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A fast track to US citizenship

About 47,500 military personnel are noncitizens, close to 4 percent, and the Pentagon recruits more noncitizens each year. They must have green cards, may serve only a single term of enlistment before applying for citizenship, and can hold no military job requiring security clearance.

While legal permanent residents may become US citizens after serving in the military for three years; the wait for civilians is five years. Military service does not exempt armed-forces personnel from civics- and English-proficiency tests or immigration fees.

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Defending satire

DALLAS – A Texas appeals court refused to dismiss a libel suit by two elected officials who claim that a newspaper's satirical story damaged their reputations. Denton County Judge Darlene Whitten and District Attorney Bruce Isaacks sued the Dallas Observer for a 1999 story about a first-grader jailed for a book report on Maurice Sendak's "Where the Wild Things Are." The story poked fun at the judge's decision to jail a seventh-grader after he read a graphic Halloween story to his class.

The appeals court said that satire is not protected under the First Amendment if it contains a substantially false and defamatory impression. The Observer published a disclaimer the following week.

China embraces Western media

China has stopped blocking access to websites of at least three Western news organizations that Chinese have long been barred from seeing.

The Associated Press, Reuters, and The Washington Post were accessible May 17 from Internet cafes in Beijing and Shanghai. The Shanghai police Internet Safety Monitoring Office would not say why the sites were made accessible.

But analysts noted that the easing coincided with the recent breakup of the phone monopoly China Telecom in preparation for lifting a ban on foreign investment in Chinese telecommunications companies.