June 12, 2008 in Nation/World

Nation in brief: Tomato source still a mystery

The Spokesman-Review
 

Federal health and food inspectors so far have failed to find the source of salmonella-tainted tomatoes that have sickened at least 167 people.

“Obviously the critical question is, where did these specific tomatoes come from? And we’re not quite there yet. At this point today, we don’t know where they came from,” said David Acheson, the Food and Drug Administration’s associate commissioner for foods.

New reports of illness are still coming in, said Ian Williams of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. “We are still seeing cases,” he said. “And we would characterize the outbreak at this point as still ongoing.”

Investigators are focusing on tomatoes from central Florida and Mexico – regions that would have supplied the bulk of the fruit on the market in April, when the outbreak started.

Cape Canaveral, Fla.

Shuttle returning from space station

The space shuttle Discovery undocked from the International Space Station on Wednesday, ending a nine-day stay and heading for a Saturday landing at Kennedy Space Center.

“See you,” said space station commander Sergei Volkov, as Discovery pulled away.

Pilot Ken Ham then flew the shuttle around the space station at a range of 600 feet, giving crew members a chance to photograph the giant structure. The space station’s newest addition, a 37-foot Japanese lab, was clearly visible as the shuttle flew the victory lap around the orbiting complex.

Washington

Marijuana getting more potent

Marijuana potency increased last year to the highest level in more than 30 years, posing greater health risks to people who may view the drug as harmless, according to a report released today by the White House.

The latest analysis from the University of Mississippi’s Potency Monitoring Project tracked the average amount of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, in samples seized by law enforcement agencies from 1975 through 2007. It found that the average amount of THC reached 9.6 percent in 2007, compared with 8.75 percent the previous year.

The White House office attributed the increases in marijuana potency to sophisticated growing techniques that drug traffickers are using at sites in the United States and Canada.

Grand Junction, Colo.

Co-worker charged in nail gun attack

A 27-year-old man is accused of spraying a co-worker at a home improvement store with flammable lacquer thinner, throwing a garbage can at him and shooting him up to 20 times with a nail gun, authorities said.

Jacob Bertrand was arrested Tuesday on charges of menacing, reckless endangerment and second-degree assault in the June 4 attack, Grand Junction police said in a news release.

Bertrand shot his male co-worker several times in the chest and at least once in the nose, police said. The victim’s injuries were not life-threatening, police said.


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