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Archive for Sunday, August 10, 2003

Briefly

August 10, 2003

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California

State creates first-ever ban on flame-retardant chemicals

California became the first state in the nation to ban flame-retardant chemicals known to accumulate in the blood of mothers and nursing babies.

Gov. Gray Davis signed the legislation into law Saturday during a ceremony at a neighborhood clinic. The ban won't take effect until Jan. 1, 2008. Manufacturers have said they needed the time to find alternatives to the chemicals, commonly used to coat furniture, electronics, plastic and foam products.

"Flame retardant chemicals have no place in the fish we eat, they have no place in our bodies, and in the milk of nursing mothers. These chemicals are everywhere," Davis said before he signed the bill into law.

Studies show North American women have the highest levels of the chemicals, known as PBDEs, in the world, nearing levels shown to damage memory, behavior and learning in laboratory mice.

Iraq

U.S. forces arrest Saddam's former interior minister

Saddam Hussein's former interior minister -- No. 29 on the list of 55 most-wanted Iraqis -- is in U.S. custody, American military officials said Saturday.

Mahmud Dhiyab Al-Ahmad surrendered to coalition forces Friday, the Tampa, Fla.-based U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

The U.S. military had announced his capture in July, but on Saturday said that was an error.

"It was bad information, that's all," Lt. Cmdr. Nick Balice, a Central Command spokesman said. "We thought it was correct, but it wasn't. But he surrendered yesterday and is in coalition custody now. He was never in coalition custody before."

TOKYO

Japan marks 58 years since atomic bombing of Nagasaki

Nagasaki's mayor urged people to remember the nuclear bombing that turned his city into a "hell on earth," marking the attack's 58th anniversary on Saturday.

At a ceremony attended by thousands of people, including survivors of the 1945 blast, Itcho Ito also warned that the world's oldest -- and newest -- nuclear powers had dealt dangerous setbacks to arms-control efforts.

"International agreements supporting nuclear disarmament, nuclear nonproliferation and the prohibition of all nuclear weapons testing now appear to be on the verge of collapse," the mayor said.

Participants in Saturday's ceremony observed a minute of silence at 11:02 a.m. -- the moment the B-29 bomber Bock's Car dropped the bomb dubbed "Fat Man" on Nagasaki.

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