Bird Flu in Canada

Leads to U.S. Ban

The United States banned poultry from mainland British Columbia yesterday because of a case of bird flu, though Canadian officials said it was not the virulent form blamed for more than 60 human deaths in Southeast Asia. The governments of Taiwan and Japan indicated they would take similar action.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said Sunday that a duck at a commercial poultry farm in British Columbia had tested positive for bird flu. The virus was a low-pathogenic North American form that does not kill poultry and is not a threat to people, officials said.

"We're waiting to get more information from Canada, at which point we could be able to scale back" the ban, said U.S. Agriculture Department spokesman Jim Rogers.

The virulent form of bird flu in Asia has not been found in the United States and is only now spreading into Eastern Europe. U.S. health officials say that eating properly handled and cooked poultry is safe.

The farm with the infected duck, in Chilliwack, outside Vancouver, is not licensed to export. Authorities have begun killing about 56,000 birds on the farm with carbon dioxide gas and have quarantined four other farms within three miles.

DeLay Back in Court

Before New Judge

Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) will be back in court today, this time before a new judge who will decide whether the former House majority leader should go on trial on charges of money laundering and criminal conspiracy.

Judge Pat Priest was appointed to the case earlier this month after DeLay's defense team successfully objected to the first judge, who had had contributed to Democrats in the past.

DeLay and two Republican fundraisers are accused of orchestrating a 2002 campaign finance scheme that helped put more Republicans in the Texas House. The legislature then passed a redistricting map that helped get more Republicans elected to Congress.

DeLay and co-defendants Jim Ellis and John Colyandro deny the allegations. DeLay's attorney, Dick DeGuerin, has filed multiple legal briefs detailing why he believes the charges against the lawmaker should be dismissed.

139 Police Officers

Killed on Duty Last Year

The FBI reported yesterday that 139 police officers were killed in the line of duty in 2004, with gunshots and traffic accidents claiming the most lives.

Of the total, which is seven deaths more than in 2003, 54 were shot to death and 48 were killed in traffic accidents. Thirty-one of those killed with guns were wearing body armor. There were nine more shooting deaths in 2004 than in the previous year.

Authorities solved all but one of the cases in 2004 of officers who were shot to death or otherwise intentionally killed. Thirty-nine suspects were arrested, 11 were killed by police and eight committed suicide, according to the FBI.

Thirty-nine of the 57 officers killed intentionally were on vehicle patrols. Ten were slain while investigating disturbance calls, and 12 were ambushed.

Twenty-seven of the intentional killings and 39 of the 82 accidental deaths took place in the South, by far the deadliest region.

The average age of all the officers killed was 39, and the average level of police experience was 12 years for those killed intentionally and 11 years for those killed accidentally.

Besides the deaths, more than 59,000 officers were assaulted in 2004 while performing official duties.

-- From News Services