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September 26, 2014

Chicago air traffic facility evacuated for basement fire

Chicago air traffic facility evacuated for basement fire

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Aviation

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A Chicago, Illinois air traffic facility was evacuated early this morning due to a fire. The fire occurred in a telecommunications room in the basement. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounded all metropolitan Chicago flights and transferred airspace responsibilities to nearby facilities to accommodate affected air traffic.

FAA Seal.

Authorities, including a spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said they suspected an FAA contractor set the basement on fire, but did not believe him to be a terrorist. He was later hospitalized for a self-inflicted wound. Another employee was treated for smoke inhalation.

Flights already en-route to the Chicago metropolitan area were still allowed to either continue more slowly or divert to another unaffected airport. The FAA said passengers in the area and surrounding airports and possibly airports around the region, might experience flight delays or cancellations, causing long lines at airports, and encouraged them to check flight information with their carriers.

The incident is being investigated by the FAA, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Aurora Police and Fire departments.



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June 23, 2014

Spelling error appears on Medill School of Journalism diplomas

Spelling error appears on Medill School of Journalism diplomas

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Education
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On Saturday, Northwestern University‘s Medill School of Journalism in Chicago issued diplomas which misspelled the word integrated in “Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications”. Around 30 diplomas out of 250 distributed contained the spelling error, “itegrated”.

Medill School of Journalism logo.

In an e-mail quoted by Chicago Tribune, department lecturer Desiree Hanford said, “The diplomas are issued by the university, so we will work with the [university] registrar’s office Monday to provide new diplomas to these students”.

Inside Higher Ed said some alumni had objected to the program’s name change several years ago, and found the current situation amusing given their opposition to including integrated in the program’s name.

The journalism program has a grading policy called the “Medill F”, where assignments that contain an error such as having a spelling error result in the assignment being failed. Graduating student Kit Fox, according to the Chicago Tribune, said of the Medill F, “When as a freshman you hear about it for the first time, it sounds extremely harsh. It sounds almost unfair…And then you look at the stakes of what journalism is, and you realize it’s much more forgiving than what happens in the real world.” He also told FOX 32 News, “Maybe it was just one last edit test for us grads, or just some fantastic irony”.



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April 21, 2014

Wikinews interviews Paúl M. Velazco about new yellow-shouldered bat species

Wikinews interviews Paúl M. Velazco about new yellow-shouldered bat species

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Paul Velazco with a Vampyrum spectrum.
Image: Marco Tschapka.

Distribution range of species formerly ascribed to Sturnira lilium (gray tone) and the type localities (stars) of species in the S. lilium complex.
Image: Paúl M. Velazco.

Scientists at Chicago‘s Field Museum and New York‘s American Museum of Natural History have discovered three new species of yellow-shouldered bats, genus Sturnira, in the Neotropics. On Wednesday open-access journal ZooKeys published their paper on two of the new species, Sturnira bakeri and Sturnira burtonlimi. The two new species were previously confused with S. ludovici, and S. lilium and S. luisi, respectively. With the discovery, genus Sturnira now has the most species of any genus in family Phyllostomidae, the leaf-nosed bats.

Species S. bakeri was named after Dr. Robert J. Baker, who “has made enormous contributions to our [Authors of the ZooKey paper] understanding of bats, particularly to the evolution of Neotropical phyllostomids”; and S. burtonlimi after Dr. Burton K. Lim, who “collected the type series of this species and has made many other important collections throughout the Neotropics and beyond”, the authors noted in the paper.

Within the New World tropics, the distribution range of the genus, the new species’ known living areas are in Costa Rica and Panama for S. burtonlimi, and Western Ecuador for S. bakeri. The researchers identified differences between different specimens, including those in their teeth, skull shapes, and DNA sequences.

Wikinews interviewed one of the chiropterologists, Paúl M. Velazco of the American Museum of Natural History, about the study.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png The Sturnira genus now has 22 species, over 1.5 times larger than it was a year ago (14 species). Who contributed to this change? Did you participate throughout the entire process, or only the discovery of the last 2 species?

