Brother of Biden receives suspicious package

Washington: US Vice President Joe Biden`s brother has received a suspicious package mailed from India, containing a powdery substance feared to be anthrax, following which he and his girlfriend were taken to a hospital.

57 years old Biden`s younger brother Francis Biden said the package a Manila envelope was retrieved from his roadside mail box by his girlfriend, Mindy. It was addressed to him.

"She retrieved it, but I was the one who opened it," Francis said, declining to give Mindy`s last name.

"It was mailed from India," he was quoted as saying by The Palm Beach Post.

Neither the law enforcement authorities nor Francis would say where in India this package was mailed from.

Francis said the moment he opened it, a white powder spilled from the envelope and onto his skin. He said he immediately called authorities, who evacuated neighbours from his block and closed off the street for more than eight hours.

Francis and his girl friend were taken to Bethesda Memorial Hospital in Boynton Beach. Mindy was released on Saturday, but Biden stayed overnight.

"I was the only one who came in contact with the powder, so they kept me," he said.

He was released yesterday morning and said medical personnel had found no ill effects from the powder.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation later announced that the powder appeared to be harmless.

Biden heads a nonprofit school in Florida, which operates eight tuition-free charter schools. These schools accept students who have either dropped out of school or are in danger of dropping out.