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Police evacuate New York newsroom

Reuters' New York newsroom was evacuated on Monday after an envelope with a "puff of powder" in it was received.

Police told staff to evacuate the 19th floor newsroom after Brian Rhoads, managing editor for the Americas, opened an envelope and a “puff of powder” came out of it, Reuters spokeswoman Jolie Hunt said.

Police isolated the envelope, and Rhoads, and then told the 140 members of staff to leave as a precautionary measure while they investigated. News was filed from other offices.

Nearly three hours later the authorities said the powder was harmless and staff returned to their desks, Hunt said.

Threatening letters, many containing a suspicious white powder, have been sent this month to Chase bank offices in several US states and the headquarters of The New York Times. The letters said “it’s payback time”, according to a text released by the FBI.

US authorities have been on alert for such letters since 2001 when envelopes laced with anthrax were sent to media outlets and lawmakers, killing five people. ■