Paúl M. Velazco: The last Mammal Species of the World (Simmons, 2005) recognized 14 species for Sturnira. Since then three new species have been described [S. sorianoi Sánchez-Hernández et al., 2005; S. koopmanhilli McCarthy et al., 2006; and S. perla Jarrín-V. and Kunz, 2011] and one subspecies was elevated to the species level (S. hondurensis) by Gardner (2008). This brought the number of species of Sturnira to 18 by 2011. Along with my coauthor Bruce Patterson, we generated the most comprehensive phylogeny of the genus. For this we sequenced two nuclear and three mitochondrial genes from the liver or muscle tissue that had been frozen or preserved from each bat specimen, isolating nearly 5,000 base pairs of DNA. These sequences were obtained from specimens we have collected in the past (38) and from tissues we borrowed from different natural history collections. We published this phylogeny last year in the journal Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. Results of this study found that two subspecies of Sturnira lilium should be recognized as valid species (S. parvidens and S. paulsoni). Additionally we found three new species, two of them described in the ZooKeys paper. The third one hopefully will be published later this year.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png The genus is called Sturnira Gray in the paper. I’ve not seen extra adjectives in genus names, before. What is the context for such name?

PMV: Usually in papers that deal with taxonomy and nomenclature, the first time that a genus or species is mentioned in text is accompanied by the authority that describes that taxon. In the case of Sturnira, it was Gray in 1842 that named the genus.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png What caused your initial interest in the question in the genus? When did you become interested?

PMV: I have been studying bats for the past eighteen years and I am especially interested in the family Phyllostomidae that is endemic to the Neotropics. This family includes more than 160 species. It is the most diverse family of bats in the Neotropics, which together exhibits more variation in morphological features and feeding ecology than any other family-level group of mammals. Phyllostomid bats exploit an unusually diverse array of feeding habits including sanguivory, insectivory, carnivory, omnivory, nectarivory, pollennivory, and frugivory. Because of all mentioned before, phyllostomids are a really interesting group to work with. Sturnira and Platyrrhinus are members of this family.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png The paper mentions that the genus is now the most speciose genus in the Neotropical family Phyllostomidae. What genus did it beat? How many species does it include?

PMV: The other genus with the most species in the family is Platyrrhinus. Currently, it has 20 species, but soon it will increase to 21. Along with another colleague, Burton Lim, we have a paper in press describing a new species based on molecular and morphological data from the Guianan Shield.

Dorsolateral views of the left mandibular toothrows in Sturnira bakeri (A, QCAZ 14635 ♀) and S. burtonlimi (B, ROM 104294 ♂), illustrating taxonomic differences in the shape of the metaconid and entoconid of m1 and m2.
Image: Paúl M. Velazco.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png What equipment did you use?

PMV: For the ZooKeys paper, we examined several specimens under the stereoscope. The molecular phylogeny gave us the separation between species, from there our job was to focus on finding morphological differences between these groups.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Did you conduct field study to identify the species’ habits? If so, where and how did you do that?

PMV: I have done fieldwork in Belize and Peru, and my coauthor did field work in Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru, where we collected several specimens of Sturnira (including the third species that has not been described yet). But the two species that were described in the ZooKeys paper are based on specimens collected by our colleagues Dr. Robert Baker from Texas Tech University and Dr. Burton Lim from the Royal Ontario Museum.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png How do you isolate of the living area of the new species from the living area of the old species?

PMV: We used the phylogeny of Velazco and Patterson 2013 (Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution) as a framework for this.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png How long did the study take? What has been the most time-consuming activity?

PMV: It took almost a year. The most time consuming part was spending several hours behind the stereoscope looking for the diagnostic characters.

Sturnira tildae
Image: Burton K. Lim.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Who participated in the study? What were their roles?

PMV: Dr. Bruce Patterson from the [American] Museum of Natural History and I. I was the one in charge of finding the diagnostic characters and together we both worked on the manuscript.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Who do you collaborate with internationally about your study?

PMV: For this study I collaborated directly with Dr. Bruce Patterson from the Field Museum of Natural History, but studies like this cannot be completed without the contribution of scientific collections. We used specimens from the American Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Louisiana State University, Museum of Southwestern Biology, Museo de Historia Natural de la Universidad Nacional de San Marcos, Museo de Zoología of the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at Berkeley, Royal Ontario Museum, Texas Tech University, and the National Museum of Natural History.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png What future research do you plan?

PMV: To keep doing what I love, which is going to the field, working at collections, and collaborating with the wonderful collaborators I have, all of this is an effort to try to understand bat diversity and evolution in the Neotropics, especially why phyllostomid bats are so successful at this. There is still much to discover, and hopefully we could, in time, implement conservation actions for species that have small distributions.



