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WICHITA, Kan. — At least two Wichita billboard companies say they will not run billboards from an animal rights group that were prompted by the death of a local abortion provider.

“It’s in poor taste considering the crisis that’s going on in the community right now,” said John Lay, president of George Lay Signs Inc.

The proposed billboards, designed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, urge people on both sides of the abortion debate to go vegetarian. One says, “Pro-Life? Go Vegetarian”; the other, “Pro-Choice? Choose Vegetarian.”

New swine flu deaths reported in 5 states

MILWAUKEE — Health officials in Wisconsin, California, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Utah reported deaths from swine flu on Thursday, and said all five patients had been diagnosed with other health problems.

The Wisconsin death, of a Milwaukee adult, was the state’s first from the H1N1 virus. Pennsylvania also reported its first death from the illness..

Man charged with threatening president

SALT LAKE CITY — Federal prosecutors have charged a man with making threats against President Barack Obama after he allegedly told a bank employee in Utah he was on a mission to kill the president.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported on its Web site Thursday that Daniel James Murray allegedly made the remark to a teller at a bank in St. George on May 27 as he withdrew $13,000 from an account.

Murray’s whereabouts are unknown.

Charges dropped in black man’s dragging death

DALLAS — Murder charges were dropped at the prosecution’s request Thursday in the dragging death of a black man in east Texas, and the two white men who had been accused of killing him were released from jail.

Shannon Finley and Charles Crostley were released Thursday afternoon in Paris after a judge granted the special prosecutor’s motion to dismiss the case.

The two men had been charged with fatally striking 24-year-old Brandon McClelland with a pickup truck in September.

The case was hampered by a lack of eyewitnesses and physical evidence.

Murder charges for four in Wal-Mart shooting

TACOMA, Wash. — Murder charges were filed Thursday against four people accused in the killing of an armored car guard as he carried a money bag out of a Washington state Wal-Mart.

Two of the four, including the man accused of pulling the trigger, also face aggravated first-degree murder charges, which could carry the death penalty.

Deputy Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said the defendants entered not guilty pleas during a hearing in Pierce County Superior Court.

Dying Manson killer seeks parole; hearing put off

LOS ANGELES — Susan Atkins was ex- pected to succumb to brain cancer months ago, but the former Charles Manson follower imprisoned for killing actress Sharon Tate nearly four decades ago still clings to life.

Now, a hearing that is perhaps her last chance at freedom has been abruptly put off until September.

Her lawyer husband doesn’t know if the 61-year-old Atkins will make it. But that’s fine with the family of Tate, among seven people killed by Manson followers in one of the most notorious murder cases of the 20th century.

“They all should live out their natural years in institutions,” said Debra Tate, the younger sister of the slain actress. If they are released, she said, “I can’t trust that they won’t inspire other individuals to do similar acts.”

Detroit triplet gives birth to her own set of three

DETROIT — A Michigan woman who’s one-third of a set of triplets is celebrating the birth of her own three babies.

Amber Ali delivered Amir, Armann and Amari Whitaker on May 26 at Sinai-Grace Hospital in Detroit. The 23-year-old woman tells The Detroit News she’s relieved the boys arrived safely.

The children remain hospitalized, and Ali says she’s looking forward to playing with them. She says: “It’s going to be fun.”

The babies’ 25-year-old father, Andre Whitaker, says that naming the triplets “took forever.”

—Herald wire services

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