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National Briefing

New York: Cyclists chill on topless ride plans / Florida: Endangered manatees suffer record deaths

December 20, 2009

Cyclists chill on topless ride plans

Dozens of bicyclists who planned to go topless to protest the removal of a New York City bike lane switched gears, with some pinning plastic breasts over their jackets as they rolled through a Brooklyn neighborhood in a snowstorm.

Bike messenger Heather Loop, who organized the event, said the lane was removed because the neighborhood's Hasidic Jews "can't handle scantily clad women." Some Hasids say the issue is not showing leg but rather a concern for safety for the children being dropped off by school buses.

FLORIDA

Manatees suffer record deaths

A record number of endangered manatees died in Florida waters this year, according to the state's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The commission said its Fish and Wildlife Research Institute had documented 419 manatee deaths in state waters between Jan. 1 and Dec. 11, the most for any year since record-keeping began in 1974. The previous worst year for the mammals was 2006, with 417 deaths Florida. Along with an uptick in deadly encounters with boats, Florida's manatees faced a string of cold spells this year and a high mortality rate among infant manatees.

-- Times wire reports

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