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Nation in brief: Red Cross fined for blood handling

Fri., June 18, 2010

Washington – The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday announced a $16 million fine against the American Red Cross for slipshod practices in the collection and manufacture of blood products, the latest in a string of multimillion-dollar penalties for failure to meet blood-safety standards.

Despite the most recent violations, there is no indication that patients or the blood supply were endangered, “and the blood supply is believed to be safe,” the FDA said in a statement.

The penalties resulted from FDA inspections of a dozen Red Cross facilities across the U.S. in 2008 and 2009 that identified multiple failures to investigate and correct sloppy processing of blood products and failure to maintain quality controls.

The fines bring to $37 million the total penalties for substandard blood handling procedures levied against the Red Cross since 2003. In that year, a consent decree in place since 1993 was amended to enable the FDA to impose fines.

Shahzad indicted

in NYC bomb plot

New York – Faisal Shahzad was indicted by a federal grand jury on Thursday on charges he attempted to set off a bomb in Times Square after undergoing explosives training from a militant extremist group, receiving thousands of dollars in cash from a co-conspirator, and leaving a loaded semi-automatic rifle in his second car.

The indictment, returned in the U.S. District Courthouse in New York, charged the 30-year-old Shahzad with 10 criminal counts, including the attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and an attempted act of terrorism for parking his wired SUV Pathfinder in the heart of Manhattan.

If convicted, he faces life in prison.

Shahzad, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan, was arrested May 3 at JFK International Airport after boarding a flight to Dubai. He was interrogated for days by FBI and U.S. intelligence officials and, according to the indictment, “admitted that he had recently received bomb-making training in Pakistan and he also admitted that he had brought the Pathfinder to Times Square and attempted to detonate it.”


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