USA

The number of residents evacuating their homes in eastern Arizona grew to 25,000 as wildfire defied the efforts of emergency crews to put it out. Fueled by temperatures in the 90s F., blazes in the state have burned more than 235,000 acres in the past week. Meanwhile, near Denver, cooler weather helped firefighters partially contain a blaze that has burned more than 137,00 acres. But four firefighters died on the way to the blaze when their van crashed.

The deadly anthrax spores sent through the US mail last fall were less than two years old, The New York Times reported, quoting scientists who have studied the matter. Their finding strengthens the theory that the sender is connected to a laboratory and could possibly strike again, the Times said.

Violent crime increased last year for the first time in almost a decade, new FBI data showed. The Washington Post reported major crimes in 2001 were up 2 percent from the year before, including a 3.1 percent rise in murders. The crime increase comes as local police departments face budget pressures and expanded duties guarding against terrorism.

Enron Corp. kept as much as $1.5 billion in trading profits off its books during last summer's California energy crisis, The New York Times reported. Former Enron officials who handled or reviewed its accounts said the company expanded its reserves in an effort avoid bad publicity.

Investigators in Salt Lake City were questioning a Utah drifter with a criminal record about the kidnapping of teenager Elizabeth Smart. Bret Michael Edmunds, who checked himself into a West Virginia hospital under an alias, cooperated with authorities as he received treatment for an apparent drug overdose. Although he is not a suspect, the FBI searched his car for possible clues Saturday. A milk deliveryman said Edmunds may have been near the Smart home in Salt Lake City two days before the abduction.

Syndicated advice columnist Anne Landers, who died Saturday, counseled millions of newspaper readers on everything from ethics to relationship problems. Debuting in the Chicago Sun-Times in 1955, Landers, whose real name was Esther Lederer, received up to 2,000 letters a day. She published more than 10,000 columns and six books and was credited with coining the phrase, "Wake up and smell the coffee." Her twin sister, Pauline Phillips, penned a similar advice column, "Dear Abby."

Darryl Kile, who died in his team's hotel in Chicago Friday night or Saturday morning, was a star pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals. His passing was the first time since 1979 that a Major League player has died during the regular season.

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