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9 suspected illegals killed, 6 hurt in crash

McALLEN, Texas (AP) -- At least nine suspected illegal immigrants were killed and six injured when the van they were packed into crashed and rolled just after a U.S. Border Patrol traffic stop in this southern Texas town, officials said Wednesday.

Most of those involved in the crash in Palmview at about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday were Mexican citizens, according to Enrique Mendiola, acting assistant chief for the Border Patrol's Rio Grande Valley sector.

The van was demolished, but four men managed to flee the wreck, said Police Cmdr. Lenny Sanchez. Two were caught, and two remained at large, Sanchez said.

The van, designed to carry a driver and up to seven passengers, had been gutted to squeeze in 19 people, he said.



2 grad students shot to death in their car

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A gunman opened fire on a car near the University of Southern California campus early Wednesday, killing two graduate students from China in what may have been a carjacking attempt, police said.

The couple was sitting in the BMW 3 Series sedan when the gunman fired at about 1 a.m., shattering the car windows. The woman was slumped in the front passenger seat.

Before he died, the wounded man managed to get out of the car and run to a nearby home, where he pounded on the door pleading for help and for someone to call 911, Police Cmdr. Andrew Smith said. He then collapsed.

"This is every parent's nightmare," Smith said.

The man, Ming Qu, and the woman, Ying Wu, were both studying electrical engineering, USC said in a statement. Both were in their 20s, police said.

Friends said the car was a 2003 model that Qu bought for about $10,000.

The gunman fled, and no arrest has been made, Smith said.



U.S. history timeline is focus of new exhibit

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Dorothy's ruby slippers from "The Wizard of Oz" have a new home with a diverse set of artifacts in a new timeline of American history that includes a piece of Plymouth Rock, a slave ship manifest, Alexander Graham Bell's telephone and Kermit the Frog at the Smithsonian Institution.

The National Museum of American History is opening the exhibit thutoday featuring iconic objects from pop culture along with items dating from the Pilgrims' arrival in 1620 in Plymouth, Mass.

"American Stories" will be a new chronology of U.S. history from the early encounters of Europeans and Native Americans to an Obama-for-president campaign button written in Hebrew for the 2008 election.

Mixing items from pop culture into a broader timeline is a big change for the museum. For more than 20 years, the slippers have been shown in a separate gallery of memorable items from the movies and entertainment history.

Now they will join other items that explore the nation's founding, growth and reforms, innovations and contemporary society.

"We're so getting away from the time when history was all about white men on horses," said Marc Pachter, the museum's interim director.