A call for group to get terror label

WASHINGTON - Lawmakers from both parties urged Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday to designate the Haqqani network a foreign terrorist organization.

In a letter obtained by the Associated Press, they argued that the Pakistan-based group "continues to launch sensational and indiscriminate attacks against U.S. interests in Afghanistan."

The Haqqani network "poses a continuing threat to innocent men, women and children in the region," said the letter from Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger, both Democrats, and Sen. Saxby Chambliss and Rep. Mike Rogers, both Republicans.

The State Department says Clinton has been reviewing whether the amorphous group meets the criteria for a terrorist organization. In the meantime, many of its leaders have been individually listed as terrorists.

The designation "allows us to freeze any U.S.-based assets and to pursue civil and criminal penalties against U.S. individuals who conduct any transactions with them," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Friday.

After getting back animals, tax woes

ZANESVILLE, Ohio - Prosecutors have filed foreclosure notices for the eastern Ohio property where a man released dozens of his tigers, bears, and other exotic animals and killed himself, forcing authorities to hunt down the creatures last fall.

The man's widow, Marian Thompson, owes more than $14,000 in back taxes on 70 acres in the Zanesville area, the Zanesville Times Recorder reported.

The court filings this week came days after two surviving leopards, two primates, and a bear were returned to the farm after months at the Columbus zoo under a state quarantine order Thompson challenged.

Muskingum County Prosecutor Michael Haddox said his office tries to resolve tax matters before filing foreclosures but hasn't received a response to a letter that was sent to Thompson in November and warned of potential legal action. - AP

Ariz. sheriff ends bid for Congress

PHOENIX - A conservative Arizona sheriff whose congressional campaign took a hit when he disclosed that he was gay amid allegations that he threatened a former Mexican boyfriend with deportation dropped out Friday, opting to run for reelection.

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu is known for his hard-line stance on illegal immigration and border security and was considered a strong candidate in a three-way Republican primary in the Fourth Congressional District.

His image took a beating in February when the boyfriend, a former campaign volunteer, claimed the sheriff threatened him with deportation if he disclosed their relationship.

Babeu said he wants to seek reelection as sheriff because his chief deputy cannot run, and he promised constituents he would maintain a continuity of leadership. - AP

Elsewhere:

A 14-year-old boy was charged Friday with murdering his 9-year-old half-sister, who was found hanging from a tree outside their home in rural Ragland, Ala., where the children lived with their aunt and uncle, authorities said. The boy faces juvenile charges and his name was not released.