AP source: Envelope addressed to White House contained ricin

Federal officials have intercepted an envelope addressed to the White House that contained the poison ricin

WASHINGTON — Federal officials intercepted an envelope addressed to the White House that contained the poison ricin, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press on Saturday.

The official was not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Federal investigators were working to determine where the enveloped originated and who mailed it. The FBI, the Secret Service and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service were leading the investigation.

In a statement, the FBI said agents were working to investigate “a suspicious letter received at a U.S. government mail facility” and that there is “no known threat to public safety.”

A Navy veteran was arrested in 2018 and confessed to sending envelopes to Trump and members of his administration that contained the substance from which ricin is derived.

Authorities said the man, William Clyde Allen III, sent the envelopes with ground castor beans to the president, FBI Director Christopher Wray, along with then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, then-CIA Director Gina Haspel, Adm. John Richardson, who at the time was the Navy’s top officer, and then-Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson. The letters were intercepted, and no one was hurt.

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Interior designer, founder of ‘Chestnut Storeys’ Farah Agarwal believes in mixing subtlety with dram- The New Indian Express

“I like my design world to constantly be in a state of flow, without pausing in the confines of any city,” says Farah Agarwal, the Chennai-based founder and chief designer of the interior design company, Chestnut Storeys. From sprawling villas to compact apartments as well as vibrant work zones, her signature dynamism runs through the spaces that she so evocatively designs.

Replete with natural light, vivid shades and soft pastels in textured contrasts, there is in every project an edgy vivacity knitted to a sense of contained calm. “My travel powers me immensely,” says Farah, “directly influencing my creativity when I engage in different cultures to take back home anecdotes to weave into my projects.” 

Farah Agarwal

According to Farah, nature is a rich ensemble of colours, textures, smells, variations and sensations that collectively play a part in her designs. “It has a very soothing and calming effect, making me feel happier and more optimistic. I bring the outside inside in many ways  for nature to wield its positive effects on everyone,” she says.

Ushering in sunshine always visually opens up the spaces. Clever use of glass makes way for seamless views and engagement with the outside world. The strategic placement of mirrors also heightens the impact of available light and creates magic indoors, in addition to plants, wooden flooring, natural stones as ground work or wall cladding adding up to a natural, organic feel.

It is a pulsating mix of energies—from the modish yet breezy Beach House inspired by nautical elements to the 25-year-old Boat House, a treasured expanse of 7,000 sq ft in uptown Chennai that breathes global flavours, to the vibrant themes cupping the kidspace in PlaySchool. Farah describes her own sense of style as “classic yet edgy, soft yet dramatic. I feel my personal sense of style is eclectic, avant garde yet with a strong cosmopolitan stance. I possess the love for bold and challenging palettes built on the belief of quiet luxury.”  

Clearly, the innately refined perspectives have led to the remarkable growth of Chestnut Storeys since its inception six years ago. Challenges abound, of course. “On the work front, it is a constant challenge dealing with the lack of discipline in our labourers. It is a learning for me in many ways,” confesses Farah. “As a mother, it is often a big toss-up, balancing time between work and my family. Often, work calls elongate into hours and spill into family time, travel schedules thicken and get a little crazy, and procuring details for multiple projects becomes a bit sapping. But as I always believe, there is a lesson to learn from everything and over the years I have learnt to divide and manage my time more efficiently,” she says.

Up next is international turf. “We bagged our first global project at the beginning of the year and have netted in a second project as well,” she says, building further on the pan-Indian presence of Chestnut Storeys. Clearly, the sky is the limit for Farah’s

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Edina creates rubric to evaluate diversity of its art, decor

Edina city officials have developed a set of criteria to evaluate the diversity shown in city-owned artwork and decor in municipal buildings, parks and outdoor areas.

The criteria — what they call a rubric — evolved out of the city’s 2018 task force report on race and equity and aims to provide a standardized way to judge how genders and ethnic groups are represented in art. The City Council signed off on it last month.

The task force report revealed that some community members felt the city’s art and decor didn’t represent all residents, said Heidi Lee, Edina’s race and equity coordinator.

“To be able to represent who is actually living in Edina, who has had a hand in creating what Edina is … it’s important to be able to do that,” Lee said.

