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Woman with cell phone in throat was assaulted

BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. (AP) -- A woman who police thought deliberately tried to swallow her cell phone during an argument with her boyfriend was apparently the victim of an assault instead, authorities said.

Police have a suspect in the bizarre incident that sent the 24-year-old woman to a hospital last week, Sgt. Allen Kintz said. Police would not say whether the boyfriend was the suspect and would not explain exactly what they believe happened.

"It appears she didn't voluntarily swallow this phone," Kintz said. "It's not quite the way it was first portrayed."

Early Friday, police responded to a call from a Blue Springs man who said his girlfriend was having trouble breathing. Police arrived to find a woman with a cell phone lodged in her throat.

Police were initially told the boyfriend wanted the phone and the woman tried to swallow it so that he could not get it.


Kwanzaa celebration begins with a roar

WACO, Texas (AP) -- The seven-day holiday of Kwanzaa began Monday, but the celebration started early at Cameron Park Zoo.

A South African lion named "Kwanzaa" celebrated his first birthday, and the weekend party included 10 pounds of horse meat fashioned into a cake, whipped cream and a carrot representing a candle.

Kwanzaa was born at the zoo on Christmas Eve 2004 and now weighs more than 115 pounds.

Zookeeper Manda Butler said Kwanzaa will be on display through January as crews prepare to send him to the zoo in Birmingham, Ala.

The Kwanzaa holiday celebrates African-American culture.


Former railroad barge is taking on water

ERIE, Pa. (AP) -- Crews were working Monday to prevent a former railroad barge from sinking into Presque Isle Bay on Lake Erie.

The last known owner of the boat, which is called the Landsdown, was Specialty Restaurants of Anaheim, Calif.

Two years ago, the company proposed turning it into a floating restaurant, but that plan fell through, and the boat and its skeletal metal superstructure remained tied to a pier in Erie, controlled by the Erie-Western Pennsylvania Port Authority.

The boat appeared to be taking on water in the last several days, according to a report to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Coast Guard crews determined that the empty craft poses no pollution threat if it sinks, so they are no longer monitoring the situation, a spokesman said Monday.

Officials with Specialty Restaurants and the Port Authority did not immediately return calls to comment Monday.


Church collection basket with $8,000 stolen

EDISON, N.J. (AP) -- Holiday generosity made the collection basket a tempting target at the Church of the Guardian Angels.

The basket, placed on the altar, was emptied of about $8,000 and checks, police and church officials said.

"I don't know how someone does this and lives with their own conscience," said Monsignor James Moran.

The basket was placed on the altar during the service, and it was there when Moran went to the front door to chat with parishioners afterward. About 20 minutes later, Moran found it was empty except for a few coins.

Moran told parishioners about the theft and told them to cancel their checks. The money was to have been used to help the church pay bills.

"I told the people God will get the person," he said.

Police said Monday that no one was available to comment about the theft.

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