Shooting at Mardi Gras

Shooting at Mardi Gras

NEW ORLEANS — A Mardi Gras parade erupted into chaos on Fat Tuesday when a series of gunshots struck seven people, including a toddler. The child was not seriously injured, and two suspects were in custody, police said.

The shootings happened near the Garden District about 1:40 p.m. after the last major parade of the celebration, Rex, had ended. A stream of truck floats that follow the parade were passing by when gunfire broke out.

Police spokesman Bob Young said the victims — three men ages 50, 33 and 20, two young women ages 20 and 17 and a 15-year-old boy — were taken to area hospitals. Young said the 20-month-old baby was grazed by a bullet and not seriously hurt.

More salmonella evidence

ATLANTA — Tests have confirmed that peanut butter made from peanuts processed at a Texas plant contains the same strain of salmonella blamed for sickening hundreds in a national outbreak, federal officials said Tuesday.

The test results offer new evidence that the outbreak attributed to a peanut plant in Georgia may have more than one origin. Both the Texas plant and the Georgia plant were operated by Peanut Corp. of America, which went bankrupt amid fallout from the outbreak that has sickened more than 600 and may have contributed to nine deaths. The outbreak has also prompted one of the largest food recalls in U.S. history.

Meanwhile, federal inspectors are taking a closer look at Peanut Corp. of America’s plant in Virginia, where records obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday show state inspectors repeatedly found health violations.

Speaking banned language

ISTANBUL — The leader of Turkey’s Kurdish lawmakers startled the country Tuesday by speaking in his native language in Parliament, breaking the law in a country that has tried for decades to keep a firm grip over the restive minority amid fears of national division.

State-run television immediately cut off the live broadcast of legislator Ahmet Turk, ostensibly to celebrate UNESCO world languages week. But his real aim was to challenge the country’s policy toward its Kurdish population, a suppression of rights that only recently has started to ease.

Kurdish lawmakers gave Turk a standing ovation. His party has 21 legislators in the 550-seat parliament.

Cartoon dispute goes on

NEW YORK — Civil rights leaders and New York City Council members Tuesday vowed to pressure the Federal Communications Commission to block New York Post owner Rupert Murdoch’s ownership of multiple media outlets in the city.

The leaders, including the Rev. Al Sharpton of National Action Network, announced their plans on the same day that Murdoch, chairman of News Corp., issued an apology for the cartoon that appeared last Wednesday in the Post, the city tabloid his company owns.

Drawn by Sean Delonas, it showed two police officers, one with a smoking gun, standing over the body of a bullet-riddled chimp. The caption reads: “They’ll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill.”

Dirty-syringe scandal

RALEIGH, N.C. — For months, prosecutors say, technicians in the gloom of a run-down North Carolina plant prepared life-sustaining syringes and shipped them before ensuring they were sterile.

Investigators believe a rush to maximize profits led Dushyant Patel’s AM2PAT Inc. to produce heparin and saline syringes that killed five people and sickened hundreds of others, some resulting in spinal meningitis and permanent brain damage. Authorities are now on an international search for Patel after he was indicted last week on 10 charges, including fraud, false statements and selling adulterated medical devices.

U.S. Attorney George Holding said Tuesday that authorities believe Patel has fled to his native India and have turned to Interpol for cross-border aid in catching up to him.

NASA satellite crashes

WASHINGTON — A new satellite to track the chief culprit in global warming crashed into the ocean near Antarctica after launch Tuesday, dealing a major setback to NASA’s already weak network for monitoring Earth and its environment from above.

The $280 million mission was designed to answer some of the biggest question marks of global warming: What happens to the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide spewed by the burning of coal, oil and natural gas? How much of it is sucked up and stored by plants, soil and oceans, and how much is left to trap heat on Earth, worsening global warming?

Combined dispatches

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