The criteria will be used in coming months to evaluate the decor in the mayor’s conference room and atrium at City Hall. The conference room features portraits of past City Council members and mayors, but “needs to be a representation of the history of who [else] has been involved in creating what Edina is,” Lee said.

Three city commissions were involved in designing the art criteria: the Human Rights and Relations Commission, Arts and Culture Commission and Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC).

They began meeting earlier this year to discuss what the city’s art represents now and could represent, said Annie Schilling, HPC chairwoman. Commission members brainstormed ideas such as painting “Welcome” in several languages in the City Hall atrium and adding art to the mayor’s conference room. She said there’s been no conversation yet about using the rubric to eliminate artwork.

The rubric comes at a time when cities, counties and states are assessing what messages are sent by their statues, paintings and other images, and who they represent.

In August, St. Paul and Ramsey County leaders unveiled four new multicultural murals to cover 1930s-era murals at their joint City Hall-Courthouse that feature white men towering over Native Americans and laborers.

St. Louis Park recently finished creating an arts and culture road map, said Jacque Smith, the city’s spokeswoman. One of its guiding principles is to use art and culture to create a more inclusive city, she said, which ties into St. Louis Park’s larger equity goals.

The nonprofit organization Forecast Public Art also has done an equity audit of St. Louis Park’s public art, Smith said, which offers recommendations for art processes and locations.

Edina will employ five criteria — including historical accuracy, cultures and gender identities represented, the welcome that a picture offers visitors — and score them from 1 to 4.

Lee said evaluating the art and decor of the city’s many buildings will take time. Edina has its own art center, with a gallery and classes. The rubric provides a “baseline of what to consider,” she said.

The city’s population is slowly becoming more diverse, Lee said, though Edina was about 87% white when she started in her position 18 months ago.

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House Foreign Affairs chairman subpoenas U.S. global media chief

Sept. 19 (UPI) — House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel has subpoenaed U.S. global media chief Michael Pack amid fears of bias.

Democrats fear Pack, the CEO of the U.S. Agency for Global Media since June, an appointee of President Donald Trump, and close ally of former Trump aide Steve Bannon, will move to reshape the leadership and independence of news organizations, such as Voice of America, to be biased in favor of Trump.

The House Affairs panel called Pack to testify after a series of firings in June, Pack’s first month on the job, including the heads of three international broadcast networks for Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Critics fear Pack will jeopardize the independence of broadcast networks, charged with objectively reporting about the United States and its foreign policy to an international audience of 350 million people.

Engel, D-N.Y., said Friday Pack planned to back out on his commitment to appear at a Sept. 24 hearing.

“His office failed to provide any reasonable alternative dates and his excuse for breaking his commitment is not acceptable,” Engle said in a statement.

Pack has insisted the firings were a routine part of new leadership at the organization and a U.S. Agency for Global Media spokesperson said Friday that Pack couldn’t attend due to a scheduling conflict.

“Michael Pack is disappointed that the Committee has decided to escalate the situation,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “Pack is eager to testify before the Committee to talk about the critical work of USAGM and to answer members’ questions.”

Senate Republicans pushed through the conservative filmmaker’s confirmation to the U.S. Agency for Global Media back in June despite objections from Democrats, who said that the process should be stalled pending the District of Columbia attorney general’s investigation into whether he illegally funneled money from his nonprofit group to his for-profit film company.

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NHL let Florida Panthers handle abuse probe, discipline of former assistant Mike Kitchen

The NHL said it was aware of an incident where a Florida Panthers assistant coach allegedly kicked a player on the bench, but said that it left any investigation and punishment up to the team.

Canada’s TSN reported this week that coach Mike Kitchen, 64, kicked a Panthers player on the bench during a Jan. 20 game between Florida and the Minnesota Wild. The report claimed that Panthers head coach Joel Quenneville and general manager Dale Tallon were made aware of the incident after the game.

The Panthers announced this week that Kitchen would not return to their coaching staff next season, though they didn’t specify why. After the incident, he remained on the staff through the March 12 “pause” due to COVID-19. Kitchen opted out of joining the team in the Toronto “bubble” for the restarted postseason. Florida was eliminated by the New York Islanders in the qualification round.

