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In brief: Tax numbers printed on labels

MILWAUKEE – The Social Security numbers of 171,000 Wisconsin taxpayers were printed on the labels of tax booklets to be mailed out, prompting state officials to warn of possible identity theft.

Wisconsin Department of Revenue officials first notified taxpayers and post offices of the misprint Friday night, after it heard from people who had received forms that day. State officials asked post offices to set aside any forms that hadn’t been delivered, department spokeswoman Meredith Helgerson said.

By Wednesday afternoon, some 54,500 undelivered booklets had been retrieved from post offices in Portage, Madison and Oshkosh. The remainder of the mailings were delivered in the past few days, Helgerson said.

The labels were printed by a private company that received taxpayers’ names, addresses and Social Security numbers from the state. Helgerson said the state has given the company the same information in the past, but the Social Security numbers were not printed on the labels.


Senator’s recovery to take months

Democratic South Dakota Sen. Tim Johnson’s recovery from a brain hemorrhage and emergency surgery is expected to take several months, the senator’s office said Wednesday.

A test showed that Johnson, who turned 60 last week, no longer has the tangle of arteries and veins in his brain that caused bleeding that sent him to the hospital for emergency surgery last month. He underwent the angiogram Wednesday at George Washington University Hospital, where he has been in critical condition since Dec. 13.

His long-term prognosis is unclear. Dr. Vivek Deshmukh, head of Johnson’s surgical team, said in a statement that the tangle appears to be gone and the senator “continues to be responsive to both his family and physicians.”

South Dakota’s Republican governor, Mike Rounds, would appoint a replacement if Johnson’s seat were vacated by his death or resignation.

A Republican appointee would create a 50-50 tie and effectively allow the GOP to retain Senate control because of Vice President Dick Cheney’s tie-breaking vote.


Schwarzenegger limits his activities

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Wednesday he will not attend his preinaugural festivities this week because his doctor advised him to stay off his broken leg.

Schwarzenegger is scheduled to be inaugurated Friday, as part of a lavish two-day series of events. The governor will attend his inauguration and plans to attend the ball Friday night, his spokeswoman Julie Soderland said.

His orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Kevin Ehrhart, said in a statement that he did not want the governor to do anything to jeopardize his recovery from the surgery he had Dec. 26.

Schwarzenegger broke his right femur Dec. 23 when he tripped over his ski pole while standing on a slope in Sun Valley, Idaho.


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UN says over 25,000 people fled Yemen fighting at Hodeida

UPDATED: 12:34 p.m.

updated  The U.N. spokesman said on Monday that tens of thousands of residents have fled the fighting along Yemen’s western coastline where Yemeni fighters backed by a Saudi-led coalition are engaged in fierce battles with Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.