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Release Of 10,000 Red Balloons In San Francisco Criticized

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The release of 10,000 red balloons in San Francisco to promote a new video game is drawing criticism from local environmentalists.

   The San Francisco Chronicle reports that THQ, a Southern California video game company, released the balloons Wednesday during a game developers' conference downtown.

   They were part of an effort to promote a video game in which the United States is invaded by troops from North Korea. According to THQ, the balloon release simulated a method used by South Korea to send messages of hope to North Korea.

   But wind and rain pushed thousands of the balloons into San Francisco Bay.

   Amy Ricard, a spokeswoman for the environmental group Save the Bay, says they amount to pollution and littering.

   THQ says the balloons were completely biodegradable, and it has retained a cleanup crew to remove any lingering debris.

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