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In brief

Ready for a Texas-sized fair Teacher Kelly Vaughn points as she talks with students from the da Vinci preschool as they wait to see the 52-foot-tall statue ‘Big Tex’ put in place in preparation for the State Fair of Texas in Dallas on Monday. The fair runs from Friday through Oct. 19.

AP PHOTO
INDIANAPOLIS Road salt to be scarce

A shortage of road salt and skyrocketing salt prices could mean slippery roads this winter in communities across the nation as officials struggle to keep pavement clear of snow and ice without breaking their budgets.

Heavy snow last year heightened demand for salt, and now many towns can’t find enough of it.

Prices have also tripled from a year ago. The salt industry says the increased demand and higher fuel costs are to blame. But some officials insist salt prices have spiked more dramatically than fuel.

BEIJING Quits over tainted formula

The head of China’s product quality watchdog resigned Monday in the wake of the tainted baby formula scandal that has sickened nearly 53,000 infants, highlighting a breakdown in the country’s food safety system only a year after a major overhaul.

The official Xinhua News Agency said Li Changjiang stepped down with the approval of China’s Cabinet.

Li’s agency is responsible for ensuring that China’s food supply chain is safe. His resignation comes after the industrial chemical melamine was blamed for causing kidney stones and kidney failure in babies.

The chemical was found in infant formula and other milk products from 22 of China’s dairy companies.

MOGADISHU, Somalia Capital comes under fire

Somalia’s warring sides pounded the capital with mortar rounds and gunfire Monday, killing 30 people — including a family of seven — as Islamic insurgents who want to topple the government gain significant power.

Monday’s fighting pitted insurgents against government forces and their Ethiopian allies, who come under regular attack in Mogadishu, one of the most violent cities in the world. The violence left bodies in city streets. When the blasts calmed, young men ventured out to transport the gravely wounded to hospitals in rickety wheelbarrows.

The fighting began after Islamic insurgents fired mortars at the capital’s main airport and the presidential palace, said Ali Mohamed Siyad, who chairs Bakara market traders’ association. Soon after, government forces and their Ethiopian allies retaliated with mortars and gunfire.

In the past, government officials have suspected insurgents use Bakara market as a base.

WASHINGTON Iraq to pay Sunni fighters

The Iraqi government will begin paying the salaries of about 54,000 of the mostly Sunni fighters in Baghdad Province who joined the fight against al-Qaida, the No. 2 U.S. commander there said Monday.

While the transfer next month will mark more progress in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Lloyd Austin said that despite significant declines in violence in the Anbar Province, the U.S. military is not likely to further reduce troop levels there in the near future.

Austin told reporters the decision to divert one Marine battalion to Afghanistan later this year, rather than to Iraq as initially planned, will not be followed quickly by additional drawdowns.

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