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Married couples separated by German language test
Written by KIRSTEN GRIESHABER, Associated Press   
Sunday, 06 April 2014 05:59

BERLIN (AP) — Michael Guhle met the love of his life on the beach of a little fishing village in Vietnam. Thi An Nguyen was selling freshly cooked mussels and fruit to the German tourist and they immediately clicked. Soon the Berlin nursing home worker was saving up all of his money and vacation days to visit Nguyen.

Marriage was supposed to bring them together. Instead, it was the beginning of a long ordeal apart. Germany blocked Nguyen from entering the country after she flunked the language test that Germany requires aspiring immigrants to pass — even those married to Germans.

"I thought marrying the person you love and living together was a human right," Guhle said in his modest two-room apartment on the outskirts of Berlin. "Apparently this is not the case in Germany."

Germany adopted German language regulations for prospective immigrants in 2007. Most EU countries — including France, Italy, Spain and Sweden — do not require foreign spouses to pass mandatory language tests before they join their partners in Europe. Austria, Britain and the Netherlands are among countries that require language tests before foreign spouses can enter the country, but experts say Germany's test is the toughest.

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Two drug tunnels found under California-Mexico border
Written by Associated Press   
Saturday, 05 April 2014 06:29

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Two drug-smuggling tunnels with rail systems stretching hundreds of yards across the U.S.-Mexico border were discovered by law enforcement officials, and a 73-year-old woman was charged with helping run one operation, federal authorities said Friday.

No contraband was found in connection with the tunnels, which linked warehouses in Tijuana, Mexico, and the Otay Mesa area of San Diego, according to a statement from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations.

The first tunnel, stretching about 600 yards, was discovered Tuesday. It was described as being equipped with lighting, a crude rail system and wooden trusses.

The entrance on the U.S. side is inside a warehouse where a cement cap covered a 70-foot shaft. A pulley system was installed to hoist goods into the building, which was filled with children's toys and boxes of televisions.

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Afghans flock to polls to vote for new leader
Written by AMIR SHAH, Associated Press RAHIM FAIEZ, Associated Press   
Saturday, 05 April 2014 06:23

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghans flocked to polling stations nationwide on Saturday, defying a threat of violence by the Taliban to cast ballots in what promises to be the nation's first democratic transfer of power.

Amid tight security, men in traditional tunics and loose trousers, and women covered in burqas lined up at polling centers more than an hour before they opened in Kabul and elsewhere.

Excitement was high as Afghans chose from a field of eight presidential candidates as well as provincial councils. With three men considered front-runners, nobody was expected to get the majority needed for an outright victory so a runoff was widely expected.

Hundreds of thousands of Afghan police and soldiers fanned out across the country, searching cars at checkpoints and blocking vehicles from getting close to polling stations. Some voters were searched three times in Kabul, and text messages were blocked in an apparent attempt to prevent candidates from last-minute campaigning.

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Sick baby on sailboat in Pacific draws rescuers
Written by Associated Press   
Saturday, 05 April 2014 06:26

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Rescuers stabilized the condition of a sick baby on a crippled sailboat hundreds of miles off the coast of Mexico and a U.S. Navy warship was steaming toward the vessel, officials said Friday night.

The 36-foot Rebel Heart was about 900 nautical miles southwest of Cabo San Lucas when it sent a satellite call for help to the U.S. Coast Guard Thursday morning that a 1-year-old girl aboard was ill.

The boat was owned by a San Diego family and was on a trip around the world, according to a website, therebelheart.com.

The California Air National Guard sent an aircraft with four pararescuemen from Moffett Federal Airfield near San Francisco, and they plunged into the water and reached the ship Thursday night, said 2nd Lt. Roderick B. Bersamina, spokesman for the Air National Guard's 129th Rescue Wing.

When they arrived, Rebel Heart was "for all intents and purposes dead in the water and drifting south" away from land, Bersamina said.

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Army may never learn motive of Fort Hood rampage
Written by DANICA COTO, Associated Press WILL WEISSERT, Associated Press   
Saturday, 05 April 2014 06:22

FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) — Despite evidence that suggests Spc. Ivan Lopez had an argument before going on a shooting rampage, investigators said they may never determine what compelled the Fort Hood soldier to kill three soldiers and wound 16 others before taking his own life.

Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, Fort Hood's commander, said that an "escalating argument" precipitated the assault. He declined to discuss the cause of the argument but said investigators believe Lopez made no effort to target specific soldiers — even though at least one of the soldiers shot was involved in the dispute.

Milley would not say whether those involved were among the dead or wounded, or how many shooting victims had been a part of the argument.

"There was no premeditated targeting of an individual," he said.

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