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macon.com MIDDAY UPDATE: Decatur man drowns at Lake Lanier; 9 Americans killed in attack in Afghanistan; Georgia Museum of Natural History to display whale

Authorities say a Decatur man has drowned at Lake Lanier, the fifth such death in eight days.

A spokesman for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Rick Lavender, says 49-year-old Michael Abram was fishing Saturday afternoon with friends near Holiday Marina in Buford when he decided to leave the boat and go swimming.

Lavender says Abram, who was not wearing a life jacket, disappeared in the water. Rescue workers found his body some 20 to 30 years off shore in water 12 feet deep.

Seven people have been reported drowned in Lake Lanier so far this year. That's one short of the total for all of 2007.

– Associated Press

9 Americans killed in attack in Afghanistan

U.S. troops on Monday reinforced a remote military outpost after well-armed militants got inside and killed nine American soldiers in the deadliest assault on U.S. forces in Afghanistan in three years.

Sunday's assault has deepened doubts about the U.S. military's ability to contain Islamic militants. Attacks in Afghanistan are becoming more complex, intense and better coordinated than a year ago, U.S. officials say.

Militants with machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars attacked the remote base in the village of Wanat in the mountainous northeastern province of Kunar at about 4:30 a.m. Sunday, with insurgents firing from homes and a mosque.

It was a "concerted attempt" to overrun the small base near the Pakistan border that was built only about three days ago, said an official with NATO's International Security Assistance Force.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to release the information, estimated the attacking force was several hundred.

An unknown number of militants got inside the outpost, the reason the fighters were able to inflict such high casualties, said a second military official who also spoke on condition of anonymity.

After the breach, U.S. troops pushed back against the invading militants, and attack helicopters swooped in. The second official said more than 40 insurgents were killed in the fighting. Fifteen U.S. soldiers also were wounded.

– Associated Press

Georgia Museum of Natural History to display whale

The Georgia Museum of Natural History in Athens is hundreds of miles from the nearest salt water, but the skeleton of a whale is being reassembled there.

A team of students and workers at the museum is nearing the end of a project to reassemble the skeleton of a pygmy sperm whale from a boxed-up collection of loose bones. The skeleton will be displayed in the museum's Discovery Room on East Campus.

Liz McGhee is assistant museum curator. She says the pygmy sperm whale is one of about 110 whale and dolphin skeletons in the museum's collection.

The museum's goal is to collect examples of as much of Georgia's native wildlife as possible, including those inhabiting the waters off the Atlantic coast.

– Associated Press

WHAT'S COMING UP ON MACON.COM

– We'll update you on a house fire in Macon overnight that killed two children.– Twiggs County school officials are looking for ways to get students to behave in class, and they're planning to try something old again -- corporal punishment. We'll tell you what the school system has in mind for student discipline this year.

VISIT US AGAIN SOON

We invite you to check out our Web site again tomorrow for the Midday Update. Monday through Friday, Online Editor Beth MacFadyen will bring you timely information about what Telegraph staffers are working on, plus news we think you need to know immediately. Send feedback to bmacfadyen@macon.com

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