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Nation digest 02/23/06

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Consumer prices gallop ahead in January

WASHINGTON -- Consumer prices galloped ahead in January at the fastest pace in four months. The latest picture of the nation's pricing climate, released by the Labor Department on Wednesday, reinforced expectations that Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke and his colleagues will boost interest rates in the months ahead to blunt inflation. The government's most closely watched inflation barometer, the Consumer Price Index, advanced by 0.7 percent, compared with a 0.1 percent dip in December. The seesaw pattern mostly reflects gyrating energy prices.

NYC man's anthrax not related to terrorism

NEW YORK -- A New York City man has been hospitalized with a case of anthrax that a federal law enforcement official said may have been contracted from animal skins during a visit to Africa. The infection appeared to be accidental, and authorities did not believe it was related to terrorism, the official said. The man traveled recently to the west coast of Africa and became ill shortly after his return, said a federal law enforcement official, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. Weeks after the 2001 terrorist attacks, the nation was on high alert as anthrax-laced letters surfaced in several places, including New York City. The anthrax attacks killed five people. Investigators have not determined who was responsible.

Couple accused of caging children plead not guilty

NORWALK, Ohio -- A couple accused of forcing some of their 11 adopted, special-needs children to sleep in cages pleaded not guilty Wednesday to child endangering and other crimes. Michael and Sharen Gravelle were arraigned before Huron County Common Pleas Judge Earl R. McGimpsey and agreed to be tried together beginning Sept. 12. They were released without bail; pretrial hearings were set for May 8 and July 17. The Gravelles are accused of forcing the children to sleep in beds enclosed with wire and wood and rigged with alarms. They were charged last week with child endangerment, falsifying adoption applications and lying under oath when being qualified for adoption funding. They say they believed the enclosures were needed to ensure the children were safe.

Jury gets case of mom accused of severing arms

McKINNEY, Texas -- Jurors began deliberations Wednesday in the murder trial of a woman who cut off her baby daughter's arms. Dena Schlosser, 37, pleaded innocent by reason of


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