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Snow brings blackouts to Northeast

More snow fell Wednesday in parts of the Northeast as utility crews labored to restore service to thousands of customers blacked out by the region's first big snowstorm of the season.

The wet snow that began falling Tuesday collected on trees still covered with leaves, and its weight combined with gusty wind to send limbs crashing onto power lines.

The National Weather Service reported storm totals of about 14 inches in northern New Jersey, as much as 15 inches in New York's Catskill Mountains and a foot in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains. Associated Press

Washington

Fatalities from vehicle crashes with deer and other animals have more than doubled over the past 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, with 227; North Carolina had 60; South Carolina, 55. Associated Press

California Fresno

Authorities say they have arrested a man on suspicion of sending hoax anthrax mailings to several media outlets, including the Observer and a congressional office.

The FBI said Marc M. 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 Congressman George Radanovich.

None of the packets has tested positive for hazardous material.

Authorities said the arrest is not connected to recent hoax mailings sent to financial institutions last week. Staff and wire reports

Hawaii Honolulu

The best bargain at the Salvation Army thrift store in Kailua-Kona was a Richard Simmons videotape. But Mikela Mercier, 11, decided to pass up the chance to buy the tape for a few coins after she found a surprise inside: $1,000 in $100 bills.

Mikela said that when she discovered the money while browsing through the used tapes, she immediately looked for her mom who was inside the dressing room and told her they needed to turn it in. Associated Press

Somalia Mogadishu

A wave of suicide bombings killed more than 20 people Wednesday in northern Somalia, striking just as international leaders held talks on ending decades of deadly turmoil in this chaotic African nation.

The five seemingly coordinated attacks targeted a U.N. compound, the Ethiopian consulate and the presidential palace in Somaliland's capital, Hargeisa. Associated Press

Syria DAMASCUS

Syria threatened Wednesday to cut off security cooperation along the Iraqi border if there are more U.S. raids on Syrian territory, and the U.S. Embassy announced it would close today because of a mass rally called to protest a deadly weekend commando attack.

Thousands were expected to participate in the government-sanctioned protest. Associated Press

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