Alcohol-related deaths on U.S. highways decline

WASHINGTON - The number of alcohol-related fatalities on U.S. highways dropped for a second straight year, as did traffic deaths overall, the government reported Monday.

The Department of Transportation said alcohol-related fatalities fell 2.4 percent, from 17,105 in 2003 to 16,694 in 2004. Overall, 42,636 people died on the nation's highways in 2004, down 248 - or 0.6 percent - from the previous year.

Feds arrest 500 gang members

WASHINGTON - Federal authorities arrested 582 alleged gang members over a two-week period targeting an estimated 80 violent groups they say have spawned street crimes across the country, officials said Monday.

Investigators picked up most of the offenders between July 16 and July 28 on immigration violations for being in the United States illegally. Seventy-six face criminal charges, ranging from illegal possession of a firearm to holding fraudulent documents.

President puts Bolton in U.N. job

WASHINGTON - President Bush installed embattled nominee John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations on Monday, bypassing the Senate after a testy five-month standoff with Democrats who argued that the tough-talking conservative was unfit for the job.

Report: Florida should reconsider building on coast

NAVARRE BEACH, Fla. - A Florida program that permits coastal construction near the water's edge should be re-evaluated in the wake of Hurricane Dennis last month, a state damage assessment report urges.

Florida's Department of Environmental Protection says Dennis damaged or destroyed 114 homes and 55 multiple-family dwelling units built seaward of coastal construction control lines, which run parallel to and varying distances from the shore depending on local conditions.

Prosecutors alleged terror trial system flawed

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon acknowledged on Monday that two former members of the military team handling prosecutions of terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, alleged last year that the trial system was rigged in favor of the government.

Officials said the prosecutors' claims of ethical lapses and potential criminal acts had been reviewed and dismissed as unfounded.

- From wire reports