The Mexican government is reviewing a labor union’s complaint that Alabama’s crackdown on illegal immigrants violates an international trade agreement. The Service Employees International Union and a Mexican attorneys group filed the complaint in April. They contend Alabama’s law targeting illegal immigrants violates protections guaranteed to migrant workers under a side agreement to the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. The Mexican government says it has asked the United States to begin talks allowed under the agreement. Neither Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley nor Attorney General Luther Strange had an immediate response. Courts have blocked many parts of the state law, which Bentley signed last year.
New chemical analysis shows that virtually all the tar balls now washing on to the Alabama coast are directly linked to the BP oil spill more than two years ago. Auburn University researchers tested tar found on Alabama beaches after Hurricane Isaac last month. They found the material is from the BP well, and that certain chemicals in the tar have barely broken down since June 2010. They say the BP spill-related tar balls are hundreds to thousands of times more common than another type of asphalt-like tar deposit that’s been in the Gulf for years. BP didn’t have an immediate response.
The planned opening of a new beer, wine and homebrewing supply company in Birmingham is being delayed after agents from the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board raided the store late yesterday afternoon. AL.com reports the agents took thousands of dollars worth of home brewing supplies and ordered the owner of Hop City Craft Beer and Wine to remove all the hops, grain and yeast from his facility near Pepper Place. Hop City owner Kraig Torres tells al.com he feels like he’s being held hostage by the ABC board, which is holding up the liquor license. He says although it’s illegal to brew beer at home in Alabama, his research indicates it isn’t illegal to sell homebrewing equipment. Several businesses including one near Oak Mountain sell homebrewing equipment. Alabama and Mississippi are the only states that still forbid homebrewing. Still, the American Homebrewers Association estimated there are 5,000 homebrewers in Alabama.
In Gadsden, a judge has acquitted two lawyers and a third man on trial on extortion charges. Circuit Judge Howard F. Bryan IV ruled there was insufficient evidence to continue the trial of Gadsden attorney Frank Bailey; Coosa County Assistant District Attorney Frank Teel; and Teel’s son, Ryan McVay Teel. The men were arrested after they allegedly trying to extort $5 million from a Gadsden businessman with the threat of a capital murder indictment to settle a civil lawsuit against him. Defense lawyers argued prosecutors failed to prove the men committed a crime, and the judge agreed.
A ceremony will be held in Montgomery tomorrow to commemorate national POW/MIA Recognition Day. The ceremony on the south lawn of the Alabama Capitol will include remarks by World War II prisoner of war Seymour “Sy” Lichtenfeld of Mobile. Lichtenfeld was captured in 1944 by the Germans while fighting in the Battle of the Bulge. He was sent to camp in Brandenburg and suffered frostbite as he and 5,000 other American POWS were forced to march 110 miles to another camp.