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US Embassy in Turkmenistan Re-Opens After Powder Scare

The U.S. Embassy in Turkmenistan has re-opened after being shut down for nearly a week following a scare over a suspicious package.

The embassy in Ashgabat closed last Tuesday December 23 after receiving an envelope containing an unidentified white powder.

An embassy statement said Turkmen public health officials have determined that the substance is non-lethal.

The State Department said U.S. embassies in at least 21 countries have received powder-stuffed envelopes in the last few weeks. The FBI said governors' offices in more than 40 states have recently received similar letters, all postmarked from Texas. The FBI said the white powder has tested negative for biological agents.

Most of the embassies are in Europe, but they also include the missions in Tokyo and South Korea.

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