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ALABAMA

Severe drought worsens, expands

BIRMINGHAM — The choking dryness that is killing crops and turning streams into dusty trails across the Southeast is getting worse, with the government saying yesterday that the nation’s most extreme drought has expanded from Alabama into three neighboring states.

Previously contained in the northern half of Alabama, the area of most severe drought has grown like a brown ink blot to extend from eastern Mississippi across Alabama into southeastern Tennessee and northwestern Georgia.

Government meteorologists classify conditions in the region — roughly shaped like an oval on maps — as worse even than those in southern Florida, where Lake Okeechobee is drying up, and the perennially dry West.

Overall, the entire Southeast is in at least a moderate drought, save for the southern tips of Florida and Louisiana, the northern reaches of North Carolina and Virginia and parts of Arkansas and West Virginia.

CALIFORNIA

11th man arrested in Laos coup plot

SACRAMENTO — An 11th person has been arrested in connection with a suspected plot to overthrow the communist government in Laos, U.S. prosecutors announced yesterday.

Dang Vang, 48, also known as David Vang, was arrested yesterday morning at his Fresno home on suspicion of violating the federal Neutrality Act.

A 77-year-old former Laotian general, Vang Pao, and eight other Hmong elders were arrested June 4 on suspicion of trying to buy nearly $10 million in military weapons and recruiting mercenaries for a coup.

Retired California National Guard Lt. Col. Harrison Jack also has been charged. The decorated Vietnam veteran is accused of attempting to arrange the deal through an arms broker who turned out to be an undercover federal agent.

Prosecutors say the goal was to bomb government buildings, shoot down military aircraft and topple the country’s communist regime.

ILLINOIS

Atlantis video appears on baby monitor

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