USP HIT BY SECOND ANTHRAX SCARE

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By Kris Leua Wansolwara Online (USP)

SUVA, Fiji Islands (November 2, 2001 - Wansolwara Online/Pasifik Nius)--Staff of the University of the South Pacific's media center today vacated the complex as firemen and police officers sealed off the building in the second anthrax scare in four days on campus.

The anthrax threat came in a sealed green envelope addressed to the center's photographer, Litiana Waqalevu.

The matter was immediately reported to the center's acting director, Linda Austin, who later alerted the security officers.

Senior audio technician Maraia Lesuma, who was standing next to Mrs. Waqalevu when she opened the envelope, said: "Mrs. Waqalevu immediately realized that that the mail could have been an anthrax threat so we alerted the center's acting director.

"Mrs. Waqalevu was later taken to the university's medical center where she was diagnosed and later sent home. "

"The action was the doing of a local, probably someone from within," said Mrs. Lesuma.

"We didn't have mail delivered since yesterday. But the mail was in the mailbox today, even before the mail van was here. This led us to believe that the green mail was posted from within."

She said she did not know when staff would be allowed onto the premises again.

"We'll just wait until the firemen and the police finish off with their checks. Otherwise. It'll be an early weekend for us."

Ms. Austin said it was too early to comment.

Title -- 3458 HEALTH: USP hit by second anthrax scare Date -- 2 November 2001 Byline – Kris Leua Origin -- Pasifik Nius Source -- Wansolwara Online, 2/11/01 Copyright -- USP Journalism Status -- Unabridged

 

USP SECURITY CHIEF WILISONI WARNS OVER BIOCHEMICAL SCARE

By Tui Marseu Wansolwara Online (USP)

SUVA, Fiji Islands (October 31, 2001 – Wansolwara Online/Pasifik Nius): University of the South Pacific Security chief Jiuta Wilisoni warned today, in the wake of yesterday's campus anthrax scare, that his staff had not been trained to handle biochemical substances.

"This type of chemical is not within our reach," he told Wansolwara Online.

The sealed off area at the book center, which is usually a hive of activity, was quiet today and a lone police officer and a USP security officer guarded the book center's main entrance.

Wilisoni said his staff were working with the Fire Department, police and a pathologist, ensuring that the students and staff were safe.

Book center manager Armin Kullack found white powder in a letter that arrived in the mail.

Kullack told a student journalist working on attachment with Fiji One that even though the threat seemed to be hoax, he was responsible for taking the matter seriously.

This latest incident raised the reported anthrax scare cases in Fiji to five.

In at least one case, a public office was sealed off by police for several days.

In an editorial today, the Fiji Sun editorial said: "Some two weeks after the incident, the country is still being kept in the dark about the results of the investigations.

"Is this the work of a prankster or are the 'anthrax scares' for real?"

Wilisoni said his staff were working with the fire department, police and the pathologist, ensuring and maintaining that the students and staff were safe.

Oceania Flash news service reported that three anthrax scares struck New Caledonia's capital of Nouméa on Monday, which had forced authorities to close two banks and the post office.

Title -- 3453 HEALTH: USP security chief warns over biochemical scare Date -- 31 October 2001 Byline -- Tui Marseu Origin -- Pasifik Nius Source -- Wansolwara Online, 31/10/01 Copyright -- USP Journalism Status -- Abridged

USP Pacific Journalism Online: http://www.usp.ac.fj/journ/  USP Journalism on the Fiji crisis (UTS host): http://www.journalism.uts.edu.au/  USP Pasifik Nius stories on Scoop (NZ): http://www.scoop.co.nz/international.htm  Have your say: http://www.TheGuestBook.com/vgbook/109497.gbook 

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