Nation Digest


December 31, 2005

Contaminated dog food kills 23 animals, sickens 18 more

WASHINGTON -- Contaminated dog food that was sold in 23 states - including Maryland - killed nearly two dozen dogs and sickened 18 more, the Food and Drug Administration said yesterday.

The deaths and illnesses sparked an FDA investigation into the pet food made by the Diamond Pet Food Co. at its Gaston, S.C., manufacturing plant. The FDA said that 23 animal deaths have been linked to the pet food.

The company, based in Meta, Mo., issued a recall of 19 varieties of dog and cat food Dec. 21 because some of the pet food made at the Gaston facility was discovered to contain aflatoxin.

Aflatoxin, a naturally occurring chemical that comes from a fungus sometimes found on corn and other crops, can cause severe liver damage. Aflatoxin poisoning can cause sluggishness, a lack of appetite and, in severe cases, vomiting, fever and jaundice.

The recalled pet food was sold under the brand names Diamond, Country Value and Professional.

Associated Press

Padilla prefers military custody

WASHINGTON -- Lawyers for Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen held as an enemy combatant for 3 1/2 years, said yesterday that he wants to stay in military custody until the Supreme Court decides whether to hear his challenge to President Bush's power to detain Americans when the nation is at war. The Bush administration wants the high court to overturn last week's decision by the Richmond-based 4th U.S. Court of Appeals, which refused to transfer Padilla and sharply criticized the government's tactics in the lengthy case.

Flu prevails in the West

PHOENIX --Four Western states are the nation's hot spots for flu, and an epidemiologist predicts that infections will grow after the holidays as children return to school and adults go back to work. Arizona, Utah, California and New Mexico report widespread flu infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's weekly flu report. "Widespread" is the CDC's highest designation for flu activity. The number of flu cases is not known. Many patients do not report cases to doctors, and doctors may not test specifically for flu in people who do seek treatment, officials said.

Amtrak train delayed 20 hours

SAVANNAH, Ga. --Exasperated passengers were stuck on an Amtrak train for close to 20 hours while engineers waited for a derailed freight train to be removed. Amtrak Train 98 started to move again yesterday around 1:30 p.m., with the hopes of reaching New York by today. The train had left Orlando, Fla., on Thursday around 1 p.m., but was delayed in Jacksonville for roughly 12 hours because of the derailment. It started moving again about 4 a.m., but stopped again in a patch of forest outside Savannah about two hours later.

Trump considers run for governor

ALBANY, N.Y. --Donald Trump is considering running for governor, a leading Republican said yesterday. Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno suggested Thursday that a big-name candidate could be flirting with entering the 2006 contest. Yesterday, he confirmed to News Channel 10 in Albany that he had been referring to Trump. Bruno told the station that he had spoken to the real estate developer and TV personality about a possible run. Trump's office in New York had no immediate comment.

Fires controlled in Southwest

OKLAHOMA CITY --Firefighters contained many of the wildfires yesterday that had raced through Texas and Oklahoma and killed four people, but officials worried that forecasts for more warm, dry and windy weather could set the stage for additional blazes. Oklahoma and much of Texas remained under burning bans, particularly for fireworks, because authorities believe that the fires were mostly set by people ignoring fire bans and burning trash, shooting fireworks or throwing out cigarettes. The blazes, which began Tuesday, spread quickly through the dry countryside, where temperatures were in the low 80s and wind gusts reached 40 mph.

Somalis protest shooting by police

COLUMBUS, Ohio --Somali immigrants upset over the fatal police shooting of a man they say had mental health problems rallied yesterday in protest, questioning the decision to use deadly force. A crowd that Columbus police estimated in the hundreds alternated between standing in front of City Hall and marching around two city blocks chanting and yelling. Nasir Abdi, 23, was shot Wednesday as four Franklin County deputies tried to take him back to a mental hospital where he had been force-fed medications. Columbus police detectives said that Abdi had threatened them with a kitchen knife with a 6-inch blade.

Pack of Chihuahuas attacks police officer

FREMONT, Calif. --A pack of angry Chihuahuas attacked a police officer who was escorting a teenager home after a traffic stop, authorities said. The officer suffered minor injuries, including bites to his ankle, Detective Bill Veteran said. The five Chihuahuas escaped the 17-year-old boy's home and rushed the officer in the doorway Thursday, authorities said. The teenager had been detained after the traffic incident. The officer, who was treated at a hospital, returned to work less than two hours later.

From wire reports

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