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Nation briefs


22 hurt in Amtrak derailment

Authorities said 22 people were injured when an Amtrak train derailed Friday after striking a crane on the tracks in southwest Nebraska. The train carrying 175 passengers and 17 crew members from California to Chicago derailed Friday morning near Benkelman, near the state's borders of Kansas and Colorado. Dundy County emergency director Elaine Frasier said 20 people on the train, including passengers and crew, were taken to area hospitals. She said two others not on the train also were injured but didn't immediately have details about whether they were on the crane or elsewhere on the tracks. Frasier said none of the injuries was critical and included back and neck injuries. Other passengers were taken to a nearby high school and were to be bused to their destinations.


Storm makes Obama cut vacation short

President Barack Obama arrived at Andrews Air Force Base Friday after shortening his Martha's Vineyard vacation because of Hurricane Irene. Obama had planned to return to the White House on Saturday. A spokesman said the president decided Friday morning to cut his vacation short because he wanted to be at the White House when the Category 2 storm makes landfall. Irene was expected to hit North Carolina on Saturday. Before leaving Martha's Vineyard, Obama urged millions of people in Irene's path to obey instructions from their state and local officials, including orders to evacuate if told to do so. Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha had been on the island getaway off Massachusetts since Aug. 18.


Ex-cop posed as U.S. citizen

A former police officer in Alaska was sentenced Thursday to three months in federal prison and fined $10,000 for living in the country illegally under a stolen identity for more than two decades. Mexican national Rafael Mora-Lopez, 47, was sentenced under a plea deal in which federal prosecutors had requested a year in prison and a $250,000 fine. In court, he asked for leniency and repeatedly apologized to the community, friends and the Police Department. "I'm so sorry," he told U.S. District Judge Tim Burgess. Mora-Lopez pleaded guilty in June to federal counts of passport fraud and false claim of U.S. citizenship. He has lived in Anchorage for more than two decades as Rafael Alberto Espinoza, a U.S. citizen. Authorities said Mora-Lopez's true identity was discovered after he applied for a passport renewal and the State Department noted someone else appeared to have a passport under the same identity. A pre-employment background check by police on Mora-Lopez had found nothing because neither he nor Rafael Espinoza had any known criminal record. Mora-Lopez also passed a polygraph test, authorities said. Mora-Lopez also was sentenced to 750 hours of community service and three years of supervised release. Under the law, he could have faced a maximum sentence of 13 years in prison. Authorities said deportation issues are a separate matter under the jurisdiction of federal immigration officials.

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