WASHINGTON: Analyst accused of leaking N. Korea secrets to reporter
The Obama administration on Friday accused an analyst who worked at the State Department of leaking top secret information about North Korea to a reporter. Steven Kim, who worked at State as an employee of a contractor, maintains his innocence. He was named in a federal indictment unsealed Friday and charged with illegally disclosing national defense information in 2009, which carries a top penalty of 10 years in prison, and with making false statements to the FBI, which has a maximum 5-year sentence. It was the latest move in an aggressive campaign to crack down on leaks, even as the administration has supported proposed legislation that would shield reporters from having to identify their sources. Recent disclosures to news media have revealed the potential for using CIA drones in the counterterrorist fight against al-Qaida in Yemen, the close relationship of the CIA station chief in Kabul with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the CIA's practice of paying some members of the Afghan government for information.
WASHINGTON: FDA to inspect largest U.S. egg farms
The Food and Drug Administration is planning to inspect all of the country's largest egg farms before the end of next year following the massive recall of tainted eggs linked to a salmonella outbreak that has sickened as many as 1,500 people. An Obama administration official says inspectors will visit about 600 large egg farms that produce 80 percent of the nation's eggs. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the plan has not yet been announced. This will be the first government effort to inspect large egg farms, as most of them have gone largely uninspected for decades. The FDA's plan for heightened inspections came after more than half a billion eggs linked to cases of salmonella poisoning were recalled from two Iowa farms this month. The inspections will be conducted as part of new FDA rules put in place this July to prevent salmonella in shell eggs. The inspections will begin in September with the farms deemed highest risk to consumer safety, the official said. The new inspection plan covers all egg farms that have 50,000 or more hens.
MISSISSIPPI: District no longer to limit student elections by race
A policy intended to achieve racial equality at a north Mississippi school has long meant that only white kids can run for some class offices one year, black kids the next. But Brandy Springer, a mother of four mixed-race children, was stunned when she moved to the area from Florida and learned her 12-year-old daughter couldn't run for class reporter because she wasn't the right race. The rules sparked an outcry on blogs and other websites after Springer contacted an advocacy group for mixed-race families. The NAACP called for a Justice Department investigation - not surprising in a state with a history of racial tension dating to the Jim Crow era. By Friday afternoon, the Nettleton School District announced on its website that it would no longer use race in school elections. Superintendent Russell Taylor posted a statement saying the practice had been in place for 30 years, dating back to a time when school districts across Mississippi came under close scrutiny from the U.S. Justice Department over desegregation. "It is the belief of the current administration that these procedures were implemented to help ensure minority representation and involvement in the student body," the statement said. "It is our hope and desire that these practices and procedures are no longer needed." Springer, who moved to Lee County from Florida in April, said her daughter was told the office of sixth-grade class reporter at Nettleton Middle School was available only to black students this year.