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Thursday, May 22, 2003

Explosion damages Yale law classroom NEW HAVEN, Conn. — An explosion in an empty classroom at the Yale University law school Wednesday sent debris flying and students scrambling for safety. No injuries were reported, and the damage was minor.

"We understand there was a device and it went off," Yale spokeswoman Karen Peart said.

The law school also houses a day care and some residences, but it was not clear whether any children or residents were inside at the time. The law school is holding final exams through Friday, and officials said tests were given in the building earlier Wednesday.

There were no initial indications that an international terrorist organization set off the device, according to two U.S. officials who are familiar with intelligence information. They spoke on the condition of anonymity.

FBI spokesman Ed Cogswell also said that there was no initial communication from any person or group about the explosion.

He said FBI agents were at the scene but it was too early to draw conclusions about the blast or those behind it.

Alcohol charges filed in hazing incident SKOKIE, Ill. — Two adults and a student were charged Wednesday with supplying alcohol to students at a suburban Chicago high school involved in a brutal hazing incident captured on videotape.

Prosecutors said one woman was charged with buying three kegs of beer, two of which were found at the park where the hazing took place. Another woman was accused of allowing her home to be used for underage drinking.

The student was charged with unlawful possession of alcohol by a minor. Cook County State's Attorney Richard Devine said the student brought the kegs to the May 4 "powder puff" event in which junior girls were brutally hazed by seniors.

Videotape of the event shows juniors from Glenbrook North High School being covered with mud, paint, feces and garbage as onlookers, some hoisting beer cups, cheered.

Prosecutors earlier charged 15 students with misdemeanor battery in the incident in suburban Northbrook and 31 students — all but three of them girls — have received 10-day suspensions.

Child medication bill passes House 425-1 WASHINGTON — The House voted Wednesday to prohibit schools from making children with behavioral problems take medication in order to attend class.

Under the bill, passed 425-1, states receiving federal education money must make sure schools do not coerce parents into medicating their children.

"School personnel may have good intentions, but parents should never be required to decide between their child's education and keeping them off potentially harmful drugs," said Rep. Max Burns, R-Ga., who sponsored the legislation.

In recent decades, more children have been diagnosed with attention deficit or hyperactivity disorders and prescribed drugs such as Ritalin or Adderall.

Rep. Susan Davis, D-Calif., who voted against the bill, "believed it was a solution looking for a problem," said her spokesman, Aaron Hunter.

Worker admits lacing beef with insecticide GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A former grocery store worker pleaded guilty Wednesday to lacing about 250 pounds of ground beef with insecticide, sickening 92 people.

Randy Jay Bertram, 39, faces up to 20 years in prison for poisoning food with the intent to cause serious bodily injury. Defense attorney Larry Willey said Bertram had a dispute with a co-worker and thought the insecticide would get the co-worker in trouble.

"He obviously made a huge mistake, and he's admitted it," Willey said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Mekaru said the number of known victims makes it "far larger" than any other case of food tampering reported in this country.

Prosecutors say Bertram poured the insecticide into the beef as he prepared it for sale Dec. 31 at the Family Fare supermarket in Byron Center, just outside Grand Rapids.

The insecticide, called Black Leaf 40, uses high concentrations of nicotine as its active ingredient. The bottle warns that swallowing it could be fatal.

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