The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

August 25, 2013

Syria is 'too late' to open alleged chemical-attack site, U.S. officials say

(Continued)

At the same time, it remains unclear whether the U.N. team actually will be allowed to go to Ghouta because there was no agreement on a date and time for the visit, he said.

“The fact is that we don’t have a time and date for a place that’s 10-minute drive away” from the hotel where the U.N. officials are staying, said Shaikh. “I’m sure if there was real urgency, it could be done today or tomorrow.”

Chemical weapons policy expert Jean Pascal Zanders warned that any legitimate investigation would not be quick and should be entirely private until finished.

He noted that beyond getting experts on the ground, investigators would have to collect samples from soil, ammunition fragments and even from victims. After collection, the samples would have to be transported and studied in certified laboratories in three different nations.

In considering the nature of the Syrian attacks, he wrote on his website, The Trench, which is dedicated to chemical weapons studies, the investigation could be slow.

“The exact nature of the agent or agents is impossible to determine from the pictures or film footage,” Zanders wrote.

If confirmed, the Aug. 22 attack in Ghouta would be the biggest chemical weapons incident so far. The administration previously had assessed that the regime had used such arms only on a much smaller scale, and did not respond forcefully.

(END OPTIONAL TRIM)

The number of dead at Ghouta is still undetermined. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, generally considered the most authoritative chronicler of casualties in the war-torn country, said it had confirmed that at least 322 people had died in the attacks, including at least 90 rebel fighters, 86 women and 54 children. Director Rami Abdul-Rahman said he was still reviewing hundreds of names and expected the final tally to be much higher.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Poet takes his act to Las Vegas LAS VEGAS — The old poet is dressed in black, his platinum-blond hair rakishly moussed. He stands amid the hubbub, facing a stern test of his crafted words and carnival-barker delivery. The venue is a smoky lounge called Ichabod’s, east of the Strip.

    July 23, 2014

  • Minnesota race track to refund horse owners ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota race track manager says the track will refund horse owners after an audit found it shorted race purses by nearly $437,000 over four years. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports (http://bit.ly/1p9mtEh ) the Running Aces

    July 23, 2014

  • Bodies of Malaysia jet victims leave Ukraine KHARKIV, Ukraine (AP) — Two military aircraft carrying the first bodies of victims of the Malaysia Airlines crash left the embattled plains of eastern Ukraine Wednesday, while British investigators began work on a pair of "black boxes" to retrieve da

    July 23, 2014

  • Attorney general sues 2 Minn. colleges ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota's attorney general has filed a lawsuit against two colleges, accusing the schools of misleading criminal justice students about their ability to land a job in their field and about transferring credits to other instit

    July 22, 2014

  • sniper wife pic Jurors start considering Ventura case ST. PAUL — An attorney for Jesse Ventura asked a federal jury Tuesday to award the former Minnesota governor millions of dollars in damages for what he claimed is a lie in a memoir by the late military sniper Chris Kyle. Ventura testified during the

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Target debuts shopping app "In a Snap" will recognize images

    July 22, 2014

  • Feds to monitor Newark police Probe found pattern of unconstitutional policing

    July 22, 2014

  • Thousands without power due to storms MCGREGOR (AP) — Thousands of Minnesotans are without electricity after powerful storms moved through central and northeastern Minnesota. Strong winds of 50 to 70 mph knocked down trees and power lines overnight Monday. Minnesota Power and Lake Count

    July 22, 2014

  • Ellison urges Minn. to aid Central American minors ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota congressman is leading efforts to bring more unaccompanied children fleeing Central America to the state. But, immigration advocates and nonprofit groups that serve refugees are concerned Minnesota might not be abl

    July 22, 2014

  • Detroit retirees back pension cuts by a landslide DETROIT (AP) — A year after filing for bankruptcy, Detroit is building momentum to get out, especially after workers and retirees voted in favor of major pension changes just a few weeks before a judge holds a crucial trial that could end the largest

    July 22, 2014