NATIONAL BRIEFS


WASHINGTON: Peanut butter firm blocked

The Food and Drug Administration halted operations of the country's largest organic peanut butter processor Monday, cracking down on salmonella poisoning for the first time with the new enforcement authority the agency gained in a 2011 food safety law. FDA officials found salmonella all over Sunland Inc.'s New Mexico processing plant after 41 people in 20 states, mostly children, were sickened by butter manufactured at the plant and sold at Trader Joe's grocery chain. The FDA suspended Sunland's registration, preventing it from producing or distributing any food.


Sportsmen's bill stalled

A wide-ranging bill to give hunters and fishermen more access to public lands stalled in the Senate on Monday night after Republicans said it spends too much money. Republicans supported opening lands for outdoorsmen and many other provisions in the bill sponsored by Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, but GOP senators blocked the legislation on a mostly party-line vote after the Senate Budget Committee's top Republican, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, objected to spending on conservation programs included in the bill. The bill would increase land access and allow hunters to bring home as trophies 41 polar bears killed in Canada before the government started protecting polar bears as a threatened species.


MARYLAND: WikiLeaks suspect's plea

Pfc. Bradley Manning, charged in the biggest security breach in U.S. history, is trying to avoid trial by claiming he has already been punished enough, being locked up alone in a small cell and having to sleep naked for several nights. A UN investigator called the conditions cruel, inhuman and degrading, but stopped short of calling it torture. Manning is expected to testify about his treatment during a pretrial hearing Tuesday at Fort Meade. The young intelligence analyst has not spoken publicly about his nearly nine months at the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Va., but he has complained in writing about being confined alone in a 6-by-8-foot cell for at least 23 hours a day.

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