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INT'L NEWS in brief

Published:Friday | June 13, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Cristina now a Category 4 hurricane


Hurricane Cristina has rapidly strengthened to a major Category-4 storm off Mexico's Pacific coast.

The hurricane's maximum sustained winds increased to near 145 mph (230 kph) yesterday morning. The hurricane reached Category 4 strength just hours after becoming a Category 3 storm.

The US National Hurricane Center says some additional strengthening is possible, but weakening is expected to begin, effective last night.

Cristina is centred about 250 miles (400 kilometres) southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico, and is moving west-northwest near 8 mph (13 kph).

There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect, but forecasters say swells generated by the hurricane are affecting parts of Mexico's southwest coast and could cause life-threatening surf and rip-current conditions.

Maine withholds aid from illegal immigrants


Maine's attorney general said a move by the state Department of Health and Human Services to eliminate its support of general assistance welfare benefits to immigrants in the US illegally is unconstitutional.

Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew announced the move on Wednesday and said it takes effect immediately. The programme that provides housing and food is run by cities in towns, with state funding.

Mayhew said the change was being made to comply with federal law and save money. She says the enforcement will affect about 1,000 people and save the state more than $1 million annually.

Attorney General Janet Mills called the move unconstitutional and an unfunded mandate on cities and towns.