National and international briefs

Sen. Dodd enters race for president

Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut joined a growing field of Democratic presidential contenders Thursday, using a radio call-in show to tout the value of his Washington, D.C., experience at a time of heightened anxieties at home and abroad.

"I know how to do this. I know what has to be done," Dodd said, while acknowledging his candidacy is a longshot.

Normally, Dodd conceded, his 30-plus years in Congress might be seen as a liability among voters hungering for change. "But I think people this time around believe experience matters," Dodd said. "On every major foreign policy and domestic issue over the last quarter of a century, I've been deeply involved."


Democrats' next convention in Rockies

DENVER - The Democratic National Committee on Thursday announced it will hold its 2008 convention in Denver to showcase the party's expansion into the once-reliably Republican terrain of the Rocky Mountain West.

DNC Chairman Howard Dean said that symbolism is what pushed Denver's bid ahead of its competition, perennial convention candidate New York.

"It's fitting that the next president of the United States will be nominated in Denver," Dean said in a conference call. "If we win the West, we will win the presidency."


Police check powder found at courthouses

WEST PALM BEACH - Powdery substances were tested by authorities Thursday after being discovered at two south Florida courthouses.

A white substance found on the outside of two letters at the Palm Beach County Courthouse tested positive for tellurium, which can be hazardous if enough is ingested. But there was not enough present to be considered dangerous, Palm Beach County Sheriff's spokeswoman Teri Barbera said.

A brown, granular powder found in the mailroom of the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale also was being tested, but it did not appear to be hazardous, Assistant Fire Chief Stephen McInerny told The Miami Herald.


Man arrested for shooting co-workers

INDIANAPOLIS - A man shot and wounded four co-workers Thursday at a factory that employs disabled people, telling police he did it "over respect," authorities said.

Two men and two women were taken to hospitals with injuries not considered life-threatening, Lt. Douglas Scheffel said.

Jason Burnam, 24, was arrested inside the company cafeteria, where he was standing with a .380-caliber handgun next to a vending machine, Police Chief Michael Spears said.


Radioactive exposure might be worldwide

LONDON - British authorities are working with officials from 48 countries to evaluate about 450 people who were in London around Nov. 1 and fear they might have been exposed to the radioactive polonium-210 that killed former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko.

Britain's Health Protection Agency declined to identify the countries, but the United States is among them, according to U.S. health officials. People who think they might have been exposed are invited to submit urine samples and consult with doctors; for most, the exposure appears to have been harmlessly small.

Litvinenko died Nov. 23 at a London hospital of polonium-210 poisoning. Police have since found traces of polonium at 17 locations in London, most prominently the Pine Bar at the Millennium Hotel and Itsu sushi restaurant in central London.


Unrest prompts delay of national elections

CHITTAGONG - After weeks of mounting political violence, Bangladesh's president on Thursday declared a nationwide state of emergency and indefinitely postponed elections that had been scheduled to take place in less than two weeks.

President Iajuddin Ahmed also said he would step down as interim head of a caretaker administration in the impoverished South Asian nation but would retain the largely ceremonial post of president.

No new date was set for nationwide balloting that had been scheduled to take place Jan. 22.