19 on Leave From Lab

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. -- Fifteen employees at the Los Alamos National Laboratory were placed on leave amid an investigation into the disappearance of two computer disks containing classified information, the director of the nuclear weapons lab said Thursday.

Four employees were placed on leave by Director George "Pete" Nanos in a separate investigation involving an intern at the lab who suffered a serious eye injury from a laser.

Nanos did not identify the workers or say what they may have done wrong. Of the 15 employees on leave over the missing disks, Nanos said 11 had access to a safe where the classified material was stored.

Officials have not said what was on the disks. Deputy Energy Secretary Kyle McSlarrow said Wednesday that he wants the FBI's help in the investigation but added there was nothing to indicate espionage was behind the disappearance.

Poultry Abuse in W. Va.

Federal investigators were sent to a Moorefield, W.Va., poultry slaughterhouse where workers were filmed performing acts of animal cruelty, but there were no suspicions of food safety problems at the Pilgrim's Pride Corp. plant, a U.S. official said.

On Wednesday, Pilgrim's Pride, the second-largest poultry producer, said it fired 11 employees, including a superintendent, a supervisor and a plant foreman.

Ed Loyd, an Agriculture Department spokesman, said Pilgrim's Pride would be allowed to continue supplying chicken to the federal school lunch program as long as its product is deemed "safe and wholesome" by federal inspectors.

Last Thursday, the USDA bought 4.6 million pounds of chicken for school lunch and other government feeding programs. Of that total, 396,000 pounds were supplied from the Pilgrim's Pride Moorefield plant.

* MIAMI -- Contract workers at Miami International Airport falsely classified jet fuel as contaminated and then sold it on the sly, stealing 2.7 million gallons of fuel, prosecutors alleged. Nineteen people, including mechanics, technicians and an airport official, were named in arrest warrants, the state attorney's office said.

* SAN DIEGO -- Metabolife International Inc. and its founder were indicted on federal charges of lying to the Food and Drug Administration about the dangers of a popular diet supplement containing ephedra, the now-banned herbal stimulant linked to dozens of deaths. Metabolife and Michael J. Ellis, who founded the San Diego company, were charged with six counts of making false statements to the FDA and two counts of trying to obstruct the agency's attempt to regulate supplements containing ephedra.

* SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- The Springfield diocese reached a proposed settlement worth more than $7 million with 46 people who accused priests of molesting them when they were children. Twenty-two of the alleged victims had sued the diocese. The others had complained to the church about abuse but never took legal action.

-- From News Services

Pete Nanos discusses security and safety issues at a news conference in Los Alamos, N.M. Fifteen employees were placed on leave in the disk probe.