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WASHINGTON: U.S. backs ban on bluefin tuna

The United States announced its support for a ban on international trade in Atlantic bluefin tuna, prized for use in sushi and sashimi. The stock of the fish in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic is threatened by overharvesting, the Department of the Interior said Wednesday. The supply of bluefin, which can be valued at tens of thousands of dollars for each fish, declined by three-quarters over the last five decades, with the bulk of that drop in the last 10 years, the department said. Countries that signed the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora are to convene in Doha, Qatar, beginning March 13.

17 food companies warned on labels

The Food and Drug Administration is cracking down on baby food manufacturers and other companies for misleading nutrition labeling on their products, the beginning of a larger effort to set stricter standards for labels. The FDA sent warning letters to 17 food companies for violations it says include unauthorized claims about health, nutrient contents and terms such as "healthy." The agency rapped Nestle for health claims on Gerber carrots for babies and Gerber Graduates puffs because "appropriate dietary levels have not been established for children in this age range," according to the letters. The puffs containers claim that the product is "good source of iron, zinc, and vitamin E." Other companies that produce baby food, such as Beechnut, First Juice, Inc., Want Want Foods and PBM Products, received similar letters.

CALIFORNIA: Offender charged in teen's murder

A sex offender has been charged with murdering a San Diego County teenager who vanished Thursday after going for a run in a park. Prosecutors say John Albert Gardner III, 30, also faces allegations of rape or attempted rape, and a count of assault with intent to commit rape in a December attack on another female. A body found Tuesday in a grave by a lake is believed to be that of Chelsea King, 17.

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