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FLORIDA

Teens indicted in rape, assault

WEST PALM BEACH — Thee teens suspected in the gang rape of a woman and the assault of her 12-year-old son at a crime-ridden housing project were transferred yesterday from juvenile to adult detention at the Palm Beach County Jail.

Jakaris Taylor, 15, and Nathan Walker, 16, were charged Wednesday in a 14-count indictment that included accusations of sexual battery, kidnapping and burglary. The judge postponed a hearing for Avion Lawson, 14, who faces the same charges, after his attorney failed to appear.

Authorities said the three were identified through fingerprints and DNA found inside the woman’s home.

Prosecutors think the three were among an armed group of as many as 10 teens wearing masks who raped the 35-year-old woman. The attackers also beat her son and poured cleaning solution into his eyes, police said.

IDAHO

Fire preparedness at highest level

BOISE — The nation’s wildfire preparedness was raised to its highest level yesterday as dozens of new fires started in the bone-dry West, including a rapidly growing blaze on the grounds of the Idaho National Laboratory. No laboratory facilities were in immediate danger.

The West had been at Preparedness Level 4 for a few weeks when National Interagency Fire Center officials raised it to Level 5, effective yesterday.

The change allows fire managers to request help from international crews, and National Guard units could be mobilized. Yesterday, fire center spokesman Ken Frederick said new crews were arriving in the Pacific Northwest from Alaska and the Southeast.

About 15,000 U.S. firefighters were already battling nearly 70 fires greater than 100 acres in 12 states.

CALIFORNIA

Truck carrying cheese ignites, makes fondue

SACRAMENTO — A tractor-trailer hauling blocks of cheese erupted in flames early yesterday, turning much of its cargo into freeway fondue.

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