Around the Nation

Around the Nation

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Contamination Found At Georgia Peanut Site

Federal officials on Friday confirmed salmonella contamination at a Georgia facility that ships peanut products to 85 food companies, in an investigation into an outbreak that has sickened hundreds of people in 43 states and killed at least six.

On Capitol Hill, the House Energy and Commerce Committee opened an inquiry.

What began as an investigation of bulk peanut butter shipped to nursing homes and institutional cafeterias now includes baked goods and other products that contain peanuts and are sold directly to consumers. Health officials say as many as a third of those who got sick did not remember eating peanut butter.

Officials said they are focusing on peanut paste -- which is essentially ground-up peanuts -- as well as peanut butter, produced at a Blakely, Ga., facility owned by Peanut Corp. of America.

Pentagon Urged to Drop Charges

All charges against prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, should be dropped in light of the admission by the top war-crimes tribunal official that some of the 22 men facing trial were tortured, the tribunal's defense chief said. The letter to Convening Authority Susan J. Crawford urged her to clear the court's slate before the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama. Withdrawal of the charges "is the legally and morally correct course," the defense team leader, Air Force Col. Peter R. Masciola, wrote to Crawford. Neither Crawford nor the spokesman for the Office of Military Commissions, Joseph DellaVedova, responded immediately to the letter.

Case Dropped Against Md. Woman

NEW YORK -- The federal government has dropped its case against a former congressional aide accused of helping an Iraqi spy agency, saying in court papers that prosecuting her would no longer be in the interests of justice. But Susan Lindauer has vowed to sue, saying that she was falsely arrested and prosecuted. The Takoma Park, Md., woman was arrested in 2004 on charges that she conspired to act as a spy for the Iraqi intelligence service, making contact through the Iraqi consulate in New York. A judge last year ruled Lindauer was mentally unfit for trial.

Funeral Held for 9 Slain Relatives

SAN DIMAS, Calif. -- Hundreds of people packed a church for the funeral of nine family members killed by a gunman dressed as Santa during a Christmas Eve party. Photos of the victims were displayed on easels, and their ashes were held in an urn and in small boxes at the altar of Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church. Nine members of the Ortega family were either fatally shot or died in a fire started by the gunman.

-- From News Services

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