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In the Nation

Child found dead; identity is sought

ORLANDO, Fla. - Medical examiners and detectives were working to identify the skeletal remains of a child found in a wooded lot in central Florida yesterday, hoping to solve the months-old mystery of a missing toddler.

Caylee Anthony, 3, was reported missing in July. Yesterday, less than a half-mile from where the girl lived, a utility worker stumbled upon the remains of a small child.

There was nothing that immediately indicated the remains were Caylee's. Orange County Sheriff Kevin Beary said his investigators and the FBI would work round the clock and through the weekend to identify them.

Caylee's mother, Casey Anthony, 22, was indicted in October on first-degree murder and other charges, even without a body. She has insisted that she left the girl with a sitter in June, but she didn't report her missing until July.

- AP

'Believe' plates on hold in S.C.

COLUMBIA, S.C. - A federal judge said South Carolina must stop marketing and making license plates that feature the image of a cross and the words

I Believe

until a court can hear a complaint against them.

A federal judge issued a temporary injunction during a court hearing yesterday after opponents said the plates violate the principle of separation of church and state.

U.S. District Judge Cameron McGowan Currie said the case needed to be heard in court. Until then, the judge said, the Department of Motor Vehicles cannot take any more orders for the plates.

Department spokeswoman Beth Parks said the agency stopped taking orders more than a month ago, after it collected the 400 orders needed to cover the cost of making the plates. She said none had shipped.

- AP

Chertoff cleaner's hiring at issue

WASHINGTON - The nation's top immigration cop, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, unknowingly used a company that employed illegal immigrants to clean his home, an agency official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the probe continues.

Chertoff used Maryland-based Consistent Cleaning Services to clean his home in the D.C. suburbs every few weeks for the last three years until an investigation by one of his department's agencies discovered the company hired illegal workers.

The owner of the cleaning company, James Reid, was fined $22,800 in October, according to the official.

"As customers, the Chertoffs obtained assurances from Mr. Reid that any personnel he dispatched to their home were authorized to work in the United States," Chertoff spokesman Russ Knocke said in a statement yesterday.

- AP


California's budget deficit

will be worse than projected, reaching $41.8 billion by the budget year ending in June 2010, a spokesman for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said.

The "survivors' staircase"

that served as an escape route for people fleeing the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, was moved yesterday across the trade center site to the future entrance of a museum commemorating the attacks.