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LOUISVILLE, KY. | The group building a Noah’s Ark-themed tourism attraction in northern Kentucky says it has purchased the final tract of land for the project, but added that a sluggish economy has hurt fundraising and that the park is still years away from being built.

The Christian ministry Answers in Genesis is directing the construction of the 500-foot ark that is the first phase of the proposed $150 million Ark Encounter. The group also built the popular Creation Museum near Cincinnati.

The project manager says the last 556-acre tract is in hand. The entire site is 800 acres set on rolling farmland.

Answers in Genesis also is asking followers for about $24 million in donations to help build the massive ark. Organizers say about $5 million has been raised so far and that fundraising has slowed.


Mars to make candy bars less fattening

NEW YORK | Snickers bars may soon satisfy you a bit less.

Mars Inc., the makers of popular candy brands including M&M;’s and Twix, will stop making chocolate products that exceed 250 calories by the end of next year.

That means king-sized versions of the company’s chocolate bars will disappear from candy aisles. The privately held company also makes Milky Way, 3 Musketeers, Bounty and Kudos bars.

Mars may not have to make radical changes to reach its goal, however; a standard Snickers bar currently has 280 calories. A package of Twix and a bag of peanut M&M;’s each clock in at 250 calories.

From wire dispatches and staff reports