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April 28, 2013

Chicago Bears select Marquess Wilson in seventh round of NFL draft

Chicago Bears select Marquess Wilson in seventh round of NFL draft

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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Yesterday, the Chicago Bears selected Washington State University‘s Marquess Wilson as a seventh-round pick in the National Football League (NFL) Draft. Wilson was the 236th pick overall.

Wilson comes to the Bears organization following a tumultuous final season of university football. He quit his team after nine games following abuse accusations he made against Washington State’s head coach Mike Leach. In talking with the Chicago Tribune, he said “I feel like I could have handled it a little better but like I said I am just moving forward […] I am excited about the opportunity I have at hand.”

Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman said regarding Wilson’s selection, “I would consider it a young guy making a very, very small mistake that put him in a position that got him in trouble. […] I think that like any young guy, I am a parent, we’re parents here. Our kids have made mistakes along the way. He’s a good kid with a big upside. He’s come to the right place. He’s come to a locker room where we have players and coaches that will set him straight right from the beginning and get him going the right direction. It’s an exciting opportunity for us to grow a young man, to allow him to mature off the field as well as on it and the upside as a talent, we’re very excited about it.”

The 20-year-old draft pick’s university highlights included playing in 33 games with 27 starts, where he had 189 receptions for 3,207 yards for an average of 17 yards per catch. He also had 23 touchdowns. As a sophomore, he made 82 receptions that he converted into 1,388 yards and 12 touchdowns.

The team was able to pick Wilson because they traded their 20th selection pick in the fifth round to the Atlanta Falcons for a 30th round pick in the fifth round and an additional draft pick in the seventh round.



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April 12, 2013

Goat head delivered to Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts

Goat head delivered to Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts

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Friday, April 12, 2013

Wednesday at 2:30pm Chicago local time, a goat’s head was delivered for Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts at his office in Wrigley Field. The head was dropped off at Gate K by the unidentified male driver of a van, reportedly not by a member of the United States Postal Service.

The Chicago Police were notified of the incident, and are investigating. The driver of the truck was recorded on surveillance video.

In 1945, when the Cubs last competed in Major League Baseball’s World Series, Chicago restaurant owner Billy Sianis was ejected from Wrigley Field during the World Series after trying to bring a goat into the stadium. Following the incident, Sianis is alleged to have cursed the team, vowing they would never win the championship again. The incident has become part of Chicago Cubs’ fan lore.

The day of the incident, the Chicago Cubs game versus the Milwuakee Brewers was postponed due to weather. The Cubs organization is also in negotiations with the city of Chicago over possible renovations to Wrigley Field.



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January 25, 2013

Mumbai 2008 attack plotter sentenced to 35 years

Mumbai 2008 attack plotter sentenced to 35 years

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Friday, January 25, 2013

India
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The burned dome of the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai.
Image: Nichalp.

A Pakistani-American has been sentenced today to 35 years in prison for assisting and helping plan the 2008 attack in Mumbai leaving dead 166 people.

The 52 year old, David Coleman Headley, pleaded guilty in a US federal court in Chicago and co-operated in order to stop the death penalty and being extradited to India for trial. RK Singh, the Indian Home Secretary indicated that the Government would still be requesting his extradition to India.

The Mumbai attackers arrived via boat on Novemeber 26, 2008, bringing with them grenades, automatic weapons and hit multiple targets including the crowded Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station and the famous Taj Mahal Hotel. David Headley’s scouting and information gathering had helped to enable the operation by the 10 gunmen from the Pakistani militant group Laskhar-e-Taiba. The attack put a huge strain on relations between India and Pakistan.

“I don’t have any faith in Mr Headley when he says he’s a changed person and believes in the American way of life,” said the sentencing judge, Harry Leinenweber.



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August 1, 2012

Restaurant chain Chick-Fil-A criticized for political and religious views, supporters of chain fight back

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Supporters in Port Charlotte, Florida participating in Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day

After coming under fire from LGBT organizations and supporters of gay rights, and being threatened with bans in the major U.S. cities of San Fransisco, Chicago, and Boston, supporters of the chain are making it a point to patronize the company today, August 1st, to show their support. Many Chick-Fil-A restaurants around the nation are crowded with lines circling the building at stand alone locations, and filling food courts at mall locations. Customers at Chick-Fil-A restaurants are waiting in lines for about an hour, or longer at some locations, just to show their support.

Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day was invented by Mike Huckabee to “affirm a business that operates on Christian principles and whose executives are willing to take a stand for the Godly values we (conservative Christians) espouse.” In addition to support from the religious right, the company is also being supported by supporters of free speech, liberal pendants, and legal experts. The ACLU calls the company’s opposition to gay marriage “bigoted,” but opposes cities’ refusal to grant building permits to the company on the basis of the company’s views, calling such a refusal a violation of the first ammendment. The LA Times says “We disagree heartily with Cathy, but are far more troubled by the reaction of Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who vowed to block Chick-fil-A’s effort to open an outlet in that city.” New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg has also expressed his disagreement with the other cities’ mayors refusal to permit Chick-Fil-A restaurants to be built in their cities.

Of course, it’s not just supporters gathering at the restaurants today; protesters have also gathered at the restaurants holding signs to show their opposition to the company’s position. The opposition to Chick-Fil-A is a result of the company’s supporting of organizations such as the WinShape Foundation and the Pennsylvania Family Institute, which oppose gay marriage, and are considered by some to be homophobic, and statements made to The Baptist Press by the company’s CEO, Dan Cathy. “We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit,” said Mr. Cathy. “We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.” Student groups at some universities have formed grassroots movements to boycott Chick-Fil-A for their opposition to gay marriage. The manufacturer of the company’s kids’ meal toys severed it’s relationship with the company in light of the company’s position on gay marriage.

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April 2, 2012

Wikinews Shorts: April 2, 2012

Wikinews Shorts: April 2, 2012 – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews Shorts: April 2, 2012

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A compilation of brief news reports for Monday, April 2, 2012.

Rockford IceHogs split a pair with San Antonio and Milwaukee

The Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League lost to the San Antonio Rampage in a 4–3 shootout at home on Saturday after finishing regular time 3–3. It was the team’s third straight shootout. Rostislav Olesz, Brandon Pirri, and again Olesz scored for Rockford in regular time, and Bracken Kearns, Michal Repik, and Jon Matsumoto scored for San Antonio. In the shootout, Terry Broadhurst scored Rockford’s only goal, while Mark Cullen and James Wright scored for San Antonio. IceHog Phillip Danault made his team debut. Danault was the Chicago Blackhawks first round NHL Entry Draft pick in 2011. He spent most of the season playing for the QMJHL‘s Victoriaville Tigres.

In last night’s game at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Rockford won 2–1 in shootout win after ending regular time with a score of tied at one in a game similar the previous night’s. Scoring shootout goals for Rockford were Broadhurst and Pirri. Scoring for Milwaukee was Blum.

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Chicago Blackhawks clinch playoff berth before losing final home game

Saturday night, the NHL Chicago Blackhawks clinched a Stanley Cup playoffs spot with a 5–4 victory over the Nashville Predators at Nashville‘s Bridgestone Arena, before losing to the Minnesota Wild 5–4 in an overtime shootout in their final regular season home game. Regular time during last night’s penalty-filled game ended 4–4.

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March 19, 2012

Adam Folkard and Nick Norton ready for more men\’s softball

Adam Folkard and Nick Norton ready for more men’s softball

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Monday, March 19, 2012 Hawker, Canberra — Coming off a national championship win for the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) men’s open team in mid-February, Australia men’s national softball team representatives Nick Norton and Adam Folkard are getting ready for more softball later this year, including the Australian club championships to be held in Brisbane in June.

A man

Nick Norton at the ACT versus Japan women’s game
Image: Laura Hale.

A man and his dog

Adam Folkard at the ACT versus Japan women’s game
Image: Laura Hale.

Folkard and Norton have both won the World Championships and have each won a total of ten national championships with the ACT side. They are both named to the current men’s national team, which has roughly thirty players, and believe they are likely to survive the December cut down to eighteen players who will represent Australia at next year’s World Championship in Auckland, New Zealand.

The World Championship is one of the two most prestigious available to male softball players. The other is the International Softball Congress, an event Folkard and Norton have both competed at.

