The world at a glance . . . the Americas
Good Samaritan punished: An illegal Mexican immigrant who came to the aid of a 9-year-old boy in the Arizona desert last week was arrested and deported by Border Patrol officers. Jesus Manuel Cordova, 26, was crossing into the U.S. on Thanksgiving Day when he came upon a wrecked van in a canyon just north of Arizona’s border with Mexico. Pinned inside the van was a 45-year-old woman; her son was wandering outside. (Their names have been withheld pending notification of relatives.) Unable to rescue the woman, who later died of her injuries, Cordova consoled the boy, lent him his jacket, and built a bonfire as night fell. The next morning, Cordova hailed two hunters, who summoned the Border Patrol. The Border Patrol officers dispatched the boy to a hospital, took Cordova into custody, and returned him to Mexico.
NFL star murdered: Sean Taylor, a star safety for the NFL’s Washington Redskins, died this week after being shot during a home invasion. Police say Taylor, 24, was in his Miami home with his girlfriend and their 18-month-old son when an intruder broke in during the early-morning hours of Nov. 26. The unknown assailant shot Taylor once in the leg, severing his femoral artery. He died the next day. Taylor was arrested in 2005 after a violent dispute with people he suspected of stealing his all-terrain vehicles. His home was also burglarized just eight days before the shooting. Miami police have not identified a suspect.
Feuding neighbors: Simmering tensions between Venezuela and Colombia boiled over this week after Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez traded insults and threats with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. The two leaders clashed over Chavez’s attempt to negotiate the release of 47 hostages held by the FARC, a Marxist rebel group that has waged a long-running insurgency against the Colombian government. Uribe withdrew his support from Chavez’s efforts this week, accusing the socialist Venezuelan leader of favoring the leftist guerillas and of trying to “assemble an empire.” Chavez said Uribe had “spit brutally in our face,” and promised to put relations with Colombia in the “freezer.” The dispute could disrupt commerce between the two countries, which are active trading partners.
Cell phone surveillance
Federal officials around the country are routinely tracking the location of suspected criminals through their cell phones, often without showing a judge probable cause that a crime is being committed, The Washington Post reported last week. The practice runs counter to official Justice Department policy, which urges investigators to obtain a warrant based on probable cause before they monitor cell phone use. The surveillance came to light in November, when a Texas judge refused a Drug Enforcement Administration request to track a drug suspect via the GPS signal emitted by his phone. The DEA, the judge said, gave no evidence that the phone was being used for criminal activity. In other cases, cell phone companies have provided general locations of suspects, based on which cell tower they’re near. A Justice Department spokesman defended the practice, saying the department had no interest in monitoring law-abiding citizens.
Red Cross head quits: The head of the American Red Cross resigned this week after the charity’s board confronted him about his affair with a subordinate. Mark Everson, 53, who is married and has two children, admitted to the relationship, which a senior Red Cross official had reported to the board. The organization’s board said the affair showed “poor judgment.” Everson, a former IRS commissioner, joined the Red Cross six months ago, succeeding Marsha Evans, who resigned in 2005. Management turmoil has plagued the organization since Elizabeth Dole, now a North Carolina senator, stepped down as president in 1999. Her successor, Bernadine Healy, lasted less than two years in the job. “This will affect fund-raising, organizational morale, and public trust in this organization,” said Trent Stamp, head of a charity watchdog group.
Stadium disaster: Seven people died last week and 40 were injured when a section of stands in a Brazilian stadium collapsed at the end of a soccer match. The victims fell nearly 50 feet through a 10-foot-wide hole in the concrete stands of Fonte Nova stadium in the coastal city of Salvador. The stadium, built in 1951, was recently cited by a Brazilian architectural association as the country’s most unsafe sporting venue. About 60,000 people were in the stadium during its collapse, which occurred as fans celebrated the Bahia team’s 0–0 draw with heavily favored Vila Nova. Brazilian authorities said the stadium would be demolished and replaced.