy’s doctors he was responding well to it—because she believed her son was cured and she couldn’t bear to see the pain the treatment caused him. She faces up to 20 years in prison.

New York City

Giant jet clips commuter plane: The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating an incident at New York’s Kennedy International Airport this week in which the left wing of an Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger jet, hit the tail of a commuter jet operated by Comair, spinning it about 90 degrees. “Roll the emergency trucks, we’ve been hit by Air France,” the Comair pilot calmly told the control tower after the collision. The A380 is the first so-called superjumbo jetliner in commercial use; there are only four in Air France’s fleet. It can hold more than 500 people and has a wingspan of about 262 feet, nearly the length of a football field. The Comair plane is 107 feet long and had 66 people aboard. The NTSB’s inquiry will focus on pilot actions and control-tower instructions.

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