The alleged incident happened just over a month after NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said there was a “zero tolerance policy” for teams not informing the league of incidents of abuse.

“Our message is unequivocal: We will not tolerate abusive behavior of any kind,” Bettman said at the December 2019 board of governors meeting in Pebble Beach, California. “Going forward, our clubs are on notice that if they become aware of an incident of conduct involving NHL personnel, on or off the ice, that is clearly inappropriate, unlawful or demonstrably abusive or that may violate league policies, either [deputy commissioner] Bill Daly or me must be immediately advised.”

Daly said the Panthers did reach out to the league about the incident.

“The team made me aware of the incident a while ago. We discussed with the team the appropriate approach,” Daly told ESPN on Saturday. “The team conducted its own investigation and made its own decision.”

Kitchen had been an assistant coach for 26 seasons, including with Quenneville on the Chicago Blackhawks bench from 2010 to 2017. He was head coach of the St. Louis Blues for 131 games from 2003-04 to 2006-07. He rejoined Quenneville in 2019-20, the head coach’s first season in Florida.

Tallon’s contract expired after the season, and he was replaced as general manager by Columbus assistant GM Bill Zito. Tallon is also under investigation by the NHL for allegedly using a racial slur while with the team in Toronto.

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Envelope containing ricin was sent to White House, report says | Washington DC

An envelope containing the poison ricin was sent to the White House, the New York Times reported on Saturday.

The newspaper said law enforcement believed the envelope, which was intercepted before reaching the White House mail room, was sent from Canada.

Ricin is a waste product in the making of oil from castor beans. According to guidelines from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it “works by getting inside the cells of a person’s body and preventing the cells from making the proteins they need. Without the proteins, cells die. Eventually this is harmful to the whole body, and death may occur.”

Death from ricin poisoning, the CDC says, can “take place within 36 to 72 hours of exposure”, depending on dosage and whether the poison is inhaled, ingested or injected.

“It would take a deliberate act to make ricin and use it to poison people,” the CDC says.

The Times reported that investigators were working to find out if other envelopes containing ricin had been sent through the US mail.

The White House did not immediately comment.

Ricin has been sent to the White House before.

In 2018, a US navy veteran was arrested and charged with attempting to send ricin to officials including Donald Trump; the then defense secretary, James Mattis; the CIA director, Gina Haspel; and the FBI director, Christopher Wray.

In 2014, a Mississippi man was given a 25-year sentence for sending letters dusted with the poison to Barack Obama and other officials.

The same year, an actor was sentenced for 18 years for sending similar letters to Obama and Michael Bloomberg in a bizarre attempt to frame her own husband. The Guardian said the case was like “the plot of a cheap, pulp thriller – except perhaps not quite as believable”.

Ricin also featured in a famous case which could have come from a spy novel: the assassination in London in 1978 of Georgi Markov, a Bulgarian dissident who was pricked with a poison-tipped umbrella.

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Ricin: Letter containing poison addressed to Trump at White House

The White House south facade, in Washington, DCImage copyright
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The letter was intercepted by law enforcement before it reached the White House, officials said

A package containing ricin poison that was addressed to US President Donald Trump has been intercepted before it reached the White House, officials told US media.

The letter was discovered at a screening facility for White House mail earlier this week, the officials said.

They said a substance found inside the envelope was identified as ricin, a poison found naturally in castor beans.

The Trump administration is yet to comment on the reports.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Secret Service are investigating where the package came from and whether others have been sent through the US postal system.

“At this time, there is no known threat to public safety,” the FBI told CNN in a statement on Saturday.

One official told the New York Times that investigators believe the package was sent from Canada. Reports say the presence of ricin was identified after two tests.

Ricin is produced by processing castor beans. It is a lethal substance that, if swallowed, inhaled or injected, can cause nausea, vomiting, internal bleeding and ultimately organ failure.

No known antidote exists for ricin. If a person is exposed to ricin, death can take place within 36 to 72 hours, depending on the dose received, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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Castor seeds, which are used to make the deadly ricin poison

The CDC said the poison – which has been used in terror plots – can be manufactured into a weapon in the form of a powder, mist or pellet.

The White House and other federal buildings have been the target of ricin packages in the past.

In 2014, a Mississippi man was sentenced to 25 years in prison for sending letters dusted with ricin to former President Barack Obama and other officials.

