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AROUND THE STATE

Pro-labor rally marks Triangle factory fire

NEW YORK (AP) -- The centennial commemoration of the Triangle shirtwaist factory fire became a rally for organized labor Friday, as hundreds marched and vowed to resist efforts to weaken unions in state capitals across the country.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., drew cheers when he pledged to fight "right wing ideologues" trying to curb worker protections.

The rally took place outside the former Triangle factory, which burned March 25, 1911, killing 146 people and helping galvanize the U.S. labor movement.

Earlier Friday, many people hoisting signs bearing the names of the dead marched from Union Square several blocks south to the building.

Many of the victims' family members attended the ceremony. Pete Doob of Columbia, Md., came to honor his great-aunt, Violet Schechter, 21, who died in the fire just a week before she was to be married.

"There were no regulations back then, and there was no union to enforce them. With neither of those, the workers didn't have a chance," he said.

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11 bus drivers arrested on fraudulent licenses

ALBANY (AP) -- State officials have arrested 11 more bus drivers in the New York City area for using aliases to get fraudulent licenses in an ongoing investigation following the March 12 tour bus crash that killed 15 people in the Bronx.

Those arrested Friday include commercial operators and four Metropolitan Transportation Authority employees.

Two other bus drivers and a cab driver were arrested Thursday in New York City on similar charges.

Department of Motor Vehicles investigators are using facial recognition technology to identify individuals with a valid commercial driver's license in one name and additional licenses in another. Their driving privileges are suspended pending prosecution for filing false documents.

MTA Chairman Jay Walder said its drivers have been suspended and the authority plans to fire them.

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Soldier charged with killing infant

WATERTOWN (AP) -- A Fort Drum soldier who was wounded during a 2009 tour in Afghanistan was charged Friday with killing a 4-month-old baby he and his wife were trying to adopt.

Jeffrey Sliker, 23, a native of Middletown, R.I., was arraigned Friday on a second-degree murder charge in the death of Laurne Clark, who was also known as Mollie Sliker.

The child was found dead at Sliker's home Wednesday after his wife alerted authorities. An autopsy determined she died of a blunt-force head injury, and Sliker was arrested.

Sliker and his wife had been looking after the baby since birth under a court-approved adoption, authorities said.

Sliker was injured Aug. 19, 2009, when an armored vehicle he and six others were riding in was hit by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan's Wardak province.

His brother Jim Sliker said he wondered if his service in Afghanistan, including sustaining a back injury and a concussion in that attack, may have been a factor in the baby's death.

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Officials contest 2010 census figures

NEW YORK (AP) -- New York City officials are contesting 2010 census figures that found only modest growth in the city's population.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the city's demographer, Joe Salvo, said on WOR radio Friday they have lots of evidence to suggest the city grew by about 250,000 people more than the census showed.

There isn't much the city can do about the official 2010 tally of 8.2 million, which determines how many representatives states get in Congress.

But Salvo and the mayor say they are looking ahead to the Census Bureau's 2011 population estimate, which is often used to calculate the city's share of federal funding.

They say they plan to present a wealth of data to Census Bureau officials aimed at raising future population estimates.

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