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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

Sinn Fein head coming here for St. Pat's parade

Gerry Adams, the president of Sinn Fein, will be in Buffalo prior to the big St. Patrick's Day parade on March 19, as a guest of Congressman Brian Higgins, the Buffalo Democrat.

The visit stems from Higgins' recent trip to Ireland with other congressmen to meet those involved in the Irish peace process, including Adams.

"All residents of Western New York can be proud that Gerry chose to come to Buffalo -- not New York, not Boston, not Chicago, but Buffalo -- on the St. Patrick's Day following the historic IRA decision to lay down its arms," Higgins said.

The public is invited to hear Adams speak at the Buffalo Irish Center, 245 Abbott Road, at 7:15 p.m. Friday. At 11:15 a.m. Saturday, he will place a wreath at the Irish Famine Memorial near the Erie Basin Marina. And at noon, he'll be in the "Old Neighborhood" St. Patrick's Day Parade through the old First Ward and Valley neighborhoods.

The weekend's main event, the St. Patrick's Day parade will step off from Niagara Square at 2 p.m. Sunday, with Michael D. O'Sullivan carrying the grand marshal's shillelagh.

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Snyder wants apology for Spitzer remarks

Barry E. Snyder Sr., the president of the Seneca Nation of Indians, wants an apology from State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer for describing Seneca retailers shipping cigarettes over the Internet as a "massive criminal enterprise."

Snyder issued the demand after Spitzer joined Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., in supporting legislation that would ban the U.S. Postal Service from delivering tax-free cigarettes through the mail.

"On behalf of the Seneca people," Snyder said in a prepared statement, "I believe that Attorney General Spitzer and Sen. Schumer owe us an apology for their inappropriate and disrespectful attack on our good name.

"We are not law breakers," Snyder said. "We are not criminals. We are the first people of this land who made treaties with the colonists to live in peace."

Saturday, members of the Seneca Council voted to form a task force consisting of tribal councilors, tobacco retailers and tribal members, according to Joseph F. Crangle, the Senecas' attorney. The task force will recommend ways to protect the Senecas' tobacco business.

Spitzer has been putting pressure on shippers and credit card companies to end the shipment of the Senecas' tax free cigarettes across the country.

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Officials discuss impact of border-crossing law

Business leaders, tourism officials and representatives from Canada met Saturday at the University at Buffalo to share concerns and discuss the economic impact of a new, stricter border crossing law.

Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds, R-Clarence, hosted the conference at UB's Center for Tomorrow. He said cross-border commerce and tourism have a tremendous impact on the region's economy.

Beginning New Year's Day 2008, the federal government says it will require anyone crossing from Canada to have passports or pass cards to get into the United States.

Other participants included Luke Rich of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Thom Kraus of the Niagara USA Chamber of Commerce, and Steve Brereton, counsel general to Canada.

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