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In the Nation

Officer deported; took kin's identity

MILWAUKEE - A man who took a dead cousin's identity to pose as a U.S. citizen in order to become a police officer was deported from the United States yesterday.

Oscar Ayala-Cornejo, 25, was arrested May 31 after an anonymous tip and was charged with falsely representing himself as an American citizen. He accepted a plea deal, agreeing to be deported, and resigned from the Milwaukee police force.

He was flown to Guadalajara, Mexico, where his family moved from in 1992. Being a police officer was his dream job. "I love this country," he said Saturday. "I love everything it has to offer."

- AP

GPS for Jesus, Mary and Joseph

BAL HARBOUR, Fla. - A baby Jesus statue here is getting a global positioning system for Christmas. The statue, part of a nativity scene, will be equipped with the device after the previous statue went missing, even though it had been bolted down.

"I don't anticipate this will ever happen again," said Dina Cellini, who oversees the display, "but we may need to rely on technology to save our savior." The Mary and Joseph statues will also be fitted with GPS devices, she said.

Residents' contributions and Cellini's own money are paying for the devices. Cellini has also installed a Plexiglas screen in front of the display.

- AP

Grandson donates part of his liver

ECKERVILLE, Mich. - A man gave his 74-year-old grandmother an early Christmas present this year when he donated more than half of his liver to her.

Patricia Middleton, a retired school bus driver, had been battling a chronic liver disease for a quarter-century. In August, she was told she would need a transplant.

Said grandson Chad McMaster, 29: "She got one heck of a Christmas present, didn't she?" His grandmother agreed, choking back tears when she said: "I cry a lot. How often do you see this? A grandson and a grandmother? How often?"

- AP


Investigators were searching

for the cause of a fire that destroyed a church in Jacksonville, Fla., early yesterday morning. No injuries were reported in the blaze in the sanctuary of the Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church.

A sheriff's deputy

found a woman's body on fire near a church in Royal Palm Beach, Fla., early yesterday, authorities said. Authorities, who say the victim was between 20 and 40 years old, are treating the death as a homicide.

A Southwest Airlines flight

headed to Connecticut made an emergency landing in Omaha, Neb., Saturday night after a bomb threat was phoned in. No explosives were found, and the 137 passengers on Flight 1018 from Las Vegas continued on to Hartford, Southwest spokeswoman Christi Day said.