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Sydney judge says US ex-fighter pilot accused of training Chinese aviators can be extradited to US

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Sydney judge says US ex-fighter pilot accused of training Chinese aviators can be extradited to US
News

News

Sydney judge says US ex-fighter pilot accused of training Chinese aviators can be extradited to US

2024-05-24 22:58 Last Updated At:23:00

SYDNEY (AP) — A Sydney judge on Friday ruled that former U.S. Marine Corps pilot Daniel Duggan can be extradited to the United States on allegations that he illegally trained Chinese aviators, leaving the attorney-general as Duggan’s last hope of remaining in Australia.

Magistrate Daniel Reiss ordered the Boston-born 55-year-old to remain in custody awaiting extradition.

While his lawyers said they had no legal grounds to challenge the magistrate’s ruling that Duggan was eligible for extradition, they will make submissions to Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus on why the pilot should not be surrendered.

“The attorney will give us sufficient time, I’m quite sure, to ventilate all of the issues that under the Extradition Act are not capable of being run in an Australian court,” Duggan’s lawyer, Bernard Collaery, told reporters outside court.

Dreyfus’ office said in a statement the government does not comment on extradition matters.

Duggan’s wife and mother of his six children, Saffrine Duggan, said the extradition court hearing was “simply about ticking boxes.”

“Now, we respectfully ask the attorney-general to take another look at this case and to bring my husband home,” she told a gathering of reporters and supporters outside court.

The pilot has spent 19 months in maximum-security prison since he was arrested in 2022 at his family home in the state of New South Wales.

In a 2016 indictment from the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., unsealed late 2022, prosecutors say Duggan conspired with others to provide training to Chinese military pilots in 2010 and 2012, and possibly at other times, without applying for an appropriate license.

Prosecutors say Duggan received about nine payments totaling around 88,000 Australian dollars ($61,000) and international travel from another conspirator for what was sometimes described as “personal development training.”

Duggan served in the U.S. Marines for 12 years before immigrating to Australia in 2002. In January 2012, he gained Australian citizenship, choosing to give up his U.S. citizenship in the process.

The indictment says Duggan traveled to the United States, China and South Africa, and provided training to Chinese pilots in South Africa.

Duggan has denied the allegations, saying they were political posturing by the U.S., which unfairly singled him out.

Saffrine Duggan speaks outside Downing Central Court in Sydney, Friday, May 24, 2024, where her husband Daniel will appear. A Sydney judge ruled that former U.S. Marine Corps pilot Daniel Duggan can be extradited to the United States on allegations he illegally trained Chinese aviators, leaving the Australian attorney-general Duggan's last hope of remaining in Australia. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Saffrine Duggan speaks outside Downing Central Court in Sydney, Friday, May 24, 2024, where her husband Daniel will appear. A Sydney judge ruled that former U.S. Marine Corps pilot Daniel Duggan can be extradited to the United States on allegations he illegally trained Chinese aviators, leaving the Australian attorney-general Duggan's last hope of remaining in Australia. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Saffrine Duggan speaks outside Downing Central Court in Sydney, Friday, May 24, 2024, where her husband Daniel will appear. A Sydney judge ruled that former U.S. Marine Corps pilot Daniel Duggan can be extradited to the United States on allegations he illegally trained Chinese aviators, leaving the Australian attorney-general Duggan's last hope of remaining in Australia. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

Saffrine Duggan speaks outside Downing Central Court in Sydney, Friday, May 24, 2024, where her husband Daniel will appear. A Sydney judge ruled that former U.S. Marine Corps pilot Daniel Duggan can be extradited to the United States on allegations he illegally trained Chinese aviators, leaving the Australian attorney-general Duggan's last hope of remaining in Australia. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

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Tropical Storm Alberto weakens over northeast Mexico after heavy rains killed 3

2024-06-21 00:39 Last Updated At:00:40

TAMPICO, Mexico (AP) — Tropical Storm Alberto, the season’s first named storm, weakened Thursday as it moved inland over northeast Mexico after bringing heavy rains to parts of the parched region and leaving at least three dead.

The storm was weakening rapidly over land and was downgraded to a tropical depression by the U.S. National Hurricane Center with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph (55 kmh). Coastal storm watches and warnings in Mexico were lifted as Alberto moved west at 18 mph (30 kmh).

But forecasters said heavy rain amounting to several inches was still expected inland in Mexico’s Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon and Coahuila states. South Texas was forecast to see diminishing rain Thursday.

Immediately after it moved ashore in Tampico, there was initial disappointment at the meager amount of rain that fell. Showers had been sporadic through the early morning with the sun even breaking through at times.

“We had hoped that it would come because water is so needed here, but at far as I can tell it went somewhere else,” said Tampico resident Marta Alicia Hernández.

The rain that Tampico had hoped for may still be coming from some of the large system's outer bands. There was heavy rain reported inland in the neighboring state of Nuevo Leon.

There, civil protection authorities reported three deaths linked to Alberto’s rains. They said one man died in the La Silla river in the city of Monterrey, the state capital, and that two minors died from electric shocks in the municipality of Allende. Local media reported that the minors were riding a bicycle in the rain.

Nuevo Leon Gov. Samuel García wrote on his account on social media platform X that metro and public transportation services would be suspended in Monterrey from Wednesday night until midday Thursday when Alberto has passed.

Alberto had spurred tropical storm warnings covering most of the western Gulf of Mexico’s coastline from Texas to Veracruz. The storm made landfall with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (75 kmh).

Schools were closed across Tamaulipas state where Alberto came ashore and would be through Friday. Shelters were prepared across the state to receive residents trying to escape high water.