As national team representatives, there are a lot of expectations for them. In Australia, there is almost no financial support for the men’s game so they must cover most of their own costs, including travel to and from international competitions. According to Folkard’s father, these costs can be prohibitive. In one year, when Folkard was a representative on the men’s U18, U23 and Open team, it cost A$15,000 for travel and other expenses just for Folkard. When costs for bringing family members such as Folkard’s sisters to major international tournaments, the costs were even higher. Folkard, his father and Norton all joked this cost his father an investment property to allow Folkard to continue to compete at the highest level. Both Folkard and Norton currently work as tradesmen to support softball playing.

Beyond money, the national team requires players to be actively involved in wider softball community. Players must represent a club at the club championships in Brisbane if they want to retain a spot in the squad. Folkard plays for a Western Australian club and Norton plays for a Sydney based club, driving down from Canberra to play every Sunday during the season.

Folkard and Norton have both played softball at the highest level in the United States, where the men’s game is not yet fully professionalized but still presents more opportunities for players than are available at home. For several years, Folkard has gone to the United States for three-month stints, playing for teams in Chicago, Pennsylvania, and New York. One side he played was sponsored by Ernst and Young. Folkard currently plays for a Canadian side and has been trying to convince Norton, whom he has grown up playing softball with, to join him like Norton has done one previous season. According to Folkard, playing with a North American club has certain advantages. The clubs pay for his travel to and from Australia, and pay for Championship rings. When asked how North American clubs sign Australian players, he said they follow men’s softball in Australia and call up players to offer contracts. Australian men’s players gain additional exposure to potential clubs when they compete, with some sides approaching them during the North American season and seeking to contract them for the following season.

Both men would love the opportunity to play softball in the Olympics, but believe such an opportunity is unlikely. According to them, softball at the Olympics is a women’s game intrinsically linked to men’s baseball, and men’s softball is unlikely to ever be considered on the programme as a result.

Folkard and Norton both play for the same club in the ACT territory club competition. Their team has secured a grand final berth for the match in ten days. They are waiting to find out who they will play against based on a match this weekend. Both have previously won this competition.



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December 23, 2011

Walmart recalls infant formula after baby death

Walmart recalls infant formula after baby death

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Friday, December 23, 2011

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Trypticase containing Cronobacter sakazakii bacteria.
Image: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Retail store group Walmart has removed an infant formula from over three thousand of their stores in the United States. The decision was taken in the aftermath of the death of a baby who suffered from Cronobacter sakazakii, an infection which is extremely rare but poses a significant risk to babies born recently and those born prematurely should they contract it. A second newborn baby has also contracted the infection, which is most frequently discovered in plants like rice and wheat.

Ongoing tests are now attempting to establish whether or not the powdered infant formula is connected to the bacterial infection the two babies suffered from in the US state of Missouri. A statement from Walmart says that the company is taking the product Enfamil Newborn Formula off their shelves “out of an abundance of caution”. Speaking on behalf of Walmart, Dianna Gee stated that the group express their “deepest condolences” to the family of Avery Cornett, who died after removal from life support. Gee informed Agence France-Presse that lot number ZP1K7G had been removed and “Walmart customers who may have purchased the item at our stores can return it for a full refund or exchange it for another brand of formula”.

The manufacturer of Enfamil Newborn Formula has also stated that tests made before shipment of the product came back as negative. Chris Perille, a spokesperson for Enfamil manufacturer Mead Johnson Nutrition, has said: “The batch of our product used by the child’s family tested negative for Cronobacter when it was produced and packaged, and that has been reconfirmed from our batch records following this news”. Mead Johnson are “highly confident in the safety and quality of our products — and the rigorous testing we put them through” and is “working with the health authorities to support their efforts to identify the source or cause of this infant’s infection,” according to Perille. The U.S. government has reportedly made no recall of the product.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has referred the infant formula to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration for examination and has advised parents that “powdered infant formulas are not commercially sterile products” and destroying bacteria amongst the production process may not be possible, while “no exclusively breastfed infants have been reported to have” contracted Cronobacter sakazakii. Pending test completion, “it cannot be determined whether the illness is linked to Enfamil Newborn Formula 12.5 oz. cans lot #ZP1K7G or an outside source”, according to a statement from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. The department has also suggested that parents observe the World Health Organisation’s ‘Guidelines for the safe preparation, storage and handling of powdered infant formula’, which recommends “washing your hands with soap and water, thoroughly sterilizing all feeding equipment in hot, soapy water and preparing enough formula for only one feeding at a time”.



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