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Nation & world briefs, July 5

Mexico

Airlines cancel their
flights due to volcano

At least six U.S. airlines canceled more than 40 flights into and out of Mexico City and Toluca, Mexico, airports yesterday after the Popocatepetl volcano spewed out ash, steam and glowing rocks, airport officials said.

Mexico City airport spokesman Jorge Gomez said U.S. Airways, Delta, United, American and Alaska Airlines canceled 47 flights as a precaution. But he said the airport otherwise continues to operate normally and that by yeserday afternoon no ash had reached the area, about 40 miles from the volcano.

Gomez said that among the routes affected by the cancelations were flights to Houston, Dallas, Denver, Phoenix, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Britain

Police seek 38
‘persons of interest’

The British police said they have launched a full investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, and want to trace 38 “persons of interest” in the case.

Detectives said it’s possible that Madeleine, who vanished from a Portuguese holiday resort six years ago, is still alive.

Scotland Yard said yesterday that 12 of the individuals of interest are British, and the rest from a variety of European countries. The force said it is working with governments across the continent to find out more.

McCann vanished from a vacation home in Portugal’s Algarve region May 3, 2007, days before her fourth birthday. The case has generated intense media interest.

California

Striking rail workers resume negotiations

Striking San Francisco Bay Area rail workers and transit agency officials returned to the bargaining table yesterday for talks that one union leader described as “frustrating.”

Joe Bomberger with the Service Employees International Union told reporters as he entered the negotiating site in Oakland, Calif., that Bay Area Rapid Transit officials were not “substantially addressing” any of the safety concerns that the unions have for the public and workers.

The strike is in its fourth day, though commuters got a reprieve from crowded buses and gridlock on the roads because of the Fourth of July holiday.

Deen severs ties with her agent

Paula Deen announced yesterday that she has cut business ties with the agent who helped make her a Food Network star and launch a media and merchandising empire that has largely crumbled in the wake of her admission that she used racial slurs in the past.

Deen had worked with New York agent Barry Weiner for more than a decade. She gave no reason for her parting with Weiner in a prepared statement.

Deen’s breakup with one of her key partners comes after a turbulent two weeks that have left the celebrity chef’s network of business deals in shambles. It all started within days of the public disclosure of a legal deposition in which Deen admitted under oath to having used the n-word.

The Associated Press

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