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WHITE HOUSE DEFENDS USE OF WATERBOARDING

WASHINGTON

The White House on Wednesday defended the use of the interrogation technique known as waterboarding, saying it is legal - not torture as critics argue - and has saved American lives. President Bush could authorize waterboarding for future terrorism suspects if certain criteria were met, White House deputy spokesman Tony Fratto said. On Tuesday, the administration acknowledged publicly for the first time that the tactic was used by the U.S. interrogators on three terror suspects. Waterboarding involves strapping a suspect down and pouring water over his cloth-covered face to create the sensation of drowning. It is condemned by nations around the world.

KANSAS CITY, Mo.

Bad pet food leads to indictments

Two Chinese businesses and a U.S. company were indicted Wednesday in the tainted pet food incidents that killed potentially thousands of animals last year and raised worries about products made in China. Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co.; Suzhou Textiles, Silk, Light Industrial Products Arts and Crafts I/E Co.; and ChemNutra Inc. of Las Vegas were charged in two separate but related indictments. Consumer reports suggest 1,950 cats and 2,200 dogs died after eating food contaminated with the toxic chemical melamine.

ATLANTA

Prechewing may spread HIV to baby

For the first time, health officials report that HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, can be spread by a caregiver prechewing an infant's food, a practice mainly seen in developing countries. Three cases were reported in the United States from 1993 to 2004, government scientists said Wednesday. Blood, not saliva, carried the virus, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC officials say more study is needed. But they are asking parents and caregivers with HIV not to prechew infants' food.

WASHINGTON

Tapes may affect Moussaoui case

Robert A. Spencer, the lead prosecutor in the terror case against Zacarias Moussaoui, may have known the CIA destroyed tapes of its interrogations of an al-Qaida suspect more than a year before the government acknowledged it to the court, newly unsealed documents indicate. The documents, which were declassified and released Wednesday, detail efforts by Moussaoui's attorneys to return the case to a lower court to find out whether the tapes should have been disclosed and whether they would have influenced his decision to plead guilty. Moussaoui pleaded guilty in 2005 to conspiring with al-Qaida to hijack aircraft, among other crimes. Spencer declined comment.

WASHINGTON

FDA issues another fine to Red Cross

The Food and Drug Administration has fined the Red Cross an additional $4.6-million for the distribution of "unsuitable blood products," bringing penalties against the organization to more than $19-million in recent years. The FDA issued a letter Wednesday stating that it reviewed 113 recalls of blood products by the Red Cross from April 2003 to April 2006 involving the release of an estimated 4,094 unsuitable blood components. An FDA spokeswoman said the agency didn't find any evidence of serious health consequences.

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