NEW CALEDONIA ANTHRAX SCARES HOAXES

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NOUMEA, New Caledonia (October 31, 2001 - Oceania Flash/SPC)---Three anthrax scares, which occurred in New Caledonia's capital of Nouméa Monday, were hoaxes, the Pasteur Institute has confirmed.

Suspicious substances were found in the mailboxes of two banks (Société Générale Bank and the Nouméa branch of the Bank of Hawaii) and one post office facility.

Analyses performed by the Pasteur Institute’s bacteriological department determined that the white powdery substance was sugar.

"We put it in water. It dissolved. Then we left it for 24 hours at around 37°C. There was no germ proliferation. Nothing. No, it was sugar," a Pasteur spokesman said.

All three establishments said on Tuesday that they will press charges against the culprit(s).

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