USA

Baffled federal authorities were investigating how a woman from Connecticut contracted inhalation anthrax, seeing no immediate connection between the small town in which she lives and the October bioterror attacks in New York, Washington D.C., and Florida. The case was the first in the state and the second of someone with no apparent link to the media outlets, postal facilities, or government buildings contaminated by anthrax-tainted mail. Four people have so far died and 13 have been infected by anthrax.

As the nation entered the Thanksgiving holiday, President Bush was to express his gratitude to troops at home and abroad in a speech at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. After a traditional Thanksgiving meal with some 10,000 troops and their families, the president and first lady were to head to Camp David in Maryland for the weekend.

New claims for state unemployment benefits fell for the fourth straight week, suggesting that the surge of layoffs seen after the Sept. 11 terror attacks may be easing. The Labor Department reported that for the work week ending Nov. 17, new jobless claims dipped by a seasonally adjusted 15,000 to 427,000. Even with the decline, the level of jobless claims indicated a weak labor market, analysts said.

Revising the official death toll in the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center, authorities put the total of dead and missing at 3,899, well below the mid-September high of more than 6,500. Dozens of names were eliminated from the list in cross checks, sometimes finding that people were listed in error. Foreign consulates have also been revising the numbers of their nationals believed to have been in the buildings. The New York Times, Associated Press, and USA Today tabulate the toll at fewer than 3,000.

Despite the long-standing tradition of allowing the public to view the presidential mansion decorated for Christmas, the White House will remain closed to tours through the holiday season for security reasons. Spokesman Ari Fleischer said the Secret Service, which protects President Bush and his family, recommended keeping the popular attraction closed. "It is distressing, it is unfortunate, and the president regrets very much that it has come to that point...," Mr. Fleischer said.

Fewer foreign citizens have been traveling to the US since the Sept. 11 attacks, largely out of fear of more attacks. Foreign tourism, initially expected to grow 4 percent this year, is forecast to dive 13 percent, the Travel Industry Association of America said.

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