In Brief

IN BRIEF

October 23, 2008|By FROM SUN NEWS SERVICES

More suspicious letters mailed to banks, offices

WASHINGTON: At least a dozen more suspicious letters turned up yesterday at financial institutions nationwide, but all appear to be harmless, the FBI said. The U.S. Postal Service offered a reward of up to $100,000 for help in arresting those who mailed about 50 threatening letters during the past several days to Chase Bank branches and federal regulatory offices in 11 cities. Some of the letters were filled with white powder that has so far tested negative for poisonous or otherwise dangerous chemicals, FBI spokesman Richard Kolko said in Washington. An FBI spokesman in Oklahoma, where eight letters turned up, said preliminary assessments showed the powder was harmless calcium powder. The letters were mailed to banks and financial institutions in and around Atlanta; Chicago; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas; Denver; Newark, N.J.; New York City; Oklahoma City; Phoenix; San Francisco; and Arlington, Va. Authorities said the letters appear to be from the same source, and were focusing on possible suspects near Amarillo, Texas, where the envelopes were postmarked.

Reports of shots lock down Kentucky campus

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. : Western Kentucky University was on lockdown yesterday after someone reported seeing people with weapons in a building on a satellite campus and police later received reports that shots had been fired on the main campus, about two miles away. According to the university Web site, police searched the South Campus building but were not able to find any people with guns or witnesses who could confirm the reports. According to the Web site, police confirmed that there was some type of fight that occurred in or near the residence hall, but they could not confirm that weapons were involved or shots were fired. The school is about an hour north of Nashville, Tenn.

The campus emergency warning system was activated and students and employees were told to remain indoors until an "all clear" was issued.

Pakistan requests financial bailout

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan : Pakistan has sought an emergency bailout from the International Monetary Fund, a humiliating step forced on Islamabad after allies refused to come up with the cash needed to prevent the country from going bust. The U.S., China and Saudi Arabia have all rebuffed Pakistan's urgent money-raising requests, despite Islamabad telling its allies that it should be rewarded for its key role in the "war on terror." Relations with Washington may have been damaged as a result, analysts said.

U.N. says China needs stricter food laws

BEIJING : China can boost public trust badly shaken by a spate of food safety scandals, including tainted formula that gave thousands of babies painful kidney stones, by enacting stricter laws and replacing its patchwork surveillance system, the U.N. said yesterday. The U.N. also recommended other changes, including more funding and training for food inspectors, in a 30-page paper released a day before the central government is to review its draft law on food safety. The paper comes after a scandal over tainted milk powder. In September, authorities announced they had found the industrial chemical melamine, which is used to make plastics and fertilizer, in infant formula. The substance was reportedly added to boost protein levels. The deaths of four babies have been linked to the contamination and about 54,000 children have been sickened.

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