USA

The deaths of two Washington postal workers of "almost certain" anthrax led health officials to put thousands of others in the service on antibiotics as a precaution. Nine people with suspicious symptoms were being monitored, said the capital's chief health official, Dr. Ivan Walks (above, r., with Mayor Anthony Williams). Meanwhile, lawmakers returned to the Capitol but their offices remained closed for testing - possibly for weeks. Members and their staffs were working at temporary locations.

The New York Times, which has experienced two false alarms tied to anthrax, closed its mailroom after a worker opened a letter containing a white, powdery substance. Investigators were testing a letter postmarked from Glasgow, Scotland.

Subsidized imports have hurt the US steel industry, the International Trade Commission decided, a step toward the possible imposition of protective barriers. The six-member panel said 12 of 33 domestic-steel types have been adversely affected because of cheap imports from Brazil, China, Russia, Japan, and other nations. Import quotas and tariffs would raise prices for such end-products as cars and refrigerators.

A convict who was 17 when he killed two people was executed in Huntsville, Texas, after losing an appeal that focused on his age. Gerald Mitchell, who had spent 15 years on death row, was the 19th inmate since 1976 to be put to death in the US for a murder committed as a minor.

Local TV newscasts have given scant coverage to key children's issues such as education and poverty, but have exaggerated crime dangers, a study by Children Now found. The advocacy group reviewed local newscasts in major cities in July 2000. Although the federal government has reported substantial drops in crime against children, 45 percent of stories depicted them as crime victims, while 24 percent were on health, and 9 percent on education, the study found. Less than 1 percent of news stories were about poverty.

After the World Series, Major League Baseball will fold two of its 30 teams, a published report said. Citing a "highly placed baseball executive," the Windsor (Ontario) Star said players on the rosters of the Montreal Expos and Florida Marlins will be made available to the remaining franchises through a dispersal draft. Both teams have struggled to find acceptance in their respective markets. The contraction would be the first at the major-league level in a century.

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