As much as 5 inches (13 centimeters) to 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain was expected in some parts of northeast Mexico and southern Texas, with even higher isolated totals possible, according to the hurricane center. Some higher locations in Mexico could see as much as 20 inches (50 centimeters) of rain, which could result in mudslides and flash flooding, especially in the states of Tamaulipas, Coahuila and Nuevo Leon.

Mexican authorities had downplayed the risk posed by Alberto and instead pinned their hopes on its ability to ease the parched region's water needs.

“The (wind) speeds are not such as to consider it a risk,” said Tamaulipas state Secretary of Hydrological Resources Raúl Quiroga Álvarez during a news conference late Wednesday. Instead, he suggested people greet Alberto happily. “This is what we’ve been waiting for for eight years in all of Tamaulipas.”

Much of Mexico has been suffering under severe drought, with northern Mexico especially hard hit. Quiroga noted that the state’s reservoirs were low and Mexico owed the United States a massive water debt in their shared use of the Rio Grande.

“This is a win-win event for Tamaulipas,” he said.

Alberto was bringing rains and flooding to the coast of Texas as well.

The U.S. National Weather Service said the main hazard for southern coastal Texas is flooding from excess rain. On Wednesday the NWS said there is “a high probability” of flash flooding in southern coastal Texas. Tornadoes or waterspouts are possible.

Areas along the Texas coast were seeing some road flooding and dangerous rip currents Wednesday, and waterspouts were spotted offshore.

In the village of Surfside Beach, a Texas city on a barrier island, storm surge early Thursday left behind some damaged roads and lots of debris, but “very little damage” to the mostly elevated structures, Mayor Gregg Bisso said.

The surge was receding by late morning and “you can almost get around now,” he said. Bisso said the island has a population of about 800 full-time residents with as many as 10,000 vacationers in the summer.

Tampico resident Octavio González was visibly disappointed in the little rain from Alberto.

“Very little water fell,” he said. “We're on this south side of Tamaulipas with a lot of drought. And the truth is we have a lot of hope for the rain.”

Associated Press writer Jamie Stengle in Dallas contributed to this report.

An oil slick drifts across the surface as the storm surge from Tropical Storm Alberto floods streets, Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Surfside Beach, Texas. ( Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle via AP)

An oil slick drifts across the surface as the storm surge from Tropical Storm Alberto floods streets, Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Surfside Beach, Texas. ( Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Members of the Vise family walk through the storm surge from Tropical Storm Alberto, Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Surfside Beach, Texas. They said they needed to get out of their house. ( Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Members of the Vise family walk through the storm surge from Tropical Storm Alberto, Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Surfside Beach, Texas. They said they needed to get out of their house. ( Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Joseph Canzanella walks through the storm surge from Tropical Storm Alberto to get to work Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Surfside Beach, Texas. "This ain't the first time I've had to do this, and it won't be the last," he said. ( Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Joseph Canzanella walks through the storm surge from Tropical Storm Alberto to get to work Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Surfside Beach, Texas. "This ain't the first time I've had to do this, and it won't be the last," he said. ( Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle via AP)

The storm surge from Tropical Storm Alberto, floods the streets in Surfside Beach, Texas, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. ( Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle via AP)

The storm surge from Tropical Storm Alberto, floods the streets in Surfside Beach, Texas, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. ( Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Joseph Canzanella, left, greets members of the Vise family as he walks through the storm surge from Tropical Storm Alberto to get to work Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Surfside Beach, Texas. "This ain't the first time I've had to do this, and it won't be the last," Canzanella said. ( Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Joseph Canzanella, left, greets members of the Vise family as he walks through the storm surge from Tropical Storm Alberto to get to work Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Surfside Beach, Texas. "This ain't the first time I've had to do this, and it won't be the last," Canzanella said. ( Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle via AP)

The storm surge from Tropical Storm Alberto, floods the streets in Surfside Beach, Texas, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. ( Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle via AP)

The storm surge from Tropical Storm Alberto, floods the streets in Surfside Beach, Texas, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. ( Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Palapas sit deserted on a beach in Miramar, in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. Tropical Storm Alberto formed on Wednesday in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico, the first named storm of the hurricane season. (AP Photo/Fabian Melendez)

Palapas sit deserted on a beach in Miramar, in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. Tropical Storm Alberto formed on Wednesday in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico, the first named storm of the hurricane season. (AP Photo/Fabian Melendez)

Joseph Canzanella walks through the storm surge from Tropical Storm Alberto to get to work Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Surfside Beach, Texas. "This ain't the first time I've had to do this, and it won't be the last," he said. (Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Joseph Canzanella walks through the storm surge from Tropical Storm Alberto to get to work Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Surfside Beach, Texas. "This ain't the first time I've had to do this, and it won't be the last," he said. (Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Winds from Tropical Storm Alberto blow sea foam inland, Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Surfside Beach, Texas. (Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Winds from Tropical Storm Alberto blow sea foam inland, Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Surfside Beach, Texas. (Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle via AP)

A car sits submerged in water as Tropical Storm Alberto approaches land Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Surfside Beach, Texas. (Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle via AP)

A car sits submerged in water as Tropical Storm Alberto approaches land Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in Surfside Beach, Texas. (Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle via AP)

A bird flies over a deserted pier in Miramar, in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. Tropical Storm Alberto formed on Wednesday in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico, the first named storm of the hurricane season. (AP Photo/Fabian Melendez)

A bird flies over a deserted pier in Miramar, in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. Tropical Storm Alberto formed on Wednesday in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico, the first named storm of the hurricane season. (AP Photo/Fabian Melendez)

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