EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

World/National News

March 31, 2013

In Brief

Source: Immigration bill deal struck

WASHINGTON — Big business and labor have resolved a dispute over a low-skilled worker program that threatened to hold up agreement on a sweeping immigration bill, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.

The deal was struck in a phone call late Friday night with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, U.S. Chamber of Commerce head Tom Donohue, and Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, who’s been mediating the dispute.

The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of a formal announcement, said the deal resolves disagreements over wages for the new workers and which industries would be included. That had led talks to break down a week ago.

The deal must still be signed off on by the seven other senators working with Schumer to negotiate a bipartisan immigration bill — but that’s expected to happen. The agreement between business and labor removes the biggest hurdle to completion of the immigration bill to secure the border, crack down on employers, improve legal immigration and create a pathway to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants already here.

The bipartisan senate group is expected to introduce the bill the week of April 8 after Congress returns from a two-week recess.

North Korea warns of ‘state of war’

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea warned Seoul on Saturday that the Korean Peninsula had entered “a state of war” and threatened to shut down a border factory complex that’s the last major symbol of inter-Korean cooperation.

Analysts say a full-scale conflict is extremely unlikely, noting that the Korean Peninsula has remained in a technical state of war for 60 years. But the North’s continued threats toward Seoul and Washington, including a vow to launch a nuclear strike, have raised worries that a misjudgment between the sides could lead to a clash.

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