50 million blinds, shades recalled

WASHINGTON - The government and the window-covering industry recalled more than 50 million Roman-style shades and roll-up blinds yesterday because of the risk that children may be strangled by the cords.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission said five deaths and 16 near-strangulations from Roman shades had been reported since 2006, and three deaths connected to roll-up blinds since 2001.

The CPSC and the industry urged parents to examine all shades and blinds in their homes and make sure they have no accessible cords.

Several major retailers are also participating in the recall. Consumers can obtain free retrofit kits for Roman shades and roll-up blinds online at www.windowcoverings.org or by calling the Window Covering Safety Council at 1-800-506-4636. - AP

Terrorism suspect is denied bond

CHICAGO - A federal judge declined yesterday to release on bond Tahawwur Rana, a Chicago man accused of planning to attack a Danish newspaper and of knowing beforehand about last year's terror attacks on Mumbai.

Magistrate Judge Nan Nolan said Rana, 48, a businessman, had the means and knowhow to flee the United States to avoid a possible 30-year prison term if released pending trial.

Prosecutors say Rana, a Canadian national who once served in the Pakistani military, made travel arrangements for an alleged coconspirator, David Coleman Headley, as he moved around the world to plan the Denmark attack.

Headley, who resided earlier in his life in Philadelphia, where his mother owned a bar, is charged in both the Danish and Mumbai cases. - AP

School episode over boy's drawing

TAUNTON, Mass. - A boy, 8, was sent home from school and ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation after he was asked to make a Christmas drawing and sketched what appeared to be a stick figure of Jesus on a cross, his father said yesterday.

Chester Johnson said his son made the drawing Dec. 2 after his second-grade teacher asked children to sketch something that reminded them of the holiday. Days earlier, the family had visited the holiday lights display at the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette in Attleboro, where Johnson said his son seemed taken with the religious statues he saw there.

Johnson said administrators were concerned that the boy drew Xs for Jesus' eyes, and particularly worried when his son said he'd drawn himself on the cross after officials pressed him. Johnson said his son might have been worried about getting in trouble if he said he drew Jesus.

Superintendent Julie Hackett said she could not discuss an individual student but said the school had safety protocols in place that were followed. - AP

Elsewhere:

Donald Eugene Gates, 58, who spent 28 years behind bars for a rape and murder he said he didn't commit, walked out of a federal prison in Arizona yesterday with $75 and a bus ticket to Ohio after DNA testing showed he was innocent.