WASHINGTON IN BRIEF

WASHINGTON IN BRIEF

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

4 Trailer Brands Tied to Fumes Problem in Gulf

Federal health officials have released the first brand-specific information about which trailer homes provided to Gulf Coast hurricane victims had the highest levels of toxic fumes.

Trailers made by Gulfstream, Keystone, Pilgrim and Forest River each showed higher levels of formaldehyde fumes than the other brands. Air samples from those trailers showed formaldehyde levels four times those found in newer U.S. homes, according to a study released yesterday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Last month, CDC officials urged that Gulf Coast hurricane victims be moved out of their government-issued trailers as quickly as possible after tests found toxic levels of formaldehyde fumes.

It is not clear whether the finding in the Gulf Coast trailers can be applied to travel trailers elsewhere in the country, CDC official Mike McGeehin said. Scientists have said that heat and other factors may increase formaldehyde levels.

Strike in Somalia Aimed At Al-Qaeda Target

The Navy fired at least one missile at a "known al-Qaeda terrorist" in southern Somalia, defense officials said.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman declined to provide details about whether the targeted individual was hit or whether there were any other casualties.

Another defense official told the Associated Press that the strike used one or more Tomahawk cruise missiles fired from a U.S. submarine off the coast of Somalia. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss details.

Somali villagers said three missiles hit a Somali town held by Islamic extremists, destroying a home. Police said eight people were seriously wounded.

It was not entirely clear whether the U.S. strike was aimed at a single individual. White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said "the action was to go after al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists," suggesting that it may have been designed to hit more than one person.

FCC Asked to Look Into '60 Minutes' Blackout

A Federal Communications Commission official has asked for an agency inquiry into the blackout of CBS News's "60 Minutes" by an Alabama television station.

FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps said he had asked Chairman Kevin J. Martin to open an inquiry into the Feb. 24 incident at WHNT, a CBS affiliate in Huntsville, Ala.

Martin said he would look into the matter but has not indicated yet whether he would issue a letter of inquiry to the station, a source close to the commission said.

The "60 Minutes" segment centered on the prosecution of former Alabama governor Don Siegelman, who was convicted in 2006 on charges of corruption. The program made the case that Siegelman had been wrongly convicted on the basis of a politically motivated case built by Republican prosecutors and White House political adviser Karl Rove.

WHNT said it had failed to get the segment on the air because of an equipment failure at the station that cut off the feed from CBS. WHNT said the problem was corrected a few minutes before the end of the Siegelman segment.

-- From News Services


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