Four years later, in 2018, a former Navy veteran was charged with sending toxic letters to the Pentagon and White House.

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Letter sent to White House containing deadly poison ricin intercepted, officials say

A letter addressed to President Donald Trump that was intercepted before it reached the White House tested positive for the deadly poison ricin earlier this week, law enforcement officials said.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations said Saturday afternoon they are investigating “a suspicious letter received at a U.S. government mail facility” alongside its partners at the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Law enforcement officials said a letter was detected at an off-site facility that screens mail addressed to the White House.

“At this time, there is no known threat to public safety,” the FBI said in a statement.

One official said the letter tested positive to ricin in both a field test and a subsequent laboratory test.

A second official said the FBI, Secret Service and the Postal Inspection Service are trying to determine where the letter came from. It’s unclear when the letter was intercepted.

Other letters that have also tested positive for ricin were discovered in different facilities, an official said. While it is unclear how many additional poisoned letters were found, most of them seem to be addressed to prisons. Only one was apparently addressed to a political figure, the official said.

The White House and Secret Service did not immediately return a request for comment.

Ricin is highly toxic that could cause nausea, vomiting, and internal bleeding of the stomach and intestines. Depending on the severity of the exposure, it can also cause failure of the liver, spleen and kidneys, and death by the collapse of the circulatory system.

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AP reports: Envelope addressed to Trump, White House contained ricin

WASHINGTON — Federal officials intercepted an envelope addressed to the White House that contained the poison ricin, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press on Saturday.

The letter was intercepted at a government facility that screens mail addressed to the White House and President Donald Trump, the official said. A preliminary investigation indicated it tested positive for ricin, a poison found naturally in castor beans, the official said.

The official was not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Federal investigators were working to determine where the envelope originated and who mailed it. The FBI, the Secret Service and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service were leading the investigation.

In a statement, the FBI said agents were working to investigate “a suspicious letter received at a U.S. government mail facility” and that there is “no known threat to public safety.”

A Navy veteran was arrested in 2018 and confessed to sending envelopes to Trump and members of his administration that contained the substance from which ricin is derived.

Authorities said the man, William Clyde Allen III, sent the envelopes with ground castor beans to the president, FBI Director Christopher Wray, along with then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, then-CIA Director Gina Haspel, Adm. John Richardson, who at the time was the Navy’s top officer, and then-Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson. The letters were intercepted, and no one was hurt.

In 2014, a Mississippi man was sentenced to 25 years in prison after sending letters dusted with ricin to President Barack Obama and other officials.

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Four people injured, three homes burned in Manfield Street, Springfield house fire

Four people were transported to the hospital after the house they lived in was destroyed by fire Saturday afternoon. Several adjacent structures and several vehicles were damaged by the heat of the fire.

Springfield Fire Department spokesperson, Capt. Drew Piemonte said seven people were in the house at 30 Mansfield St. when fire was discovered at about 12:25 p.m. All were able to escape the burning building but not before several were hurt. Four were transported to the Baystate Medical Center with what Piemonte described as “non-life-threatening” injuries.

Firefighters said the house was “fully involved” in flames when the first units arrived and thick, black smoke obscured the scene as firefighters poured water on the burning two-and-a-half-story, single-family home.

The house at 28 Mansfield St. next to the primary fire scene sustained heat damage to the vinyl siding closest to the burning building. Smoke could be seen coming from under the eaves of the house until firefighters were able to get into the attic and take care of any extension.

The family living in that home, along with the occupants of 30 Mansfield and 18-20 Mansfield St. are all being aided by the Red Cross.

As some firefighters continued to spray both houses, others carried a cage apparently containing three guinea pigs from the smoking house. All three of the animals seemed unharmed. However, one dog died in the fire.

On the other side of the primary scene, the home at 18-20 Mansfield St. was checked for fire, but firefighters apparently found none. The owner of the property said all six people in the house were able to get out when fire was discovered next door.

A car parked on the street in front of the destroyed home also burned, apparently set ablaze by the heat of the burning building. Firefighters had to dodge the flames from the burning car as they attacked the structure fire. Several other vehicles were damaged by the heat, Piemonte said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the Springfield Arson and Bomb Unit.

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