Nuclear Site Evacuated;

No Contamination Found

RICHLAND, Wash. -- The U.S. Energy Department evacuated some workers at the Hanford nuclear reservation Wednesday because of a suspected breach in a container, but initial surveys detected no radioactive contamination, officials said.

The incident occurred in an area where workers have been unearthing containers of waste that had been buried for years. The site is also near a landfill where some waste is being permanently buried.

For 40 years, the 586-square-mile Hanford nuclear reservation in south-central Washington made plutonium for the nation's nuclear weapons, beginning with the atomic bomb made by the top-secret Manhattan Project.

Today, it is the nation's most contaminated nuclear site, with cleanup costs expected to total $50 billion to $60 billion. The work is scheduled to be completed by 2035.

Education Chief Reacts

To 'No Child' Lawsuit

ATLANTA -- Education Secretary Margaret Spellings called claims that the No Child Left Behind Act is not fully funded "a red herring" and suggested the states that are balking may simply fear seeing the test results.

Connecticut filed a lawsuit Monday alleging that the federal government has not provided enough money to pay for the testing and programs associated with the 2001 law.

Spellings, speaking to the Atlanta Press Club, said the lawsuit "does trouble me a little bit." Afterward, she suggested that those states that oppose the law simply fear the results of its accountability measures.

* MIAMI -- The Coast Guard suspended its search for 31 Cubans believed to have been thrown into the Straits of Florida when their boat capsized during an apparent smuggling run to the United States. No victims or survivors have been found since Sunday, when three people were rescued by a merchant vessel north of Matanzas, Cuba.

* PITTSBURGH -- U.S. District Judge Donetta Ambrose ordered the Riverside Beaver County School District to readmit a 14-year-old student expelled for writing violent, profane rap lyrics, finding that his songs didn't amount to "true threats" against the school and so were protected by the First Amendment. The district kicked out Anthony Latour because officials thought his lyrics constituted threats to shoot up the school.

* MIAMI -- Tropical Storm Katrina threatened to dump more than a foot of rain on parts of waterlogged Florida as it approached the state, with forecasters expecting it to strengthen to a weak hurricane before hitting the coast. Katrina was expected to strike Florida's east coast Friday.

* LOUISVILLE -- By meticulously tapping sand out of foot-long funnels, eight Tibetan monks are creating a sacred artwork to commemorate Louisville native Muhammad Ali's friendship with the Dalai Lama. Traditionally, the artworks are destroyed upon completion to symbolize the impermanence of the physical world, a tenet of Buddhist philosophy. This one, however, will be sprayed with glue and dedicated at the Nov. 19 grand opening of the Muhammad Ali Center.

* LOS ANGELES -- Two people were arrested for allegedly turning an alligator loose in Machado Lake, where the reptile has evaded capture while drawing spectators.

-- From News Services