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FATALITIES RISE IN ACCIDENTSWITH ANIMALS

WASHINGTON

Fatalities from vehicle crashes with deer and other animals have more than doubled over the last 15 years, according to a new study by an auto insurance-funded highway safety group that cites urban sprawl overlapping into deer habitat. The report by the Highway Loss Data Institute found that 223 people died in animal-vehicle crashes last year, up from 150 in 2000 and 101 in 1993. Since 1993, Texas had the most deaths - 227 - from such crashes.

The Governors Highway Safety Association cautioned that the numbers need to be looked at in context, citing the more than 12,000 drunken driving deaths each year. The group's spokesman, Jonathan Adkins, said "Our message to motorists is to slow down, particularly at dusk and on rural roads."

ATLANTA

Grand jury indicts 41in drug cartel cases

Federal authorities in Atlanta announced grand jury indictments Wednesday against 41 people allegedly connected to violent Mexican drug cartels, including a deputy sheriff from Texas stopped with nearly a million dollars in cash hidden in his pickup on a Georgia highway. The trafficking operation moved hundreds of kilograms of cocaine and marijuana into Atlanta, authorities said. It also involved extensive money-laundering operations in which millions of dollars in drug proceeds allegedly were funneled through U.S. banks back into Mexico. Authorities said about $22-million in cash was seized, making it a record amount for an Atlanta case.

FRESNO, Calif.

FBI: Arrest made in hoax anthrax mailings

Authorities said they have arrested a man on suspicion of sending hoax anthrax mailings to media outlets and a congressional office. The FBI said Marc Keyser was taken into custody at his home in Sacramento on Wednesday. He is charged with three counts of sending a hoax letter. The agency said he sent envelopes containing a packet of sugar with the label "anthrax sample." The recipients included the office of California's U.S. Rep. George Radanovich and a North Carolina newspaper. The FBI said none of the packets has tested positive for hazardous material.

Elsewhere

IOWA CITY, Iowa: Agriprocessors, a kosher meatpacking plant that was the site of one of the nation's largest immigration raids, was fined nearly $10-million by the state Wednesday over accusations that it violated state labor laws.

NORTH HILLS, N.Y.: Police arrested a man on suspicion of murder Wednesday after the body of his wife, a special education teacher, was found near a highway on New York's Long Island two days ago. William Walsh made several tearful public pleas to help find Leah Walsh, 29, but police said they arrested him after the identity of the body was confirmed Wednesday evening.

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