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US Embassies in S. Korea, Turkmenistan Receive Suspicious Packages

U.S. embassies in South Korea and Turkmenistan have become the latest of at least 21 American embassies to receive envelopes through the mail containing suspicious white powder.

Authorities in Seoul say the package arrived at the U.S. embassy there on Wednesday. They say they have taken the powder for testing but have ruled out two deadly toxins, anthrax and ricin. Officials say there have been no reports of any one being sickened.

A statement from the U.S. embassy in the Turkmen capital, Ashgabat, says the embassy closed indefinitely on Tuesday after the discovery of an unidentified substance received through the mail. The embassy says it is investigating with the assistance of Turkmen authorities.

The State Department says at least 19 other embassies have received suspicious packages containing white powder recently. Most of them are in Europe, but an envelope also arrived in Tokyo last week.

The FBI said governors' offices in more than 40 states have recently received similar letters, all of them postmarked from Texas.

In 2001, five people died when anthrax-tainted letters were mailed to congressional offices in Washington and a handful of media outlets.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.