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Major e-mail

spam producer

shut down

Authorities said Tuesday they have shut down one of the world's largest spam operations, a network with countries from New Zealand to China and the U.S. The spammers sent out billions of e-mails in recent years getting people to click to Web sites that allegedly used false claims to peddle prescription drugs, as well as bogus “male enhancement” and weight-loss pills. The Federal Trade Commission received more than 3million complaints about the spam and related Web sites, officials said. Associated Press

Washington

Gasoline prices are tumbling because of uncertain economic prospects and sagging consumption. The nationwide average for regular-grade gasoline fell to $3.16 a gallon, down 63 cents from a month earlier, according to AAA. The average in Charlotte was $3.49, down from $4.04 a month ago. The N.C. average was $3.45. Washington Post

Florida Orlando

The mother of a missing 3-year-old girl was arrested Tuesday and charged with killing her daughter, even though the child's body has not been found during a four-month search. Casey Anthony was indicted on charges including first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and lying to investigators about the disappearance of her daughter, Caylee, officials said. Associated Press

OHIO Columbus

Ohio's top elections official was ordered Tuesday to set up a system by Friday to verify the eligibility of newly registered voters and make the information available to the state's 88 county election boards. The full 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati upheld a lower-court ruling that Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner must use government records to check thousands of new voters for registration fraud.

About 666,000 Ohioans have registered since January. Since the March primary, Ohio Republicans have filed a series of challenges to the registrations and Brunner's administration of election rules. Associated Press

Texas Graham

A couple whose pit bulls fatally mauled a 7-year-old neighbor were sentenced to seven years in prison, the first conviction under a new Texas law that holds owners responsible if their dogs injure or kill someone. Crystal Michelle Watson, 28, and Jack Wayne Smith, 45, were convicted Thursday of a dog attack resulting in death. Associated Press

U.S. Virgin Islands

Omar reached hurricane strength Tuesday night with top winds of 75 mph as it menaces Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, forecasters said. A hurricane warning was issued for the U.S. Virgin islands and the islands of Vieques and Culebra. Associated Press

Syria DAMASCUS

Syria formally recognized Lebanon for the first time Tuesday by establishing diplomatic relations with its neighbor – meeting a U.S. demand to do more for regional stability even as Damascus pursues indirect peace talks with Israel. Lebanon and Syria have not had formal diplomatic ties since both gained independence from France in the 1940s. The move by President Bashar Assad ends six decades of nonrecognition. Associated Press

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