Sunday, September 16, 2007

In a pickle...Ramadan style

Iraqi Ramadhan treats stir anthrax scare

A BOX of sugar-covered Ramadhan treats from the Iraqi embassy triggered an anthrax alert that put a Malaysian foreign ministry official in hospital, a report said yesterday.

Fire engines and hazardous materials experts descended on the home of Zakaria Sulong, the newly appointed Malaysian ambassador to Germany, after he opened a parcel containing the "suspicious" powder, the New Straits Times said.

The parcel with the message "with compliments from the Embassy of Iraq" and had been delivered to his office before he took it home at the start of the Muslim fasting month. After opening the parcel Zakaria became alarmed, and placed it in a barrel outside his house while waiting for the authorities who then cordoned off the area. Zakaria spent Thursday night in hospital before the misunderstanding was cleared up with the Iraqi embassy, which had sent sugar-covered pickles to several foreign ministry officials.

"All the parcels contained the same thing pickles. The surface was covered by refined sugar meant to preserve the pickles so that they will last longer. The pickles, which are very small in size, were underneath the sugar," said a police source.