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Smokers burned by new law
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The world at war
Downtown noise pisses off cranky locals
Alum loves proteins, donates cash
The world at war
By Aaron Wherry
The death toll in America's anthrax crisis reached four Wednesday when a New York woman lost her struggle with the virus, three days after checking into hospital with flu-like symptoms.
The 61-year-old hospital worker was New York's first case of inhalation anthrax. Due to her sickness, she was unable to help investigators trace the source of her infection by reconstructing her social life and daily routines.
"Somebody is trying to kill the American people by sending anthrax through the mail," said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer. "The president believes the actions of the government have saved lives. He regrets that these attacks have resulted in the loss of anybody's life."
A co-worker of the 61-year-old female has a suspicious lesion that has been tested, but no results have yet been reported, he added.
This latest fatality and the skin anthrax infection of a New Jersey accountant have raised concerns that anthrax-laced letters are tainting other mail in the postal system.
The inspector in charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service's main forensic laboratory told The Associated Press that investigators were confident there have been only three anthrax-tainted letters sent through the mail.
Seventeen cases of anthrax infection have now been confirmed in the U.S., including 10 inhalation infections resulting in four deaths and seven skin infections.
In other news:
¥ U.S. attacks in southern Afghanistan badly damaged a hospital and strikes in northern Afghanistan pounded Taliban strongholds.
¥ A senior Taliban official said Wednesday the ruling militia in Afghanistan is willing to negotiate an end to the conflict, but must first see proof of Osama bin Laden's involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks on America. The United States has rejected numerous other offers, saying the surrender of bin Laden and his associates is non-negotiable.
¥ The U.S. designated 46 organizations as terrorist groups on Wednesday and banned their members from entering the country. Attorney General John Ashcroft also announced the creation of a new foreign terrorist tracking task force to "neutralize the threat of terrorist aliens."
¥ Canadian Foreign Minister John Manley, on a diplomatic tour of the Mideast, said recent talks with Syria were disappointing. "They did not take any responsibility for any groups that use violence in order to achieve political objectives," he said.
with files from Associated Press
and Canadian Press